Created by Taylor Sheridan and Terence Winter, “Tulsa King” is a crime drama series with a pinch of dark humor. It tells the story of a gangster named Dwight David Manfredi, who is exiled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, by his mafia-boss Pete Invernizzi. But, instead of working under someone, he dreamed of creating his own criminal dynasty in Tulsa. Every week, we expect to witness his quest to conquer his place in Tulsa and become the king. So, let’s see how his journey has begun.
Why Was Dwight Imprisoned? Why Was He Sent to Tulsa?
“Tulsa King” Episode 1 opens with a scene of USP Cannan’s barbed-wire prison. The voiceover of Dwight David Manfredi (played by Sylvester Stallone), the protagonist of the story, is heard saying that he has been incarcerated in this jail for 25 years. Dwight was a hitman or a capo of an Italian immigrant mafia, Pete Invernizzi. He served 25 years in jail for being an accomplice to a murder that Pete had committed. So, Dwight narrated that this was the life he chose for himself, so now it’s his time to see what this life is going to give him in return for his suffering.
Two decades can make a person stranger to his own roots and this is what happens with Dwight who witnesses a wave of new technical gadgets and technology as soon as he steps out of the prison. His familiar old streets, minibars, everything seemed to have changed along with his relationship with people in the outside world. Although Dwight was only a capo, his relationship with Pete lasted for years. But after his release from jail, he noticed a certain change in his behavior. Dwight, upon arriving at Pete’s house, noticed his bouncers standing behind him as if they felt threatened by his presence.
Pete’s son, Charles ‘Chickie,’ was now a grown man who had taken over the business and worked as his father’s underboss, whose new capo was Vince Antonacci. Dwight only hoped that, after 25 years, he would get a warm welcome. But instead, he was treated strangely and was banished from his own city. Chickie informed Dwight that he was being sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he had to establish their empire and start sending them money as soon as possible. Dwight realized how ungrateful people could have been. He told Pete that he only got caught and served twenty-five years in jail to save Pete and his family and because of it, he had lost everything in his life. His wife had divorced him, and his daughter, whom he hadn’t met for 18 years, hated him. So, Dwight was hurt by the treatment he was getting from the gang he used to work for. He didn’t want to leave his city and stay in Tulsa, but Chickie told him that there was nothing left for Dwight here. Dwight was outraged, and Vince tried to stop him, but instead, he got punched in the face by Dwight. Later, Dwight was forced to accept the deal, as he needed money at this age and had no other means to earn it. He had no choice but to go to Tulsa and follow the instructions that Pete and Chickie had given him.
Why Did Dwight Scare Bodhi and Take His Cash?
After running into a grasshopper and some devotees of Tulsa at the airport, Dwight eventually encountered Tyson, a cab driver who was very different from the religious fanatics. Tyson had a calm demeanor and showed little concern for Dwight. While sitting in the cab, Dwight looked around the city and noticed a banner that read “Sooner State”. As Dwight asked him, Tyson responded by discussing the city’s settlers and the football team, which did not really satisfy Dwight’s curiosity.
In reality, the United States allowed settlement on some unassigned territory in 1889. The initial settlers claimed these unassigned acres through the Land Run of 1889. So those who first arrived on the afternoon of April 22, 1889, before the designated time, were known as “Sooners.” These unassigned lands later became the state of Oklahoma. Although all this history was unknown to Dwight, his curiosity about the city had already been aroused. Despite his exile in this city, he wanted to make his own mark in it so he would not have to work under anyone. Tyson jokingly called him a gangster, which Dwight didn’t like at all. He wanted to keep his identity a secret, but with a criminal record, it would be tough for him to do so. Dwight asked Tyson to pull over in the middle of the road. He found a marijuana store. He went inside and wanted to talk to the store owner, but the store guard told him to leave. Dwight left and came back, knocking the guard out with the help of Tyson’s thermos (bottle). The owner of the store, Bodhi (played by Martin Starr), came out hurriedly with whom Dwight discussed his business.
Dwight asked Bodhi to show him their safe, but Bodhi lied about where he kept the money. Dwight told him that he was going to protect Bodhi and their illegal business. Hearing the statement, Bodhi got confused about what kind of protection he actually needed. He had a store in the middle of nowhere, in a place that was owned by nobody. Even his sale of marijuana, which was used for medical purposes, had been made legal by the state. Bodhi initially believed Dwight might be a member of the federal government, but after witnessing Dwight hit his guard, he realized working with this man could be dangerous. He would better show him the safe after hearing several ominous warnings. Dwight took a small amount of the money, but he promised to return later to grab more. Bodhi was absolutely terrified because he solely feared the federal government, so he had better shaken hands with Dwight. Charles sent Dwight to Tulsa and instructed him to send him five grand per week, so Dwight was collecting the cash in this way. He used Bodhi’s fear as an opportunity to make some quick cash because he was aware that owning a marijuana shop would be a little risky for the owner.
How Did Dwight Buy The Lincoln Navigator?
Dwight handed Tyson a bundle of cash as he came out of the store. He ordered Tyson to buy him a Lincoln Navigator and find him a place to reside. Dwight went to a cowboy bar to meet some people when he later started to tour the city. In fact, he enjoyed the atmosphere, and he felt welcome there. The next day, Tyson arrived in a car which was not a Navigator. Tyson explained to him that he was kicked out from the car showroom because he was a man of color, and it was believed that he was a drug dealer with a lot of illegal money. So, now Dwight wanted to show up in the automobile showroom along with Tyson. Dwight explained to the owner of the showroom, that just because a person of color had money, it didn’t always imply that he was a drug dealer. The owner was forced to sell the Navigator to him after getting punched in the face. Dwight and Tyson enjoyed ice cream in their victory celebration after winning the car. Dwight appeared to have discussed his prison experience with Tyson. Perhaps Dwight will hire him as an associate later on in his business. Later, Dwight was spotted by a local bookie named Armand Truisi, inside the mall. Armand quickly informed someone about him as if he had a history with Dwight, which would be further explored in the next episode.
Why Did Dwight Want to Call Himself an “Industrialist”?
Dwight went back to the marijuana store to check on their profit. He gifted them a security camera, but Bodhi couldn’t understand what purpose it would be used for. From the conversation with Bodhi, he acquired some information about the weed supply. Bodhi explained that the weeds mainly come from the greenhouse store where a guy named Jimmy runs the business, and they have their license for it. Even so, Dwight urged Bodhi to get his money clean, implying that he wanted Bodhi to give him all the cash or hide it because the Feds could come by any day and raid their store. Dwight bid him farewell and informed him that he was living in the Western Plains. Bodhi told him about the place, which was basically a dump. Dwight’s ego was hurt hearing about that, so he told Tyson to take him to a luxurious place, not a dump. Tyson took him to the hotel, Mayo, which suited both his personality and the cash he was carrying.
In fact, Dwight wished Tyson would tell people that Dwight was an industrialist because that would undoubtedly confuse folks who wouldn’t know what that meant. Dwight knew that he could easily hide his identity because no one here would identify him. He also desired to be known as a strong and successful individual who could make people fear and respect him. The “Industrialist” label, therefore, fits him well, which is consistent with Dwight’s haughty demeanor and flaunting of his wealth.
‘Tulsa King’ Episode 1: Ending Explained: Who Was Mitch? Why Didn’t Stacy Beale Want To Be With Dwight?
At the end of the night, Dwight made it to his favorite cowboy bar, where Mitch, the bartender, introduced himself. Mitch recognized the barbed wire tattoo on Dwight’s hand and asked him about his time in prison. Mitch talked about his past life, saying that he used to engage in illegal bull riding, which led to his arrest and imprisonment in Lompoc. Even so, he developed an analgesic addiction, and since then, he has been running from place to place in an effort to find serenity in his life. Dwight introduced himself to Mitch and revealed that his parents were proud immigrants who named him after the greatest military general of the 20th century and the 34th President of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower. He also told Mitch about Cannan’s jail time, but they were interrupted by a woman when they were talking about their ultimate freedom. One of the women approached Dwight to take a picture with her, but he refused her. Eventually, a woman named Stacy Beale (played by Andrea Savage) arrived and invited him to their karaoke party, which Dwight didn’t really call a party. So, he took the group of women, who were probably celebrating a bachelorette, to a strip club to show them what a real party is. There, seeing a girl being teased by a pervert, Dwight beat the guy out. Stacy was already impressed by Dwight, so the two went to Dwight’s hotel, the Mayo.
Stacy wanted to meet someone while going through a divorce so she could end her marriage forever, but she found that it was difficult to do. She was shocked to hear that Dwight was actually 75 years old. She was reluctant to date an older man who might be close in age to her father. She, therefore, sort of fled the motel immediately. Later, we discover that Dwight’s existence in Tulsa was in jeopardy because the ATF police were already watching him and were about to oversee his movements. Surprisingly, Stacy was an ATF police officer who was quite shocked to find Dwight on a list of wanted criminals.
Dwight, on the other hand, was torn between enjoying his exile and using this task as an opportunity to imprint his own identity in this city. He discovered a letter from his daughter, with whom he hadn’t spoken in 18 years. He got this letter during his earlier time in prison. He read the letter in which his daughter had given him five dollars and advised him to get something from the store. Dwight felt like he was now imprisoned in a luxurious hotel, but he didn’t want this existence to continue to seem like a jail. Instead, he desired to become powerful and own this city instead of working for anyone.
Episode 1 of “Tulsa King” did an excellent job of exploring the narrative. It is very entertaining to see, and Sylvester Stallone gives an outstanding performance. When discussing the upcoming episodes, we can remark that the series of events from episode 1 is so unpredictable that we cannot foresee what will happen in episode 2. But it is safe to presume that Mitch and Tyson will all be Dwight’s associates in his criminal underworld. Stacy might have to confront Dwight one more time, but this time it would undoubtedly be to question him as an officer. All we can say is that the series would be fantastic to watch if it keeps its charm and maintains its pace; depicting Dwight’s true predicament and his efforts to conquer his position in this city. So, let’s hope we enjoy watching “Tulsa King” and look forward to the upcoming episodes.
See More: ‘Tulsa King’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending, Explained – Did Dwight Get A Better Deal From Bodhi’s Supplier?