“Lights Out”, “Rainmaker” Synopsis/Review.
If anything, “Rainmaker” is the epitome of this series thus far: you need to give it time, re-watch, think.
That’s what the good ones make you do.
We’re only a couple episodes away from the season finale, and it looks more and more that this sensational creation is all but done.
Please, don’t let it go down without a fight.
Again: Tuesday, 9pm central on FX.
Not a lot of boxing-related thematics this week as the season winds down and plot lines play out, but a pretty wicked ending nonetheless.
We see this time- as I mentioned earlier in my teaser - one of my favorite character actors, David Morse, in an important role.
Lights and Margaret are all good, now that he has made nice with her special friend, Hal Brennan. We see them at a flea/street market type of deal purchasing crockery for the diner.
It’s here they run into former heavyweight champion Gerry “The Rainmaker” Raines (Morse). He’s trying to hustle a buck by offering his visage, his signature, at any and all events.
We quickly learn – via the sweet science – he ain’t right.
Morse’s character is at first stereotypically annoying: he’s loopy, confused, overly sweet and in dire straits.
He offers Lights his sparring services.
“I can still make it rain!”, he says throwing a playful jab.
We’ll later learn that Raines’ condition is in fact a warning to Leary in his attempt to continue fighting, the old warrior still has a trick or two left up his sleeve.
Lights invites him to stop by the gym.
We see the whole Leary clan – yes Pops and Ava are back – celebrating the 4th of July and we see the Leary backyard for the first time.
In-ground pool, huge yard, patio, beautiful deck furniture: we see why Lights might struggle paying the mortgage.
Everyone is in good spirits except for the perpetually dour Theresa (she’s still miffed at Lights’ lack of concentration during her med school graduation). Ava drones on about how wonderful her recent trip to England was. Pops is back as head trainer.
Lights goes to visit Raines in his run down, studio apartment. Raines never stopped by the gym as originally agreed because, of course, he forgot. Leary charitably offers him a gig at the gym, telling he could use help training for the quickly upcoming Reynolds bout.
Raines agrees but first writes the appointment down in a pocket notepad.
“If I don’t write ot down it’s gone”, he openly admits.
While there, Lights glances at Raines’ tiny television, and sees a certain Jersey concilmanRandall Hess has been charged with participating in a prostituion ring.
The very same councilman at whose young son’s birthday party Patrick “Lights” Leary was a celebrity guest as a favor to Hal Brennan episodes back.
While there, upon Brennan’s asking, he left the councilman a “cake package”.
We see the office at the gym and – with Brennan’s advance money he promised the Leary’s last episode – Johnny is wheelin’, dealin’ and spendin’.
The office has been nicely refurbished. In the series pilot, we learned of “The Landing“: a real estate developemnt Lights had invested in.
An architectual model had been proudly displayed in the office’s center. Earlier on, Lights had smashed it in frustration over money woes.
We see Johnny has replaced it.
Lights confesses to Johnny that after doing a collection job for Brennan in the first episode (dentist/broken arm) and being arrested for it, Brennan arranged the bribe to the councilman in an effort to have the councilman persuade the district attorney not to press charges.
Johnny offers to take the fall: “You can’t make us ten million dollars from a jail cell”, he tells his older brother.
“I’ll handle it”, Lights replies.
Johnny also gives him a deodorant can with a hollow bottom containing a hefty wad of cash.
“Never met a problem money couldn’t solve”, Johnny says.
Lights goes to the diner where Margaret – and her boyfriend Hal – are chatting. Brennan and Leary speak.
Brennan plays dumb regarding the whole Hess mess.
“I even think someone’s dirty I make a point of keep my distance”, he says with child-like innocence. “I’ve never even met this man”.
But then, he asks Lights “Have you?”.
What happened to being “almost family”, Hal?
The councilman comes one night to the Leary home. He tells Leary it will take another payoff to make the new trouble vanish.
Suspicious from the start, Lights rips Hess’ shirt open, exposing the police wire.
And in a Sopranos-esque moment, Lights puts the councilman in a vicious head lock, while at the same time speaking in calm, matter of fact voice, straight into the mic.
“Councilman, I know you’re under alot of pressure, but you must have me confused with someone else”, he says.
Hess is then shown the door.
Lights, Johnny, Pop, Raines and others are at the gym. Lights is working out. Everyone seems in good spirits.
It’s revealed that Leary and Raines once met in the ring. Looking at the disabled, older man, Lights tells his father “I feel kind of responsible”.
It shows here that like most champions, Leary had his “passing of the torch” moment: when the younger, stronger tiger bests the older, tired lion. My sport is replete with such tales: Joe Louis vs Rocky Marciano, Larry Holmes vs Muhammad Ali, Holmes vs Mike Tyson, Terry Norris vs Sugar Ray Leonard.
A young boxer sparring in the ring, tells Raines he’d love the opportunity to go a round with him. Raines smiles, flattered and thrilled over the idea.
Pops and Lights feel differently.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea! He’ll kill you Junior!”, the elder Leary says in an effort to quash matters and save Raines’ dignity.
“I’ll go easy on ‘em”, Raines says.
Pops is steadfast. Raines freaks out.
“You don’t know what I can do! Don’t tell me what to do!”, he screams and hurls a dumbbell at Lights’ head, barely missing him.
Johnny and Lights finally subdue him. He calms down and apologizes.
It’s agreed that it’s best if The Rainmaker stays away from the gym.
“For your own good”, says Pops.
That night when leaving the gym, Lights find “Gus” – Brennan’s goon – in the parking lot. Gus heard Leary had a visitor at his home. He informs Lights that the paid 0ff DA, has now also been arrested.
“Can’t your boss make this go away?”, Lights asks. And here, we see Brennan at work: hands totally clean.
“What boss?”, Gus counters.
He then adds “I own a bar. I’m my own boss, just like you”.
“We handle our own business”.
Lights returns home to find the police raid underway. Theresa now has further cause for jubilation. She’s put two-and-two together.
“How’d you get the money to bribe the councilman?”, she asks while they sit on the patio out back.
Leary tells her.
“Hal Brennan? Margaret’s boyfriend?“, she asks, seemingly shocked. Lights confesses everything.
Theresa goes into crisis-control mode, suggesting that since there’s no paper trail, Lights tell the authorities that it was Raines, the ex champion, who was supposed to "entertain" at the councilman’s son’s b-day party. He couldn’t make it, he asked Lights to sub. End of story.
“You’re friend Gerry, you said he’s a little punchy, right?”.
Lights, not totally dissuaded at the idea, cautions that the councilman could have video or something as incriminating. He believes that is was is causing Brennan to be concerned.
Lights goes to the diner seeking Brennan who for once isn’t there. It’s there that Margaret confesses 1) she deliberately asked Leary to the flea market to get a gander of the suffering “Rainmaker” for his own good and 2) via daughter Daniella, she knows all about her brothers dementia prognosis.
She promises to keep the secret but tells him “I just wanted you to look at Gerry, and remember what’s at stake”.
She then hands him a large sack and asks him to “drop dad’s laundry at the house”.
While walking to the house, the proverbial, ominous, slow driving car passes by Leary. He gets to the house where Hal Brennan greets him.
Leary, regarding the Hess situation, gives Lights the whole “God grant me the serenity” speech.
“That’s not helpful”, Lights replies in the episode’s best line (truth be told, as a born and raised Catholic, there have been times I’ve wished to give a similar response).
Brennan is “worried”. He informs Lights the councilman is at a hotel down by the shore, under police protection.
“He needs to stop talking”, Brennan says as he hands Lights a small piece of paper.
Leary is in the gym’s locker room. He has the can of deodorant Johnny had earlier given him.
Enter the Rainmaker.
“Leary’s Gym, Monday through Friday. Today’s Wednesday”, he tells Leary, displaying his memory-notebook as concrete evidence.
Lights’ wheels begin to turn. He asks Raines to straighten up the gym a little.
“I’d do anything for you, champ”, Raines replies.
The FBI agent who lead the raid at the Leary home comes in and asks to speak to Lights: they’ve found pictures of Leary with the councilman’s son. They know Leary paid Hess off: $25,000.
They also know Leary didn’t have that kind of money at the time. They just want to know who did.
Inside, Pops inquires as to what is happening. He reminds his son that Brennan, and men like him, need to be respected. You don’t turn on someone like him.
Lights is in his den watching “Death Row” Reynolds on TV. Reynolds is giving an interview, questioning Leary’s recent stabbing, his arrest and then his “assault” on Reynolds.
“I’m ending his career on Labor Day, if I gotta go to his cell to do it”, “Death Row” boasts.
Lights watches all this with semi-appreciation: Reynolds is doing his job, he’s promoting the fight.
Daniella enters and Lights informs her that her Aunt Margaret spilled the beans.
She’s at first apologetic, distraught. “I’m just glad you went to the right person”, he tells her.
He goes on to tell that if she ever needs to talk, to come to either himself or Margaret.
Once again, this is Leary the strategist/manipulator at work: whatever you do, don’t go to your mother.
Lights is at the gym, hitting the mitts with Raines when the FBI agent comes back.
Again, we don’t want you, Lights, we want who made the payment.
Again, Leary doesn’t budge.
He’s escorted out in handcuffs.
We’re the county courthouse. Reporters. Johnny acts as a decoy to lure them away while Margaret meets Lights and tells him Pops is waiting for them out back.
She tells him she attempted to put up Pops’ house as collateral for bail money but that “it’s still in mom’s name” (she used the diner instead).
Our “mother” reference for this outing.
She also tells him her caring, compassionate boyfriend was asking after him.
“He suggested you go down the shore to cool off for a couple days”.
Leary gets the message.
Back at the gym, he removes from the deodorant can the small slip of paper Brennan had given him earlier.
Councilman Hess is at his hotel witn an officer outside his door. He comes out, telling the cop he wants something cold to drink from the machine down the hall. The officer follows.
Suddenly, a large, hooded figure appears.
The police officer is disposed of quickly: he receives the merciful treatment.
As the hooded assailant grabs the councilman, Hess yells “No!”, apparently aware the blows about to be delieverd on him are coming from very practiced hands.
Lights comes home, telling Theresa that he and Johnny had gone on a pub-crawl.
“A lot of people saw us”, he tells her. He assures her once again all will be well.
Not well is councilman Hess.
“Is he conscious?” the FBI agent asks the doctor as he enters the hospital room.
In bed, prone in a neck brace, Hess has been beaten to a pulp.
“I feel okay”, he tells the agent. “Except I can’t remember anything. Anything for the last six months”.
The agent senses what’s happening.
“You’re not helping yourself here”.
Hess thanks him for stopping by.
Back at Raines’ dismal apartment, Lights shows up bearing gifts: a can of deodorant.
“Am I stinky?” the old man asks.
Leary tells him to unscrew the bottom and out pops the wad of bills. He tells Raines it’s in appreciation for “all the work you did for me”.
“Did I?”, Raines replies chuckling. From his pocket he produces the slip of paper Brennan had given Leary.
On it, the address and room number of Hess’ hotel.
“You know me, Lights” the Rainmaker says. “If I don’t write it down, it’s like it never happened”.
He then eats the paper, and continues soaking his sore fist in ice.