Kings

Kings was the only thing I watched this week which was worthy of review (other than the first season of True Blood, which I will be discussing later). Talking about this show with Tristan the other day, we were both remarking that it’s a crying shame that it was canceled basically right out of the gate, but I pointed out that I am viewing it as a miniseries, and so far, it’s a kickass miniseries. I really think that they are going to bring the show to a good ending point (presumably David’s crowning), and leave us feeling at least ok with the ending.

“The Sabbath Queen” was a pretty radical departure from the series stylistically, with the blend of flashbacks and current setting (and a pretty major continuity problem in the form of David and Silas meeting in a scene which has yet to be acknowledged by either; perhaps this will be addressed in an upcoming episode). It was also, I think, one of my favourite episodes. It really explicitly brought out the religious roots and overtones of the series in a pretty remarkable way; we have Silas basically making a deal with Death (or the Devil?) while Michelle makes a pledge to God.

The blackout was a great way to bring out the conflicts of the series; it was an entire episode shrouded in darkness which was actually immensely illuminating, because we learned so much more about the characters and their origins in the process. It was interesting to see both Jack and Michelle slipping away from the confines of the royal life and pursuing the lives they want, and seeing both of them immediately turn off as soon as the lights came back on.One of the things that Kings has done really well is force us to imagine the restrictions and confines of royal life in the modern age, where missteps cannot easily be covered up because everyone is so closely watched.

I think it’s intriguing to see how Jack yearns for power, yet pursues a life which essentially bars him from power (within the context of the show). And it’s very telling to see that his character chooses power over love when he’s in the light, but turns to love in the dark, as does Michelle. And, of course, so does Silas, who attempts to reunite with his long-suffering lover at the end of the episode. In a way, the royal family is not very likeable, because we see them all constantly compromising themselves to remain secure.

“Pilgrimage” really highlighted the danger of closeting for the characters, as Jack realized the consequences of silence in a rather grim way. I had a sense that this was an episode in which truths would start to explode, and they did, though not necessarily in a way I expected. David had a chance to come clean about himself and Michelle to Silas, but chose not to break her trust, and in return, she broke his, which pretty much totally screwed him.

And David is pretty royally (ha ha) screwed here. Silas opened his life to David, and I got the sense that Silas was starting to think about handing over the reigns, especially with making David his adviser. In return, David was asked for honesty, something he has openly given in the past, and he chose secrecy and lies. It’s been really sad to watch David’s corruption in the court, as he goes from someone with immense self integrity who always does the right thing, even if it is difficult, to someone who behaves like everyone else in the court. I doubt that Silas is going to take this betrayal lying down, even if David does have the power to ruin him.

Rose’s callous ruling style was also really highlighted in “Pilgrimage,” as Katrina Ghent quite rightly started to fight back against her. There were any number of ways that could have gone, and in fact we still didn’t know at the end of the episode if Jack agreed to marry her, or if he insisted on having the compromising video of his lover released.

I would that he would have gone for the video, because I’m actually, in a strange way, starting to respect Jack as he awakens, and a willingness to go public with the video would definitely reinforce that. On the other hand, if he took advantage of Silas’ knowledge of David and Michelle to let the pictures get released instead, he’d be back to his usual self. Spoiler (highlight to read): Alas, according to the NBC’s promotional summary for next week’s episode, he instead opts to marry Katrina, which brings up an interesting question: how much does Jack hate his mother? Because I get the sense that he is really not a big fan of Rose, especially after her comment about his relationship. While he may be acting in self interest to protect himself here, I think he’s also getting back at his mother (in a pretty epic way).

Rose’s determined manipulation and control is clearly coming back to bite her in the rump in a major way. I am curious to see where the show takes us in the next four episodes: will David regain his self integrity? Will Jack come out of the closet? Will the King tell David about his bargain with Death and set the wheels in motion to put David in power? Will the King and David be able to reconcile?