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56
/100

Lights Out

FX

  • S

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57
/100

Episode 5 - The Comeback

6 March 2012

Synopsis: Lights asks his whole family to let him fight again and he begins to train with his Dad. He wants an easy pay day against an old friend but soon learns that Johnny sold the rights to his next three fights to Barry Word.

The Good: I liked the opening dream sequence where things seemed too good to be true. It was an easy way to show us what was on the champs' mind.

Lights is now ready to get back in the ring and the show should now become more intense. The narrative is already heavily focused on Lights and so this shift in the plot will probably make the show stronger. It will also guarantee us more action after an episode like this that was mostly talking and exposition.

Some of which was pretty good (see Best Moment). The darkest part of the story is Lights putting terrible emotional pressure on his daughter Dani. She knows that if he takes more blows to the head he might begin to lose his mental faculties, a tragedy she doesn't want to see. Lights is committed on every level to fighting again and so he just doesn't want to hear about it. Instead of coming clean to his wife and at least acknowledging Dani's concerns he implies that she holds the key to keeping the family together and should keep her mouth shut. It's a deeply sad and unkind thing to do. But it's also understandable. Lights thinks that a couple of wins and not only will he be rich again but everyone will love him and he can return to his family as the champion in every sense.

The world of boxing remains as murky and crooked as you would expect. I liked seeing the match making at work. A convicted rapist is coddled because he can make money while a quiet family man gets his hand broken because he won't draw a crowd. There was also the other reality that Lights and Jo Jo were clearly friends yet were agreeing to beat each other up for money. The human desire to see fights is a fascinating thing (look at Spartacus or the WWE for different society's attempts to satisfy people's desire to see a fight).

For now Johnny has been shut out which makes sense from Lights' point of view. As expected Johnny had sold the rights to Lights' fights to Barry. Lights also leaves the family home which will put extra emotion into the interactions with his family. It was also sensible storytelling after what Theresa saw had happened to Jo Jo. 

The Bad: Some scenes here cut corners to make the narrative clearer which was a shame. Ava was badly over-scripted  and sounded outrageously selfish as she thought aloud "What if they go to jail? I'll never get a car." She also referred to her mansion home and loving family as a "hell hole" and later told her mom "I know that I can be selfish and stubborn but I'm a teenager, what's your excuse?" All of that was shorthand to give us her emotional perspective but it came across as clichéd and didn't sound like a real person talking. Contrast that with Lights' father who gave a more compelling speech about his own memories of walking away from the ring and how unsure he is as to whether Lights still has it.

Similarly Jo Jo was a walking plot contrivance. He walked in talking about having to feed his family and then lay in his hospital bed unconvincingly lying about how his hand was broken. Nothing he said made his character feel real he was just there to set up Lights' real fight with El Diablo and make it clear what a piece of work Barry K Word really is.

The Unknown: I liked Hal Brennan's story about how Lights was his dead son's favourite boxer. If true it explains his affection and leniency toward the Champ. If a lie it makes him even more of a scumbag. Speaking of which, what are he and Barry up to?

Best Moment: The scene where Lights told Dani to keep her mouth shut was very sad. He used the phrase "I'm sorry you have to grow up so fast" which I thought was an interesting choice. He is implying that this is what life is like. There are crooks and dementia and bankruptcy, deal with it. The thing is, that isn't true. If Lights hadn't lost his money then Dani wouldn't need to face any of it. It makes his actions that bit more self serving and sad.

Conclusion: So here we go, the champ is back in the ring and things should get more interesting.

('DiggThis)

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