To A Man With A Hammer
Episode 6 of Warrior Season 2 begins with Ah Sahm arriving in Rooker’s Mill, a border town of sorts between America and Mexico. Ah Sahm walks with Vega who lets us know that Rooker is the man in charge of everything.
He runs a tight ship and although Young-Jun tries to smuggle in some knives through the front gate, he thinks twice when he sees someone in front of him get shot for pulling the same gig. “Not a word,” he says grumpily, dropping the knives to the ground.
After making it through the checkpoint and getting acquainted to their rooms, Hong says it best when he talks about Ah Sahm, “He’s a complicated man.”
Ah Sahm heads out alone and runs into a nasty brute named Dolph Jagger (played by former UFC champ Michael Bisping) in a local saloon. When the sheriff and Vega arrive, things quickly simmer down. At least for now. It’s clear both Jagger and Ah Sahm have unfinished business, especially that first evening when they shoot daggers at each other from across the room.
Rooker clinks his glass though and addresses them all, introducing his wife Marisol and talking about the history of this tournament. You see, now that guns have been introduced the intimacy of hand to hand combat has been lost – which is something he’s trying to celebrate through this tournament.
The fighting begins and it’s immediately clear just how powerful and dangerous Jagger is, quickly dispatching his victim and leaving him a bloody mess on the floor. The second man doesn’t fare much better but the third…is Ah Sahm himself. Our hero is given some sound words of advice, including an inspirational “Don’t lose,” from Young Jun.
The gong sounds and we’re off. Ah Sahm knocks Jagger out with one stiff kick to the face. A number of impressive wins follow, prompting Rooker’s right-hand-man Smits to show up and invite him and Vega out for lunch with Rooker the following day.
Before we can get there though, that evening things take a turn for the passionate as Vega and Ah Sahm sleep together. Afterwards she propositions the man, suggesting he doesn’t have to go back to San Francisco and can stay with her instead.
While he mulls this over, Ah Sahm and Vega arrive at Rooker’s estate and discuss his fighting style. He propositions the man and makes an even more enticing offer to prevent going back. He wants Ah Sahm to teach martial arts but he respectfully declines. “I’ll warn you, I can be pretty persuasive.” He says. Only, it turns out Vega has history with Rooker.
Specifically, her family suffered a horrible ordeal at the hands of this man, forced to sign over the deed to her land back when it was still called Mexico. With her father shot in the head in front of her daughters, now it becomes clear that Vega is that very daughter. She shoots Vega in the head with his own gun, while Ah Sahm tries to disperse quickly.
Unfortunately Smit arrives at the door and promises 2000 dollars for whoever can dispatch this trio. Fighting inevitably breaks out – ironically with guns and weapons this time; a direct contradiction to what Rooker originally spoke about at the start of the episode.
This conflict unfortunately ends with Ah Sahm, Hong, Vega and Young Jun stuck in a cage and taken to Sacramento to stand trial. As they’re taken out the town, Ah Sahm is livid with Vega for betraying him but she can’t stop smiling. It turns out Marisol is actually Vega’s sister and she shows up in the middle of the desert to free them all from their cage.
As promised, Ah Sahm receives his prize money… but Smit shows up and shoots Vega in the chest – before receiving a knife to the throat from Young Jun.
Just before she dies, Ah Sahm tells Vega he would have stayed with her, although it’s unclear whether he’s saying this to ease her passing or actually meaning it.
With Smit gone, the trio of Tong men return to San Francisco… to find Father Jun and the rest of the Tong waiting for them, “You’ve got some serious explaining to do,” He rasps through gritted teeth.
The Episode Review
With an episode chock full of action, Warrior returns this week with one of its strongest episodes. The juxtaposing fights and ideas contrasting hand to hand combat with shoot-outs is nicely presented and the little twist at the end with Vega’s true intentions is a good inclusion.
All of this culminates in a big cliffhanger at the end as Father Jun looks like he’s about to rain down hell on these boys. So far this second season has been every bit as action packed as the first, despite a slightly slow opener.
In a way, this episode mirrors that bottle episode last season with the group out at the saloon (the strongest episode too , I’ll add) and here the show tries to emulate those familiar vibes.
With next week promising an equally exciting episode, we’ll have to wait and see where this one will go next.