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Review: Ballers Season Five – ‘Crumbs’

The latest episode of Ballers hit a tragic note as one character’s arc came to a violent end. First, the buildup to how we got there.

Related – Review: Ballers Season Five ‘Municipal’

A number of moves that take place in this episode are tied to the actions of Kisan Teague (Kris D. Lofton) and his gun situation caught on camera. Spencer (Dwayne Johnson) is facing heat for giving Kisan a chance with the Chiefs, just as the newly released video reveals Kisan holding a gun pointed at another, threatening to shoot them dead. Charles (Omar Benson Miller) hurries to sign another big name to fill the gap made when he released Teague. Ricky (John David Washington) gets flack from fellow athletes due to his on-air rant regarding Spencer and the state of the NFL.

While there is the continued angle of Joe (Rob Corddry) adapting to the gaming world as an addition to SportsX—fueled by Vernon (Donovan W. Carter) and Reggie (London Brown)—the Kisan angle is what drives the episode, leading up to Spencer holding a press conference to reveal that he has decided to release Kisan from his contract due to the video released online. The release prompts Kisan to fall back into his old familiar ways, resorting to traveling with his same crew to the VIP section of the local strip club. There, Kisan is targeted by another man looking to instigate a fight with him, then pulling out a gun and shooting Kisan in the chest. News quickly spreads through the country of Kisan’s murder while Spencer’s voiceover reminds the viewer:

“Sometimes all you can do is save yourself. Sometimes you can’t even do that.”

While its episode was filmed months ago, it does have an eerie connection with the current status of Antonio Brown. Given his history—which includes leaving the Raiders to be picked up by the Patriots, only to be released by them days later due to multiple accusations of sexual assault—this episode’s timing hits close to home in the NFL world.

Ballers airs Sunday nights on HBO, and is available for streaming on the HBO Go and HBO Now apps.

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