Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Warrior ended up becoming one of the better shows of 2019. The tight blend of action, politics and drama worked incredibly well and it was matched by some impressive fighting across the season. With a cliffhanger ending and a second season already greenlit, the show steadily grew a loyal fanbase both sides of the pond, with Sky One snatching up the rights to show Warrior in the UK.
With expectations at an all-time high, the second season of Warrior spends a lot of its time laying the groundwork for an explosive couple of episodes to finish things off with a bang. Because of this desire to slow-burn its way to this big pay-off, a lot of the episodes here instead focus on the politics and issues gripping San Francisco within the Tong Wars of the 1870’s.
The story here wastes absolutely no time picking up where we left off last season. There’s an uneasy alliance between the Fung Hai and the Hop Wei that looks like it could be broken and erupt into war at any moment. Nowhere else is that clearer to see than with Father Jun and Young Jun. The latter believes they should hit back and exact revenge while Father Jun wants to play the long-game with his rivals. This inevitably leads to a rebellion that threatens to undermine everything that’s been built between the two sides up to this point.
Meanwhile, Li Yong’s brutal win against Ah Sahm last season sees our fighter head to the fighting pits in a bid to improve and hone his skills. Beaten and bloodied, he’s eventually thrown into bigger affairs during a fighting tournament later on in the season. Little does Ah Sahm realize, these moments of fighting play into the main conflict to come later on in Warrior.
And that main conflict is sparked by the powers operating across San Francisco. Politics is the game this season as Mayor Samuel and Penny butt heads over the best way of dealing with the coolies she’s hired to work in her factory. The various powers wrestling for control include Buckley too, who stays in the shadows and strikes at an opportune time later on to devastating effect.
Dylan Leary’s back too and around a romance angle with new girl Sophie, he slowly comes to realize how much influence he actually has with the Irish. Could this lead him into politics and exacting real change?
Well, one person who hasn’t changed is Bill, who continues to find himself under the thumb of the Tongs he owes money too. Lee suspects something is up and it doesn’t take long before he figures out exactly what that is.
All these different chess pieces align themselves to strike a checkmate during the end of the season as episode 9 in particular sees the gangs erupt into a heady, violent, glorious display of aggression and bloodshed. All the drama and tension up until that point spills out in the best way possible, and it’s matched by a final fight in episode 10 between two key characters that looks to change the fate of the war ahead.
While there perhaps aren’t as many fights here as there were during the first season, the ones that do show up are impressive showstoppers nonetheless.
Michael Bisping makes a welcome appearance during one episode while Ah Toy shows how cunning and strong she is in a fight against two assassins who come at her in the brothel. The reasons for this do become clear across the season but for spoiler purposes, I won’t divulge what they are. Suffice to say, this is arguably the most brutal fight in the season – especially when you see who comes away as the victor at the end.
And when it comes to victors, perhaps there isn’t really anyone who comes away as victorious when the final credits roll. With a third season still an uncertainty and the story concluding with many unresolved plot points and narrative threads, Warrior season 2 does a lot right but slips up with this in a way. It makes this season a bit of a hard sell to be honest, especially with the patient build up to some of the better stuff at the end.
Still, if you’re in the mood for a slow burn thriller and can take to some of the more subdued episodes this time around, Warrior delivers a competent follow-up that boasts some of the best fights in the season. While it certainly doesn’t surpass the brilliance of the first season, Warrior Season 2 features some pretty nasty punches that are every bit as stiff and vicious as they were the first time around.