Thursday, May 31, 2012

Angst Initiate: Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on Kings (Or T.J. Hammond on Political Animals?)

I have some advice for USA if they want to win the hearts and minds of the 18-34 demographic: More Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Seriously - when I heard about USA's new drama, Political Animals, I thought, eh. When I heard that Sebastian Stan was going to be playing the former president's son, "a lost soul who struggles with addiction and the polar opposite of his brother, Douglas" I thought, Huzzah! Prince Jack Benjamin lives again!

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Now, obviously, they aren't really the same character. I don't expect T.J. to have the ambition or malevolence of Jack. And I'm praying his brother Doug has more to him than Jack's saintly sister or equally saintly rival. But both Jack and T.J. are the black sheep of important political families. And who doesn't dig a black sheep?

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
If you weren't one of the twelve people who watched Kings,  you may very well wonder who Prince Jack Bejamin is. Trust me - if you're on this blog, I'm going to assume you like hot, angsty guys. This is one to check out. You don't need to watch the whole season - just his bits.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
First of all, the show opens with him being held captive by the enemy. Don't try to understand who or what the enemy is, just know that the enemy is bad and has taken Sebastian Stan captive. He's rescued. What do you do when you get rescued? You go out, get drunk, and hook up with chicks.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Then Jack's daddy (The King...) invites the golden boy, David, who rescued Jack to the palace. David gets a promotion while Jack gets taken off active duty. Jack is none-to-pleased. Just look at those angry eyes ^^^

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
What follows is my favorite scene in all of Kings. It's too bad the best scene of the whole series in the first episode, but such is life. There are a couple other angsty moments worth discussing later - but unfortunately, none as good as this.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
So, Jack confronts his dad about what he considers to be a demotion. The people won't trust him if his father is locking him away to keep him safe. He doesn't get it. Does The King think the kerfuffle with the enemy was Jack's fault? No. Is he concerned about Jack's partying, womanizing ways? Ahh...

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
No, says The King. If only you were a womanizer. The King is well aware that Prince Jack is actually gay. The BEST part of this scene is that Jack is blindsided by this information. He had zero idea that his father knew the truth. He thought his "ruse of skirt chasing" was doing the trick. But clearly, he was wrong.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
He stands there and takes his father's lecture. According to The King, if Jack was the second son, it wouldn't matter. But as a future king, "It's not possible." The King makes it clear: "We give up what we want when we want power." 

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Basically The King tells Jack to prove that he can stay in the closet. Forever. No hook ups with dudes. No potential to be discovered. If you want to be king, you must bury who you are and keep it buried deep.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Jack listens in silence. He takes the tongue-lashing, still reeling from the fact that his father knows at all. Over the course of the season, Jack morphs into a more villainous character, and this scene is the reason why. He knows he wasn't born what his father wants him to be and what's worse, his father knows too. Tying to be that guy fractures him. He's not about to give up his claim to the throne, and therefore, he's trapped.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
By the end of the episode, Jack is plotting with his uncle to essentially stage a coup. The political workings of Kings can't be examined too carefully because they devolve into silliness rather rapidly if you try. But the point is, Jack is choosing power over freedom. And it's a bad bad choice for one's mental well being.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Poor Jack. Never a moment of peace. Never a moment to ease up and be who he truly his. (Well... maybe one moment...) He spends his life acting. He needs a hug. Maybe as T.J. Hammond, who as far as I know is not a power-hungry villain, he'll get one.

The cast of USA's Political Animals including sigourney weaver and sebastian stan T.J. Hammond
Check out the trailer for Political Animals below and tell me that couldn't be an inner monologue of Jack.


3 comments:

  1. Have got to search out Kings now. Another show you've introduced me to through the medium of hot angstyness. Will add that to the Fades, Game of Thrones, OUAT pile...

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  2. Ha. Yes. Kings is probably about on par with The Fades. Some fun ideas, some great characters, but storytelling that doesn't quite always gel. But Sebastian Stan can do no wrong in my book :)

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  3. I watched Kings on Amazon a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. I loved that moment you describe between Jack and the king, when the king says something like, "If you want to be King, you can't be what God made you." It was heartbreaking.

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