Every new character that comes on this show teaches us something about the central characters, whether it’s an old friend of Alvey’s, a new love interest for Jay, or Ryan’s roommate at the halfway house. But this time, it’s Alicia’s sister, Ava, who arrives in town, and she’s come equipped with a melancholy vibe and a Mercedes.
According to Ava, she drove all the way from Miami to LA and would like to see her sister. And when she arrives at the gym, we learn that Alicia goes by her mother’s maiden name, before we find out that Ava spent the last year working as a model in Europe. But Alicia isn’t the only character Ava serves in this scene. As soon as Jay enters, it’s obvious there’s an interest there, and most of it is coming from Alicia’s younger sister, who convinces “Ali” to go out with her that night.
Meanwhile, we get our first glimpse of how Christina’s handling rehab as she sits in a group meeting and speaks rather freely. When someone named Reggie wants to talk about his great life, Christina calls him on it, pushing him to talk about the fact that he left his daughter in a car and pointed a gun at his wife. Turns out, Christina’s not into wasting her time. And when it comes to how she’s allowed to speak so freely, well, we get that answer pretty quickly: She’s screwing the man in charge, some guy named Jason.
But unlike what we saw Christina do last season, this feels less like it’s about her need for male attention — which I’m sure is part of it – and more about her finding a way to get what she wants. Christina’s never liked rules, and rehab is no exception. So after Jason tells her that they have to stop what they’re doing because he’s newly married, she agrees. Quite frankly, she doesn’t seem to care one way or another. All she wants is his okay for her to break curfew tonight so that she can spend time with Jay. And of course, he grants her wish.
While Nate trains Jay at the gym, Alvey — fresh off an eventful night at the hotel — heads over to check on Ryan, but things quickly go awry. Just as Alvey goes to get out of his car, he hits a cyclist with his car door … or the cyclist hits him? Either way, Alvey reacts in the most Alvey way, instantly fed up with the situation. Of course the cyclist is claiming he broke his collarbone, so Alvey calls an ambulance.
And cue Keith’s epic season 2B entrance! Hearing the commotion, he walks out in his robe, lighting up my world as he holds a cup of coffee in his hand. As Alvey tells the 911 responder that the guy hurt his collarbone, Keith corrects him: “Clavicle.” (And this interaction is the magic of Keith and Alvey.) As Alvey leaves Keith to sit with the cyclist, he heads inside to see Ryan. Then Keith politely informs the grumpy cyclist, “With an attitude like that, it’s going to be a long day, sir.”
Updating Alvey on the knee, Ryan lies and says he hurt it while grappling with Juan in the cage. But no matter what happened, the only question anyone cares to know the answer to is whether Ryan can fight, so Alvey gets him a last-minute doctor’s appointment. The resolution? With only 10 days until the fight, the doctor tells Ryan to let pain be his guide. And according to him, he’s not pulling out of the fight.
In another great interaction, Ryan then asks Alvey, as his coach and Jay’s father, not to tell Jay how bad his injury is, “no disrespect.” Alvey, not appreciating that Ryan would think he’d do such a thing, responds, “A lot of disrespect! Lots.”
In this moment, I have to talk about Frank Grillo. Although he is the central character of this show, it’s easy to get distracted by some of the louder characters surrounding him, but Grillo is as solid as any performer you will find on TV. His firm grasp on this character gives every interaction a feeling of authenticity. In a way, it feels like his performance gives viewers permission to sit back, relax, and live in this world, which in turn, allows him to use Alvey’s darkness for both dramatic and comedic purposes. He goes from making you laugh in this utterly uneventful moment to the next, much more emotional scene, where he’s telling his sons that Lisa lost the baby.
Sitting in Alvey’s office, Alvey updates Jay and Nate before asking them not to tell anyone else. With nothing else to say, Jay simply stands and hugs his father before pulling his brother into a group hug. “I love you, boys,” Alvey says (as I tear up). A moment like this is so simple it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just a family hugging and comforting one another. But on Kingdom, it’s such a rarity that we get to see that familial bond between Alvey and his kids, particularly Jay. And now I’m crying again writing about it.
From there, Jay heads out to get dinner with Christina. The two discuss the fight, Jay admitting that he doesn’t want to fight Ryan: “Ryan’s my friend, I don’t like fighting my friends.” But Jay also realizes that Ryan is the next step, and it’s a step he needs to take. At this point, Jay’s just ready to fight, and Christina claims she’s going to do her best to be there. As for her curfew, she tells Jay she gets “special privileges” for being such a model resident, which, sure, that’s one way to put it.
NEXT: Nate has a night he’ll want to forget…
Back at the gym, Ava and Alicia get ready for their night out — to which Ava invites Jay — while Nate asks Alvey to get him a fight if the doctor clears him. Alvey agrees before he tells him that Ryan is still planning to fight Jay. With that, Nate has to run to a training session with Bob, who’s not happy with the fact that Nate ignored his calls the other night. Once the workout’s over, Bob kicks Nate out of his house … for now.
When Christina returns from dinner with Jay, Jason lets himself into her room. Just like that, Mr. Married over here has decided he doesn’t want to stop what they’re doing. But Christina disagrees. She tells him not to screw up his marriage. And in the moment he tries to force her hand down his pants, she screams at him to get out. So if you thought he was a pig before, well, you were right.
Back at Ryan and Keith’s house, Keith brings Ryan a new compress for his knee — he doesn’t like seeing Ryan hurt — and gives him a quick pep talk before putting on a movie they can watch together. But when Keith picks porn, Ryan decides it’s time for him to go to bed. Probably a good call.
Jay, however, is just getting his night started as he prepares to go out with the Mendez sisters. Nate gets home just in time to tell him that Ryan is set to fight before Jay heads out, but not before he tells his brother he should turn off his video games and go outside to enjoy nature, or as Jay puts it, “God’s video game.” Although it doesn’t look like Nate’s going to enjoy either when Bob calls.
At a bar, Ava tells her sister that she’s done with Miami and Italy. She’s going to hang around LA for a bit and considering that she saved a bunch of money, she’s not too worried about it. Just as the sisters make sure neither of them is eating p—y, Jay shows up with a flower tucked behind his ear because why not? He tells Ava that her big sister is going to be a star, to which Ava explains that Alicia was a late bloomer in the looks department. Growing up, Ava was the pretty one and Alicia was the bodyguard. And as it turns out, they haven’t completely abandoned those roles.
After Ava tries to convince Jay to hang out with her — he’s not about to ruin a good camp at this point — she and Alicia hit a food truck. But when an angry woman tries to start something with Ava, Alicia steps in as bodyguard and beats the crap out of her. Some things don’t change.
Elsewhere, Alvey spends his evening drinking his dinner, shooting things, and mourning the loss of his son. He decides to call Ryan and tell him what happened, knowing how much Lisa means to Ryan. Ryan asks if Alvey thinks it would be okay for him to call her, but he tells him to give it a few days.
As for Nate, his night is even worse than Alvey’s. After Bob invites him over to train, Nate arrives to discover that creepy Bob is throwing a party … and naturally, he wants Nate to stick around. When Bob goes to get Nate a drink, things fall apart. Obviously drugged, Nate finds himself being lured into a bedroom where he has a threesome with a man and a woman while Bob watches.
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The next morning, Bob’s assistant, Will, wakes Nate up — clearly, it’s not this guy’s first time handling a situation like this. In Bob’s kitchen, Will explains that Bob is on a plane to London, where he’ll be for the next month. Will tries to offer Nate another $10,000 for the next month, but Nate’s not having it. Instead, he asks Will to inform Bob that Nate’s going to “f— him up” the next time he sees him. Then he turns to leave.
Of all the new characters so far this season, I’m going to say it: Bob’s the slimiest (though Jason’s giving him a run for his money). But in serving Nate’s story line, it will be interesting to see how he copes with what’s happened to him. And as far as Ava’s concerned, what will her arrival really mean for her sister? And what will it mean for Jay?