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Tulsa King Recap: “Token Joe” (Ep. 1.5)

1:23 PM EST on December 12, 2022

It's another week of Tulsa King – the Oklahoma-centric streaming story about a Mafia capo, freshly rehabilitated and out of prison, finding himself in the world of Tulsa’s (somewhat) criminal underground.

When we last left our protagonist Dwight, after a brief scrape with redneck motorcycle drug-dealers, he assembles a dream team of his assistants, colleagues, and hired guns to insure that doesn’t happen again…or does it?

Now let's move on to...


Episode: "Token Joe" (Ep. 1.5)

The Plot: After his younger brother dies, Dwight (Sylvester Stallone) returns to his home base in Brooklyn. While tending to his family obligations—as well as his estranged daughter—he is summoned to the dying patriarch of the crime syndicate.

During the rocky reunion with his daughter, we learn that she has a terrible secret, one that drives Dwight to the breaking point.

While that is going down, the nitrous gang in Tulsa stakes a deal with the city’s crooked police, with Tyson (Jay Will) brought up on charges and Bodhi (Martin Starr) with a knife right on his throat.

The Review: 

Tulsa King has it's fair share of stereotypical made-for-TV violence, but it sometimes feels like a reach.

For example, I've heard nitrous is a fun party drug, but it's a bit far-fetched to think the local criminals are willing to crack a few skulls to keep its distribution. With drugs like meth—to name one—available in the Tulsa area, the fact that a motorcycle gang will take out some people for a little nitrous when there are more lucrative grifts out there is the worst element of the show.

But with really gets me is the characterization of police officers and their duty to the badge.

In Tulsa King, they portray most law enforcement officials – minus Dwight's ATF love interest Stacy – as ‘roided-out mama’s boys with a fetish for firearms and nylon clothes who are agents of the Man…and they are right!

In this very episode—in a real-life place I have seen a million times in Oklahoma City—I watched Tulsa police pointing guns on the ground, searching cars, and coming up with nothing but accusations during an arrest... which is something I feel like I have seen millions of times in Oklahoma City.

That, on the other hand, is the best element of the show.

For the most part, this was a meandering middle-of-the-season episode. We didn't learn a lot, but the ending was solid.

Best Line:“ And I suggest, since this establishment is situated on Cherokee land, where you have absolutely no authority, that you get your fat sorry fucking cottage cheese asses out of here.”  – Mitch (Garrett Hedlund)

Stallone Moment: A minute before the show ends, Dwight comes in and takes a (supposed) rapist’s head and cooks it right on the grill.

Oklahoma City Cameo: There was no doubt that this week’s Oklahoma City cameo is our old friend, S&S Grocery, when the police take Tyson on trumped-up charges. You might remember my story about the shop called “Oklahoma Bodegas”, published on August 22, 2019. Check it out here.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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