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Ballers - In the Teeth and Ride and Die - Review



Apologies for the tardy reviews, readers! I spent last week in an SUV with my significant other, and am just NOW starting to decompress. Looks like I picked a good time to take my vacation, too, because not a lot has happened for our favorite ballers in the last few weeks. Based on the previews, the show plans to up the intensity next week.

For now, though, let's talk about episodes 3 and 4: "In the Teeth" and "Ride and Die".

RECAP

So despite getting pushback from multiple sources, including the NFL itself, Spencer is pressing forward with his plans to bring a professional football team to Las Vegas. We didn't spend much time in Vegas, though, as Spencer spent these last 2 episodes defending his moves to Anderson (who seems skeptical of the financial benefits) as well as potential investors (including a higher-up at the Oakland Raiders, who are considering relocation). He was also labeled a potential "enemy of the league" by Candace Brewer, a league representative (I think) whose feathers he ruffled back in his football-playing days.

Things aren't going so well for Charles, either, who's still trying to learn from his press conference failure a few weeks ago. While public speaking tips might be helpful, he's more concerned about uncovering a lot of friction between Siefert (played with cool precision by Dule Hill) and the coaching staff. This is made painfully clear when Charles pushes for Kisan Teague to join the team; while the coach is impressed by Kisan's physical prowess, Siefert is unimpressed by Kisan as a man, and wants to pass on him, even if it costs them performance points in the long run.

See, Kisan has already shown a bit of the kind of trouble he gets folks into in previous episodes, by leaving Jason alone in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. There have also been allegations of anti-Muslim statements and drug arrests. Jason has suggested to Kisan that he ought to "edit [his] social circle", but so far, Kisan has remained loyal to his posse instead of thinking about his future.

And he's not the only footballer whose future is in jeopardy. Vernon's continued association with the cannabis company, High Powered, is making the Dallas Cowboys owner very nervous. While Joe does his best to get Vernon and Reggie to disassociate with the company, he fails to impress upon them just how high the stakes are. Near the end of "Ride and Die", Joe and Spencer go in person to plea for Vernon's spot on the team.

That conversation makes them late for a meeting with Hastings, the Las Vegas gambling mogul whose support would be crucial in bringing an NFL team to Sin City. Spencer wins back his goodwill by dangling a meeting with the Cowboys' owner in front of Hastings, but I think it's clear that Spencer's making some promises on multiple fronts that he can't really keep. He's spreading himself too thin.

And I'm sure Ricky will call him on it next week, because the baby mama drama and gambling losses seem to have addled his wits. At the end of "Ride and Die", Ricky mistakes someone else's home for his own, and punches a teenaged occupant of the home. His first call is to Spencer...but Spencer's not able to answer the call.

DISCUSSION

So where is all of this going? Why is Spencer so eager to build up this team, a dream that seems sudden and sorta random? Well, he tells Joe a story about wanting to be a man who believes he can do ANYTHING. But this motivation seems shaky to me. In previous seasons, he's expressed concern and caution for the wellbeing of players; now he's got two (Vernon and Ricky) on the verge of some very hard times. Do you think he'll rediscover his purpose? Or is he too far into the new-team dream to go back now?

I'm also still pretty confused by Spencer's health efforts. He puts off a urologist appointment in "In the Teeth", but then is giving a specimen in "Ride and Die" to test his fertility. He also sneaks a couple of pain pills, which he said earlier this season that he'd mostly given up. What is happening? When am I supposed to start caring? Sigh.

On the other hand, I'm getting pretty interested in Ricky's storyline this season. He's clearly struggling with the idea of being a parent, and supporting his baby mama is very unfamiliar territory. His jealous streak is prodigious, and I think he's awfully quick to judge a situation and duck away without knowing all the facts. But Amber, the mother of his future kid, doesn't seem afraid to call him on his crap - and that seems like a person he should keep around. The future of their relationship is unclear at this point, but I am sorta aching to find out how he ended up in a stranger's kitchen, and how that's going to impact his relationship with both Spencer and Amber.

What were the highlights for you the last few weeks? Get those comments in!



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