For any series, balance is a delicate thing. Balancing drama and comedy, balancing characters and plot, balancing dialogue and silence, and the list goes on. But what tonight’s episode of Kingdom demonstrated is quite simple: This show could easily walk a high wire.
Example A: The juxtaposition of the simple opening sequence of Keith walking down the road with the height of drama that came about three-quarters of the way through the episode when Nate was knocked out cold. Both moments worked beautifully, and that’s due in large part to the fact that Kingdom lives most of its life in the in-between. And in that in-between is where we spent most of this week. Let’s get to it.
We’ve already touched on Keith’s epic return, which only got better when he finally met up with Ryan at the house, resulting in this exchange:
Keith: “Hey, Ryan.”
Ryan: “Jesus! F—, Keith. What are you doing?”
Keith: “It’s me, Keith.”
Seriously, Keith is the best, particularly when you combine that comedy with the heartbreaking moment that follows when Keith re-enters the house where his father killed his mother. Paul Walter Hauser’s ability to shift to and from (and balance) those emotions is so understated and so very magnetic.
Across town, Alvey and Christina are signing their divorce papers. Staying true to form, Christina finds herself getting emotional, and Alvey does not have time to deal with it. He’d rather get to his gym, make Ryan pee in a cup, and get Nate ready for his first fight back.
Also thinking about Nate’s fight is Jay, who’s so in love with Laura that he asks her to join him at the fight. This way, she can finally meet his brother…and his mother. It might not have been the original plan, but if there’s one person Jay cannot say no to, it’s his mother, especially when she’s upset. Following her emotional morning, Christina decides she wants to spend the night with her boys, even if it means watching one of them get punched in the face.
And with that, Jay is going to endure a very awkward ride to the fight with both Laura and Christina in the (very small) cab of his truck.
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But before we get to the fight, we have to check in with Garo, who has a new proposal for Jay. To put it simply, he wants Jay to fight Ryan. And as much as that would be a nightmare for Alvey/the gym, it’s a title fight, so in Jay’s mind it’s a brilliant idea. (And in terms of the show, it’s a brilliant idea because it has already resulted in a great scene when Jay runs into Ryan at the gym and starts sizing him up. Just saying.)
Alvey, however, hates the idea. From his point of view, the fight would result in the gym losing one of its top fighters regardless of who came out the victor. So as far as he’s concerned, if Jay wants this fight, he’d have to fight unaffiliated. But Lisa warns him to think on it before giving Jay the news. Alvey needs to take things one son at a time. And first up, is Nate, who’s been doing his best to get his mind straight for his fight.
NEXT: Nate’s one weakness in the ring…