In undeniably Kulina fashion, the first line of season two? “F*** that motherf***** up!”
Let’s jump into DirecTV’s Kingdom.
Big Spender: The episode begins properly with Alvey still riding high on last season’s big wins — maybe a little too high. After testing out a handful of semi-automatics and pistols at a gun range, Alvey pays for three in cash and hops into a customized Navy St. truck to head back to the gym. What’s he going to do with those guns? Even Alvey doesn’t seem to know the purpose of his vanity purchase, but at least they look cool. Meanwhile, a very pregnant Lisa suffers through bouts of morning sickness in between a long business call. Alone. Yeah, that’s another thing — Lisa’s pregnant. When did that happen? This episode is packed tight: we don’t ever find out how Lisa and Alvey ended up back together after last season’s dramatic split. As far as the baby daddy, he seems to be dealing with the situation in typical Alvey fashion: “She’s pregnant, not paralyzed,” he tells the assistant who suggests giving Lisa a lighter workload. Another kid? Business as usual.
The Destroyer: …Doesn’t really seem up to destroying today. Ryan is scheduled for a fight, but when Jay goes to pick him up, he claims food poisoning. He really doesn’t look too good, but Jay still manages to drag him out of the house and start getting him prepped. Remember that business call? Jay was set for a match, too, but the other guy reneged at the last minute. Furious, Jay chews Lisa out in her office. She promises to manage him better, and to fix it, but when he leaves her eyes fill up with tears: it’s suddenly apparent that she’s being spread way too thin, even though she would never admit it out loud.
Intermission: With several hours to kill before the fight, the crew splits up. Nate picks Christina up from work, and they have a fraught talk over dinner about his new girlfriend. Christina keeps giving her son all the signs that she’ll accept him when he’s ready to come out, but Nate’s not having it: he shuts the conversation down. Jay does drugs with his friend Max, which goes about as well as you might expect. He gives a frantic monologue about his struggles with depression and anxiety, but when Max tries to reach out to him, he shuts it down just like his brother did. For all the development we saw Jay do in the first season, it looks like he’s right back to self-destructive square one. Back at the gym, Ryan is acting bizarre. He doesn’t seem to be so sick after all — trying to hype himself up, he starts to yell, bouncing on his toes. And then he’s just yelling. There’s a paralyzing shot of his face, staring just to the left of you, when he finally comes back to himself. What’s up there?
Fresh Face: Lisa, as usual, is the only person actually working around here. She successfully recruits Alicia Mendez, an up-and-comer who’s dealt with sexist gyms in the past and needs a fresh start. Lisa invites her to Ryan’s fight, and she says she’ll come — but she’ll only join the Navy St. crew if Lisa promises her a spot training with the legendary Alvey Kulina.
The Fight: Ryan wins, barely. It’s Jay who sees the real action, starting a brawl with some guys in the crowd who were booing Ryan’s performance. That night, Alvey and Lisa get ready for bed, but it looks kind of complicated. Even though they flirt, Alvey still ends up on the couch. That’s kind of bleak. It sets the tone for the end of the episode, too: Ryan’s drug tests have come back, and he’s definitely not clean. It’s cocaine. Alvey has a choice. He can either fold to the blackmail and sign Ryan to the enemy for six fights, or he can ruin his friend’s career and land him back in federal prison. Alvey, being Alvey, picks the most illegal option. He isn’t too happy about it.
What did you think of Kingdom’s kickass return? Let us know, and then buckle up: knowing Navy St., it can only get darker from here.
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