With every new relationship, Kingdom reveals another side of its characters, whether it’s Jay getting a love interest, Alvey reuniting with an old friend, Lisa’s handling of Alicia, or the return of our beloved Keith. It’s never a drastic change, but much like in life, each dynamic presents a new facet of these people we’ve come to know and love. In other words, something as simple as a new character can provide the sort of shift that most shows attempt to achieve through massive, gasp-worthy plot twists. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Kingdom is subtlety done right.
This week, we start by moving Alvey out of his natural environment and putting him in a hotel conference room, where he’s giving a seminar on sales, which is the equivalent of watching a lion give a hunting lesson to a group of bunnies. My only regret is that we don’t get to see the bunnies put on pads and attempt to fight each other.
Basically, Alvey is on a new money high, which naturally leads to him wanting even more money. These seminars are his latest business venture, though he thinks they can do better than 25 people in a decent hotel. What, did you think Alvey was going to be satisfied with something?
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But Alvey isn’t the only one enjoying a new business venture: Jay somehow stumbles his way into a modeling gig (and a new relationship). In short, Jay accidentally just topped his dad.
Mid-workout on the beach, Jay realizes he’s being photographed by newcomer Laura, who finds herself — much like audiences everywhere — captivated by the ravishing creature in front of her. Flash forward a few hours (and a few drinks) and Jay and Laura are having way too much fun psychoanalyzing each other until she gives in and invites him to her place to discuss a modeling gig. And by discuss a modeling gig, she means have crazy hot sex.
Meanwhile, Ryan finds himself getting flirty with Alicia, but not until after he’s asked to come by the police station to once again lie for Keith. Not surprisingly, Keith is having trouble sticking to his story, but thankfully, Ryan is freakishly good at lying. As he puts it, “Keith also has an emotional relationship with a stuffed teddy bear and a sexual relationship with fruit, so I mean it’s possible that Keith doesn’t know what the f–k he’s talking about.” Hard to argue with that. (No offense, Jeffrey.)
Too bad Ryan can’t lie his way out of his cocaine mistake. After he only pays Lisa and Alvey 6 percent of his earnings from his last fight, he gets a talking to from Alvey himself, who informs him that his next six fights will earn him next to nothing thanks to his mistake. Oh, and next time, he will pay Alvey 10 percent.
NEXT: Ryan heads to prison [pagebreak]
From there, Ryan heads to prison to visit Keith for one of my favorite Ryan-Keith scenes to date. Keith’s reaction to the news that Lisa is pregnant with Alvey’s baby is one of pure shock and anger, and it’s magical. It speaks to both Keith’s innocence and his undying devotion to Ryan. I suddenly can’t wait for the day Keith (hopefully) meets Alvey.
With that scene, this show once again reinforces its ability to find comedy in the middle of all the drama, and it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen on TV all year. I have missed Ryan and Keith so much.
Leaving jail, Ryan is off to buy a couch — probably with the 4 percent he should’ve given the gym — while Nate takes over as the face of the gym and does interviews for his upcoming fight. And Alvey’s favorite son performs perfectly… It’s only in his personal life where he’s hiding things. Officially in fight camp, Nate has officially become a bore to his girlfriend, which works for him because while she drinks herself into a slumber, he’s able to check out Grindr.
Back at the gym, Alvey finds out the identity of his mystery caller — and sexter — when his old friend Sean Chapas shows up. Apparently, Sean and Alvey used to fight together back in the day, though they haven’t seen each other in seven years. Now investing in real estate, Sean stops by to say hi, which turns into dinner, which turns into drinks, which turns into two ex-fighters messing around in the cage. At least until Nate shows up at the gym to lift at 2 a.m.
Here’s where we get the first indication that Alvey realizes something’s up with Nate. Of course, he has no idea what it’s about, but even Alvey realizes that lifting at 2 a.m. in the morning because he can’t sleep means something is off.
Other indications that things aren’t perfect: Lisa’s complicated feelings in relation to Alicia and Ryan and Ryan getting a phone call from his mother.
Another week, another beautifully paced hour of drama, comedy, and just general character study.