This link was shared by a friend on Facebook and I wish to share it on this review as San Francisco’s Chinatown is slowly vanishing. As the main setting of the series and the entry point of many Chinese immigrants who managed to make a better life for themselves and their families, it has come to a point where it might disappear. This is history and this community has survived through the Chinese Exclusion Act, Black plague, gang wars and natural disasters. After this review, please click the link and help support San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Episode 6 starts out with a bang… Yes I made a sexual innuendo as Ah Sahm and Penny reunite after Nevada, while Chinatown celebrates Chinese New Year. O’Hara and Lee patrol the streets during the lion dance and festivities while the Long Zi try to assassinate Father Jun via bombing.
O’Hara returns home to find Jack Damon reminding him of the payment to the Foon Hai. O’Hara buys himself time by setting up a meeting at Leary’s pub the Banshee while continuing with his work.
Lee reveals the Foon Hai to O’Hara as the perpetrators of the bombing which he tries to dismiss this as a conspiracy. O’Hara orders Lee with a shotgun to watch over his home as he goes to pay a visit to Leary for help with Damon.
Leary is rejects to help at first but O’Hara reveals that Jack Damon is working for the Foon Hai. Damon comes to collect but Leary offers him a chance to earn the cash owed by fighting him.
Young Jun is distraught and fueled by retaliation to attack the Long Zi for the assassination attempt. With the elders declining as it will start a war, Ah Sahm and Bolo support Young Jun as they go after the Foon Hai who carried out the assassination. The three go to Foon Hai territory, massacring them and drop off one body back to the Long Zi territory as Mai Ling’s motives are revealed to Long Zii himself.
Mayor Blake and Buckley visit Senator Robert Crestwood, a man who is aware of the problem in Chinatown along with supporting the Chinese Exclusion Act. He informs that he plans to run for president and uses the bombing as a way to win votes as one American woman was killed. Mayor Blake agrees to continue with Crestwood’s orders while Buckley is revealed to working with Crestwood on inciting the violence in Chinatown.
O’Hara watches Leary pummel Damon but Leary lets O’Hara give the final blow while Father Jun and Long Zi discuss their terms on the post-assassination attempt, prompting the start of the war and the creeping death of Long Zi.
Episode 6 focuses on O’Hara and Young Jun as what they have encountered in episodes 4 and 5 have affected them mentally and emotionally. After O’Hara is visited by Damon, he has Lee watch his home in case of the Foon Hai attacking and asking Leary’s assistance. This is where Ah Sahm is right where O’Hara has someone else do his dirty work but it comes back to him when Leary gives O’Hara the chance to kill Damon.
O’Hara is definitely conflicted with killing his former friend but Leary cements the fact that if Damon lives, he will recover with the Foon Hai and kill O’Hara and his family. Damon pleads but O’Hara ends his life, finally breaking down. The cost of saving his family has finally hit him as this is the point where he hits a point that he cannot recover from. And still it is unknown for how much danger he has put his family in. This is one of the sub plots that has a nice but bleak resolution but it doesn’t end there. Not by a long shot.
As family does play a theme within the episode, Young Jun shows how much respect and love he has for his father, willing to kill those who hurt him. This is the first instance where Young Jun tries to take leadership while his father is incapacitated. With Ah Sahm knowing that his sister wants to start a war, he pushes for Young Jun to retaliate as does Bolo. The loyalty that the two show for Young Jun puts his leadership skills into question but they still stand by him.
This isn’t the first time that Young Jun and Father Jun do not agree on views of dealing with problems but it is more of teachable moments for Young Jun. This is shown when Father Jun meets with Long Zii and how Young Jun is being taught how to handle situations if he is to lead. As Young Jun stated, his father is a hard ass but loyal as many of the Hop Wei are and this was an episode where Young Jun gets a taste of what it’s like to be a leader.
We get a glimpse of who Buckley is really working for. I won’t go into full political mode, granted I am not knowledgeable to a full extent especially when it comes to conspiracy theories and outside influences on various communities of color. The small introduction of Senator Crestwood being a mastermind behind Buckley’s motives almost plays in reality. Yes we can say politicians always make one event a sympathy vote for them to make everything better for their country etc.
This subplot though affects the whole main narrative as the Chinese community is being played as pawns for one man’s political success to cast them out and shun them within the coming years. As history shows, events in history affect the present and sometimes it repeats.
Episode 6’s theme of family shows the depths of O’Hara and Young Jun’s commitment and loyalty to their families and how far they will go to protect them. With the way the world has been going, we all want to protect our families but we can’t protect them from reality.