The Sparks Of War
Episode 1 of Gangs of London Season 2 starts one year after the events that gripped London last time out. This high-octane, thrilling drama begins in the lashing rain. Two cars full of Albanians stop in a secluded locale and grab a shipment of guns. The gang work quickly, making sure they’re not detected as they move the package to a secure location.
As they toast to their victory, things take an unexpected turn. Gunmen show up, led by a man with white hair and a white coat. This is Koba, a ruthless, cold dictator who wants the details for who supplied the guns to the Albanians. Before he receives any sort of answer, he forces one of them to swallow a couple of bullets and shoot the other.
The surviving man is allowed to go, but only so far as to send a message to Uncle Basem, who appears to be the guy in charge here.
In Istanbul, a big fight breaks out in the laundrette. It’s stylishly shot, with a camera rotating smoothly around various gruesome and gnarly deaths. And at the center of it all is Elliot. After thwarting the various goons in his way, the camera pans across to a letter on the floor, signed by none other than Alex Dumani. Elliot has been forced to work to protect his family, and in particular his father, who is being kept captive by Miss Kane and the others.
Now, those guys killed in Turkey actually happen to be Alex’s clients. When Alex finds out, he’s not exactly happy but he’s also haunted by the memory of Sean Wallace, who was obviously fatally shot a year back. Is he still alive? Well, that is the million pound question, isn’t it?
Koba works for Asif Afridi, and he attends a meeting with all the gangs in london, reminding them that only he sells guns in the city from now on. Asif is using his dog to keep all the criminals in check, ruling with an iron fist and fear rather than in unison.
He reminds them what happened to Finn Wallace – and the drama that ensued after. Ed’s there too of course, and after the meeting he speaks to Asif, calling Koba a wind-up and seeing problems in the future with him.
Ed can sense war is on the horizon and shows up to see Luan Dushaj. He’s in the business of heroin and not happy that Koba is dictating and forcing all business to go through Asif. He knows that Asif won’t stop at controlling the product, rather work to eat into his profit margins.
Ed tries to bargain and suggests in exchange for saying who supplied the guns to them, he’ll make sure the Investors have his back and protect him from Koba and the others.
Ed brings this news back to Asif, pointing out that Luan is not stupid and knows what Asif is doing. He brings up the terms suggested and Asif complies, for now. Asif admits that Luan is on thin ice but Koba will lay off him for now.
Outside, Koba is waiting in the car but the sparks of war ignite. A red car smashes into the back of his, and as the driver gets out to investigate, he’s shot in the head. The driver charges off to safety, leaving Koba seething in anger in the middle of the street.
After doing a stint in prison, Shannon Dumani is released. She takes Danny and drives off from school, giving Ed another headache to deal with. It turns out the police have completely messed up her case and despite killing a cop, the lack of evidence would have meant the case would fall apart at trial. Alex sees this as a good thing, believing they can go back to being a family again. Shannon though is having absolutely none of it.
That night, someone leaves a bag on Shannon’s front porch, which happens to hold stacks of £50 notes.
The death of Asif’s driver has grave consequences. Asif rings Ed and tells him that there’s a zero tolerance rule to anyone going against them. He apologizes, admitting that his hands are tied. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for Luan, who checks his monitors that night and notices all his security personnel have been killed.
Something very bad is about to happen, so he puts his wife and kids in the saferoom and hurries over to where he’s stashed his guns. He gets there just in time, grabbing a shotgun and trying to thwart his attackers. They’re being led by Koba, who’s predictably nowhere to be found as Luan manages to kill all of his attackers one at a time in brutal fashion.
As Luan staggers back to the panic room, he notices the door wide open and his two girls sobbing on the floor. It turns out Koba has taken his wife hostage.
That night, Elliot shows up to see Alex. With a silenced gun, he forces the CEO to sit out on the balcony, high up on this skyscraper. Alex is shocked to learn that he’s working for “them”, but Elliot is quick to remind him that he’s only there because they willed it that way. He’s not here to kill Alex. Instead, he hands over a USB with incriminating evidence on.
Sean gave it to Elliot and in exchange, he tells Alex to use it to blackmail the Investors and get them a way out of this mess. Alex is the one with all the contacts and both their families could be safe if this topples the house of cards. “You can’t beat them.” Alex says gravely and with that, throws himself off the balcony.
Elliot is shocked, unsure where else to turn, believing that his best chance has gone. However, just before he dies, Alex had told Elliot to go to Shannon, so perhaps she’s the one who has the answers?
As the episode closes out, we pan across to Marian Wallace, who happens to be the one with all the guns. She’s the one who has been working with Luan, which she clearly intends to use to wage war against those who have wronged her family. Game on!
The Episode Review
The first episode of Gangs of London Season 2 gets off to a fiery, pulsating start as it seems like war is about to break out once more. The mix of old and new characters is a nice touch, while the show manages to set the foundations for what should be a very intense series this year.
It’s great to see the show return to the core essence of what made it so enthralling to begin with, complete with a big fight in the laundrette and another in Luan’s house. Both of these were beautifully shot and the show’s storyline seems to be layered with betrayals and double-crossings. Despite having multiple characters at its disposal, this one is pretty easy to follow thus far.
The battle lines have well and truly been drawn here though and it’s fair to say that there are going to be some who don’t make it out alive.