BALLERS Review: “In the Teeth”

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This week’s episode, “In the Teeth,” finally brings some roadblocks to Spencer’s plan for Sin City. It also happens to be the most balanced episode of season three, with the show’s other cast of characters getting much more meaty subplots to chew on. Let’s begin with Spencer, though, who last we left him, was quickly amassing allies in his quest to bring football to the desert. This week, though, things aren’t as easy.

For starters, footage surfaces of a younger Spencer, who, still in the , appears on Jay Glazer’s zany sports show Glazed and Confused. In the segment, Spencer debates Candace Brewer (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a then rising star who argues that we need to rethink certain practices in football that risk players’ health and safety. Spencer isn’t a fan of all this “over-intellectualizing.” If he sees a QB he’s been gunning for all season, he’s going to go at him with all his might if the opportunity presents itself. Oh, and he also pretty much says Candace should stay in her lane as a woman who’s never even put on a helmet.

Uh oh.

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This is a solid scene for several reason. First, an older retired Spencer is now seeing the drawbacks to his younger unthinking ways. He pops pills. He’s damaged. And he was part of a culture that encouraged some of these things. Also, much like Spencer’s naive and irresponsible investments from his playing days hurt his reputation as a sports agent last season, his problematic tango with Candace in the past is the first major snafu in his quest to bring football to Vegas. When news gets out, Spencer’s  start to pull away. A meeting in by Staples Center goes south, so Spencer travels north to try to iron out things with Candace, the high-powered executive who’s just as much of an obstacle to Spencer’s plans as she was back then.

Not one to take no for an answer, Spencer hits up Tim Brown who’s with the Oakland Raiders and promises an additional $300 million in private financing to ensure the team can move to the city. A big promise. We’ll see what Mr. Anderson thinks about all of this.

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Meanwhile, Charles and his wife Julie finally get some screentime together. They watch as Siefert, much more adept with the media than Charles, takes credit for his ideas. The overconfident Siefert has always been a great mirror for Charles, who’s still trying to find his confidence outside of the football field. The subplot isn’t that major, but I liked seeing Charles and Julie together, and later, Charles confronting Siefert about the indignity.

I haven’t been as much interested in Ballers’ weed storyline. This week, Reggie and Joe head out to trip to the dispensary and find that Vernon is endorsed by a company that’s more than just weed. It’s about an entire lifestyle. Naturally, though, the trip ends with Reggie and Joe hotboxing in a Rolls-Royce.

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Ricky, meanwhile, continues with his baby mama drama. This time he also has his father in his ear, who actually gives him sage advice. Ricky’s dad says he needs to be there for the sake of the child. Period. But Ricky’s still not sure the kid is his. Set to the funky sounds of west coast hip hop producing legend DJ Quik on Hi-C’s “Let Me Know,”  TTD whips out Ricky’s schedule and tries to retrace his friend’s steps to the night of the alleged fun encounter. It, indeed, all lines up.

Season 3, Episode 3 (S03E03)
Ballers airs Sundays at 10PM on HBOTB-TV-Grade-B

Read all of our reviews of Ballers here. 
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Ade writes about the philanthropy of billionaires and millionaires by day, and writes screenplays by night.
Follow Ade on Twitter: @derekadeniji
Keep up with all of Ade’s reviews here.

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