It’s been a minute, what are Alvey and the gang up to on Kingdom?
We open with a chubby furry guy walking on the freeway with a large paper bag in hand. He’s teased while eating lunch because only skinny people eat cheeseburgers, right? He doesn’t take the fat-shaming laying down, going over to slap the shite out of a hipsterAsian. Alright, chubs! You don’t need to put up with that.
Oh! This is Keith! He got out (hence the paper bag) and he wants back into his house, Ryan! In case you didn’t remember, Keith (Paul Walter Hauser) was in the halfway house with Ryan and killed a dude that was tormenting them both. He gave Ryan his house, you know, the one in which he beat his mother to death with a hammer.
Alvey and Christina are finally divorcing, but she’s having a harder time with it than she thought she would. She can’t believe he’s having a baby, he’s almost 50 (really? He looks good for almost 50. She looks ETHEREAL.) and moar married-people wrangling ensues until she signs. He’s only ever genuine with her, though, I don’t think him and Lisa will last.
Time for Jay’s photo shoot with Laura (Jessica Szohr in case you forgot!!!! GOSSIP GIRL!!), she’s styled him in a suit with a bloody cheekbone and black eye in front of mural. A great song plays and man I wish I had good taste in music. I like really cool funky music like this but I never know where to find it.
Ryan’s out for a run, returning home to have his life shortened by a year when Keith pops out of the bushes he’s using for a bathroom. Oh hey, Keith stood up for himself earlier, yay! He never did that before! Well, except for when he stabbed that guy in the kitchen (okay, that was for Ryan) and mebbe when he beat his mom to death with a hammer, but we don't really know that story yet.
Keith gets a little teary-eyed looking around the house; he’s confused by the “Corinthian” leather couch. Keith and I agree that furniture layaway plans are the work of the debbil and nobody should ever use them. I know so many people who started their twenties with a shittonne of debt because of the gdamn Brick no-interest no downpayment furniture plans. Now, 18 year olds don’t always make the BEST decisions, but thank BOB there is a company willing to sell them thousands of dollars worth of overpriced crappy furniture with no money down. It’s the fastest way to wreck your credit rating ever!
Oh. Jay and Laura are humping already. She’s nekkid-backpacking him in the pool while she teases him about leaving for his fight. Hugs don’t pay the bills; Daddy’s gotta go to work! Jay gets serious all of a sudden, looking at her and just like that, I’m struck by Jonathan Tucker. Bravo, bro, you made me feel that in my TOES.
He wants to her to come to Nate’s fight. He wants to introduce her to his life and his family and he really likes her. Fighting isn’t her thing, though, she doesn’t like violence. I don’t actually think JAY is her thing, either; he seems waaaay more into her than she into him.
Ryan arrives at Navy St., Alvey wants to see him and wants him to piss in a cup NOW, Ryan. He takes it, and it goes okay but he won’t be riding with them to Nate’s fight, he’s gotta go see his dad first.
In case you didn’t watch season one of Kingdom (or read my recaps), Ryan was in that halfway house with Keith because he got put in jail for putting his dad in a wheelchair. There was probably a more succinct way to put that.
Jay’s smooping all over Nate, who takes it with his usual good-natured stoneface; Jay’s in love! Nate and he have a good flow and Jay’s obnoxiousness bounces nicely against Nate’s monosyllabic stoicness. Nate sends Jay at Christina, she’s been crying. It’s the divorce of course; she wants to go to Nate’s fight. Jay ers and ahs, he was planning to bring a girl…but sure, they can all ride together. Christina’s nervous; how much does Laura know about her? Subtext: does she know I was a tragic hookah with a meth problem up until you kidnapped me straight / sober? Oh no, it’s all good. He calls Laura: gets voicemail. Christina asked Nate about going to the fight and he said no, so we’ll see how that goes over.
Nate’s practicing pre-fight with Alvey; I agree with his coach, Nate’s gotten WAY faster from last season, good job BabyJonai! Blah blah Nate’s girlfriend broke up with him, he lets Alvey think it’s because of training, but we all know it has to do with her genitilia being of the inward variety.
Garo and his healed bum is fighting with Lisa; why didn’t they give him Nate’s first fight back? A lovely interplay follows wherein she calls the contract for Ryan’s next six fights at a frozen rate “fcuking extortion” (totally was) and then Jay arrives! Oh this will be good. He’s sorry about fighting in the stands. Pfft says Garo and Lisa presses; where are Jay’s fights? Why do they keep falling apart? Just then Laura calls so Jay bolts into the hallway; hey, he’s the talent! He probably shouldn’t hear this shite anyway.
I really REALLY want to buy the sexual chemistry Jay is selling and it’s not as though I think there is just one way for it to look; I’m just telling you that either Laura really isn’t into Jay, or Jessica Szhohr is a shite actress. Only time will tell. She wants to meet his mama, so with the intimation that she’s off to flick a bean, she hangs up.
Garo has a great idea about a fight for Jay: fight Ryan! I figured that would come up at one point, if not Jay vs. Nate. Jay is definitely the better fighter but Ryan has the reach, so it would be interesting. Jay calls Garo an “impresario” and says he’ll think onnit.
Jay really really wants this fight: it’s a title shot and he questions her commitment to him as a manager. Make it happen, Lisa!
Christina’s calling in “sick” to work; Jamal does NOT understand. Jay tells Nate about Christina coming to the fight, NO PRESSURE ON YOUR FIRST FIGHT BACK, NATE! Just your recently divorced parents glaring at each other across the ring!
Jay comes out and takes his first pass at Ryan, I didn’t realize they were the same height! Ryan looks much taller, but not here! I quite like how funny clueless Ryan is in the normal swing of things, Jay is always speechifying and it’s a good contrast. They end up tumbling together; first practice fight!
Lisa and Alvey are not on the same page re: Jay and Ryan fighting. Alvey calls it a soap opera, and either way, he’ll be down a fighter. If it does go ahead, maybe Jay has to train elsewhere. That makes sense to me, you don’t want to show your opponent your weaknesses until you have to, but Lisa does not concede the point.
It’s almost fight time, Jay’s on edge and trying to hustle Christina out the door while Ryan goes to see his dad. Ryan’s mom called him because she’s moving in with her sister, away from Ryan’s dad. Ryan says he’s gonna visit more often and then they watch TV together.
Alvey sends Shelby to get the pee tested as Jay and Christina pick up Laura. Hm. There is no middle seatbelt and Jay already said he had a drink…oh whew, they make it! Laura and Christina chat about art (which is what Jay said Christina was studying, or somefing), so much nervous looking around and so many cauliflowered ears!
Jay goes to check on Nate, leaving Laura and his mom there to visit…over huge glasses of wine…and Laura’s never seen anyone punched in the face before. This is going to be a long night for EVERYONE.
Oop, Ryan fell asleep watching TV with his dad and his dad wakes him up by telling him that he shat his pants. He’s gonna have to wash ‘im up. Ryan jumps up but his dad is just fcuking with him, thank the gods. If Ryan ever wants to resent his mother, think of that moment.
His dad tells him, sure, come by if you can: call first! That’s just common courtesy, but it would be nice if Ryan stopped by, just don’t try to lift his spirits or cheer him up or any of that bollocks. He asks Ryan to help him with his drops and it’s maybe to show role reversal? Child as parent? Plus Ryan missed the fight
Jay confronts Alvey in the backroom before the fight; he wants that fight with Ryan. Alvey puts him off until later. Alvey is all over the place, it's very different from other big fights we've seen him prep for. He's scattered and in his melon. Maybe the divorce is working on him too.
Lisa’s arrived at the reserved Kulina table, so now we have the former and future Mrs. Alvey Kulinas at the table, and one could be the other’s mama. And the grandma to the baby the future Mrs. Alvey Kulina is carrying. Christina tends to get a little skittish and hit the hard stuff when she gets too nervous, hang in there, former Mrs. Alvey Kulina! Laura asks how they know each other and Lisa’s answer makes me laugh out loud: “he put babies in both of us?”
Fight time! Lessee how much training BabyJonai has REALLY put in.
I also do not like violence
Especially the part where they sit on the arms of the other fighter and punch their faces to pulp. I really REALLY don’t like the Ground and Pound. Nate doesn’t do it long enough, which pisses Alvey off. He keeps stopping when the other guy isn’t fighting back and the ref won’t call it.
Nate’s confused; the fight should have been called after all the face punching, what was the ref up to?? 5 seconds into the next round and Nate gets KNOCKED THE EFF OOT. Straight back, fight over and done. Once a fighter has lost consciousness, that’s all she wrote.
After the fight, it’s worse than it looked even. Nate has a concussion. Alvey gives him a great talk about how it’s just one fight, one loss and they’ll learn from it and move on. It’s a nice difference from his usual brusque manner.
At home later, he’s more direct with Lisa. He’s worried about Nate’s killer instinct, he shoulda finished the other fighter off in the ring in the first round. “He’s a fighter that doesn’t like to hurt people” hahahaha but it’s true. The great ones in any sport are able to use and channel their anger effectively.
I have to say that part of it had to be that Alvey and crew were not properly prepared for this fight. A lot more happened before everyone else’s fights and I have to wonder if Alvey’s lack of focus affected Nate. Maybe plus all the drinking he's been doing.
Alvey tells Lisa about the divorce started today; what now? Should they get married? She rabbits to the bedroom “don’t stay up too late!” and that’s a HAYULL NO, Alvey. And we’re oot.
So. This fight is putting Navy Streeters against Navy Streeters and Alvey is firmly in the middle. If he doesn’t allow the fight, his son Jay will think he doesn’t care about his career. If he does allow the fight and Ryan loses to Jay, no way will Ryan want to train at the gym any longer, so Alvey will lose the guy he’s invested his gym in. Either way, the fight will happen. I grudgingly admit that Ryan is the better and more experienced fighter, but he isn’t as mentally sound as Jay, who is an attack machine just looking for a place to put it.
I have to reiterate my respect for Jonathan Tucker, he is really impressing me this series. I admit it, I wrote him off during the first couple of episodes, but after his "this is what we DO!" pep talk / speech, I've had my eyes on him and he does not disappoint. Frank Grillo is another that has my attention; I can never figure out if Alvey is a good guy or a bad guy and FG plays that role with a subtlety that is surprising and engrossing. I dig how he's handling this complex role. I also love how Joanna Going does fragile, and how she gets to look her actual age. There needs to be more of that, you guys.
Until next time, keep punching, y’all, until the man says STOP.