Remember last week, when we talked about how Kingdom was a show about irrational people, and how one of the things that makes it so great is that its protagonists are so very unpredictable? Well, for the most part, I was talking about the people who fight for a living. The people who are covered in tattoos and occasionally covered in blood, because it’s not only their job but their passion in life. In no way was I talking about sweet little Keith, and that’s probably why the final minutes of this episode shocked me beyond belief.
And yet, I love this show that much more for those final moments. After weeks of building up Keith’s character and his relationship with Ryan, Kingdom showed that the fighters aren’t the only damaged people in this world. And even though we know Keith isn’t one to throw a punch to defend himself, we now know how far he’s willing to go to protect his best, if not only, friend, and as heartbreaking as it is, it also makes Keith that much more fascinating of a character.
This hour broke down fairly easily by characters, so we’ll take this one pair at a time.
Nate and Christina
After Jay finally lets Christina out of his room and gives her a bath, the re-born mother decides to get in some bonding time with her youngest son. On the way to Nate’s physical therapy session, Christina gives him the full family history: Where they lived, where he was conceived, where he was delivered, and so on. She and her floppy hat are feeling all kinds of nostalgic by the time they get to the doctor.
Once inside, Christina fills a role that she’s yet to do on the show so far: overprotective mother. After she learns that Nate has sciatica, it’s pretty much all she can talk about. Sadly, that chat turns into what appears to be her trying to get drugs for her son (a.k.a. herself). However, during her next outing with Nate at the grocery store, she assures him that she wasn’t pushing for drugs. According to Christina, she just hates seeing her son in pain. I’ll let you judge that one for yourself.
After Christina promises to make Nate a proper pot roast, the duo heads back to the house to put away groceries and get ready to cook. However, before Christina gets started, she wants to know what really happened with Tatiana. Oh, Nate, I bet you’d forgotten what it was like to have a mother around, right? Apparently Christina sensed some weirdness coming from Nate when his new therapist mentioned Tatiana’s name. After a bit of probing, Nate confesses that he slept with Tatiana—which in his words comes out to: “yeah, she’s cool”—but didn’t call her back because, well, his mother was locked in his brother’s room being forced to go through detox. Sure, he feels bad, but as Christina tells him, there will be another one.
Jay and Alvey
After Lisa heads off to reunite Ryan with his parents, Alvey’s left to give Jay his fight money, tell Jay he’s proud of him, and then fill him in on the gangsters who beat up Nate. At a bar, Jay and Alvey—who’ve never looked more alike in a number of ways—agree that they won’t make Nate’s situation worse by making Nate worry about what they’re going to do to said gangsters. In other words, they agree to let it go. It’s a very reasonable thought, but reasonable doesn’t quite fit either of them, so instead of enjoying the moment, they order more drinks.
And those drinks lead to Alvey asking Jay for help. Yes, you read that correctly. Alvey asks Jay for advice on how to get Nate to open up to him. Although Jay doesn’t claim to have it down to a rocket science, he is able to offer his dad a pretty simple solution: Try to listen. And considering Alvey can’t name one thing about Nate that doesn’t have to do with fighting, he’s definitely got his work cut out for him. Step one: Going to Jay and Nate’s tonight for dinner.
Jay and Alvey and Nate and Christina
From two pairs to a full-fledged family, Alvey heads over to dinner at Jay’s house with a bottle of wine and absolutely no idea that Christina is the chef. And by the time that Christina lets it slip that she went to physical therapy with Nate, Alvey has had enough. Inside, he has a one-on-one chat with Christina that’s clearly laced with a lot of history we don’t know yet, before he decides he’s done with family dinner.
All that’s left for Alvey to do is inform Lisa that Christina’s back and staying with the boys. Shockingly, neither of them seem enthused.
NEXT: Keith snaps…