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The Ballers Report: S2E3 - The Paintball Problem

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In Episode 3 of HBO’s hit series Ballers, the show gets back to its “frivolous summer fun time” roots. Oh, and Vernon is hurt real bad.

Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) and Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry) down in the Keys with "Spice" Adams
Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) and Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry) down in the Keys with "Spice" Adams
HBO.com

Welcome back to The Ballers Report, your weekly recap of the HBO Original Series Ballers. Miss the first two installments? Click here for ep1, and here for ep2. And now, let’s get it poppin’.

Episode Recap

What's that, you want a screenshot first? Fine. FINE! Also, sidenote: all pictures from HBO.

ballers s3e3 shot 1

After a couple of weeks with multiple serious storyline components (gender equality, prescription drug abuse), this week of Ballers was more on the lighter side of things.

After a paintball accident last week (THANKS, REGGIE!!!), Cowboys DT Vernon Littlefield (Donovan W. Carter) finds out he has torn his Achilles tendon and has surgery. The medical locations are usually UHealth (University of Miami) locations, but this one was too sterile to see any branding. Sorry. After initially telling his agent Jason Antonelli (Troy Garity) that the injury was sustained in training (Antonelli passed that along to the team), Littlefield comes clean that it was a non-football injury sustained playing paintball. That could potentially cause the Cowboys to void his recently-signed $84M contract. Littlefield finally calls Dallas’ owner — played by Christopher McDonald (you’ve seen him in a million things, he was Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore) — and tells the truth. McDonald hangs up the phone on Vernon. Not good. We’ll see more about this in the weeks to come, I’m sure.

ballers cowboys owner shooter mcgavin

Elsewhere, Dolphins LT Charles Greane (Omar Miller) is still unsure about the potential switch to RT for this season. He uses his baby daughter to demonstrate the different footwork, and also tries to train for this switch by playing Madden, of course. His wife wants to engage in a different physical activity, but Greane can’t see anything but football and, uh, misses that opportunity. Later, Mrs. Julie Greane (Jazmyn Simon) hypes her man up by pimping his ride (word to Xzibit) in a camouflage colorway. They finally get to business, christening the backseat of the car in the way that was probably the most fun.

PS, by the way, Jazmyn Simon tweeted my back during the show. WITH A HEART EMOJI!!!!! So, we go together now. Be mad.

No shame in my game, homie.

Back to the recap, after declaring war against him last week, rival financial manager Andre Allen (Andy Garcia) starts to go after all of Strasmore and partner Joe Krutel’s (Rob Corddry) clients. Allen is unseen in this episode, but his impact is felt throughout. He sends flowers to Vernon during his recovery, he reaches out to all the known clients, and he even picks up the dinner tab of a meeting Strasmore and Krutel have with their client retired NFL DL Anthony "Spice" Adams.

Adams wants to build a hotel and name it after his mother. And he has a location picked out. The bad news is that it’s in a shitty location down on Key Largo (been there, and trust me, that isn’t a location for a 4-star hotel). Strasmore and Krutel tour the location with Adams after their dinner, and have differing opinions about it. After going to a nearby bar to discuss the location, Strasmore convinces Adams that isn’t the location for his hotel, and will instead work for another, better location.

Lastly, Ricky Jerret’s (John David Washington) Free Agency tour takes him to New Orleans. He meets with several Saints staffers, and even gets his coveted 3 year $30 Million contract offer, but repeatedly asks one simple question: Where is the love? At the end of his visit, Head Coach Sean Payton makes a cameo, and the Saints put on a major show at the airpoint (made up to be a New Orleans landing strip, but it’s actually Opa Locka Airport), including a float, and the Saints Cheerleaders, and a church choir singing the anthem of Ricky’s heart: Feel The Love. (fun fact, one of the choir members is a co-worker of mine. That's a real church choir from Miami Gardens) Jerret seems to be on board with the Saints after this.

The heavy themes from previous weeks, Tracy Leggette (Ariel Kebbel) facing gender and compensation discrimination went unseen, and Strasmore’s potential addiction to Vicodin was integrated so well — he takes a couple pills when at the bar with Krutel and Adams — that I missed it the first 2 times I watched the episode (I usually watch about 4 times before writing this recap, for those wondering). Those issues which have been previously introduced were barely at, but mostly under the surface, but are sure to make a return before long, probably next week, even.

Miami Locations

Uh, Vernon's ankle looks like it MIGHT be a problem. LOOK AT THE ANKLE, GUYS!!!!!

ballers vernon ankle ouch

Vernon, Jason, Spencer, and Hatin' Ass Reggie in the medical center as Vernon goes for surgery.

ballers vernon surgery

"Spice" Adams at a dinner meeting held at The Capital Grille.

ballers spice adams dinner

Joe, Spencer, and Spice checking out a "scenic" location in Key Largo.

ballers key largo location

Spencer Strasmore chillin' by the bar down in Key Largo.

ballers spencer bar

Julie Greane (Jazmyn Simon) rolling up in the pimped out mini-van (Omar Miller's arm on the left).

ballers jazmyn simon van

The Saints finally show Ricky Jerret the love.

ballers saints love jerret

Ricky Jerret (John David Washington) loves the love!

ballers ricky loves new orleans

Cameos

Man, does this show LOVE to bring people into the mix via dialogue! Here's your cameo list for the week:

Ballers S2E3 Cameo List
Name Organization
Anthony "Spice" Adams Retired, formerly Chicago Bears
Sean Payton New Orleans Saints
LaMarr Woodley (by dialogue) Pittsburgh Steelers
Jared Odrick (by dialogue) Miami Dolphins
Ndamukong Suh (by phone contact picture) Miami Dolphins
Drew Brees (by dialogue -- multiple mentions) New Orleans Saints
Jay Glazer (by dialogue) FOX Sports
Chandler Jones (by dialogue) Arizona Cardinals
Victor Cruz (by dialogue) New York Giants
Peyton Manning (by dialogue) Retired, formerly Denver Broncos

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton making a cameo to recruit Ricky Jerret in free agency.

ballers sean payton cameo

Soundtrack

Oh yeah. It’s music time!!!! Let’s go.

Goin’ Down South by R. L. Burnside. Ricky Jerret is thinking about taking his talents "Down South" (yes, even though Nawlins is north of Miami), and this song, by a famous blues singer from Memphis, is the perfect song to set the stage for this part of the show. The guitar is dirty and gritty in the best way, the drums have great forward rhythmic momentum, and Burnside’s vocals are exactly what you’d expect from a blues singer born in 1926.

Money Makes The World Go Round by G-Unit. Fitting snippet of a song for Reggie to be playing as he drives Vernon up to the medical center to get his Achilles evaluated, no? There are only a couple bars of this played, but it’s good stuff. As with most hip-hop, the instrumental makes the song. And, the lyrical hook does it’s job, too.

Tearin’ Me Up (Rac Mix) by Bob Moses. I wrote some stuff about this, but it disappeared. So, yeah. Enjoy the song.

Eastside Party by Thunderbitch. Aside from the name of this band winning, this song evokes the Beach Boys, or "Great Balls of Fire". Very similar tempo, rhythm section, and overall structure. The vocals are also stylized by the microphone/amp combination, which give the song an older vibe. And that damn clapping is CLASSIC 50s/60s type stuff.

It Ain’t Safe by Skepta featuring Young Lord. Well, I mean, it ain’t. Simple, repetitive beat, with a simple, repetitive hook. The flow isn’t the greatest ever, but Skepta and Lord both hit the beats when rapping, and keep the tension building throughout the song. This is what Julie is playing when she bring Charles his new pimped out mini-van (no, I didn’t think I’d write that sentence, either).

Feel The Love by Rudimental featuring John Newman. This is your closing credits theme of the week, and it’s perfect. Ricky Jerret wants to feel the love throughout this episode, so this song is delivered by an a cappella choir, then in recorded form. Very hype, uptempo song with plenty of modern and electronic elements to the song. It’s repetitive and catchy. This is the fast food of music (easily consumable with empty calories), but hey, that’s what Ballers should be all about, right?