Man on the Wall
In the aftermath of the bloodshed lining the streets, episode 10 of Warrior Season 2 begins with Mai Ling walking through the devastation first-hand. While wives mourn their fallen husbands, Mai Ling looks up and sees a mural of Ah Sahm up on the wall.
As Ah Sahm himself looks at it later that day, Ah Toy shows up bruised and battered after her fight. He’s not so sure she should be there but Ah Toy realizes this painting means a lot more than licks of paint on the wall. He’s a symbol to the people now; an icon and inspiration to those around and he could lead Chinatown into a brave new future. “I’m no hero,” Ah Sahm shrugs off.
Lee hands in his gun and decides to turn his back on the police force. Given what’s happened, he’s unwilling to see more corruption on his watch. Bill does his best to stop him but it’s no good, Lee’s mind is made up despite Bill pleading with him to stay.
Outside, Young Jun and his Father look over the damage from afar. “The battles you choose not to fight are every bit as important as the ones you do,” He tells his son. Young Jun apologizes and it seems one good thing has happened from this attack – the father and son have reconciled their differences.
Now that the torch has passed, Young Jun knows what leadership means. A sense of worry and impending doom is something Father Jun has lived with for a long time and now it’s Young Jun’s burden.
On the back of this, Young Jun discusses his struggles with Ah Sahm too and wonders whether he’ll be a good leader. Still, for now they’ve come out of this on top and Young Jun decides to indulge himself. Ah Sahm meanwhile, tends to Ah Toy’s wounds. That is until Nellie shows up and takes over.
Elsewhere, Buckley uses this fight as a way of trying to get the Chinese out. He even throws in some “financial incentives” to make this happen. Penny shows up in a grief-stricken rage and promises to turn the tide of battle against him. Although she’s taken away, Penny heads straight to the newspaper and promises to admit everything.
Mai Ling shows up in person before Young Jun and pitches a truce. She apologizes for acting impulsively and tries to strike a deal. However, she changes tact and mentions how she doesn’t want to be at war with her brother. Uh oh…
Things immediately become awkward when the truth about them being blood relatives spills out into the open. As Mai Ling walks away, this happens to have been her exact plan, to drive a wedge between Ah Sahm and Young Jun.
Young Jun reflects on the moments in the past, and in particular deliberates over Father Jun’s words. Given how much he and Ah Sahm have been through together, he decides to trust Ah Sahm for now. Only, when the time comes is he willing to see his sister die? Ah Sahm’s hesitating silence is deafening, and Young Jun decides to take some time and think it over.
Bill meets with Leary and they discuss the current situation and hostility across town. Specifically, he talks about his duty to the law and how his wife left him. As they talk about their sins downstairs, upstairs Lee drowns his sorrows with the barmaid and talks about his dark past. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of fortune as these two officers of the law talk about killing and the demons they carry with them.
The reporter heads straight to Buckley and feeds back Penny’s statement. He seizes on his opportunity to better himself, as Buckley tells him they’re “back in business” for the time being. Unfortunately Buckley’s influence runs deep.
Ah Sahm heads straight to Leary’s bar and makes a big impression. After knocking out several men with ease, Ah Sahm takes a seat while everyone else watches from afar. Leary inevitably shows his face too, and sits with Ah Sahm as they awkwardly drink.
Things soon spill over to the back-alley as Ah Sahm and Leary square off. Leary draws first blood, followed swiftly by Ah Sahm who cuts open the Irishman. The two are pretty evenly matched but despite being knocked down multiple times, Ah Sahm keeps getting back up to fight and eventually lands the killer blow to the chest that knocks out and beats the Irishman.
With the mob silenced, Ah Sahm tells them all to stay out of Chinatown or he’ll be back with an army. Beaten, bloodied and bruised, Ah Sahm staggers back home after his victory. Only, given the state of him it’s hardly a victory.
In the early morning air, Chao greets Father Jun who’s off on a trip. He comments how good it felt to scrap and decides to leave for now, tasking Chao to look after Young Jun while he’s gone.
Meanwhile, Buckley stabs himself in the shoulder under the pretense that Penny was the one to do it. Obviously given her bad blood toward him it’s a clever play but a dastardly one nonetheless. With Penny thrown in a mental institute, Sophie is left all alone.
Bill returns home to find Lucy there waiting for him. She’s not coming back for now but does allow him to explain himself. Bill vows that he can be a better man and pleads with her to stay, telling her he misses her while sobbing.
Mai Ling meanwhile, finds out crucial information about Buckley, including that he fought in a previous war (the American civil war I believe) and was on the losing side. On the back of this, she blackmails Buckley into submission with the intent of heading into Hop Wei territory. As he briefs this out to the police, Leary shows up and confirms he’ll be getting involved politically for the time being.
As Ah Sahm and Young Jun’s tenuous relationship remains fractured, we cut across to Zing who manages to loosen the bars on his cell as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
I’m all for a cliffhanger ending if there’s another season confirmed. At the end of season 1 it had all but been confirmed that Warrior would return for a second go so it made the wait that much more bearable. Here though, there’s a lot of uncertainty over whether the show will return and because of that, the decision to cliffhanger this entire narrative is a questionable one.
Outside that though, there’s a lot to like and the final one on one fight between Leary and Ah Sahm has been building for a while and explodes into a suitably bloody affair. It’s great to see these two square off and it’s clear it’ll probably not be the last time they fight – if there’s a third season that is.
This second season has been a pretty slow burn in truth but the previous skirmish in Chinatown more than made up for that with a really explosive episode of action.
Some supporting characters did get a good send off though so it’s not all bad news with that conclusion. Ah Toy and Nellie for example, have a decent arc this season while Father Jun leaving is probably the right time to do so, especially given he’s done everything he needed to do to pass the torch over to Young Jun.
Despite this second season being a compelling ride, the cliffhanger ending will ultimately make or break your experience and perhaps this wasn’t the way to go with this one. Still, we’ll have to wait and see whether this show is renewed and fingers crossed it is because Warrior is easily one of the better action series on TV right now.