Episode Title: "Bolo Punch"
Writer: Carter Harris
Director: Norberto Barba
Previously on "Lights Out":
Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) had a brief respite from his money woes by mentoring Omar Assarian (Pedro Pascal), the prized boxer of his father, Robert "Pops" Leary (Stacy Keach) in advance of a potential title match. But Omar wouldn’t take his advice and was more flash over substance. Meanwhile, Lights’ brother, Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) had to make a shady deal with boxing promoter Barry K. Word (Reg E. Cathey) in order to ensure that Omar got the title fight.
Eventually Lights got through to Omar and stepped up his training to the next level. On the day of the big fight, Lights stayed behind to celebrate his fortieth birthday with his wife Theresa Leary (Catherine McCormack) and their three daughters. But when he checked on the bout later that night on TV, he saw Omar go down to the champion after becoming too cocky in the ring.
Shortly after the fight, Pops is despondent about the loss and blames himself. Lights assures him that it was just a lucky punch that took out Omar. But when Omar returns to the gym with his entourage and demands his money for the bout, tempers flare and he pulls a gun. Lights literally stares him down, but before he leaves, Omar vows to burn down the gym if he doesn’t get his payment. The next day, Pops never shows up to open the gym, leaving the family worried that Omar and his entourage have hurt him. But Lights eventually finds Pops fishing at his favorite spot, convinced that he’s finally washed up in boxing.
Elsewhere, a bookie named Chen harasses Johnny and tries to take his car to collect a debt. Johnny shows that he can actually fight and slugs the man, but his bodyguard, Dokaj takes him down before both men wail on him. At Lights’ home, Theresa is approached by the family minister, Father Moran, who is soliciting aid for a clinic in Haiti. Thinking that their family is still financially secure, Theresa pledges $50,000 to help them rebuild. Later, Lights finds his brother and learns that Johnny bet on Omar’s fight, but lost big to Chen.
Barry K. Word is also putting the screws to the Learys’ by trumping up expenses to withdraw from the fight purse. Johnny calls him out on his BS and is at least able to get some of it back, but not nearly as quickly as they need it. Lights puts out the word that he wants to meet with Chen, but instead it is high end bookie, Hal Brennan (Bill Irwin) who comes to see him. Brennan tells Lights that this isn’t the first time that Johnny’s lost big and Chen wants him dead as an example. Without recourse, Lights asks for his help and sets up a meeting with Chen.
At the meeting, Chen threatens to kill Lights as well before Brennan steps in. Upon learning that Dokaj is a former MMA fighter, Lights challenges him to a fight, "double or nothing," with Brennan covering Lights’ side of the bet. When Lights gets home, Theresa tells him that she thinks Johnny is stealing money from him or using drugs again. But Lights is forced to finally tell her the truth and confess that his fortune is largely gone. At first Theresa is hysterical, and she remains upset after talking to Lights throughout the night.
However, Theresa soon reaffirms her love for Lights and offers to give up the family’s affluent life style to help ends meet. But Lights refuses to move his family or take her away from her job. Later, Lights goes to a warehouse for an underground fight with Dokaj, with Johnny literally held as collateral. And the fight is far from a cakewalk for Lights. Dokaj attacks him with kicks and choke-holds that he is completely unprepared for. After a particularly nasty sleeper hold, Lights seems on the verge of going down, but he fakes out Dokaj and strikes him directly in his throat, ending the fight in his favor.
With his winnings from the fight, Lights is able to pay Omar some of what he is owed, with a promise of the rest when he gets it. He offers to help Omar rebuild himself after his loss and get back into ring shape, but Omar admits that the lose told him something about himself: he’s not a boxer. As he leaves the gym, Lights watches him walk away for the last time.
This wasn’t quite as good as last week’s episode of "Lights Out," but it was still really solid. It’s also giving me faith that the writers really know where they are going with this storyline.
There have been a couple of hints in the show that Johnny used to be a boxer himself and he confirmed that this week when he knocked the hell out of Chen. That is actually, really effective storytelling. When Pops mentioned it offhandedly a few episodes back, I just assumed it was some sort of slip of the tongue. But somewhere in the history of "Lights Out," Johnny must have had some kind of shot at glory in the ring and I’d love to see that explored some time. He’s clearly a f***up and we learn in this week’s episode that he’s already dumped the cute secretary in Barry Word’s office now that he doesn’t need her.
I also wouldn’t be shocked if Johnny really did steal money from Lights. There was a great look of horror on Lights’ face when Pops told him that Johnny had control over his personal assets when Lights asked him for a loan. And Lights’ expression said everything: that money is gone. We also don’t know yet what kind of deal Johnny made with Barry to secure the fight for Omar, but it almost certainly has to do with Lights and it will probably involve his potential rematch with Death Row Reynolds.
Theresa actually made a very strong impression this week, now that she knows the truth about her family’s situation. I also misjudged her. From her earlier appearances in the show, I assumed that she was very selfish towards Lights and married him for his money. Last week’s story about how she met him dispelled part of that, but what was really interesting about her was how she took the news in this episode. Of course, her first reaction was angry disbelief. But it also spoke volumes about her that she was willing to leave it all behind. She even admitted to Lights that she lost her way through the lifestyle they enjoyed and wanted to find herself again.
She also seems to have more of an intriguing backstory than I suspected. From Lights’ dialog with her, it was suggested that her family was rich at one point before losing all of their money somehow, similar to their current situation.
Lights himself was also very compelling as he came to the defense of his brother. And I liked that he spent most of the fight getting his ass kicked because he just couldn’t defend himself against that kind of MMA fighting style. The fight could have stood to be a bit longer, but the ending was satisfying and it helped reestablish that Lights still has what it takes to get in the ring. His rematch with Death Row now seems more immanent than ever.
The question now is what will Brennen and Word hold over him when he gets his last shot at the title?
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.