There is so much sorrow on Kingdom this season that it's hard not to reach for the pills and the nearby measuring cup to fill with booze.
Hey, that's how Alvey does it on Kingdom Season 3 Episode 4, and even though the conversation he has at the end with Christina finally brings him some laughter, it's impossible not to feel the heaviness weighing on everyone.
Personally, I've nominated Kirk Acevedo's Dom as some sort of Grim Reaper, because he becomes more sketchy all the time, and my lack of trust for him and the timing of his arriving at Navy St. feels like he's been hell-sent to watch as the Kulinas and their friends implode.
At least the baby is Christened. If nothing else, her sweet soul is saved.
It's hard not to imagine that will be the last beautiful occasion for the family to be together.
Jay didn't even have the opportunity to celebrate before he was called to the office and fired for his antics with Ryan at the house on Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3. We knew that was coming back to bite him. Of course, that place had security cameras.
Jay tried so hard to fit into the world as a family man, to be a father and a professional in the workplace. His life didn't prepare him for it, but he still impressed his boss with his winning attitude and desire to give it a go.
The guy was shocked when Jay merely shook his hand and thanked him for the opportunity. You could almost feel him regretting his decision to start the meeting like a smart ass, pointing out Jay should have tagged out of the fight with Ryan in the front yard.
None of that stopped Jay from going directly to the bar and then dipping even further into despair as he scored some drugs and sat on the sidelines of an empty ball field all dressed up doing lines off of his hand.
Jonathan Tucker makes acting look so easy. The way he slips in an out of a winsome smile before his face crumbles, his eyes filled with tears, is remarkable. Every performance of Jay on the edge leaves me with a lump in my throat.
I talked with Tucker today on the phone and will have an interview with him online tomorrow, so be back for it.
Christina and Nate were at the house trying to hold things together while Amy waited for him to arrive home with the supplies for a celebratory meal. I loved Christina telling Nate he shouldn't tie himself down to one man so soon into being gay.
It's not as if he's never been in a relationship with anyone before and was just figuring out what it means to be intimate, but it's such a mom thing to say. It's entirely possible Nate will be the only Kulina to make it out of the family in one piece. He needs to think for himself.
The dinner was supposed to be special, but by the time he got home, there was no saving it.
Jay was so down on himself and so sure it was all over that he was determined to push things along with Amy, something he copped to later with Nate. He said she had one foot out the door, so he was giving her a little push. After all, she has a lovely family in Wisconsin, and Maya would be lucky to grow up there.
Nate: That is so fuckin' weak.
Ryan: I am a very weak man.
Nate: I thought you wanted a family.
Ryan: I want for nothing. I accept what comes my way.
The look on Jay's face as the camera pulled away was tragic. He was playing it cool for his brother but could barely keep from weeping. He should have wept. Maybe showing that pain to Nate and Amy would have opened new channels of communication he didn't even know he could use.
It's worrisome that Jay's going to end up just like Alvey.
Is Alvey physically ill or is he mentally ill? His therapist is questioning it.
Alvey isn't happy with the million dollar purse for his Legends fight if it means Ryan will get double billing. He's lonely as hell and has a steady stream of hookers coming to his aid to ease his suffering.
Alvey is also connecting more with Christina now than he probably did during his marriage to her, and if he knew what she was doing for a living, he'd probably freak the hell out.
The barrage of prescription pill bottles on his table is frightening enough but he washes them down with hard liquor served out of a Pyrex measuring cup.
He's scared to death that he's going to have a debilitating brain injury from years of being hit in the head and sounded dead serious about shooting himself in said head at the first sign of tremors.
Still, his therapist couldn't help but point out he feels the pain most prevalent when he's alone. Aren't the worst things in life always the most noticeable when you're alone, though? Having someone by your side eases your fear just a little bit.
Unless it's a small, dependent baby and a young woman and you're expected to be a you you've only imagined in your best dreams. Alvey made it through the child-rearing years and raised two kids who have good hearts. Jay doesn't seem so sure he can do the same.
Dom is stepping on toes at the gym. He's doing exactly what Alvey told him not to do and then whining "politics" when he's called up for it.
Nate and Ryan need one fuckin' voice in their Goddamned head. And that's mine, you understand that? You start contradicting the shit I say, you confuse my fighter. You confuse my fighter, we got a problem. Are we clear?Alvey
And what the hell is in Dom's whey product? He's given it to Ryan. Is it poison? Is it speed? Will Ryan be barred from fighting because of drugs? Why does Dom keep hounding on Lisa? And, he was even successful.
Dominick: You are fuckin' wild.
Lisa: I'll see you tomorrow.
Dominick: Wow. Just like that?
Lisa: I think you had a pretty good time tonight.
I'm starting to get the feeling Alvey did something to someone in Dom's family, and Dom's paying back Alvey and isn't going to stop until he exacts revenge. It's a very soap opera type idea, but the way he came in, lying to everyone, leeching and digging into everyone Alvey holds dear feels very wrong.
I don't believe him that the others just hanging around the gym started talking about Lisa because they love her, either. I don't doubt they love her and that's exactly why I don't think he'd get any information on her without prying.
And then there's Ryan, for whom I continue to worry due to his friendship with Keith.
We still don't know where Keith was, but we know that if he fell down the side of the highway with all his knives in tow like he told Ryan when he hit the bottom, he decided to kill one of the homeless fellas there.
Keith has resigned himself that he's going away, so it's unlikely he'll stop Ryan from calling the police. Ryan hasn't hindered the investigation so far, and there's no reason to think he'd do anything illegal at this point, either.
Ryan is a "there but for the grace of God go I" kind of guy, and his compassion toward Keith shows how much he cares for his friend and hoped he could help him make it outside of prison.
My hope is that the experience will shake some sense into Ryan and he'll stop screwing around with drugs, etc. Isn't he still on probation? He's cutting it too close to a return to the big house himself with the chances he takes with his freedom.
Everyone on Kingdom needs to realize how much potential they have and how much they're wasting. To look around them and see the love they have and embrace it. If only there were someone who wasn't so filled with sorrow and regrets that they could lead them all on a straight path toward redemption.
Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that's going to happen in just another six episodes.
For those of you who are unaware or just popped into this review, Kingdom Seasons 1 and 2 are on sale exclusively at Walmart right now until August 2, when they'll go on sale for the rest of the US. The series is so worth the price of admission. Buy it. Watch it. Fall in love.
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.