'Ballers' Recap: Spencer Strasmore Tackles a Nightmare

Emotional resolution is hitting another dude in the nuts.

Every episode of Ballers is configured the same way: There are several conflicts that need resolution and some set pieces to help our ballers ball the fuck out on their problems. In this episode, “Paid in Full,” our boys address tensions like they’re running an emotion forty.

Joe, who had not really shown much distress at work for Anderson previously, is now hellbent on leaving his elderly and out-of-touch benefactor to start his own shop with Spencer. Reggie and Vernon are at odds — Reggie whipped his dick out when he visited Angie, a meeting that had not been mentioned previously. Ricky is helping Charles get into the football mindset — he has a highlight video made, where players like Terrell Suggs and Julian Edelman tout the skills of “the Black Swan,” which is apparently Charles’ nickname. Spencer, haunted by a dirty hit he doled out years earlier, wants to close the door on that once and for all. Some implausible shit is about to go down to the point where a child screaming “I love the Marlins!” seemed realistic. This is Ballers.

All that other stuff — Charles and football, Ricky and Bella, Joe and Anderson — are sideshows to the main event: Spencer and Dan. Spencer hits up the doctor for a follow-up, wanting to extinguish the nightmares he’s been having about a career-ending hit he gave out; the doctor simply advises that he “nut up” and give the dude a call. Since that would be too easy, Spencer recalls that the player he destroyed — a former QB named Dan — owns an autobody repair shop, so Spencer immediately goes the wrong way in a secure parking lot and shreds his tires. This way, he’ll get to talk with Dan and still be a big strong bro.

Spencer finds out that Dan is happy and has a wife and kid who love him, so he starts to feel better about himself. While Dan is acting pretty chilly to Spencer, he accepts Spencer’s offer to take him to the box at that night’s Marlin’s game.

Since Ballers appears to be written live, they get to the park and go down on the field. Dan is still icing Spencer out, but Spencer opens up to say that he realizes that the hit was dirty, and that he was a real shithead back in the day. Instantaneously — this is the way decisions happen in this show — Dan opens up to tell Spencer that he’s glad he stopped playing football, referring to the hit as a “mercy kill.” All of the sudden, Dan and Spence are best buds, which is great because Spencer is throwing out the first pitch, something not mentioned at all in any earlier discussions.

In some straight “ripped from the headlines” shit, Spencer hands the ball to Dan, who immediately drills a camera man in the nuts with a fastball, giving Dan the “moment of glory” he never had as a player (a player who apparently never scored a touchdown despite playing for eight seasons). For some reason the first pitch is televised and Dan becomes a hero. The closing shot is Spencer, his thoughts all coming together and blocking out that nightmare.

The Ballers, well, they’re balling, fair readers. See you next week. Come on, Ballers, make us proud.

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