Kingdom recap: Be First
“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” —Hunter S. Thompson
If ever a quote perfectly described many of the individuals on this show, it’s that one. But as we know all, getting rid of that pain is next to impossible. And that’s what makes these people so fascinating. Furthermore, because this quote comes out of an interaction between Sean and Alvey, I will say this: Every week, it seems like this show is getting more and more comfortable with the identities of its characters, and as a result of that, I feel like I’m constantly calling something “my favorite interaction between so-and-so and what’s-his-face.” But it’s because of this show’s mastery of its characters.
Quite frankly, plot can’t save a show if it doesn’t have a solid foundation in its characters. And at this point, Kingdom is about as solid as you get.
Sorry, back to the quote.
Those words of wisdom come from none other than Sean Chapas, who starts the hour by taking Alvey to a retirement home in the hopes of getting Alvey to invest. But after one woman brings up chlamydia, Alvey can only think about one thing: getting the f— out of that home.
And yet, after spending the day looking through Sean’s plan, it doesn’t take much to get Alvey to invest. Much like Lisa tried to tell him: Fighters are good at fighting, but you shouldn’t trust them in just about anything else, particularly when it involves something like $30,000. However, after a few back-and-forths with Sean, he decides to invest.
But that’s only bad decision No. 1 for Alvey this week. Bad decision No. 2 is responding to a blogger — Mario Goldsmith — who called Navy St. “irrelevant.” Making the situation even worse, Alvey and Sean write their response while drunk. So basically, all of Alvey’s bad decisions at the moment lead back to Sean. I don’t care how much I love that Thompson quote, Sean is on my list.
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Meanwhile, as Alvey (poorly) handles money, Lisa is at the doctor for a check-up when she says the most Lisa thing she’s ever said. When asked about her birthing plan, she responds, “I want whatever you have. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even know it’s out until you showed it to me.” I love her.
Oh, and also, it’s a boy! But that’s not information that Lisa chooses to share with Alvey. For some reason — maybe she doesn’t want Alvey to get too attached? — Lisa pretends like she doesn’t know the sex of the baby, even though Alvey feels confident that he’s a “maker of men.” Real question: Is this the happiest we’ve ever seen Alvey? It’s rare that we see that smile.
But it doesn’t last long. In one of my favorite Lisa-Alvey interactions — I told you I say it a lot — she apologizes for not telling him about the doctor before informing him that she didn’t think he’d be interested…and then when he didn’t show, she was mad. Alvey’s response: “Oh, so I f—ed up twice?”
But as he tells Lisa, they have to communicate better, because it’s not like he knows what he’s doing. “Look at the two kids I got: One’s a mute the other one’s a f—ing lunatic. You want me to guess at what you need, I’m going to guess wrong, baby, every single time.” This might be the most I’ve ever loved Alvey (and I love Alvey). And to top it off, we get this:
Lisa: “Just don’t be an idiot.”
Alvey: “Okay. I’ll try.’
NEXT: How hard is it to lose 30 pounds?
From there, Alvey meets Jay — whose latest attempt at keeping his mother happy involved giving up his girlfriend’s number — for lunch to discuss the possibility of Jay fighting Ryan. Sadly for Jay, Alvey brings up some good points: If Jay loses, it’s not great. And if Jay wins, Ryan gets another shot at him. So Alvey’s pitch is simple: Turn a nice fight into a monster fight by first getting Jay a belt of his own. If Jay drops down a weight class to 145 — 30 pounds, guys — then he can win some fights, maybe get a belt, and then fight Ryan.
As Jay later tells Lisa, “I think, f— him…and why the f— not?” But if Jay does this, he’s going to be treated as a priority, or he’s leaving the gym. Lisa agrees.
But believe it or not, losing 30 pounds isn’t the biggest worry Jay has at the moment. After Laura took Christina to buy some art supplies — and got a history lesson on Christina’s addiction and Jay’s abandonment — she no longer seems too keen to hang out with Jay. Given, he’s freaking out over her not returning his call for three hours, but still. What’d you expect? He’s sensitive. And Laura attending a charity event without him isn’t exactly helping things.
But Jay isn’t the only Kulina struggling with girl troubles. With Nate so focused on getting back on his feet post-concussion, he leaves his (unlocked???) phone at home with his “girlfriend” while he runs around getting told by various adults that he can’t get back in the cage yet. And when said “girlfriend” shows up at the gym having seen his many saved photos of beautiful men, well, she’s pretty angry. So now’s when we get to see whether she’s the type of girl who’s too embarrassed to tell people that her boyfriend is gay or wants to tell everyone. For Nate’s sake, let’s hope it’s the former.
Moving from dysfunctional pairs to my favorite, moderately functional pair, Ryan and Keith shopping is something I would watch an entire series about. And you know what? The fact that Alicia finds Keith so charming has only made me like her more. Basically, if you’re cool with Keith, you’re cool with me.
Specifically, Ryan invites Alicia over to the house to have a few drinks after they spend the entire day at the gym working together (and casually stripping in front of each other). It’s there that we find out that Alicia is from Miami but moved here with a boyfriend…at least until he took bath salts and tried to stab her.
At the house, Alicia gets introduced to Keith as he chugs straight vodka, reveals that the prairie dog is his spirit animal, and lets this slip, “Michael is the guy that I stabbed to death during breakfast. I butchered him, but I was in a frenzy.” Classic, Keith.
So after Ryan puts him to bed, he learns a bit more of Alicia’s story — she cheated on her boyfriend with his cousin — and then sleeps with her, because why not? And I’m sorry, but the image of Keith sneezing in the background while Ryan and Alicia have sex is too great for words.
Like I said, with every passing week, the show’s grasp on this world and these character only gets stronger. If Kingdom were an MMA fighter, it started out with a whole lot of natural talent, and now, it’s on its way to a championship.
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.