We gave it a B+
Well, for those of you who were waiting for the old Jay to return, I think it’s safe to say he’s just about 100 percent back now that he’s returned to the gym. And as much as that’s good news for entertainment value, it’s terrible news for the character himself, whom we find passed out in the back of his truck on a beach. Or rather, the cops find him (along with a needle) and call Alvey, who takes him home.
The next morning, while Nate takes a big step and donates the $5,000 knockout bonus from his fight to the local LGBTQ center, Alvey’s back at his psychiatrist’s office. No, Alvey hasn’t seen any more doctors about his pain, but as he puts it, “You’re only as sick as you think.” And for someone who has fought hurt his whole life, he’s fine handling this pain his way. Even if he is ignoring some greater problem, what’s the point in diagnosing it? “It’s only dying, right?” he says.
Switching the focus to Jay, Alvey admits he’s worried about his son. He believes quitting fighting was a mistake, and he’s hoping to do something for Jay by getting him back in the gym. “I was a s— father. But I think, maybe, as a man, I can do something.” And then we get to Alvey’s biggest realization — or perhaps more accurately, he just finally says these words out loud. When asked why Jay quit fighting, Alvey admits that Jay resents fighting because he resents his father. “We’re very similar,” Alvey says. “He’s more emotional than I was, but he hates his father just like I did.” And Alvey doesn’t blame his son. All he knows is that Jay’s getting older, and he has to be careful, because at some point, “you are what you are.”
What I love so much about that moment and that final line — “you are what you are” — is that this season has seen Alvey really start to accept who he is and, furthermore, think about how the person he is has affected those around him. We’ve seen it with Christina, with his admission that he put the needle in her arm. We’re seeing it with Jay, as he understands Jay’s resentment and admits their similarities. Alvey might be in a lot of physical pain, but mentally, he seems to be seeing things in a new, oddly clear way.
But speaking of people who are what they are, Ryan visits Keith in jail — where he’s THRIVING, by the way. “I am no longer the penis-on-the-fruit guy in here,” Keith says proudly. And why not? Because he’s known for murder! (It’s like watching the bullied kid in high school suddenly become “cool.”) As Keith puts it, prison life is “so much better now, I can’t even begin to tell you.” Unlike Keith’s last stint — and also just in general — Keith finally feels safe… well, except for racial violence, “which we are all subject to,” he says.
Good lord, I love this character so much. As much as I was dreading Keith landing back in jail because I saw it as a sad ending, I love that Keith is doing better than ever. Sure, there’s the sadness of knowing that had he gotten on the right medication — which he’s on now — a while back, his life could be different. But at least Keith has a smile on his face, so I’ll take it.
Also, Keith’s time in jail has finally made Ryan fully register just what he means to him. “You’re my brother, Keith. I love you,” he tells him as he promises to visit him all the time. Keith reminds him that he’s going to be in jail for a long time, but Ryan doesn’t care. “I’m not forgetting about you,” Ryan says in a moment that really hit me. Ryan’s been struggling with loneliness, and to watch him hold on so tightly to Keith reminds you just how fragile this guy is underneath it all. It also reminds you how little he has in terms of loved ones.
Back at the gym, Lisa meets Jeremy Johnson, one of the top guys at the company that bought King Beast. It seems he’s interested in meeting the woman who took them for $1 million. But what Lisa doesn’t realize at first is that he wants to offer her a job. More specifically, he wants to offer her Garo’s job. They need someone who knows how to make deals in this business, and that’s not Garo. But will it be Lisa?
Also at the gym is Jay — he’s baaaaack!!! — who goes in to see Alvey in his office. Alvey, cutting straight to the chase, asks his oldest son, “Do you wanna die?” Of course, Jay’s answer is “someday,” but Alvey’s not messing around. He tells Jay that he wants him back in the gym, but if that’s the plan, no more needles. When Jay seems unaffected by the talk, Alvey hits him where he knows he’ll feel it: “Don’t do this to your brother,” he tells him.
So, if Jay wants, Alvey thinks he can get back in the cage. Apparently Lisa already has a plan. And that plan involves firing Dom and hiring Jay to teach some classes while she looks for the right fight. Although Jay’s not promising that he wants another fight, he’s not turning down $900 a week.
(Next: Christina gets a new Terry)