Mark Watches ‘Kings’- Episode 13 – The New King, Part II

In the thirteenth and final episode of Kings, David reckons with his decisions. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Kings.

Trigger Warning: For talk of homophobia, race.

Well, that’s one hell of a cliffhanger, isn’t it? Clearly, this show thought they were going to get a second season, since there’s not an ounce of closure here. There’s lots of potential! And like the previous episode, a billion things just happened, I’m a mess, and none of this is fair.

Let’s discuss.

William Cross

It’ll be a bit difficult to discuss any of these plotlines without looking towards the future, and that’s especially the case with William. I don’t think this would have been the last time we’d have seen the man within Gilboa, though I imagine his businesses would all have tanked due to the scandal. That’s not the world that William expected. He spends the bulk of his time arrogantly stomping around, pushing Jack to do his bidding, and underestimating Silas. His coup fails because of it, which isn’t exactly surprising.

Neither is the fact that he’s a coward. He is! He runs away when things seem difficult, and you know what? That’s exactly the kind of character he is.

Jack Benjamin

Is it surprising that in the infancy of his monarchy, Jack was willing to be just the kind of tyrant that his father was? No. Not at all, I’d say, because he learned from his father how to gain power and quash dissent. My ultimate problem with Jack is that in the end, this narrative offers him no sympathy and no promise of hope. He’s a villain, and then he’s a sad queer who’s forced into compulsory heterosexuality as punishment. This all happens in forty-five minutes, and not one person aside from Lucinda ever seems to care about him.

That’s not to suggest that he should be easily forgiven or that he shouldn’t be held accountable for what he did. That’s not fair for the show or the character, and Jack’s troubled journey should be held to the same standards as others. At the same time, the show never seemed ready to offer this character something more than the political intrigue. We got close with the plot involving Joseph, but that character was killed very shortly after the story started to get interesting. So is Jack destined to remain in the closet? Will no one stand up to Silas on this issue? But people will stand up against Jack for his crimes, yet they’re silent when Jack is subject to his father’s homophobia? I guess I just figured that since the show was bold enough to use that slur, they’d be willing to deal with the fallout of it. But “The New King, Part II” is utterly silent on the issue.

I don’t know that anyone has a more grim ending than Jack. Well, except…

Reverend Samuels / Thomasina

Right when this character finally seemed to be getting their own story – a plot involving guilt and complicity – he’s killed off. The same black character who played nothing but a supporting role the whole season is relegated to another supporting role in his death: the voice of God. It’s creepy as hell, but the implications that God would take only the black preacher in this mess of double-crossings and corruptions just makes me squint my eyes in suspicion at this show. My thoughts on Jack are complicated, and I think if we’d gotten a second season, we would have gotten a fuller picture of what his character was supposed to do. But with Samuels and Thomasina? Yeah, I don’t think it’s an odd coincidence that the two black characters on the show had the least amount of narrative attention. Both actors are quite talented, and what material we got from them was great. And yes, this is only a thirteen-episode season. But even the guard got more development than these two, and I can’t even remember his name!

The only reason I’m pointing this out isn’t to be negative for the sake of it. I’ve clearly adored this show. It’s just glaring to me that these two characters weren’t used all that much, and Samuels death made it even more obvious to me.

Michelle

I really liked her character and her willingness to do the right thing, no matter the risk. Even when it means standing up to Jack and risk getting shot. Now, I didn’t expect Jack to shoot her, honestly. He couldn’t actually do that. And I thought it was a bit much to claim that Jack was worse than Silas. He was terrible, no doubt about it. But worse?

Regardless, I kept expecting her to tell David the truth about her pregnancy. I thought she was so close to it, too! I wonder, then, if her mother got to her more than she expected her, too. Rose and Michelle never had a very close relationship, but I think that in the end, Michelle recognized that if she really wanted to keep her child safe, her mother was right. Notice that she doesn’t fight her tyranny charge after Rose whispers to her the real reason why she is being exiled for a year.

A year in exile, y’all, all so that Silas won’t ever know that she had a child. THAT’S SO FUCKED UP.

King Silas

Ian McShane made this show. There’s no doubt about it for me, and his portrayal of Silas was monstrous in ambition and ferocious in execution. He’s in rare form here, and the show demonstrates what a king who has declared war on God looks like.

He looks like shit.

From the scene where he challenges God to knock over a shot glass to the absolutely horrifying fight he has with David, this is a very physical performance. Silas no longer questions Gods signs. After reclaiming the throne, the messages are abundantly clear: God has chosen David to lead. And despite that Silas always knew this, he still fights. His arrogance is more important than holy destiny. No, it’s more than that; Silas believes that the monarchy is his forever. It’s meant to be irrational, and I think that’s what the show was foreshadowing here. I bet in the next season, Silas would quickly escalate into a full-on tyrant. Gone would be his charm, his nuance, his sense of righteousness. He’d be running a kingdom purely out of spite.

So fucked up.

I wish there was more of this. I honestly do. It’s such a compelling story, and I had very little to criticize across this season. For a show that’s so uniquely “Christian,” I did not find it preachy or distraction. I thought it was a clever way to address modern politics without losing sight of the origin story. It’s both of them at the same time, and that was always going to be a challenge to meld. I adored the quick pacing and the plot twists, and I bet it would have been even more ridiculous if there was another season. Alas, it’s a fine story as it is, and the cliffhanger lends a haunting tone to Kings as a whole. The show could have gone the saccharine route to fit in better with the more religious themes, but the bleakness here works. It’s just unfortunate that it works if you consider that it’s only part of a larger story.

Damn.

Tomorrow, we start Sense8 here on Mark Watches! Hope you’ll stick around. This was a blast!

The video for “The New King, Part II” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at Borderlands Books, Book Riot Live, and Windycon this fall! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Kings, season 1 of Sense8, season 1 of Agent Carter, seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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