'Necessary Roughness' Season 2, Episode 1 Recap – 'Shrink or Swim'

'Necessary Roughness' Season 2, Episode 1 Recap – 'Shrink or Swim' Welcome back Hawk fans to the second season of USA’s summer hit “Necessary Roughness”. The great thing about USA summer shows is that, to a certain extent, you know what to expect. There will be some lighthearted fun, some action, and some drama. It will all be grounded by a few quirky central characters, because the USA network motto is “characters welcome”. When you escape the heat during the barren television summer months and flip on USA, you know what’s in store.

This is not a dig on the network. Sometimes, when the weather is scorching and your brain is overheated from all those hours in the sun the kind of high-octane, emotionally fraught drama shows like “Breaking Bad” deliver can just be too much. (Although “Breaking Bad” is returning in July and really, you should watch it.) There’s something comfortable and even delightful about knowing you can flip on USA and find a fun character to spend some time with. “Necessary Roughness” sports Doctor Dani Santino, psychologist to sports figures great and small, although the egos are usually pretty great.

“Necessary Roughness” has always been a fun and ultimately addicting show. It’s the kind of show that you start out watching because ‘hey! It’s On Demand!’ and soon you’re marking off days on your calendar until the next episode. The show knows how to hook the audience and keep them coming back. This addictive nature is thanks in large part to the charming cast, led by the extremely likable Callie Thorne.

In case you’ve forgotten what happened last season (and no one would blame you, it was an entire year ago!) hotshot football player TK was shot, Dani and Matt were getting closer, and the Hawks married owners were getting a messy divorce. Now that you’re up to speed, it’s time for some near-death fake outs!

The outcome of the TK shooting was so obvious that the promo department didn’t even bother to pretend he could be dead. Catching a commercial for the upcoming season, TK was everywhere. So unless the promo people want us to wonder if TK is just a ghost haunting the show, I can assume we’re not meant to worry too much over his fate. Which is good, because the medical opener of the show is frankly a bit underwhelming. Thankfully it doesn’t take up too much real estate in the episode but we do need to sit through the by-now cliché flat line and terrible medical professional fake-out before the episode really gets underway.

The theme of the episode is drowning, of the metaphorical variety, and it runs across all the characters. Dani is drowning under the stress of a sudden tax audit. That Ray somehow manages to continue to be the worst husband of all time, even while the two are divorced, is pretty hilarious. TK is obviously drowning in his PTSD despite declarations to the contrary. The Hawks are drowning in debt and throwing some poor employees overboard to try to save the sinking ship.

The takeaway from the episode is that no matter how far down you think you’ve sunk, there’s always a helping hand nearby to pull you up. Unless you’re Nico and you’ve been screwing the boss’ wife. Then probably you’re screwed.

But the episode really belonged to TK who, post-shooting, has become somehow an even more ridiculous person than he was previously. This is amazing, because if there’s one constant on this show it’s that we can count on TK to nickname his own cheerleaders the TK-ettes.

Here, in no apparent order, are some amazing things that TK does this episode:

-Decides to rename himself KT for King Terrance.

- Appears to have some kind of live-in sitar player. Because why not?

- Wants to enter the fan convention on a zip line, which is reasonable for a person still recovering from gunshot wounds. (But really cool. Note to self: I now have my next birthday party entrance!)

- Has a cane that also doubles as a sword. It’s a sworcane!

- Enters said fan convention behind a literal cloud of smoke.

- Wearing a light-up jersey.

Needless to say, TK is my hero. Despite the fact that TK is now communing with the universe and talking to the essence of squirrels, Dani realizes he’s not doing well. She knows that he is most likely suffering from PTSD and trying to cover it up with bravado. She tries to advise against him showing up at the fan convention but unsurprisingly he goes against her advice.

Once there, the confetti cannons spook him and he imagines the gunman in the crowd. He goes to pull his own gun and is only halted by Nico, who as usual is everywhere at all times. As per usual, Dani and TK have a heart-to-heart and their relationship is restored by the end of the episode.

Maybe more interesting, in terms of long time story arcs, is the messy Pittman divorce. When Dani asks about what’s going on the coach wonders if she just doesn’t listen to sports news. (This does in fact seem strange, given her profession.)

In fact, it appears the writers of “Necessary Roughness” at least are not similarly out of touch. This Pittman divorce storyline calls to mind the similarly messy and public divorce of the owners of the LA Dodgers. Will things go better or worse for Marshall Pittman than for Frank McCourt? Only time will tell.

The other big reveal this episode was finally getting to see the mysterious man behind the Hawks, Marshall Pittman himself. He’s played by Evan Handler, who seems much more menacing in his five seconds of screentime in the premiere than he ever was on “Sex and the City” or “Californication”. Will this finally lead to learning more about the equally mysterious Nico? I hope so!

Overall, the premiere set up some nice ongoing storylines for the second season. It looks like it will be money problems all around in season two. Dani will try not to murder any more tax accountants while still avoiding paying 80 grand in back taxes and the Pittman’s divorce is likely to get even uglier. Plus there’s the small matter of Dani and Matt’s secret relationship and Ray J’s new tutor flame, who came around remarkably quickly for a girl who is apparently always on outrage mode.

What did you think of the season two premiere of “Necessary Roughness?” Are you excited to see where the season goes? What do you think will happen to Nico now that Pittman knows about the affair? And are Dani and Matt headed for bliss or doom? Sound off in the comments!