'mayor of kingstown' season 2, episode 5
Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

'Mayor of Kingstown' Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: A Gang Leader's Death Spells Disaster


Midway through the hit prison drama's second season, Mayor of Kingstown is leaning into its thriller roots. Episode 5, "Kill Box," is a tangled web of murky motivations and surprising moves by characters new and old. Jeremy Renner's Mike McLusky is officially in over his head, and his ranks are dwindling.

Helmed by Guy Ferland, an award-winning TV director with episodes of Yellowstone and The Walking Dead under his belt, from a script by Leon Hendrix III (Two Sentence Horror Stories), this week's installment plays like an espionage pic. It's impossible to tell who's a good guy and who's a bad guy at this point, and it makes for excellent serialized storytelling. The not knowing is part of the fun. That said, scroll to the bottom of this article for some (maybe misguided) theories and predictions for what's to come this season.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for 'Mayor of Kingstown' Season 2, Episode 5, "Kill Box."

Bunny's Nightmare

Bunny's (Tobi Bamtefa) first night in prison. (Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Bunny's first night in prison. (Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

All of Tent City has been transferred to four different prisons. Mike's office is overrun with people desperately trying to locate their inmate family members, and Bunny's cousin Rhonda (Law & Order 's Nona Parker Johnson) is among them. Bunny was the glue that held the Crip community together, protecting their homes and businesses from rival gangs. Without him, Rhonda's shop will be targeted. Meanwhile, we see prison through Bunny's point-of-view, and it's nightmarish. On his first night in the joint, another inmate jumps to his death from the top of a cellblock. It's the first time we've witnessed incarceration from the perspective of a character we know and love. And it makes the horrors of prison that much more potent. 


We're treated to the triumphant return of the cop diner where Ian (Hugh Dillon), Stevie (Derek Webster), Kyle (Taylor Handley), and Mike plotted what moves the boys in blue would make in Season 1. (Back then, the diner was called The Red Carriage. Now, it's Don's Diner.) They've got much bigger problems than prison guard infighting to tend to these days. Milo's bonds are worth a whopping $14 million, and Kyle points out the obvious: That money is the only thing keeping Milo in Kingstown, so why not just give him the bonds and let the Russian mobster get out of Dodge (and out of their hair)? But Mike refuses to let Milo off easy for what he's done to Iris. "Milo...broke something," he tells Kyle. "He took it and he broke it. And that's why we're not letting him leave." 

Bunny, Raphael (D Smoke), and the other gang leaders have been transferred to the same prison. (It looks like the old Kingstown Pen, where the riots occurred.) It's a much bigger pond than Tent City, but it seems Bunny is still the biggest fish. He has strong Crip numbers here, and one associate, nicknamed Big Hush (Your Honor 's Jock McKissic), confirms that Bunny runs point from now on. But Gunner and the Whites have the prison guards in their pocket, and trouble is brewing. Bunny tells Raphael that "it ain't about the circumstance, man, it's about what you do with it," and the platitude is at once hopelessly naive and darkly opportunistic. It's unclear whether Bunny is clinging to his usual buoyant optimism or plotting the ultimate criminal comeback.

Getting the Gang(s) Together

'mayor of kingstown' season 2, episode 5 still

Kareem's State of the Union. (Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

All the while, the chips are down on Team Mike. Kyle has been cleared for duty at Kingstown PD, but he'd rather be Mike's henchman and redeem himself after underperforming during the riots. In a sweet exchange, Tracy (Nishi Munshi) supports his decision not to re-enter the police force just yet, telling Kyle that, despite his confusion about what's right and wrong, he's going to make an excellent father.

Down by the lake, Joseph (George Tchortov) and his men have strung up Rosanna's dead body, and Mike urges Stevie to move the bonds someplace safer than the backroom at the police station - advice Stevie inexplicably doesn't take. At the prison, Kareem (Michael Beach) holds a so-called State of the Union with all four gang leaders, making it clear that he's not there to facilitate whatever deal they made with Mike. If the gang leaders threaten Kareem's authority over the prison population, he'll ruin them as he would any other inmate. Kareem's short-sightedness is a product of both his post-riot trauma and his helplessness as he witnessed the previous warden mismanage the prison to the point of chaos. 


Rhonda has turned the cell phone shop into a hair salon, and Mike gives her his number in case the place comes under threat, repeating verbatim the promise he made to Bunny's young cousin Hakim in Season 1, Episode 5: "When I say I'm gonna do a thing, that thing gets f****** done." At the end of their chemistry-filled consultation, Rhonda asks why he and Bunny trust each other, and Mike just gives a knowing smile. What would he have answered? We star-gazed together that one time ? Bunny inadvertently saved Iris from the Bloods ? Mike has been open and vulnerable with Bunny in ways he's never been with Ian -- or with Kyle, for that matter. 

Milo Shows Joseph Who's Boss

'mayor of kingstown' season 2, episode 5 milo sunter

Milo gives Joseph the business. (Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Speaking of Ian, everyone's favorite gum-chewing homicide detective is back subverting a disturbing scene with hilarious, absurdist flourish. A serial killer named Charlie Pickens (Kenny Johnson of S.W.A.T.) wants to get some dark deeds off his chest, and Ian brings a greasy bag of fast food to sweeten the deal: "I'm gonna trade burgers for bodies" -- an all-timer Ian line. Charlie reveals that he committed an undiscovered murder in Ohio. Ian will either strike out on his own subplot in the Buckeye state, or he'll be off the board for a pivotal event in Kingstown. Either way, Ian's absence will be a hit to Team Mike. 

One of the Tent City inmates Kareem beat to a pulp in the Season 2 premiere is in the hospital after suffering a seizure in the Yard. If he dies, the autopsy will reveal damning wounds to his internal organs; if he lives, there's a risk he blows the whistle. Kareem is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but Carney (Lane Garrison) promises to deal with the situation. Acting as the designated go-between, Carney slips Bunny his cell phone for a short-lived call with Mike. When another officer walks towards the cellblock, Carney hurriedly takes the phone back. Things are tighter in prison than they were in Tent City, and it's making Mike's job as a gang deal broker nearly impossible. 

At long last, we see Russian mobster Milo's (Aidan Gillen) chilling dominance in action. He's ordered one of his spooky henchmen to drive Joseph to his spooky church hideout, where Milo obliterates him (while donning a tracksuit, no less!). Joseph killed both Colton and Rosanna even though neither gave up the location of the bonds (or so Joseph claims). It's an idiotic move that gets Milo's brain working: Maybe Joseph wanted to keep the bonds for himself. Milo forgives Joseph his trespasses, and vows to fix the situation himself. That night, we see a masked burglar sneak into the police station and swipe the bonds from the backroom. Did Milo or Joseph order the theft? More on that later...


"Kill Box"


Bunny being dragged to AdSeg. (Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Bunny and Mike finally have an in-person conversation at the prison on either side of the glass. Mike says that he's working an angle to secure Bunny's release papers from the D.A. In the meantime, he'll get Bunny set up to earn inside so that he can send money back to his family. But when Mike urges him to stay the course, Bunny scoffs at his worthless promises: "The only course I see is the one I'm making." Trusting Mike has been a disaster for Bunny, and his repeated assurances ring more and more hollow. Bunny's taking his life into his own hands.

The exchange marks the heartbreaking beginning of the end for Mike and Bunny stans, but it gets worse. A group of COs (Corrections Officers) drag Bunny to AdSeg (or what Bunny calls the "kill box"), beating him while they move him. Carney tries to stop it, but there's nothing he can do. The prison guards have been bought by Gunner, the leader of the Whites. Mike is in the prison parking lot when Carney calls to give him the bad news. Then, we cut back to the prison and see Hush and one of the Whites throw gasoline and a match into Mexican leader Luis' (Reinaldo Faberlle) cell, burning him alive. Mike looks on as a plume of smoke rises from the prison.

Theories and Predictions


No rest for the weary. (Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

  • Why did Big Hush, a Crip, join with the Whites to kill Luis? At the beginning of the season, the Crips were kinda-sorta in league with the Mexicans. It's strange, then, that a Crip would be working with the Whites, who just stuck Bunny in AdSeg, to eliminate the Mexican leader. Maybe Big Hush has stabbed Bunny in the back in order to depose him.
  • Bunny will break bad. Remember what happened the last time a Crip leader on the inside (P-Dog) was beaten and thrown in AdSeg? The guy became a revolutionary, leading the riots. The prison will feel Bunny's wrath eventually.
  • Another massive prison shakeup is afoot. What was the match that lit the fires of rebellion in Season 1? The law didn't uphold their end of the bargain with the inmates. Mike has made the same mistake, and the gang leaders will come for him and prison leadership.
  • Mike's "angle" for Bunny's release was Milo's bonds. Without Iris around to rat on Milo's expansive sex trafficking ring, Mike's big catch for putting Milo away for good was the $14 million in stolen bonds. Without that evidence, he has nothing to trade the D.A. for Bunny's release.
  • Milo stole the bonds back. Joseph has reason to work against Milo: He's had a child with Tatiana, the den mother of Milo's girls, and that's against the rules. As delightful as an internecine war between Joseph and Milo sounds, odds are Milo's three steps ahead of his hatchet man. Milo knew that Rosanna took the bonds to the police station - the guy definitely has eyes everywhere. Once he learns that Joseph had a child with Tatiana, he'll kill them both.
  • The bonds will trade hands once more. We didn't see Iris in this episode, and it's not crazy to think she's got a few tricks up her sleeve - like, for instance, stealing Milo's bonds and giving them to Mike. The problem? The mayorship has a bad track record when it comes to dealing with Milo's money. It's what got Mike's brother, Mitch, killed in the series premiere. Mike could suffer a similar fate.

New episodes of Mayor of Kingstown premiere Sundays exclusively on Paramount+

READ MORE: Where is 'Mayor of Kingstown' Filmed? Inside the Crime Drama's Abandoned Prisons and Picturesque Lakes