Kingdom Recap Series Finale Cancelled

Kingdom Series Finale Recap and Appreciation: Tapped Out

To the very end, Kingdom never pulled its punches. It was a drama populated by terribly faulted people, nary a perfect role model among them. And the closest thing that the Kulinas’ inner circle had to one died in the penultimate episode, no casualty of a brutal cage fight but an utterly random shooting.

What’s more, Kingdom had an incredible sense of place and culture, breaking away from TV’s myriad crime, medical and superhero shows to take us to a tactile, seldom-explored Venice Beach, liberally shooting on location to put on display no glittery, glam world of MMA fighting, but the lower-rent atmosphere that the brutal sport actually dwells in. Even as Navy St.’s assorted fighters rose in the ranks or, as Alvey did in the finale, lurched out of retirement for a splashy “legends” showdown, the proceedings always had a dingy film to them. At their height, they were a far cry from Rocky Balboa’s least-slick showcase.

The casting for the series brilliantly populated this strange world, sometimes pulling from unexpected places (a shaved-head Nick Jonas as a brawler? Parenthood mayor Jonathan Tucker as an anger-mismanaging addict?) and regularly delivering showcases for them all, Kiele Sanchez, Matt Lauria and, especially in recent weeks, Frank Grillo included. For all those reasons — plus the fact that you could (and I did) pick up the occasional workout tip! — the under-the-radar show will be missed.

The Audience Network drama delved into all kinds of drama during its final run, much of it aimed at family patriarch Alvey, who simultaneously had to contend with returning to the ring (and the physical woes/demons it awoke), his fractured relationship with son Jay, his mother’s dementia and, toward the end, the discovery of the secret that closeted son Nate for too long kept — one that would be disclosed mere minutes before the aforementioned, tragic death.

The finale opened shortly after Alvey’s “legends” fight — showing him nursing many drinks in private at a bar yet not tipping its hand to the outcome — before jumping back in time to Nate’s funeral, where the Kulinas, Lisa, Ryan and Mac scattered ashes into the ocean. Alvey of course was gutted by a sense of guilt, his reaction to Nate’s coming out having sent his son charging out of the bar where he wound up shot by an anxious bouncer. Jay only fed into that, saying that all Nate needed to hear was that his dad “got” him. Acknowledging how he himself over the years “used” Nate’s goodness and guidance to keep himself alive, Jay taunted Alvey, “You had his whole f–king life in your hands.”

With that new wedge driven between him and Jay, Alvey toughed it out through his weigh-in and final stretch of training, tasking Ryan with being his corner man for the big fight. We also saw him open up, in an unchecked way, with ex-wife Christina, bellowing in detail of how Nate looked like a helpless baby as he bled to death in his father’s arms that fateful night.

When the “legends” clash finally arrived, new King Beast boss Lisa and then Jay then shared some emotional thoughts about fallen fighter Nate. (Jay in particular had some charged words, inviting Nate’s homophobic detractors to speak up now or forever hold their peace.) Alvey then entered the case and got as good as he gave — and in fact was well-pummeled my rival Matt Hughes during the middle rounds. But a glance over to his remaining family, a supportive Jay included, seemed to give him the lift he needed to fulfill Ryan’s request for a final “five minutes of hell”— which he did, emerging the victor.

Afterward, Alvey dedicated the fight to Nate, saying, “I love you, and I miss you,” before retreating down the arena’s halls and into the showers, where in private, away from the blood-smudged cage, he indulged himself in a much-needed breakdown.

What did you think of Kingdom‘s final round?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Did they really had to kill off the gay character? When will this god awful trend stop?

    • Sokratis Lakrindis says:

      they didn’t kill the ‘gay’ character. They killed a character, who just so happened to be gay. Progress is when a TV show can just tell a story without the public demanding they to be make a statement, to go beyond the scope. Nate dying makes perfect sense, and he wasn’t shot ‘because he was gay’

      • Luke says:

        If only they actually gave Nates arc with his sexuality the time/treatment it deserved. It was always in the background, only addressed at the end. They handled it with kid gloves, guessing as not to “offend their audience” (the graphic scenes with women in the first 2 seasons and the lack of them with men, indifference to his bf Will’s relo, makes it obvious)

      • Nikos says:

        And yet 90+% of characters who ‘just happen to be gay’ in tv also just ‘happen’ to be killed off when the writers look to increase dramatic tension – and somehow, it always makes ‘perfect sense’ storywise. At this point, it’s not even the (in)advertent ‘statement’ this makes that bothers me, but the whole cliché of the thing. It’s just bad writing.

        Then again, people seem to have liked the episode according to the poll, so what the hell do I know…

        • Jessie says:

          90% OF GAY CHARACTERS KILLED OFF! Man I don’t know what kind of cable package you have but that’s just an outrageous statement. I’m not sure how you come to the conclusion that because a gay character dies it must be poor writing. This was just outstanding Television … great writing … great acting … great music choices … strong production. It’s story is the antithesis of another great TV show “Friday Night Lights”. FNL with a well adjusted family dealing with football crazy town. Kingdom is a screwed up family trying to cast out their demons with MMA as the sporting tie-in. It’s a crying shame more people didn’t watch both series. No doubt some assumed they were just sports drama’s but they were both about family … the good and the bad.

    • Always happens! Disgraceful. It’s tasteless.

  2. Good show. Too bad Directv cancelled it and didn’t give them enough time to properly tie up the storylines (Ryan and Jay especially were short changed during the last few eps.). Also it was weird to have Zach Gilford show up in just 1 or 2 eps in the beginning of the season then disappear completely. That being said, the finale was dark, brutal and depressing, but fitting to the world that the show inhabited. I wish it could’ve gone on longer, but hats off to the cast, especially Jonathon Tucker and Frank Grillo.

  3. The Beach says:

    Jonathan Tucker’s Jay has stolen every scene he has been in the entire series and tonight was no exception although tonight Grillo gave him a run for his money.

    • Nick says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Obviously a hidden gem like this would never get a sniff at an Emmy nomination but Jonathan Tucker’s performance in this series was as good as anything on TV. Just an outstanding performance.

  4. Emma powe says:

    The wrong Guy died. Alvey should have, he just wasn’t a good guy.

  5. benjaminmax says:

    Truly despicable. They didn’t just kill a character who happened to be gay. They killed the one redeeming character after he comes out, is called a f-ing f-ggot by his father, then is shot and killed. Great message. Good riddance.

    • Nick says:

      You can argue .. Why did anyone have to die … but if the writers were looking to tap into an emotional hurricane then it had to be Nate. The one Kulina who could probably break free of the downward spiral his family always seems to be on. He arguably held the family together. A good and decent man carrying a secret in an unforgiving atmosphere. I understand why some on this site are angry the gay character died but I look at it as the loss of the kind hearted and soft spoken core of the Kulina’s leaving behind a broken family. No doubt the aftermath with Jay would have made for a very compelling season 4.

  6. t says:

    I cant believe a show I loved so damn much could really f*** it up so bad in the last 2 episodes. I can now never rewatch it and I have a sour taste left in my mouth just thinking about it. the most likable character on the show, who happened to have the biggest and best heart gets killed off, oh and he happens to be gay. way to “bury your gays”. I guess the show never did really want to go into detail on his sexuality because of the target audience. but man they could have easily killed any other character and not deal with the stereotyping but nope they kill nate just to have a big emotional pay off, well guess what it didn’t pay off it just pissed everyone off.

    • Nathaniel Garrett says:

      I couldn’t agree more, I think I felt true outrage. His death was so random and unnecessary, I’m glad I not the only one pissed off and honestly I’m disappointed after being with this show all three seasons that they just quit on is like that.

  7. mamamick says:

    I seriously cannot remember the last time, before this, that I bawled while watching a TV show. I thought the cast of this show was INCREDIBLY real and relatable. I was shocked through 3 seasons, that more people didn’t catch on to this show. Now it is sadly cancelled. You guys don’t know what you are missing with this one……I know that I am really going to miss all of them. This is now one of my all-time favorite shows. It’s too bad they aren’t getting aknowledged for their fantastic acting, because all of them were amazing in their grief over Nate👏👏👏👏👏👏Standing ovation from me guys👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

    • Judith Cutler says:

      I’m amazed that the best of the best are always cancelled . The same thing happened to American Crime on ABC. Boggles my mind. Yet shows like “Big Brother” or “Bachelor in Paradise” stick around for years. SAD!

  8. It was a good show. Although I wish they would of put had will appear as he was nates boyfriend. I think the finale was awesome. It really conveyed the grief of each character. In a sense the fight possibly could of brought healing for Alvey in the end.

  9. Bridget Aramburu says:

    Kingdom was so good last night it made me cry I wish u would bring it back it’s amazing show and I loved it i really hope u bring it back kingdom best show ever

  10. TimothyC says:

    Note to the editor and others unclear on the concept: You don’t put the spoiler in the headline — because then there’s no way to avoid the information. And if you’re inconsiderate or clueless enough to put the spoiler in the headline, at least put it after the phrase “spoiler alert”.

  11. Cheri Wilhelm says:

    So sad that such a good show had to end. I looked forward to watching each week with excitment. I love all the characters and story lines. And now that nates gone everyones lost and i need another season to see how everyone goes on without nate.I love the kulinas and will miss kingdom

  12. Kimberly Marroquin says:

    Great show . i wish i could meet all the actor’s love them all!!!

  13. David Morgan says:

    My wife and I are so sad to see this show go. We’re both big fans, I’m buying this on DVD. People who didn’t see it don’t know what they missed.

  14. Cynthia says:

    This show was outstanding drama. I was heartbroken Nate died but he was the best of all the Kulina clan! That made his death such a devastating blow.
    Thank you Kingdom for great television!

  15. Matt Carroll says:

    Your supposed to put SPOILER first asswipes. Google picks it up and shows the whole headline.

  16. Barb says:

    seems to me that a lot of the people out there who are sounding off because the ‘gay character was killed’ are missing the point. the whole show is about the macho dominated sport where being gay is frowned upon. sad as this is it is also very reflective of real life. that Nate found it hard to speak out about his sexuality is typical of the sport. Alvey’s response was as expected, he was testosterone personified and had he suddenly accepted what he and his life was about the storyline would have been dishonest. Kingdom was hard hitting and one of the best shows out there, i will miss the strong story line and more so the actors who have acted their socks off. This show deserves an award.

  17. Sayre says:

    I wish this had gone on way longer.. No other show had the grit and spirit.

  18. Jala Timmer says:

    I agree-fantastic. But where was Nate’s boyfriend?

  19. Lisa Farmer says:

    I dont want Kingdom to end. Wasnt sure about it at first but found myself glued to it every week!!! Love it & will miss it :(

  20. Susan Mahl says:

    I’m just upset the show is over. It was so good and really pulled you in. The actors were phenomenal. Wonder why they cancelled it.