Until now, the approach to family issues on Kingdom has been to tackle them in theory rather than fact. The telling rather than showing tactic has worked to this point, giving the show a chance to flesh out most of the major histories of the characters before shuffling the pairings and forcing anybody to confront past transgressions head-on. This episode throws all the theory out the window and places everybody who could possibly be holding a grudge against somebody else in the same room for an extended period of time. Alvey and Christina, Ryan and Lisa, Jay and Alvey, Nate and Christina, Ryan and his parents, the list of potential time bombs goes on and on. As expected, it offers some additional insights into this family and their past, as well as a return to steadiness for the show after a discombobulated outing last week.
Everyone has their own threshold for pain, whether it’s barely a pinch or an agonizing round in the ring that makes them go over the edge. The third episode of Kingdom, “Piece of Plastic”, spends most of its time giving a long, hard look at the maximum level of emotional and physical pain each member of this gym family can go through before it becomes too much. Each of them reach or come close to their breaking points in the span of a few days, but each tribulation is woven together in such a way that they don’t seem like everything is going to hell in a hand basket. These stormy seas seem like something the Kulinas routinely go through at least once a year and manage to make it out of without sinking altogether.