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Ballers - Alley-Oops and Crackback - Review

In "Alley-Oops" and "Crackback", the episodes leading up to the Ballers season 3 finale, things are looking bleak for Spencer Strasmore and the gang. With ASM slipping away, the Raiders' potential move to Las Vegas, and multiple careers up the air, the season finale will have a lot of ground to cover to resolve things. Here's where things are at as we head into the last episode.


Spencer and Joe had to break the bad news to the ASM employees that the company is about to be sold. They attempt to seclude everyone while the office is assessed, but word leaks out, mid-therapy, and the employees seem less than convinced by Spencer's word that they'll be given a good severance.

Then, they head to San Francisco, where some big Raiders meetings and NFL meetings are taking place. Spencer strikes up a bittersweet connection with their driver, who's been transporting footballers for more than 20 years. He discovers that another bid has been made for the Raiders - an anonymous one that's endorsed by the league. Spencer smells Candace's interference on the play, and has an amazing scene with her that's part confrontation, part apology. She suggests that he merge his offer with the one from the unknown source, but Spencer doesn't seem open to that idea, even when Hastings switches teams at the last minute. As he puts it, they are on their own.

Meanwhile, Ricky is suffering with the side effects of some new medication. The NFL psychiatrist diagnosed him with bipolar disorder, and although the pills make him fuzzy, he discovers that his father and other members of his family struggle with similar mental health issues. The most troubling side effect of the new medication is a sudden streak of openness, first with his soon-to-be baby mama and then with the representative from the New England Patriots. It's his openness with the latter that puts Ricky's career in jeopardy; he admits before signing the 2-year contract that he's suffering from a concussion, and the representative bails on the deal.

Charles is also looking at some uncertainty in his career, as his maneuvering around Seifert to get a new head coach hired ends up resulting in Seifert's removal from the GM position with the Dolphins. The two of them have a surprisingly civil conversation in which Seifert suggests that Charles might end up with his job, but when he talks to the boss, it sounds like they're hiring externally. A new GM will probably mean a new second-in-command, leaving no room for Charles. Although his wife comments that he should line up a new job before leaving his old one, she understands his need to control his own destiny, and so she helps him begin writing up his resignation letter.


Vernon's story has been quiet the last few episodes, which I'm a little bummed about, especially as (I think) the show will follow Spencer to new territory next season.

Does anyone think that Spencer WON'T be able to close the deal to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas? If so, what's next for our favorite former sports financial manager?

Perhaps fatherhood? One thing I didn't really mention in my plot summary was that Spencer's fertility results are back in. A lot of his lifestyle choices, like heavy drinking and prescription drug use, are wreaking havoc on his swimmers. His doctor suggests he get "riding" soon if he wants to start a family, and he almost immediately sinks into Chloe, much to her surprise. Then he has to bring her Plan B pills the next day, and he chooses THAT moment to bring up the idea of having a kid together.

As a woman, I found this whole situation unbelievable and unfair. Spencer makes it seem like pulling out is his normal method of birth control, and the fact that she takes the Plan B pill in the morning suggests that they're not protecting themselves in any other way. Really? REALLY? What kind of couple puts so little effort and communication into their sexual wellbeing? This is one of those things that reminds me that men are the ones running this show.

I'm also really surprised by Joe's storyline this season. Although he did point out in "Alley-Oops" that Spencer has been acting greedy lately, he hasn't really dug his heels in when it comes to Spencer's latest plans. Joe is clearly well-suited for sports financial management, and the ASM employees seemed like his kind of folks. Did anyone else kinda think Joe would split off & stay focused on the job he knows? What place is there for him if Spencer moves on to team management, or whatever it is he's ultimately going to be doing?

Here's hoping the finale clears up some of these questions. What else are you looking for the last episode to tackle?

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