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‘Lights Out’ Recap: Cakewalk

Lights OutS1E2: After the second installment of Lights Out, FX’s new drama dives a little further into the world of Patrick “Lights” Leary. This week was pretty much just a set up episode of things to come, but it was done in a solid, straightforward way.

“I hear redemption is on hand.” -Father Murane

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. After last week’s challenge of a rematch from Ray “Death Row” Reynolds, the entire world — including Lights’ priest — is expecting Lights and Death Row to return to the ring one last time to settle, finally, the controversy over their previous fight with one final match. Lights plays coy and doesn’t acknowledge Father’s curiosity, but instead, gives him vague answers like “don’t believe everything you hear.”

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But, the potential rematch is only on the surface of what everyone is curious about. Rumors are fluttering about Lights’ involvement with the business he took care of last episode (you know, when he acted as a debt collector and busted that dentist’s arm). The police show up as he’s out for ice cream with his family, and take him away for questioning. But the cops are friendly with Lights. Clearly, he’s been part of the Morristown community for a long time and they don’t want to assume something that’s not true, so they believe him when he denies his involvement, and set him free. But then, outside the police station, someone else is wanting to question him. This time? A pesky boxing reporter named Mike looking for a scoop — on Lights’ arrest, the potential rematch, or pretty much anything that will make a story.

“I don’t have an alibi.” -Lights

“No, you were with me. With me and your father.” -Theresa

Here we are, not even 10 minutes into the episode, and Lights has already lied to his wife and his daughter. After fibbing to Daniella about why the police wanted to talk to him (he says he was supposed to meet with them but “forgot”), he tells half-truths to his wife. He truthfully explains why the police wanted to talk to him — they suspect he was involved with breakin’ that dentist’s arm — but denies the involvement, claiming that he was “running” and “didn’t have an alibi.” So what does his wife do, like any good wife would? Trusts her husband, and lies for him. “You were with me,” she says. “With me and your father.”

Honestly, I don’t really think Lights understands the gravity of the situation he’s found himself in. Genuinely, Lights does seem like a good guy. He wants to be a good father, a good husband, and a good man. But somehow, and we learned this last week, it’s falling apart. He’s lost all of his money and he really doesn’t understand how, plus he has that whole dementia problem setting in (which, quite honestly could be contributing to his actions). With all of these factors working against one another, he doesn’t know how to handle his life now, so he, pretty much, denies that anything is wrong and just hopes that, maybe, just maybe, things will work out. Is that a healthy way to live? No. But it seems to be the only way he knows how.

“I want my money.” -Lights

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“Sometimes direct is good, sometimes it shows desperation. Don’t show desperation.” -Hal Brennan

Lights Out really wants us to know that Lights has money problems. The show continues to emphasize this fact in, pretty much, every scene. For example, Lights shows up at the gym to learn that any of the money he deposits into his bank accounts is going to straight to the IRS, so they need to start operating on a cash only basis. On top of that, his wife’s car is getting repossessed because of late payments (which he blames on having “money in the wrong account”). So pretty much, these money problems are constantly lingering over every on-screen action, which is a good decision by the show’s creators. Because then, as the viewer, we think exactly like Lights. We understand and sympathize with him as he sits at the bar, scratching lottery tickets, hoping for something magical to happen and for all of his problems to just go away. We know how desperate he’s getting and that’s why when someone like Hal Brennan shows up, it carries such an impact.

Lots of credit goes to Bill Irwin as Brennan for making such a powerful scene between his character and Lights. When he came in to the picture, suddenly we understood that Lights’ actions — whether they’re good or bad — affect the world around him much more than we realized. And specifically, they drastically affect Brennan. Until this point, I hadn’t really thought that Lights made poor decisions with the dentist. Sure, maybe he shouldn’t have broken that dude’s arm in front of a bunch of people, but I was under the same impression that Lights was — he was just doing the job he was paid to do. But Brennan — through Irwin’s deliver of tough, poignant lines — stresses to us that Lights affected his business, much more than he realized. Lights feels remorse, and luckily, Brennan gives him some of the cash he owes, but at the same time, gives him another job. Pick up a birthday cake (a.k.a. cold hard cash) and deliver it to a birthday party.


“I’ve got three beautiful daughters, more money than I can spend. Why would I risk that?” -Lights

Lights gets called down to the bar by his father because the boxing reporter won’t leave him alone. And once again, Lights denies everything to the reporter but, again, I’m not quite sure if Lights understands the seriousness of his situation. Of course, he’s going to deny his involvement with the dentist, but I am under the impression he actually believes what he’s saying. Why? Maybe believing he wasn’t involved makes it easier for him to deal with the onset of his life falling apart. Or maybe it’s actual physical problems stemming from his dementia. But whatever the case, he’s in denial. And denial never is a good state to be in.

Regardless of the state of his mind, “Cakewalk” did give us two instances of Lights being a badass fighter. Not only does he make the hot up-and-comer who’s only a few matches away from the championship look like a fool at the gym, he fights off the two guys who tried to break into his car and steal the “cake.” It’s wise of Lights Out to show us that Lights still has it and really can be a fighter. Because ultimately, this is a show about a boxer. He may have financial problems and brain problems, but there is still something going right for him. He not only still can fight, but he’s still good.

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“How long have you known?” -Daniella

“What?” -Lights

“Pugilistic dementia.” -Daniella

I wanted to note quickly that Daniella is now the only other person who knows about Lights’ dementia. She found out by looking through his computer. Does opening up this door give Lights an outlet for the rest of his problems? Eh, maybe. I doubt it though, considering Daniella is his daughter, and Lights doesn’t seem like the type of character who would burden his daughter with any of his problems, let alone his financially related issues. But, if you’re Lights, it has to feel good to have someone else know that you’re going through something very difficult. Especially family.

“Captain wanted us to come down personally and inform you that the investigation has been dropped.” -Police

So, it appears that the “cake” Lights dropped off at the birthday party — which was shared with the D.A. — worked. Lights is out of trouble. But, of course, this can’t be the end of it. I have a feeling that breaking the dentist’s arm is going to haunt Lights throughout the season. Let’s look at the source of what “fixed” the problem. He picked up the cake from the Portuguese bakery, and afterwards, his car was broken into by the guy who sold it to him.

Right now, we don’t know much about this “bakery” but what we do know is that’s where Lights got all the money to make his problem go away. And, the worker who gave him that money tried to steal that money back. And then, that same worker who tried to steal that money was killed. Confused? Yes, me too. But this all was clearly setup of what’s to come. Perhaps this is all much bigger than Lights initially thought (which seems to be the case, considering the DA potentially is involved).

Ultimately, it seems that Lights isn’t aware of the effect he’s having on the world around him. This episode laid the groundwork of the season to come, but right now, we’re not quite sure what that will be.

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