Friday, November 13, 2020

REVIEW: 'Warrior' - Violent Confrontations Produce Dramatic Shifts in Power Dynamics in 'If You Wait By the River Long Enough'

Cinemax's Warrior - Episode 2.07 "If You Wait By the River Long Enough"

Change is afoot for the Hop Wei after Father Jun, Ah Sahm and Young Jun face off. Ah Toy decides that Nellie may be the answer to her problems and takes matters at a sadistic rival brothel into her own hands. Leary is urged by both Buckley and Sophie to utilize his political influence. Just as his heroics are trumpeted, Bill is faced with another swordsman murder. A fatal clash unfolds at the Blake household.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Cinemax's Warrior.

"If You Wait By the River Long Enough" was written by Kenneth Lin and directed by Omar Madha

Is a life of violence all that these characters can expect? Ah Sahm has resigned himself to the idea that it was the choice he made. He accepted that this was the life he was going to live. As such, he is going to play the game for as long as he can because he is a survivor. And yet, only the lucky few actually had any choice in the matter. That was taken away from Ah Sahm in the previous episode. He could have escaped with Vega. The fates of the world ensured that wasn't a possibility for him. Young Jun argues that he was always expected to follow in his father's footsteps. It was simply up to him to decide when he had the necessary strength to dethrone him. Even then, Father Jun has always known that he would only be forced out of the Hop Wei through death. That's not the fate that happens for him here. Young Jun sees the value in having his perspective and wisdom already. Sure, he has continually argued that his father is misguided and making countless mistakes now. That's what fueled this ability to remove him from power. But it too may be Ah Sahm pulling the strings behind the scenes. He is the one making deals with Chao. He is the one encouraging Young Jun to make these bold moves. It's a freedom of sorts because it's Ah Sahm accepting that this is how this world operates. He has to be smart and strategic. However, those big risks can potentially carry big rewards. It means he has hardened himself this season. He couldn't embrace any kind of romance with Penny. He had to use her and didn't care how that would hurt her later on. He also can't trust his sister anymore. Mai Ling ordered his death. She may have complicated feelings of regret about that now. But that's only because he is still alive. This family connection still exists. It fuels their desires to be perceived as strong. It's a way for them to strive for what was always denied them previously. And yet, they are still people of color in a world that wishes to inflict so much violence onto them. The government is more than happy to accept that Zing is the swordsman murderer. A quick trial condemns him to death. Bill has made all of this a reality. Lee is on to him though. Plus, more murders happen that may derail all that he hoped to accomplish through his partnership with Chao. Nothing is working out for these people who want to believe they are more powerful and strong than the oppressed communities of this world. Bill is always struggling. His family has fled his influence. Lee sees Bill's true colors now as well. He will have to cope with that. But again, he too has succumbed to the vices of this world. Ah Toy has offered him those delights. She is the perpetrator of so much violence. However, she does it for a sense of justice. She is now freeing the Chinese girls forced into sexual slavery. She sees the beauty in what Nellie is trying to accomplish. It reveals a new way to embrace power and influence. She understands that land ownership may be the true signifier of wealth and success in this time. She learned that lesson from her husband before he was killed. That violence was still accepted though. Ah Toy knows she will have to keep carrying out these attacks to make a difference. But it's also key that she is now no longer making that choice for others. That is a significant development even though Lai doesn't want to leave for work on Nellie's farm. People inherently want that independence. They want to be respected by those whose opinions they crave. Penny has to prove to her husband that she is more than the doting wife he desires. He perceives her as continually embarrassing him. As such, violence enters their home as well. He believes he has to attack her with the intention of killing her because of what she has done. This is what she made him do. She wanted her independence and freedom. She wanted to build something of her and felt betrayed everywhere she went. The only loyal person to her is Jacob. He saves her life. That just happens to lead to Mayor Blake's death which will only increase the instability in the city. It will certainly provide Mai Ling with the leverage necessary to control Buckley as he is elevated to this major position. But it will also tie people together whose interests have been violently ripped apart. They can't trust each other. That too is isolating and tragic as it seemingly makes everyone accept fates that they shouldn't have to bear.