Man oh man oh man, trust the best show on TV not to go quietly to its death. Instead, the show hits the ground running, and never lets up for an hour, it deviates wildly from the source material, finds its own voice, and yet seems vaguely reminiscent of things we’ve seen before. True, in a week we’ll be done with this show forever, and that’s sad and frustrating, but when the episodes are this good it’s hard to care about our imminent Kings-less future. Indeed, it’s hard not to think of anything beyond the moment at all, the show is so good at grabbing our throats and slamming us in to the story whether we want it to or not.
Fortunately, I want it to.
PLAY BY PLAY
Silas is visiting Mad King Vesper Abaddon in his cell in Gehenna. They talk about wine, and then Vesper tells Silas that he made a mistake. He says that love is good, but to be feared is better. He tells him to kill David and Jack both. Silas gives Vesper a TV to catch up on the world at large. As Silas leaves, we see David is in the next cell. Silas tells him in no uncertain terms that he’ll be dead ASAP.
Gay Prince Jack is in hiding with his beard/fiance while William Cross schemes. As the King plans to go ahead with the Port Prosperity handover, the queen begs for - and receives - Jack’s life. Michelle first complains and pouts about David’s disappearance and evident star chamber justice. After talking to her mom, however, she realizes that she needs to keep up appearances and think of the baby first, and if that means playing her dad’s game for the short term, so be it. She tells her dad that she’ll be seen in public with someone new, someone she’ll seem very fond of, which will make the public forget David. Impressed, or perhaps uncharacteristically easily manipulated by his favorite, Silas tells her where David is when she asks to say goodbye to him.
Back at Gehenna, Michelle tries to explain that she’s pregnant, but David won’t even listen to her. “I would have bet my life on you. I *Did* bet my life on you.” Her betrayal seems to hurt him more than anything else. She gives up and leaves. In the next cell, Vesper talks to David through the air vents, and asks the young captain for his steak if he’s not going to eat it. David passes it through to him. Vesper doesn’t tell David who he is - though I think David suspects - but he does tell him that he’s the one who told Silas to kill him. “Sorry about that. Eventually, when you’re gone, the king will realize that by killing you he was playing in to my game. I imagine he’ll be really mad about that.” He also mentions that he was a mad man for decades, until David came along, and through the permutations of the king, Vesper’s mind returned. Interesting. He is faaaaaaaar more lucid here than when last we saw him. “But since I owe you double, let me give you some advice,” he says, “It is better to be loved than to be feared” - exactly the opposite advice he gave Silas - “you can die happy.”
“I’d rather live miserable,” David jokes. Vesper laughs, and says “I like you.” The guards come to take David to be executed.
In Port Prosperity, the hold outs who refuse to move are being forcibly deported. Some are killed. Michelle takes the guy who wanted to see the king’s socks. Jack shows up, and asks Silas for forgiveness, though he’s clearly seethingly angry.
“Forgiveness is a form of love,” Silas says, “And I do not love you. Kneel.” Jack reluctantly does. “Kiss the ground I walk on. You’ve put your mouth in dirtier places.” Insulted and furious, Jack does.
“Your mother has given you life two times. That’ll be the last,” Silas says ominously as he leaves. Jack sits slumped on the ground, with weird things going on all over his face, and no doubt weirder things in his mind.
William Cross gives his son some interesting exposition about how he used to genuinely like Silas - “He was so funny” - and how he considers himself born to read the language of nations, whereas Silas could barely make out the glyphs. He talks about how War is progress, and nothing gets done in peacetime, “Except art,”