This publication contains spoilers for the end of the second season of HBO‘s Time to winnow streaming on Max.

Time to winthe HBO drama about The Los Angeles Lakers Showtime Dynasty in the 1980s, he has been accused by members of those teams of rewriting history. With what unexpectedly turned out to be the end of a series, and not a season, the show had to rewrite its own past, as well as its future.

Earlier this summer, critics received screenings of all seven episodes of this abbreviated second season. The version of the ending available at the time ended with Quincy Isaiah. Magic Johnson sitting on the shower floor of the Boston Garden locker room, soaked in his uniform shirt and shorts, despondent about losing the 1984 Cup. NBA finals to Larry birdThe Celtics. The final version that debuted tonight was more or less the same up to that point, but Magic’s sad rain was followed by a new scene and montage.

In the added scene, Lakers owner Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly) and his twenty-something daughter, Jeannie (Hadley Robinson), walk alone around the Lakers’ home court at the Great Western Forum. Jerry imagines a future where Jeannie will one day lead the team and start winning her own championships after he passes away. They lie down on the center court logo, as we’ve seen Jerry do before, and Jerry leads Jeannie in a chant of “This, we fucking own this!”

This leads to a photo montage (composed after Pat Benatar’s “Night Shadows”) of everything significant that happened to the people depicted in the show in the years that followed: The Lakers won their next two finals matchups against Boston, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes), who holds the NBA scoring record for almost 40 years, the temperamental Jerry West (Jason Clarke) who becomes famous as general manager of the Lakers and eventually negotiates the draft rights for Kobe Bryant , that Magic is diagnosed with HIV, Magic and old flame Cookie (Tamera Tomakili) are still married today after 32 years and, yes, the Jeannie Buss-led Lakers won another title in 2020.

These versions represent two wildly different ways to end the season. The original cut concludes with the lowest moment of the Showtime era, and really only works if it’s followed by an additional season (if not more) depicting Magic’s revenge against Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small) and all the other triumphs listed in that assembly. (Without that, the shower would have been a terrible last scene.) Instead, the new version makes additional seasons on top of the point, and plays as if HBO told the show’s creative team at the last minute that there would be no additional renewals. so it would be best if they worked things out the best they could.

This can’t have been the ending anyone planned. The series began with a fast forward to Magic’s HIV diagnosis in 1991, more or less promising that we would at least return to that moment, if not Magic’s various comebacks as a Lakers player and coach. Instead, we don’t even get the full dramatization of the Magic’s peak years and big moments, like the “junior skyhook” they used to defeat Boston in Game 4 of the 1987 Finals. But Time to win It never lived up to the expectations of that cast, that theme, Adam McKay address, etc. The first season received only one Emmy nomination, for cinematography. Online chatter about it seemed to die down within weeks of its debut, and the shift from 10 episodes in the first season to just seven this year suggested that HBO was only willing to pay a limited amount to keep this project going.


HBO has confirmed that this was the Time to win series finale and that the show has been cancelled. Creator Matt Borenstein wrote on Twitter after its broadcast, “It’s not the ending we had in mind. But nothing more than gratitude and love.” Executive Producer Kevin Messick he told the vulture that Jerry and Jeannie’s scene was filmed in January, and that before the writers and then the actors went on strike, the production gave HBO two different versions of the ending, one in case of renewal and one not. If this was all done so early, then there’s no problem with scabs (writing subtitles for a montage is still writing), but the final sequence had a slap-in-the-face feel to it.

Leaving aside the issue of labor relations, it is still a disaster. “We own this!” is a better tonal and thematic summary of the series, which began with Jerry Buss as the central character, than Shower Magic. And the photo montage at least provides closure to any small portion of Time to win The audience doesn’t know everything about the rest of the Showtime dynasty, which Pat Riley (Adrian Brody) won three more titles as coach and/or executive of the Miami Heat, etc. But still, like much of the second season – which struggled to cover a much longer stretch of story than the first season, but with three fewer episodes – feels incredibly rushed. It’s not at all the triumphant closing night everyone imagined when HBO was putting together what was supposed to be the pay cable channel’s next hit and awards juggernaut. Even the Showtime Lakers never moved as fast as Time to win I had to do it in the end.

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