Review: 'Lights Out' - 'The Comeback': Champ's gotta do what a champ's gotta do

Lights and Theresa accept the inevitable: boxing is their only hope

<p>Lights (Holt McCallany) resumes training on &quot;Lights Out.&quot;</p>

Lights (Holt McCallany) resumes training on "Lights Out."

Credit: FX

A review of tonight's "Lights Out" coming up just as soon as I'm in good shape for jazzercise...

"I need to fight." -Lights
"You need to or you want to?" -Theresa
"Both." -Lights


FX sent the entire season of "Lights Out" to critics, and while I know many of my colleagues watched them all before they wrote their initial reviews, I decided to stop after this one. When you do the episode-by-episode thing I do, getting too far ahead can be dangerous: either your reviews are too colored by what you know is coming, or you wind up writing about something you last watched months ago. And by the time I got to the end of "The Comeback," I felt like I'd seen what I needed to see to write my pre-season review, both in terms of quality and the direction of the rest of the season.

"The Comeback" was both my favorite episode of the series so far and an episode that, like last week, they need to get to relatively early. We all know Lights is going to get back in the ring. That's obvious; you don't do this show if that's not going to happen. And if that's the case, then there were only so many weeks where it would be interesting to see Lights explore every other possible option. The leg-breaking was more trouble than it was worth, the endorsements have dried up, Omar doesn't have the heart to keep fighting, etc. Good. We've seen that, Theresa knows how bad things are, and now we can get down to business.

And because the show and the characters have stopped pretending that Lights is going to do anything other than fight, now things can get really interesting. Now we can see Lights place a terribly unfair burden on his middle daughter by asking her to keep the pugilistic dementia a secret. Now we can see Lights' dad wrestle with the question of whether his son is truly capable of fighting at a high level at this point, now we can see Theresa have to confront how she feels about her man coming out of retirement.

And now we can see that getting back into the ring isn't going to be a cure-all - not with Barry K. Word seemingly getting into bed with Hal Brennan. Brennan has seemed a little too good to be true to this point - the helpful, polite gangster who admires Lights so much he'd do anything for him - and that final scene spells a whole lot of potential trouble for our man. Lights may be strong and tough and brave, but these two control the money, and they can think rings around him. And with Johnny cut loose for now, and Theresa temporarily splitting from him, who does Lights still have in his corner? Dad? Will that be enough to overcome whatever con Barry and/or Brennan are planning to work on him?

This was a really strong episode for the cast, and particularly for Stacy Keach, who really sold the gravity of the situation in the scene where he tells Theresa, "If it's not there for Patrick, he'll know. He'll know. And so will I. He's my son." This is not a gentle business that Lights is getting back into. It's a sport in which the easiest way to win is to batter your opponent so badly that he becomes unconscious. And we know that Lights can't stand very much battering.

My goal moving forward, schedule permitting, is to watch these episodes one at a time like the rest of you and write accordingly. After "The Comeback," I'm really looking forward to whatever comes next.

What did everybody else think?

Everything: Lights Out

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Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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