The Last Dance debut drew excellent ratings. According to ESPN, a total of 6.1 million people checked out the first two episodes of this ten-part series, which chronicles the Chicago Bulls last championship run. While the first two episodes dedicated their time discussing Jordan and Pippen, episode 3, and a portion of 4 is dedicated to Denis Rodman. Rodman’s impact on the Bulls can’t be overstated. Without his defensive prowess, Jordan likely wouldn’t have won six titles.
Hehir succeeds in the third episode at peeling back some of the layers which make Rodman who he is to expose a scarred individual. In the first quarter of episode 3, Rodman not only declares that he understands why people feel the way they do about him. He then continues to say that he seeks out these activities and is often rough on the court because he sought pain. The episode chronicles his history with Chicago before his arrival (remember they hated him when he was a Piston) and shows how the leadership of Michael and Scotty lead to his appearance. The basic premise was they would help police him if necessary.
The standout moment of Episode 3 (which ultimately bled into the 4th part) was seeing Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, and Phil Jackson recount when their favorite eccentric rebounder asked to take a vacation. Jordan’s recounting of what occurred and seeing Rodman react was downright hysterical. Hehir deftly balanced these personalities as all four painted a picture of how disruptive yet necessary Dennis was to the club’s success. Did I anticipate one of his ex-girlfriends to be part of the series? No, but I sure did enjoy hearing her spill about what being in Vegas with “The Worm” was actually like. What made that even better was hearing who had to bring him back to Chicago. You’ll see exactly what I’m alluding to when The Last Dance airs Sunday night.
Episode 4 gets into the importance of Phil Jackson on the success of the squad. While Doug Collins was beloved by Jordan, Jackson’s introduction of team-centric concepts is what put them over the top. Also, can you imagine if Jordan’s previous coaches before Phil had to manage this crew during their championship run? The 4th episode showed how the Zen master’s odd ways held this squad together even while their General Manager wanted to blow up the team.
Overall, the pacing of these two episodes was perfect. Jason Hehir’s The Last Dance is deep dive into one of the most excellent squad’s ever assembled in professional sports is compelling after only four hours. I can’t imagine what the next six hours will bring.