‘The Kingdom’ (El Reino) Season 1: Recap And Ending: What Can We Expect From Season 2?


As we were watching “El Rieno,” otherwise titled “The Kingdom,” we realized two things: one, there are too many movies and series with that name; and second, we find it impossible to have an opinion about this series. Despite its powerful concept, “The Kingdom ” fell strongly within the “neither good nor bad” territory. There is a lot to explore when it comes to people’s faith and what makes it so blind that the real crimes of the preachers are willingly overlooked. Unless creators are ready to tackle that topic fearlessly, everything else is something that has already been done, and that is what “The Kingdom” is. It is a look at exactly how corrupt the power of faith can be, and we are not even talking about the most heinous crimes of Emilio Vasquez when we say that. Either way, with Season 2 of “The Kingdom” coming up, let us take a look at everything that went down in Season 1.

Spoilers Ahead

How Did It All Start?

Emilio Vasquez is the pastor of the “Church of Light” and the vice-presidential candidate for Armando Badajoz’s presidential nomination. At a particular rally, riots break out in the venue’s lobby, with people claiming that it is a “church of corruption.” Armando and Emilio are advised to postpone their rally by at least 20 minutes, but they decide that they want to make a statement and not be bogged down by what they call bullies. They step onto the stage, and as they interact with the people, a man stabs Armando Badajoz. He is grievously injured and is declared dead within minutes. The attacker is Remigio Cardenas, who works for the “Church of Light,” and his identity has left everyone speechless. He had a violent past, and in his own words, he had done things one couldn’t even imagine. Yet, people believed that since he had started walking the path of the church, he had been a good man, and that is why they did not understand why he would choose to kill someone, especially Armando Badajoz, as there was no comprehensible motive for it. But it is only later that the truth emerges.

Remigio had stabbed the person wearing the banner of the church. All along, he was under the impression that he had killed Emilio, but it is only later that he comes to know he had missed his target, and his enraged disappointment tells the authorities his real intentions. Emilio and his wife, Elena, had already been viewing this as an opportunity, and Remigio’s confession just strengthened their opportunity. Emilio could be projected as the pastor who “escaped death” and as an evangelist, which ensured a very high social milieu. But Emilio is not the only person trying to take advantage of the current circumstances. Ruben Osario, a member of Armando Badajoz’s party, wants Emilio to run for president. Emilio doesn’t need much convincing, and he agrees to the prospect, announcing it to his congregation. But his wife fakes a seizure and claims that all politicians are the devil.

Elena doesn’t want Emilio to involve himself directly in politics. She believes that it is enough as long as the people in favor of the church are in key positions. If Emilio becomes a part of the church himself, it would negatively affect their institution, but Emilio is convinced that he can handle both. There is something about Emilio. He doesn’t just use psalms and passages from the Bible to justify his actions; he genuinely believes in them. He is not just putting on an act; he is actually convinced that God is speaking through him, and that makes him dangerous in the way of a powder keg; we never know when he will explode. Elena understands this and is the cool-headed one in the relationship, but she struggles with being sidelined by him. Emilio thinks of the church as his, ignoring or forgetting Elena’s contributions to it. In fact, as we later see, it was Elena who taught Emilio how to present himself in front of people, which is what has amassed all his followers. She is easily the one who laid the foundation of the church, but since Emilio is its face, he has convinced himself that he runs the show.

Emilio’s Family

Emilio’s family consists of him, his wife Elena, and his three children, Magdalena, Ana, and Pablo. Ana has a history of self-harm, though she has been on the mend and is in a relationship with Julio, her father’s acting lawyer. She is the one who launders the family’s illegal money, and though she has wanted an out for a while, Emilio and Elena haven’t let her. Having her do some of the dirty work ensures that the secrets stay in the family, in addition to their belief that their children are part of their faith. But Ana is pregnant with Julio’s child, and they are making plans to leave behind the illegal aspects of the business and make something for themselves.

As for the other children, Pablo is a bit dull, whereas Magdalena has ambitions that are shared by her husband. They have wanted to open a church of their own for a while but haven’t been able to get to it. Meanwhile, they are pushed around by their parents and not given much importance in the institution, despite working diligently for it. When Emilio makes the decision to join politics, it is clear that there will be a reshuffling of power. Initially, Magdalena considers that they are the only likely candidates since they are the only ones in the family in a conventional relationship. They know that their mother would not approve of Ana once her relationship and pregnancy were discovered. As for Pablo, he is by no means a viable option. Hence, they present themselves to Emilio as willing to take over key responsibilities. But it doesn’t happen, not to mention that Elena decides to groom Pablo, as she did Emilio, to take over the church responsibilities instead of handing them over to Magdalena or her husband.

Julio Clamens

Julio Clamens is the son of the opposition leader, Sergio Zambrano Paz. In his more youthful days, when he had been playing Russian roulette with some of his friends, a boy had actually ended up dying. Julio had never forgiven himself for that. When he had been in jail, his parents had offered to make the arrangements so that he could go scot-free, but he had refused as he wanted to pay his dues. In jail, he had been relentlessly beaten up, but he persisted, and that is where he met Ramigio, who had protected him one time and told him about the Church of Light. From there onward, taking one step at a time, Julio became a part of the church and Emilio’s army. When Ramigio realizes that he killed Armando and not Emilio, he asks for Julio to be his lawyer; in fact, he insists on it. The police are forced to send for Julio, who refuses to take up his case because he wants to attack Emilio. But Ramigio tells Julio that he doesn’t want him to fight his case.

Instead, Remigio just wants Julio to give a message to his cousin and fellow caretaker of the church orphanage, Tadeo. The code is a verse in the Bible, and while it makes perfect sense to Tadeo, who pretends innocence, Julio remains clueless—that is until he learns about “The Fish” and starts piecing it all together. But we will cover that later in the article because we have to understand how Julio is the most interesting character in “The Kingdom” Season 1. He is far from a fanatic, and he is aware of the church’s illicit activities. He knows that Emilio is not the perfect person and devout man he shows himself to the world as, yet Julio continues to be on the church’s side. When he visits his family, all of them make it clear that they miss him and want him back.

In fact, he is privileged enough that he can restart his life, and there would be no ghosts of his past to catch up with him since he had paid his dues. Yet Julio chose a life with the church. As he tells his sister, he finds that not all of what the church says is true, but some of it is, and he is unable to let go of it, especially since everything else in his life is “fake.” We cannot claim to understand what Julio means, but he looks like someone who needs grief therapy, and instead of opting for that, he has turned to the church. Maybe Osario shares our confusion and tells Julio that he wants him to stay away from the party as his intentions are not clear. But Julio turns the tables on him. Osario planned on using pieces of Julio’s past to expel him from Emilio’s party and company. But Julio stages an exorcism at Emilio’s hands for himself and comes out the other end a “clean man.” This means that for anything that Osario planned on using against Julio, he could not blame the demon, and Osario couldn’t contest that since Emilio himself had performed the exorcism.

The Investigation

Remigio confessed immediately that he had wanted to kill Emilio and that Armando’s death was an accident. But the District Attorney, Roberta Candia, believed that he wasn’t acting alone and that he was still hiding something. When they review the CCTV footage of Armando and Emilio right before the rally, they see that it was Elena who had put the banner over Emilio. They even notice that every time she says something to him, she places a hand over her heart, which could be a sign that she is asking for forgiveness for her lies.

They decide to carry on the investigation based on this hunch, despite not having any further strong evidence. They listen in on the conversation between Remigio and Tadeo, where the former tells him to make sure “The Fish” is safe and that he makes arrangements for enough gravy for their safe passage. “The Fish” is a boy named Jonathan, and he can work miracles, though the extent of them remains to be seen. Gravy means money, and the “blessed be the poor” statement, which Remigio says a few times in his conversation with Tadeo, seems to refer to the temple, where Roberta deduces that the black money of the church must be stashed. Before she can get to it, Tadeo takes some of it out to get the fake documents made and for a number of other expenses, including giving some to his estranged mother.

Meanwhile, Roberta gets a search warrant for the temple, but right before she can carry out the operation, it is overturned by the judge himself. Candia is finding dead end after dead end, and when Remigio is transferred to another prison, she is forced to go meet the judge, where she runs into another potential lead, Brian’s mother. Brian is a boy living in the church’s orphanage who has been missing for a few days, and his mother is running helter-skelter looking for him with no success. When Roberta talks to her, she reveals that there were a number of boys who went missing from the orphanage, and there is a larger conspiracy at work here. Unknown to Roberta, Osario comes to know the lead she is investigating, and it is the same one he is on to as well, as he needs to know why the presidential candidate from his party was under threat.

Julio has been helping Tadeo with what he has been doing on the promise that he would tell him what is going on. But when Roberta comes to know what she does, she digs a little deeper and finds evidence of the missing boys, which she shows Julio. Furious, he confronts Emilio, but Elena answers for him. She tells Julio that Remigio had been abusing the boys, and when Emilio came to know about it, Remigio tried to kill him.

Julio goes to the orphanage and wastes no time punching Tadeo, but Jonathan steps in and stops him. Looking at the situation, Julio realizes that he has been misled. Tadeo then tells him the whole truth. Emilio used to abuse the boys at the orphanage, and Remigio would help relocate them to a safer place. But when they encountered Jonathan, who could actually work miracles, they wanted to protect him at all costs. However, Emilio had taken a strong liking to him, to the point that he believed that it was love. The night before the rally, he had shown up at the orphanage asking for Jonathan, and Remigio had fought him off. When he killed Emilio, it was to protect Jonathan. Tadeo tells Julio that Elena knew about Emilio’s perversion. In fact, when Emilio started eyeing Tadeo when he was a younger boy, Elena relocated him to a room with a key so that he could protect himself and be safe. But they had not been able to protect all the boys. Even Roberta comes to know of this by asking Remigio what happened to the boys, which he tells her while mentioning that he had no idea that Brian was not an orphan.

The Aftermath

Roberta has no way to expose the truth except to get Remigio to tell the others what he told her. But before she can get to him, Osario reaches him instead. He has come to learn about Emilio’s pedophilia from Brian, whom he kidnapped and forced to talk to using his mother as leverage. Osario has even kidnapped Tadeo and Jonathan while they were trying to leave the country. Osario wants Remigio to take the fall for Emilio’s crimes, and a cornered Remigio agrees to Osario’s terms as soon as he gets confirmation that Tadeo and Jonathan have made their way out safely. Once Remigio writes and signs the letter Osario wants, he is found hanging in his cell, killing Roberta’s last hope for the truth to come out. Her team is disbanded and transferred to other departments, and she leaves defeated and angry. As for Tadeo and Jonathan, they safely escape the country with some help from his powers. But Tadeo says that they cannot use the powers for a while now, and they also cannot return to their country for a few years. They decide to build their own following in the new country in small pockets so that they go undetected.

As for Julio, he comes to know that Osrio knows about Emilio’s pedophilia but plans on doing nothing about it. In fact, he blackmails Julio by saying that he will come out to Ann for money laundering if he tries to stir up any trouble. Therefore, Julio makes arrangements for Ann to leave the country and drops her off at the airport, with the promise to follow soon after. But to his dismay, Osario brings back Ann just as Emilio’s cabinet is being announced by him. Julio has no way out since Remigio is dead, and Ann is once again in danger. His hands are further tied when Emilio announces him as his chief of staff. When Ann sees that, she rushes out, realizing that Julio has been completely absorbed into the swamp of her father’s empire.

What Can We Expect From ‘The Kingdom’ Season 2?

Season 2 of the series has to be about Emilio’s truth coming to light. Julio’s hands might be currently tied, but he has Remigio’s diary with the names and other details of all of Emilio’s victims. Additionally, Roberta has lost the battle, but we don’t think she will lose the war. She will certainly put in all her might to work with Julio and bring out the truth about Emilio’s orphanage. As for Emilio himself, he has seen some oscillating support in his personal circle. While he doesn’t know that Julio knows, his wife has tried to phase him out of the church by bringing in Pablo as his replacement and asking Emilio to sleep in Tadeo’s room, probably with the intent of announcing a separation in the near future, should the need arise. We believe that with his newfound power, Emilio is going to lash out against Elena. Maybe he will discover her affair with Remigio and, in all of his hypocrisy, cause some short-sighted irreparable damage that will negatively affect his entire campaign. As for Jonathan, he seems to be genuinely working miracles. We don’t know what to think of it except that we have seen that Jonathan has a certain pull, and people listen to him. Maybe he will build a following as he wanted, or maybe Emilio will get to him before anything else. It all remains to be seen in “The Kingdom” Season 2.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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