When Kingdom returns for season 2B, the stage is set for the show’s biggest fight to date when Ryan and Jay battle for the championship belt. “There’s a lot of fighters out there that simply won’t fight people in their gym,” creator Byron Balasco says, speaking to the tension it can cause. And caught in the middle is Alvey, trainer to both fighters and father to one.” He has to think about it not only from an emotional perspective but from a business perspective,” Balasco says. The question is: Will Alvey pick a corner? Or rather, should he?
As Alvey balances that difficult decision, he’s also adjusting to a new life — one without Lisa, whom we last saw leave Alvey behind to have the baby surrounded by family in San Francisco. “He’s a man that seems to do everything to drive people away yet hates to be alone, so he’s constantly at odds with himself,” Balasco says. “[Lisa’s] departure is fairly recent when we come back so there’s a sense of drift. You don’t quite know what direction Alvey’s going to go in. I don’t think he’s fully processed it yet.”
But Alvey isn’t the only one affected by Lisa’s absence. Without her around to run the gym, Nate has taken on a new role at Navy St., though that’s not to say that bookkeeping is his new passion. “He’s determined to get his fighting back on track,” Balasco says, adding that we’ll also get a chance to “see him explore the other side of his life that he hides from everybody.” Speaking to Nate’s sexuality, which he keeps hidden from everyone in his life, Balasco says, “We’ll see him allow himself to go further down that road. And with that comes a certain collision of worlds for him.”
Also dealing with a bit of exploration is Ryan, who is left to face a life without his father. And if that weren’t difficult enough, Ryan’s also wrestling with the fact that he was the one who took his father’s life (though it was at his father’s request). When we catch up with him, Balasco says “there’s a certain peace to him, but there’s also a certain loneliness.” In addition to preparing to face Jay in the cage, Balasco says, “Ryan’s very much trying to figure out where he fits in in the world in the absence of his father. He was able to sort of rely on the penance that he had to pay to his father that whole time and now that that’s gone, I think he’s a little bit unsure where to put his energy.”
And when Ryan and Jay aren’t the only two successful fighters in the gym, well, things only get even more complicated. Balasco previews a bit of success for the gym’s newest fighter, Alicia, and with said success comes “a bit of a power struggle in the gym.”
“The hierarchy starts to shift a little bit,” Balasco says. “But she too is somebody desperately reaching out for connection, somebody who needs people in her life and just doesn’t always know how to do it properly. She’s constantly balancing survival versus fitting into the group and a lot of times those things are at odds, because it is an individual sport, it’s a selfish life, yet you’re a part of a larger family. So there’s always that conflict between personal survival and fitting in with the family.”
See how that larger family deals with watching two of its own battle it out when Kingdom returns for season 2B on Wednesday, June 1 at 9 p.m. ET on AT&T’s Audience Network.