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Kingdom season finale recap: 'King Beast'

The season 1 finale finds Ryan Wheeler back in the cage for the first time in five years.

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Kingdom Recap


TV Show
run date:
Joe Stevenson, Frank Grillo, Juan Archuleta, Nick Jonas
Current Status:
In Season

For months, Navy Street has been working toward this moment: Ryan Wheeler’s first fight back. And much like this fight was the culmination of everything Ryan’s done so far, this finale was the culmination of everything the show has done so far. And dare I say it, it was the show’s strongest hour. It truly felt like the past nine episodes were all building to this, and yet nothing went too far. Nobody overdosed. Nobody died. Kingdom doesn’t need big shocking cliffhangers in order to deliver an hour of solid drama. It just doesn’t.

We pick up where we left off last week with Alvey waking up at the Sunset Hawaiian. We’re not entirely sure what happened but it’s evident that the Purple Drank/Lisa did something to him, because even though he’s alone, his phone is sitting in a full glass of water. (I assume it’s water.) But he quickly has to put all that in his past, because it’s time he gets to the gym.

And the same can be said for Jay and Ryan, who are separately enjoying a healthy breakfast before running through one last shake-out at the gym. For Jay, the morning is about Nate fixing him breakfast—and secretly injecting himself with HGH—and talking Christina into coming to the fight if only to sit in the dressing room. She agrees. As for Ryan, well, his head is all over the place. Unsure of why he’s even fighting, Lisa offers him the answer: Because he’s like a mouse—an albino mouse, specifically—in a maze. He needs some sort of prize or goal at the end, some girl he wants to f— or some guy he wants to f— off. Now? He has both. Let that sink in.

At the shake-out, Jay announces that he will be throwing the party of all parties after tonight’s fight. This good boy act he’s been putting on? Yeah, that’s going to end tonight. As he puts it, “It’s going to be one of those nights.” After Mac agrees to bring the goods, Alvey shows up and asks to talk to his fighter. In his office, Alvey apologizes for missing the cut, but Ryan’s ready to put it all behind him. So long as Alvey gives him a few hours alone to get his head right, they’re all good.

So while Ryan spends some time alone—hopefully not drinking—Jay takes a nap as Nate sets up for the party. But when Christina informs him that she found the plastic tip cover of a needle, Nate has some explaining to do. Well, in all honesty, he doesn’t have to say much. As soon as he tells Christina that he’s using HGH only temporarily, she promises to keep his secret so long as he’s careful.

Meanwhile, Alvey is prepping for the fight by continuing his apology spree. He heads home to talk to Lisa and starts in on what he’s willing to do to make things right, but she’s not having it. For her, the worst part of last night wasn’t being worried about him. It was the fact that she didn’t miss him. And when he asks if she’s leaving him, she simply responds, “I think you want me to,” after which his silence is deafening. So she’ll see him at the fight.

Speaking of which, let’s get to the fight. At the walk-through, Alvey finally gets to catch up with Nate, where he tells him not to rush his comeback because he’s not desperate. “I don’t ever want to see you fight for your life,” he says. Unlike Jay and Ryan, Nate is young. “You don’t need to live in chaos,” Alvey says, in one of the show’s most poetic lines. “You don’t even know what kind of fighter you are yet.”

Also at the walk-through, Christina takes a seat next to Lisa to tell her that she’s grown to respect her. Also, she’s worried that Lisa has the wrong idea about her, that she thinks Christina abandoned her children. Christina expresses her regret, but Lisa’s not in the mood. She doesn’t see the point in this conversation, and as Christina puts it, “There’s no good conversation for us to have.” But the most important moment of the conversation comes when Christina tells her that she doesn’t want to take anything from Lisa. Lisa’s response? “What could you possibly take from me? None of it’s mine.”

From there, it’s fight time. After the announcers inform us that Ryan’s never had to defend a belt in his career, it’s Jay’s turn in the ring. All in all, his fight lasts approximately 30 seconds before the ref calls it. I couldn’t tell if the opponent was knocked out, but I believe it was a T.K.O. Regardless, Jay Kulina is back, and the world better be ready. You know who’s not ready? Christina, who lets her nerves get the best of her in the dressing room. All we see is her compose a text that says, “Can we talk tonight?”

Next up, it’s the Destroyer’s time to get back in the cage. With Nate, Jay, and Alvey behind him, Ryan walks his way to the cage to fight for the King Beast Lightweight Championship of the World. His opponent is undefeated after seven fights, but Ryan’s record remains a strong 12-2. But numbers don’t matter now. At this point, the best part of the scene was watching the Ryan we’ve come to know melt away and be replaced by the Destroyer, who happens to be a fan of “your mom” jokes and winking. (Both of which are totally badass in this circumstance.)

In round 1, the fight feels pretty even, with both fighters getting in some good combinations. Round 2, however, definitely goes to Matt, Ryan’s opponent. The only reason Ryan makes it through is because Alvey doesn’t throw in the towel and instead lets the clock run out on the round. But after Ryan comes so close to losing, something inside of him snaps. It’s like watching a switch flip. In the distance, we can hear Lisa’s “you’re a mouse in a maze” speech, after which Ryan heads into round 3 with a new sense of determination. And for lack of a better word, he destroys his opponent, knocking him out.

NEXT: Now what?