'Ballers' Season 2 Episode 9 Recap: "Spence Asks Everybody For Money"
Three things happen at the beginning of nearly every episode of Ballers:
- Spencer struggles to raise his creaky, shirtless body from whatever bed he slept in the night before.
- Fast-talking, sailor-mouthed sports agent Jason, who’s usually driving a convertible on the highway while talking into the corded headphones that came with his phone, calls Spencer to deliver urgent news.
- Spence looks in the mirror, gnashes some pain pills, and takes stock of his secretly destitute life.
This week was no different, but it could be the last episode Spence deals with crippling pain, unemployment, and depression. The man who went broke swinging for the fences is digging into the batter's box once again.
Andre Allen's All Up In Your Yacht, Disrespecting Your Assets
For sworn enemies, Andre and Anderson sure do spend a lot of cordial time with one another.
Andre's offer for the sports division of Anderson's financial firm was already insulting to Anderson, and the deal crumbles completely as soon as Andre discovers Spencer isn't even certified by the NFLPA. With the fate of an entire company in the air, Anderson stubbornly refuses, Andre doesn't budge, and Joe jokes about getting candlewax massages from twins. How is Joe the third guy in the room for these discussions?
Vernon Recovers From A Paintball Injury By Playing In A Pool
While everyone else celebrated Travis Mack's big draft night, Vernon was left wondering if he had a future in Dallas after Shooter McGavin picked up another run-stopping defensive lineman. Enter Jason, master of the spin zone. Jason somehow turns this threat into not just a positive, but the best possible scenario for Vernon. Other guy stops the run --> more sacks for Vernon --> more Pro Bowl selections --> more money on his next contract! Bing bang boom let's go get massages.
Also, Jason reveals one of Spencer's deepest secrets: The $300,000 he loaned Vernon before the draft represented the last of the petty cash (aka all his money).
Ricky Jerret: Flashy Wide Receiver, Doomsday Prepper
When Spence discovers the price of ASM dropped after his absence, he decides it's time to make an offer. Business Inception, if you will.
We could all learn something from Spencer's approach to purchasing the multi-million dollar company from which he was fired: Visit your friend with the gold bricks and sacks of cash.
Frugal Ricky Jerret apparently has a million bucks in cash and a dozen bricks of gold stashed in his living room armoire, Next to the cash and gold, a safe. God knows what's valuable enough to put in that.
"Just want Anderson to know we're ballin', you know? (wink)" Yeah Spence, Ricky knows. He's shoveling a million dollars into your bag while you just sit there. He's the one who's actually balling.
Still short of the $12 million he'll need to buy ASM, Spence heads to Vernon's Achilles Rehabilitation Emporium, where Vern and Reg generously offer to invest $1 million in the business. This is an incredibly thoughtful gesture and carries no more risk than Ricky's investment. Spencer declines. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Step Up In This Bitch Like
Huge bag of cash in hand, dark navy power suit hugging his 'ceps (none of that weak grey shit at a time like this), and music bumping (in his head), Spence struts through Anderson's office to fulfill every fired employee's dream: buy his former employer.
But the moment is not confrontational. Spence and The Rock are similar in that they can be both intimidating and disarming when it's to their advantage. Spence lays out his plan for the company and spins some yarn about "building a family" at ASM, though I've only ever seen Joe hanging around, and that guy definitely doesn't have a family.
The biggest moment of Spence's post-football life ends with Anderson telling him to come back with the full asking price, and they can "talk about" making a deal, which I guess is how business is done these days.
Business Owner: I want X.
Business Buyer: Here is X.
Business Owner: Okay, we can begin negotiations.
Grudge Match In The Vacant Lot
Finally! The Rock has come back to Andre Allen!
Tensions have been simmering between these two all season. We've heard only vague references to Andre's "mismanagement" of Spencer's cash while he was a player, which Spencer blames for his utter brokeness at his retirement. But there are two sides to this story, and the much more interesting one involves Spence's boneheaded decision-making.
Against Andre's recommendation, Spence dumped his entire $6 million net worth into some real estate deal, rather than the $600,000 Andre suggested. "You knew I had a player's mentality!" Spence argues, as that absolves him of all responsibility.
Andre opens the door to lifetime security, offering to put Spencer in charge of ASM after buying it outright from Anderson. He'll even toss Spence all his current football clients! So basically Spence reaps all the benefits of purchasing the company without having to risk a dime. In the history of dramatic television, no decision has ever been easier.
Spence declines and drives to Vernon's house to ask him for $5 million. My god.
- Spencer still spends every waking moment in intense pain that can only be temporarily obscured by a week's worth of pills. His doctor knows this (she's a doctor, after all), and begs him to get surgery. But Spence is having none of it. Copy and paste into the next six episodes.
- Ricky and his dad seem to be in a better place. Dennis values legacy (ha!) over money, and Ricky considers more stable options with proven quarterbacks. At the beginning of the season, no one was sure Ricky would have the chance to play again. Now folks are talking like three more good years and the Hall of Fame is a possibility. Sure!
- No way Julie cheats on Charles with Manny the Nanny, right? Right? |ES|
Ballers airs Sundays at 10 ET on HBO. All images via HBO.