"This one, you protect from what wants to happen. He has a destiny in him. People with destinies, things don't go well for them. They die old and unhappy, or young and unfinished." -Mrs. Shepherd"Prosperity" was probably the weakest of the three "Kings" episodes I've seen, since it hangs more on David than the other two, and since David is, by nature of this early place in the familiar story, an underdeveloped character. I can't decide yet whether Chris Egan simply isn't up to the task of making him more interesting than he seems so far, or if he's playing the character as written. And based on the dismal ratings for last week's premiere, I doubt the show will be on long enough for his abilities to become clear.
But for however long it's on, I'm going to stick with it, because even if David isn't yet the man worthy of the destiny his mom sees in him, the world he moves in is still so interesting.
The peace negotiations with Gath give us our first look at the other side, and we see that the enemy isn't quite so refined -- a poorer country with no great city and some kind of military-led dictatorship as opposed to Silas' more glamorous monarchy. It's still not clear if this is a completely alternate reality or if it's supposed to be our Earth with some key historic differences (David does play a very familiar-sounding classical piece on his piano at one point), so it's hard to know what the rest of the world's governments are like, but in these two, Gath is definitely the jealous younger sibling.
We also learn more about the history of Silas' rise to power when, after his brother-in-law William makes good on his threat to bankrupt the treasury, Silas has to go to Abaddon(*), the once-mighty, now-mad ruler he defeated to help create this kingdom. Given how many of the commenters seem to be watching primarily because they loved Ian McShane in "Deadwood," I imagine you were pleased to see Brian Cox, however briefly, as Abaddon, in an episode packed with great character actors like Dylan Baker, Miguel Ferrer and Mark Margolis.
(*) Other than the setting, this is the first really significant break from the Bible story, where Saul was appointed by Samuel, who had previously been leading the Israelites, after the people demanded that they have a king to lead them. The name Abaddon pops up elsewhere in the Bible -- and was also the name of Lance Reddick's character on "Lost" -- but not in the Book of Samuel.
And after not having much to do in the two-hour pilot, Susanna Thompson's Queen Rose starts moving to the forefront here, trying to manipulate her daughter away from David and demonstrating that she has an army of her own for formal events like the treaty-signing.
I continue to love the way the show manages to feel simultaneously cinematic -- that area of the Upper West Side where David cuts off the convoy has never looked prettier -- and theatrical, with characters like the security guards functioning as the Greek chorus, or Shakespeare's fools, or deus ex machina, or whatever role is needed for the story.
What did everybody else think?