The aftermath of Lance’s firing reveals there’s more to the character than meets the eye, setting up a potentially intriguing conflict.
Spencer (Dwayne Johnson) has a nasty habit of overplaying his hand. He’s done it season after season, in a variety of ways. And as was the case with all the previous incidents, it is due to Spencer thinking he has a grasp of the situation when he clearly doesn’t. This go-around, in “Forgiving Is Living”, firing Lance (Russell Brand) was supposed to give him control of the Sports-X empire. Instead, Lance has gone rogue and taken all the clients with him, along with pissing off Spencer’s investors. As Joe (Rob Corddry) points out, this undermining is a pretty classic Spencer move, but our hero doesn’t appreciate the irony of someone playing his own game.
It turns out Lance is not as spacey and useless as Spencer believed. After rendering Sports-X dead in the water, Lance offers to buy out the Miami boys, an offer Spencer is willing to take; Joe, however, blows it off. Joe’s motives here aren’t exactly clear. But props to Rob Corddry for his work this season in pushing Joe beyond a mere wanna-be sidekick. He’s become more of the voice of reason to Spencer’s stubbornness. Last week I noted that I couldn’t get a read on Lance’s character. Reviewing “Forgiving Is Living”, I hypothesize this is partly because Spencer can’t seem to fully grasp what he’s dealing with–his perceptions colour our experience. Making Lance more shrewd than we have been led to believe is a smart move and Brand makes all these shifts believable within the context of his character.
Although managing the fall-out of Lance’s firing dominates most of “Forgiving Is Living” (featuring a number of extreme sports cameos), there are some other minor plots. Ricky (John David Washington), still reeling from his poor tryout, is focusing his frustrations into boxing. Replacing one violent sport with another may be the key to the retiree’s happiness. This week also gave a decent amount of time to Jason (Troy Garity) and his arbitrary girlfriend-client scandal plot line. I have yet to find a reason to care about this. Jason has never been an Entourage Ari Gold level character. Trying to make him that right now is too little too late.
“Forgiving Is Living” ends with Spencer meeting Jada (Joy Bryant) for a drink. Ballers has never played coy with Spencer’s lady-killer abilities. But none of them has ever seemed to have real potential. Maybe Jada can shake things up. However, looming in the background is her super talented son, Quincy. Previews indicate we’ll see more of him next week. Perhaps we have a lady in Spencer’s life worth writing about.