At the beginning of Kingdom Season 3 Episode 1, Alvey woke up on a beach, his mind hazy about the previous night's events.
It's not a surprise he was named MMA Coach of the Year considering how well his fighters have been doing.
The real jolt was putting together the unmentioned time jump and discovering how far things have progressed since we last checked in with the Kulinas.
The biggest change was to Jay's life, although the introduction to Amy and their child through Nate was confusing. My first thought was Nate might have tried to run from his breakthrough of Kingdom Season 2 and gotten someone pregnant after a night of drinking.
But I should have known better than to believe I'd receive real answers about what was happening during the hour. Life played on and we were left looking in the windows on the Kulinas, trying to grasp what they'd been doing in our absence.
Nate was training. Jay was not.
Jay is now working as a real estate agent and giving it his best shot.
Home Buyer: It's kind of a dump.
Jay: Well? Or...It's kind of the worst house on the best street. Only suckers buy turnkey!
Not only does Jay have a new family, but he's also working hard to show them how much he cares. It's not an easy job.
Jay has a house whose tenants aren't particularly interested in seeing the house they're renting sold, so working with real estate agents isn't high on their list of priorities.
Whether Jay has turned over a new leaf or found a new calling with the birth of his child and life with Amy, his demeanor with the tenant was admirable. Once a guy who could easily blow if his buttons were pushed, Jay didn't let the appalling behavior get to him.
Jay rarely rests, and when he's not trying to sell a house, he's acting as a commentator for fights. He seems to have stopped partying and stepped up to what Amy believes a partner and father should be.
One of my favorite lines (but I missed it in its entirety) was when Jay told Amy he'd rather dip his dick in honey and plunge it into a hill of ants than fight again. That's quite an image! I don't think he's being truthful, either, but his dedication is appreciated.
It's hard not to get the impression that Jay has to give up everything and everyone if he's going to keep on that path and that he believes that, too. Can he do that for long? How can Jay sell a house if he's never had a real home?
The final shot of the episode with Jay suggesting they baptize their daughter felt like that was the pinnacle of success for their family, and it's all downhill from there.
Christina wasn't a part of the hour, and I wonder how the two are getting along now that Jay has a baby. With this family, you just can't tell. Relationships can turn on a dime, and since it was Nate sitting with the baby and not Christina, it's possible they're on the outs.
The pervasive feeling of doom, if on anyone as we now know this season to be Kingdom's last (someone, please grab it from Audience!!), must lay on Alvey.
Alvey's beach scene was very entertaining. The cops were calling him "sir" before he was gone because he's a respected citizen having trained cops on self-defense.
Yet Alvey's drinking is getting worse, isn't it? Watching him throw up in the sink at home and work, and seeing his workout while he was utterly hungover was painful to watch. And it made me wonder if there's not something really wrong with him.
Is he masking more than mental anguish? Morning drinking is the worst, and with Garo's proposal on the table, the odds of Alvey making it to a fight are long in this condition.
Garo: I want to do a legends fight.
Alvey: Legends. You want me to do a legends? Two old guys fuckin' slappin' each other around for three rounds; that's a legends fight. No fuckin' thank you, no thank you.
Garo: I don't think you're that old.
Alvey: I ain't young.
The short scene with the two of them in the locker room was one of the most enjoyable of the entire hour. It's hard to fault Garo for having a massive crush on Alvey. If all of us don't have a crush on at least one of the Kulinas, I'll eat my shorts.
I'm not sure if he really wanted her opinion, but tossing it by Lisa after the fight was appreciated. They seem to be on solid ground.
Lisa is still working her ass off on behalf of Navy St. and the fighters. Garo got a poke in the chest when he considered caving on Nate's purse for the match Garo's fighter failed to show up for and she's giving sound advice to Ryan.
Ryan's been working off his contract with Garo, and they're done. It was up to Ryan to win and win he did against an aggressive and dirty dude. The UFC was waiting for that win to make an offer, and Lisa was waiting to resign Ryan with Garo to get the best possible terms.
Commentator: It was a stunning, violent finish. What was the different in the second round?
Ryan: Well, uh, I guess once he was done kicking me in the balls and, uh, kneeing me while I was down, he just ran out of things to do, and then I just threw him on the ground and gave him a gentleman's beating.
Ryan should have a strong bargaining position now, and it will be interesting to see where he goes next. UFC doesn't fight in the same circuit, so that would mean a change of venue for Kingdom. That would be a cool switch for Kingdom Season 4, but is it doable for the remaining nine episodes?
It seems unlikely. I was more worried about Ryan and Keith since the latter had to register as a sex offender. Ryan said Keith might kill himself. I just hope Keith doesn't kill Ryan if Ryan tries to move out.
The Kingdom Season 3 premiere was a bewildering experience. It took time to get some footing before realizing where in time we were, but that might have been the point. The star was Jonathan Tucker's emotional portrayal of a Jay out of the ring. Like a fish out of water, he's floundering but wants badly to swim strong with the current.
He's trying so hard to be different than his father, but emotionally they're cut from the same cloth. I'm worried where it will all end with the Kulinas and Navy St. but want to savor every moment we have left with them.
Hit the comments with your thoughts!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.