Remember a couple of months ago when I previewed the Necessary Roughness season premiere and begged the writers to let Dr. Dani and Nico have just one kiss? And then they teased us with “the lean” for three weeks? And then Nico backed off at the last second, and I used a not very Nice word on Twitter? Well, it was worth the wait.
In the mid-season finale airing August 29, Dani and Nico finally share a liplock, as shown in the promo, but the build up is more complicated, and much richer, than my rather shallow request for “one unexpected kiss”. In the vein of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Thornton, and all the brooding, stoic hotties who drive us crazy, Nico is the one who reveals his feelings first. It’s a subtle but powerful moment from Scott Cohen, and the romantic in me nearly swooned.
“All the Kings Horses…” is about more than romance, though. Once again the focus is on TK and his issues. His addiction to pain pills prompts a trip to rehab, just days before the first game of the season. The back office turmoil of not having a wide receiver (since Razor quit a couple of weeks ago) continued my education in the business of football, but this is TK’s story. When he meets an old acquaintance, rock star Jimmy Folks (played by Michael Imperioli) in rehab, TK thinks he has it made. This is Jimmy’s eighth trip to rehab, and he knows all the tricks to convince whomever needs convincing that he’s kicked the habit. Jimmy and TK team up to get TK to the first game of the season, but what starts out as an adventure worthy of a memoir soon turns into rock bottom for TK. It’s a sobering reminder of how serious the demons are that TK battles, and Mehcad Brooks plays it to perfection. He has a scene with Callie Thorne at the end of the episode that adds depth to the swagger, vulnerability to the arrogance.
In addition to TK’s troubles and burgeoning romance, the mid-season send off continues to deal with the illegal bugging of not just the Hawks’ offices but Dr. Dani’s therapy sessions. When the person behind the wire taps is revealed, it’s nearly the end of Dani’s professional relationship with the Hawks. Meanwhile, Nico reveals more about his past with Marshall Pittman after the mogul’s plane goes missing off the coast of West Hampton, an event that sends ripples throughout the Hawks organization. Matt fights for his job in the aftermath of TK going to rehab, and pursues a new romance of his own. And Ray Jay has to cope with the fallout of agreeing to let his friend use the backyard for his “organic herb” venture after his insider knowledge puts their fantasy football team in jeopardy. Thank goodness the Jeanette storyline was wrapped up last week!
I’m not quite sure how so much was packed into those 42 minutes of show time. Sometimes the storylines on Necessary Roughness can feel a little “light”, like they have to stretch to end up with a full episode, but not here. This is a solid block of storytelling on par with something like The Newsroom or Once Upon a Time where every minute counts.
The mid-season finale of Necessary Roughness airs Wednesday, August 29 at 10/9c on USA.