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)
Outside the gym, Christina is in for a treat when Terry, who’s still in the hospital, decides to send over a new pimp to handle his business for him. That’s how we meet Cody, the younger, hipper pimp to Terry’s old-school pimp. In other words, Cody is all about technology: He wants to see numbers, and whichever girl isn’t pulling her weight is out. As for Kayla, Cody wants to know why someone that adorable isn’t making more money, so he decides she’s only doing platinum from here on out.
Cody then leaves Christina to decide which girl gets sent home, because let’s face it, Christina runs this show, even if Cody will never admit it.
Cutting back to the gym, Dom’s influence takes its toll when Ryan is not only late to his workout but decides to GO AFTER Alvey in the cage. As you can imagine, Alvey fights back, and Jay and Mac end up having to break them up.
Lisa already knows it has everything to do with Dom and promises Alvey that she’ll handle it, while Diva Ryan is back at his place talking to Dom about how thankful Alvey should be for his loyalty. Ugh, THIS is the Ryan I want to punch in the face. Quick, go back to the Ryan who visited Keith!
Of course, Dom is there to tell Ryan that he deserves better. As Dom explains it, Alvey is in fighter mode, and while he’s in camp, he can’t also be Ryan’s coach. So what does Dom propose? That Dom step in to pick up some of the slack. But, naturally, Ryan needs to be the one to bring that up with Lisa, because it can’t come from Dom. And for some reason, Ryan agrees — the reason probably being “it will piss Alvey off.”
However, Dom might have something to worry about when it comes to Ryan. When Ryan walks him to his car — already a strange move considering it’s parked right in front of Ryan’s house — he asks about the Lisa situation. He can sense the weird energy, so what happened between them? Well, they slept together, a fact that takes Dom a second to admit, mostly because Ryan is intimidating as hell. But Dom claims that the minute he found out about Lisa and Ryan, he ended it. (So many lies.) And then Dom steps in it when he admits he heard about Alvey and Lisa’s baby. So he heard about that but didn’t hear about Lisa and Ryan? Let’s just say Ryan definitely takes note of that strange detail.
As for Nate, he spends the day with Will, who reminds him that he needs to tell Alvey the truth, because at this point, it’s looking very likely that Alvey’s going to find out his son is gay one way or another. Plus, it will lift the weight off Nate’s chest. And by the end of the hour, Nate’s decided it’s time, which is why he goes to Jay and tells him to get his s— together. “I’m going to tell Dad, and I need you to be around for that. Can you do that for me please?” This might be the sweetest “little brother” moment we’ve seen with these two. Jay has always looked out for Nate, but Nate hasn’t often verbalized his need for Jay’s support, which is why this moment destroys me.
Jay promises he’ll be there … before he ends the episode by injecting some liquid morphine that he stole from Alvey into his arm.
Speaking of Alvey, he’s taking his latest prostitute to the gas station to buy some champagne when he sees Christina leave with Cody. He follows their car back to the house and tries to call her. (Reminder: None of them has any idea what Christina’s doing or where she’s staying.) He then watches as she steps outside so that she can text him, and when he tells her he was thinking about her, her response is: “Going to bed. Night.”
Alvey never gets out of the car. For a man who almost never shies away from confrontation, this is one he avoids.