The drama hit an all-new high in last week's episode of The Game, so now what?
More drama, of course! Beginning with everyone's favorite spoiled star quarterback, who reveals...well, what I've been suspecting all along.
Malik, Derwin & Jason
Still in rehab, Malik is not enjoying group therapy (as if we expected he would?), while he continues to deny that he has any sort of problem whatsoever. "Were you a jackass before the drugs?" one of his fellow patients inquires, but he brushes it off. Later that night, he tries to hit on Jenna, a supermodel also in residence. He tells her, "I don't really have a problem. I'm just doing this little Tiger Woods stunt for the good PR." Excuse me, but I have to say it: I told you so!
Jenna blows Malik off, and literally seconds later, his doctor arrives, saying that he's not sure Malik is serious about getting better, despite having tested positive for opiates when he was admitted. Malik translates this into being kicked out if rehab, or in other words, the excuse he's been looking for to leave.
Back in "the real world," he's immediately back to his old ways: drinking, schmoozing and pill-popping at a club. Jason and Derwin pick a bad moment to show up and try to rein him in. Malik wants to hear none of it, and literally starts pushing the both of them around. He eventually takes one swing at Derwin and then drops to the floor, leaving Jason and Derwin to try and save face on his behalf.
While Malik is passed out in the bathroom, Jason and Derwin debate what to do with him. Jason thinks he's in a coma before he comes to and tries to attack Derwin again. Derwin unloads, telling him that he had a choice to make between Malik and his career, and he chose his career. Jason has to step between them before they come to blows again, and tells Malik that he needs to go back to rehab. Malik's very mature response is to lock himself in a bathroom stall. "You don't care about anything these days," Jason says, reminding him that they're all still friends. "You need some real help."
"Whether you like it or not, we are taking you back to rehab," Derwin concurs.
Reluctantly, Malik comes out of hiding and lets the two of them escort him back to the rehab facility. Yet will he stay this time?
Melanie & Kelly
Melanie is hosting another Saber Sunbeam meeting. It's interrupted by Tasha getting a message from none other than Rick Fox (yes!), and pretending that it means nothing to her. Rick wants to take Tasha to dinner, but the girls advise her not to mess up her relationship with Dante by saying yes. Predictably, she doesn't listen, saying she wants to show Rick what he's missing. As if that's not enough, Kelly (plus camera crew) arrives to see what's going on. She immediately starts chiming in, and sparring with Tasha besides. Just because Jason is no longer with the team isn't stopping Kelly from getting her piece of the action, in this case helping to organize a girls' night out.
The girls subsequently enjoy the night at a club, and when Kelly calls, Melanie wants to invite her to join them but is stopped by her fellow Sunbeams, who claim that she's no longer one of them. Kelly shows up anyway, and Mel is told to get rid of her but can't go through with it. In response, the rest of the Sunbeams bail on them both.
Rubbed the wrong way by that, Melanie explodes at Kelly on camera, telling her that she's "starting to look pathetic and everyone's saying it" before accusing her of hanging on to not just the Sunbeams, but also the Sabers, and Jason. Not thrilled by Mel's harsh words, Kelly splits with camera crew in tow.
Tasha wasn't kidding when she said she wanted to show Rick what he was missing. Though Tasha tells Dante she wants to hurry home to him, that doesn't stop her from getting dolled up and going out to dinner. She's waiting for a bit, but is caught off guard when Dante arrives, telling her that Rick called the house when he had to cancel.
Faced with his anger, she backpedals and tells him that her breakup with Rick was traumatic and that she needed closure. Dante doesn't buy it for a second. "You underestimate the fact that I tolerate your nonsense," he retorts, giving her back the key to her place before he walks out. Exactly what Melanie warned Tasha about has come true.
I've been throwing this idea around for awhile now, but having seen this episode, it's safe to say that The Game has definitely left behind its half-hour comedy roots. While the last few episodes were lacking in the laugh department, I didn't get a single chuckle out of this week. I've forgiven this awhile now since life is not always a comedy, but honestly, I think The Game has wandered its way into straight drama territory. What that means for the show honestly depends on each individual viewer and what you like about it; I can completely understand those who aren't feeling this season, because it's tonally a departure from even season three.
That having been said, I liked this episode more than I expected to. I thought it would be a lot harsher, but the promos made it look a lot more dramatic than it actually turned out to be. I had called Malik's motivations from the moment he agreed to go to rehab, so that part isn't a surprise; he really has become insufferable, and it's no longer in that "well, he's a jerk but it's amusing" way. He's just a jerk, flat out. Here's to hoping that he actually learns from his return to rehab and gets busted down a peg or two.
I was glad to see that Malik's behavior allowed for some great material for Derwin and Jason which both Pooch Hall and Coby Bell made the best of, conveying the real guys under all the public personas and bravado with dignity and sublety. Just those two scenes between the men of the show reminded us that while they have had their issues, we can see how they are all still friends and when the chips are down, these three guys are there for one another. That's a feeling I no longer get from the women; we've seen Kelly and Tasha at odds repeatedly this season, and now we've seen a huge wedge driven into Melanie and Kelly's relationship as well. I hope that they all mature and make up, as the catfighting between them has gotten very low sometimes (last week comes to mind). I loved the bond that all these characters had, but I'm only feeling it from one side right now. It's not hard to argue that Tasha got what she deserved, and Melanie's been wound up tight all season long. These girls could use to take a few deep breaths and regroup.
There are some interesting storylines here, though. Is Malik really going to learn from rehab? I hope so. Are we ever going to see more interaction between Kelly and Jason? It looks like. Has Melanie's climb to Sunbeam President and wife of a superstar athlete gone to her head? Definitely. There are lots of aspects to explore with what this episode sets up, and I hope that the show takes the time to probe each and every one of them, for both the dramatic and the comedic. With all these characters are going through, they deserve to have something to laugh about somewhere in it all, and so do we.
Not to mention: who else was disappointed that we didn't get to see Rick Fox? And will we ever? Here's to hoping.
For more on The Game, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.