The Last Dance episodes 9 & 10 recap – Netflix’s masterpiece bows out

May 18, 2020
Andy -Punter 0
Netflix, TV, TV Reviews


Closing with the Fairytale ending we all knew was coming does not diminish the impact of this remarkable series. A documentary that does its subject justice.

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Closing with the Fairytale ending we all knew was coming does not diminish the impact of this remarkable series. A documentary that does its subject justice.

This recap of The Last Dance Episode 9 and The Last Dance Episode 10 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous two episodes by clicking these words.

There is plenty left to savour in the last episodes of The Last Dance. The main focus of episodes 9 and 10 is, fittingly, the charge to the last NBA Championship.

There is the usual great footage and we are treated to the now expected breakdown of the games that led to the championship, the incredible skill, drive and performance that led to Jordan sinking that famous shot to draw a close to the dynasty.

In The Last Dance episode 9 we learn more around the circumstances of the famous ‘Flu Game’ against Reggie Miller’s Pacers (p.s. Miller gets this episode’s MVP award for an anecdote that ends with Jordan calling himself Black Jesus). Interestingly, Jordan did not actually have flu at all, instead, he was suffering from food poisoning caused by a dodgy pizza.

We also get a great little insight into the life of supporting player Steve Kerr, whose unlikely appearance in the Bulls lineup is largely down to his own capacity for hard work which led him to getting the most of his ability. Kerr would famously get the chance to score crucial points in the 1998 playoffs and will forever have Jordan’s respect.

For me, the real joy in this series is getting to see more from the players around Jordan throughout his dominance. Basketball is a team sport after all and it is obvious that Jordan understands that and respects the players around him. Simultaneously, he also has a solid grasp of the fact that he is the main man and it is up to him to set and drive standards, a strange position to be in. I find that it is in those moments where we see Jordan relate to his teammates that we see him at his most engaging and relatable. Of course, he was a genius, we know he was relentless and at times a little petty, but seeing him be just another guy on the team is brilliant television.

Last Dance' ratings: Strong showing in Chicago-area - Chicago Tribune

The Last Dance episode 10 is of course what it has all been building to and surprise, the Bulls win the 1999 Championship and secure the ‘Threepeat Repeat’. The season comes to an end in dramatic fashion (of course) with Jordan putting the team on his back and scoring the decisive points (of course). We all knew that this was coming so there is little suspense in the moment despite how well it is recreated.

At the end of The Last Dance episode 10, I have been reflecting on this remarkable series; this is a 10-part documentary about one man and it never outstays it’s welcome. Its focus is laser-sharp and although there are segments of episodes that discuss the wider cultural impact that Jordan had it mostly sticks to the basketball. This is not one of those docs that has sport as an adjunct for social commentary like OJ: Made in America. Jordan emerges from the dissection well, with his reputation and legacy intact and in a time where we have to deal with the complex legacies of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong it’s nice to be left with sporting heroes worthy of our admiration.

The final episode ends with a sombre note, the team is broken up, the coach moves on and Jordan heads into retirement. It is clear that Jordan feels a pang of regret. When asked if it was satisfying to leave at this peak or maddening, Jordan does not hesitate. Maddening.

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