The series starts to build some momentum as tensions rise in “Staring at the Devil”. Mike’s plan for peace comes with its own caveats that have plenty of ramifications for all involved. It’s an intense installment that also provides an emotional twist from Kyle’s subplot. Impressive storytelling as always from Taylor Sheridan.
We recap the Paramount+ series Mayor of Kingstown Season 2 Episode 2, “Staring at the Devil,” which contains spoilers.
There is a lot of death in Mayor of Kingstown, the inmates are warring with one another on the inside, and its pure anarchy on the outside as well, with numerous mass shootings taking place since the prison riot. Mike McLusky (Jeremy Renner) hopes to restore peace and order to the community as quickly as possible, but it may take something drastic to achieve this equilibrium once again. Mike has a plan in “Staring at the Devil”, but both sides of this war won’t like what he has cooked up, yet they may have no other option.
Mayor of Kingstown Season 2 Episode 2 recap
The second installment starts with more death and bloodshed as the aftermath of the prison riots only intensifies further. Mike and Iris hide out on their boat while shots echo throughout the town. Iris needs a new safe house after running away from her last place. Out of options of his own, Mike drives her to his brother’s house in the middle of the night. Both Iris and Mike are hiding from escaped Russian mobster Milo, but at that moment, as they ask Kyle for help, they realize that they cannot hide forever.
Kyle is less than happy about Mike’s latest request. It’s the early hours of the morning and the chaos wakes Mike’s mother Miriam and Kyle’s wife Tracy. Sensing tension in the family home, Iris tries to bolt, but Mike stops her from leaving in a forceful manner. Kyle agrees to babysit Iris for a couple of hours, while Mike sorts out this entire mess once and for all. Kyle worries that those that are after Iris will turn up on his doorstep, but Mike thinks it’s already an inevitability no matter how they spin this. It’s a sad situation, Mike’s entire family are now in imminent danger, although he may have just quickened up the process somewhat.
Mike turns up at yet another crime scene, as another drive-by shoot-out takes place in the neighborhood. The detectives comment on how this shooting feels different from the rest, with innocent bystanders caught up in the mayhem. One police officer is even seen hurling up, after witnessing all the bloody violence. Mike and Ian find a discarded weapon and follow a trail of blood. They soon discover a victim hiding behind the bins, still alive. He won’t elaborate on what has transpired exactly but admits that this massacre was just further retaliation tactics. They see it as an eye for an eye kind of fight, and Mike thinks everyone will lose in these types of situations. Again, the lack of leadership inside the prison system means that there is no order on the outside either.
Bunny agrees that this bedlam is getting out of hand. He has an intense argument with Mike back on his trusty rooftop palace. Bunny is honest with Mike; he didn’t give the order and blames the prison guards instead. They are killing inmates and then dumping the bodies, this could have provoked criminals on the outside to fight back. Mike wants an end to all this violence and asks Bunny to organize a truce. Bunny thinks whatever happens on the outside needs to be reiterated inside prison as well. The Crips leader wants Mike to act as a mediator in these negotiations. Mike has a light-bulb moment, he asks Bunny to give him three hours, and to trust him, he has a plan.
The series starts to build some momentum here, as Mike brings his own fiendish plan together. He contacts Evelyn and lays out his scheme to her and the audience. He wants the four gang leaders arrested and placed in prison, but on new charges. Then they can pick new leaders on the inside to restore balance. Once they have restored peace, the criminals will be released – it’s as easy as that. Evelyn thinks it is utter madness but agrees to Mike’s plans. He meets with Kareem next and relays the plan to the new prison boss too.
Leaders of both sides of this war meet up to hear Mike’s master plan. Kareem is joined by Robert, who starts to frisk the gang leaders. The rivals are evidently antagonistic toward one another at first, but Mike keeps the peace. He is about to explain his plan when Evelyn arrives, sporting a bulletproof vest. Then police cars pull up with their sirens blaring. It seems the gang members have been conned. Mike tells them to remain calm, and he explains the situation. They are being placed under arrest, with new charges. Once they have restored peace they will be freed again. This means peace for everyone, with Mike wanting the guards to behave themselves as well.
Before the episode draws to a close, Mike pays Iris a visit and finds she has done a runner. Then we cut to Kyle’s day job. He hates his new partner, who never plays by the book. The partner irresponsibly pulls over a driver. He heads over without running the plates and is shot dead by the driver. Kyle shoots the driver and then erratically destroys the rest of the car with further gunfire. In his panicked state, he calls in the tragedy, desperate for backup and medical attention, but he can’t recall his location. Then he hears a baby cooing in the backseat. It is a truly heart-wrenching scene that seemingly comes out of nowhere.
Next, Iris wanders the streets at night. She enters a church building and finds Milo hiding out in a back room. She tells the Russian mobster that she has nowhere to go, no home to call her own. Milo accepts her back with open arms and they embrace. Then, in the final moments of the second chapter, the gang leaders arrive at the prison camp. Crowds gather to welcome the new inmates, but they fall silent as soon as Bunny exits the vehicle. The inmates didn’t see this twist coming, although they don’t seem best pleased by their new arrivals either.
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