Mayor of Kingstown Season 2 Review – this gritty, authentic crime saga is full of potential

January 13, 2023 (Last updated: 3 days ago)
Adam Lock 0
Paramount+, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

Jeremy Renner is your standard leading-man material in this dark, violent crime saga, while co-creator Taylor Sheridan presented the brutality of prison life and organized crime in shocking detail. Yet this series works best when it focuses on the human element underneath all this brutal chaos.

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3.5

Summary

Jeremy Renner is your standard leading-man material in this dark, violent crime saga, while co-creator Taylor Sheridan presented the brutality of prison life and organized crime in shocking detail. Yet this series works best when it focuses on the human element underneath all this brutal chaos.


We review the Paramount+ series Mayor of Kingstown Season 2, which does not contain spoilers.

There’s no denying the fact that Taylor Sheridan is a prolific writer and possibly one of the most prominent figures in the current American TV landscape. Surprisingly, the co-creator of Mayor of Kingstown, and real-life cowboy, only really started his writing career in his forties though and he’s now clearly making up for lost time. In 2023 alone, Sheridan is either overseeing or heavily involved in six stand-alone TV shows, ranging from returning favorites (Yellowstone) to continuations (Tulsa King and 1923), all the way to straight-up new, original shows (Lioness and Land Man). Mayor of Kingstown falls into the category of returning TV, with Jeremy Renner back in an assortment of fancy suits to play the de facto Mayor, Mike McLusky, in this gritty crime series from Paramount+.

Mayor of Kingstown Season 2 Review and Plot Summary

The second season picks up right where we left the first one, with the local community of Kingstown in total disarray after the deadly prison riots witnessed in the season one finale. The riots caused untold chaos, with many inmates and prison guards dead or unaccounted for in the opening episode. The prison itself is uninhabitable, so the criminals are currently living in a makeshift campsite instead. Most of the gang leaders are either dead or missing and presumed dead, meaning that a fight for new leadership is underway, leading to further death and destruction.

As the first few installments continually reiterate, if there is a disorder on the inside, then that will eventually spill over into the outside world as well. The brutal killings taking place on the inside are mirrored on the outside, with many drive-by shootings. And these massacres are starting to hit innocent bystanders too. Here’s where Mike enters the fray, our mediator and impartial advocate must restore peace by pleasing both sides of this war. You have the edgy, trigger-happy gang members, represented by the Crips boss Bunny (Tobi Bamtefa), on one side. Then there are the bitter, vengeful lawmakers on the other side, who are eager for retribution after their fellow colleagues were either viciously killed or raped during the riots.

This rivalry leads to an unfathomable boiling pot of tension that looks set to erupt in the early episodes as both sides of this battle fight fire with fire, focusing on the mantra of an eye for an eye. It all rests on Mike’s shoulders to reinstate peace and bring balance to this precarious ecosystem. Sheridan does a great job of highlighting the intricacies of gang warfare and criminal infrastructure. It is evidently a delicate system that is currently in absolute anarchy, leading to further instability.

Is Mayor of Kingstown season 2 any good?

The second season takes time to readjust, concentrating on the aftermath of the riots in painstaking detail. The aesthetics, like in the first season, are purposefully ugly and murky, adding to the overall atmosphere of the series. While Mayor of Kingstown feels authentic and adult in nature, like a modern-day The Wire. The violence and bloodshed on display are grim, yet a necessary evil considering the type of authentic story Sheridan is trying to tell. The series doesn’t pull any punches, and it most certainly doesn’t hold back whatsoever, highlighting the harsh realities of American gang culture and a seemingly realistic criminal underworld.

Sheridan wastes no time at all in ratcheting up the tension and builds impressive momentum early on. Mike formulates a plan to bring stability back to the town that is utter madness in itself, which is sure to cause endless conflict in future installments. But there is also space to explore a human quality within all this criminality. One scene, in particular, stands out in episode two, which will pull on your heartstrings. The creative team explores the highs and lows of a life of crime yet finds the time to focus on the emotional consequences as well. It’s these devastating moments that stick out from the rest, providing the right amount of leverage for a good old-fashioned revenge thriller to prevail.

What did you think of Mayor of Kingstown Season 2? Comment below.

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