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Not as good as I was expecting, but it wasn't that bad.
This was an alright finale. It was a little more underwhelming than I was expecting it to be. The dialogue was pretty weak, which, I guess you could say, was always the case throughout the season, but it was really the case this time. But Todd was the reason it was an alright finale and not worse. Jon Bass' performance in this episode was his best as good ol' Todd Aberdeen.
Ezekiel and Prudence are officially together now, which I expected, but I couldn't care less. Benny and Trig reconciled, which I expected, but I couldn't care less about that, even more so than with Ezekiel and Prudence getting together. Todd's death was weird. Maybe it's because he was one of my top three favorite characters, but I think his death was unnecessary, even more so when you take into account that Trig was spared and "redeemed." Yet Todd wasn't and was also killed. I don't get it.
All-in-all, I think this was a weak finale and one of the weakest episodes in the season, although I'll admit that the final goodbye between Benny and Ezekiel was bittersweet. It's unfortunate, especially since I was expecting it to be better than it was. It wasn't that funny or enjoyable. I imagine that will be an unpopular opinion, given that my opinions regarding each episode seem to be just that. And I feel like some people will really like this episode, as a finale; and as an episode. The main reason for that will probably be the whole sequence of Ezekiel dancing for Todd, just like the fourth episode with Ezekiel's dancing routine. But just like that instance didn't elevate that episode for me, the equivalent of that instance in this episode didn't elevate this episode for me.
In hindsight, the peak of this season was definitely at the beginning. That was, of course, not apparent while watching each episode, week-by-week; only after watching the entire season did that become obvious. I think the season started to become a little weak once it reached the halfway point. I don't think it necessarily started going downhill: there were some highs. But there were more lows. Regardless, this season was still something to watch these past weeks, and it was entertaining sometimes: even though it started getting weak at times, I don't think it was that bad.
Not as good as the previous episode.
I think this was a step-down from the previous episode. It was essentially another filler episode, to a lesser extent than the seventh episode. Both storylines were nonsensical, only existing to make an episode out of it, leaving rescuing Prudence; and probably the reconciling of Benny and Trig; for the finale. But Benny, Todd, and Farmer John made the episode enjoyable. I can now say, with absolute certainty, that they are my top three characters of this season, and I doubt that will change after watching the finale.
Another reason for this episode was definitely the storyline with Todd: drawing parallels with you-know-who. And some of the dialogue seemed to draw parallels, too. Even the cage Prudence was in may have been intended to draw a parallel with stuff regarding cages in the real world; you probably know what I'm talking about, although I'm probably reading too much into that: but it does make you wonder.
The focus and point of the episode were definitely on those things, and they were very on-the-nose, too. I didn't particularly care for it, but something obvious is obvious. Doing stuff like that in TV shows and movies is hit-or-miss: missing most of the time.
The previous episode was probably the second-best episode of the season, so I guess you could say that this episode had big shoes to fill to be just as good. I don't think this episode was bad by any means; there were some humorous moments, but it was definitely a step-down from the previous episode, and the episode itself wasn't as entertaining as other episodes.
I don't really have any theories as to what will happen in the finale; well, besides the two things I've already mentioned at the start. Hopefully, it will go straight to the point, given that it's the finale; and that there won't be any filler-ish stuff running out the clock. Part of me doubts that there will be a sufficient amount of humor: humor that I like, but as long as there's humor, in general, it should be a decent finale. I don't think it will top the previous episode or the third episode, though.
Funny and refreshing.
The season is nearly finished, and this episode was a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, the last two episodes are just as good because this episode was actually funny, unlike recent episodes. Personally, I think it rivals the third episode, humor-wise, which I'm a huge fan of, and I think that episode was the funniest one yet; to have another episode be as funny was refreshing.
The humor was acceptable but a little exceptional. I liked the randomness and absurdity of Granny McGill suddenly combusting out of nowhere and then saying, "Oh, not again!" As well as Ezekiel's slightly uneasy, nonchalant response: "I mean, that... that's pretty normal. I've seen that before."
There were plenty of humorous moments, more than the third episode, I'd say. Levi's "demonic possession" and Ezekiel's contraption come to mind. Not to mention, Todd and Farmer John were great. I think both of them are among the top characters of this season. As far as the humor is concerned, I think this episode was the best one so far.
The only "problem" I had with this episode, which isn't even a problem, was the writing. The writing was a little too obvious at the end. If things went normally, the next episode probably would've been the finale, but there are two episodes left, not one. That's the ultimate reason behind the ending of this episode. But again, that really isn't a problem.
The next episode will probably revolve around rescuing Prudence, Benny reconciling with Trig, and other stuff; as sort of a filler episode since I imagine no progress will be made when it comes to reaching Oregon. But then, what about the finale? How can it be anything more than finally reaching Oregon? I guess we'll have to wait and find out.
This was pretty much a filler episode, one that was hardly entertaining. I think it was the very definition of boring. Its entire purpose revolved around putting Benny in a situation where he has his eyes opened, so to speak, and then for him to return to the group; pretty boring stuff.
Honestly, I don't think this episode was necessary, and while I'm probably wrong: it feels like the real reason for this episode was to drag out the season by one episode. What was achieved with Benny definitely didn't need practically an entire episode revolved around doing so. That would've been a waste of time, and since the latter is what happened, it WAS a waste of time.
Most of the "humor" in this episode didn't classify as humor, in my opinion. It was all pretty bland, so bland, was it even humor? Surely this time around, there won't be people mentioning how funny something or other in this episode was, or how this is the best episode yet: but my opinions on episodes of TV shows and movies always seem to be the outliers. Like how I thought the fifth episode was the least enjoyable one so far, and then I saw a few people saying that it was the best episode yet.
My opinion regarding this episode is that it's the worst episode yet. I'm aware that I said that about the previous episode. But opinions can be flexible. At least the previous episode wasn't the least enjoyable one: it still had some enjoyment to it. I think this episode was not only the worst one yet, but it was also the most boring one yet.
The "humor" (if you'd even call it that because of how bland it was) was essentially non-existent, which I think is one of the strong suits of this show/season, so you can imagine how the "humor" affected this episode. The only worthwhile moments were when Ezekiel was talking to the ox and the character of the General. And as far as the episode itself is concerned; a waste of time, easily forgettable.
Hardly anything happened.
This season is going off the deep end. I'd say this episode was the worst one yet, but I don't think it was the least enjoyable one, although that isn't any better. Barely anything of interest and entertainment happened. I guess you could say that it focused on character development, but I really don't care. Steve Buscemi carried this episode. Uncle Sam and Todd's ale pong were the specific highlights.
I couldn't care less about Benny's inner turmoil about feeling less of a bad guy/like he's getting soft and his rivalry with Trig to be the outlaw on top. I don't care that Ezekiel and Prudence have "finally" gotten romantically close. And the way the ending was depicted as dramatic, along with the dramatic music score, was like, "okay...?"
Why is the humor falling off the face of the earth with each new episode of this season? I guess I'm all for character development, though it should still be entertaining and enjoyable to watch. But it's kind of hard to care about character development with a show like this. It feels like it doesn't really matter all that much, so subconsciously, I'm expecting more humor and entertainment value than boring character development.
Even if the season doesn't get any better as far as the entertainment is concerned, I still won't hate this season. It'll probably take an almost impossible amount of whatever for me to hate an episode, season, or show. At least this season is something to watch. I do hope there will be more humor, preferably involving Todd, in preferably every remaining episode, but I'm not going to be surprised if that's not the case.
A few enjoyable moments.
This was the least enjoyable episode so far. But, as usual, there were at least a few enjoyable moments, those being: the first scene, the scene of Prudence's "speech" to Ezekiel, and the ending scene. Overall, besides those three moments, the episode itself was very boring.
I don't care about Trig or the relationship between her and Benny. I don't care about Karan Soni's character. And Ezekiel was lowkey a little annoying in this episode. The only characters I seem to like are Benny, Todd, and Prudence.
The halfway point of the season is this episode, and I gotta say: this season has been more underwhelming than anything. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of enjoyable moments so far, but the last few episodes, especially this one, haven't had as many. I still think this season's plot, setting, and characters are the best out of all three seasons; the season itself, though, hasn't been super enjoyable.
Alright episode. Definitely the weakest one so far.
The beginning of the episode was the best part. Ezekiel's dream and how it gradually progressed to be more desperate, and intent, was hilarious. And the moment when the snake oil salesman tried selling it to Ezekiel again after admitting that it's fake was hilarious as well.
Other than that, I thought this episode was alright. There were different dialogues dubbed over what Steve and Daniel were filmed saying in the scene after the title sequence, which was super obvious. But the audio could've been out of sync, or it was a problem on my end. As far as its enjoyment is concerned, this episode was definitely the least enjoyable one so far. The best part was what I already mentioned, although Todd's gambling and Ezekiel's whole dancing/singing routine thing were good parts as well, even though the latter was a little awkward. But Daniel Radcliffe deserves some props for that.
Stuff like that never ceases to make me cringe; whenever someone goes on-stage. Knowing that it's not real doesn't seem to help. Even when it is real, I always avert my eyes or cover them because the cringe is too strong. And there are other instances in TV shows and movies; similar or not, I don't remember; that have the same effect on me, but I can't think of them.
Worth watching, yet not as great as some people say.
This is a tough one. The show is entertaining to watch, but some aspects of it really dampen the overall experience. I know nothing about production/set design and have no idea if the sets used in this show are beyond average, but after a while, the Chinatown set; and most of the other locations/sets throughout the show; were repetitive and boring to look at. I think that really affected what was happening from an immersive and entertainment point of view. Because of that, I believe the atmosphere of the show grew dull very quickly.
There's a decent amount of nudity and graphic violence, which is something to be expected from a show on Cinemax, probably. And I don't quite remember, but I think there was a sex scene or two in three episodes in a row, starting with the show's premiere. I don't really care about that, although it's understandable if that may annoy some people, and looking back on it, they were probably a little gratuitous. But the sex scenes were eased off after the first three episodes of the first season, I think.
And the graphic violence in the show was fairly prominent, I guess. The only instances which particularly stood out that I remember were the fight sequence in the ninth episode of the first season and the ending of the fight sequence in the seventh episode of the second season with Ah Toy and Lai. Personally, I can't seem to remember all of the instances of nudity and graphic violence, and general violence. I must be desensitized to stuff like that, but those two things are present in this show, so if you haven't watched this show yet, know that there is some nudity, one too many sex scenes in the first few episodes of the show, and some graphic instances of violence.
The cinematography is one of the better elements of the show - in the second season. The cinematography didn't really stick out to me that much in the first season. It wasn't bad. But for some reason, when I think back on the first season, all I can think about is that the quality of the general cinematography looked grainy. It wasn't exactly grainy, but that's the only descriptive word I can think of. That was only in the first scene of the series premiere. The rest of the cinematography after that throughout the first season was fairly decent and better in quality. But the second season is where it's at, cinematography-wise. The sixth episode was a work of beauty in that regard. There must've been a bigger budget, and the cinematographers were able to do a better job. As far as the second season is concerned, the cinematography is definitely one of the highlights.
I think the best aspect of this show is the fight sequences and the choreography of them. They're grounded. They're gritty. And the actors do a good job at performing the fight choreography by Brett Chan, the fight coordinator. And that may also include Craig Macrae and Haiyang Zhang, two stunt coordinators. I don't know the difference between both professions. The only other show I've seen with fight choreography rivaling the fight choreography in this show is Into the Badlands. And while this is probably an unpopular opinion - personally, I liked the fight choreography in that show more. But that's not to say that the fight choreography in this show is bad.
I've seen a lot of people bring up that this show is massively underrated. And, quite frankly, I don't really get it. I can understand the sentiment that it's not that popular, but a show would have to be very good for it to be considered underrated, depending on the amount of popularity it has. And I don't think this show is as great as people are saying. But I guess it's good enough to where it should be way more popular and more known.
However, I do think this is a show worth watching. But perhaps not in the way most people would say. It's worth watching because of certain characters and the fight sequences. Some of the scores used were pretty nice, too. And the cinematography, too - in the second season, especially. But the story, the plotlines, and the plot threads aren't very engaging. The thing is, looking on the bright side, I'm the odd one of the bunch plenty of times, so I imagine most people who haven't watched this show will have a different outlook towards it and that they'll think it's one of the greatest shows to exist. So, it's likely that if you're someone who hasn't watched it yet, you'll absolutely love it. Personally, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I loved it, but it was entertaining. Sometimes, that has to be enough.
Warrior: Man on the Wall (2020)
The fight/rematch between Ah Sahm and Leary was underwhelming. It was foreshadowed with how their "fight" in the finale of the first season was left off, and it was built up a little throughout this season, yet it was massively underwhelming. I think that had a lot to do with inconsistent power-scaling.
Apparently, inconsistent power-scaling was something fairly consistent in Banshee from what I've read from some people. Both the creator of that show and this show is Jonathan Tropper. With what we were shown in all those fights in the Barbary Coast fight pit with Ah Sahm, how he fought against larger men than Leary or men just as large; even though you could make the argument that they weren't as skilled at fighting as Leary is, and with what we were shown when it comes to Leary's fighting ability, their fight should've been more fast-paced; gritter. Different. Yet it wasn't. It's as if it was choreographed to be dramatic and play out in a telegraphed way - if that makes any sense.
I thought this was a weak finale. The mural of Ah Sahm was cheesy. The talk about being a hero was cheesy. The fight/rematch between Ah Sahm and Leary was underwhelming. The final scene of this finale felt a little disjointed. Maybe it was meant to be shown earlier. It didn't feel like a "proper cliffhanger." It felt misplaced. And in the series premiere, Father Jun didn't seem to talk of Chao with a friendly tone - yet here, they seemed a little too friendly with each other.
It did set up some plot threads for the (a) third season: Penelope is in a mental asylum/psychiatric hospital, Lee turned in his badge and gun, Zing will seemingly escape that prison and swim off that island, Leary has decided to take Buckley's advice and Sophie's agreement of it, becoming a politician/getting into politics, and by doing that, creating the Workingmen's Party of California, mirroring Denis Kearney, the person his character is partially based on, Lucy will potentially return to Bill with or without their children, and Mai Ling has finally used the insurance (which I'm unsure what it means - I hardly know anything about history, specifically the Civil War, in this case, which is the war I'm guessing Buckley was in, so I'm not sure how what that photo indicates would be detrimental for him) against Buckley to get him to help her bring the hammer down hard on the Hop Wei.
But I'm not particularly interested in any of those things. As I mentioned in my review of the previous episode, this show's plot and plot threads aren't its strong suit. They're the weakest aspects. And the general writing might have something to do with that as well. Personally, I think some of the characters are what makes the show worth watching as well as the fight sequences; and their choreography. The setting, all the various plot threads going on, aren't as good.
And as far as this season is concerned, I think it wasn't as good and enjoyable as the first one was. But if there ends up being another season, I'll definitely watch it, but I'll be hoping that there will be enough enjoyable moments that somewhat make up for what I imagine will be uninteresting; and boring plotlines, at least more than in this season. That includes lots of fight sequences, of course. And I hope there will be more of them, and that they'll be even better and some different than what we've seen.
Warrior: Enter the Dragon (2020)
This was probably the best MAIN episode of the season. The self-contained episode was a little better.
Showing us Jacob's perspective leading up to Mayor Blake's death and then tracing back his movements to where the previous episode left off, as well as attempting to give him depth by showing us his mother, was unnecessary. The episode should've continued where the previous episode left off. The only reason we were shown his perspective, and then, a little bit into his life with his mother, was because he was going to be killed and written out of the show by the writers. It was an attempt to try and make you become attached to him. To make his death more impactful. And, well, for me, it didn't really work. Don't get me wrong, his death was impactful, alright. That whole situation was impactful and a little disturbing. But he was a fictional character. And he was one that I didn't care about. Hell, his entire purpose besides being Penelope's manservant was probably because the writers planned for him to be a disposable character. They may not have thought of how to do it back when they created him, but I feel like they already planned to dispose of him the moment they created him.
And there was a minor inconsistency that I noticed. Well, it may not have been an inconsistency. But when Jacob was seen by that one policeman and ran away, that struck me as odd. That policeman and the other policemen with him would've reported that they may have found who they're looking for to everyone else, and all of them probably would've started looking around that specific area, narrowing down their search area. I guess that did happen because those policemen did show up to look, but it happened way too late. You'd think it would've happened immediately. But if that were the case, there's no way they wouldn't have found him. And I guess that's why that inconsistency was there. He wasn't supposed to be found that soon, for some reason, even though he was found, anyway; I guess because he just had to go to Chao and then be betrayed by him.
There was also something that I found to be a little ridiculous. After Jacob went through that square space after being spotted and while he was being chased, one of the policemen went to it, touched the metal gate, and said something along the lines, "No one here." What? How about you open it up and check everywhere inside that area? Hello? I can't be the only one who noticed that and thought it was ridiculous. Come on, it was ridiculous.
Yet another episode where Ah Sahm is barely in it. But he was more prominent and significant in this one. I wonder if that has something to do with Andrew Koji not being available. Maybe I'm thinking too much into it, but the way the previous episode was structured with the scenes he was in and the way this episode was structured with the scenes he's in feel and felt more like having scenes with him for the sake of it rather than Andrew actually having been available for more but the writers choosing to go with what they went with if that makes any sense. Either I'm thinking too much into it, or Andrew wasn't available as much for the filming of the previous episode and this episode. Or maybe there was a rush to film, and that's why Ah Sahm was barely in the previous episode and this episode.
The score used a little bit during the brief fight sequence where Ah Sahm got the nunchucks, and then used more in the following fight sequence where he's fighting more with it, was great. It reminded me a lot of the type of scores you'd hear in a "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" game. It sounded very similar, at least. I don't think it necessarily fit those scenes, but it was something nice to hear.
The fight choreography in this episode was fantastic. And the final move that Li Yong did a few seconds before the episode was at 32 minutes was great. The fight sequence with Ah Sahm using the nunchucks was just as good - I'm referring to the one after the one where he got the nunchucks. But it was a little cheesy. The people on the balconies watching and getting excited, even though their lives are/were in danger. The final demonstration Ah Sahm did with the nunchucks after he beat everyone. Those aspects were really cheesy.
Furthermore, there was something slightly disjointed about that fight sequence. Andrew Koji's movements looked very stiff when he started doing that thing with the nunchucks that Bruce Lee did. And imagine my surprise when I just googled him and found out that he's a martial artist. No offense to him, but I guess his skills in that regard mostly means that he's very athletic. Is there a sports aspect of martial arts as a whole and a more serious aspect of martial arts, and Andrew's trained in the former? Because I feel like the difference between his fighting skills as Ah Sahm versus Joe Taslim as Li Yong and Dustin Nguyen as Zing is very noticeable. The difference between him and Joe Taslim, Dustin Nguyen, and other martial artists must be that they have a lot more experience than he does, or the type of martial arts training that he did was different from what they did. Or something. But I guess having smooth movements with nunchucks when you're doing something like that with them is very different from being a martial artist.
Why do I feel like Lee is going to join Ah Sahm's side? More specifically, the Hop Wei's side. He's getting more antagonistic towards Bill, and he's definitely getting angrier at the racism and discrimination towards the Chinese. I'm not necessarily saying that he may join the Hop Wei, but that would be even better than taking their side, the side of the Chinese. I'm sure it's likely that a white man joining a Chinese tong has never happened in history, and if that's the route the writers go with Lee, it wouldn't be realistic. But, you have to admit, it'll be cool and interesting if the writers do that with Lee. And it would be even better if Ah Sahm or Young Jun have him dress like them, too. Imagine how cool Lee would look in a Hop Wei suit.
And while I'm not 100% sure about the real-life history behind some of the stuff in this show, I'd imagine the writers care enough to try and not stray too far from it. And Lee joining the Hop Wei would definitely count as straying too far away from history and realism. Or whatever. Still, this is a TV show. Even if inspiration was taken from certain historical stuff for some of the things and aspects in this show, you don't have to adhere to it too seriously. Plus, since the prospect of Ah Sahm teaching people how to fight was brought up four episodes ago, and considering that was something unprecedented that happened with Bruce Lee; a Chinese man teaching white men how to fight: wouldn't Lee be the perfect, first pupil of Ah Sahm for him to teach? I mean, come on. That would be pretty cool. Just imagine it. Lee getting taught by Ah Sahm and slowly but surely learning and then beginning to fight similarly to Ah Sahm.
Anyway, at least this episode was better and more enjoyable than the previous episode was. It was probably one of if not the only episode that wasn't self-contained and untethered from the main plot that was actually almost as enjoyable as the two self-contained episodes: the sixth episode of this season; and the fifth episode of the first season. And that probably has a lot to do with the fact that there was only one plot thread going on, for the most part. For this show, that's an accomplishment. The main plot and supporting subplots are the weakest aspects of this show. I hope the finale is just as enjoyable, but it still won't make up for the main plot and supporting subplots being the weakest aspects.
This episode was mostly setting up the next episode.
Man, Buckley has all the cards. He's got Mai Ling in his back pocket, and now Leary and the Irishmen. I'm not sure how significant all of that would've been as Deputy Mayor, but now that he's the Mayor - well, Acting Mayor, those aspects are all the more significant. It seems like a major conclusion of everything is in sight. Chao has been dragged into this whole ordeal with Jacob, and Mai Ling has been ordered to find the latter by Buckley, in return for his help taking down the Hop Wei when she makes a move. But she has insurance on him. Chances are she'll pull out that card at the right moment during all of that and be the last one standing. Or at least that's probably her plan. It may backfire.
I am not interested in Ah Toy at all. Seriously, I didn't care one bit when those two butchers showed up and tried to kill her. I didn't care when she managed to kill both of them and survive. I don't care about her relationship and dynamic with Nellie. I don't care about her business dealings, her real-estate, land, and properties. In fact, the latter has felt extremely disjointed from everything else. Why exactly did she have to be written to be buying land on the side? Like, that wasn't necessary. It would've been better and more logical if she remained the character who's the owner of a brothel, one that the main character goes to from time to time with other people from the tong he's in.
Hell, even the whole plotline with Nellie and her land, and the girls, feels disjointed, too. Maybe there's an incoming twist regarding the latter; like she's not as kind-hearted as she seems. Still, even if that's the case, I hope something final happens with that to where if there's a third season, there won't be any more focus on that whole thing. It's not interesting or entertaining, and neither is Ah Toy and her plotlines.
This episode was slow. The previous episode felt the same way, but at least it was more enjoyable. In this episode, time was taken to take things slow and really highlight the after-effect of Mayor Blake's death. It was more so setting up the next episode, and maybe the finale, too, than anything else. The montage with Buckley's oath in the background was easily the best part of the episode, by far. It was pretty cool, I'll admit, and a little foreboding, too.
But ultimately, the only things that really happened in this episode were that the Hop Wei took out the Fung Hai, Buckley is the Acting Mayor, and we were shown a brief flashback of what happened to his leg, Jacob has come to Chao for help, and Ah Toy managed to survive the attempt to kill her by those two butchers who were hired by Patterson. That's pretty much it. And while those things may seem very significant when written down, it didn't feel that way. I hope the last two episodes are more enjoyable, regardless of whether or not they feel uneventful, too.
This episode was still entertaining, but it felt jarring to me.
Leadership over the Hop Wei tong has finally been "transferred." And even though it wasn't intended, it's been a long time coming. There has been a lot of underestimating going on from a few characters. Characters who underestimate Young Jun. I don't remember all of the instances, but it's happened before. And the ones I remember are when Mai Ling didn't even consider him as the one who may take control over the tong in the scene with her and Li Yong at the end of one of the previous episodes, only thinking of Ah Sahm; and when Ah Toy mentioned, "Like Young Jun would do any better?" He's probably been aware of such sentiments from people but doesn't really care. But now, he's proven them wrong and WILL prove them wrong, I think.
I'm not interested in the plotline with Ah Toy. It's boring and uninteresting. If you do, and a lot of people probably do, good for you, I guess. I'm not. And I'm guessing all roads will end up leading back to the police going after Ah Toy. That scene with her and Patterson a few episodes ago where he told her that he was questioned, to which she told him that it wouldn't be a problem, still hasn't gone anywhere. And Lee's quest of looking more into Patterson's business hasn't been brought up again other than mentioning to Bill that he hasn't found anything yet in the scene where he was hacking away at the carcass a few episodes ago.
But now, it seems like that plotline is back up and running again. Patterson has been brought back into the mix and is employing the services of two butchers to go after Ah Toy, I'm presuming. She's getting ahead of herself and continued her hobby of killing people with a sword, and Bill and the Chinatown squad are aware of it, following the arrest and trial of the supposed culprit, Zing. And considering Lee's discovery that Bill likely planted Timmons' watch at Zing's place, it's likely that Bill probably never bought into Chao's suggestion that Zing is The Chinese Swordsman. Of course, the main reason he planted the watch was probably that he knew the sword wouldn't be enough to put Zing away, to free himself of Zing's grasp, on him and his family. But again, I couldn't care less about that and where it'll end up going by the finale.
The scene with Mai Ling and Li Yong nearing the end was a little odd. I don't want to call it weird, but it was something. First and foremost, it gave me major BDSM vibes. Not only the use of the collar but one of the things she said, too. She mentioned trust. And, well, trust is undoubtedly a big, important thing when it comes to BDSM. But it was more than that. She was probably subtlety referring to trust from a wider perspective. Specifically, when Li Yong went behind her back and conspired with Chao to deal with Zing. And she said it herself: she is still angry at him for that. Whether or not she killed him was left in the air, left ambiguous, on purpose. I don't think he's dead. She probably used that scenario as a way to vent out her anger, something she probably has the temptation to do. But I think it was more so to combat her impulses, her impulse to kill him because of all the power she possesses now, and in a way that allows her to capitalize upon the nature of the impulse but not the impulse itself. It's like she was getting off on the possibility and power she had in that situation; the roleplay, so to speak. So, with that being said, I think Li Yong is still alive. I'm probably wrong and so off, aren't I? Lol.
I'm assuming that Samuel is dead. Even if he survived that and merely passed out, he'd quickly die with an injury like that. I don't know how to feel about that. Say what you want about him, but he was one of the more interesting characters. And one of the aspects that made it so was probably the performance by Christian McKay. At this point, Leary is probably going to be written out of the show, too. As I've said before in a previous review or two of previous episodes, I'm aware that Ah Sahm and Leary will have their rematch in the finale. So, now that Samuel has seemingly been written out of the show, I wouldn't be surprised if it'll be the same with Leary in the finale. If so, I don't like it. The decision to write Samuel out was disappointing enough, especially because he was one of the better characters. It'll be much more disappointing if Leary will be written out, too.
Honestly, after the previous episode, this one felt jarring and unfulfilling. When an episode of this show is free from the main plot and the subplots, it really is way more enjoyable. I think the writers are biting off way more than they can chew with all the plotlines and all of that. At times, both the pacing and editing feels off.
Nevertheless, each episode still manages to be entertaining, even though I don't care as much about what's happening. But, if it wasn't obvious already, I much prefer the previous episode and the one in Nevada in the first season; episodes like that.
Predictable but refreshing.
- Oh, hey. Dustin Nguyen directed this episode. Good for him. I guess that could indicate that his character is finished or that he'll go back and forth between directing and playing his character.
Wait a minute. You're telling me Ah Sahm told Vega about having a sister after being asked about his past, yet he didn't tell Young Jun about that when asked why he came to America in the first season's episode where Bolo's backstory was revealed? He told Young Jun, "She's dead." Or something like that. All Young Jun knows and thinks is that the woman he came to San Francisco for is dead. I get that Ah Sahm probably didn't want Young Jun to know that Mai Ling is his sister, but he could've told him that the woman he came to San Francisco for is his sister, at the very least. I'm not sure if that's just a weird writing decision or if that's supposed to tell us something about Ah Sahm's character.
The two time-lapses and the general cinematography in this episode looked great. There were plenty of beautiful shots, and the setting and locations shown were way better than Nevada in that self-contained episode in the first season. And I swear, it's like every time the cinematography in an episode sticks out to me or a particular shot sticks out to me, the Director of Photography is always Michael Snyman. His work on this show is very noticeable, and some of his shots are particular: like the overhead ones. If you remember an overhead shot, the Director of Photography for that episode was probably him.
The prospect of Ah Sahm taking up teaching and teaching other people to fight seems likely. I'm pretty sure that's something Bruce Lee did. And it's possible that the entire reason that was brought up was to make yet another reference to him, and in this case, another connection of Ah Sahm's character to Bruce Lee, too. I vaguely remember reading a comment from someone that brought that up and how it would be cool for Ah Sahm to teach Lee how to fight. And now that the possibility of Ah Sahm teaching people how to fight has been mentioned, that may end up happening. It would be pretty cool for Ah Sahm to start teaching some people how to fight.
It looks like Hong is Bolo's replacement. Not literally, I don't think, but rather, his replacement of being the third one in the trio. After Bolo's death, it was Ah Sahm and Young Jun: a duo, not a trio, anymore. But now, the boys are back to being a trio, and Hong has been a decent replacement so far. Well, actually, he's been more than decent. I think he's a much better character than Bolo was. Even though we know Bolo's backstory and not Hong's backstory, Hong is still better. A backstory isn't necessarily required to make a character more likable than a character who does have a backstory. And, honestly, Bolo's backstory was underwhelming. And with or without it, he was very underdeveloped, and he was kind of expendable. As far as Hong is concerned, I hope he isn't a spy and that he won't get written out of the show.
I think Vega's death was very impactful. I didn't care about her until this episode. And then, she died. I thought the actress, Maria-Elena Laas, was weak at her acting and performance of the character, but I think that was only because she hardly had any screen-time. Because in this episode, her performance as Vega was way better. Her character was given significant character development and then discarded. Talk about unfortunate. And I think Ah Sahm and Vega were a better potential couple than he and Penelope were, so since I thought that, the writers wrote her out of the show. It's obvious that Ah Sahm and Penelope are supposed to end up together in the end, or they're "meant to be together," at least from the writers' perspective, probably. But Ah Sahm and Vega's hookup and moments of connection in this episode outdid and outperformed all of the scenes of him and Penelope, 100%. The way Ah Sahm and Penelope met was generic. Their relationship was generic and didn't get any better. Their dynamic is generic. Both of them in a scene together is generic. Enough said. One of the reasons Ah Sahm and Vega were better could be because Andrew Koji and Maria-Elena Laas connected better and had more chemistry than Andrew and Joanna - but my point still stands.
I don't think the cliffhanger we've left with is as it implies, or at least not as serious as it seems. It could be about Young Jun not having ordered from China yet, and not that both Young Jun and Ah Sahm had already acquired opium from a local source. One of my theories was that the Hop Wei hatchetmen behind him told him about providing security for Penelope and her factory and that three of their own were killed or haven't returned. I thought that because we've seen those particular hatchetmen before. They were the ones behind Ah Sahm when Leary approached Ah Sahm at the entrance of the factory. That could be what the cliffhanger will be about.
I don't think it's about selling opium behind Father Jun's back. I don't think that's what they were doing, anyway. They merely obtained opium from a local source, and I think they're selling it just like they've always sold their opium. At first, I thought that scene a few episodes ago where that Hop Wei hatchetman went around to several places, selling crates of opium; that he was "in on it." But I think the only thing being done behind Father Jun's back was buying opium from a local source, and that scene was what's always done, and the guy was unaware of that and just doing his job. So, that being said, the two possibilities of what the cliffhanger will be about that I can think of are: he found out about the three Hop Wei hatchetmen that were killed trying to protect Penelope's factory, and by extension of that, he found out about that whole venture, or he learned that Young Jun hasn't ordered from China, yet opium is still being sold, making him suspicious.
All of that being said, this episode was very predictable. The only thing that came out of nowhere was Vega's death. At first, I thought Smits was in on it. But he wasn't, obviously. His arrival to be that "twist" requires a little suspension of your disbelief, though. I assume he got there on a horse, and that's where the problem lies. Anyone and everyone would've heard his horse approaching. And even if he got off his horse a ways back, someone would've heard or seen him before he got close enough. Of course, Vega's death wouldn't have been a twist if realism was an aspect of that. Hell, it probably wouldn't have happened, to begin with. But, okay, I guess.
Besides that little glaring problem with this episode, well, the only one that I noticed; this episode was very refreshing and entertaining. Just like with the self-contained episode in Nevada in the first season, this episode was the most enjoyable, and dare I predict: it will stay that way once I watch the last four episodes of this season. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the plotlines of this show are bad, but it does say a lot when episodes like this one and the one in Nevada; episodes that are self-contained and untethered from the main happenings; it says a lot when they are much more enjoyable to watch.
The cinematography was great. There were plenty of good shots. I really liked the way the small fight sequence in the fight pit was filmed, especially the way it looked, and it was the same as with the small fight sequence at the beginning of one of the previous episodes in the fight pit; I really like the way those scenes looked. The blue color grading or filter, whatever it's called - it makes those scenes look good. The shots in Sonoma, while a little jarring compared with the locations we're used to - as was Nevada in the self-contained episode in the first season - were still good. And I'm not sure if this was intentional and if I'm looking too much into it, but I noticed two shots that could've been metaphorical. In the first scene with Li Yong and Mai Ling, he was on the left, she was on the right, and there was a beam in the middle. That shot was shown two times, I think. And a little while later, in the scene with the Chief of Police and Leary, there was a similar shot with a beam in the middle, and both of them on each side. I'm not sure what that could indicate if those shots were intentional.
The biggest focus of this episode was the police raid on the Fung Hai. It included Chao's involvement and Li Yong's involvement. And the latter's fight with Zing was pretty important, too. Their fight seemed a little anti-climatic and fake at the beginning. Especially with some of the sound effects, but it gradually got better. But Li Yong's line that he copied from Zing, just like Mai Ling did about being thankful/grateful for your pain because it means you're still alive; and then cutting to the next scene where Lee made it up the steps; and starts punching a Fung Hai hatchetman while he's on the ground; was dumb and corny. I'm sorry, but it was. If you liked that, for whatever reason, good for you, I guess.
Nellie kissing Ah Toy was a little out of nowhere. But now that I think about it, I guess it fits. The fact that her husband is dead: she's a widow. And just the general way she's acted; her admiration towards Ah Toy when talking with her - her general demeanor; and the way she has been carrying herself. On Ah Toy's side, there was that scene in the episode in the first season after Ah Sahm got "properly initiated" into the Hop Wei by Father Jun where Ah Sahm asked her if she wants some company; she says she already has company and one of her girls walks into the room. So, on both sides, there's some logic to it, I guess. I mean, ultimately, I'm not really interested in it or the whole subplot with Nellie, and now with her and Ah Toy. But if you are, that's great; good for you.
I noticed Li Yong struggled a little bit in the fight sequence against Zing. Well, honestly, I'm not sure if that's the right thing I want to mention, or rather, the right wording. But I feel like something about their fight was wrong. Considering the prior instances of his capabilities, you'd think that Li Yong wouldn't have struggled as he did against Zing. You could argue that we haven't seen enough of Zing's capabilities to have an "issue" with that. At the same time, I feel like there's an actual problem to be gleaned from that, or the fight sequences, in general. But I don't know what it is. I remember reading a comment from somewhere that referenced something similar to this. It included examples from Banshee and said that it was something common with Jonathan Tropper. And I think it had something to do with inconsistent power-scaling. I don't really care that much about it, but I'm fairly certain that there is an issue present with it.
And during that whole situation with Chao, I was waiting for him to reveal some hidden fighting skills throughout that whole situation, and he did in a minor way, but I wish he actually had some sick fighting skills; I guess not. But I'll give credit where credit is due. The little fighting that he did and displayed was actually pretty cool, even if it wasn't as great as I wanted; and low-key expected from him. I'm pretty sure Hoon Lee played a prominent role in Banshee, so I'm hoping his character in that show is a fighter. Probably not, though.
The police raid itself, and that whole action sequence, looked a little weird. I don't really know how to describe it in a better way than that. The way most of it was happening looked off. The general attacks, punches, and kicks looked off. Everything happening during that didn't look that good. Something was wrong with it, and I don't know what it is. On the plus side, Lee's skills were apparent during all of that, especially when he decided to show off for no reason and to nobody by spinning the rifle two times. And the part where he dealt with three Fung Hai hatchetmen was very skillful as well. I'm not sure if that had more to do with the actor being more athletic than Bill's actor and better than the actors playing the other Chinatown squad members and the other policemen. But he looked to have been doing a whole lot better at the raid than everyone else was.
The defeat of the Fung Hai and the arrest of Zing was somewhat unexpected. I figured that Zing and the Fung Hai would be more prominent throughout the entire season, yet he's already arrested and seemingly "finished," as is the tong. There's no way that's the case, but I guess it could be. If so, I'm disappointed. I really liked him and the Fung Hai. Both the tong and him were opposing forces that added a lot to the entertainment of this season. But this is the fifth episode of the season, which means it's the halfway point of the season, so Zing's arrest, as well as the defeat of the Fung Hai, didn't necessarily happen "too soon" into the season, I guess. There are still other plot threads that can be focused on. I guess they can account for the remainder of the season.
The ending of the previous episode didn't have as big of an after-effect as I was expecting. I was expecting that there would be a huge focus on it in this episode. Honestly, both the pacing and structure throughout this season has been a little weird. But that's probably just me, and that thought is probably super random and out of nowhere. Even though my expectations regarding that was wrong, this episode was still enjoyable. The best and most enjoyable part was definitely the police raid after the scene where Nellie kissed Ah Toy. And the quick fight sequence at the end of the episode with Ah Sahm was just as enjoyable. The way it looked, the way it was filmed, both of those things added a lot to it, even though it didn't last that long.
The ending was the best part of the episode.
Man, talk about escalation. Yet another eventful ending, just like with the previous episode. Well, Sophie, Leary did tell you that it wouldn't end well with the two of you and that there would be a price to pay for "turning against your own people." It's on you now that you're filled with regret. It's a little too late to second-guess yourself, Sophie, in the wise words from Zing in the first season to Mai Ling. The ending of this episode will do a lot for the next episode and the progression of things.
First and foremost, it's obviously going to deal a HUGE blow to Penelope. Like, is it even possible to repair all of that damage? And even if it is, I imagine it will require a LOT of money. Money that she definitely doesn't have; and probably won't be able to get. I'm very interested to see how that will play out. But at least the factory was closed when it happened, so there wasn't any Chinese labor that got caught in the crossfire, which makes me move to my next assessment.
There were a few deaths, just not including Chinese labor. The problem is, the deaths did include three Hop Wei hatchetmen. And I'm assuming that Father Jun is unaware of that little security venture that Ah Sahm and Young Jun did, so I'm expecting that Father Jun will find out about it through finding out about the deaths of three Hop Wei hatchetmen. That may cause the Hop Wei to start going after Leary and his men, too.
Furthermore, and it took me a few hours after watching this episode a second time to realize this, Ah Sahm and Young Jun's opium supply was hidden in one of those furnaces. There's a good chance that the dynamite explosions may have affected the one in question. If that's the case, Father Jun is probably not only going to find out that both of them and a few others of the Hop Wei's hatchetmen were providing security for Penelope but also that both of them are selling opium behind his back, and with opium from a local source, not China. But on the surface, those two things seem to be a little much to be revealed to Father Jun at the same time, which is why I'm somewhat expecting only one of them to be revealed to him, or neither. And Ah Sahm and Young Jun will come up with a good enough lie to tell him about what happened to those three Hop Wei hatchetmen.
I like how plot threads are being intertwined and weaved together. I'm guessing that it's been happening before, but I really noticed it in this episode. The plotline with Chao and the Chinese swordsman is starting to get some traction. Back with the episode in the first season where Lee got attacked by Zing and two other Fung Hai hatchetmen - the same episode where Bill and Lee went to Chao to pressure him some more to give them information on the Chinese swordsman - I'm pretty sure I mentioned in my comment that my theory is that Chao knows who it is, and to protect himself and his business, he'll have to give them someone and that someone won't be Ah Toy; he'll throw someone else under the bus. I had the thought of Lai, considering how she started practicing movement sequences with the sword. But most importantly, I figured that Chao would throw SOMEONE under the bus. And now, that time has come. I'm a little surprised that it's Zing. But I'm also a little concerned. Chao is a character who is cautious and careful, yet now he's doing something so reckless. He's becoming too hasty to do something about Zing. It may go horribly wrong.
You can't help but feel bad for Bill, even if it's just a little bit. It was subtle, but it was noticeable that he and Lucy weren't on "good terms," so to speak, back in the first season because of his gambling. And it can be assumed that it's been like that for some time, considering he had probably already been gambling long before we were introduced to his wife and children. But he was able to mend the relationship and dynamic. Perhaps not fully, but he was able to mend it some. And things were great, the best they've ever been, especially with Lee in the mix. But now, everything has crumbled away. I wouldn't say that there was any crumbling the first time. But this time, there was, and it may very well be irreparable. Unfortunately, even though Bill supposedly quit gambling, his debt came back to haunt him and in a worse way than having to pay. He shouldn't have "tested" Zing and "quit" working for him. There's a good chance that something similar would've ended up happening, eventually, even if he didn't do that. But he's at fault for this, though not completely, perhaps. And you still can't help but feel bad for him.
The acting by Joanna Vanderham and Celine Buckens in this episode was decently exceptional. I wasn't too impressed with Joanna's acting in the first season, although I did see an improvement by the end. She must've gotten into the groove of playing this particular character. In this episode, she delivered a well-done acting performance in the scene where she lashed out at Sophie. And Celine's acting at the end of the episode was good. Honestly, I think her more minor, inaudible performance at the end of this episode was better than Joanna's peak performance in this episode. That's my humble opinion; you're free to disagree. And I think Celine's acting is more impressive considering that she's only played this specific character for four episodes, unlike Joanna, who has already played her character for much more. I'm by no means ridiculing Joanna and her acting; the writing is more of the culprit. I guess Joanna hasn't had many moments to really showcase her acting. Whereas, with Celine, she has already gotten a scene like that at the end of this episode. And the acting of Tom Weston-Jones and Kieran Bew was good in this episode, too, on a minor scale.
I wonder what the photograph concerning Buckley is. This is a random guess, but my first thought was that it has something to do with his amputated leg. There was a minor, quick scene in the premiere of the first season - I think it was - that showed him caressing his amputated leg and looking at a mirror. And he looked a little bitter. That was my first thought about what the photograph could concern because there was never anything more regarding his leg after that scene. But I don't see how there could be something incriminating enough about whatever happened to his leg to be insurance for Mai Ling. My second thought is more probable. The photograph may have to do with this plotline with Buckley and that prostitute. Well, maybe not that particular prostitute. But maybe it has something to do with prostitutes, in general - if this particular one isn't the first one he's picked up and done low-key creepy, germophobe sort of things with.
Honestly, this episode was underwhelmingly boring and not very entertaining. The ending was probably the only enjoyable and good part about it. Hopefully, given the nature of the ending and how much it escalated things, the next episode will be more enjoyable. I hope that will be the case, and the following episodes will be just as enjoyable, too. Because if not, that'll be slightly disappointing. As I said, this episode was boring and not very entertaining. So, I'm hoping that each episode will start being more entertaining as I get closer to the end of the season.
Warrior: Not How We Do Business (2020)
That ending was shocking, holy crap. And as it was playing out, I was expecting something cliché to happen, like Ethan accidentally shooting someone, specifically Lee; or Bill. I like that the scene wasn't written to be a little cliché like that. Zing is becoming more and more dangerous. I wonder if he expected that to succeed because if it didn't, and it didn't succeed, the police would probably really come after the Fung Hai. I'm going to assume that he's smart enough and considered that and that he didn't really put much thought into the possibility that it would've turned out so differently. He may be super reckless; to be fair, that's probably more of a certainty than being an uncertainty. But there's no way he's reckless enough to where his intelligence is strongly affected. He's an extremely wild card. He probably didn't care that if it failed, the police would go after the Fung Hai. Putting a cop in the hospital is one thing. But going after a cop's family in their own home is much worse and entirely different. Even Chao is in danger. But Chao had a point with what he told Li Yong: killing Zing isn't an optimal solution.
While Zing is the topic of discussion, I liked the subtle detail of his ring. I guess there's a chance that I'm wrong, but I think the ring was the one Bill collected as a substitute for money from that one guy in the premiere of this season. It can be seen on Zing's ring finger of his right hand in the scene at the beginning of the episode and when he took out the money to give to Chao. It may have been seen in the scene where Bill came to him, too. But I wasn't paying attention to look for it in that scene. Again, I could be wrong. If not, that's a nice little detail. It tells a lot about Zing's character.
And while I'm on the topic of subtle details, I liked the ones with Mai Ling in this episode. The first one was in the scene at the beginning of the episode when she came to Zing. Her closing piece of dialogue to him was, and I quote: "And you'll find yourself out of the opium business just as quickly as I put you in it." Buckley said something similar to her, specifically that last part. He may have said it to her more than once. I don't remember. But the instance that I'm remembering was back in the first season, I think. And I'm pretty sure it was their first shown meeting. The second subtle detail in this episode was in the scene where Chao asked her for help. And her closing statement to him was, and I quote: "Be thankful for your pain, Chao. It means you're still alive." Zing said the same thing, with obvious differences, of course, earlier in this same episode. It seems like Mai Ling is adopting some of the traits of other characters, just like Walter White did in Breaking Bad. The only difference is that she's aware of them. Most of, if not all of the traits from other characters that Walter adopted; were done more in a referencing sort of way. In the show, he was unaware of most of them.
I think it's a good thing that Hong was introduced in this episode. He's the last new character in this season to be introduced. Two others were introduced in the premiere, and the third was introduced in the previous episode. I really like that all four have already been introduced, and we're only three episodes into the season. That was a good call.
As far as Hong is concerned, I'm a little bit wary of him. He's too charismatic. That's not a bad thing, but I do think it's weird. He just arrived in America, and he's already using the terminology and vocabulary of the Hop Wei. The way he talks is as if he's already settled in and been in America for a little while, and that wasn't the case with Ah Sahm, at least not to the extent with Hong. And the first thing he did was approach Ah Sahm and then hung out with him and Young Jun. There's a good chance that he's trying to be friendly and fit in with the Hop Wei, but I'm not sure. He could have been told by Father Jun to get close to Ah Sahm and Young Jun and spy on them. He also mentioned that it's true that the Fung Hai IS still around. I may be looking too much into that specific thing, but that line seemed a little weird. I'll be having my eye on him.
I was going to mention this in my review on Season 1's finale, but I forgot. And, to be fair, I think it fits more to mention it in this review. Buckley seems very particular, you could say. By that, I'm referring to his obsession and habit of brushing his hand on his clothing to knock stuff off. There were several subtle instances in the first season showing him to be very particular in that regard. The one that prompted me to mention it was the scene with him and Leary in the finale of the first season where he puked after Leary left. But, as I said, I forgot.
It's like he's a germaphobe to an extreme degree. What else could that scene with him and the prostitute indicate? Honestly, I never thought such a thing could be so creepy: being a germaphobe and obsessed with cleanliness. But if anyone can do it, it's Buckley. At the same time, I wonder if his endeavors, whatever they are, with this prostitute, will have more significance than that. Is the fact that he's with a prostitute something important and effective enough as insurance for Mai Ling? He is the Deputy Mayor of San Francisco, so that may be the importance of showing us the scene at the end of the previous episode with him picking up that prostitute and the scene in this episode with both of them.
This episode focused a lot more on progressing plot threads a little further, and so there can be more focus to be done with progressing them in future episodes. I think Ah Sahm will end up going to the place that Vega told him about at the beginning of the episode. He's trying to find flaws concerning the way he fights. And he's trying to fix them and to improve his fighting skills. But the Barbary Coast fight pit no longer has people who are challenging for him to beat. And while he's not after the money, Vega did mention that the best fighters from all over the country are over at that place. It seems likely that he'll end up going there. Other two plot threads that set up more to be focused on in future episodes: Penelope may "fire" Ah Sahm and the other Hop Wei hatchetmen because of what the Mayor told her, or the Mayor will retract his threat to her because of the scene at Mrs. Davenport's house and what Penelope said, and Ah Toy will seemingly handle the interference from Bill and Lee in her partner's dealings, which may also include a find from looking more into Patterson's business. She'll probably pay Bill off, but I doubt that's going to work with Lee. Hell, it may not even work with Bill; this time around.
Overall, this episode was enjoyable. I liked the introduction of Hong, the final new character to be introduced in this season. His fighting style looks to be a nice change of pace from the usual sort of fighting we've seen throughout the show. I hope we'll see more of it, more extensively, in future episodes. I liked the subtle details with Mai Ling and how she's adopting traits from other characters, and I liked the subtle detail with the ring Zing is wearing. It wasn't a big deal, but there was a little editing inconsistency that I noticed. When the new soldiers for the Hop Wei were brought in, you can see Hong standing up in the background, and yet the next shot is focused on Hong standing up, even though you already saw him do that in the background of the previous shot. But, as I said, that wasn't a big deal. Anyhoo, I was entertained while watching this episode. It was decent.
Warrior: The Chinese Connection (2020)
This episode wasn't SUPER enjoyable.
Nothing much of significant enjoyment and entertainment happened in this episode. Its primary focus was setting up more plot threads to explore in future episodes. It focused on character development, too. The main examples are that Chao has a daughter, Bill is getting addicted and a little too accustomed to the mildly luxurious lifestyle; thanks to Zing; Ah Sahm and Young Jun are going behind Father Jun's back by buying opium from a local source instead of from China, and they're using Mercer Steel as a front to store it; because of that, Penelope has good security to protect her Chinese workers from the Irishmen, which will undoubtedly reach Leary's ears, and that will lead to the Hop Wei and the Irishmen fighting, and then Leary and Ah Sahm; the plot thread and potential romance between Leary and Sophie was developed a little further; Lee is putting himself in harm's way by getting addicted to the laudanum and there could be more focus brought back to that girl, Abigail; him and Bill, well, HE actually tracked down Ah Toy's partner, progressing that plot thread, which takes the both of them and the police one step closer to Ah Toy, and I imagine that plot thread will be developed further with Leonard Patterson informing Ah Toy; Mai Ling is starting to get conceited, as proven when she asked Li Yong to bring Zing with him as insurance to "send a message" by taking out some of the Suey Sing tong, and when she seemingly has had enough of Buckley always giving her a subtle threat at the end of their every meeting and employed the services of Mr. Nichols to acquire insurance for her on him.
Nellie Davenport was introduced, another new character that will be a regular one in this season, like Sophie and Rosalita. Honestly, I like that these new characters are being introduced early on. For some reason, I guess I was expecting that not to be the case. The type of character she was showed to be; seems interesting. She's a widow; and rich. And I'm guessing she uses that latter fact to go around and help Chinese women who're prostitutes. That's an intriguing outline for her character, and it's a good-hearted thing to do on her part. At the same time, I couldn't help but feel a little irritated by her. She gave me that sort of impression, and I don't know why. As I said, not only is the outline of the character intriguing, and is it good-hearted of her to go that far for Chinese women being used and whatnot; there was still something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. It could be the performance of the actress. She could've been told to act the character out as being pretentious. I don't know.
There is only one character left that hasn't been introduced. According to IMDb, his name is Hong. And the actor is Chen Tang, who's in the title sequence of this season, along with the three actresses who play the three new female characters. It would be nice if he's introduced in the next episode. The other three characters have already been introduced in only the first two episodes of the season. At the risk of stating the obvious, I believe the character will be a new addition to one of the tongs. It's my opinion that he'll be in the Hop Wei tong. As for whether or not he'll be a character that was already apart of the tong but only now brought into the spotlight or if he'll be a new addition that recently joined or joins in the episode where he's introduced, I'm not sure. But I'll learn soon enough, and I'm interested to see what the outline of his character will be.
The two fight sequences in this episode were alright. The one where Ah Sahm and Young Jun fought some of Happy Jack's men was underwhelming. The sound distortion and having the focus of the sound design being on Young Jun's fighting with the sound from Ah Sahm's fighting being a little muted was immersion-breaking. It made the fighting in the background with Ah Sahm look telegraphed and fake, at times. On the bright side, the one with Li Yong, Zing, and men from both the Long Zii and the Fung Hai killing some of the Suey Sing's men and taking out the rest was better. It was nice seeing more of Zing's skills, and his outfit, specifically that jacket, was on-fleek.
Overall, this episode didn't have that many elements in it to make it super enjoyable. Plot-wise, nothing much of interest happened. There was a little plot progression with a few plot threads. There was also a little character development and contrast between Bill's current lifestyle and Lee's. I think the most relevant things that happened in this episode was learning a bit more about Chao; learning that he has a daughter; Sophie and Leary having another scene together, Mai Ling employing the services of someone to gather insurance for her on Buckley, and the introduction of Nellie Davenport. Other than that, this episode was definitely somewhat underwhelming and not THAT enjoyable but enjoyable, nonetheless.
I thought it was slightly underwhelming for a premiere, but I still liked it.
A lot of stuff to unpack was presented in this premiere. A new character was introduced: Rosalita Vega, played by Maria-Elena Laas. I'm guessing she runs the fight pit. I wonder if that means there's a new faction, and she's the leader. That would make her dangerous. All of those fighters or certain ones, people who specifically a lot of fighting against other people; would be working for her; or if it's nothing like that, and she's just someone who runs a fighting pit. Either way, she seems interesting.
This season had a slightly different title sequence; the thing to note from it are the new cast members. It seems like Dustin Nguyen is a regular cast member for this season. The new additions are Celine Buckens as Sophie Mercer, Miranda Raison as Nellie Davenport, Chen Tang as Hong, and Maria-Elena Laas as Rosalita Vega. Only the latter and Sophie have been introduced in this premiere. I'm interested to see who the other two characters are.
We are finally introduced to Sophie, one of Penelope's sisters. She was mentioned in the second episode of the first season. I wonder if there's a potential romance brewing between her and Leary. I could be reading too much into it, but that first scene of the episode gave me that impression. And the dialogue between her and Penelope at the dinner table after Mayor Blake left interestingly involved a discussion about someone's son who won't stop talking about her, that he's infatuated with her. Even if it isn't romantic, I feel like that wasn't the (first and) last time Sophie and Leary will be in a scene together.
Given that he was indirectly responsible for Mercer's death, I think that will add an interesting dynamic between the two of them if Sophie finds out. Most of all, I'm expecting that factor to potentially drive a wedge between Penelope and Sophie if Leary and Sophie start becoming a thing or start hanging out. It's possible that Sophie won't blame him for her father's death, but Penelope will, and that'll act as the catalyst. I really think something is going to start progressing and developing between Leary and Sophie. Romantically or not. I think there will be more scenes with both of them.
And it was subtlety mentioned what Penelope's other sister, Nadine, is up to; conveniently, I should add. But I don't mind. I wonder if there was more to it besides giving us exposition to where her other sister is when Sophie is now apart of the show. Due to the nature of said exposition, I don't think she'll show up at all in this season. If she does, that'll be nice. If not, I hope that she'll be introduced in the third season; that I hope will end up happening. You can be the savior, HBO Max.
Speaking of Leary, we were given a little backstory into his character. He was a married man and a father of two children. It's unfortunate what happened to them. That must have a bigger purpose than showing us that he was probably less of the man he is now back when his family was alive, and probably even more so when they lived in New York. It was almost like it was sad enough that it was a death flag. I know that Leary has his rematch with Ah Sahm in the finale; I saw the thumbnail for it on IMDb. He could die in that fight. Honestly, I hope he doesn't. And I hope he isn't injured in some way, permanently. Despite his flaws, I really like his character. If this show gets renewed for a third season, I'm really hoping that Leary didn't die in that fight because I really want him to continue being in the show.
I really liked the change in atmosphere. It felt very different from the first season. I don't know whether part of it was because a different camera was used to film it. There were instances where there were differences in the way the shots looked. It's almost as if the quality was better than in the first season. I know nothing about the way filming works and all that, but maybe it had more to do with a different filming technique, not that a better camera was used. As I was saying, the change in atmosphere was great. We were shown a lot of new locations. I'm not sure if that's an indication of a bigger budget, but I really appreciated it.
The Fung Hai's place looked pretty attractive and somehow fitting for such a tong that consists of people who think they're direct descendants of Genghis Khan, you know? It looked like a place you'd expect people like the Mongols to be in; the way it was assembled and put together; organized and arranged; and all that.
The new looks of San Francisco looked nice, especially in that continuous, panning shot that went upward and looked down through the opening of the ship, then right through it; the inside of the ship where the fight pit is; and the look of San Francisco from above. Everything that was shown before the shot went upward and then down through the ship reminded me a lot of the video game: "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag." I'm guessing everything that was shown is apart of Barbary Coast. Or is that the name of the ship? Either way, everything that was shown on the way to the ship gave me vibes reminiscent of that one cinematic trailer where, at the end of it, it was night, and Edward waltzed away with a prostitute who was walking with someone else. It came across as very pirate-like.
And the warehouse where the Teddy Boys or Teddy's Boys; whichever one it is; the warehouse where they were at, when Ah Sahm, Ah Toy, and Lai came along and killed them. That location was another new one that brought along a different atmosphere compared to the ones from the first season, especially at night. The fight sequence in it was good as well; of course, there's a 'but' coming. But the flip that Lai did from on top of those crates was a little ridiculous. The fight sequences in this show have been grounded and realistic, for the most part. There has been realism, in general. That flip she did was not realistic; at all. I'm guessing a wire was used for the actress to do it; it did look a little off. Even if it didn't look off, it was still unrealistic.
I think the writers are putting too much emphasis on Ah Sahm's loss to Li Yong and making it seem much deeper than it actually is. The reason why he lost isn't what they're making it out to have been. It had nothing to do with his technique of fighting lacking in something. He got arrogant, and that's why he lost. Joe Taslim may be an actual martial artist, unlike Andrew Koji, which makes Li Yong look to be the better fighter. But I don't think his character is a better fighter than Andrew's character. I think Ah Sahm is a better fighter than Li Yong. He would've won if he had gone straight for Li Yong and taken his sash, claiming victory, before Li Yong came to, instead of getting arrogant, playing up to the crowd.
I get what the writers are doing with Ah Sahm seemingly lacking something in the fighting department. I get the route they're seemingly taking, and it makes sense. They're probably mirroring Bruce Lee with Ah Sahm's character and how Ah Sahm feels like something is missing, which will lead to him developing and incorporating a different way of fighting, similar to Bruce Lee. The problem is, I feel like it's not only unnecessary but that it's also inconsistent. That's because the actual reason why he lost was, very clearly: arrogance, not that Li Yong was better, or Ah Sahm was lacking something. I guess the writers could use this route of self-discovery for Ah Sahm to actually realize why he lost and that it wasn't a lack of something, and that he'll also discover a new way to develop his fighting skills by incorporating something else.
This was an alright premiere. It focused a lot on continuing plot threads from the first season, which made it a little underwhelming for a premiere; and made it feel like any other episode instead of the first episode of a new season. It continued the plot thread from the end of the previous season with Bill's new "job" as a debt collector for the Fung Hai. It added more development to the plot thread with Bill and Lee hunting down the "Chinese Swordsman," and by extension, going to Chao again to add more pressure in hoping that he'll give them something they can work with. The plot thread with Penelope taking over her father's factory was developed a little more; more tension and pressure is being applied to that plot thread: the Irishmen are creating problems for her; they're attacking some of the Chinese workers who are in her employ.
But this premiere still felt like a premiere because two new characters were introduced: Sophie Mercer and Rosalita Vega. That opens up new plot threads to explore. And there seemed to be other new ones being set up: Ah Sahm and Young Jun are trying to locate a local opium source to make back some of the money they gave away of making by the deal between the Long Zii and the Hop Wei, the scene before the final scene with Buckley and the scene where Ah Toy asked Chao if he had gone to see his secret, to which he replied, "Tomorrow."
Speaking of Chao, he does know who the "Chinese Swordsman" is. I was right. He knows that Bill is a debt collector for the Fung Hai, too. I'm very interested to know more about Chao and how he's so informed about everyone's business. And based on the slightly different title sequence, specifically the new cast members' names, there are two others whose characters haven't been introduced yet.
Not only that, but the general atmosphere in this premiere seemed different compared to the first season. And there were some new locations, changes in scenery, and shots of places that weren't shown in the first season that really helped add to the change of atmosphere. I appreciated that. Nevertheless, this premiere was underwhelming. I'd rate it a seven out of ten, but it's practically a high six.
"Warriors have only two paths: get killed or get better."
A lot of stuff was done in this finale. I feel like this entire season was merely a prelude. It never felt like anything was happening. But I have a feeling that will change in the second season. I don't quite know what to expect from it. The only thing that I read that to do with it was from a comment from someone, and I think it was mentioned that the budget was clearly increased in the second season. If anything, all I'm expecting when I begin diving into the second season is that the supposed bigger budget will be very obvious. I feel like a lot of things in this episode were there as an introduction. Those things were probably there because this was the finale; there had to be crumbs to catch your attention because they'll be important aspects in the second season.
It seems like Bill has taken up the role that Jack Damon had. I liked the poetic justice against Jack, even after killing him, that Bill did by using his white mountain analogy to intimidate Jonas into paying up. I assume that Bill will do that with everyone else that he'll probably be shown to collect money from. It was cheesy, I'll admit, but I'll admit that it was a little cool, too. I'm not sure whether Jonas will be important in the second season, but I think he's a cop. The deadline Bill gave him for the rest of the money was two weeks; the policeman special that Jack gave Bill was also two weeks. One week is the normal deadline.
I was taken aback and a little confused when Zing didn't want money from Bill, the money that he owed. But what Zing did, instead, makes sense. The Fung Hai need someone that isn't Chinese to go out and collect money from people outside of Chinatown that have debts to them to pay. At first, I thought the reason why Zing didn't want Bill's money was because that was back when Pai was the leader. And then, I thought the increased raids on the tongs was what Zing wanted from Bill; until the scene with Bill and Jonas. You know, to make problems for every tong, especially the Long Zii. Zing could've asked that of Bill, too; two birds with one stone. I'm aware that Bill was described to be under Zing's thumb in the second season, from something to do with the second season back when this season was airing; or when it finished. So, that's something that I'm expecting to be focused on in the second season.
There was a lot of emphasis on leadership throughout the season: Zing becoming the new leader of the Fung Hai, Buckley being the true mastermind, so to speak, instead of the Mayor, Mai Ling becoming the new leader of the Long Zii, Penelope seemingly being the one in charge of her father's business, and Young Jun going behind Father Jun's back and bringing back Ah Sahm into the fold, seemingly looking to take over the Hop Wei and be the new leader. I probably missed some other examples of the emphasis on leadership that's been showed throughout the season. It's interesting. In this episode, specifically, there seemed to be a parallel to do with women being leaders; Mai Ling is in charge of the Long Zii, and Penelope seems to have risen to a position of power. All of those aspects; Zing = new Fung Hai leader, Mai Ling = new Long Zii leader, Buckley being the one to look out for instead of the Mayor - he has the true power, Penelope at the head of the cable car track construction, and Young Jun seemingly after the position of being the new leader of the Hop Wei because he thinks that his father changed and is different because of the dynamite assassination attempt; seem like aspects that will definitely be hugely focused on in the second season.
We learned a little bit about Chao's past. Originally, back with that scene in Ah Toy's brothel with him and a girl and when we were shown his back and that he has scars on his back, I thought that meant he's a good fighter, a literal fighter, and that he got those scars because he's been in countless of fights. Now, upon the revelation that he was once a slave, those scars may have resulted from that. But, regardless of whether he got those scars from countless life-or-death battles that he survived and lived to see another day or if he got them from his 11 years as a slave, I still think that he's an actual fighter. He's too much of a mysterious character and the sort of character that's always a wild card, there's no way he doesn't know how to fight, and there's no way he's not a very good fighter. I'm sticking by that theory of mine. And I may be looking too much into it, but I feel like Chao saying that the reason he still isn't in Cuba as a slave is that he knows he's not a slave is a subtle confirmation or suggestion that he could be aware of Ah Toy's desire to fight back and that he's helping her with that. I feel like he's a secret partner to the efforts made to adhere to Ah Toy's desire of fighting back, and I feel like that will be a huge twist and reveal at some point in the second season.
I think Buckley and Leary will be focused on in the second season. My initial thought was that they'll end up teaming up and that Leary will start playing smarter instead of being a "common thug," in Buckley's words. That seems very likely to me. Buckley is smart; he's looking at the bigger picture, and he's very calm and collected. He knows that Penelope was at the arena where Ah Sahm and Li Yong fought. He knows that Leary set that guy's house on fire a few episodes ago and that Leary had him and his family leave San Francisco. And I'm assuming by when he said, "backroom beatings," he was referring to Leary's one-on-one matches behind The Banshee. If that's what he meant by that, he knows about that as well. And he's responsible for why Mai Ling can even have the opium; and to then, try and get into the opium business. He's a dangerous player. But with someone like Leary in his corner, he could become much more dangerous than he's been in this season. Or where that scene with the both of them left off, it could mean that they'll be at odds and against each other, and that will be what's focused on in the second season, as far as the both of them are concerned.
The fight sequence in the factory was great. Personally, my favorite fight sequence was the one in the previous episode. The fight between Ah Sahm and Li Yong was very intense and well-choreographed. And while the factory fight sequence in this episode was just as good, I just preferred the one in the previous episode. I really liked the use of the short stick, dual short sticks, and one long stick. Those three utilizations really added to the entire fight sequence, and I think they were homages to Bruce Lee, too. I hope we get to see and learn more of Ah Sahm's past in the second season. Don't get me wrong, the fight sequence in this episode was great, but it also required a little suspension of disbelief because we haven't seen Ah Sahm being taught how to fight with such weapons; we're just supposed to ignore that. Hell, even Ah Sahm's general fighting skills require some suspension of disbelief because all we were shown was his master teaching him Tai Chi and telling him that he can't fight if he can't breathe.
The scene with Ah Toy and Ah Sahm before the ending was surprising. I wasn't expecting there to be a dungeon or basement in Ah Toy's brothel. I'll ignore the fact that Ah Sahm was able to drag those two grown, adult men with him all the way to her brothel without too much resistance when the last we saw of him was getting spotted by a policeman and getting chased by him. I'm guessing that the dialogue between them in that scene is important. My impression is that Ah Sahm will keep an eye out for instances where Chinese people are being attacked or hurt, and he'll capture the ones responsible for it and bring them to Ah Toy. He may start hunting people down and kill them, as Ah Toy did with Morgan and Davis. I imagine that plot thread will be prominent in the second season and that the vigilante activity will mostly be against the Irish, specifically Leary's men and Leary himself. I'm expecting that the parties fighting against each other in the second season will be the Hop Wei vs. The Fung Hai and the Long Zii, the Long Zii vs. The Fung Hai, Ah Sahm and Ah Toy vs. Leary and his men, and possibly Leary and his men vs. The tongs. I know that Leary and Ah Sahm will get their rematch in the finale of S2 based on the thumbnail used for it on IMDb.
The previous episode was slow like the one before it but was more enjoyable and engaging than the one before it, and this episode was likewise enjoyable, and I don't know why. But both were written by Jonathan Tropper, so maybe that's why. Still, this episode felt incomplete. This entire season has felt incomplete. There have been multiple plot threads, of course, and they were developed and progressed over the course of the season. The speed at which that was done with pretty much every single one was slow and a little bit tedious, but they were developed and progressed. Now, this episode, in particular, the finale of the season, was different. I'm aware that this finale focused a lot on setting up the next season; I get that. But that doesn't really mean much to me.
Nevertheless, this finale still managed to entertain me. I do think it was more enjoyable than the episode before the previous one. All I know about the second season is that there was filming done in South Africa. I'm not sure where this season was filmed. Most of the locations in this season looked like set pieces, except maybe the self-contained episode in Nevada; and the flashback scenes of Ah Sahm's family's farm, so I don't know to what extent the filming in South Africa means for the second season; but I am expecting there to be a noticeable difference with the way everything looks; both budget-wise and with filming having been done in South Africa. I'm interested to see what the next season has in store.
Warrior: Chinese Boxing (2019)
More entertaining and enjoyable than the previous episode.
The first sixteen minutes after the title sequence was great. That fight between Ah Sahm and Li Yong lasted a lot longer than I was expecting. I really liked it, and while I don't have a definite opinion on the choreography and whether or not it was the best we've seen, I do think the fight sequence itself was the best fight sequence that we've seen. I like the little detail that implied why Li Yong is accustomed to getting hit, with the way he had two Long Zii hatchetmen continuously hit him with wooden sticks. And given the way Ah Sahm fights and trains, he's definitely not used to it, and his hits probably don't pack as much power as Li Yong's hits do, either. I also liked the correlation of Ah Sahm's master's words about how you can't fight if you can't breathe to when after Li Yong broke Ah Sahm's nose, that was when the fight was over; when, if that hadn't happened, Ah Sahm would've likely kept getting back up and may have ended up beating Li Yong. But I do think that the writing was a little too obvious, and not to mention, cliché: in that, it was written to tell you that both of them won't survive, one of them will be killed, and then a third party intervening and preventing that from happening. I think the writing of that was a little too in-your-face and on-the-nose. I'd say that the beginning of the episode and the ending of the episode were the highlights of this episode.
One thing that I noticed was Zing in the background, and that he didn't look impressed with what he was seeing. He looked very unimpressed and nonchalant while his Fung Hai hatchetmen were into it and cheering a little. That, and the ending of the episode, which showcased Zing's capabilities a little further beyond what we saw when he was introduced, gave me the impression that he may be more skilled than Ah Sahm and even Li Yong. If so, Li Yong made the right choice to get Mai Ling to agree to the dual instead of going to war some more against the Hop Wei with the Fung Hai as allies. If they would've ended up betraying the Long Zii, Zing would've been able to beat Li Yong.
The cinematography in this episode was great. I'm not well-versed or knowledgeable enough when it comes to cinematography; so, I have no idea whether the general cinematography in this episode was great. But I think there were examples of specific shots that really caught my eye that I really liked. The above-head shot with Chao in the middle of the square ring, looking up as the camera view rose above the circular ring of fire right before the title sequence began, was one of those shots. The other shots were the ones with young Ah Sahm and his master, and that one shot with young Mai Ling leading him down the dirt path towards their farm. Those shots, especially, were fantastic. Whatever location that was, it was a great choice.
I thought that the references to minor details that were "brought up" earlier in the season were nice. The jade and the mechanical thing with the gun. I had a feeling that the scene a few episodes ago where Mai Ling went to Chao to set up a meeting with the Fung Hai for her and the fact that he tried to get her to buy the mechanical contraption that goes on your arm where you can hide it and then shoots out the gun into your hand was foreshadowing that it'll be significant at some point later on in the season - and it was finally used in this episode. And the jade was expanded on in this episode. It was revealed that it's actually Ah Sahm's jade, given to him by his master; the one who's responsible for Ah Sahm's fighting skills; Ah Sahm gave it to Mai Ling when they were younger.
The further development of the real-estate tycoon's murder, done by Ah Toy, in that Bill and Lee went to Chao and tried to follow up on that was surprising. I guess I thought there wouldn't be any effort exerted in that regard. But Ah Toy and her reputation as a Chinese swordsman killer was brought back into relevance at the end of the previous episode, so the fact that Bill and Lee are still focused on that and went to Chao for what they were hoping for; information, is not something out of nowhere. And he may know that Bill killed Jack Damon. The last thing he said to Bill during that scene seemed a little telling. He would likely know about that considering that he's associated with everyone; the police, the Long Zii, the Hop Wei, and even the Fung Hai - and Jack worked for the Fung Hai. Who knows how deep Chao's connections go.
But I do think the last thing he said to Bill was slightly telling in another regard, too. I'm guessing that Chao knows that it's Ah Toy and that it'll be a plot thread that's resolved in the next episode; it's the finale, after all. My theory is that Chao is aware of Ah Toy's revolution plan and is on her side with it. They've had scenes together, and I got the impression that they're close, beyond her being the owner of a brothel and him being a frequent customer. And they're both mysterious characters, so it's likely for two mysterious characters to be connected, right? I think that the Chinese swordsman plotline will be (seemingly) resolved in the finale because Chao will throw someone else under the bus, offering up a scapegoat that isn't Ah Toy or Lai, and that'll be enough for the police, and that'll be that.
"A guilty fox hunts his own hole." I wonder what Lee's Southern wisdom means. From a writing perspective, it's obvious what he said must be significant; that it has an important meaning. But I don't know how to interpret what the meaning of it is. I don't know how it could relate to Ah Toy, especially. You'd think that it's a metaphor that relates to her. The reason he said it was because the topic of discussion with him and Bill was the Chinese swordsman, after all. I have no idea what it could be, though. It's possible that it doesn't have anything to do with Ah Toy and that it had to do with Mai Ling. She did tell a story that had to do with a fox two episodes ago. It was my impression that she was THE fox in the story but that in this particular instance, more than one fox was surrounding the tiger - Long Zii, and that's why her speech went the direction it did. The guilty fox that hunts his own hole could be referring to her being the fox borrowing terror from (Long Zii) the tiger, and that she's a guilty fox because she killed him and because he was on the same side as her.
The previous episode was slow, and I think this episode was likewise slow. The difference between the two is that I found this episode to be more entertaining and enjoyable. This episode's biggest focus was on showing and depicting the aftermath of Ah Sahm's bloody and physically damaging loss to Li Yong. It used that as a way to show us a smidgen of his past through a flashback; how he met his master, the promise he made to his sister by giving her the jade that we saw her take out of a drawer a few episodes ago, and most importantly, to showcase that he's probably thinking back on that memory through the lens of the way she used to be because earlier in the episode, she gave Li Yong the go-ahead to kill him when they fought.
This episode did two other things to note. The plotline with the cable car track was progressed, and the development of it is now underway. And because of Buckley, it seems like Mercer will "betray" Leary and the Irish by hiring Chinese workers, perhaps replacing all of the Irish workers or only a few. The other thing of significance that was done in this episode was the ending. It seems like the Fung Hai is finally starting to close in on Bill. Needless to say, those two things will be focused on the most in the finale. I seem to remember that the cable car track plotline was concluded in the finale, but I'm not sure about the plotline with Bill's debt to the Fung Hai. That may be left open-ended and then explored and developed further in the second season.
Weakest episode of the season so far.
This episode was slow and not as eventful as other episodes. Its main focus was primarily to build up suspense for the upcoming dual between Ah Sahm and Li Yong, which will be their rematch - and if you think about it, their first true fight. But on a deeper level, its main focus was (also) developing the plotlines of Mercer's cable car track and the war between the tongs, which I partially predicted previously with my comment on the previous episode - that those plotlines would have the spotlight in the final three episodes. And it looks to be likely that in the last two episodes of the season, they'll be what's focused on the most.
I don't quite remember what happens with the tong war plotline, except that Ah Sahm lost. He was winning or doing fairly well, but then he started losing his rhythm or something along those lines, and he lost. It may have been on purpose; I'm not sure. But my recollection of what happens with the cable car track plotline is better. The bits that I remember involves a factory, in which there's labor work going on and the workers are Chinese, not Irish; Ah Sahm is one of them because he was kicked out of the Hop Wei for losing the fight against Li Yong or he ran away, Penelope is at the factory at one point, sees him, and they reconcile, Leary and his men attack the factory, killing the Chinese workers; Ah Sahm being one of them, fights Leary and doesn't do too well, I think, possibly because he's mentally and psychologically affected by losing to Li Yong, presumably the first fight he's ever lost, and then goes back to the Hop Wei after fighting Leary; they welcome him back, the finale ends. Obviously, there are probably gaps in-between those bullet points, but that's the gist of what I remember.
There was another point of interest in this episode. The plotline with Bill and his debt to the Fung Hai progressed a little, and the little development that it had showed us that they're closing in on Bill. We saw that they were watching him in the scene with the Chinatown squad, which I'm assuming that's the reason why Bill went to the Chief of Police begging to be taken out of Chinatown. I think Lee is the aspect to be focused on. Those two Fung Hai hatchetmen saw him with Bill in the first scene - well, with the entire Chinatown squad, but they saw only him and Bill in the second scene. I'm not sure about the first scene, but the second scene would definitely give them the impression that Bill is close to Lee. I bet the fact that Bill beat one of them a little will further solidify that. In the next episode, I'm guessing that they'll go after Lee to send Bill a message. This must be what fills in the gaps of what led to the scene I'm remembering; Lee getting attacked and beaten up by Zing and other Fung Hai hatchetmen.
I'm at a little bit of a loss when it comes to Ah Toy and her plotlines; I don't know what to think. The Chinese swordsman, so the police think, hasn't been a topic of discussion brought up since the second episode. Now, it's been brought up again at the end of this episode and was related to the real-estate plotline with Ah Toy. That plotline, too, is one that I can't quite figure out what its purpose is. There's no way that they'll catch Ah Toy. I guess they could find out who Timmons recently did business with and find Ah Toy that way, but that doesn't seem like something that would be done in this case. It seems like not one but five steps too much. That's something more likely to be done in a show that's set in a modern time.
So, what was the point of showing that final scene? It's not like we really, really needed to know and see what Ah Toy did with the guy's body. It's almost as if the writers are trying to convey that the police are closing in on Ah Toy, maybe. Or that scene may go hand-in-hand with the scene of Lai finding Ah Toy's sword and doing a sequence of movements with it in that she'll be the one tracked down by the police because of the sword. Honestly, I have no idea what it's supposed to mean. The same can be said for Ah Toy's other on-going plotline with her business partner and real-estate.
I wasn't all that interested in this episode. I'm aware that it focused on building up the upcoming dual between Ah Sahm and Li Yong as an extension of the war between the Hop Wei and the Long Zii that's been going on and building up the cable car track thing with Leary and his men being brought back into some relevance because of it, but still; that doesn't make it any better as far as its enjoyment and entertainment are concerned to me. I don't care about Penelope and Ah Sahm's "relationship" and that they've "broken up." I'm not that interested in Ah Toy's business endeavors, and I'm certainly not very entertained by it. Her plot thread with Lai is better, I guess, but I'm not very interested in that, either, at least not at the moment. I definitely wasn't interested in the politics of this episode. I guess Bill and his on-going plotline with his gambling debt to the Fung Hai, and the fact that they're coming after him, was the best part of this episode.
Ultimately, this episode didn't have enough saving graces, so to speak, to complement the slowness and mostly uneventfulness of building up the next episode and elevating the episode as a whole, and because of that, I think it was the weakest episode; I certainly wasn't very immersed. Looking on the bright side, though, the next episode should be better; that is, if the main focus of building it up pays off in a sufficient enough manner.
Warrior: The Tiger and the Fox (2019)
Decent and enjoyable.
The final three episodes of the season will be very compacted together, I'm guessing. The subplot with Penelope's father and his desire to build a cable car track had more focus and progression in this episode, and not to mention, Leary and his men are already in-line to be hired to do the work for it; an agreement was made with Leary and him four episodes ago. That means, in the next episode or the one after, that subplot will reach the point of the building process beginning, and Leary will be a focal aspect and brought into the spotlight.
Lee's backstory has been fully established. It was delved into a tiny bit four episodes ago, but now, it's seemingly complete. So, that's another subplot that was progressed a lot in this episode; one that was completed, too. It won't require more focus. Now, there's more room to focus on everything else. Of course, there's still something besides being in the Chinatown squad that will give him more spotlight, and that's getting attacked by the Fung Hai, specifically Zing. I remember something along those lines, but it still hasn't happened; I don't remember the specifics. I assume it will have something to do with Bill, whose debt to the Fung Hai is still not paid, after all - it's still on-going.
The war between the Hop Wei and the Long Zii has finally started. You could argue that it has already been occurring, that it was started with the assassination attempt on Father Jun, or even before that. But I think that it has truly been started with the ending of this episode. I guess that there will be a bigger focus on the plot with the Hop Wei and the Long Zii moving forward. I'm expecting that the subplot with the cable car track will have a bigger focus moving forward, too. I think those two plotlines will be the main focus in the final three episodes of the season, that they will have the spotlight.
I find it interesting that Ah Sahm went to save Mai Ling from being killed by Bolo, and he did save her, yet she saved him, too - again. If she didn't kill Long Zii, the news that made its way to the Hop Wei would've been that Bolo was killed, and both Long Zii and his wife are still alive. Father Jun, Young Jun, or someone of the Hop Wei likely would've had the thought that one of their own must've interfered; Young Jun, especially. He was the one who went against his better judgment, I'd imagine, by telling Ah Sahm about Father Jun's order. It was avoided, regardless of Bolo's death, all because Mai Ling killed Long Zii, and by doing that, she was able to save and protect Ah Sahm. Considering the scene of them in the carriage a few episodes ago and the impression I got from it about their sibling dynamic, I'll bet that Ah Sahm is annoyed that she saved him again. It's almost as if there's this unspoken, back-and-forth competition between both of them to see who can save the other the most, in typical and entertaining sibling fashion.
The plotline with Penelope's father and his cable car track seems to be coming to a culmination, and the plotline with clues hinting at Lee's past is seemingly finished. And with those two things being the case, there was another plotline that was started. I'm not sure what it entails, but there seems to be more to it; the plotline with the girl that Ah Toy bought. It could involve the place in China where the girl is from, and that may also relate to Ah Toy's past and backstory of which hasn't been explored yet. But it could just be a look into how Ah Toy acquires girls and how she probably acquired every girl in her brothel.
And I guess there are two new plotlines because Ah Toy also seems to be making plans to buy some land. Her business partner is likely a factor she needs if she's going to buy land since I'm guessing it's against the law for the Chinese to do it, or at least the ones doing the selling wouldn't allow it. And honestly, I haven't the remotest clue to what the purchase of the land is going to be for - if it even happens. I don't remember if they manage to obtain it, but if they do, I have no idea where the writers will go with that plotline. It could be to show that Ah Toy knows her way around the business world and only that. I'll have to wait and find out.
As far as the two new plotlines with Ah Toy are concerned, I don't remember whether either one is wrapped up by the end of the season. But if I had to take a guess, I'd say that the plotline with the land will be wrapped up or postponed due to something or other, and the plotline with the girl will be resumed in the second season. I feel like Ah Toy may train her to fight and properly take care of herself. And that relates to something I previously mentioned in my comment on one of the previous episodes - which is that Ah Toy is training all of her girls to fight, and it's still my theory.
Anyway, it's been four episodes since Ah Toy has had relevant significance, I think. There was that time where she gave Bill some money, but that was still three episodes ago. That wasn't as relevant as the scene where she killed those two Irishmen, Morgan and Davis, or when she brought up the prospect of revolution in that scene with her and Ah Sahm. The latter is something that I think has been paused for the time being and will be continued in the second season. All of that aside, her character is relevant again. I'm interested to see where her two new plotlines are going to go.
I don't think Bolo's death was as impactful as it could've been. Don't get me wrong, there was a slight feeling of disappointment when he died, but that's it. His character wasn't that developed, and his Yellow Demon backstory felt incomplete, so his death hardly had any impact. If anything, that's the true disappointment. But despite the lack of character development and the lackluster backstory to his character, I liked him, I guess, specifically with Young Jun and Ah Sahm. They were an appealing trio. Unfortunately, it's now a duo, and even then, that may not last. If Young Jun finds out that Ah Sahm is the reason that led to Bolo's death or that the girl that Ah Sahm came to San Francisco for and told him was dead is alive and Mai Ling, no less, or that he's hooking up with Penelope behind the scenes, specifically behind his back, their duo may crumble.
All-in-all, this episode was decent and enjoyable. There were a few details that I noticed that didn't make sense or went unnoticed by the director and those who edited the episode, like Mai Ling's lip getting cut from top to bottom after Bolo kicked her into the wall, yet he didn't hit her face or cut it; the fight scene between Bolo and Ah Sahm that wasn't filmed well enough because some punches or kicks are a little obvious that they don't hit, with the actor reacting as if they did - that could be on the choreography director or the actors, too; the ridiculous writing decision of giving Bolo the perfect opportunity to kill Mai Ling with the hatchet but swinging it into the wall right next to her on the way to her face, and then choking her instead, running out the clock enough for Ah Sahm's arrival, of course, and before she dies from being choked, and lastly, Ah Sahm's miraculous recovery from his fight with Bolo where his head was bleeding, yet he didn't look to even have lacerations at the end of the episode when Bolo's dead boby was brought in, presumably the next day. But I don't think those details were bothersome, not to me, nor that they had a significant impact on the episode and its enjoyment value.
Following the previous episode, this one didn't have as much flair as I was expecting.
Bill is likely to be in a more difficult spot than before, now that Jack is dead. The debt is still in effect. It's to the Fung Hai, not Jack. His death won't mean anything. If anything, it puts Bill in a much more precarious position. Now, the Fung Hai themselves will probably get involved, even though that's what Jack was for when it came to people who weren't Chinese.
And I think Lee will be targeted by them to send a message to Bill and to tell him that he should pay his debt or otherwise, they'll keep going after people close to him. I remember that Zing goes after Lee and really beats him up, or had other Fung Hai members that he brought with him to do it. But I don't remember which episode it was. It may be the next episode, but this episode is the sixth out of ten episodes; so, it may happen after the next episode.
Speaking of Lee, he's going to have it rough pretty soon. He will get beaten up by the Fung Hai, and there was also that guy he saw inside the police station. I believe he's a bounty hunter who's after Lee and has been after him all the way from Georgia for something related to why Lee came all the way to San Francisco and the woman Lee dreamed about being in bed with him two episodes ago, who looked to be a black woman. And he was able to find him because of the picture that was taken of the Chinatown squad. That's why Lee didn't like his photo being taken in the episode before last. Well, all of that is based on the assumption that I remember it correctly.
When Li Yong gave something to the Fung Hai hatchetman, it looked to be a piece of paper, not dynamite. And it looked like the person who threw the dynamite was dressed like Long Zii hatchetmen. Mai Ling must've orchestrated those aspects to play out the way they did. Her plan was likely to use the Fung Hai as a catalyst to start a war, specifically between the Fung Hai themselves and the Hop Wei. To do that, she made sure some of the Hop Wei would see the Fung Hai hatchetmen; then, to have one of the Long Zii hatchetmen to throw the dynamite. She was probably hoping that they would take each other out so the Long Zii can swoop in and take over the opium business. Furthermore, that would appease Buckley's desires from her by starting a war and causing there to be blood in the streets, and all without the Long Zii's involvement. That plan didn't do the way it was supposed to, clearly. Now, in the next episode or two, Father Jun will likely send someone to kill Long Zii, or maybe Mai Ling. I remember that Bolo was sent to kill her, which led to more spoiler-ish, so I'll refrain from mentioning it.
I wonder if Chao's monologue about Nian, the demon of the mountain, was symbolic. Jack talked about a white mountain of bones two episodes ago, and he was with Bill's child when Bill came home after the parade, the same day in which Chao mentioned that Nian comes down from his cave. I'm not saying that Jack represented Nian, just that there may have been some sort of correlation there; Zing could represent Nian, and the mountain in which there's a cave that Nian lives in could represent the white mountain of bones. But I'm probably looking too much into it.
For an episode following an episode like the previous one, an episode that barely had anything to do with the main story and was almost completely self-contained, this episode didn't have as much flair to it as I think it should've. It dropped us right into the swing of things without showing us what happened when Young Jun and Ah Sahm returned from Nevada with the gold. The purpose of the gold will still be revealed, I think. But the point is that this episode not only didn't begin with Young Jun and Ah Sahm's return, and by extension, the explanation of why Father Jun wanted the gold, nor was the explanation revealed later on in the episode, but it also didn't have the right feeling of appropriateness to be the episode that followed such an episode like the previous one.
Warrior: The Blood and the Sh*t (2019)
Even though this was a self-contained episode, the change of pace was appreciated.
This episode was pretty much filler; it didn't advance the story at all. But there was something that must hold some significance and will be important in the next episode upon Young Jun and Ah Sahm's return. The gold. Father Jun wanted it, and there's no way it won't be important. The episode itself, though, this episode, wasn't all that important. But I don't care. And I never would've expected there to be an episode like this for a show like this.
There was some corny and cheesy dialogue, yes. And I'm sure there were plenty of clichés that I didn't catch, too; it sure felt like it. That being said, this episode was a change of pace that I appreciate, and it was self-contained, for the most part. I don't know whether it was completely self-contained; I'm thinking about the gold, but it will likely be important. Father Jun may be going to use it to greatly increase the Hop Wei's numbers for the imminent war between the tongs by recruiting a lot of people, in bulk, especially because some of the Hop Wei got arrested in the previous episode.
The cinematography in this episode was great. The opening shots of the scenery were beautiful. And so was the shot of the saloon, stable, and house at night with the moon in the background. And the final shot of the episode before Young Jun and Ah Sahm rode into the frame, and the same shot but with them riding off into the distance with the sun shining was great, too.
This was a good "vacation" for Young Jun. Even though he supposedly didn't like Nevada and that it led to a shootout, this was presumably the first time he's been anywhere else other than San Francisco. And he met a woman that he seemed to have fallen in love with. At the very least, it was different from all the other women he had sex with. There was more to it. It's as if a more intimate and emotional connection was created, something that was never there with other women. And even though the reason he was there with Ah Sahm was for Father Jun, I'm sure he appreciated being away from him for a little bit.
I'm not sure whether or not everyone or most people noticed, but there was a homage to Bruce Lee in this episode. In one of Bruce Lee's movies, Enter the Dragon, there's a scene where his character is fighting with another character whose actor looks like Chuck Norris, and the way it ends is by Bruce jumping up and then stomping down on the guy, breaking his back or neck. The way Bruce yells out after doing that is iconic. I haven't watched the movie - yet, but I've seen the scene in question. I believe the scene where Ah Sahm goes on top of the table and jumps down onto one of the guys is a homage to that scene in the movie. He yelled out just like Bruce did, too.
There were two other highlights in this episode. The first one being that Ah Sahm's secret of knowing how to speak English was revealed to Young Jun. Considering what Wang Chao said to him about how it's best to keep that to himself was shown in the "Previously on: Warrior" section, it may not be a good thing that Young Jun knows. Yes, their friendship has been strengthened with this episode, and Young Jun chose to stick around for Ah Sahm because he considers him to be his brother, but it's still concerning. Young Jun mentioned trust in the previous episode, and Ah Sahm already lied to him when he told him that the girl he came to San Francisco for is dead, which is the truth - technically, but a truth that was said ambiguously and can be interpreted as a lie if found out. Xiaojing (or Xiao Jing) is dead, but Mai Ling is alive and well. And he's going behind Young Jun's back by hooking up with Penelope, the Mayor's wife, too.
The other highlight is that Ah Sahm actually killed some people. That was somewhat sudden. I don't think he killed anyone in the previous episodes. I wonder if that's a change to his character and that he'll start doing it back in San Francisco when the conflict between the tongs starts to become more intense or if it was only because he was in a place where laws were practically non-existent. Over in San Francisco, there are actual consequences for that.
Lastly, there was one detail that I noticed. I think Young Jun brought those two pistols with him, or at least one of them. That's going to be important, surely. Over in San Francisco, the only weapons the tongs can get their hands on are knives, hatchets, and hammers. Having a gun is completely different, so there's no way that Young Jun having one or two will not be important.
Warrior: The White Mountain (2019)
Not as captivating as the previous three episodes.
I'm going to mention Joe Taslim again, even though I already did in my comment on the previous episode. His fight sequences as Li Yong are elevated higher than the fight sequences of other characters, simply because he's an actual martial artist, which was proven further with his fight sequence in this episode. And it was a practice fight sequence, too, not even a real one. Its choreography was the best we've seen in these four episodes. Of course, I think it's mostly due to Joe Taslim being the one who was doing it. I don't think that fight sequence would've been as good if someone else did it, even if it was choreographed the same. This means that Ah Sahm's fight sequence in the jail cell is no longer the best one in the show currently, nor is it the best choreographed.
We've been given a little insight and backstory to Bolo's character. Hell, this is the first time we've heard his name, I think. Me, I already knew his name, and I vaguely remembered his backstory; I've watched this first season as it was airing; although, if you didn't know his name in the first three episodes, that much could've been gleaned from IMDb. Still, even though I already watched through this first season, I don't have a problem with reliving and digesting the reveal of his name and a glimpse into his backstory, how he ended up joining the Hop Wei.
I wonder if there's more to Jack's monologue about the Mongols and the Chinese. It's possible that it was a foreboding and foreshadowing of what's to come. I think the mention of the Fung Hai and how they think they're direct descendants of Genghis Khan, and that the Chinese didn't know who they were dealing with, was a bit on the nose. That may be referring to Mai Ling teaming up with them, or it could mean that there will be a white mountain of bones because they've teamed up. Either way, bloodshed seems to be on the horizon, and bodies will begin piling up.
Bill's in a tough spot. He has a debt to pay and was given money by Ah Toy, but he used it to gamble instead; although, I feel like it wasn't the amount he needed to do so. After putting more thought into it, it's possible that the ending implies that he's using it to win more money that's enough to pay his debt to the Fung Hai. He did look satisfied with the cards. The problem is; seen at the beginning of the episode, that even though he can get lucky and win a lot of money, he'll likely keep on gambling and then lose it all.
I feel like Leary will be brought into Bill's predicament, who wasn't in this episode at all, interestingly enough. I know that will happen because I remember it from the first time that I watched this first season, but the more specific details, I don't remember, the details of what led to Leary becoming involved. I remember something specific that Leary does to help Bill; I won't mention it because it's a huge spoiler. The only theories that I can think of that could lead up to it is: Bill starts to become scared about what will happen to him because he can't pay, he goes to Leary for the money to do so, and when Bill meets up with Jack to pay, something goes wrong, and Leary shows up. Or Leary doesn't give Bill the money and mildly coerces him to spill the beans on why he needs money, goes and deals with it himself, which leads to what I remember him doing.
I'd say that the best part of this episode was the introduction of the Fung Hai into the story. The tong itself seems more opposing than the Long Zii. And while I know that the Long Zii and even the Hop Wei use weapons; hatchets, small knives, and maybe hammers, those two Fung Hai hatchetmen and Zing, the tong's new leader, seemed to be using bigger, more menacing knives. Young Jun has some competition.
Honestly, the Long Zii has been underwhelming. Even the Hop Wei comes across as more threatening, but I probably feel that way because the Long Zii dress blandly, while the Hop Wei wears suits. The only thing the Long Zii have going for them right now is Li Yong and Mai Ling, the latter of which proved herself of having the capability to be ruthless and cutthroat when need be. The Fung Hai looks more menacing than the Hop Wei with their facial tattoos.
And Zing's actor is Dustin Nguyen, another actual martial artist besides Joe Taslim, so any fight sequences of his are bound to be executed very well. I remember Zing from when I watched through this season as it was airing, but I don't remember where the season left off when it came to his character. I don't even remember if he was still alive by the end of the season finale; if he was, I have a feeling that he'll have a much bigger part in the second season.
Overall, I think this episode was the weakest of all four episodes. There was character development to Bill and Lee's relationship, more buildup to the foreboding and imminent war between the tongs that's been gradually building up, a little bit of backstory into Bolo's character, a romantic interest and hook-up with the main character that included some important dialogue about Penelope's marriage with Mayor Blake from her perspective as well as dialogue about Ah Sahm's grandfather, and more development into Bill's gambling problem - yes, you know what's coming, the word that's coming -, and that's all great and important stuff. BUT the episode itself didn't feel as captivating and immersive as the previous three episodes were. I'm going to give this episode a six out of ten; it was still an entertaining episode, so it's more so a high six, close to a seven.