There was no way this could have been a one-season show.
Tulsa King Season 1 Episode 8 offers more of what we’ve come to expect — moving chess pieces around on a board while we wait for something to happen.
So far, Tulsa King has been a lot more buildup than actual storytelling.
We get one step forward and two back every episode.
Dwight is out of prison and building a new life away from the mob he still serves, but he can’t quite sever the ties.
It’s not as if he’s got any loyalty left for the organization that saw fit to let him rot in prison for 25 years only to banish him to Tulsa as payback.
Things didn’t go well during his visit to New York, and he’d just as soon have his family relocate with him than return.
We assume he’s still sending money back to the gang, but I can’t be the only one who hopes that stops with the regime change.
Serving Chickie is entirely different than serving under Pete. It’s humiliating.
Now we know that Chickie has made up his mind to take Dwight out of the picture. It’s a vengeful move — nothing more and nothing less.
Chickie is wearing his big boy pants now and wants to throw his weight around. He knows that his dad and everyone around him believes Dwight to be the better man. That stings. He aims to relieve himself of that displeasure.
In doing so, he’s creating an atmosphere that will eventually come back to bite him in the ass. Nobody wants to be loyal for 30 years, only to be destroyed for no apparent reason.
Poor Johnny was just trying to make sense of the odd situation, to bring some levity to the table. That didn’t work out well for him.
You know that Chickie has lost his sense of direction when he furls an “uncle Dwight” at Dwight in some half-assed attempt to show respect.
Yesterday, watching them lower my father’s casket into the ground, you know what I realized, Uncle Dwight? You are the last vestige of my father that I got left. I’m comin’ to visit. Me, Vince, Goody. We have dinner, we break bread, we show everybody that we are unified.
The mob side of this story, the part that built Dwight into the man he is today, just doesn’t fly well on the series as a whole. They’re pains in the asses demanding respect for doing nothing.
Even more embarrassing is how the hangers-on allow it to continue and would rather shut down than band together to create a change of any kind.
When Chickie called Dwight, Dwight’s mind was on overload. He’s battling the Black McAdams and trying valiantly to enforce the ranks but having a devil of a time doing it.
Surely, Dwight picked up on the undercurrent of that phone call. He’s a great judge of character, so he should be prepared. Using Uncle Dwight felt like the equivalent of kissing a man before whacking him. Dwight must know that.
Waltrip, who has been sending other lowlifes to do his dirty work up to now, tried getting Dwight arrested so that he could take advantage of the corrupt system and pick off Dwight while behind bars.
My hand is wrapped around a fuckin’ 357 Magnum with a 158 green hollow points that will leave a hole you can put your fuckin’ fist through! You wanna see your loved ones tonight, I want you to rethink whatever stupid, ill-conceived idea that moronic biker is putting you up to, get in your car, put it in gear, and drive the fuck away.
Dwight could be a little rusty after decades behind bars. I guess he is since he forgot his gun at home. But damn, isn’t it fun when Sylvester Stallone gets to sing his teeth into dialogue like that?
He seems to be having such a good time with this role, and it really suits him.
I was happy that Waltrip took the initiative to gun down Dwight and Stacy himself. He failed to hit his target, but seeing men boss around underlings gets old, especially since Dwight has been hands-on since he arrived.
It puts Dwight in a terrible spot, but maybe the increased scrutiny of him will spell disaster for Chickie and his goons.
It’s not going his way, regardless, but if we want Dwight’s organization to grow and flourish (Look at me, cheering on criminals. Yay!), he needs to catch a break.
Dwight is a good guy who got caught up in bad stuff too young ever to get the chance to do anything else.
He goes to great lengths to protect his guys even as he asks them to do unsavory things.
It’s especially sweet how protective he is of Tyson. Tyson is begging to get his hands dirty and join the fight, but Dwight is trying to keep him out of jail by keeping him in the dark.
Dwight needs Tyson, and the less Tyson knows about the business, the more helpful he’ll be in the long run. The problem is that it reminds him of his dad, which both attracts and repels him.
Tyson wants to be his own man, but he’s very impressionable. That’s why he is so taken with Dwight, who, at first at least, seemed like the antithesis of his dad. Now he’s discovering Dwight has some of the same traits, so maybe they’re not so bad after all.
Dwight has barely pulled together his own band of merry men and women, and they’re already getting tossed into the fire. Some of them can’t even shoot, and most haven’t even met each other yet.
If Dwight didn’t inspire people with his charm, wit, and intellect, it would be a pretty tall order. But he does inspire people, and the showdown coming on the Tulsa King Season 1 finale (already??) should be worth the wait.
Hopefully, Tulsa King Season 2 will be less world-building and more plain fun, but it could be Dwight’s journey to continuously build to something that might never come to fruition.
Only time will tell.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.