Warrior: If You're Going to Bow, Bow Low
June 10, 2019 9:08 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Ah Sahm rethinks his place in San Francisco; Big Bill waits for Lee; Zing and the Fung Hai debate positions with Mai Ling; Dylan Leary brings some friends to negotiate with Bryon Mercer, while Penny has a look at his books. [Season Finale]

But Why Tho Podcast reviews the episode, and sees parallels in the treatment of coolies with the treatment of many undocumented and migrant workers throughout the United States, mainly of Latin descent.

Tunefind doesn't have any songs for the episode at this moment, but I'll keep a link here for when it does.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cinemax confirmed a second season for Warrior in late April 2019, and I am thrilled.

While the inside-the-episode segment focused on Ah Sahm's fight, I think this set-up of four women coming into or solidifying their places of (systematically limited) power is really exciting. I hope there's not some fake-out with Penny's steps towards taking the reins of the Mercer Corporation (though I imagine there could be some power play, mirroring Mai Ling's progression, if the Mercer Corporation isn't a sole ownership corporation).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:14 AM on June 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I know that he was in earlier episodes, but it wasn't until I heard him speak for a bit that I yelled, "it's Dustin Nguyen from 21 Jump Street!"

Someone in an earlier episode thread said that this show is like an urban Deadwood, that's great. It also has a bit of Copper / Lyndsay Faye to it.

That blue dress that Mai Ling wore in her meeting with Harry Truman Ioki of the Fung Hai was worthy of a Khaleesi.

At one point in this episode I thought Ah Sahm might go walk the earth for a season, but I'm glad that they're staying in San Francisco. Although, they could have done it The Good Place style and crammed that whole story line into a single episode.

Thank you for posting these, I only found out about this show from FanFare and have been spreading the word.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:30 PM on June 10, 2019

Just got caught up with the series.

For some reason I thought the season ended with episode 9. I couldn't tell you why, but I'm glad to see an episode 10.

I like the setting up for the next season on every front, the shift of power throughout the whole town. The Fung Hai showing up in force to Long Zhi headquarters, Mercer getting literally scared to death, Buckley getting poked by Leary, Bill acting as muscle for the Fung Hai, getting to finally hear Chao's story, Ah Toy's mysterious sword wielding student, Lee regaining consciousness and going right back into Chinatown, and Ah Sam dipping his toe into being a coolie to somehow regain his inner harmony with some old-fashioned hard work.

Thanks Acting, Dustin Nguyen was bothering me because I couldn't for the life of me remember where I knew him from. It's like the 90's never ended, he has the same haircut which kind of stands out in a period piece. Sort of like Ah Sam's actor with his ear piercing.

I really enjoyed the inaugural season, here's hoping Season 2 comes soon.
posted by Sphinx at 10:36 PM on June 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I thought that the season started off a little wobbly, but with a ton of potential - mostly achieved by the end of the season after settling in on what kind of story it wanted to be.

I liked the detail of Mercer grabbing is left arm during an acute myocardial infarction. Leary's pocket knife felt a little anachronistic to me, with the assisted opening/ locking mechanism sounds/ looks. Felt way too modern.

otoh, the coolie with the infected wound slowly and painfully dying of sepsis was super common - a touch more of realism would have shown Ah Sahm recoiling from/ acknowledging the smell.

Setting up Leary via his disassembling the Pinkerton guy for a credible fight with Ah Sahm was solid, then setting up a showdown between them next season has me salivating.

The O'Hara and Lee storyline is touching and more nuanced than it needed to be, but O'Hara is becoming ever more compromised.

Interesting to see where they take Penelope next season; same with Zing being set up as the ur-villain among the tongs/ dongs.

I find the differences in style; Hop Wei adopting high class Western presentation, Long Zii with que's (but Li Yong with a more Southern look), and the Fung Hai with their facial tattoos (SWestern Derung people?). On the face of it, it feels a little bit wrong that the more divergent from Western presentation is associated with increased brutality/ audience antipathy, but I'm probably reading too much into it.
posted by porpoise at 11:51 AM on June 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

porpoise, good read on the levels of violence from the different groups. In the show, the Fung Hai are presented as vicious relatives of the Mongols, and the hired muscle in Chinatown, but I don't know if that was a simplification for an uninformed white audience. Also, I'd like to see what Bruce Lee had in mind for this show, compared to what it is now.

I would also like to hear more about how the folks behind the show imagine the groups looking, what , and what they had in mind, but I'm worried it would only solidify your summary. Particularly with a comment by Jonathan Trooper about how Lee is the proxy for the audience in this show, which made me think he's producing this for a white male audience, but thisInverse article gets into some of this, mostly at a high level:
Justin Lin, series producer and Taiwanese-born filmmaker (Fast & Furious, Star Trek: Beyond) who grew up in California, was eager to tell a story about a chapter in history high school didn’t teach him.

“Growing up, that was two sentences in the history books,” says Lin. “This is an American story. We needed to make sure that, aside from the action, this is an opportunity we do it right.”
But the Tongs in Warrior aren’t speaking in completely modern English. Their dialogue is loaded with slang that the producers and writers invented, because words and meanings do get lost in translation.

“When it comes to Cantonese, there’s certain words that don’t have a perfect translation,” says Lin. “We decided to have fun and create our own slang.”

As a result, the Tongs in Warrior have a vocabulary of slang that isn’t accurate to how real-life Tongs actually spoke. The biggest example is how the Tongs call whites, in derogatory fashion, “ducks,” and white neighborhoods “ponds.”

“That was a very conscious choice,” says Lin, who grew up speaking English in his Taiwanese immigrant household. “The roots of it came from translations, and we took that as a starting point and went with it.”
The article also touches on casting, and states that Justin Lin and Shannon Lee are co-producers with Tropper (IMDb credits are not great), so his comments may not reflect the whole of the thought process behind the show.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 AM on June 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

the Fung Hai are presented as vicious relatives of the Mongols

Literally true or not, I suspect 'poseur' and cultural appropriation (by particular gangs) for a 'brutal' trait. Plausible survival mechanism for a homeless group of escaped slaves/ failed settlers.

No idea which group Bruce Lee chose/ would choose to fill this role, but I'm probably sure he had at least a particular benvolent association in mind (see also dong).
posted by porpoise at 8:46 PM on June 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Good points, and references, thanks!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hoon Lee is really the best at portraying the language split between the English language scenes and the "English" scenes. No wonder they showed him early. No doubt some of his bad English is a put-on/manipulation, but still... the split between his spoken English and his magically-translated-to-English-for-the-viewers English is the most striking by far
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Warrior and the other Cinemax originals are all in jeopardy now, as Warner Media announced that Cinemax will no longer produce original content. They also specifically said none of the shows will move over to the new HBO Max platform.

No one's really sure what will happen to Warrior as that one was nearly done with production for the new season. Some think Cinemax will burn off the new episodes, others think they'll let them sell it to another network.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:15 AM on January 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Shoot, that sucks!
posted by porpoise at 9:07 PM on January 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am sort of hoping against hope that HBO Max, starved as they are for new content during COVID, might pick up Warrior and feature season two. It's really a fun show that could use a boost.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:46 PM on July 12, 2020

Season 2 is out!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

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