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Kings: Chapter One

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All right, you wanted Kings, you got Kings. As you may remember, we were covering the doomed-to-fail show from the start, but when it was put in time-out by NBC for bad ratings—and then moved to a dreaded Saturday-night slot—it got lost in the TV Club shuffle. But at least one of us over here at the A.V. Club is still watching the show. And based on the last two episodes, mourning the imminent death (and sure to be unsatisfying conclusion) of what could have been a robust, long-running series.


So I didn't take any notes on Saturday's episode, because, as I said, we weren't planning on covering it. So rather than a serious critical dissection of the episode, I'll just blather a little bit about the episode and then open the floor to the few of you loyal Kings subjects that remain.

So: Hopefully you've been following along, but I'll try and catch those of you haven't up. King Silas and David Shepherd are now tight bros. A lot of mystical shit involving a weird book and the king's daughter's mysterious illness happened. David and Michelle are in love, but they were hiding it from the king. In last week's episode, Silas placed an incredible amount of trust in David (and seemingly opened his heart) by showing David his other life—his "wife" and child out in the country, etc. And when he asked David to tell him his darkest secret, David didn't. But hey, no worries—without consulting David about it, Michelle told the king that they were knocking boots.

And that's where we begin "Chapter One," fittingly enough. When the Gilboa charter (kinda like their Constitution, you know the drill) is stolen, Silas sends David on a suicide mission to find it. This is exactly the kind of episode that Kings needed more of to keep a broader viewership (but that probably would have interrupted the flow). With Michelle as the prize (and with dishonor and probably some sort of horrible death as the other option), David sets out to find the charter in the dangerous southern lands, where people don't take too kindly to the King. That section of the episode took a positively Battlestar-like turn at one point, with David's dead father coming to him in a dream, playing a meaningful piano piece(!), and showing him the way to redemption. Along the way, he meets the awesome Titus Welliver (Adams from Deadwood, among other things), who tells him the horrid truth about David's father's death: Silas sent him on a suicide mission, too, to prove some sort of political point.

Tensions boil when David returns with the charter, because as we all know, Silas isn't really a man of his word, except when it suits his ends. He's promised Michelle's hand (publicly, no less) to David, but at the end of the episode, soldiers bust up that little love nest and arrest David for treason. Cliffhanger!


And that's just the A-story! In the meantime, gay prince Jack has agreed to marry the conniving Katrina Ghent for the sole purpose of pissing off his mother. (Shakespeare is in the mothafuckin' house!) His mother, the perfect other half of Silas, is having none of it, and she casually has Ghent murdered, offscreen and off-handedly. Nice one, Queen. With Silas pissed at his potential heir David Shepherd, he promises to the kingdom to Jack, who then tries to back out of his coup deal with the creepy child molester from Happiness, a.k.a. the Queen's brother. Who slaps him. That's TV!

And I almost hate to write anymore, because there are only three episodes left, and I believe they were all in the can before the show's creators knew things were looking bleak for more eps. Kings would have been a great one-season HBO miniseries, but instead it seems destined to be forgotten. Let's hope this 13-episode arc ends on a satisfying note, and that Kings finds a second life on DVD, if indeed there's even enough interest for it to be released at all.


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