Wednesday, September 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' - Bobby and Dennis Find Quick Success in the Drug Business in 'Winter Warz'

Hulu's Wu-Tang: An American Saga - Episode 1.02 "Winter Warz"

With Divine on the sidelines, Dennis and Bobby step up to handle his responsibilities.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's Wu-Tang: An American Saga.

"Winter Warz" was written by The RZA & Alex Tse and directed by Norberto Barba

Selling drugs on the street means living a life that could end at any moment in time. That's the worldview this show is currently depicting. It wants the audience to know just how dangerous and real these threats are. People are always planning on how they can take out the rival crew or someone who took a shot at them. The drug supplier, Haze, understands that a war on the ground won't be good for business. Bobby and Dennis are able to step up for a bit in Divine's absence. However, everything they worked hard to achieve quickly goes up in smokes here. It's a fairly familiar storytelling trope. The action depicts the two of them on the rise in this world. They find a new base of operations. Everything is running smoothly for them. The show even adds in some animated sequences to bring some much needed color into this world. Bobby and Dennis have the money to improve their lives. Bobby can buy the piece of equipment that could take his music to the next level. Meanwhile, Dennis can take Shurrie out on a proper date. They have this luxury only for a moment. And then, Power decides to burn their base of operations to the ground. That's solely because he aspires to take control of the entire drug market in Staten Island. He isn't trying to inspire his loyal foot soldiers into better selling the product. Instead, he targets the competition knowing that this is all about taking them out before they can do the same to him. Power and Sha took a shot at Dennis at the start of the series. And now, Dennis is planning to do the exact same thing with the weapon that targeted his family. That is poetic. However, it's also very complicated in a way that makes it seem as if the plotting is the central focus instead of the actual characters. At the moment, it's mostly just clear that these characters wish to provide for their loved ones by selling drugs on the street. Bobby aspires for more simply because he has a passion for music. People do bust out into rhymes on occasion. But it's not the overwhelming feeling that musical greatness is about to come out of nowhere. That's a strange quality for a show depicting the rise of the Wu-Tang Clan. Right now, Bobby is the only one actually focusing on the music. He feels as if he has to make a choice because he can't be completely devoted to two passions. He feels the need to step up and take over for his brother simply because his family needs the money right now. He is still able to treat himself when the time comes for it. He is jamming out to a new track he has just laid down. But again, everything at the stash house is lost in a fire. That includes Bobby's music which is most personally destructive for him. For everyone else though, it's the loss of the product to sell and the money that has already been collected. They felt they were running a strong operation. Instead, they lost everything because they chose to keep it all in one location. Sha couldn't warn his friend in time that it was going to happen. And then, the audience has to continually be worried that Sha will be exposed as someone trying to be part of both sides. He's loyal to Power as a member of his crew. He will take shots at Bobby's friends. But Power is the one who understands that Sha is living on the streets and needs a place to stay. It's not a luxurious apartment though. It's still deeply connected to the world of drugs. But it does provide a roof. That is an improvement. But again, the show mostly wants to be highlighting the tragedy instead of offering up a nuanced conversation as to what led to this current moment. It's unclear why Jahson feels the need to steal. That's what leads to him on the ground with multiple bullets in his chest. It's a visceral moment that creates more uncertainty. It's just unclear why the audience should care about that particular action from both a storytelling perspective and a character-based one.