BALLERS Review: “Laying in the Weeds”

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After last week’s super eventful episode of Ballers, Spencer is left to pick up the pieces in this week’s “Laying in the Weeds.” Anyone remember Tracy? Well, Spencer’s main squeeze finally quits Miami for her new at ESPN. Ballers smartly times her departure with the collapse of Spencer’s professional life at ASM. The problem is that the show, nearly two full seasons in, still hasn’t established any kind of clarity on how Spencer feels about Tracy. When Tracy pulls away in a car bound for the airport, Ballers barely lingers on Spencer’s face before we’re off to the next scene. Spencer doesn’t seem to care, so neither do we.

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On the plus side, the rest of this episode is pretty solid. Spencer’s main goal here is to keep up appearances, despite getting the axe from ASM and being bested by Andre. Spencer goes ahead with a draft party he’s planned, instructing Joe to hold down the fort at ASM. Joe gives a pep talk to the rest of the team, telling them that Spencer leaving is unfortunate, but they need to keep it together.

Behind the scenes, Spencer starts to craft a plan for getting back at Andre and Anderson. He pays Ricky a visit and asks him for an eight figure dollar loan. He plans on buying ASM himself before Andre does. Part of the reason why I’ve liked the whole Spencer lost a lot of money back in the day storyline is because the Spencer we know seems indestructible. Meanwhile, everyone around him has their various faults and quirks, especially Ricky so this reversal of roles is great. Spencer even tells Ricky about his rapidly deteriorating hip. Our star is now breaking down on all fronts.

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While Spencer is eyeing a return to glory, top rookie prospect Travis Mack is looking to taste it for the first time. I’ve enjoyed Mack’s character and getting an on the ground view of what goes into making it into the . This week, we finally get a pay off for all the hard work that Spencer, Jason (the guy waded through alligator infested waters), and Joe put in courting Mack and getting him to the pros. While it would have been nice for there to have been some repercussions for Spencer and Cos unauthorized tactics, Mack finally gets his big day.

The build to the draft party also provides some suspense for this week. Spencer just needs a win, any win. Spencer promised Mack he’d go in the top five and as the draft starts, it’s not looking so good. While the draft is going on, Ricky pulls Spencer aside and says he can provide $5 million. Sure, it’s not the full amount he was hoping for, but it’s a good start. Ballers does a good at showing multiple perspectives of the draft. There’s Spencer’s party, as well as other top prospects waiting in their own spaces. We also cut back to various media pundits, which adds to the atmosphere.

Five picks in and Mack still hasn’t received his call. Uh oh. Spencer finds Sizzle, who’s in a room at the party down the hall mid-coitus. Sizzle, cool guy that he is, calls it quits and puts in an emergency call. Next thing we know, Mack is picked up by the Baltimore Ravens at number 6. Mack didn’t get his top five wish, but he’s still happy. Spencer finally gets a W too, that is, until Sizzle cries out in joy, spilling the beans that Spencer got fired to the whole party.

TB-TV-Grade-B+
Season 2, Episode 8 (S02E08)
Ballers airs Sundays at 10PM on HBO

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writes about the philanthropy of billionaires and millionaires by day, and writes screenplays by night.
Twitter: @derekadeniji

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