Kings 1×07: Brotherhood

KINGS airs Saturdays at 8pm/7c on NBC. Be sure to check your local listings because many affiliates pre-empted the show or aired the episode on a secondary affiliate last Saturday.
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Silas wakes up to a sound. He pulls a knife from under his pillow and gets up from bed, but suddenly steps into a forest. He walks barefoot through autumn leaves until he wakes up standing in the living room. One his aides asks if he can help with anything. Silas seems to have sleepwalked. The man closes the window through which the wind has blown similar autumn leaves into the living room. But Silas notices one green stem of leaves amidst the orange and brown. He picks it up.

In the boardroom, Silas shows the leaves to Rev. Samuels, saying he knows an omen when he sees one.

The Rev. points out that leaves, acacia leaves, are a portent of change; of death and resurrection, rebirth, beginning on the heels of ending. Maybe God has forgiven Silas, he suggests.

He takes one leaf and puts it in Silas’ palm and shakes his hand, if God resumes conversation with him, he says, there will be more signs and Silas must be open to them. “Change comes from inside the heart,” Rev. Samuels says.

Just then, an ambassador of Gath has arrived with a message from the premier, asking for a favor, asking for Silas’ help.

Gath is in crisis. “A fool’s errand” Abner suggests, but Silas ponders whether it really is true.
David walks in and Silas acknowledges.

Jack says they must do what they can to secure the peace. He volunteers to lead the diplomatic envoy to Gath, as the son of the King; it would give more weight to their gesture.
Silas tells him to take David with him as he seems to be good with “these sort of things.”

The Gilboan convoy drives through the dreary streets of Gath. Complete with a row of little girls with bouquets (Gathian? children), Gath and Gilboa stand side by side on a stage for a press conference. David tries to assure everyone that the events at Port Prosperity do not represent Gilboa as a whole, and that they are committed to peace.

Later, Abner calls Jack to give an all clear and Jack tells his men they’re ready to proceed. David doesn’t understand.
In the woods, Jack tells David the press conference was only a cover. Their real mission is to disable an insurgent force, capture its head Belial, at the request of Gath.

“Wake up Shepherd, this is diplomacy,” Jack says and hands him his weapon.

Meanwhile, despite her mother’s insistence against her charity work, Michelle surveys the effects of her health care bill at the hospital. Now that more people can avail of health services, facilities have become overcrowded. But the hospital’s chief of staff tells her that in spite of being over-capacity, they have been able to catch cases they wouldn’t have otherwise.

She takes Michelle to quarantine where a mother and son are being kept. Before the new health regulations kicked in, their symptoms would’ve been dismissed as flu. But after running a disease panel, there is a possibility of plague. Regardless, Michelle believes the people should know about the possibility of it. She heads to her father with the Minister of Health.

Silas is shocked. The Minister says the disease is highly contagious and always fatal. It is only communicable for 12 hours, but when contaminated people come in contact with others and even more, it could be tragic.

Back in Gath, Jack leads the team through the forest. Jack reminds David he “is [his] commanding officer, better than king.”
As they walk through the forest, David steps on a mine, but Jack disarms it as David looks up into the sky. At God perhaps?

A little later they close in on the camp, the rest of the team covers them as Jack and David head in. They reach the bottom of the bridge and before they can think of their next move, they are fired at. The rebel forces fire at Jack and David and at their team back up the hill.

They retreat and take cover. One of their men is shot, the others far off. Jack decides to go it alone. Their injured comrade tells David to go with him and he does.

In Shiloh, Michelle learns the boy’s mother has died and feels sorry for the boy in quarantine alone. She walks into the sealed isolation chamber, no masks, nothing and sits with the boy.
Outside, Silas and Rose look in on her. The queen is upset at how Michelle can be so reckless as to make them “suffer” this way. “She can’t be a mother to them all.”

When Rose leaves, it seems Silas is hearing voices. He comes to the conclusion that Shiloh must be quarantined. For 12 hours.
Brother-in-law William offers to open all Crossgen hospitals to the public for free, have his scientists and experts to help with trying to learn more about the disease and finding a cure.
Silas accepts his offer.

Jack and David arrive at the rebel camp. David sneaks in, disguised as one of them and hurls a grenade at a truck, distracting the rebels and allowing Jack to capture Belail. But as David is about to leave the camp, he spots the rebel’s weapons emblazoned with the familiar Gilboan butterfly.

Jack is ready to kill Belail, but David stops him telling him about Gilboan-supplied weapons.
They take Belail to an abandoned home. David tells Jack he’ll go find them a vehicle. If he isn’t back in an hour, go on without him.

Jack decides to take matters into his own hands, literally. Beating Belail’s face in, he interrogates him about the weapons.

In Shiloh, Silas goes to Rev. Samuels. He tells the Rev. that he believes the plague is from God, one of the signs.
Silas asks the Rev. to get the message out to the people, the citizens must lock themselves in their homes 12 hours overnight.
Samuels tells Silas that plague is an outward sign of an inner disease, he has poison in the body. He must cut off the “bitten limb” to get rid of it.
That this is a sign of someone close that may not be on the up and up with the King.

Back to Jack, Belail recounts the story of Cain and Abel, two brothers. “God’s first grandchildren. The wicked one killed the innocent one because of jealousy. But he became the father of mankind…”

Belail tells Jack the war will never be over as long as there are people who profit from it. That after this chaos, something “new and beautiful” will come from it.

“We are brothers all… even you and him,” Belail says and this provokes Jack to try and choke him to death.
David returns and tries to stop him, but Jack punches him and aims to shoot, but Belail says “Maybe brothers after all…” and Jack stands down.

Shiloh shut downs as Rev. Samuels’ message goes out across the airwaves. He tells the people to put a candle in their windows as a sign of solidarity.
In the boardroom, Abner is skeptical the quarantine will work.
Perry comes in to tell Silas about Jack and David and Belail. Silas orders troops to the border to bring them home.

Silas immediately thinks William is the “poison” that’s been supplying the weapons. Abner offers to take care of him, but Silas asks for definitive proof first.
Back at home, Silas tells Rose he expected her to be with Michelle. But she tells him she has never been that kind of mother to her. She can’t bear to watch her “slip away,” just like she couldn’t during Michelle’s illness as a child.

Silas tells her about the diseased limb that needs to be cut. She says to cut away, no matter how steep the cost.
“For them cut and you cut again. You cut until there is nothing left but my children alive,” she says.
“Let your daughter hear those words,” he tells her.

At the hospital, Michelle lays in the bed next to the boy. She pretends to be the boy’s mother, answering his questions as he slips away. She begins singing to him as he flat lines.

In Gath, Jack tells David he should’ve just let him die when he was held captive. Then he would’ve been a hero and no one would even know who David was.
“I’m not your enemy,” David says.
“Enemies, I understand. You, I don’t know who you are,” Jack replies.
“I’m part of this mission Jack. Let’s go home.”

Abner brings Silas a photo of William meeting with Gath General Mallick, pointing to him being the traitor. Silas gives the order to make it a clean hit.
A burst of wind comes into the living room and blows out one of six candles Abner had been lighting. He lights it again, but it just as quickly goes out one more time.

Abner makes a call, making sure any vehicle crossing the border is shot down.
Meanwhile, Jack and David near the border and are surprised when they are being shot at. They back-up and try to run.

Belail is about to shoot Jack dead, but David shoots him first, saving Jack once again.

As the Gilboan troops reach them, Jack raises his arms to make themselves known and they are finally in the clear.

Morning in Shiloh.
Abner tells Silas that William will be found dead within the hour.
Abner says he doesn’t believe in signs. Silas asks Abner if he believes in him. He does, prompting Silas to tell him that he’s stayed the order to kill William.
Silas tells Abner about the sign, the candle. He prayed it wasn’t true, but accepts Abner “is the plague.” Abner admits he believes Silas has become weak.
“I would rather fall on my sword than lay it down,” Abner says.
“No, you fall on mine,” Silas responds and stabs him in the stomach.

Silas cuts off the diseased limb.

He walks down the steps to the front door and Perry and the Minister of Health announce that they are in the clear. The plague is gone. The people obeyed, and 10 people sacrificed themselves for their neighbors.

Michelle gets a sample of her own blood to test whether or not she has been infected. Rose stands outside, out of Rose’s sight, but still with a look of concern.

At the church, Jack and David go to Silas.
The king puts his hand on his son’s shoulder, then on David’s.
“I’m proud of you. Both of you. You truly are the king’s own.”

“The king has no friends. He has, if he’s lucky, his family. Trust each other with your lives as I now entrust you with mine. Brotherhood.”

Silas tells Jack to pray for his sister, then to go home and rest. He leaves.

Jack joins David at the altar.
Jack: “You’ve made your first true kill. No easy thing. It changes the color of your blood, it paints your conscience. You did that for me.”
David: “I told myself, I had to choice.”
Jack: “There’s always a choice.”
David: “You don’t owe me anything.”
Jack: “Words, don’t settle death.”
Jack walks away.

Back at his apartment, David is surprised to see Michelle walk through his door. She walks to him sitting on his bed and she puts her head on his shoulder.

Episode Thoughts
First of all, it is amazing having Kings back on the air. While the ratings were disastrous again (sad, yet not surprising, no thanks to NBC), having one of the best television series in years back is such a relief even if it will be short-lived.

Weeks since the last new episode, it is refreshing to see all the qualities that made Kings an hour of quality drama excellently presented in this episode.

Strong writing, ingenious dialogue, nuanced performances, beautiful cinematography… just overall engaging and thoroughly enthralling television.

This episode was, what I thought would be a perfect Emmy tape for Sebastian Stan (Jack) if Kings really had a shot in hell of even getting a second or third thought at the Emmys (not to mention none of these Summer burn-off episodes being eligible for this year’s awards).

Ian McShane again showed why he is one of television’s best actors and more than deserves every award, if at least nomination, you could give him for this what would be an amazing career-defining role.

This episode particularly exemplifies how Kings is more than relevant in today’s world. The plague, in an episode written and filmed long before anyone knew what A(H1N1) meant, parallels the still growing threat of a global pandemic. Thought really a plot point that may remain contained in this episode, it just shows how, like Battlestar Galactica before it, a sci-fi/fantasy fictionalization of the real world can be just as relevant as any West Wing out there.

I hope, hope, hope NBC finishes the show’s run on TV, but with the numbers being so incredibly unbelievable, I couldn’t blame them for yanking the rest of the episodes, but can find a lot of blame why the show didn’t catch on in the first place.

Still, we can enjoy the show while we can and look forward to the Complete Series DVD in September.

Episode Caps

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