The Kingdom (El Reino) Season 1 Review – Religion & Politics clash in slow-burn thriller

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5

 

The Kingdom (El Reino) is a real slow burn thriller.. At times, it’s a show that gets caught in its own ideologies, unsure whether to embrace its own supernatural undercurrents or lean in hard to the political drama. Still, despite its shortcomings this show is undeniably bingeable.

Set deep in the heart of Argentina, The Kingdom challenges ideologies with its heady blend of religion and politics. At the center of this is an evangelical church and its charismatic preacher, Emilio.

The story really gets going during a big rally, when someone from the crowd hurries onstage and kills a politician called Armando. This sends shockwaves across the country as it’s revealed that the man’s real target was supposed to be Emilio.

As Detective Candia starts investigating this further and the family get stuck in their own web of deceit and secrets, the 8 episodes slowly reveal what’s really going on.

Alongside this main story is a subplot involving a young boy seeking refuge at a nearby children’s home. This one’s a real slow burn but worth persevering with as it does make more sense late on. During the opening chapters though, it feels disparate and juxtaposes some of the more intricate character drama going on.

Unfortunately this is only made worse by some of the flashbacks which are a mixed bag of exposition dumps (like in episode 6’s literal news reports about a certain character) and long-winded origin stories for the different family members. Given what a slow burn this is, it unnecessarily drags the pacing down to a crawl.

Late on the show leans in hard on the idea of religion VS politics, with an undercurrent of social media manipulation thrown in for good measure. Quite how South Americans will take to this show is still up for debate but given the taboo topics being discussed here, it’s undoubtedly going to get some heat.

The characters themselves are a bit of a mixed bag too, with Emilio and Julio both taking it turns in the spotlight as the central protagonists. There’s several other characters here that come and go from view, with Emilio’s wife Elena, daughter Ana and quiet, religiously devout Tadeo all taking their turns to show a different angle to this big ensemble of players. Of course, that’s before mentioning Remigio, the man who actually killed Armando.

While the audio design and production design is pretty good, the story could do with some tightening up. The Kingdom could very easily be a 6 episode mini-series rather than 8 episodes, and it’s not helped that everything is left dangling on a big cliffhanger at the end.

The Kingdom is certainly not without its flaws but if you’re in the mood for an enjoyable political thriller with a hint of religion and miracles, you’ll certainly find that here.


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  • 6.5/10
    Verdict - 6.5/10
6.5/10

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