For those who don’t know, Bruce Lee’s film “The Big Boss” was to be given the title of “The Chinese Connection”, capitalizing on the popularity of the film “The French Connection” as both films deals with drug smuggling. The problem was the titles were switched as “Fist of Fury” was given the title of “The Chinese Connection” and “The Big Boss” was titled “Fists of Fury”.
If you didn’t know this history, that’s the quick lesson of why the international releases of Bruce Lee’s films has different titles. Especially after Bruce Lee’s passing, “Way of the Dragon” was released as “Return of the Dragon”, capitalizing on the success of “Enter the Dragon”. So we can say that this episode’s title referencing Bruce Lee’s film deals with drug smuggling and dealing with the theme of duality.
The cold open has O’Hara running after another person in debt to the Fung Hai, finally catching him and collecting what is owed. Ah Sahm and Young Jun meet with Vega who introduces them to drug dealer Happy Jack. Ah Sahm offers a cut to help bring in the Opium much to the suspicion of Young Jun, Happy Jack takes the offer.
Lee approaches O’Hara, explaining the cases of the two murdered Irishmen from Season 1, the Teddy Boys and Timmons and McCormack on the fact the formers had issues toward the Chinese Community. While Timmons and McCormack were killed after a real estate deal was signed by Patterson with no issues following.
They go to interrogate Patterson who denies the meeting and states the property was worth paying for. O’Hara asks if he has dealt with the Chinese which he also denies, taking their leave.
Penny attends a business meeting with all business owners on the attack by Leary. Mayor Blake has excluded her personally but she brings up all the issues of the attacks on coolie labor and on businesses causing other owners to voice their concerns on protection from the police.
Penny asks for Ah Sahm to meet at Mercer Steel Mill. She asks for the Hop Wei to provide protection of the workers and the factory. Ah Sahm refuses as all the emotional and internal conflict between them will come up and leaves the Steel Mill.
Nellie Davenport is introduced to the audience after raiding a brothel and helping Chinese prostitutes. She later visits Ah Toy’s brothel where they exchange words, where she and Wang Chao exchange a judge of characters.
Ah Sahm and Young Jun go back to Happy Jack only to fight his men over a misunderstanding of storing their product. Happy Jack informs the two that they will have to store it somewhere else as the police are cracking down.
Lee goes to a bar where he meets Abagail the bartender, his condition begins to worsen as she takes an interest in him. Only to be deceived by drugging his drink, robbing him and leaving him the alley.
Buckley orders Mai Ling to start causing chaos in Chinatown, having her hatchetmen bring in a member of the Suey Sing, who started selling their own Opium. Li Young hears about this as he does not see the Suey Sing as a threat and goes to discuss the matter with Zing.
Ah Sahm returns back to Mercer Steel Mill, asking Penny why she is managing the factory and as she found something for herself. Ah Sahm tells her the Hop Wei will help for a price but his real reason is to use the Steel Mill for storage of the Opium.
Crestwood holds a rally, enticing the population for his run for president and to send the Chinese back. O’Hara, Chief Flanagan and Leary watch among the crowd, Leary sees Sophie as she enters the Banshee. Sophie reveals who she is to Leary as he tries to keep his appearance up with her as their attraction grows closer.
Mai Ling approaches a former Pinkertons agent named Nichols to investigate Walter Buckley after their last meeting. Li Young and Zing meet with the Suey Sing coming to an understanding but Zing and his men kill the group. Causing Li Young to question the motives of Mai Ling and what Zing plans.
The theme of duality plays as most people only see one side, there is another side to it coming from our characters O’Hara, Wang Chao, Li Young and Ah Sahm.
I must correct myself from the last review as there is actually four new characters in Season 2. We got introduced to Sophie and Vega, we will meet a new Hop Wei member next episode and we now meet Nellie Davenport.
Nellie is a widow who saves Chinese prostitutes, I would explain more but that will come up later in the season as she is like Ah Toy. Wanting what is best for the girls. And I will say and I don’t think this is the intention but yes she’s a white woman saving Chinese women. Either it is a jab at the white savior complex or not, we will find out more later on in the season as we get to know who she is and how she and Ah Toy are basically working towards the same goal.
Wang Chao is given a bit more as we are given small information in the season premiere. He visits a woman named Claire who has a daughter named Hannah, and we are revealed that she is Chao’s daughter also. It is a small character moment as we know what Chao has been through and he has someone that he cares about but chooses not to be in her life. It is more evident that Chao is becoming more involved in this season and how his character affects certain events.
Lee and O’Hara are always together when I review an episode, only because they grew as characters and formed a bond since season 1. For O’Hara, his collection for the Fung Hai is bringing suspicion from his wife Lucy. She notices him bringing home the meat… literally and gifts for her. It brings back the fear for O’Hara that if he leaves the Fung Hai, they will come after his family.
For Lee, his post-attack symptoms have caused him to lose sleep and focus on the murder cases. As much as Lee wants to do the right thing, he is almost coming to the point of where being righteous will not solve everything. Especially after the encounter with Abagail.
Li Young is now getting a bit more as he shows a more sympathetic side to his character. This episode shows that he cares for the Chinese community and understands every Tong’s goals whether good or bad. When we saw that he supported Mai Ling on taking the lead of the Long Zi in Episode 7, he begins to question her intentions when she wants the Suey Sing dealt with.
After the meeting and killing of the Suey Sing, he starts to see who Zing really is. This begins his suspicion on Mai Ling as he wonders whatever she has planned, will succeed or cause a downfall for the Long Zi.
Ah Sahm taking the lead as he helps broker the deal with Happy Jack and it also comes into question with Young Jun. Ah Sahm sums it up as he lost the match with Li Young and a way to get back at Mai Ling for taking the Hop Wei property.
There is a moment where Young Jun and Father Jun discuss the past and picking the right moment. Both father and son don’t see eye to eye but here, Father Jun is reaching out to his son on patience even though things might be crumbling for the Hop Wei. Young Jun still goes through the Opium deal behind his father’s back where he wants to take the lead.
The relationship between Penny and Ah Sahm does come back during their first meeting but Ah Sahm still cuts to the chase, declining Penny’s offer. After the reality check from Happy Jack, Ah Sahm uses the Penny’s offer to stash the Opium in the steel mill. Now we can say yes, they are both using each other, Penny for keeping her father’s business alive and Ah Sahm to go into his own business.
Since they have not seen each other for the two months, both have changed as they both have found something for themselves but you can bet that it won’t last long.
The theme of duality shows how each character has two sides to them and however they choose to live their lives will affect only themselves. Season 2 just keeps getting better, hopefully there’s no lull in between.