Recap: Drugs Are Deadlier Than Usual in ‘Mayor of Kingstown’ Season 3, Episode 2

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 16, 2024 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
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Mayor of Kingstown Season 3 Episode 2 Recap - Don't Do Drugs
Mayor of Kingstown | Image via Paramount+




Mayor of Kingstown remains a riveting thriller as things continue to get more complicated for Mike in Season 3.

Mayor of Kingstown is a splashy show set in a corrupt prison town. It’s full of gang wars and shootouts and other fun things. And yet the best thing about any given episode is almost always errant lines of throwaway dialogue, or random subplots that pop up out of nowhere and never intersect with the main plot. This is true of Episode 2 of Season 3, “Guts”, perhaps even more so than usual.

This is partly because most of the episode is devoted to the same main arc, so the little deviations feel more valuable when they pop up. But it’s mostly just because that’s how the show works. The world Taylor Sheridan has created here is textured, and those snatches of cynical or smart dialogue, that little acknowledgment for other people who have nothing to do with the core plot but are still touched by its themes, make Kingstown feel lived in.

Drugs Are Bad For You

But for the most part, “Guts” is, as ever, about Mike McLusky’s latest Big Problem™, which in this case is a batch of bad drugs killing Crips in Kingstown Prison. The episode’s title might come from the fact that the narcotics make their way inside in the stomach of an inmate named Big Hush, who is delivered them in neat little baggies in a bag of chips brought to him by his lady, Sharon.

Pretty soon, Big Hush and Sharon are dead. The former died from having the drugs in his stomach; the latter was murdered. And many more Crip inmates meet the same fate, offed by the cocktail of pharmaceuticals that it’s obvious have been poisoned intentionally as a challenge to Bunny.

ADA Evelyn Foley reluctantly asks Mike to help, and Bunny, after realizing the severity of the problem, does the same. Mike’s job is then to come up with a solution that likely annoys and inconveniences both since these are the only solutions he ever seems to come up with.

Business As Usual

The reason this subplot works is the reason Mayor of Kingstown works in general. There is no moral preachiness in this show. It doesn’t tell us to root for anyone in particular. In fact, the “heroes”, like Mike, are virtually indistinguishable from everyone else. This is the point. It’s about conflicting individual agendas and how they all play out, often at pace. Each episode is more like a logistical puzzle than a drama.

This might make it hard to relate to on an emotional level, but it’s a riveting thriller. This episode has a snowball effect, with Mike’s initial play – getting Raphael to find a new supplier – having unintended knock-on effects for his various associates, particularly his pet prison guard Carney and Warden Kareem Moore, once a McLusky loyalist but now a little disillusioned by how much Mike’s involvement regularly fails to save any lives or keep any peace.

Elsewhere in Kingstown

I mentioned subplots and small moments at the top, so let’s go over some of the ones in Mayor of Kingstown Season 3, Episode 2.

There’s a sad, telling scene wherein Mike and Ferguson tell Sharon’s brother that his sister is dead. He’s an addict and immediately turns to drugs to numb the pain. Since he was already pretty numb, to begin with, I wondered if he’d even computed the idea of his sibling’s demise. Probably not.

But this is telling, isn’t it? Drugs aren’t just a problem in the prisons. You see someone like this, and you’re reminded that despite how entertaining Mike and Bunny’s back-and-forth patter is, they’re enabling this kind of thing.

And Mike’s inability to actually solve these problems manifests in a couple of other ways, mostly in a subplot involving a woman named Paula, who wants him to help her get her son’s killer’s sentence extended. He can’t help, both because his hands are tied and because he’d be too distracted even if they weren’t, and Paula turns vigilante for closure. It’s a grim little story threaded through everything else, clipped off before it could even factor into the larger picture. How many of these matters land on Mike’s desk in the average day? How many other Paulas has he not been able to help?

Iris and Kyle’s Bad Decisions

You shouldn’t feel sorry for Mike, because everyone he engages with seems to have their own worst interests in mind. His secret relationship with Evelyn is surely going to blow up in both of their faces and the two people he cares most about, Iris and his brother, Kyle, are both idiots.

Kyle, for instance, despite having just had a baby with Tracy, wants to join the SWAT team, a significantly more dangerous gig than his Homicide posting. He claims it’s because by the time a case goes to Homicide, the damage has already been done, but I personally just think he won’t be satisfied until he’s gotten himself killed.

And Iris goes out for a drive in Miriam’s car. She has no license, isn’t insured on the vehicle, runs a stop light, and then point-blank refuses to cooperate with the police when she’s pulled over. Honestly, it’s like living in Kingstown mandates a certain level of trouble causing that is almost comical. There’s no wonder everyone’s in prison.


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