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‘Ballers’ Season 5, Episode 2 synopsis/review: Backstabbing changes course of one storyline as shooting adds wrinkle to another


Enjoy what you can, “Ballers” fans, because you’ve got less than a season left of HBO’s star-studded football drama before the cast says their final goodbyes in a few months.

The premiere episode of season five left many fans of the show asking numerous questions, which we dove in on in our recap and review immediately afterwards. Now, it’s time for the show to keep pushing forward to wrap up the tale with a pretty little bow on top.

>>RELATED: ‘Ballers’ Season 5, Episode 1 synopsis/review: Have no fear, season premiere dives right into the water with big, bold moves

Entering episode two, there was plenty of drama to go around. What’s next for Spencer Strasmore after agreeing to take on majority ownership of the Chiefs? What about Joe Krutel’s gutsy move to buy both lots for his vision of a massive campus/training facility for athletes? How’s Ricky Jarret doing after getting hit by a car following the news of a fresh contract with the Rams?

If you missed the episode and want answers to these questions, we’ve got you covered. Just like the season premiere, here’s a full episode recap and review to catch you up to speed with season five.

Don’t want to miss any of our recaps? Follow us on Twitter by heading to @SOTSports or like our Facebook page!


The episode, entitled “Must Be The Shoes,” starts off with Spencer narrating during his big interview, while Kisan Teague gets into a situation in a restaurant parking lot. That incident gets a lot worse when it turns into a shootout, with Kisan’s crew launching a bullet into an enemy inside one of the cars.

While the incident goes down, Spencer says how some people growing up around him, despite how talented they were, never made it out alive.

Talent gets wasted, lives get thrown away,” Spencer said. “What’s so special about me? I just got lucky.”

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Meanwhile, in a transition back to the present, Spencer pulls up to a meeting with the Anderson brothers, but gets a call from the league in the form of Candace first. Candace informs Spencer that he needs to be fully financed to take majority ownership of the Chiefs by end of the week, with competing offers on the table for the team.

While Spencer works to make that happen and asks about the other offers on the table,

“They don’t have what you have,” Candace says, referring to Spencer’s skin complexion.


As Spencer heads into his meeting with the Anderson’s, Joe is getting ripped into back at his offices by Lance and Kate, who inform him that an employee is on the move because of the “hostile workplace environment” that Joe creates.

We have more arcade games than desks for s—’s sake,” Joe says, questioning the employee’s description of the office.

With a meeting with Odell Beckham, Jr. coming up in a few hours, Kate implores Joe to tone down his animosity in the office, specifically his swearing.

While Joe rebuts the argument by saying he’s just “expressive,” Lance counters by saying the situation isn’t similar to Joe’s old work with Spencer, where he could threaten employees and pressure them into situations. While Joe argues getting the job done is the most important factor, Lance says that doesn’t fly anymore.

To remedy the situation, Kate has one simple solution for Joe that he doesn’t like, but heads off to do anyways: apologize.

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The episode heads to a hospital room, where Ricky is in his bed after his car crash, feigning memory loss as Charles, TTD, his father and his child’s mother stand over him.

The news comes down that Ricky had to have surgery on the ACL, MCL and PCL in his knee, putting him on the shelf for the upcoming season. While he hopes to leave the hospital as soon as possible, his family and friends tell him he can’t leave without talking to a doctor.

Next, Vernon and his 15-year-old gaming friend head to meet Reggie for lunch to discuss Vernon’s future, with the Cowboys defensive lineman hoping to make a new career in esports.

The 15-year-old describes Vernon as a “beast” in League of Legends, while Reggie says, “Of course he is, he’s a natural athlete.”

Despite describing Vernon as a great gamer, however, Reggie continues to turn down his friend’s hopes for a fresh start in life as he implores Vernon to push forward with his football career to make more money and be more financially stable.

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Vernon keeps expressing his desire to become a “two-sport athlete” and tells Reggie if he can beat the gamer one-on-one in League of Legends, he’ll become an esports athlete.

“Loser never questions me again,” Reggie said.

Back to the meeting between Spencer and the Anderson brothers, the former is explaining his new vision for the company as he looks for financial backing to pursue the Chiefs.

“We have very successfully done a stadium deal together,” Spencer said. “What if we bought a franchise?”

The financial needs are finally brought to light during the meeting : $3 billion. The brothers say it’s crazy, and asks Spencer what the plan is for this offer to work.

When Spencer doesn’t have everything set in stone yet, the brothers become uneasy.

3 billion without a plan?” one said.

However, Brett Anderson begins to come around on the idea, mentioning the popularity and rise to stardom for a guy like Patrick Mahomes, along with the team’s potential to compete in the postseason.

Both seem hesitant to agree to the financial pursuit with the CBA expiring soon, and call the move “risky” before the episode moves forward with another storyline.

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On to another branch in the story’s tree, Charles meets with a security friend who has something the Rams general manager should likely see: surveillance footage of Kisan’s involvement in the parking lot shooting at the start of the episode. While Charles asks about whether or not the league has seen the footage, the security guard replies by saying he’s the only one who has it. Will Charles have to hide more information from his boss that involves members of the team?

Fans watching the episode then finally get to see a rare moment, as Joe, alongside Kate, apologizes to the employee at the worker’s home. He apologizes for his crude language, but the employee isn’t amused, saying the actions speak louder than any words could.

Kate, however, takes Joe’s approach, and aggressively tells the employee to accept the apology. After he accepts Joe’s “heartfelt” message, Kate then tells him to get in the car as the trio prepares for the team’s meeting with Odell Beckham, Jr. with a big pitch in mind.

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The action then turns back to Kisan, with the running back getting pulled into a meeting with his agent, Jason, and Charles. As Kisan pretends to not know what’s going on, Charles shows security footage of the shooting that had happened at the beginning of the episode, asking for what happened that led up to the incident.

Kisan says how he was “grabbing burger with the boys” before the situation turned into a scene reminiscent of a movie.

“Next thing I know, I’m in the middle of ‘Unforgiven,'” Kisan said.

While Kisan says his actions were out of necessity and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Charles says that likely wasn’t the case. Kisan says he was just trying to get a burger without being harassed, but Charles rebuts by saying if he wants food, he just goes home to his wife and asks for a brisket.

We then see Vernon lose (again) to his 15-year-old gaming friend, who compliments the NFL star’s skills despite the defeat. While Reggie says he’s impressed with Vernon’s work on the sticks, he mentions how he still feels his friend should stick to what he does best, and makes the most money with: football.

“It ain’t about money,” Vernon said. “If you’re not gonna support my dreams, I’m not gonna support yours.”

The cameras turn back to Spencer’s interview that will continue to sprinkle in new moments throughout the season, with this one talking about his time at the University of Miami, and ominously talking about second chances and starting fresh.

It’s one thing to get a second chance, another to do something with it,” Spencer said. “When you’re the s— at the U, it’s a whole ‘nother level. The higher the level, the further you’ve got to fall.”

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We head back to Ricky’s meeting with the doctor saying it’s about an eight-month recovery time. Ricky, however, isn’t happy with the news, and it appears he may be off the field for much longer.

“Time has run out,” Jarret said. “Besides, when you know, you know.”

Charles is now in his office, and his assistant asks about his meeting with Kisan and Jason. Charles downplays the situation, and says how the assistant may be too nosy and knowledgeable for his own good, asking for a list of the available speed players in the process.

Charles does ask his assistant for his advice/thoughts on the matter, to which the assistant replies, “Never trust a guy who hasn’t done time.” As the assistant leaves, Charles then puts the USB drive with the Kisan footage in his desk for safekeeping, which will obviously go great.

The next interview scene talks further about Spencer’s past at the University of Miami. Specifically, Spencer reminisces about a big fight on campus when he first arrived. While he didn’t start the action, he certainly finished it, and got arrested in the process.

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However, with Spencer’s scholarship in question and his time at the university potentially running out, a professor vouches for the football star, helping to give him another chance.

Luck comes in random ways,” Spencer said.

Ricky’s then with his family and friends, discussing his injury and what’s next. While everyone discusses his recovery, Ricky lets them all know it may be time to hang up the cleats.

“This is God’s plan,” Ricky said. “He put that car on the street for a reason. God spared me, so he must have something in mind for me.”

His child’s mother supports the idea, and his father expresses his pride in Ricky’s career and the work he put into it. While Ricky says he had more left in the tank, his father has a simple answer.

“Just gonna have to find somewhere else to put it.”

Joe, Lance and Kate then meeting with Odell Beckham, Jr. to discuss business, after a brief effort at building up a backstory for why the group would all know each other.

In the nitty-gritty, Joe and Kate pitch Odell on the idea of the massive campus and training facility using the land they purchased, with Odell becoming more intrigued by the idea as he praises Joe and Kate’s pitching skills as a duo.

“Do you guys share a brain?”

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While the two talk about sharing a vision, Odell mentions how the “future is now,” leading to the football star, Joe and Kate becoming a trio of philosophers for a brief moment.

After Lance brings them back on track, Joe and Kate pull out the big stop: a mural of Odell for the office and/or the campus to make him the face of the endeavor. Odell is on board with the pitch, much to the delight of everyone involved.

Careful what you wish for, I’ve got ideas too,” Odell said.

While Kate gets praise for landing the Odell deal, she and Joe begin to share a moment as the duo’s members each hold a glass of champagne. While both look into each other’s eyes and look as if they may kiss, they back off and Joe begins to realize there may be something going on there.

Speaking of something going on, Spencer is now heading to a dinner meeting with Candace to end the episode and discuss the potential deal for the Chiefs, walking in with a smile on his face.

As Candace asks if it’s a look of victory, Spencer says it depends on her. While he brings up the need to build up a management team to fill the areas where he’s not as strong, he has another idea in the holster, as well: he wants Candace to become the president of the Chiefs.

He mentions how she recognizes talent, but that’s where things take a turn. Candace knows her strong suits, and says how she wants to become the boss. That’s why she’s getting a promotion to the number two spot behind Roger Goodell atop the NFL’s totem pole, with the deal to get Spencer as the owner of the Chiefs serving as a major catalyst for her new job title.

Spencer realizes he’s been used, and says Candace may want to call her bosses and tell them the deal fell through. Candace, however, isn’t going to let that happen.

She says she knows Spencer’s resourceful, but mentions how she has her own plans to make this happen, whether Spencer likes it or not.

There’s no one I’d better mourn than Spencer Strasmore,” Candace says.

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This episode featured a ton of quick-hitting action, with no storyline going on for more time than it really needed to before the cameras moved on to another branch of the bigger picture.

You can argue that all of the topic changes made you feel like the dog from “Up,” getting distracted by squirrels, but I enjoyed the episode as a whole. Sure, we don’t have answers to some big questions yet, like Spencer all the sudden having the money to contribute to this ownership deal or the result of the lawsuit with the NCAA. But, it’s slowly coming together, and that’s all you can ask for.

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Some things seem like they’ll be glossed over, like Ricky’s performance-enhancing drug situation and the drama with Spencer and Joe. But, it’s just going to take open eyes and ears to stay positive about the show’s final season and to hope for the best when it comes to its writing and storylines.

The season could be better as a whole so far, but could be a lot worse. Here’s hoping for a solid end to all of these different storylines, and a real purpose for the big interview they’ve been teasing throughout.

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