‘Luck’ Recap: Who Has the Most Emotional Problems?

LuckS1E5: This episode of Luck is for the emotional cripples in all of us—the sort of figure that is becoming more and more clearly the very cornerstone of this series. The fifth episode of the season is dedicated to the idea of compulsively pushing people away, which is something of which many of these characters are guilty: Ace, Marcus, Joey, Ms. Lachay, the list goes on.

“I’m being identified as “gonzo” and “flipped” by a guy who keeps a diary like a twelve year-old.” – Marcus

The rapid evolution of the Marcus/Jerry/Renzo/Lonnie crew continues. As much as I’d be interested in seeing this route taken more slowly—the predictable route—this unprecedented immediate escalation into a genuine and open camaraderie does lend to some pressing and fun questions. We wonder where the show is actually going with these four men. Why make them friends so quickly if not to tear these friendships apart just as rapidly?

Fueling that, or some unforeseen result is the truly dense relationship the two alpha males of the group have formed. Marcus has no understanding of his concern for Jerry. He immediately dubs himself gay for caring about another man in any way. A slightly more open-minded (though still somewhat homophobic) Jerry explains to Marcus that he’s simply not used to caring about another human being, but that his feelings are not at all sexual.

“Do you have someone you can talk to?” – Doctor

“A horse?” – Marcus

“That’s not bad.” – Doctor

Marcus gets more and more interesting each week. He bounces from bitter, callous and scathing to actively considerate and marginally warm (to some degree), depending, so it seems, on his level of vulnerability. Jerry is also an interesting character, mostly because we haven’t really learned much about him beyond his addiction. In fact, this week’s conversation between Jerry and Marcus might be his most terse bit of dialogue yet.

Their relationship is, and proves to continue to be, the best thing going on on this series. Marcus and Jerry are stuck with one another—and stuck with a pair of well-meaning fools to boot. They are charged with keeping each other, and their two fools, out of trouble, for the good of the pack. They all take care of each other. Last week, they wrangled Jerry out of a detrimental card game. This week, they take Marcus to the hospital. We learn in a hospital scene that the man has come to a point where he understands his approaching mortality…but, naturally, is still none too comfortable with that. More insights into Marcus are valuable—he might well be the show’s most vibrant character, and the more we learn about him, the better it has been so far.

“You make things possible, and I’ve been afraid of things being possible.” – Lachay

Ace and Ms. Lachay are guilty of the same kind of distancing of themselves from people. Ms. Lachay openly admits to fearing change, and thus keeping herself from achieving it (even if it seems to be positive, as is the business transaction she is entering with Ace).

Ace, too, has his share of emotional tics. He has admitted to trusting, and alluded to liking, no one—both with the exception of Gus. To some degree, anyway. And although he is clearly infatuated with Ms. Lachay, he is incapable of admitting his attracting to this, or any, woman. What is it about this horse track that makes its men and women so opposed to investing themselves in one another?

“What, Joey?” – Bartender

“Nothing. Just feeling sorry for myself.” – Joey

The most damaged character on the show might be Joey, whose anxieties and personality disorders are front and center from the get-go. We learn this week that Joey seems to be divorced—it is hardly difficult to understand why.

Everyone with whom Joey has major interaction, he accosts, lashes out at, blames for his stress, and generally abuses with as much unpleasantness as possible. Joey is not a vindictive man. He is in constant agony. Lashing out is sort of like releasing the pressure valve on Joey, loosening whatever it is inside him, if only temporarily. The man has the least amount of understanding of how to interact with people—his jockeys especially, and apparently his ex-wife—out of every nut and louse on this series. And seeing more of Joey’s personal life will prove valuable, as will seeing more between Marcus and Jerry.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Which characters are most compelling to you? What do you make of Marcus’ and Jerry’s friendship? Let us know in the comments section, or on Twitter @Hollywood.com and @MichaelArbeiter.