Friday, November 20, 2020

REVIEW: 'Warrior' - The Police Invade Chinatown Looking for a Killer in 'All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic'

Cinemax's Warrior - Episode 2.08 "All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic"

The police shut down Chinatown in their hunt for a killer, just as the Hop Wei make a move that puts Mai Ling on edge. Buckley steps into a new role and considers a proposition from Leary, who faces questions from the Irish workingmen. Ah Toy fights for her life. Chao faces a major dilemma.

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.

"All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic" was written by Kenneth Lin, Evan Endicott & Josh Stoddard and directed by Omar Madha

Mayor Blake's death was inevitably going to push the racial divisions of the city past their breaking point. The police invade Chinatown looking for the killer. Jacob is on his own trying to evade capture. Penny is essentially forced to turning on him in order to protect her sister. It's devastating for her. However, the scope of this episode is seemingly everyone trying to make deals to provide support for this manhunt instead of amplifying the destruction of this community. It's a narrative decision that takes some of the urgency out of the proceedings. That's unfortunate. It makes it all come across as the various characters plotting something instead of coming together for this collective goal. The mayor's office and the police force are united. However, the various interests are trying to stoke the flames to ensure they emerge from this lockdown with even more power. Mai Ling sees the strategic attacks that the Hop Wei are employing now that Ah Sahm is essentially in charge. She has tried her best to play the long game. And now, she may luck into a fortunate situation where the police presence can create problems without her needing to break the treaty that is so sacred to the tongs. These outside influences can do just as much damage. The situation remains volatile though. Buckley is sworn in as the new acting mayor. He is the man with all the power now. He always projected that he controlled everything Blake did and said. That wasn't always the case. It is dangerous when a man susceptible to the oppressive persuasions of others is in office. It's even more terrifying when the man in that seat is full of hatred and a need to hurt others to rise in the ranks of politics himself. Buckley always presented himself as a more capable player in this ongoing struggle than Blake ever did. He could navigate the situations as they developed. He formed relationships with people who will advance his own interests. He has no problem breaking promises either. He uses force to get exactly what he wants. Mai Ling has leverage over him. She is not using that just yet. That delay is a little odd and annoying. But again, the bulk of this episode is spent on characters making deals or at least trying to in order to use this manhunt to their advantage. Leary fears that Blake's death will uproot all the good work he has done lately advocating for his community. As such, he has to forcefully demand Buckley honor the word of the former mayor. Buckley sees no value in deputizing the Irish men out of work though. It would be costly to the city without guaranteeing a structure of respect and justice would continue. Now, the police force has always been corrupt. They are looking for one man in Chinatown. They see the value in getting the right man in this case. That was never a concern for them previously. They would frame whomever the first person of Chinese descent they would find on the street. It's an impersonal invasion of the neighborhood. Those who police it don't have a solid handling on the politics of this region. Meanwhile, outsiders invade it for one specific mission. Jacob survives this episode. He reaches out to Chao for help. Chao could provide that. However, he also has a partnership with Bill. That has proven very effective in the past. It hasn't ensured a better or more prosperous future for him though. Chao's concerns about his business are still valid. In fact, this invasion only destroys more relationships. Lee can no longer work with Bill because of how amoral and criminal he has become. Ah Toy pushes Nellie away because she is force to reveal just how lethal and dangerous her world actually is. It's a brutal fight for survival. It occurs because Ah Toy wants to escape to a better life for herself. This world seemingly prevents her from obtaining that happiness. This community will always be oppressed it seems like. That's incredibly depressing and gruesome. The show embraces these visceral and dark images. It presents a dour world. One where these characters will meet tragic fates. The pacing is just a little curious and frustrating in this particular hour. Things come together for that brutal fight for Ah Toy. The rest presents claustrophobia in Chinatown without the necessary focus to keep it intense for the whole proceedings. Decisions are delayed. People are kept out of the loop. Things should be intensifying. They do to a certain extent. But it's also clear that the expansive ensemble prevents the show from truly presenting a confined world that is constricting even further as a result of this latest death.