In the eleventh episode of Kings, I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW THIS SHOW IS REAL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Kings.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of homophobia, misogyny.
I can’t do this. I CAN’T.
I’m fine saying that this felt like a horror film, an absurdist journey akin to Kafka’s The Trial, in which facts are fabricated to the prosecution’s need. It doesn’t matter what the truth is, and it doesn’t matter if the actual truth can be proven. This was always an act of power. It was a metaphorical demonstration of said power, though it was very literal for David himself.
And the whole thing backfired.
I’ll get there. There’s a devious brilliance in the case built against David because the insinuation of espionage is so much more powerful than any real evidence. Oh, and there’s “evidence,” all right, but it’s so poorly made that it feels like it exists just as a slap in the face to David. Through Jack’s prosecution, King Silas is able to smear David’s reputation. As long as the public hates this man? He’s done. He’s guilty. And that was the whole point, wasn’t it? Silas is now more aware than ever that there’s a moral force better than him, and he wants to destroy it before he loses his throne.
And what a job he does of that. Jack, desperate to prove himself to his father and invested in William’s plan to overthrow Silas, cycles through one awful witness after another. From the colonel of the Sons of Moab, to the poorly edited video of David meeting with said colonel, to Jack’s fundamentally terrible job as a prosecutor, it’s clear that Silas never intended to actually run a decent trial. That was never the point, was it? Jack is a terrible prosecutor, relying on long-winded conjecture instead of a credible case. But it’s through those insinuations and tricks that the public turns against David, and Silas’s rule seems stronger than ever.
And then the whole thing backfires.
William is an opportunist, and absolutely nothing about that sentence is surprising to any of you. He slithers into any situation that he thinks he can exploit, so it wasn’t exactly a shocker that he wanted Jack to follow along with the trial. And once it became apparent that Silas had gotten in too deep, then William sought to protect David by offering him asylum in another country. Why else does he also want Reverend Samuels on his side? It benefits him. It allows his plan to have more certainty. But William’s key miscalculation is the same one that Silas has: David is not swayed by temptation. The promise of freedom is not greater than his dedication to the truth. Thus, David delivers a crushing blow to Samuels by handing back the gold watch from the first episode, a quiet criticism of Samuels’s willingness to be just as opportunistic as William.
Hey! An actual story for her1 Granted, it’s a very short one. I realized after the end of “Javelin” that I actually don’t know (or don’t remember) the names of the two palace guards we see all the time. I don’t know if her kiss was meant as a serious gesture. I read it as a silent acknowledgment that there was someone in her life her even thought of her outside of the monarchy. This episode sees her promotion come to fruition, though in a violently awful way. Knowing that she ordered the death of the colonel who testified against David, she’s set morally adrift here. Is she doing what’s right for the family or her country anymore? I think she’s finally giving this some serious thought.
When I thought that Michelle’s cancer had come back, I saw it as a sign. This was God telling Silas that he was failing him. And I had prepared myself to write this whole thing about Michelle’s agency and her role in the narrative and then –
Look, the whole “surprise pregnancy” trope is a tired thing, utilized often to build drama without any consideration for the actual pregnant person. There are elements of that here, but the revelatory scene is so fucking raw and scary that I admit I’m interested to see where this goes. There’s no joy offered by Michelle when she tells her mother the truth, and that should be indicative of exactly the kind of monster Silas is. His only daughter cannot even share this moment with him; indeed, she’s terrified by it.
In rare form, Queen Rose offers her unconditional protection of Michelle, and that shocked me just as much as the pregnancy reveal. Granted, Rose has another reason to protect this child: it’s another possible heir. But how can they maintain this secret in Gilboa? This is the same kingdom where every whisper makes it back to Silas? How do you hide a pregnancy and the father of the baby? And will Michelle play a role in this aside from merely being the mother of David’s child?
There are a lot of shocking things within this episode. A lot. The trial itself is so upsetting that I spent most of the scenes in wide-eyed horror. Throughout it all, Jack did exactly as he was ordered by both William and Silas. He is an agent of other people the entire time, and while this happens, he watches as David resists the king, only to finally defer to his king’s judgment EVEN WHEN HE KNOWS IT’S NOT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. Granted, Jack never saw Silas’s explanation of David’s treason, which is utter bullshit, by the way. It’s manipulative and disgusting.
All Jack witnesses is someone do what he thinks is right, over and over, never willingly hurting anyone in the process, and always looking out for others. I am interested to see if Jack will give any further justification for what he’s done, but I saw it as an expression of guilt. There was a lot of talk of that in the courtroom, and I think it finally got to him. Jack couldn’t witness someone being so utterly broke down and destroyed, and so HE TOLD THE TRUTH.
It’s honestly one of the most electrifying scenes in the entire show. Finally, someone is speaking the truth about Silas in public, which means that the public finally gets to see Silas as the cruel, monstrous homophobe that he is. It’s all out in the open, and I have no idea how the hell this is going to be dealt with. I’m certain Silas will use all of his power and might to go after Jack and David, but what of William’s coup? Can he stop that, too?
WHAT THE HELL DID THIS SHOW BECOME????
The video for “Javelin” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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