‘Ballers’ season 2, episode 2 review: All Spencer flaws welcome

Ballers -

At the center of HBO’s “Ballers” is a man in Spencer Strasmore who is charismatic on outstanding levels. There are many reasons fans worship him, and kids growing up probably want to be like him. He’s that rare guy who gets almost everything that he wants, but then still finds a way to strive for more.

Yet, he’s also a deeply flawed man underneath that surface, and there is a part of him that the show has been playing around with for a little over a season now: His addiction to prescription medication. He dodged a bullet courtesy of the brain tests, but tonight his doctor questioned whether or not she should write him a prescription for anything given that he’s gone far too quickly through his supply. It’s gotten now to the point where he wants pain just so that he can have an excuse to keep taking him.

As enjoyable as we find the show, they have to do something with Spencer sooner rather than later. We know that addiction doesn’t lead to someone hitting a low point right away, but for all of his problems, Spencer has never sank anywhere near rock bottom. It may be time to explore that, especially with his rival Andre taking more of a stake in his life now. The two parties are at war over clients, and this could get hairy. It is certainly on that path.

In terms of humor this episode, there really wasn’t that much. Instead, mostly we just had Ricky Jerret debating future homes for himself in terms of NFL teams, Charles being challenged over his position, and Vernon realizing that paintball may not be the safest of activities to do in your downtime. Meanwhile, Tracy quitting her job over obvious sexism is a powerful story, but one that the show could have planted more.

Two episodes into “Ballers” season 2, “enjoyable” really is the right word to describe it. We are never quite bored watching the show, but at times we feel like the writers emphasize authenticity to the point of it being overkill. Take, for example, the pitch meeting to Ricky. Does he really need to be reminded of the merits of being in New England or New Orleans? It feels like most casual football fans watching get the drift, so we’d rather the show let its hair down and have some more fun. Grade: B-.

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