Kingdom recap: Cut Man
Kingdom has never shied away from tackling serious issues. But what it’s doing with Lisa’s miscarriage story line very well might be the show’s most powerful story to date. Much like how this show has handled other issues, namely addiction, Kingdom succeeds because it approaches each topic like its an opponent in the cage: It pulls no punches; it refuses to back down.
In order to tell a story that is truthful to the people within this world, you can’t be hesitant. You have to show the truth, no matter how hard it might be to watch. And I have to say, the final scene of this episode is one of the hardest things I’ve had to watch, and yet I’ve watched it over and over because of just how powerful it is in its unwillingness to sugarcoat anything. Lisa and Alvey lost a child, and as much as other shows might have tried to use Lisa’s absence to push past the issue so as to not have to deal with the hard truths of it, Kingdom leans in. And I’m so glad it does.
The episode begins with Alvey burning Ron’s check before finally telling Roxanne about Lisa and the baby. With Lisa returning to the gym, he couldn’t hide it any longer. And to be honest, Roxanne reacts almost too sanely. She simply asks what Lisa wants from Alvey, and he’s honest when he tells her he’s not sure. But he did tell Lisa about their relationship, so there’s that. Roxanne offers to give Alvey space, but he assures her that’s the last thing he wants.
Meanwhile, Lisa is settling back into her office, which Shelby has suffocated with flowers. Lisa convinces her to remove at least one bouquet before Ryan and Alicia show up, and I give so much credit to Kiele Sanchez for the subtle moments in this episode: The look on her face when she hugs Ryan, a man she once loved. Ryan offers his condolences about the baby, and Lisa offers her condolences about his father, and together, they agree not to talk about either. Ryan, however, does offer to lend an ear whenever she needs one.
Elsewhere, Keith is at the hardware store. And if that sentence didn’t stop your heart, he’s buying A HAMMER. I applaud the person who chose the song playing in the background. As Keith holds the hammer in his hands, the lyrics say, “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Let us all remind ourselves that Keith’s father murdered Keith’s mother with a hammer while she slept. SO THIS LOOKS GREAT.
Thankfully, Keith puts the hammer on the backburner and heads instead to pick up a cake that he’s ordered for Lisa, which he then delivers to the gym, where Jay is breaking all the rules to visit Lisa during Ryan’s time. Sitting in Lisa’s office, Lisa asks Jay to please make her life easier by sticking to the training schedule. Jay agrees despite the fact that he’s a “free-spirited animal” that’s stifled by schedules.
Lisa admits that she’s doing better than she was, mostly thanks to a few pills. And no, they’re not the sort of thing Jay would enjoy. (Or perhaps they are, but Lisa’s not offering.) Lisa confronts Jay on his current situation — living in a hotel with Ava — but he throws it back at her, considering she’s also living in a hotel at the moment. (I’ve missed these two.) At this point, Keith interrupts and asks Lisa and Jay to follow him to the lounge, where Keith has gathered everyone to welcome Lisa back in the most Keith way possible: By presenting her with a cake covered in photos of Ryan. (If you thought I’d adore this scene, you were 100 percent right. Keith’s love of Ryan is perfect.)
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Finally catching up with Jay, Alicia asks about her sister. And when Jay admits that it’s getting harder and harder to get Ava to leave the hotel room, Alicia heads out to confront her sister, despite the fact that it’s fight day. Not surprisingly, Ava isn’t exactly thrilled to get a lecture from her sister, which leads to a fight. And the moment Ava brings up the fact that Alicia’s kid was taken from her because she was such a f— up, things get physical. But with Alicia being at an obvious advantage in that arena, Ava acts impulsively and hits Alicia over the head with a beer bottle, cutting her.
NEXT: It’s fight time!
While that’s happening, Christina’s getting robbed. Let me back up: After coming home to discover that Chelsey had invited a few friends over for a mini-party, Christina threatened to call the cops if they didn’t leave. So they left … but then they came back later, tied Christina up, and took everything valuable in the house, including Nate’s secret money stash.
So while Jay and Nate head back home to help with the robbery situation, Alicia starts warming up. Alicia shows Alvey the cut, but because it’s hidden by her hair, he doesn’t think the doctor will see it.
Sitting on the couch watching it all unfold, Lisa starts to drift. Suddenly, she’s thrown back into the world that she used to call home, before she was pregnant, before her loss. And watching Alicia warm up, watching Alvey coach her, she’s overwhelmed until she collapses in a panic attack.
Leaving Ryan to sit with Lisa, Alvey walks Alicia out — it’s fight time. And it’s a bloody one. Alicia’s head wound quickly starts to bleed, so the fight instantly becomes much more mental than physical: If Alicia can manage not to panic about the amount of blood running down her face, she can win this.
She manages to keep her cool when it matters, and the fight comes down to a decision with Alicia pulling out the victory. And the good news for her is that Greg Jackson was in the audience. Alicia and Ryan run into him after the fight, and he wastes no time in giving Alicia her number — it’s a gesture Ryan recognizes. Again, let’s not forget he once left Alvey behind to train with the legendary Greg Jackson.
After the fight, Alvey takes Lisa back to her hotel room, where they sit on the floor and drink to panic attacks, insomnia, depression, rage, loss, self-loathing — for Alvey, not Lisa — bitterness, hopelessness, and to all the f–king pills that make the pain go away. Lisa tries to assure Alvey that this isn’t going to happen again, but he’s not worried. She’s part of the gym no matter what. They all knew it’d take a while to get back to normal. “Didn’t take you long,” she says. And no, it’s not a dig. “He wasn’t real to you,” she tells him. As her doctor told her, men don’t know how to grieve this. And as much as Alvey says he’s hurting, Lisa simply tells him, “He wasn’t inside you.”
Switching gears a bit, Lisa then asks, “Are we really done?” Much to Alvey’s surprise, that wasn’t what Lisa was thinking. Alvey reminds her that she wasn’t happy when they were together, but as she puts it, “It felt better than this.” After all she’s been through, Lisa can’t help but hate Alvey. But she also can’t help but want him to stay the night — she doesn’t want to be alone.
Back at Jay and Nate’s place, Nate realizes his $7,000 is gone while Jay makes an even bigger realization: He finds Will’s card in Nate’s room. And after he tells Christina that he’s going back to the hotel because taking care of her is not his job, he calls the number. And in the moment he hears a man’s voice on the answering machine, he knows. HE KNOWS!!! Finally.
But that’s all we get on that matter for now. Flashing back to Alvey at Lisa’s hotel room, he calls Roxanne and tells her the truth, and again, she’s insanely understanding. She realizes he can’t leave Lisa alone, so she heads back to her place for the night. As for Alvey, he climbs into bed with Lisa, where she tells him that she had to deliver their son. And after she says, “I labored for 38 hours and I never heard him cry,” Alvey does the only thing he can do, arguably the one thing Lisa’s been wanting from him all along: He holds her.
I cannot say enough about the performances from Frank Grillo and Kiele Sanchez in this scene. That final shot of the two of them lying in silence is one of the most heartbreaking, raw, powerful things I’ve scene. Neither of them say anything, and neither of them need to. This show has always told compelling, emotional stories, but this might top them all.
In this DirecTV drama, Frank Grillo stars as an ex-MMA fighter who splits his time between operating a gym and being a father to his two sons — one played by Nick Jonas.