After his so-called "me day" (ahem, colossal bender) last week, Jeremy Renner's Mike McLusky is back to working the three-dimensional chessboard that is Mayor of Kingstown, and, boy, is it a good time. Episode 9, entitled "Peace in the Valley," is a bloody continuation of last week's twists and turns. One (maybe even two!) major characters meet their end this episode, and Mike gets one step closer to his series-long goal: Freeing Iris from Milo. Still, there's no telling where next week's Season 2 finale will take us. Bunny is a loose cannon, more powerful entities than the mayor are at play, and chances are there's no clean way for Mike to make good on all the deals he's brokered. Can peace exist in Kingstown, and was Mike wrong to place all his big-bad chips on Milo? We're about to find out.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for 'Mayor of Kingstown' Season 2, Episode 9, "Peace in the Valley."
Mike and Milo Make a Deal
The episode opens with a one-two punch of game-changing scenes. The first is Mike and Milo's (Aidan Gillen) long-awaited reunion. They've made their way to a diner operated by the Russian mob, where Milo proposes a deal: In exchange for the bonds worth $14 million, he'll "sell" Iris to Mike and leave Kingstown forevermore. And if the mayor gets any funny ideas about betraying him, Milo warns that Iris, or even Mike's family, will pay the price: "I won't just kill you, Mike."
Meanwhile, a newly-freed Bunny (Tobi Bamtefa) has concocted an elaborate heist, waltzing into a gun shop like a prospective customer, chatting up the owner, and pretending to call his "wife" about a purchase -- the first hint that all is not well here. Really, he's giving the go-ahead to his generals, who burst through the shop's glass window in a truck and loot the place. The scene is an impressive illustration of Bunny's Janus-faced character. On the one side, he's a charismatic, diplomatic community leader, and on the other, a dangerous criminal who's been pushed to the brink.
His meeting with Milo has snapped Mike back to reality, and after a 36-hour bender, the laundry list of items to attend to is overwhelming. He heads back to the office, where Kyle (Taylor Handley) greets him with glee. When he announces that he cut a deal with Milo to trade the bonds for Iris, Kyle is skeptical at first. "What is she to you, Mike," he asks. Mike isn't entirely sure himself: "I don't know," he says. "I want her to get away, I know that. Away from Milo, away from this f****** town. That's what I want." In the end, Milo was right about Mike. He wants to be a hero. Saving Iris would be a rare win in a largely zero-sum game, and it would prove to Mike that the mayorship isn't all for naught.
Bunny Sets His Sights on Robert
Next up on the to-do list: Bunny. In a surprising twist, we learn that Mike had no idea Bunny was released from prison. The news of Bunny's gun shop stick-up comes as a shock. At the scene of the heist, Ian (Hugh Dillon) warns Mike that Kingstown PD will go after Bunny if the mayor can't broker peace. Besides, Bunny and the Crips are obviously gearing up for war on the streets. But with whom? In other news, Ian tells Mike that the charges against Robert were dropped, playing totally coy as to his own involvement. "Sometimes when you leave s*** alone, it'll just go away," he says, masterfully tacking on a useless historical anecdote to keep Mike from looking too closely at him. "Napoleon used to not answer his letters for two weeks, you know that?" Another priceless Ian-ism to add to the books.
Mike assumed that acting D.A. Evelyn (Necar Zadegan) came through with Bunny's release, but she says it was his "girlfriend" at Warwick Prison Group who pulled the strings. If she's elected, Evelyn promises she'll do everything in her power as D.A. to stop Mike and his cronies from taking a wrecking ball to Kingstown. She caps off her tirade with the news that Robert's accuser, Ben Morrisey, was killed before he could testify. "The inmates are running the asylum, Mike, and you're the one giving them the key." Later on, Mike heads to Bunny's increasingly well-fortified headquarters, the cell phone shop rooftop. Bunny and Mike are square, but the Crip leader wants payback for all his generals killed in last season's prison riots. "I'm looking for that big game on my mantle," he says, telling Mike he means to kill Robert.
It's setback after setback for the McLuskys this episode. After missing another dinner date with Tracy (Nishi Munshi), Kyle is worse than in the dog's house. Tracy is heading to her dad's house in New Jersey because things are "too crazy" right now. He's welcome to come with her, but he can't leave Kingstown. He's Mike's new right-hand man, and they have a deal with a Russian mobster to satisfy. Then, in a few devastating beats, we see that Jacob (Jake Schur), Mariam's former student at the juvenile prison, has committed suicide after being transferred to Anchor Bay. Mike books it to Mariam's (Dianne Wiest) to tell her in person. "I don't know why he was in prison," she muses. "He could've killed somebody. Doesn't matter."
Iris Bests Joseph Once and For All
That night, Mike gets a call from Iris (Emma Laird). She wants to "see" him at the park tomorrow at midnight, and Mike clocks instantly that Iris is merely relaying the location of his and Milo's transaction. We cut to Iris in what looks to be Milo's church basement digs, and the Russian mobster sits silently across from her. "Iris, you're almost there," Mike tells her. Upon hearing that, Milo snatches the phone away.
The next day, Mike meets Ian, Stevie, and Robert (Hamish Allan-Headley) for a post-mortem, doing his due diligence and asking Robert if he killed Morrisey to save his own skin. Robert is stunned that Mike would even entertain the idea, and Ian, once again, keeps absolutely mum. Back in Crip territory, Mike warns Bunny that the ATF, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is on its way to Kingstown to investigate the robbery. Mike can make it go away if Bunny hands over the guns, collectively worth $250k, but Bunny has another idea: He'll give up the weapons if Mike lets him kill Robert.
What began with a bang goes out with an even bigger bang in the final moments of this week's installment, giving ironic weight to the episode's title, "Peace in the Valley." Iris is on a job at a hotel awaiting her john when, lo and behold, Joseph (George Tchortov) walks in. She starts up to leave and he shoves her across a coffee table, shattering some glass. She grabs a shard and stabs him, killing him. Later that night, Mike calls Robert to warn him that the Crips have put a target on him. But before Mike can reach Robert's location, a gang of Crip motorcyclists has left him beaten and bloody in the street. Mike pulls up just as the bikers speed off, cradling an unresponsive Robert as the ambulance arrives.
Theories and Predictions
- Is Robert dead? This one's a toss-up. If the Crips did indeed kill him, KPD will go after Bunny's crew until there's no one left. But Ian could pin Morrisey's murder on Robert and get off scot-free...If Robert is alive, well, the question of Morrisey's death remains open and Bunny remains the biggest threat to the boys in blue. Mike will have to pick a side and stick to it this time.
- How has Joseph's murder complicated Iris' status? Given how he feels about the guy, Milo won't be missing his less-than-stellar hatchet man. But he could press Mike for a few more concessions in exchange for his silence. More money? More time in Kingstown to choose Joseph's heir? Alternatively...
- Iris could kill Milo. Defeating Joseph could embolden Iris to eliminate her archenemy. And if Aidan Gillen, who only had a featured role this season, doesn't return for a still-unannounced Season 3, death by Iris' hand would be the most poetic way out for Milo's character.
- Why does Bunny need that much artillery? The Crip leader took a page from AB's playbook and acquired a drone, and now he's got an entire arsenal of guns at his disposal. With the AB and Blood leaders still imprisoned, Bunny is free to play his hand. It's safe to say he'll be swallowing up some rival gang territory next episode, probably igniting a turf war.
- Mike owes Warwick a favor in exchange for Bunny's freedom, but what will the prison ask for? This one's tricky. We know that Warwick lobbies heavily, and that they somehow pushed through Bunny's release. But how much power does the prison group actually have? Milo's escape hasn't gone public, but Mike told Lockett before his death. If Lockett told Warwick, the prison group may want the glory of capturing and incarcerating a most-wanted criminal. Mike could be stuck between a rock and a hard place: Betray Milo and risk death, or disobey Warwick and risk who-knows-what?
The Season 2 finale of Mayor of Kingstown premieres next Sunday, March 19, exclusively on Paramount+.
READ MORE: Where is 'Mayor of Kingstown' Filmed? Inside the Crime Drama's Abandoned Prisons and Picturesque Lakes
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