'Lights Out' - 'The Shot': Training day
A review of tonight's "Lights Out" coming up just as soon as I come up with a song for my ring walk...
"Let someone else take the punches." -Theresa
I've only seen a couple of episodes past this one, so when I say that I'm sure this season is going to climax with a rematch between Lights and Death Row Reynolds, that's just common sense, not a spoiler from advance knowledge. As Warren Leight said, nobody's going to want to watch a show about a boxer who doesn't actually box.
But assuming that's coming, we have many episodes to get there, and in the meantime, Leight and company have to present various plausible alternatives for Lights, who's still (reluctantly) sticking to the promise he made to Theresa five years ago. In the pilot, he gave a shot at being a legbreaker for Brennan, which proved to be far more trouble than it was worth. And here, he tries mentoring Omar, hoping that he can get his fight fix vicariously through "the king of the Caucasus Mountains."
The show takes a very "Rocky" turn(*) for the training montage, but this is no "Rocky" movie. There's no uplift here. Lights' protege is a cocky meth-head who loses all his discipline the second the fight starts to go his way. Johnny turns out to be more desperate and craven than he seemed in the previous two weeks, and you just know Barry Word got himself a nice little prize for letting Omar have the shot.
(*) The script also makes the mistake of letting Lights say the sentence, "It's been rocky with the girls." If you are making a movie, TV show or other form of fictional story about a boxer, you never, ever want your main character - or any character - to use the word "rocky" (unless they're actually referring to Stallone), and you certainly don't want to do it in an episode like this one.
And it's around Barry that "The Shot" finds its strongest moments. I'm in the tank for Reg E. Cathey because of "The Wire," but I loved him so much on "The Wire" because he has such a natural yet electric screen presence. Barry's playing games within games within games, and Johnny is sure no match for him. But even though we're on Lights' side - and therefore mostly on Johnny's side - it's hard not to be at least a little bit pleased that Barry so thoroughly owns our hero's brother. (Also, using "Fred Sanford" as a hotel alias? Perfect.)
"The Shot" is definitely marking time for the show in a way, but in giving Lights his first real taste of the ring in a long time, it's also helping pave the road for the comeback we all figure is coming.
What did everybody else think?