Swagger – Season 1 Episode 1 “NBA” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of Swagger begins with Jace as a child, left with a hand-drawn maze while his father leaves. Years pass and Jace is now a 14 year old, ready to prove himself. Jace Carson is the next big-thing in basketball and as we cut forward in time and see him out training, running up the streets we’re told that he’s the number 1 player in this area. His mum, Jenna, is there to help coach him, pointing out that his rivals want him to fail and be tired so he needs to work hard to maintain the top spot.

Jace’s hard work appears to be paying off, as a big media star called Overtime wants to watch him play. This could mean national exposure and being named Rising Phenom. For now, Jace settles in at school, including a trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

Meanwhile, Jenna goes hunting for a new coach. This falls to former professional player called Ike Kennedy. He used to be hot stuff at school but now he’s working as a salesman. He refuses to coach Jace, at least to begin with, until he learns what Jace is capable of.

Jace shows up at training and immediately receives a wake-up call when Ike blasts his lack of defence. The training session essentially turns into a 1 VS 1 encounter, as Jace and Ike both trade offensive VS defence. Jace struggles to defend every single time. He even refuses to shake Ike’s hand after being knocked down, hinting at him being a bad sport.

Jace is arrogant, and even scoffs at his sister Jack cooking dinner. Ike meanwhile, heads home and speaks to his pregnant partner, admitting that Jace is something special but after getting his ass handed to him, is clearly bent out of shape.

It turns out Jack is helping Jace in secret try to find his father. Part of why Jace is trying so hard comes from proving his father wrong. There’s some racism from white cops thrown in here too, as Jace throws the trash out, before we return to school.

Meanwhile, Isaac heads to the DMV Coaches Meeting. Things end up tense though when the subject of Jace is brought up, Specifically, how one of the other coaches believes that Ike has been poaching Jace from him.

Eventually Jace makes his decision and shows up at training, late but at least present. Because of his tardiness, everyone is forced to run. This team, SP Grind, are a big risk, especially when we learn the program has financial issues. Ike is adamant that he wants to fund this, especially with the possibility of the championships on the horizon. These are, ironically, being held in Florida. When Jenna shows up at the gym, she points out that he needs to get this right.

The next day, SP Grind prepare for their big game, with Overtime in attendance ready to watch them. Their opponents are Team All-Day, who go down 40-31 by the half-time whistle.

When Jace is called overrated by the other team, it throws him off his game and he loses composure. Ike encourages him not to get distracted but it doesn’t work. Jace misses a free shot on the first try… and the second too. SP Grind lose.

Jace is distraught but Isaac gives him some solid advice and encourages the kid to bounce back quickly and not let it affect him too much. Isaac eventually confronts Ike about his “overrated” chant and tells him not to let it get personal. However, as he berates Jace and his family, Ike smacks him in the mouth… and finds himself arrested.

The Episode Review

Everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the mouth. That quote could not resonate more with Jace. This hot-stuff teenager finally meets a real match and he immediately crumbles. However, it’s still early days and this rags-to-riches story is just starting to get going.

Alongside that though is the obligatory American racist cop story, because of course there is. Much like Truth Be Told earlier this month, it feels crowbarred into the story and has absolutely no bearing on the overarching story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely important and highlights a very real issue in America, but it doesn’t affect the story in any way, so it feels forced in.

Despite that though, Jace looks to be knocked down a peg from his arrogant persona when we first see him so hopefully he’ll be given some humble pie and start to warm up now. Like most team sports, these kids need to start working together and you can’t rely on the brilliance of individuals to see you through to the finish line (just watch highlights to Liverpool VS Man Utd for further evidence of that)

For now though, Swagger gets off to a pretty good start, leaving lots of promise for the future chapters.

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You can read our full season review for Swagger here!


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