People are given choices, we make choices for better or worse, sometimes we can’t make the choice ourselves. Sometimes the choice we are given is enough to get by or not enough at all. This episode explores our characters’ choices and how they act upon it.
SPOILERS ARE AHEAD AS WE ARE GOING DEEP INTO THE SHIT NOW.
Picking up where episode 16 left off, Hong, Young Jun and Ah Sahm return to an angry Father Jun. The three has gone behind his back, he burns off Young Jun’s mark and orders the Hop Wei to kill Ah Sahm.
Ah Sahm diffuses the Hop Wei members, stating that the Long Zi and Fung Hai are slowly taking over. The Hop Wei present and new members side with Young Jun, letting Father Jun step down his position.
Mai Ling is still unsatisfied with Li Young’s decision on Zing, prompting them to deal with a new Fung Hai leader. Ah Toy explains her background to Nellie, telling her goals and her reservation of Patterson. Nellie offers her assistance for a better future, coming to an understanding.
Young Jun talks to Father Jun, still having suspicions of Ah Sahm but wants his son to take the position. Father Jun urges Young Jun to kill him but he refuses the tradition, keeping him around for future consultation.
Sophie tries to reach Penny, convincing her to sell the Steel Mill but Penny refuses. Knowing that Mayor Blake will be right and it will all be for nothing. O’Hara testifies against Zing for the murders over the season. Zing is sentenced to death and taken away to San Quentin.
Young Jun adjusts to leading, knowing he had no other choice but Ah Sahm reassures him. The two discuss that they are grateful of what they have done for each other.
Mayor Blake honors O’Hara and the Chinatown Squad in front of the city while Buckley discusses the events with Leary. Buckley tries to convince Leary to help get votes for Crestwood but he refuses.
Ah Toy ends her partnership with Patterson but he stalls on signing, not trusting her. Sophie visits Leary once again, discussing about their choices and any regrets for their actions. Leary tells her of Buckley’s offer for politics as she supports it.
Ah Sahm brings an order to Wang Chao, discussing Young Jun finally taking power and how the Fung Hai are powerless. This piece of information, Ah Sahm will inform Young Jun about but Chao knows, he and Ah Sahm are the same.
Ah Toy and Lai raid a brothel Nellie mentioned, freeing the women but Ah Toy is scared of Lai’s actions. O’Hara and his team see the damage but one officer asks for incentive to avoid public panic. O’Hara agrees and his team clean it up.
Nichols visits Mai Ling with evidence to have leverage over Buckley. Penny considers Merryweather’s offer for buying the Steel Mill, as Patterson pays for a service to take care of Ah Toy.
Ah Toy brings the girls to Sonoma as Nellie is happy to help them. Before she leaves, Ah Toy asks Nellie to take in Lai in fear that she will become like her. After a burst of anger, sadness and one last embrace, Ah Toy leaves Lai.
Lee visits Timmons’ wife, returning the pocket watch. She reveals that O’Hara has visited under the circumstances that Zing invaded their home. This causes Lee to question why O’Hara came to investigate alone.
Mayor Blake keeps his stance clear on keeping businesses American, Merryweather explains that Mercer Steel Mill will provide the materials needed for his factory while keeping true to using Chinese labor. The news shocks Blake as he loses his support from the business owners.
Sophie is escorted by Leary, which is seen by Penny. Enraged, Penny kicks Sophie out of the house as Blake returns drunk. Unhappy with Penny’s deal with Merryweather, Blake expresses his failure to rank up in the American Government, prompting Penny to bring up divorce as a solution.
Blake tries to reason but Penny tries to leave as chases her down. Sophie tries to intervene only to get knocked down. Blake tries to choke Penny, only to be killed by Jacob.
Young Jun explains that he was left with no choice. Growing up in the most powerful Tong in San Francisco, becoming part of it and serving under his father. He has wanted to lead the Hop Wei but knew it wasn’t going to be handed to him.
With Ah Sahm’s help, Young Jun managed to take the lead, proving his own way is prosperous for the Hop Wei. The choice he made has been building but lacked the self-confidence to obtain the position.
This makes Young Jun think that Father Jun never thought he was suited for it, question if he was manipulated by Ah Sahm. This is where choice can be influenced by others and work for the better.
We are given more of Ah Toy’s backstory, her husband was a merchant, bringing her on a boat to America. He was killed and the crew of the ship took advantage of her. The ship’s captain took her as a concubine as a form of safety, as they arrived in America, she lost everything.
Her choice was to survive by any means, with the knowledge her husband taught her, she managed to buy the land she wanted through Patterson. Now with Nellie, she has a trustful partner that understands the same goals.
Which brings us to the most heartbreaking moment. During the raid, Ah Toy sees how Lai acts when killing those who harm women. This is where she makes a choice for her and for Lai. Saving Lai from becoming like her. It is hard for Ah Toy, knowing this is a better choice for Lai because she wasn’t given that choice.
This shows how much Ah Toy has grown over the years, and finally ready to leave it all behind with Nellie. Sadly, her choices will have consequences.
I have to put Ah Sahm and Wang Chao together for this one. Since season 1, Chao has been almost looking out for Ah Sahm and this season, he’s been trying to figure him out.
Both men are aware of recent events: Young Jun taking the lead and Chao’s involvement with Zing’s imprisonment. Both have made choices that benefitted them. One for the safety of his business, while the other is for war.
Chao always has a moment of wisdom, which is always shot down by Ah Sahm. Here though, Chao knows what Ah Sahm is planning on doing, hoping the choice is the right one.
Penny and her choices now affect the city of San Francisco. Now with the Steel Mill on the verge of losing the railway contract, she turns to Merryweather, offering her company and workers to supply his company with the materials.
This business transaction has Blake lose his support. Even though it is not said in the episode, Penny makes the choice of kicking Sophie out. And we all know the reason why but Sophie does not, creating a rift between the sisters.
The rift doesn’t last long when Blake tries to kill Penny. Penny’s choice wanting to divorce Blake, so she can finally be free to live her life. Not being bound by Blake’s fortune or sadistic tendencies, finally a choice that she can be proud of. It wasn’t to be though.
The choices that every character makes this episode, have been made for better. Whether by the character, by influence or made with no other alternative. Sadly the choices that are made, have consequences. And we’re not ready for what’s to come.