Episode Title: "Infight"
Teleplay: John P. Roche
Story by: Bryan Goluboff & Warren Leight
Director: Jean De Segonzac
Previously on "Lights Out":
After the abrupt retirement of his father and trainer, Robert "Pops" Leary (Stacy Keach), Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) sought out the legendary boxing trainer Ed Romeo (Eamonn Walker), who helped Richard "Death Row" Reynolds (Billy Brown) become the fighter that he is today. Although Romeo was wary of returning to the ring, Lights’ work ethic impressed him and he agreed to train him. Romeo was a quick hit with Lights’ wife Theresa Leary (Catherine McCormack), their children and even Lights himself. But Romeo took an instant dislike to Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) and seethed in the presence of promoter, Barry K. Word (Reg E. Cathey).
Romeo essentially said that Lights’ father, sister and brother were holding him back and overly dependent on him. In part to cut them out of his life, Romeo insisted that Lights begin training at night. Eventually, Death Row came by for a visit with Lights and warned him that Romeo was crazy. After he left, Romeo admitted to Lights that he tried to kill himself the night that Death Row fired him. He also insisted that boxing is life and death for him before resuming their training.
Romeo takes Lights and his youngest daughter Katie to an aquarium, particularly to look at the sharks while Romeo explains how the hunted can become the hunter. Elsewhere, a film crew follows Death Row as he walks the streets of Coney Island… where Lights should have met up with them hours ago. Johnny apologizes, but Word serves him with legal papers for Lights not following through on his PR commitments. Back at the gym, Pops packs up his bags and says that Lights is in good hands with Romeo. Later, Johnny arrives with Lights’ newly fixed car in the hopes of a few minutes with his brother, but Romeo runs him off quickly.
As they train, Lights openly wonders why Romeo doesn’t want him to spar or lift weights, especially given Death Row’s added muscle. Romeo explains that Death Row is pumping himself up because he’s afraid of Lights. But in his home, Death Row seems very relaxed with his wife and new child. Back at the Leary home, Daniella (Ryan Shane) shares a vulnerable moment with Romeo over her fears for her father, but he assuages her when he says that he’s trying to teach Lights how not to get hit. That night, Johnny sneaks in some time with Lights by stalking his jogging course, where he then delivers the news about Word’s legal warnings.
But Romeo is so against the distraction of the pre-fight media that he tells Lights to take any fines or fees out of his cut. Lights is impressed by his stand, but he sneaks in a pizza lunch the next day with Johnny. At the gym, Romeo has a dinner with Theresa and gets her to open up about her past. But Lights catches them in a seemingly intimate moment and acts as if he caught them acting inappropriately. When they get home, Lights tells Theresa that he feels like Romeo is driving a wedge between his family. Even though Lights is in terrific shape, he’s also concerned about how close Romeo has gotten with Theresa and his kids.
At the gym, Lights has a bad night of training which Romeo ends quickly. And he assures Lights that he would never betray him. But Lights has a slight betrayal of his own coming up. He sends Romeo to pick up his daughters from school so he can give the PR team access to him and the gym. But this time, Death Row no shows the event. The interview goes well and Lights even opens up about training with Romeo… until Romeo arrives himself and angrily throws everyone out of the gym. But Lights’ isn’t having any of this and refuses to train for the night.
Lights visits the family priest for guidance on whether to stay with Romeo or get back with Johnny and Pops, but the priest tells him that he probably already knows what he has to do. Lights then breaks off his professional relationship with Romeo, who needs to take a minute to recover himself emotionally. The Leary girls are all devastated by the departure of "Uncle Ed." But not Johnny. In fact, he’s so eager to have Romeo out that he starts packing his office almost immediately.
Romeo catches Johnny and they have an explosive confrontation that results in punches being thrown and Romeo practically choking Johnny to death. Lights tries to break it up, but Johnny accidentally stabs him in the stomach instead of Romeo. As Lights lies bleeding, the fight stops immediately. Romeo orders Johnny to get the car while holding Lights in his arms.
I’m not really a boxing fan, but I’ve really fallen hard for "Lights Out." And I’ve loved Eamonn Walker’s performance as Ed Romeo. So, the only thing that really annoys me about this episode is that it looks like Romeo is being written out of the series very quickly. And if that’s the case, I think it was the wrong move to make. Just his presence alone was creating some much needed drama and it gave the show a shakeup that it needed. Walker’s voice and delivery are a large part of that character, but the writing has been so juicy that I could watch a series just about Romeo and his struggles.
The split in the Leary family has also been very interesting, primarily because I don’t think that Romeo was wrong about the influence of Lights’ father, brother and sister. They all obviously love him, but they’re completely dependent upon him to survive whether they realize it or not. And at least Pops had enough sense to acknowledge that Romeo was a great trainer for his son and get out of the way. Johnny doesn’t seem to be capable of doing that.
Romeo’s relationship with Lights’ wife and daughters was also very interesting and well played. It seemed like a slight misstep for Lights to seemingly believe that he walked in on Romeo doing something wrong with his wife. But I liked the more complete explanation of Theresa’s childhood and how she had already gone from riches to rags. Of Lights’ daughters, Daniella has always been the one most concerned for his safety and Romeo’s ability to ease her fears was very moving.
This episode also gave us our first real glimpse at the kind of man that Death Row is away from the ring. And he’s not a monster or a raving lunatic like El Diablo. He’s just a man with his own family and reputation to think of. His main failings seem to be his pride and the fact that he may buy into his own hype as the champ. The entire series has brought us towards the ultimate confrontation between he and Lights in the ring, so we should probably learn more about Death Row in the few remaining episodes.
I’m a little disappointed that the ending also gave Lights another injury to overcome before the big fight, which is similar to the storyline leading up to the El Diablo match. But it does kick up the drama, so I can’t complain too much about that.
I’ve seen the ratings for "Lights Out" and they aren’t good. In fact, they appear to be in "Terriers" territory, which spells big trouble. There is a good chance this show could be canceled, so now is the time to tune in. If you’re looking for one of the next great dramas, this is it. And I’d love to see it get another season.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out 10.