After the first few new episodes of The L.A. Complex aired on The CW, a lot of speculation started to fly-- and all of it in Kaldrick King's (Andra Fuller) direction. After pummeling Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson) and getting found out by Dynasty (Dayo Ade), Kal spiraled down a dark rabbit hole of depression, a suicide attempt, and an admission of his sexuality that was filled with so much self-hate, it can barely be considered a baby step toward acceptance, let alone love and light. We've been fascinated from the get-go, so we had to catch series creator Martin Gero and Fuller himself to find out what was going to happen next.
It was always character first, especially with Kal this year. He did such a horrific act at the end of the last season, you know, so it was, for us ‘How do we tell a story where a character feels slightly redeemed early on so we’re still invested in him?’ And so, I think him trying to get right with himself after an event like what happened with Tariq was important to explore I didn’t feel like you could follow both of those characters, and although it was a little more controversial, we felt the Kal storyline was a little more interesting than the Tariq story," Gero explained.
But don't worry, Tariq fans; he will be back! But whether or not he takes Kal back is a whole other story. Here is what we can share is coming down the pike for the rest of the season:
- KAL TRIES TO SURROUND HIMSELF WITH GOOD, POSITIVE PEOPLE. Though Gero pointed out that Kal is not yet at the place where he can face everything (and he may not even be fully there by season's end), he is trying to reach out to those who can help him understand. Showing up at the mission where his father works was the first step towards that-- and he will soon see how his father has turned his life around and become a changed, redeemed man. Kal genuinely wants that for himself, too.
"He’s going to become very, very attracted to people who seem to have their shit together. Because he does not! And he’s curious about it because he would like to get to a point where he has as much confidence as his father has and some other characters that you’ll see later," Gero teased.
Whether his father is fully reformed or not may not even matter, as Kal sees in him a man who could make a major change and is inspired by it. Fuller even went so far as to add that he feels he is outgrowing some of his friends right now, and that will certainly impact his actions and decisions down the line, too.
- FLASHBACK TO YOUNG KAL. In order to gain more insight into the "why" behind Kal's thoughts about himself, the show will utilize a teaser flashback, much like they did with Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore) in earlier episodes. Learning about where he came from will inform the man he is today.
"You’ll see Kaldrick’s struggles with the why he is the way he is as a person has a lot to do with his upbringing and his relationship with his father. Not just with his sexuality but his personality—his anger, his anger management, we’ll definitely get some insight," Fuller confirmed.
"I thought it was a great idea for the writers to bring that to the table because everybody, in the first six episodes, all you see is anger; all you see is resentment; all you see is anger for no reason. Then when you start to see the relationship and understand the relationship with his father, you’ll start to see why he thinks the way he thinks."
- MORE INFINITE JEST. Though Fuller admitted Kal certainly showed some growth by not only not pummeling the young buck rapper (Stephan James) who stepped to him in his own home, but he also stopped his boy from taking him all the way out. This may be a step in the right direction toward Kal resolving some of his own "misplaced" anger issues, but it will be a continual challenge, as this kid isn't just fading into the background noise of the internet ether.
"By the end of episode thirteen, you’ll see some substantial changes in Kaldrick altogether. He is reaching out to his father right now, but you'll see there are others who come into play. Infinite Jest is back-- that's not the last you'll see of that kid-- and some others come into play toward the back half of the season, too," Fuller shared.
- MORE MUSIC IN GENERAL! Kal has made the typical "money and girls bullshit" songs in the past, but these days he is using his writing as a time of reflection, contemplation, and perhaps even apology. Fuller has spent more time in the studio this season to record new tracks for Kal, which will be unveiled slowly and in pieces as his journey unfolds.
- ATTEMPTING TO GET BACK IN TARIQ'S GOOD GRACES. Fuller was quick to point out that Kal isn't on this journey of self-discovery entirely for himself. He is also doing it to find a way to get Tariq to forgive him, even if not completely win him back. But if and when Tariq sees a more comfortable Kal in front of him, will he take him back? Or should he even?
"Kaldrick needs to get to a point where he accepts his sexuality, accepts who he is as a person, [and] who he’s in love with, but he can’t force the other person to forgiveness, as well," Fuller noted. "I don't know if [Tariq] should forgive him at this point. Obviously Tariq has strong feelings for Kal, but there’s the trust factor. It’s like any relationship or a marriage: a lot of people think once a man puts his hands on a female, you have to get out of the relationship because once he does it, he may do it again."
What do you think, L.A. Complex fans: can love conquer all?
The L.A. Complex airs on The CW on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. until August 27th, when it takes over a new Monday night time slot for the duration of the summer. Be sure to check back here for our longer feature looking at the timely-- and thoughtful-- ness of Kal's storyline.
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