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Ballers Season 5 Episode 2 recap: Must Be the Shoes - Pictured: Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore - Screenshot/Photo Credit: HBO Ballers Season 5 Episode 2 recap: Must Be the Shoes - Pictured: Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore - Screenshot/Photo Credit: HBO

Ballers

HBO’s Ballers Season 5 Episode 2 recap: Luck monologue steals show

Screenshot / Photo Credit: HBO

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Dwayne Johnson’s luck monologue narration juxtaposing those who got unlucky was an early Season 5 highlight of tonight’s Ballers on HBO.

This recap contains spoilers for HBO’s Ballers Season 5 Episode 2 (“Must Be the Shoes”).

HBO’s Ballers opened strong tonight with a late night takeout with the boys at Jack in the box ending in a two sided drive-by shooting. But it was Spencer Strasmore’s overlaying narration of the moment that captured the attention by subtly pulling from reality. Strasmore’s luck monologue hit hard. Examining how there were others more talented than he was from his neighborhood that never made it out, so you don’t know their name… And never will. That maybe he just got lucky and they didn’t as shots were fired on-screen over flirting gone wrong. Later on, as Ricky Jerret lay in his hospital bed, wondering how his career might be done all over one single, stupid mistake… Walking into an open road after a big contract in the Season 5 premiere. Dwayne Johnson would tap into something within himself once again, something that felt real.

Spencer Strasmore spoke of how one time back in college he got into a fight in a bar and finished it though he didn’t start it. He was about to lose his whole scholarship, his life was about to come crashing down just as it began. All until one of his professors stepped in out of nowhere. “I was really f***** until one of my professors vouched for me. Luck comes in random ways.” That line “Luck comes in random ways,” will stay with viewers tonight. You never know when a chance meeting or good deed suddenly repays later in life right when you need it. Even if that fight never happened, you could tell the script meant something extra to Dwayne Johnson tonight in that monologue narration.

Speaking of Ricky Jerret, he’s deciding to call it a career and while his father and girlfriend are proud of him… He can’t help but feel disappointed in himself while telling others it’s time to move on. 

Odell Beckham Jr. Appearance on Sports X

Sports X saw Odell Beckham Jr welcomed to the fold on tonight’s episode as Joe was told to simmer down from cursing in the office. To adopt a new management philosophy. Lance unveiled an art piece of Odell to finish the deal in classic Russell Brand fashion, taking an extra look at Odell to make sure everything matched.

Meanwhile, Vernon wants to go all in as a pro-gamer playing League of Legends and leave his NFL career behind. Despite proving his talents to Reggie on the main stage, Reggie still couldn’t get behind the dream. Vernon made it clear if Reggie doesn’t support him, he’ll find someone that will.

Kansas City Chiefs deal on the rocks?

Spencer Strasmore might have been used to leverage a bidding war on the team after word got out he was interested in purchasing them. Suddenly, Candace has other offers on the team after convincing Strasmore to put his retirement on hold.

Charles receives video footage of shootout

Security handed Charles over video footage of the late night shootout with two of his guys and he was not pleased to say the least.  He confronted them but is keeping the matter private. Kisan told Charles he was just getting fast food with his boys, how was he supposed to know it would turn into The Unforgiven? Charles would place the USB stick of the footage in a locked drawer. Will police eventually come asking for the evidence? 

Check out how to catch a live stream of HBO’s Ballers over at HBOGO/HBONow!

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Ballers

HBO’s Ballers felt like it ended too early on an abrupt Storybook Ending

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Ballers on HBO Season 5, Episode 8 "Players Only" - Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore - Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/HBO
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly / HBO

HBO’s Ballers series finale wrapped everything up with a crisp red bow on top when a season 6 focusing on Spencer vs the other NFL owners would have been a surefire hit.

This article contains spoilers to HBO’s Ballers Season 5 Episode 8 (“Players Only”).

Do you recall when Tom Cruise once made the term “Delayed gratification” famous in the film Vanilla Sky? Well, Ballers’ Season 5 Finale was the opposite of that notion, it was too much, too soon. From the inorganic way Joe Krutel and Spencer Strasmore have more or less completely made up, bros for life, to the NFL caving in with just the threat of a players’ strike. Even Vernon going back to the NFL after all his bravado about eSports and League of Legends, commenting that it was all some masterplan to motivate Reggie… Felt entirely like a Hollywood by the numbers affair. Miles away from the Kisan Teague death scene that left viewers with their jaws on the floor at the absolute raw nature of it all.

Ballers obviously concluded with the intention of making their viewers feel good but it went a bit overboard. It was too storybook, like an ’80s movie just missing a training montage. The picture perfect Happy Ending. Borderline sappy and candy coated, when greatness in the narrative was just around the corner. Creatively speaking, they should have let it play out on the field instead of throwing a Hail Mary.

Picture an entire Season 6 of the NFL pushing to destroy Spencer’s reputation into the ground in the media for going against them. Spencer trying to lobby other owners to chin up and break away, mostly to no avail, on the brink of losing it all. It’s practically a House of Cards style ready-made season. Just as Kisan Teague’s situation eerily mirrored Antonio Brown’s real life Patriots release, a season of Spencer vs the NFL could have paced rarely treaded ground. ESPN discussions examining how the show intruded on reality, the works. Now, we’ll never know what could have been as Ballers is officially over, curtains down. Last bow to the audience as every cast and crew member moves on to other projects.

Ballers on HBO Season 5, Episode 8 “Players Only” – Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore – Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/HBO

All this being said, Ricky Jerret and TTD being behind Spencer’s monologues that overlay the show was an eloquent touch to end the series. A twist that if the series had to see its final season, should have ended with. In Spencer’s words, “Thanks for always being an original!” The message of helping players in the NFL after their bodies have been wrecked, instead of leaving them to the wolves as new pups arrive was a good one. The retired are more than just trading cards, stats, and highlights. Their lives continue even when the lights are gone, sometimes when the money is gone.

Ballers on HBO Season 5, Episode 8 “Players Only” – Pictured from Left to Right: Catherine Haena Kim as Kate, Rob Corddry as Joe Krutel – Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/HBO

In essence, the plot just felt rushed after such a slow burn of a buildup. Kate’s sudden renewed interest in dating Joe. Reggie getting an investment just like that after one tournament from those that looked down at him and Vernon. No real prolonged, substantial conflict between Charles and his wife about health… Lest he continue his work with the Rams. Even the possibilities of Ricky rebelling against the ‘no dirt against the league on air’ policy. These are all lengthy stories that couldn’t see their day basking in the sun because it was the show’s last hoorah. They hurdled right over their obstacles with a 500 ft leap in the air to a storybook ending.

Perhaps, much like The Sopranos’ unexpected abrupt ending it had to be this way. We were in these characters lives for years and just like that, we’re not. As in life, people come and go with or without a credit roll. Usually without.

Be sure to check out more Ballers’ reviews, recaps, opinions and more in the Ballers category section! Catch up on Ballers’ fifth and last season over at HBO GO if you’re a subscriber.

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Ballers

Ballers Season 5 Episode 5 Review: ‘Crumbs’ is Brutally Raw

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Ballers Season 5 Episode 5 Review: ‘Crumbs’ is Brutally Raw
Screenshot / Photo Credit: HBO

HBO’s Ballers was exceptional tonight, a brutal statement on the inability of outrunning one’s past, and somehow eerily mirroring the real-life NFL Antonio Brown/Patriots release news cycle.

This review contains spoilers for Ballers Season 5 Episode 5 (“Crumbs”).

Shot right in the heart. Look above at the photo on this article, see Kisan Teague’s motionless eyes as he realizes the grim reaper is set to descent. The final seconds of his life setting in, the last breath, for the last time. Ever. The look on Kisan’s face says it all. The mind trying to process its own end.

Spencer Strasmore’s overlaying monologue about the past never getting buried… Always reanimating just as you catch your breath, a perfect accompanying piece. Actor Kris D. Lofton’s swan song on HBO’s Ballers was one to remember. Just one episode ago, Kisan was set on keeping his old friends, that they would be there when his NFL career ended. Instead he lost it all, his career, his dreams, his very life for them.

Tonight’s Ballers episode “Crumbs” was in a word, powerful. Maybe it was the fact that Spencer releasing Kisan from the Chiefs surreally mirrored the current Antonio Brown/Patriots news cycle unintentionally. Maybe, it was the haunting moment where a gun was pointed at Kisan. Or the brutal way he looked at the blood seeping from his shirt after being shot… It could have been the way Spencer lied on live television about Kisan looking him in the eye and telling him ‘he wasn’t there that night,’ when he was fully informed of the contrary. No matter what it was it made for an unforgettable piece.

The fact that Ballers was obviously filmed way in advance of the Antonio Brown/New England Patriots/Oakland Raiders news cycle and yet surreally mirrors it is a testament to life imitating art. Prophetic writing if there ever was one, even if Kisan’s particular case does not match the Patriots’ story beat for beat. 

Spencer having to accept the realities of league pressure and releasing Kisan despite wanting to give him a second chance, really makes you wonder about what really goes on behind the scenes. Like Spencer said… “Sometimes all you can do is save yourself. Sometimes you can’t even do that.” 

If you missed tonight’s episode, it’s a must watch for the Kisan club scene alone. Cold, brutal, and real.   

Ballers Season 5 Episode 5 Review:
8.5 Score

Be sure to check out a recap of last week’s Ballers on HBO!

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Ballers Season 5 Episode 4 recap: Strasmore’s first GM move on Municipal

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Ballers - Season 5 - Pictured: Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore - Photo Credit: Jeff Daly / HBO
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly / HBO

Spencer Strasmore made his first big player signing as defacto GM of the Kansas City Chiefs on tonight’s Ballers episode “Municipal” on HBO.

This recap contains spoilers to HBO’s Ballers Season 5 Episode 4.

Spencer Strasmore decided to make an ‘unpopular’ move in the eyes of the NFL as his first order of business on tonight’s Ballers… Signing Kisan Teague. Despite Kisan admitting in a close door meeting with Spencer that he indeed fired off a few rounds that night, that it wasn’t just his friend Cliff… Spencer welcomed Kisan on-board anyway! The honesty actually securing him a place on the Kansas City Chiefs. Spencer told Kisan he believes in second chances but not third ones. Strasmore stood by his opening monologue that sometimes you gotta just say ‘F*** it’ to succeed in life, no matter what people say. 

However, there’s red flags all over the move in plain sight. From Kisan stating he’d never abandon his friends no matter their bad influence… To the potential of a video leak of the security tape of Kisan taking aim. The signing could define Strasmore’s entire new career should things go awry. Judging by a call-in to Ricky Jarret’s new SiriusXM radio show by someone looking for the inside scoop on Kisan… There’s more people that know something’s up than Spencer realizes.

Ricky by the way, took the opportunity to bash Spencer throughly as a narcissist on his show’s debut (without a true audition). So much so that Spencer called in himself. Spencer commented he’d be on the player’s side when it comes to bargaining agreements. However, Ricky was unmoved, stating he’ll believe it when he sees it and that Spencer is all talk.

Meanwhile, ‘The Arbiter of Cool’ was not moved by business proposals during a rooftop party held by Sports X. Though he was bored of Lance and Joe’s pitches to him… Kate managed to seclude some editorials by turning on the charm and flirting. Joe grew jealous and depressive until Kate gave Joe a smooch on the lips and he wouldn’t stop smiling. 

Reggie came to a compromise with Vernon, sign his $80 million dollar NFL contract and he’ll fund his own eSports team. Vernon agreed, as it kept his pro gamer dreams a reality. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Rick Fox made a cameo earlier telling Reggie, you either have money or talent… The more important one is what you don’t have! Speaking of money, Charles Greane can’t seem to come to an agreement on a contract renewal on the Rams. An omen? If Kisan works out on the Chiefs, will he be relieved of duties?

Check out last week’s recap of HBO’s Ballers to catch up on the series!

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