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Kingdom recap: 'Gentle Slope'

Jay seeks revenge on the gangsters who beat up his brother, and Alvey and Christina reconnect over dinner.

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

If anyone is still holding on to the idea that Kingdom is a show about fighting, it’s about time to let it go. Because if an hour full of relationship struggles, morality struggles, and sexuality struggles didn’t convince you, I’m not sure what will. This show is simply a great drama set in the world of fighting, and this week proved that even without all the background noise that MMA offers, the characters more than stand on their own. In other words, I’d watch these people go on a camping trip and enjoy myself. Then again, I’d probably miss all the training scenes. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

This week, we start with Jay—looking dapper in his purple suit—trying to track down the address of the gangsters who beat up Nate. And let’s just say the scene quickly turns into yet another display of what Jonathan Tucker can do. The man does comedy just as well as he does drama, and we all know how well he does drama.

By the end of the scene, Jay’s got the address, and with step one complete, he moves to step two, which involves teaching Christina how to use a gun. Spoiler: She might need some clarification on what the safety looks like and how it works.

So with Jay preparing to do something he’ll probably regret, Alvey and Ryan are currently in the regret-filled aftermath of their brawl. Well, Ryan is, but Alvey claims he’s ready to put it all behind him. Ryan was drunk; they’re cool. And once Garo shows up, they’re off to their first press event of Ryan Wheeler’s comeback. Other than one unfortunate question regarding Ryan’s father, the event goes well. And by “well,” I mean that Ryan and Alvey really should’ve talked beforehand. It seems Alvey wants a fighter who’s full of rage, and Ryan’s not feeling that portrayal. Fun fact: Alvey found Ryan when he was fresh out of college and working at a consulting firm. There’s an image for ya.

Back at the house, Jay’s getting some sun before his fight—he can’t fight pale—when Christina lets it slip that Alvey’s been arrested before. According to her, he lost a fight when she was pregnant with Jay, and after getting stoned, the two of them got in a fight. Long story short, the fight ended with Alvey putting a shotgun in his mouth and saying, “I’m gonna suck-start this shotgun,” until the cops came and put him in a psych hold. Basically, this story—combined with the title of the episode—works to introduce us to a side of Alvey we haven’t seen before but might see by episode 10.

And speaking of another side to Alvey, when he decides to go to dinner with Christina, we finally get to see them interact in a normal environment. Christina claims they can do the divorce through a website with no issues. She doesn’t want a fight. She simply wants him to order another drink and reminisce. They do both of those things before they head outside and she gets a glimpse of his motorcycle, which apparently, is the ultimate turn-on. Moments later, they’re having dirty, dirty sex in an alleyway while Lisa visits Ryan.

However, Lisa and Ryan are definitely not having dirty, dirty sex. Instead, Lisa shows up with her engagement ring in hand. After meeting with a lawyer and just generally stressing over the Alvey-Christina situation, Lisa was going to sell it, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. And when Ryan finally admits that his fight with Alvey had everything to do with her, she tells him that his fantasy about the two of them isn’t real. She feels sorry for him. The reason she went with him to visit his parents? Pity, not love. But that doesn’t stop Ryan from letting her know that he’s still in love with her… now more than ever. She walks away.

While all of this is going on, Jay heads out to get revenge on the gangsters who beat up Nate. Fully prepared, Jay rides his bike to the guy’s house, and with gun in hand, he makes his way to his bedroom. But it’s when he sees that the gangster has his small child in bed with him that Jay realizes he can’t do it. Instead, he heads outside to vomit and then makes it home just in time to walk into the weirdest situation to date.

See, when Nate found out he’d have the house to himself, he invited Casey over for some horribly boring sex—to be fair, it’s not Casey’s fault she’s a woman. And to top that off, Christina walks in on them. Then again, even Christina realizes that Nate timed things out on purpose. He knew she’d be home, so obviously he wanted her to see them. However, the “why” of it all escapes her. And instead of figuring it out, Christina decides to smoke some pot, and Nate decides to let his addict of a mother do just that, and that’s when Jay comes home. But he doesn’t stop her from smoking. Instead, in a very powerful moment, Christina seems to know exactly what happened without Jay saying a word, and she heads into the kitchen to comfort her son.

Across town, things are much less comforting when Alvey comes home and tells Lisa they have nothing to worry about because Christina doesn’t want anything. Not only is Lisa not buying it, but she also tells him that she went to see a lawyer. When she mentions Alvey signing over the deed of the gym to her, he practically laughs in her face. And when he tries to play the “you still have feelings for Ryan” card, Lisa’s had it. The two of them get physical—well, Lisa gets physical and Alvey stops himself from retaliating—until they finally realize that they’re nothing but a piece of shit and a hustler. Love, right?

In the episode’s final moments, after Lisa storms off, Alvey finally breaks down, realizing what he’s just done and how his life is about to change. Frank Grillo can say so much with one curse word. And this show can say so much with one hour.

Line of the night from Christina to Alvey: “I’m fragile. You just break things.”