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‘Ballers’ Review: These Personal And Professional Setbacks Are Hardly Balling

As hard as The Rock may ball, is "Ballers" about to become a cautionary tale?

Dwayne Johnson in "Ballers."

Dwayne Johnson

HBO

LAST WEEK: ‘Ballers’ Review: The Rock Shows Us In Just One Scene How Hard He Balls

This week, not going to lie, is a tough one. Sure, there was Ricky Jerret’s (John David Washington) big decision, Charles (Omar Miller) stepping up for a whole new line of work and some alpaca hijinks. But some dark stuff went down for our pal Spencer (Dwayne Johnson). So it’s particularly hard to ask, in regard to the episode “Most Guys”…

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Let’s start with the good: Spencer’s suit game this week is incredible. Pink and purple plaid blazer, striped shirt, shiny blue shoes, purple paisley tie, hot pink and blue pocket square? Mesmerizing. The epitome of baller-dom. Round of applause to costume designers Robert Mata and Tiffany Hasbourne, who regularly do beautiful work in clothing The Rock’s physique.

Oh, and Spencer also did what he does best — take his innate ballerness and with a combination of real talk and feats of strength, perhaps plant in arrogant young Travis Mach (Adam Aalderks) the initial spiritual seed that might become a mighty redwood (the most baller of trees). The mulch in which that redwood may grow? Some ritual humiliation via a good old-fashioned bench-pressing contest. In those moments, The Rock truly balled on a level beyond age or physical form.

But the topic can no longer be avoided — we are all creatures of flesh, and in Spencer’s case that flesh has betrayed him. Specifically, he has learned from Dr. Robbins (Stacy Ann Rose) that he has osteoarthritis in one hip and that he can no longer run from the reality that he needs a hip replacement. “I won’t run — I’ll hobble,” he says as he exits the office… and immediately seeks out alternatives to “pain management.”

When hitting the vodka before noon doesn’t help, he finds an off-the-books clinic that scores him an extra 30 days of pills — which he tells the doctor, and himself, is just a one time thing.

Maybe if his hip were the only problem he was facing, that would be possible. But his dreams of becoming an actual registered NFL player agent hit a major setback after finding out that a bad deal he made with former agent/nemesis Andre in 2008 could screw his chances. Andre promised he’d ruin Spencer, and it seems we’re seeing those plans begin to unfurl.

With these storylines, a clear-cut cautionary tale has crystallized, one with Spencer as its potentially tragic lead. How hard can The Rock ball in the future, with these looming issues on the horizon? How far might he fall?

We’re only halfway through the season, so plenty is unknown right now. But until next week, let us remember that no real victory comes without the potential for defeat. Every true baller knows that.

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