After Tulsa King Season 1 Episode 5, if it hadn't already been renewed for a second season, it wouldn't be hard to imagine Tulsa King as a limited series.
Dwight has barely been out of prison, and he's right in the thick of it again.
Unless I miscalculated the final scene, he's got another murder under his belt.
The mafia weren't fools for sending Dwight to Oklahoma.
They've got decades' worth of secrets begging to come out, so keeping him as far away from the action was best for them, just like it was in their best interests that he never flipped on Pete.
Dwight, though, got royally screwed. He's only beginning to see how much.
Since Dwight got out, other than his business venture with Bodhi (Or extortion. Potato, potato), he's been singularly focused on reconnecting with his daughter, Tina.
When he flipped the switch 18 years ago, effectively cutting them out of his life, he thought he was doing them a favor. Seeing Tina again proved to be a daunting experience because the truth of the matter is that severing ties left his family blowing in the wind unprotected.
Mafiosos are an odd breed. They'll stab each other in the back without thinking about it, but they claim their code of brotherhood is what binds them.
They're not supposed to turn on each other. Dwight followed the code. Nobody else did.
On Tulsa King Season 1 Episode 4, Manny delivered the news that he was set up. That was easy to handle compared to what he learned about Tina's life without him.
Dwight got Pete to promise on his mother's soul that he would protect Dwight's family while he was in the joint. Unfortunately, there was enough going on that Pete wasn't privy to that it ruined lives.
Maybe setting up Dwight robbed Pete of the respect he had. Who would want to protect a guy like that or even go too far out of their way for him if they'd be thrown under the bus like that?
I'm not sure why else a man of Pete's stature would be left out of the loop about what happened to Tina. Somehow, Nico got away with it scot-free. Who knows what else he'd done that went unnoticed?
Tulsa King handled the scenes with Dwight and Tina beautifully. The characters were navigating treacherous waters with their feelings all over the place.
At first, Tina looked right into her dad's eyes, but nothing was said. But at the family dinner Dwight planned at a restaurant everyone hated, Tina lashed out.
She said he chose the stuffy place with food they didn't want because he wanted to look like a bigshot because it sure wasn't in honor of Joe. And maybe, some of that was true.
Dwight does have something to prove. He's got to prove that despite losing 25 years of his life, he's OK. He's still made it. And that's likely what hit Tina the hardest since she suffered greatly in his absence.
How could he not be moved when he learned how she felt when he left them?
Tina recalls being abandoned with nothing. Her mother didn't even have a checking account. The Dwight we know now wouldn't repeat that mistake, but that's the result of 25 years of self-reflection.
And Tiina was right that even with all that self-improvement work he did in prison, he walked right back into the life that got him there, signifying he learned nothing.
Dwight, too, was right that picking a new line of work this late in the game and with nothing in his favor would have been impossible. Prison doesn't do much to set up prisoners for when they get out unless they're alcoholics or eager to find religion.
Even as Tina disparaged Dwight's choices, she admitted she's got that flicker of love for him inside her that her instinct says to stamp out.
Sometimes, your abject pessimism protects you from that flicker because you know that the pain will be worse if you set it free and lose it again than if you keep it bottled up indefinitely.
But once she was face to face with her dad (a term she refused to use), the pain worked free nonetheless. Tina said more than she wanted to say by naming Nico and immediately regretted her decision.
But just like the flicker of love she feels for her dad, she probably also had a flicker of hope that Dwight would make Nico pay for what he'd done to her.
If not, he may be dead to her forever after Dwight (seemingly) killed Nico. But my bet is on the fact that even though she doesn't approve, Tina will feel loved by her dad's personal betrayal to stamp out the evil Nico did to her.
And stamp, he did.
It's probably not the best time for the Black McAdam's to come up against Dwight.
That unbottled rage will still be coursing through his veins when he returns to Oklahoma, where Tyson and Bodhi have been under attack.
Sure, the Black McAdam gang might be a considerable nuisance in their dusty town, but could they really compare to the friggin' mafia? It's unlikely.
But Dwight doesn't have the full benefit of his mafioso gang in Oklahoma, and he's only just beginning to bring his team up to speed.
I'd expect the Black McAdams will think they've got the upper hand but soon discover otherwise, but they'll still operate as a massive thorn in Dwight's side and, in Oklahoman terms, be quite the adversary.
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, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.