If you’re still deciding on whether or not to give the final season of “Ballers” a shot, the fifth episode of the show’s final frame may be the catalyst you need to start tuning in again on Sunday nights.
The latest installment of the show finally gets into the nitty-gritty when it comes to the action that the HBO crews have been building up, and leaves fans on a worthwhile cliffhanger that should lead to some high-intensity moments in the season’s next episode.
Miss Sunday night’s episode and looking for a way to figure out what is going on without having to tune in? We’ve got you covered with a full recap and review for the fifth episode of season five, “Crumbs.”
The episode opens with a clip from Spencer’s season-long interview, talking about giving and receiving tips from those around you.
“Advice is a funny thing,” Spencer says. “Everyone wants to give it, nobody ever wants to take that s—. I prefer to make my decisions based off instinct, because there’s a rhythm to it.”
“Sometimes the right move is just a flip of a coin, but the only problem is you’re at the mercy of where it lands.”
Spencer then walks through the Chiefs office for a meeting with the Anderson brothers, who are enjoying some analysis of the Kisan Teague situation on TV from Mark Schlereth.
While the Anderson’s express their concern for Spencer’s signing of Kisan, and their desire for Spencer to cut ties with the running back, Spencer tells his partners not to “cater to the talking heads.”
Spencer says not to talk to the press, and mentions that the headache will go away in no time. The Anderson brothers aren’t the biggest fans of the decision and the drama surrounding Kisan, with ownership trying to re-sign star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a big deal after his MVP season in 2018.
“Don’t die on your sword,” one brother tells Spencer.
While his former business partners deal with a crisis, Joe is going through his morning routine, with Kate laying in bed after the duo spent the night together.
As Joe asks Kate if she would want to get together that night, as well, she leaves him with some words of wisdom before she heads to their place of work: “Best to keep church and state separate.”
Next up, Charles is in the dining hall of the Rams facility, giving some “scouting” tips with solid food recommendations for co-workers. As the Rams general manager goes to pay for his meal, his boss tells the cashier that he’ll be paying for Charles’ meal, and the two sit with Charles’ assistant for a meal.
While his boss tells him to avoid stress-eating with a muffin, Charles exclaims that it’s a celebration muffin, with Spencer and the Chiefs getting crushed for the Kisan signing.
When his boss tells him to focus on himself and not the misery of others, Charles mentions a meeting with Alvin Kamara to try and bring a big name into the conversation. As the boss questions the truth to the news, Charles’ assistant says it’s “100 percent true.” The response from their boss?
“It’s something,” he says.
As Charles tries to make a splash in free agency, Reggie and Vernon meet with Joe and Lance with hopes of convincing the latter to dive in on the world of esports.
Reggie and Vernon pitch a tour of the offices for Riot Games, which catches the eye of Lance and brings out boredom from Joe.
However, with Lance now on their side, Reggie and Vernon convince Joe to head to the tour, much to the chagrin of the hungry Sports X representative.
“Fine, I’ll go,” Joe says. “But you have to feed me.”
With hopes of working off whatever they were fed, Ricky and TTD head to the gym and are met with some upset NFL players in the room, including Melvin Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins and Dante Fowler.
While the three NFL stars have a word with Ricky, the injured wideout holds his own in the argument, defending what he said on his radio debut in last week’s episode.
“Spit some truth about two guys that deserve it,” Ricky says. “Ain’t nobody going to censor me.”
“I’m a f—ing journalist,” Ricky continues. “I just reported my s— that nobody wants to hear. I’m going to spit the truth.”
The argument catches the eyes and ears of many people in the gym, including Jay Glazer, who lets Ricky and TTD know that they should probably find a new place for their workouts.
Back to more narration from Spencer, who talks about his thought process when he was a child.
“Used to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, I supposed every kid does,” Spencer says. “I always wondered what was out there. Will my destiny intervene on my behalf? Does it even exist? If it does, there’s nothing we can do. If it doesn’t, it’s all on us. No excuses.”
Spencer heads into another meeting in the episode, this time with Candace as the duo discusses the Kisan situation.
“Welcome to our world,” Candace says. “Different day, different story. Some worse than others.”
However, there’s one thing on Candace’s mind as it relates to Spencer and his decision with Kisan: “We need to clean this up before the CBA negotiations.”
Spencer suggests a suspension for Kisan, even offering up 10 games for his new running back. Candace says they’re way past that point, explaining that it’s “too late for a slap on the wrist. Then, the real news drops. The video that Candace said wouldn’t get out? It’s leaking, and Spencer’s not happy.
Spencer asks how it leaked and what’s on it, to which Candace says, “Take a look for yourself.”
Meanwhile, Jason meets with the Anderson brothers to discuss Patrick Mahomes’ new deal, with the Anderson’s offering up money that puts the star QB right under Russell Wilson.
“Just a crumb below,” Anderson says.
“Is that a crumb or a chunk?” Jason replies.
Jason explains that Mahomes has become a better QB than Wilson in a shorter amount of time, and could be even better than Tom Brady. The Anderson’s aren’t impressed, however, and tell Jason that they hope Mahomes enjoys playing under his current contract.
“Hope you enjoy having a disgruntled superstar,” Jason says. “Not a good look for a new ownership group.”
Charles gives a different agent a call: the agent for Alvin Kamara. That agent also happens to represent Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and Charles gets nowhere with Kamara’s agent, who’s looking to keep the duo together for the sake of Brees, his vacation buddy.
The stress is starting to get to Charles, who begins to have “some sort of attack” in the office, and decides to head to the doctor’s office.
At the Riot Games offices, Joe, Lance, Reggie and Vernon get their tour, with Reggie explaining that the campus was built off one game: League of Legends.
While Joe gets confused thinking Reggie is trying to pitch him on making an entire video game, Reggie rebuts by saying they only want to create a team.
The idea of spending a few million dollars on button-pushers doesn’t appeal to Joe, and he disagrees with Reggie and Vernon’s idea, but Lance continues to side with Reggie and Vernon in their endeavor.
“This calls for a new voice and a new approach,” Lance says. “Mine”
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Ricky heads to a new spot for his knee rehab, spending some time in a cold spa. As he and TTD head out, they catch a teenager staring at Ricky as he walks out of the room, and they confront the young man to figure out what’s going on.
The teen is actually a fan of Ricky’s, not just from his football stardom, but also from his radio show rant, which prompts Ricky to finally be interested in taking a picture with a “dude.”
Joe and Jason are then discussing Mahomes’ offer at lunch, with Jason delivering the low-ball news from the Anderson brothers. When Spencer no-showing the meeting comes up, the animosity returns in Joe’s approach.
“Just makes what we have to do easier,” Joe says. “It’s time to crush these f—ing animals.”
While Spencer watches video of Kisan’s involvement in the shooting, Joe and Jason give the Anderson brothers a call, asking for $175 million in Mahomes’ new deal. Joe finally speaks up, much to the surprise of Mr. Anderson, and chimes in to let the brothers know that Spencer’s a bad boss and partner, too.
“So much for keeping it civil,” Jason says.
Kisan’s then shown at his home before the start of a press conference involving Spencer, and the new Chiefs running back finds out the hard way that two of those words would be omitted from his job description in the near future.
Spencer lets media members know that the team will be parting ways with Kisan, and lies about what Kisan told him during their meeting last week.
“I asked him point blank what his involvement was with the Jack in the Box shooting, and he told me he wasn’t there,” Spencer says. “Won’t condone criminal use of firearms in any circumstances.
“People gotta do what they gotta do, I guess,” Kisan says after he hears the news.
After Charles got a call from his assistant while at the doctor’s office about Kamara being at a local coffee shop, the Rams GM rushes out of the waiting room to meet up with the Saints running back.
Kamara brings up the NFC Championship game between the Rams and Saints, saying how the Rams stole one from New Orleans en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
“That’s on the refs,” Charles says. “But we all feel real bad about it.”
As Kamara calls his bluff, Charles says he’ll make it up to the running back, mentioning the possibility of the Saints star became a Rams rushing machine.
Kamara brings up the good chemistry between him and Brees, as Charles decides to take the nuclear approach and bring up the previous conversation with Kamara’s agent.
“Your agent told me not to even waste my time,” Charles says. “Not the kind of brother to throw anybody under the bus, but he also reminded me that he represents Brees, too.”
“You ain’t just throw him under the bus, you backed up over him,” Kamara replies, making Charles nervous to end his time in the episode.
The action then heads to a “gentleman’s club,” as Kisan sulks alongside his friends and female acquaintances in the aftermath of his release from the Chiefs.
The cameras follow one man’s journey into and around the club, who eventually finds his way into Kisan’s “VIP section,” angering Kisan’s crew in the process.
As Kisan insults him and tells him to leave the girl he was talking to, the man reminds Kisan of how he had just gotten cut by his new squad in Kansas City.
The comment irks Kisan, who mentions how he “doesn’t need a gun” to take care of this new face in front of him. Unfortunately, that new face has a gun of his own, and shoots Kisan in the chest in the center of the club.
The news then sends shockwaves throughout the “Ballers” universe, first reaching Jason, then Charles. Jason calls Joe, who’s busy playing League of Legends with Lance and misses the call.
Joe finally starts to show interest in esports during Lance’s “ambush” late at night at Joe’s home, but misses out on the Kisan news in the process.
Finally, Ricky is watching the news in his room as a reporter explains the details of a shooting at the club. The moment turns somber, as the reporter says that Kisan was fatally shot in the incident, leaving Ricky stunned as the episode transitions to some final narration from Spencer’s interview.
“You can never escape the past,” Spencer says. “Doesn’t matter how far or fast you run. It matches you step for step. You get tired, but it doesn’t. You can try to leave it behind, but it just keeps on coming.”
“I thought I could save someone once, but I couldn’t,” Spencer continues. “We can only save ourselves, sometimes we can’t even do that.”
There had been rumors all summer about a character’s death in season five, and it looks like we finally reached the breaking point in the action as “Ballers” winds down.
Kisan’s death, while sad, did seem to come out of nowhere, and it seems as if there must be more to it for it to have the fully-intended effect the “Ballers” crew was going for.
It has to be targeted for anything more to truly come of the situation, and then even more questions get thrown into the multitude of already-confusing plot points in this season.
Was it someone from the parking lot that came back for revenge on Kisan? Was it the man that Kisan tried to pull the trigger on with the gun to the person’s head on the ground? Why didn’t we see Spencer’s immediate reaction to the news, unless he’s been omitted from the circle when it comes to Jason, Charles, Joe and Ricky?
Obviously, television shows will build up new questions as a season goes along, but usually things get answered to balance things out, as well. We seem to be adding more questions than answers, and it seems to be hindering this season’s ability to close out strong.
The episode had its strong points, and the fatal detail about the Kisan incident at the end took me by a bit of surprise, but here’s hoping for a solid ending to this season to make it all worth it.