Episode 4 of Swagger begins with Jace and Crystal in the past, eating brownies. The sound of their laughter is drowned out by a locker slamming, as we cut back to the present. Crystal is still angry at Jace but he’s convinced that she’s actually jealous, given he’s now “getting some love.” Jace is definitely getting too big for his boots, especially after gaining 2 million views on his latest photo, but as we know, this is going to blow up in a big way.
Sneaker dealerships continue to be the hot topic here, simmering in the background as Bruce tries to convince Teresa to sign over an exclusivity deal with Gladiator Sneakers. Nick Mendez is one of the brightest young players next to Jace of course, but his mum is clued in to the contract. When Bruce mentions taking guardianship of Nicholas, alarm bells ring and she refuses to sign.
Interestingly, this contract snub means Mendez has the potential to sign for Swagger. Teresa approaches Ike and the crew first, asking for help, as Ike deliberates over whether to put Jace on the team or not.
Now, more problematic than that is Jace himself. He’s skipped out practice with the team to hang with Lester. The rest of the team find out, noticing the video online and starting to resent their star player. Basketball is a team sport and Jace puling further away from the others isn’t a good look.
When Jace shows up with the other boys later on, they call him out for not passing and bailing on Muse during episode 3’s big game. Jace refuses to apologize and calls them out for the post online about not passing. We actually learn later in the episode that this was Musa who posted it, but for now the others snub Jace and walk away.
While Gladiator Sneakers continue to make their moves, desperate to bag Nick Mendez on this deal, Swagger and G. Dogz prepare to square off. Before that though, Lester Davies is unveiled as the new sponsor of the Dubz, and even brings Ike down to take a picture in the center of court for the press. This is all part of the mind games Lester is playing with Ike, and Jace is just another part of that.
The match goes ahead and predictably, G. Dubz go up on top at halftime. Unfortunately Swagger have problems of their own, most notably with Jace refusing to pass. With the team down and the half-time talk doing nothing to help, Jace is benched in favour of Royale. While he’s there though, Lester shoots a knowing glance Jace’s way. Despite a valiant fightback, Swagger lose.
Royale’s final missed shot is the main focus here, especially when his father grills him in the car for it. Royale tells his father he does work hard but the kid is exasperated, pointing out that his dyslexia is holding him back.
When Ike meets with Mendez later in the episode, a contract is definitely on the table – both literally and figuratively. Mendez has a few conditions to joining the team though, including a desire to be number 21, given his father and grandfather both shared those numbers on the court. As the meeting concludes, Ike decides to take him up on this offer.
Another part of this episode that largely flies under the radar is that of Crystal. Her creepy coach invites her in for a session alone and as the door shuts, we’re left to assume the worst possible outcome. As the episode comes to a close, Crystal walks toward Jace on the basketball court distraught, burying her head in his chest.
The Episode Review
Swagger returns with another episode that sees Jace pull away from the team and begin to focus on his own career. The irony is that basketball is obviously a team sport and given he’s not working as a team player, Jace is benched at half-time. That’s an important lesson for him to learn, and hopefully enough to teach him to put the team’s needs first before his own.
Interestingly, the inclusion of Nick Mendez could well cause Jace to step up his game too, as the competition heats up and Jace is put in a difficult position to try and compete.
Swagger has been a pretty enjoyable watch so far and while it’s pretty formulaic and cliched in its approach to the sport genre, it’s a decent watch nonetheless.