Episode Title: "The Comeback"
Story by: Nathan Jackson and Warren Leight
Teleplay by:Warren Leight, Eli Bauman and Joe Tracz
Director: Rosemary Rodriguez
Previously on "Lights Out":
After the disastrous title fight, Omar Assarian (Pedro Pascal) demanded his share of the prize money with a gun and former champion Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) bravely stood up to him at the end of his barrel. However, Lights’ problems were magnified when he learned that his father, Robert "Pops" Leary (Stacy Keach) was completely disheartened by Omar’s loss and Lights’ brother, Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) had bet heavily on the fight and was in danger of being killed by his bookie.
With the assistance of high end bookie, Hal Brennan (Bill Irwin), Lights set up an underground match with a former MMA fighter to clear Johnny’s debt. Lights emerged victorious, despite taking a beating. He was also forced to tell his wife, Theresa Leary (Catherine McCormack) the truth about his massive financial problems, but he didn’t reveal that he is showing early signs of pugilistic dementia… a secret known only by his daughter, Daniella (Ryan Shane).
Lights finds himself in a doctor’s office with Daniella and he is pleased when the doctor tells him that he is healthy and not at risk for dementia. However, the comforting news turns out to just be a dream, as Lights rests uncomfortably in his bed. The next day, Theresa arranges a financial planner to look into their money situation and the outlook is incredibly grim. Lights won’t let his daughters withdraw from their private school and he doesn’t want his family to make sacrifices. And Theresa still doesn’t want him to fight any more. But after speaking with his father and his wife at length, Lights gets their tentative blessing to finally come back to the ring.
Johnny and Pops help Lights pick an opponent who won’t hurt him in the ring but will still give him a big payday. They settle upon a fighter called Jojo and make an appointment to see promoter Barry K. Word (Reg E. Cathey), who rejects Jojo out of hand. He wants Lights to face Javier ‘El Diablo’ Morales (Gavin-Keith Umeh), a convicted statutory rapist who will be getting out of jail soon. Lights rejects the fight, but Word laughingly tells him that Johnny already gave Word the rights to his next three fights in return for Omar’s title shot. Furious, Johnny cuts off his business ties with his brother.
When Lights meets up with Jojo, he’s very much in favor of the match even though it means going up against Word. Lights turns to Brennan for help promoting the fight and begins training. At home, Lights’ wife and his oldest daughter try to focus on the positive side of his comeback, but Daniella can barely keep the secret that she knows. However, Theresa’s brave face is a front and she drowns her worries at a local bar. Later, Johnny shows up with some grave news. Jojo’s hands have been severely broken and he refuses to say what happened to him.
In anger, Lights lashes out at Word, who denies that he had any involvement in the incident with Jojo. Word ups his offer to get Lights to fight El Diablo and it appears that Lights has little choice at this point. When Daniella freaks out about him taking on El Diablo, he tells her that if she reveals the truth to Theresa about his condition that it will destroy their family. But it may happen anyway, as Theresa asks Lights to move out because she is unable to deal with seeing him possibly get hurt again. And elsewhere, Word and Brennen share a friendly meeting which suggests that they have been working together all along.
"Lights Out" turned in another strong episode, but I’m a little concerned that this new fight with El Diablo may mean that we won’t get to see Lights take on Death Row Reynolds for the championship this season. And since this may be the only season for "Lights Out," that would be a major hole in the story.
I don’t understand why audiences haven’t responded to shows like "Lights Out" and "Terriers," which are both high quality series that debuted in the past year on FX. Is "Sons of Anarchy" really the only thing that millions of people want to watch on that network? For "Lights Out," it may also be the boxing connection that’s keeping people away; which is ironic since one of the undercurrents of the series is that boxing has lost a lot of the luster and appeal that it once had to UFC and other MMA outlets.
There’s definitely a slow boil with this show, as it’s taken five episodes to get Lights officially back in training for his comeback. If we’re not going to get an immediate rematch with Death Row, than El Diablo at least has a villain’s rep to live up to. But the real threat on this show comes from Word and Brennen, both of whom are smooth talking players who have Lights so turned around that he doesn’t realize that they’re working in conjunction with each other.
A lot of Holt McCallany’s effectiveness as Lights comes from his intensity. His two best scenes this week were his attempt to threaten Word and his emotional blackmail of Daniela; who is the one member of his family who seems genuinely concerned for him. Although there was another great moment when Pops also broke out in tears while saying that he didn’t want to see Lights get hurt.
"Lights Out" does have a major weakness when it comes to its female characters. Theresa is occasionally likeable, but most of the time she just comes off as selfishly trying to meet her own needs without giving any real consideration for what Lights wants. And his oldest daughter, Ava (Meredith Hagner) is even worse. She’s just an incredibly spoiled brat.
Both women should have a place on this series, but their characters are acting in such a one dimensional way that it’s difficult to enjoy watching them onscreen. Overall, "Lights Out" has a strong cast in place and I don’t think that the performers are the problem here. It’s the writing for those characters.
Regardless, I’m still recommending "Lights Out" as a series to watch. There’s some potentially great drama on this show and I think its going to deliver the knockout punch we want before it wraps up the season.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.