by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 23rd 2009 1:33PM
(S01E02) - "You're just one boy. What good can you do here against all that?"
Kings is a show about a lot of things: love, money, greed, power, guys in suits that cost more than one year of college tuition. Mostly it's about action and consequences. So if the show's premiere episode was about war as a consequence, then naturally the next episode should be about its root cause: politics.
We finally get a taste of the aristocracy from the inside in the second episode. All the scheming and conniving that makes the greatest primetime soap operas and dramas like The Shield and The West Wing so great to watch. The fun comes from figuring how people like Vic Mackey and President Bartlet are going to get themselves out one bear trap without chewing their own foot off and choking on the marrow.
In Kings' case, however, the plot seems to have found its way out of one bear trap and inadvertently stepped right into another.
The premiere ended on a great cliffhanger. David received the divine blessing with the crown of butterflies and is starting to fall for King Silas' daughter. The King now sees him as a threat, so he does what any rational, level-headed king with almighty power and military superiority would do: have the little bastard taken out. All right! Kings is about to go old testament on your ass.
Things get even more amped up when Gath comes to Shiloh to sign a peace treaty after a long and bloody war that David helped to end. Gath's king and his general, played by uber-scary actor Miguel Ferrer, don't like the terms of the treaty and decide its time to take their bullets and go home. Then just when things couldn't get any worse, Silas' gold treasury runs dry. Uh oh, sounds like someone is having a case of the Mondays.
The villains really get a chance to shine in this episode. Ferrer pounds his fist on tables and gets nose-to-nose with the people who get in his way. Dylan Baker, who plays corporate schemer William Cross, stews over the king's latest troubles from his ivory tower and shows an eerie pride in wearing Gilboa's lust for war like a cheap cologne. If the Emmys gave out an award for Best Portrayal of a Douchebag, the jury would have a hard time picking between these two, assuming that Jeff Zucker hasn't been nominated.
The problem is ALL of these problems are resolved in under an hour. The characters in Kings found themselves dealing with some interesting problems, but the plot took away almost all of them with the exception of Silas' son, Jack, who aims to undermine David and prevent him from stealing his throne. The only way the episode could have ended on a happier ending is with a group hug and a picnic.
So where does the show go from here? Writer Michael Green might have a few tricks up his sleeve and may have tied up these loose ends early because he's worried the show would be cancelled too soon. It seems after the second episode that the biggest conflict within Kings is finding new ones that will hold a regular audience's attention.