Trust is a hard thing to come by. You trust your family, you trust your friends, hell you trust the people at McDonald’s not to spit in your burger. This episode explores the theme of trust and the characters who experience it.
Episode 15 opens with Mai Ling discussing with Li Young about how her endeavors will benefit Chinatown’s future. Li Young brings up the tournament from Season 1 and how she hasn’t been able to come to terms with Ah Sahm. Mai Ling states she has not forgiven herself for the position she put them in.
Penny surveys the Steel Mill’s damage from Leary’s attack, Jacob brings to her attention the dead Hop Wei guards and the Opium stash. Ah Sahm arrives, seeing the damage and meets with Penny. She tells him that she found out about the Opium and it was a mistake hiring him. Knowing what he is, Ah Sahm leaves Penny once again.
Lee returns to the station while O’Hara rallies the officers for the raid on the Fung Hai. O’Hara confronts Lee about his disappearance but Lee remarks that the attack and the invasion is because of O’Hara, causing a further rift between them.
Chief Flanagan visits the Banshee, meeting Leary about the Steel Mill destruction. Leary declines his involvement but Flanagan assures there will be repercussions for his actions. Leary reassures that it is the people like Blake and Crestwood made it happen and it will get worse.
Ah Toy and Lai arrive at Sonoma, seeing the women are happy and free on the settlement. Nellie gives a tour, Ah Toy learns how Nellie was able to make the settlement happen, overwhelming her with fond memories.
Mayor Blake comes to the Steel Mill, extending sympathy to Penny. They discuss about the railway contract to be done on time but Blake states his position cannot help the business out. Penny is left alone, losing hope.
Young Jun and Ah Sahm discuss about the destroyed shipment and how they won’t be able to get the money back in time before Father Jun finds out. Ah Sahm comes up with a plan as Hong offers his help as they stood up for him.
Wang Chao delivers the weapon shipment to the Fung Hai. Li Young and one other hatchetman help in disguise to bring the weapons in. Zing tries to secure Chao for future business but Chao declines.
Zing senses something is off and waterboards Chao to persuade him on the offer while O’Hara and his men wait outside for a signal. The Fung Hai bring in the Long Zi hatcheman, planning to beat Chao for information while Li Young plants Ah Toy’s sword.
Zing finds Li Young, engaging in a one on one fight while Chao fires a shot, signaling O’Hara and his men to raid. Chao is escorted to safety by the police while O’Hara and Lee manage to catch Zing with the sword as Li Young escapes.
Flanagan arrives, seeing the damage between the Fung Hai and the police. Lee suspects that Zing is the swordsman on how he used it, and O’Hara found a pocket watch belonging to Timmons. Flanagan is satisfied but Lee is suspicious on how the sword and pocket watch are in the compound. O’Hara brushes it off as case closed, trying to get Lee to make peace.
Mai Ling finds Li Young patching up, telling her that Zing has been arrested but she knows that Chao persuaded him. Li Young tells her that Zing went after O’Hara and the consequences if he succeeded, causing Mai Ling to distrust Li Young’s actions.
Ah Toy berates Ah Sahm for going behind Father Jun’s back, urging Young Jun to take over while Mai Ling is a danger to Chinatown. Ah Toy finally sees what Ah Sahm is trying to do knowing he and his sister are the same. He leaves, knowing that Ah Toy won’t help this time.
Chao takes his daughter Hannah to Nellie’s care, she offers a couple to take her in for a better life. Ah Sahm goes back to the Barbary Coast, winning another fight and Mai Ling finds him.
She discusses bringing their family back together but Ah Sahm tells her that he destroy everything around her, causing Mai Ling to leave. Vega oversees the conversation as Ah Sahm rethinks the tournament proposal.
We finally get to our third LGBTQ character in Nellie Davenport, when she invites Ah Toy, it is evident that both work for the same goal for the women they care for. Nellie does it because of her husband’s double life, wanting to help those who are abused. For Ah Toy, she wishes for the same thing as she sees all the women saved and even remembering her grandmother had the same type of settlement.
Nellie and Ah Toy have not seen eye to eye at the start until Nellie offers her a chance to see the women get to live. This does affect Ah Toy as she wishes for the same for herself, knowing her way of doing business is not the same for Nellie. This brings Nellie to reach out for Ah Toy, finally trusting each other that they are working for the same goal.
Li Young and his trust with Mai Ling and distrust with Zing. Li Young has been by Mai Ling’s side no matter the outcome but she does not see the fact Zing will bring the Long Zi’s downfall with his actions. He sees the guilt she feels for ordering Ah Sahm’s death which we will get into in a bit. When he goes behind her back, Mai Ling feels like she’s losing control which Li Young had to take control, making her realize what is beneficial for the survival of Chinatown.
I have not talked about Zing as the character has been in and out of episodes throughout the season. This episode we finally see the type of character he truly is. In Season 1, he aligned himself with the Long Zi after killing his original leader. He soon showed his true intentions by showing what he and the Fung Hai are capable of, obtaining a spot to deal Opium. This all comes together when he has O’Hara collect for the Tong but when O’Hara walks away, Zing orders his and the family’s death.
Li Young has experienced how Zing does business, for him to work with Chao and formulate a plan to divert the police’s search for the swordsman, eliminates any suspicions for the Long Zi and sense of peace for Chinatown. This shows what Li Young is capable of after serving the Long Zi for many years, and hopes that Mai Ling trusts his intentions as he trusts hers.
Penny has gone through so much with Ah Sahm and Mayor Blake. This is where she thought it would have been a good idea to rebuild some sort of relationship with Ah Sahm again. After finding out that he and the Hop Wei used her for storing Opium, it goes back to their initial meeting where she states that Ah Sahm is nothing more than a criminal.
It is heartbreaking to see the two end like this, and I do mean end like this when I get to the season finale, because the Penny and Ah Sahm romantic subplot was an interesting subject as I stated that it is a probable reference to Bruce and Linda’s relationship. Especially with a Hop Wei Hatchetman trying to make it work with a higher class white female, sadly this is the end of the line for them here.
With Mayor Blake, it is the first time that he tries to help Penny and finally showing he cares for her. Sadly it is a smoke screen when he says that with his political stance, he cannot show leniency as the contract must be done in time.
Penny once spoke about her distaste on how Mayor Blake used to look at her, and marrying him to save her father’s business. Now at a time where everything is falling apart, her husband cannot help her at all because of his political stance and her prowess to be something more. Her trust for both Ah Sahm and Blake have now left her with nothing.
Mai Ling losing a sense of control, with Li Young and herself as she cannot forgive herself for Ah Sahm. We get to see the internal torture she suffers, knowing what her history has been. For Li Young to question her intentions, her trust is out the window when he eliminates Zing from their alliance.
Meeting with Ah Sahm, she hopes to finally rebuild and gain trust from her brother. It fails of course because he chooses to continue to go against her. Mai Ling finally thought she can rule Chinatown but her internal struggles are showing her weakness. And this causes those around her to not trust her next move.
And do I have to repeat O’Hara and Lee, well you know Lee has no trust for O’Hara anymore because of the last episode. Lee knows that the Fung Hai attacked him because of O’Hara. Now with the swordsman case finally closed, Lee finds it too convenient that Zing can wield the sword and also have a piece of Timmons’ property to connect him for the murders.
O’Hara is relieved that he won’t have to deal with Zing and the Fung Hai anymore but Lee definitely doesn’t trust him, showing the two’s partnership is finally breaking apart.
Finally Chao trusting the police and Nellie to take care of Hannah. This is one episode that shows Chao taking the initiative to make peace in Chinatown and the rest of San Francisco. He has no respect for Zing and the Fung Hai based on old business, and does not condone the intentions of what they intend to do, forcing the police to crack down on the community. That will come later.
For him to reach out to Li Young, they formulate the plan to frame Zing and eliminate the Fung Hai from Chinatown. Bringing O’Hara in on the plan, makes it complete, knowing the police will be able to put Zing away, eliminating Ah Toy as a suspect for good and the truce stands between the Hop Wei and Long Zi.
After Chao barely survives the raid, he takes Hannah away from Claire, bringing her to Nellie. We see Chao explaining the truth that she would not be accepted in Chinatown because of her mixed heritage. This also shows how Chao’s vulnerability is coming out, dealing with both sides of the White and Chinese community may affect his and Hannah’s future.
Chao being one of the characters who acts as a liaison for both communities, shows he has little trust for anyone as he only trusts himself. Something he has always done and will continue to do.
The series hits the halfway point in the season, for Bruce Lee’s treatment to finally come to fruition and get a second season, you bet that Trust was a factor on all accounts to make a series this memorable. Hopefully it doesn’t end here…