As I mentioned last week, I was hoping to catch up with Christina and Lisa before too much time had passed between season halves, so I was relieved to see that the former seems to be faring well in rehab. As she sits with her fellow recovering addicts in the group therapy circle, she looks more in control of herself than she has since being introduced last year. Christina seems sold on the program, showing near zealot levels of adherence when she shames one posturing guy in the circle by referencing his rock bottom, i.e., leaving his kid in a car, pointing a gun at his wife.
As I watched her light into the guy early on in “No Fault,” I thought Christina might have been especially interested in taking the guy down a peg because his violent behavior seemed to be aimed at women. Of course, he might have just left out anecdotes about having done similar things to the men in his life. But as he sat there bragging about being a corrections officer, his words seemed to touch a nerve for Christina, who’s had to have seen the inside of a jail cell at least once at this point. The way he talked about “running” the place, and all the women that were just there suggests he might have taken advantage of the situation. So as Christina shamed him in front of everyone, she must have felt she was getting some of her own back.
What’s not quite as clear is what the hell she thinks she’s doing with her therapist. I mean, I know what she’s doing with him; they taught sex ed at my high school. But I’m not sure if it’s just because she wants to, or she’s trying to curry favor, or both. But it takes some of the sting out of her words. She might not be incarcerated, but she is under her therapist’s supervision, so the power dynamic is definitely in his favor. I don’t think it’s lost on her that she’s in a similar position as the inmates her rehab buddy mentioned, because when he says they need to stop, she goes along with it, only to ask for an extended curfew. I’m not judging what she’s doing to survive, I’m just worried that she won’t be able to get by this way much longer. Her therapist proves my point by coming into her room late at night to try to cajole her into some late-night sex. But when he tries to put her hand on his crotch, she yells at him.
Christina needed that late curfew to have dinner with Jay, who’s worried about fighting his friend, and also worried that he won’t get the chance. After all, Ryan hurt his knee after getting in a drunken fight with Mac, Jay, and Nate at the end of “Lay And Pray,” and now Jay is worried that, as his coach, Alvey will advise Ryan to withdraw. But as reluctant as he might be to whale on his pal, he knows a title bout is the next step he has to take.
Jay has plenty of reason to fear that Ryan will back out, as it turns out. Ryan texts Alvey to come over immediately as a hungover Alvey tries to piece together his most recent stay at Bubbles’ Hawaiian hotel. Luckily, the woman he had sex with tells him things got “intense,” which might explain his splitting headache. He heads to Ryan’s house, where he parks on the street to swish mouthwash and check out his bloodshot eyes. He swings the door open and right into a cyclist, sending the spandex-clad guy over his handlebars thereby breaking his collarbone. Now I have had one of those spills, which split my lip but luckily did not break my nose. And people immediately asked me why I hadn’t “practiced” falling, which is not a thing I knew casual bike riders did. So I gasped when I saw the guy go flying, but was weirdly gratified that he hadn’t practiced either.
Anyway, “Doctor” Keith is on the scene, telling Alvey to tell the 911 dispatcher that the guy’s broken his “clavicle.” The guy fumes as he waits for the ambulance, and Alvey listens to Ryan’s bullshit story about how he hurt his knee, then gets offended by Ryan’s insinuation that he left Alicia hanging by not cornering her the night before. I don’t think Ryan was just piling on Alvey here—I think he was genuinely pissed at him for abandoning Alicia like that, which is interesting since he was just pissed at Alicia for mocking his whiskey dick.
I know we’ve had some disagreement about Ryan’s true nature—is he a just gifted athlete, or a bloodthirsty guy? I was inclined to think he was the former. His dad previously described him as a reserved guy, which is why the violence he could summon shocked everyone, including the recruiters who got him a college scholarship. When school was over, Ryan went to work in finance, which is where Alvey snatched him from all those years ago. Now he’s hurting really bad. Losing a parent is so painful, made even more so by the fact that Ryan’s the guy who ended his dad’s life. It looks like that grief’s being channeled into rage—or maybe it’s just given Ryan an excuse to be himself.
But the Ryan and Jay fight inches ever closer, even as Ryan inches around on crutches. He’s paranoid that Alvey will tell Jay about his knee, thereby giving his son an advantage. This angers Alvey, but he doesn’t stick around to get into it. Back at Navy Street, he gathers his sons to tell them of Lisa’s miscarriage. They all hug, and I found it quite touching even as I wished we could see how Lisa’s holding up. But there were real-life complications that limited Kiele Sanchez’s appearance in the second half of season two, so we’ll just have to give them both their privacy.
If Alicia’s wondering where Lisa is, she’s not showing it—she’s focused on training for the next fight, the one she’s begged Alvey to set up. I enjoy seeing Alicia so fired up; I’m not sure I can describe what kind of fighter she is right now, whether she’s more like Ryan, or Jay, or Joe Daddy or whoever. But she’s moving a lot better since knocking that chip off her shoulder. Of course, now that she’s got some stuff sorted out, the errant sister we knew nothing about pops up and quickly disrupts Alicia’s life.
Alicia’s younger sister is Ava Flores, an equally gorgeous woman who’s traveled the world as model. But she’s come to Los Angeles at the end of her career, it seems, which leaves her with plenty of time to make trouble for her older sister, who’s always been her “bodyguard.” That dynamic is clearly established when the two sisters see each other for the first time in years: Alicia tells Ava she looks “so skinny,” while her little sister remarks on how strong she looks. Jay and Ava hit it off, of course, but Alicia wants a sisters-only night. She gets just that, although she also gets into a fight with a stranger at a food truck. It looks like someone got footage of the event, too, so having her sister back in her life is already not working out for Alicia.
We got to see more of Nate this week—a lot more. I knew Bob was a creep who was hitting on a guy way too young for him, but I didn’t anticipate that he’d drug Nate so he could watch him have a threesome. I don’t need Nate or the show to define the guy’s sexuality, but he looked like he was into having sex with both the man and the woman in that scene, so maybe he’s bisexual after all. But it’s not like he could actually enjoy the experience because, as previously mentioned, Bob drugged him, then promptly fled the state or country, leaving another $10,000 for Nate. This time it’s cash, but Nate rejects it and yells at Bob’s assistant Will for being totally cool with showing Bob’s victims the door. Nate does leave, but not before telling Will to tell Bob he’s going to kick the shit out of him.
The whole thing was disturbing, and I feel so bad for Nate. If he hasn’t talked to anyone about the wholly consensual sex he’s had, he’s probably not going to open up about this. Nate and Christina are kind of in the same boat right now: They were victimized in different ways this episode, but they were both at someone else’s mercy. And it looks like that’s not a position either of them wants to be in.
- Keith is back, and is as confounding as ever. The “clavicle” bit was kind of funny, and I’m sure someone laughed at Keith thinking it was cool to sit and watch porn with Ryan as if they were catching up on Breaking Bad or something, but I still don’t think he serves the story.
- Ryan reading his dad’s annotated Bible in his bedroom as Keith watched porn in the living room was just sad.
- The episode title, “No Fault,” could apply to Alvey not being entirely to blame for the cyclist’s tumble, or to Alicia being provoked into defending her sister, but it definitely does not refer to Bob’s drugging of Nate.