All on the Line
Episode 6 of Swagger begins with the boys heading home after taking out Crystal’s coach. Phil is confident that things will be fine but Musa is nervous and concerned about what the repercussions could be. Phil rallies the kids around this cause though, believing Jace has everything under control.
News of COVID starts to spread – because of course it does – while Crystal approaches Jace and queries him about the attack on coach. He outright admits that it was him but Crystal isn’t happy, walking away.
Ike finds his commitment to the boys tested by his need to work. Ike doesn’t show up to the pre-game talk, leaving the boys to play on their own. If that wasn’t enough, Musa isn’t there either given his grandfather has caught the virus and he’s been taken into hospital.
Swagger make their way onto the court for their game. While they play, news of NBA players catching the virus begin to spread. There’s another problem brewing though, and it comes from Jace’s distracted mind. He fails to score simple dunks and he’s eventually subbed after only scoring 9 points.
Swagger do go on to win the game, but concerns are levied over Jace’s performance. Of course, this is all because of the attack on Coach Warwick. Thankfully though he won’t be able to attack those young girls anymore.
Meanwhile, the kids gather together in confidence in the wake of the Coach Warwick attack. With Phil unwilling to go home, attention is drawn to his bruises, which didn’t come from the attack on Warwick. It’s here Phil breaks the news that his father has an anger problem, although he quickly brushes it off as nothing.
When Phil fails to tell his dad where he is, hiding out at Drew’s place, a mini-intervention soon ensues. Phil understandably has his back up and refuses to divulge what’s really going on. Eventually it falls to Tonya’s soft touch, taking Phil out for a walk, to understand that there’s an element of abuse at work here. For now she doesn’t press further but does feed this back to Ike in the car.
In the wake of all this, rumblings about the NBA suspending the season begin to stir. ‘Rona is rolling in and Musa video-calls with Jace, breaking his bad news. It doesn’t look like his grandfather is going to make it after all.
Not long after, Ike approaches Jace and tells him that the NBA are about to suspend their season. Jace finds himself distracted, reeling over this news while attending his sister’s recital. To be honest, this whole sequence just feels like padding at this point.
Anyway, as the episode closes out, Jace and Crystal wind up kissing while the threat of COVID continues to linger on the horizon.
The Episode Review
Swagger returns this week with a slow paced chapter that really doesn’t add anything of note to the show beyond Phil’s backstory. Some of the material here around the abuse definitely hits hard and to be honest, I wish the show would just lean into its character drama rather than trying to crowbar COVID into this.
I appreciate that this has been foreshadowed since the early episodes, and it did affect sport in a big way, but the fact this story has already been dragged out far longer than it should be isn’t a great sign. It does look like we’re gearing up for the COVID commentary being thrown into this.
When Swagger tackles character drama or focuses on the basketball, this show definitely shows glimmers of brilliance. Unfortunately that is dulled considerably in the wake of drawn out drama. Let’s hope next week’s episode is an improvement.