BALLERS Review: “Saturdaze”

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has really been picking up in recent weeks, and this week’s “Saturdaze” is another solid installment. We open on Spencer and Jason at a bar talking about Tracy’s impending move to the East Coast. This leads to trading jabs about their respective commitment issues. Apart from family guy Charles, no one else on the show is really in a serious relationship. Does Spencer really care about Tracy? His words don’t clear up anything on that front and soon they’re interrupted by a sportscaster on blasting Travis Mack’s NFL prospects.

Meanwhile, Joe’s loyalty is tested as he receives an invite to a huge party at a waterfront mansion. Soaking up the sights and sounds, Joe discovers that he’s actually at Andre’s residence. Soon, Joe’s pulled into a room in the back where Andre reveals that Spencer is being investigated by the player’s association for some questionable investments from the past. Andre offers Joe more money, and opportunity if he comes to work for him. Andre, of course, doesn’t just want Joe for his talents, but to pull Spencer’s right-hand man. Joe says he’ll think about it but then goes about snooping around Andre’s house instead.

Meanwhile, Spencer and Jason try to prove to sportscaster Mark Schlereth that he’s wrong about Travis Mack. They invite him down to meet Mack, where the rookie runs a really fast 40-yard dash. My issue here is an issue I’ve often had with Ballers. It’s just all a little bit too easy. Mack nails his run on his first try without any adversity and proves the haters wrong. In any case, Spencer and Jason have solved their latest hurdle in the Mack saga.

In terms of Ricky, this week he continues to mull over his various offers. While cooling out by the pool and learning Hebrew, he’s interrupted by two bikini-clad women who aim to make the decision easier for him. They’re Team New Orleans and Ricky isn’t averse to hearing their pitch. But Ricky’s meddling dad gets on Twitter and blasts the organization, resulting in the Saints pulling their offer. Ricky has another fight with his dad and knocks him to the ground again. I like that show continues to mine the drama in this relationship, but this feels like a repeat storyline in a way, with a similar result.

The best subplot this week involves Charles, in his first days on the in management. His former coach (but still looming boss), Siefert tells him to fire a player named Nick Kovac. Of all the people to get to fire someone, Charles is probably the worst candidate. But I suppose it’s kind of like the timid new gang recruit who’s forced to kill for the first time to prove his loyalty. Is Charles up to the task? Well, he brings along his wife for moral support for one. When they arrive, moreover, Charles finds Kovac in the midst of a lavish birthday party for his young daughter. Kovac is making upgrades to his house, too, and is an all around family man, perhaps even more so than Charles. Uh oh.

Charles and Kovac chat in Kovac’s man cave away from the party. When the player starts talking about his daughter’s asthma troubles to boot, Charles just can’t break this guy’s heart. As Kovac’s house fades into the rear view, Charles’ wife helps rally him. She reasons that Kovac is gone regardless so he might as well be the one to deliver the news. Fair point. The couple does an about face. Back at the house, though, the party has gone south. Kovac called ahead and found out the bad news on his own. But Charles, having been in his shoes not too long ago, helps Kovac accept the news.

That whole subplot was pretty fun, as is the moment when a snooping Joe gets caught by Andre. The combination of Andre seeing right through Joe and Joe still sticking to his lame lie had me laughing a lot. Andre so totally outclasses Joe (and also Spencer), but we know that in the end somehow — possibly even by accident — the two underdogs from Anderson will prevail. Andre is the best thing to happen to Ballers this season.

TB-TV-Grade-B+
Season 2, Episode 6 (S02E06)
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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