In the sixth episode of Kings, I CAN’T FATHOM HOW FUCKED UP THIS SHOW IS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Kings.
I’m fascinated by the way that this show combines singular stories with really intense serialization. You have to watch every episode for it to make sense, and yet there’s closure and completeness after each one, too. A lot happened here, so LET’S GET TO IT.
Holy shit, Macaulay Culkin. There’s an unsettling quality to Andrew, given life by Culkin, and I think a lot of that stems from the mystery that surrounds him. We know he was exiled for something years earlier, but no one ever states it outright. They dance around it on purpose because it’s an uncomfortable subject and because they’re trying to be a high class, royal family. But this all felt even more bewildering because Andrew’s behavior is so… neutral? He’s not happy or sad at any point in this episode. He’s not eager to return to the kingdom, nor is he frightened or intimidated. He’s just there. Even when Silas directly questions him, all Andrew can muster is a sort of detached tone while observing that King Silas did what he had to do when he exiled Andrew.
What did he do? Was his exile much like Abadon’s??? And why the hell is Queen Rose’s shoe in Andrew’s room? Was he exiled for theft???
The biblical themes that pervade this show pop up in such fascinating and disturbing ways. This episode allowed me to see how easily the subjects of Gilboa worship the king. We’d been told this before, but now we’re shown it. These people clamor for a chance at justice from the king, who dispenses it with grandeur and ceremony. It’s a spectacle more than it is actual justice, and the show brilliantly has this play out before us. The king hands out a judgment that’s amusing and inspiring, all while Ethan is proclaimed guilty in court for something that the Silas administration had a deliberate hand in.
So where’s the justice? That’s the dichotomy that Ethan and David have to live with. Why do some people in an apparently God-given kingdom get justice while others don’t? This is easily the most that David has ever struggled with his sense of purpose and his belief in God. Which is, of course, PAINFULLY IRONIC, since he’s still unable to see that signs are not pointing to Silas. They’re pointing at him. Yet David does everything he can to save his brother, right up until he believes it’s not moral to do so. That point is fascinating to me because David is forced to admit that in order to save his brother, he’d have to compromise his ideals, make backdoor agreements, and exploit the media, all while publicly defying Silas. His actions stand in glaring contrast to both Silas and Jack, who constantly take advantage of this system to try and ruin others.
Jack’s more blatant than Silas is, and I’m wondering if he truly is going to remain a sad, antagonistic force for the whole series. His jealousy manifests as cruelty. He pits Michelle and David against one another for the tenth spot on Judgment Day. Then he pushes David to condemn Silas in public. Then he guarantees that Ethan is given the death penalty, all because he feels inadequate and ignored. Despite that Silas and his homophobia are responsible for everything, Jack is willing to take out anyone else along the way to guarantee that he’ll be the next king. Is it an overcompensation? Sure, but there’s more at stake here, and there are numerous factors affecting his behavior.
Mostly, I just feel sad.
I don’t feel sad for Silas, who at one point appeals to Abadon for counseling about the difficulty of being a king. The man truly sees himself as some sort of grand victim, doesn’t he? That’s why Abadon’s truth is so important: this is what Silas asked for. Not only that, he grossly misused his power as king, and it’s finally coming to bite him in the ass. Maybe his wife wouldn’t be so distant if he were closer to her and not constantly cheating on her. Maybe his life wouldn’t be so full of stress if he’d not treated Helen and Seth so terribly. (THAT CASE WITH DR. NAYAR WAS SO NERVE-WRACKING, Y’ALL. WHAT THE FUCK.) And maybe if he appreciated the people in his life who were loyal to him, he wouldn’t feel so goddamn lonely. I like to think that that final commutation of Ethan’s sentence was an attempt by Silas to recognize that David is his most loyal friend. But I think that’s wishful thinking. As soon as David poses a threat, he’ll try to take him out again.
I genuinely have no idea where this show is going, though. I imagine the endgame would be putting David on the throne, but christ, so much more needs to happen before that’ll even make a lick of sense. There are too many factors and too many players on the board. And what of Michelle and David? Whom did she make a vow to??? I’m scared.
The video for “Judgment Day” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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