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September 14, 2014

Kings: First Night

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 30th 2009 3:40AM
Sebastian Stan as Jack Benjamin in Kings

(S01E03) - "We make amends Silas; the pure, the unblemished for our sins."


Last week's episode seemed to have blown Kings' war wad early and left us with nothing worthwhile to look forward to other than a long nap.

Episode three, however, pumps the series full of B-12, beta blockers and a spoonful of blood thinner and gives it the energy and vigor it needs to be a pleasure machine once again.

"First Night" gets Kings back to makin' bacon by bringing back old enemies and giving them the ammunition to launch their own attacks. It also creates new ones who have the hate production capabilities of a mutated Darth Vader spliced with Paris Hilton and a dash of Dick Cheney.

This time, pretty, petty, party boy Prince Jack conspires to get media darling David Shepherd out of the news picture by using the power of partying to destroy his public credibility. When David gets bumped from Queen Rose's opening ballet night for a $100,000 donor, Jack swoops in and claims he's being pushed aside because of his feelings for King Silas' daughter Michelle. So, he flies in David's war torn friends from the front line for a night on the town where everything from the drinks to the dames all come the same way: cheap.

Jack always seemed destined to become Kings' chief douchebag. He is the spoiled son of a king who is interested only in power and privilege without pride or responsibility. He tries to undermine his own family and country for his personal gain. His spiked hair and club persona alone are the very definition of a raging douchebag.

This time however, he really becomes someone everyone with a heart will love to hate. For Jack, Dr. Jekyll has yet to discover that Mr. Hyde has his own Mr. Hyde. Jack not only feigns friendliness just to bring his enemy closer, but the brooding anger building inside of him from his closet relationship turns him against himself and breeds an even douchier kid who sees burning ants with a magnifying glass as just an appetizer for destruction.

He's also not the only tool in the belt. Queen Rose becomes another brooding villain in episode three. Rose stayed in the shadows for the first two episodes and didn't seem to do much more than make sure all of the tablecloths smelled of lilac and the chilled salad forks all at an exact 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, Rose has become an underminer who aims to cement decadence and extravagance in the name of political superiority, no matter the cost. She suddenly sees David as a hero whose star has shined too long and taken some of the shine out of her own. Something tells me Rose and Jack are spending some time scheming behind the tasteful velvet curtains that Jack probably picked out during his last antiquing tour for their "scheming room".

The war at home continues with King Silas and the secrets he keeps from his kingdom. His illegitimate son's condition worsens and pushes him farther from God in his personal pursuit of sacrifice. This is when the series becomes much more than just another political drama. It's a complex mesh of royal tragedy and modern moral melodrama. The story really knows how to suck you in when Silas constantly wants to know what he has to do to earn God's trust. Mind you, the show doesn't try or even strive to answer whether the God in question is the real world God who may or may not make the real sun rise and set, or some literary fictional god who mocks Silas with every struggle he creates for himself.

It's a useless and impossible question for a television show to even try to answer. What's more important is that morality and our intentions are as powerful as any law of physics and motion. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Let's hope the series has enough inertia so we can see all of those reactions before gravity takes over and drags Kings out of its time slot.

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J.R. LeMar

I love this show to death, and hope it can somehow survive. I want to see this last for like 8 years, with the final season showing David as king, and the whole seducing Bathsheba storyline.

April 04 2009 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob

A view of the workings of the universe- and God- as pagan as the episode's. God is not William Shatner, and we don't get to name our price. Nor, if the Bible is right, is a price really the issue; God desires, not sacrifice, but penitence. The content of Silas's heart, and not his pagan willingness to buy God off with something "pure and unblemished," would be the real issue in the real world.

Rev. Samuels, from a biblical point of view, is false prophet who deserves to be stoned for that conversation with Silas at the side of the road.

April 02 2009 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thumbu

Jack is definitely the resident d-bag, but that it's guaranteed to change, if Green stays true to the Biblical narrative. I just wrote a piece here (tubatv.wordpress.com) that looks at the larger Biblical "spoilers."

April 02 2009 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

Queen Rose reminds of a modern Lady Macbeth in this epsiode. Maybe they will share the same fate in the end when Silas's reign falls apart. Seems fitting to me.

March 30 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel

Very good writing Danny.

March 30 2009 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Marcoe

The story really knows how to suck you in when Silas constantly wants to know what he has to do to earn God's trust. Mind you, the show doesn't try or even strive to answer whether the God in question is the real world God who may or may not make the real sun rise and set, or some literary fictional god who mocks Silas with every struggle he creates for himself.

Well, since it's a retelling of the biblical story of David, set in a version of our own modern world, one would think it's "the real world God."

Silas is constantly trying to bargain with God, while continuing to veer from the path of righteousness as king; he's trying to have his cake and eat it to. He constantly assumes that it's God who owes him and that he doesn't have to answer for the things that he does. So, as God progressively ratchets up the pressure on Silas, Silas looks to placate God, but never fully repents, which is what God is really looking for.

You are right to note that actions have consequences, particularly acts of evil, which always exact a cost. When Silas asks if God "needs to destroy something beautiful" to be happy, it never occurs to him that it was the evil committed by him that created the debt that needed to be paid by sacrifice. Even then, God is merciful, providing another sacrifice, in place of Silas' own son.

The reason why Silas is so confused about God's will, is that he keeps digging the hole deeper. He schemes one way and that creates a problem, so he spins off another scheme to fix that one, but that creates another problem in turn. With each act, it carries him father away from God's will and from the righteous man he once was; father down the tunnel and farther away from the light.

Anyway, that's what I take from it.

March 30 2009 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joseph

Actually I think they bumped David BECAUSE someone offered to pay $100,000 to sit next to him.

They figured he'd upstage the King, so they cut him from the whole mess.

Great episode, though.

March 30 2009 at 5:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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