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TV Open Thread: Lights Out “War”

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Lights Out, WarThe bittersweet final episode of Lights Out, “War” used boxing as a metaphor to expose some deeper truths about the society we live in. 

If the show, which has been cancelled, didn’t make it because “people don’t want to watch a show about boxing,” as some have said, that says more about the people out in TV-Land than it does about Lights Out.

As “War,” which featured the final showdown between heavyweight rivals “Lights” Leary and current champion Richard “Death Row” Reynolds brought home, those born on the bottom of the economic ladder often have to engage in a literal fight for their own survival in a way that those born in greater circumstances can paper over, but never truly transcend, with money and manners.

Patrick “Lights” Leary came from the lower classes of New Jersey, and having gotten out, was now in danger of falling back and taking his wife and children with him.  Death Row, as we saw in an earlier episode, also came from the projects in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and like Lights, was desperate never to return.

Each man is then pitted against the other in a brutal, bloody battle for economic survival and sovereignty.  And the outside forces never stop messing with them, as when Lights is informed before the big fight by oily promoter Barry K. Word, who wants a Reynolds victory, that the previous comeback bout he won by knockout was actually fixed. Only with help from Pops, his trainer and father, is Lights able to overcome this blow to his confidence.

The choice of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s underdog anthem “Fortunate Son” for Lights’ ring walk was perfect, summing up the odds Lights was fighting against, not only in fighting his younger, stronger foe, but in his life’s battles in general.  Only by using Pops’ new strategy for dealing with Reynolds – rope-a-dope and let him punch himself out – does Lights emerge victorious.

Yet Lights’ is a Pyrrhic victory, as what doesn’t kill him makes him richer, but not stronger. The show leaves us to ponder at what cost Lights has regained his title and his riches, as the signs of pugilistic dementia that have been a thread running through the series become quite pronounced after the vicious fight.

“Theresa, who won?” a confused Lights is forced to ask his wife in a quiet moment before the post-fight press conference: a question with many answers, none of them wholly satisfactory.

Lights Out did not go gently into that good night.

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  • Jack D

    Lights Out was easily one of the beat shows on TV and should not have been canceled. Like the author said, it’s cancelation is more of a reflection of the public than of the show itself. Hopefully FX will wither realize how badly they screwed up, change thwer minds and renew the show. Or it could be even better if HBO or Showtime picked up Lights Out or a second season.
    SAVE LIGHTS OUT!

  • Jack D

    Lights Out was easily one of the beat shows on TV and should not have been canceled. Like the author said, it’s cancelation is more of a reflection of the public than of the show itself. Hopefully FX will realize how badly they screwed up, change their minds and renew the show. Or it could be even better if HBO or Showtime picked up Lights Out or a second season.
    SAVE LIGHTS OUT!

  • Chris L

    Best new show in years! It’s not often that I start watching a new show. I only watch about 2 or 3 regularly but as soon as I watched one episode of Lighs Out, I was hooked. SAVE LIGHTS OUT!!!!!!

  • Reality Man

    FX, or somebody, must bring this show back. Please bring it back!

  • Josh D

    I don’t watch much late night TV as I’d rather play my Xbox. But one night out of boredom I watch TV and came across “Light’s Out”. Every Tuesday I had shut off my Xbox at 10 pm to catch that show. They NEED to bring that back.

    If they are worried about viewers, why not have season 2 start after the Final episode of “Rescue Me”? Bet that would lock in many viewers of that show that now need a new show to fill that time slot. Just saying FX. BRING IT BACK!!!

  • Gutterdandy

    I’d love to see the show move to another network — anyone got a petition going yet?