The Brothers Sun: (all episodes)
January 6, 2024 12:36 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

One brother's been raised in Taiwan to be a gangster. The other's sneaking off from college to do improv in LA and has no idea about the gangster life. After their triad leader dad is shot, Charles is forced to go to LA and watch over his mother and brother Bruce.

Once again since all episodes drop at once, there's no point in doing a post per episode. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Pilot: Charles is a Taiwanese gang member/fancy baker who gets ticked off when guys break into his place and force him to burn his cake. This is the kind of show where they show The Great British Baking Show in great detail on the right while the fight scene is kind of blurred on the left?

I like trained killer girl Xing: "I usually don't take the time to learn their names."

Poor "Blood Boots."
"My nickname is Blood Boots. Shouldn't I get them dirty once in awhile?"
"Hey, bro, this is what happens when you give yourself a nickname. It creates too many expectations. There's blood on your boots now."

The worse guys are named Sleepy and Drowsy Chan?!

Meet Bruce: a kid who's supposed to be going to college but just blew this semester's tuition on UCB improv class.

Bruce's drug dealer bestie is trying to recruit him into the biz.
"Yeah, you're not doing a good job selling this."
"Dude, aren't you studying to be a doctor? Dude, all you're gonna do your whole life is sell drugs anyway. Shit, I bet you can earn college credit if you work with me tonight."
"Don't sell the drugs, just ACT like the dude who's selling the drugs."

Charles's mom asks for help in body cleanup.
Charles: "I usually smoke and wait for other people to clean up."

On poor, sweet, innocent Bruce:
"Improv?" "Yeah, I put a stop to that."
"He thinks his father is a gambler and uh, you are in Antarctica working with penguins."
"Bruce and I kept hidden from the world by being boring. I kept you hidden from him by being exciting. Both work."
"I thought my brother would have my back, but appears he's useless unless Sleepy wants to play charades."
"I just don't want to be the biggest loser in the room."

Bruce's friend TJ: "Look at me. I'm basically a moron."

Bruce's new hot lolicon girlboss: "My real passion is selling drugs. Lots of them."

Bruce, trying:
"Would you like to buy some drugs? No, I am not a cop!"
"Act more like a drug dealer and less like a fucking dork! IMPROV!"

Bruce meets Charles: "Oh! want some snow? You know, some--some pearl? Nose candy? Uh, how about a disco biscuit?"

"They call him Chairleg Sun!"
"He groomed his son to be his own personal assassin. Sometimes families are really fucked up."
"I killed three men with a rolling pin yesterday."
"We don't usually take a break in the middle of a beating."
"Bruce, do me a favor, don't tell Mom."
"Charles, get changed, we gotta get rid of the body. Bruce, go to bed, you've got a test tomorrow" (drill starts)
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:05 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]

Episode 2, Favor for a Favor:

"If I have to do the butchering, you have to load the suitcases into the car. Division of labor."
'How long have we had...a bone the house?"

Charles loves his baked goods. Charles, meet churro.

"And also broke Infected Earring's legs."

"You're basically FedEx." "FedEx doesn't deliver dead bodies!"


"It's like farm-to-table, except with crime fighting."

"Because then I would have a photo of some guy's dead head on my phone."

"He...does improv." "He's not very good at it."
AND NOW THERE ARE DINO COSTUMES IN THIS SHOW. Charles is unfazed at fighting dinos. I am impressed anyone can move in the darned things. And Why are they here? Oh, a birthday party...

"Ow! You can't hit me! I'm family!"
"Now I have no leads, a mystery head, and a giant lizard in the trunk."

I am very sick of hearing about EIGHT PERCENT OF YOUR GRADE. As an attendee of a quarter system college, I laugh in your face at a test that's only 8 percent and not 20%.

"I just took the biggest nervous poo of my life."
I would not admit to pre-show poops to a hot chick, dude, but luckily for you, she doesn't seem to mind.
Does Bruce have some kind of photographic memory to have read the book once and be able to regurgitate it?


I am seriously wondering if a registrar's office would disclose a student's classroom, even to police. Maaaaybe?

"I got a strange-looking guy here eating churros. He's covered in blood. I'm gonna approach." Good luck, security guy!


And then the lizard crawls across the campus.

"We don't hit family!" *mom hits Charles*

I love how Mom figured out who the giant was by shopping.

"Alexa, turn my shit on." "Turning your shit on now."

Oh, she's not a cop, she's a deputy DA. Um....?

"He's called a water minotaur."

Bruce is attending "CSUSG." SG stands for...? (not a real college)
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:17 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

AV Club on the show.

Episode 3: Whatever You Want. Bruce is missing. May (deceased) and June (tattoo artist) are criminal twins and June is out for blood.

Charles is trying to figure out making churros at home. OH, AND HE'S ALSO BOILING A SKULL. Dude, what is this, Slings and Arrows?!

"Not a cop" is going to come up like "eight percent of your grade" in this one.

Charles and Alexis:
"She just called to say that she didn't need my help with something."
"So she needs your help."
"No, she literally said she didn't."
"You've lived without a mom for so long, you don't remember how it works. When our moms say they don't want you to do something, that means they do. They just want you to do it without them having to ask."
"That's insane. She said sui bien ni. Whatever I want."
"Oh my god, are you out of your mind? You have to go RIGHT NOW."

Charles takes time out for MORE CHURROS AND COOKING TIPS.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER ABOUT THINGS, CHARLES. What you don't know about women...
"Rumor has it, she gave him herpes."

"And how do you feel about his improv? Ow!"
"He has testicle tortion."

"I hear their cocaine is very pure. Kenny Cheng bought some. Pooped his bed."
"We also know about Kenny Cheng's leaky butthole because of you."

"Make sure you take the drugs out first. Cocaine makes me kooky."

"I'm a thumbless, ballless, dogless wuss that has a massage chair that just kind of works."

"I give you permission to continue" the improv. GO MOM!

"You keep bringing out your inner gangster, we'll be okay."
"I don't really want to, though."

"His death has to be LEGENDARY." I had a HIMYM moment.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:44 PM on January 6

I’ve been binge watching this like crazy. It’s really interesting that there’s so much gratuitous violence mixed in with the theme of There Has To Be A Better Way. Interesting take. There are so many really funny bits. Episodes 5 and 6 are hilarious. Im a product of this kind of Asian family thinking (of course, not as extreme). It’s really old world thinking and I know other cultures have this kind of thinking too. When I look at it, the American in me finds the Asian ethos about family just completely inexplicable.

(When that one dude said “Oh, shit,” I was laughing so hard I started crying )
posted by gt2 at 6:32 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]

Episode 4: Square

"Oh shit! We'll die over who pays for dumplings!"

"No one stands up against a Taiwanese mama."

"Bruce has proven that he's useful. Not typical, but useful."

"Uncle Blood Boots." Grace...just rolls with that.

Oh, he's trying out for the Groundlings!

"I also like that there's a potential for total and life-altering humiliation."

Um. Why am I getting sexy vibe from Charles and Drowsy?
"Your hair looks perfect, Drowsy."
"You guys gonna suck each other's dicks here, or you want me to get you a room?"

"I feel my skills are wasted if I'm just a hostage."

"I heard some nights, it's empty because no one cool enough to get in shows up."

Xing is a fan of Hamilton!!!! She is not throwing away her shot!

"Just saying hi....hi."
"Where are you?" "In your head, apparently."
Charles is confused.

I may take a break for the rest of the night. If someone finds any websites with good recaps, let me know because I'm kind of confused at the end of this one. Sleepy's killed and it wasn't Drowsy's men?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:18 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

(That Oh Shit line about the dumplings is funny but the Oh Shit line during the tea scene is priceless. Pretty much sums everything up).
posted by gt2 at 8:18 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

Episode 5, The Rolodex.

"Have you ever talked to Sleepy Chan? He talks like Chinese Shakespeare."

"When have I ever been wrong?"

"You and I are looking for the same assholes."

"Your mother's nickname is The Rolodex." What is with the nicknames in this show? So weird.

"You are full of fortune today, aren't you?"
"Now who am I to stand between two lovers who want to be together?"
(then the entire gang is menacingly behind her....EEK)

"Bruce brings a new buddy to class every day."

"It's been an hour and she hasn't responded to your texts?"

"He's an actor, I'll just tell him how great he is and he'll stop caring."

"If I were you, I would have had sex wit her already. Multiple times."

Charles can't help but...fix up Alexis's place? And of course, start cooking. This is what happens when you leave him alone and General Hospital ends, I guess. Never mind, he found his British baking show.


"Do angels have sex?"

Charles has a flip phone.

"According to the Triad rules, which you don't know, this is fine."


DON'T INSULT XING. That suit looks lovely on her, geeez, old ladies.

"Waikiki package" is the new "eight percent" and "not a cop."

"We're the Boxers." "What the hell is that?"

"These old guys want to talk to a real man."
"Let me know when one shows up."

"Which brother are you? The killer, or the dipshit?"

"Two of my interrogators ended up in a mental institution."

Aw man, I enjoyed Blood Boots.

Bruce is a delightfully inventive thinker TO BRING ALL THE MAH-JONG LADIES.

"Today was the best day you've had in ten years." Ouch.

Wow. Bruce being given the entire list. (I do suspect he has some kind of photographic memory thing.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:32 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Episode 6, Country Boy.

Love it when they have "Bang Bang" recorded in Mandarin. Eileen appears to be angry-shopping at Costco?

"if there's one thing I know how to do better than anyone else in this house, it's study."

"Using the aunties was an inspired action."

"But if you wanna survive in this life, all you can ever feel is anger, or nothing at all."

JOHN CHO'S HOUSE IS A SAFE HOUSE. (I read some article on this yesterday, John Cho loved the idea.)

"I've been chilling here since I fucked up that fish guy."

"I'm currently perfecting a churro recipe."

"It's not like she's going to bring any trouble or anything."
"We are hiding out from an army of suicidal, well-armed fanatics who are willing to blow up clubs and hide under burning clay balls for hours to kill us."

" Bruce can get a dry hand job from a coed."

"Now there's terrible music coming from the basement."

"They are all hot, in totally different ways if that's helpful."

I love how Charles, a guy who literally lives the gang life, is shocked at General Hospital plots.

Wow. He became "Chairleg Sun" at age 14.

"Dumb and inefficient...but fine."
"Don't touch me."

Oh, Bruce, that trick doesn't work with plastic....

And now we know why Grace just rolled with shit like "Uncle Blood Boots." Sigh. Bruce, don't SAY stuff...

Charles picks the worst time to ask a girl out and blab his safe house location. I could cry.

I did not expect golf ball torture, but then again, who does.

"The First Cut Is The Deepest," indeed. Once again, one guy manages to beat up every mook by himself because they all attack separately.
He really does well with sticks, doesn't he.

"You're an asshole, Charles." "I Know."

Eileen...goes on a date and then goes to see her husband in a coma.

"Now I do what I want. For me and no one else."
"I'm here to take the only thing you love....your empire."

Great time to wake up, brah!

(And now, alas, to take another break, as I said I'd sit through an online seminar that will probably be pointless and huckster-y...)
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:45 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Episode 7, Gymkata. The Boxers are taking out the triads. Including people with names like "Noodle Lips," and "Big Smile" and ... Frank Ma. Except..."I warned the ghosts that the Boxers would attack."

"We sent June. I told her to handle him...gently." *whack whack whack*

Bruce is a terrible liar.

Eileen wants to be Dragon Head.
"Pause, girl, so we can discuss this as a family?"

"You cannot put Curly-Haired Zhou next to Noodle Lips Xu. Too much bad blood....Zhou lost Noodle Lips' cat."

"I was actually hoping we'd be doing LESS of all this."

TK somehow wants him and Bruce (and his boy Jonathan when he gets out of prison) to form their own gang. Why?!?
"I'm the Elton John of gangsters, yo."

Bruce: TK, you've blabbed to cops, broken under torture, gotten your thumbs broken, and had golf balls driven at you till you pissed yourself. "I am 100% certain that you are the worst gangster who is lucky enough to still be alive!" Bruce insults the hell out of TK to his face, calling him a loser and a coward and kicking him out. "We'll be sure to call you if you want something done horribly."

"At least one of us can survive this. I don't want him to get hurt any more."

The Wang Bros were named after a boy band, right? Don't ask me which one.

"Few days in the hospital. No big deal.'

NASDBOY license plate.

"Bruce here is a little bitch!!!"

"Well, they're fully locked in on being colossal douchebags."

"But the only purpose you were serving" Oooh, I hate this guy. To have such a treasure of a wife and....yeah.

Bruce squeals about the triad meeting to Grace to end the triads once and for all. Wow.

"We're here because of numerology?" "Yes, absolutely."

"Let's go get churros instead."

"After tonight, everything's going to be fine."

"A bad thing has happened, nobody's fault really...." Oh sweetie.

"I get to kill your girlfriend."
"I assume that opportunity will arise."

"If the guy wants to be cannon fodder, why stop him?"

"I smoke a ton of weed, I eat like shit, and I text and drive all the time. I'mma die how I die." TK, you're a walking Darwin Award.

"If I break this oath, I will be killed by thunderbolts." Really?!?

"Let them shoot each other!"

"Xing! That guy killed Blood Boots!" Ah, that was satisfying.

"I fucking did the move!" *is stabbed*

"Kill Bruce."
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:44 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Last episode: Protect the Family.

"You could be Charles Churro Maker Sun."

"Who has ever been kept safe by the old ways? We still kill each other." Good point.

"Hey, the milk..." "This is condensed milk, I wanted evaporated!" Priorities, Eileen.

"I'm starting to think neither of us know Mom at all."

"You gonna improvise him to death?"

"I played laser tag with TK in Sherman Oaks...."

"I don't think we've ever hugged before."
"I think you're gonna die, so we might as well get one in before you go."

I really want someone to write this show up on TV Tropes. It's not gonna be me probably, but there's sure a lot of fodder for it.

Famous not quite last words: "You're not going to shoot me!" followed by not even getting it right.

"You want a blanket or something?"

Bruce continues to be clever: Dad, you can bleed to death, or call an ambulance and get arrested. HMMMMM.

TK is getting a stick figure tattoo.

Eileen's revenge. Nice.

"Life is short, Charles. Make your cakes." (And produce grandchildren.)

I love Eileen in pink.

Ah, the perfect churro has now been made.

Awwwww. Loved this. Except I don't get what happened in the stinger?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:46 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Just started watching; the refrigerator documentary of NA Asian brands and kinds of preserved veg that are also in my fridge sold me.

This show must now let me down, or it will face it's own disgrace. The moreso from the inner-coming disgrace.
posted by porpoise at 11:47 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Lordy. Michelle Yeoh in episode 6. Don't get me wrong, she's fantastic throughout, but when she simply wound down the window of the cab to look out at her lost home, I teared up.

In general, 6 was HERS, and she absolutely knocked it out of the park.
posted by Mogur at 4:55 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]

watched this just because Michelle Yeoh is in it. Its pretty silly, but fun, lots of interesting characters with some pretty nice arcs.
posted by supermedusa at 12:41 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]

but yeah, Blood Boots :(
posted by supermedusa at 12:41 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]

I loved it. I thought it would have been even better without the funny bits but overall, super enjoyable.

Anyone else notice that Charles' 3 goon friends were named after members of nsync? JC, Justin, and Lance. I kept wondering where Chris and Joey were.
posted by the webmistress at 6:33 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]

I was all, "I know this is a boy band, but hell if I know which boy band."

Chris and Joey maybe got killed already?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:49 PM on January 9

This is good. Spins a few tropes around on their head a bit.

I found it really odd that Yeoh switched to Cantonese for her visiting mother scene from Mandarin/ Taiwanese. Unless that was Yeoh's 4th wall (?) biological mother? Or was there a plot reason?

One of the better translations, I thought, for Chinese nicknames, in pop Western media thus far.

Love that Yeoh's involvements seem almost always to have some levity, and the amplitude of that levity has no correlation with the 'seriousness' of the property in question.
posted by porpoise at 9:35 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]

Halfway through and I'm really enjoying this. The fight scenes are great -- and often quite funny! Some of the actors are incredibly charming. Biggest laugh so far was the bit where Sleepy Chan wanted Bruce as an intermediary for the discussion with Charles, even though Bruce's language skills were "conversational" at best. I like that it turns out Bruce is actually pretty good at improv, but I love how it paired with the hurt-y bits where it's clear that Charles has his own passion for baking that no one has ever acknowledged (beyond pointing out that he was a chubby kid).
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:24 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]

posted by rajbot at 11:20 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]

Finished this and I really liked it! I truly love June and Charles (probably brain damage from years of Tumblr exposure) as two lunatics who are both committed to their hobbies and very good at violence. I suspect it would've been better if it had been planned as a one season miniseries; it fell apart a little at the end. Charles was definitely being set up to follow his dreams and it felt like they abruptly changed the ending to "actually he's going to return as 2IC crime boss for his mom" in order to chum for another season.

It also conflicted with one of the cool things they did in making the secret bad guy...people who had been victimized by organized crime. Making a gang movie is tough like making a war movie is tough, but having Grace as the frontwoman for the Boxers was a no-buzzkill reminder that criminal cartels might be bad, actually. I liked that they established that Michelle Yeoh was a privileged kid who willingly involved herself in the criminal underworld for the thrill of it, but that doesn't automatically mean Feminist Win -- This Ruthless Crime Boss is Gal! The end point of discovering her sister's death + her husband bragging about manipulating her into using her skills on his behalf + her sons being kind of a mess ought to equal her carving out a life that she wants, but it sucks that the life she wants is in organized crime! (And that "but we'll be less sketchy about it," thing is such nonsense. That's just being rich! You don't need an enforcer for that!)
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:07 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

I finished this last night and I loved it so much. I especially loved how clever Bruce was with shooting his dad in such a way that his dad had to give himself up to the police in order to get medical treatment. Really fit with his character as someone who deals with problems in a left-of-centre way, just like bringing the mah-jong grandmas to rescue his mum. Very satisfying.

jenfullmoon, you said you didn't get the stinger at the end - the guy is one of Big Sun's henchmen that you see early on talking with Charles. It's clearly a set-up for not counting on Big Sun being out of the picture forever.

grandiloquiet, I absolutely agree with you about wishing they'd stuck to just doing one season really well. I would have loved Charles to stay and follow his baking dreams in LA - or anywhere really, as long as it wasn't Taipei, I would have been equally happy for him to go to the UK so he could be a contestant on the GBBO. And while I was definitely rooting for the Suns vs the Boxers, the Boxers absolutely have a point and I was disappointed that they wound up being just another set of bad guys that used violence just like the Triads and had to be destroyed. If there is another season (and I almost don't want there to be) I predict that Bruce's good-guy nature will be an increasing point of tension, maybe combining his left-of-centre solutions with the Boxers' aim of eliminating Triad corruption.

I also wish that Eileen's idea of freedom of choice didn't involve becoming a Triad Dragon Lady but that really was what she wanted. Maybe she should take up baking, or run a restaurant.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:25 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Dragon Head.

This was an amazing series. The cast were all exceptional, and it was just so well put together. Great setups and callbacks. Some inspired cinematography.

Really hope they get to make another season, but also glad it wasn’t left so open-ended that this season doesn’t stand on its own.
posted by jimw at 7:32 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]

Binged. SO HAPPY there was a satisfying conclusion and not just a cliffhanger. I see no problem with Charles going back with mom to get her setup, or even occasionally be called back but end up with his bakery in LA for season 3. Or maybe they won’t make anymore.

Did not love police/DA woman (“I’m NOT the police”), or maybe just didn’t like the actress and they way overdid the spicy chips thing, though I was sure she gave some to Charles in the interview room so he could do the spicy stuff in the eye to another questioner and escape.

I did like Grace (tho seemingly way too young to run an international gang?) and was surprised she died but also not surprised.

I hope both June (and May) become action stars, maybe in other properties with a similar vibe. Though I would probably miss the show or movie since there is too much to watch.
posted by Glinn at 2:54 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]

Did not love police/DA woman (“I’m NOT the police”)

That character was definitely the weak link, but I’ll forgive it if they fix it in season 2.
posted by jimw at 6:58 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]

Dragon Head

I know, I was just riffing on the theme of not getting the title right and Triad Dragon Lady sounded funny.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:01 PM on January 16

I have only seen four episodes and I won't be reading the comments until I'm caught up.

But halfway in, I find the anticipation created by having one of the world's two or three finest fight scene performers playing a character who has yet to lift a finger positively delicious.

posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]

Just finished this. Liked it pretty well. I think they could have left-out the cop/DA subplot entirely. It just didn’t seem to have any use that mattered.

One thing had me a little confused...When mom is getting ready to fly to Taipei, the scene before she arrives is her at some Costco-like place, filling her cart(s) with all manner of cleaning supplies and other stuff. What was the point of that? She certainly wasn’t taking all that with her, but I never caught a reason for her buying all that stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:09 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]

I have only gotten through episode 6 so far but this is such a treat in so many ways. My only issue so far (I got over the "8% of your grade" because it was just so absurd) has been Eileen bringing her mom Donut Friend (really? c'mon) instead of Porto's.
posted by queensissy at 12:31 PM on March 20

Thorzdad - those aren't cleaning supplies, they're; infant formula, vitamins, supplements (fish oil).

The Western version of these things are considered high value for perception (and usually reality of) that it's a higher quality/ safe.

They make great gifts when you visit someone, so this is foreshadowing that she's going to meet a lot of people soon.
posted by porpoise at 6:06 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]

Ha - I can't remember if it was LAPD or the FBI or who in ep. 7 who sneered about numerology, but Alexis's comeback was one of the few times I've enjoyed that character. Yes, it's a thing. Don't be an idiot.
posted by queensissy at 11:11 AM on March 21

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