Based on a Chinese folktale about a tiger and a fox, it is told by Mai Ling within the episode, and I’m not a history buff or an expert on Chinese idioms, metaphors and philosophies. I do know it is interesting that a show with this much depth and history really opens your eyes to so many little details that the creators and Bruce Lee have put in. As always, it is up to the reader and viewer to find its meaning.
The episode starts with Long Zii with Mai Ling as he looks back at his yesteryears of being free to roam the streets of Chinatown but knows his time is coming.
Ah Toy is looking to purchase women for her brothel from Zan. After finding one of the women bruised, Zan offers Lai; a young girl from a village that Ah Toy takes notice and immediately purchases her. Ah Toy starts to care for Lai promising her things will be better.
Penny meets with her father Byron discussing the cable car deal is on hold due to the fact Mayor Blake will not sign the deed until Penny sleeps with him. Byron informs Penny that if the deal doesn’t go through, his company will be bankrupt and her mother’s home will be repossessed. Penny leaves her father in disgust at the proposition and situation they are left in.
O’Hara is haunted by the Damon’s death as he is approached by a bounty hunter searching for his partner Lee. O’Hara declines helping the bounty hunter but an offer splitting the bounty entices him.
Ah Sahm is told by Young Jun that Bolo is on the way to kill Mai Ling and Long Zii. Ah Sahm goes to Ah Toy to find where Long Zii and Mai Ling’s house is located and races to the location. Bolo infiltrates the farm house, killing Long Zi lookouts.
Mai Ling notices their lookouts are dead and Bolo goes in for the kill by choking the life out of her. Ah Sahm charges in, standing toe to toe with Bolo. With Mai Ling’s help, the siblings kill Bolo. Mai Ling orders Ah Sahm to leave and checks on Long Zii.
Ah Toy does her rounds in her brothel as Zan introduces her to Holbrook. Holbrook is informed by Zan of Lai and wishes to have her but Ah Toy refuses and walks away. Ah Toy makes a purchase of land, finding Lai is missing and Holbrook forcing himself onto her. Ah Toy saves Lai, marking Holbrook and disfiguring Zan.
Lee is approached by O’Hara about the bounty, forcing Lee tells his full story. Lee opens up that he was in love with Nora after the civil war, keeping their relationship in secret from his family. One day Nora is murdered by two of his cousins in front of him, and retaliated, killing them both. Lee fled to San Francisco as the bounty hunter comes to collect. O’Hara and his men beat the bounty hunter, knowing his partner is a righteous man and knowing his story fully now.
Chinatown onlookers find Bolo has been hung for the public to see, the Hop Wei bring the body back, informed that Long Zii is dead but Mai Ling lives. Father Jun orders his men to get ready as the Hop Wei and Long Zi go to war.
This episode puts Ah Toy, Lee and Mai Ling at the forefront of this episode as we now get a chance to know who they are and what they have been through.
In other reviews, it was noted that Ah Toy was a real madam during the 1850s. In the series, the creators kept that characteristic also giving her a vigilante aspect as a woman who fights for the Chinese people. As the series gives little instances of Ah Toy’s character, she is given the spotlight this time on how she conducts business and what she plans on going for as a goal.
When she purchases Lai, the mention of the village instantly brings a connection to them both as she gives care to Lai more than her usual girls. Lai does accept her position that Ah Toy gives her but her true nature is yet to be shown as Ah Toy tries to raise her morale and especially after saving her from Holbrook. With Ah Toy’s character slowly coming out more prominent as she stays outside of Hop Wei and Long Zii affairs, her intentions and neutrality show a more complex character who strives for something more for herself and the women she cares for.
Lee finally comes clean to O’Hara as we are told that he hails from Georgia and already disliked by other officers because of the Civil War. This time, we are shown why Lee is more righteous and sympathetic towards people of color as his family took in a black family.
While his cousins killed Nora, Lee took justice in his own hands and knows what he did was wrong but could not bear to see it be done to other people and people of color. Throughout episodes 4 and 6, we are shown Lee hallucinates about Nora and seeing the bounty hunter come for him. As this was a mini subplot that culminates to knowing who Lee is, it does feel rushed but still shows why he is a righteous and fair police officer.
Now I should mention Bolo and how it sucks that he didn’t have much more than 4 episodes to build up the fight between Ah Sahm and him. That’s it though, there should have been more of Bolo investigating more of Ah Sahm’s motives and the fight culminating into the Long Zi farm house as a good final send off for the character. Even building it up to season 2 and finding out that Mai Ling and Ah Sahm are siblings but of course this was to happen so both Tongs can go to war. That’s the only gripe I have so far on how this character could have been handled.
Mai Ling finally taking control of the Long Zi. With Bolo failing to kill his targets, Long Zii already knew what was going to happen and him accepting his wife doing the deed. Li Yong feeling guilty that he didn’t protect them, Mai Ling reassures him that it is their time. Here it could be speculated that they were planning for this or waiting for their chance.
Li Yong being the most trusted bodyguard and acting as conscience for Mai Ling, this gives Mai Ling more depth of what she is capable of. As we learned through Ah Sahm and her that she married a warlord Sun Yang to save her brother and her family’s farm. After being abused, she fled to America and became the wife of Long Zii. All this built up to the point that it is her turn to show who she is.
As stated, Mai Ling tells the folktale of the tiger and the fox during Long Zii’s funeral. She tells her Long Zi hatchetmen that it’s time to show how strong and fierce the foxes really are. As we have seen very small remnants of Mai Ling’s character playing on the sidelines, she now shows who she really meant to be.
I could end this with saying the idiom/metaphor representation in the characters and how it plays into the episode but I am not that type of person. This episode put the women of the series at the forefront of this episode and showing Lee’s true pursuit of justice. With the balance great characters and storytelling, we will see the fallout of this war.