Nate gets back in the cage as Jay continues his downward spiral
Credit: Erik Heinila/DirectTV
S2 E16
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There are so many parallels in this show, whether we’re talking about the more literal parallel of the opening montage — which showed Christina preparing oatmeal for Nate as Jay and Ava shot heroine in their motel room — or the more complex Ava-Christina similarities. The woman Christina used to be perhaps isn’t so different from the woman Ava is, at least not if we’re talking about her role in her relationship with Jay.

So it’s no surprise Christina is none too happy with Ava. “I think Jay’s feeding off of her,” Christina tells Nate, who doesn’t have time to think about his brother considering tonight’s his big return to the cage. So while Nate prepares to train — but not at the gym, because it’s being cleaned after Mac got a staph infection — Roxanne gets her first glimpse at Alvey’s house. And instantly, she knows he hasn’t always lived there alone. “I can feel her,” she explains, before he finally utters Lisa’s name in Roxanne’s presence. As to why they broke up, he simply says it “just wasn’t right.” And for now, that will be enough information. Roxanne is having too much fun to want to hear more.

At the Pink Motel, Jay and Ava have created their own little world, where all they do is drink, do drugs, have sex, sleep, and repeat. They spend their days getting as high as they can, lounging in an empty pool, talking about theoretical lives in which they run away to live together in South America. For Ava, her perfect world involves the two of them somewhere where Jay no longer has to fight and all they have to worry about is taking care of each other. But the really interesting moment comes when Jay mentions Cuba, and Ava admits she couldn’t live there because her father hates Castro and would never forgive her. Her father is also known as the guy who’s in prison for raping her friend. Perhaps Ava hasn’t completely let go of him.

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With the gym cleared out, Alvey prepares to meet Nate at the house to train when Ron shows up. It seems Lisa’s thinking about coming back to L.A. and Ron wants to talk to Alvey about it. Alvey agrees to meet up after the fight, but for now, he has to make sure Nate’s ready. After all, let’s not forget how his last couple of fights ended.

But it’s not Nate who ends up having a talk with Alvey. In what’s arguably the most civil moment we’ve seen between them, Christina and Alvey discuss Jay. When Christina asks what Alvey thinks of Ava, he simply says, “I think she reminds me of somebody I used to know.” Alvey reminds Christina that they used to disappear every once in a while, but when she expresses just how worried she is, he promises to talk to Jay at Nate’s fight. And in this moment, for the first time, I really see them as a parents — a rare moment for each of them (but especially the two of them together).

NEXT: What are we going to do about Jay?

Now, on to the man who has everyone worried. After Jay says his daily hello to the motel maid — in a beautiful juxtaposition to the room service at the fancy hotel, the living quarters mirror Jay and Ava’s physical and emotional state — Ava informs him they’re running low on drugs. But by the time Mac arrives at the hotel and Ava very quickly asks him about heroin, Mac realizes what he’s walked into.

Asking for a moment alone with Jay, Mac refuses to give Jay anything. “You’re way too f–ked up and I don’t want anything to do with this f–king situation,” he tells his friend. And the moment Mac brings up what Christina would think, Jay loses it…at least until Mac is about to leave, and like the addict he is, Jay says whatever he needs to get the drugs. With Jay begging him for something, anything, Mac throws him a little cocaine before he leaves. And it’s that cocaine Jay and Ava snort before heading to Nate’s fight.

Also heading to Nate’s fight? Ryan, Keith, and their new roommate, Alicia. With Alicia’s hatred of germs, she leaves the gym and agrees to clean and cook her way into Ryan’s house, and despite Keith’s many (amazing) objections, Ryan agrees. If there’s one thing you don’t do to Keith, it’s mess with his Ryan time. And when Alicia takes too long getting ready for the fight, he informs Ryan she’s “dominating us…controlling when we go.” As far as Keith’s concerned, Alicia’s making it so he can’t relax in his own home, and he’s NOT feeling it. (I, however, am loving it.)

At the fight, Nate — who received a good-luck text from Will! — is getting ready when Jay and Ava arrive and head straight to the bar. After Jay says hello to a few young fans, he sits Ava at the table — where it’s apparent everyone is shocked by their appearance (except Keith, who thinks Jay’s the coolest) — before he attempts to pump up his brother. “Attempt” being the important word. When a very high Jay interrupts Nate’s warm-up, the youngest Kulina shoves his brother away.

Alvey, taking Jay outside, tries to get Jay back on track. If he wants a rematch against Ryan, he’s got to get back in fighting shape. Alvey tells his son he’s had his fun, and now it’s time to get his s–t together. But all Jay cares about is getting paid the same as Ryan.

After Alvey kicks Jay out of Nate’s corner, he returns to the table, where he instantly starts looking worse for wear. With Nate trying to forget everything his dad said about doubting whether he’s a fighter, Nate enters the ring. But just before round two starts, Jay collapses, pulling Nate’s attention for just a second. As Ryan and Mac tote Jay off, Nate is forced to refocus, an action beautifully demonstrated by the show pulling all sound away except for the contact made within the cage.

By using sound to put us in Nate’s head, the fight is that much more impactful. And in the moment blood splatters across the camera, Nate knocks out his opponent. Nate Kulina is (on his way) back!

In the bathroom, Ryan apologizes to Mac for punching him in episode one before asking for some alone time with a very sick Jay. Ryan apologizes for the article and tells Jay, “My knee had nothing to do with it; you were the better man and it should’ve just stayed at that.” With Jay sitting on the bathroom floor, Ryan tells his brother he doesn’t have to take the rematch. “You’re the champ. You don’t owe me s–t.” But Jay’s in. The rematch is happening.

After Ryan helps him up, Jay asks Mac to take him back to the hotel. He’s not ready to come home yet, something that makes Christina all the more worried. Nate agrees to try to get through to his brother, but for now, he’s heading home. (Poor Nate doesn’t get much of a win celebration, does he?) As for Ava, she takes the first opportunity she gets to ask Mac for more cocaine. His response? They’re cut off. “I’ve known Jay a lot longer than you. I’m not gonna sit around while you f–k him up.” (Real question: Have you ever loved Mac more?!)

Then there’s Alvey, who has to meet up with Ron. Long story short, Ron writes Alvey a $200,000 check if he will agree to tell Lisa not to come back, that the gym doesn’t need her. Alvey ponders the proposition while Keith is left to ponder a life with Alicia. Sitting alone on the end of his bed, his eyes start to well up as he listens to Ryan and Alicia have sex. And as much as I want to know what Alvey’s going to do, I’m even more curious about what Keith’s going to do.

Episode Recaps


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