Episode Title: "Rainmaker"
Writer: Robin Veith
Director: Norberto Barba
Previously on "Lights Out":
Months ago, Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) was in dire financial straights and he went to mobster Hal Brennan (Bill Irwin) for help. Brennan ordered him to collect a debt from a dentist, which ended in Lights breaking the man’s arm. To make the criminal charges for that go away, Brennan sent Lights on a "cake run" to deliver a bribe to Councilman Randall Hess (Patrick Collins). Eventually, Lights was able to turn his situation around and return to the ring with the approval of his wife Theresa Leary (Catherine McCormack).
Lights even got his much desired rematch signed with Richard "Death Row" Reynolds (Billy Brown), thanks to Lights’ brother Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) and the shifty boxing promoter, Barry K. Word (Reg E. Cathey). But more recently, Lights suffered an injury that required more time to heal, forcing him to turn to Brennan once again to cover the penalty fees which will allow him the chance to face Death Row one more time.
At a flea market with his sister, Margaret (Elizabeth Marvel), Lights encounters former boxing champion Jerry "The Rainmaker" Raynes (David Morse), a sad broken man crippled by puglistic dementia. Out of pity, Lights invites him to stop by the gym for work. At home, the extended Leary family is united for the Fourth of July, including Robert "Pops" Leary (Stacy Keach) and Lights’ daughter, Ava (Meredith Hagner), back from England. Lights also notes that Theresa is still pissed at him for not concentrating on her during her graduation the previous week. The next day, Lights visits Jerry to reiterate his offer of work and finds that Jerry can literally not remember things unless he writes them down on his note pad.
While there, Lights sees a TV report about Councilman Hess being arrested by the cops. When he tells Johnny the news, Johnny offers to take the fall if the bribe comes back to them but Lights refuses. Johnny gives Lights a deodorant can with a fake bottom filled with cash and the advice that money can solve almost any problem. Lights catches up to Brennan at Margaret’s diner to talk about the Hess incident, but Brennan plays dumb. That night, Hess shows up at Lights’ house and solicits another bribe. But Lights catches him wearing a wire and angrily sends him on his way.
At the gym, Jerry briefly seems at home among the other boxers. But when Pops prevents him from sparring with the other boxers, Jerry erupts in anger and nearly hits Lights with a hurled dumbbell. Coming back to his senses, Jerry apologizes and Lights sadly tells him to stay away from the gym. Later, Brennan’s henchman "Gus" comes by to see Lights and he is also incredibly unhelpful regarding the Hess situation… effectively hanging Lights out to dry. At home, Lights arrives to find the cops executing a search warrant.
After the cops leave, Lights confesses everything to Theresa. She takes what he did to the dentist in stride and even coldly suggests setting up Jerry for the fall. Wow… that is hardcore. And Lights doesn’t seem to have much a problem with it either. Lights then goes back to the diner, where Margaret tells him that Daniella (Ryann Shane) spilled about Lights’ own prognosis for dementia and that she intentionally sent him to see Jerry to show him what he could become. She also sends Lights on an errand for their father, where Brennan intercepts him. Brennan slips Lights the address where Hess is being stashed by the authorities and he urges him to take care of it.
The cops soon move in and arrest Lights for bribing a public official, which Death Row uses as a chance to go on TV and trash Lights once again. When he gets out of jail, Lights looks at the paper that Brennan gave him again. Shortly thereafter, a tall man in sweats savagely beats up Hess and his police protector. Lights then gets home and tells Theresa that he and Johnny were out celebrating his release in several public bars. The next morning, Hess claims that he can’t remember the last six months from his hospital bed.
In a final twist, Lights visits Jerry at his home and gives him the wad of cash for taking care of Hess for him. Jerry slyly eats the piece of paper with Hess’ address and says once again that if he doesn’t write it down, it never happened for him.
When I watched this episode for the first time, the moment that really blew me away was Theresa’s suggestion that Lights pin his problems on Jerry. Theresa has shown her good side and her selfish side during this series, but I never expected anything as calculating as that coming from her. As a character moment, it’s impressive and it forces me to completely reevaluate what I know about her. Throwing an old man under the proverbial bus isn’t the way a truly good person would react and it makes me wonder just how much of her persona is real.
David Morse was terrific as Jerry "The Rainmaker" Raynes, continuing the "Lights Out" tradition of getting strong performances from supporting players. Jerry didn’t quite have the impact that Eamonn Walker’s Ed Romeo had on the story, but that last twist was also impressive. Based on Theresa’s earlier statement, I expected Lights to beat the crap out of Hess and pin the blame on Jerry. That it turned out to be Jerry himself was a fantastic way to wrap up both storylines. Jerry’s moments of lucidity at the end were also very rewarding.
Morse seemed to make Jerry believably disabled without becoming a caricature. And his scenes in the boxing gym were almost heartbreaking to see. As a fighter, Jerry was probably a great champion. To see someone like that brought down to the level that they can barely do anything at all is a grim reminder not only of the toll of boxing but of aging as well.
You know, it’s funny that Hal Brennan was practically anointing himself a member of the Leary family last week, but as soon as the trouble with Hess appeared Lights was on his own to handle it. Pops had a great scene with Lights when he advised him to never cross Brennan and now even Theresa knows Brennan for who he really is. Brennan has been a subtle villain to Lights from the very beginning. He keeps Lights close only as long as he’s useful and he’s shown a willingness to cut him loose at a moment’s notice.
For all of Johnny’s faults, he was the one who actually volunteered to take the fall for Lights. Granted, Johnny has been the cause of most of Lights’ problems, up to and including the stabbing incident two episodes back. But at heart, he still seems to be a good brother and that’s kind of refreshing.
With just two episodes left, I’m hoping for an amazing conclusion. But "Lights Out" has been wildly entertaining for most of its run and it’s well worth your time to check out.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.