Friday, December 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'Warrior' - Ah Sahm Feels the Need to Prove Himself in Battle Yet Again Following the Riot in 'Man on the Wall'

Cinemax's Warrior - Episode 2.10 "Man on the Wall"

Young Jun faces a crucial decision after Mai Ling tries to drive a wedge between him and Ah Sahm, who has emerged as a hero in Chinatown and takes the opportunity to go on the offensive against Leary. Determined to take Buckley down, Penny goes to the press. Bill reckons with what he's become. Lee seeks out a familiar face. Mai Ling finally plays her hand against the Hop Wei.

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 season finale of Cinemax's Warrior.

"Man on the Wall" was written by Jonathan Tropper and directed by Dennie Gordon

At the end of the second season, Ah Sahm is still essentially determining his worth based on his skills as a fighter. He has become a hero in his community because of the action he took during the riot. He is idolized. Ah Toy recognizes that he should take advantage of that. It could create momentum for him to produce meaningful change. He uses that to walk into the bar and challenge Leary to a fight. Now, this fight has been a long time coming. They have always eyed each other as the personification of the enemy they must defeat in order for some kind of peace to fall upon this community. They don't hold that much significance though. The outcome of this fight really doesn't change anything. In fact, it's much more meaningful when Mai Ling reveals Ah Sahm is her brother to Young Jun. That threatens to radically change the leadership of the Hop Wei. The tongs were united during the assault on Chinatown. It was the only way to ensure their survival. They can fight amongst themselves because they have an understanding of how to do that. When it comes to combating the systems in this country that want to continually oppress and abuse them, then they are completely in the dark. Even Father Jun is at a loss for how this community should move forward. He chooses to leave instead. He is no longer the head of the tong. That responsibility is no longer on his shoulders. Right now, he recognizes that new leadership should be given the opportunity to rule. That may not create any stability. Young Jun has always been erratic with his actions. It's also clear that he has been changed following his brush with death. His father saved him. As such, he becomes more willing to listen to his advice. He knows that it's important to choose when to go to battle. When it comes to confronting the hatred elsewhere in the city, there is nothing reasonable he can do. He can only fight to ensure some stability in Chinatown. And yet, he is at a disadvantage in the negotiations with Mai Ling because she carries this secret. It leaves him distracted because it feels as if his brother has betrayed him. He has the wisdom to analyze Ah Sahm's actions. He trusts that he is devoted to the tong. He simply questions if he wants Mai Ling to die at the end of this conflict. That's what fuels his uncertainty. This friendship is broken. That may inherently force Ah Sahm into battle with Leary. He may view it as a way to continue showing his worth to his community. He is a hero. And now, he is the one continuing to take action. He can deliver the message that the Irish are no longer welcome in Chinatown. He perceives his victory against Leary as the action that will save countless lives. That's not how the system is set up though. Leary loses none of his power or influence. He loses in this fight. However, he quickly joins the political realm to ensure his voice is still heard by those with a great deal of power over the city. He may still not prevail because Buckley is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve himself and his vision of the future. Mai Ling is the only one with something over him. He can buy off influence. He can get Penny institutionalized. His reach is ever growing. And now, Leary is seen as the obstacle standing in his way. That's untrustworthy though. No one can expect much to change in this time period. The wars being fought are petty and destructive. It's not against the enemies preventing progress from happening. People are too disillusioned about the assumption that they are acting in good faith. Bill believes a series of bad choices is all it took for all of this to occur. In reality, he was a corrupt cop who rationalized so much heinous behavior. Lee can no longer stomach it. That, in turn, may only solidify him as someone willing to take whatever can give him personal satisfaction for a moment. That impulse is still genuine. People should fight for it. However, chaos is what reigns at the end of the season. No real clarity is found about the future prospects for this community. In fact, that is quite limiting because it's unclear just how much progress was made for the characters. A lot of action took place. More of that happens here. People come to blows. And yet, there are still too few characters worth investing in to see if their desires can actually be achieved one day. The narrative too frequently sidelines them to spend time elsewhere with people whose motivations and futures are just so lackluster in comparison. Plus, there isn't even an intriguing tease with Zing at the end of all of this. Instead, it remains cryptic and empty which is very unfortunate.