The most obvious reference this episode makes is “Enter the Dragon”. Granted we can argue about that any movie started the mad man holding a tournament troupe but here we are. This time it goes back to the stand alone episode while still connecting to the main storyline, going back to the main theme of the series: finding one’s purpose.
And I did forget to put these in my reviews but spoilers are ahead. Especially for this episode and what’s to come soon.
Vega brings Ah Sahm, Young Jun and Hong to the border town of Rooker’s Mill. She informs that it is owned by Elijah Rooker, who has interests in fighters from around the world and holds the tournament every year. Vega tells of the prize money to be won as the three check in.
Young Jun and Hong settle in while Ah Sahm walks around the town. He enters a bar, encountering another fighter named Dolph Jagger. Vega stops them as a lawman enters also. Vega walks out with Ah Sahm, hoping to keep him out of trouble.
Ah Sahm reunites with Young Jun and Hong for the banquet, meeting up with Vega. Rooker introduces himself and his wife Marisol to the attendees, encouraging the fighters but Ah Sahm notices Vega’s discomfort. She brushes it off as Dolph engages in the first match.
During the festivities, Vega steps away with Ah Sahm following her out. They enjoy the quietness of the countryside compared to the city, she explains the history of the land and how both of them are strangers to it. Ah Sahm explains he came for his sister as Vega understands, sharing the same loss.
The next day, Dolph kills his opponent while Ah Sahm watches. Vega informs Ah Sahm is next, much to the worry of Young Jun and Hong. With a quick vote of confidence from Young Jun and Vega, Ah Sahm finishes Dolph with one kick, ending the match.
The tournament continues as Ah Sahm wins his matches, catching Rooker’s attention as he sends his bodyguard Smitts to invite Ah Sahm and Vega to lunch. They accept as they walk back to Vega’s at night. Following them is Dolph’s men to retaliate, thankfully Hong is there.
Ah Sahm and Vega talk through the night, telling him his path has no happy ending, and he knows, there is nothing for him anywhere. They meet with Rooker and Marisol for lunch, discussing Ah Sahm’s skills. Rooker pitches to train Smitts’ men which Ah Sahm declines as Vega brings up Rooker’s pistol.
Rooker discusses the gun is the last one made by the maker, letting Vega examine it. She discusses that Rooker’s Mill was originally part of the land she was originally from, revealing a man came to take it and killing her father who was the gun maker.
Ah Sahm hears the story and stops Smitts from attacking as Vega loads the gun, killing Rooker out of vengeance. Ah Sahm betrayed, goes to Young Jun and Hong to prepare them for what’s coming.
Smitts offers the crowd $2000 to kill Ah Sahm, Young Jun, Hong and Vega, engaging an all-out brawl. They get captured and transported to Sacramento under Marisol’s word.
While being transported, Vega is shunned by Ah Sahm and the other two but are stopped as Marisol approaches them. Revealing she is Vega’s sister and the plan was to reclaim their land from Rooker. In return, Ah Sahm is given the prize money, settling the amount owed for the Hop Wei.
Smitts catches up to them, killing Vega while Young Jun retaliates. Ah Sahm holds Vega, stating he would have stayed for her. Marisol, Young Jun, Hong and Ah Sahm bury Vega and go their separate ways. The three return to San Francisco to an angry Father Jun.
We return to the Western stand-alone linear story setting once again. So one thing I forget to mention about show, the subplots all make their presence known in the main plot of the episode. This tournament sub plot was just in mentioning in a couple episodes and it pays off, serving its purpose to be its own episode.
First Hong, a great addition to the cast and the Hop Wei. With everyone being serious all the time, Hong brings a sense of comedy and brevity to Ah Sahm and Young Jun. Compared to Young Jun who has a few moments of comedy, Hong does the comedy as quirky and natural.
Young Jun had a small subplot with Wankeia which has affected him since then, for Hong, he wants boots. Ugly ass cowboy boots. He sees one of Dolph’s men wearing them and when he stops them from following Ah Sahm and Vega, he takes them. That’s it, Hong’s a simple man. He knows what he wants and he takes it.
If Hong and Young Jun had their own episode together… do it for season 3, their friendship has grown since Hong arrived. Even making Young Jun question his sexuality with Hong, which works as a slight appropriate joke.
Rosalita Vega is a daughter of a gun maker, her sister Marisol and their family lived on a land that was originally part of Mexico before it was divided up, and before Rooker came.
This was one episode that finally gave Vega character and purpose but in Western genre fashion, someone has to die. Whether for another character to rethink their purpose or they fulfilled their purpose.
For Vega, she held fights at the Barbary Coast to find a fighter to participate in Rooker’s tournament. Planning to get close to Rooker, freeing her sister and reclaiming their land.
Her relationship with Ah Sahm does feel rushed but she knew her purpose and wanted him to join her. This makes Ah Sahm rethink everything that he is doing again. With Penny, he would have found a way and left the Hop Wei for her. With Vega, he has that chance to walk away.
Sometimes finding someone you’re connected with, that knows their purpose, can help clear your focus. Even though Ah Sahm was angry of being used, it happens a lot. He finally had a chance to walk away from it but lost it. Just like Ah Sahm, we only got to know Rosalita Vega for a little time but she did help realize the main focus of purpose.
As many fans are petitioning and rallying for a season 3 of this series, I also hope for a season 3 and wanting more episodes like this. Vega was a memorable character and she deserved a happier ending but we all know in the Western genre, it’s not.