Warrior: S1.E.4. “The White Mountain” Review

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Screen Capture: Andrew Koji and Jason Tobin as Ah Sahm and Young Jun, respectively, in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”
Screen Capture: Andrew Koji and Jason Tobin as Ah Sahm and Young Jun, respectively, in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”



Televised in these United States on Friday, 26 April 2019, the David Petrarca directed episode “The White Mountain” is the latest instalment of Warrior. Created by Jonathan Tropper, ”Warrior” is based on the writings of legendary martial arts expert Bruce Lee.

After the fast and furious pace of the previous three episodes, Petrarca reveals the many reasons why the San Francisco residents are the way they are. Every first season needs at least one of two episodes were the narrative focuses primarily on the character’s backstory. This helps the audience become equated with who these people are in connection with the overall series storyline. For Warrior, “The White Mountain” is one such episode.

"Warrior" promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb
“Warrior” promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb

SPOILER ALERT

If you have yet to watch this episode, please note there are spoilers beyond this point. Consequently, it is advisable you watch this episode before you continue reading.

Brief Episode Synopsis

Officer ‘Big Bill’ O’Hara (Kieran Bew) discovers a possible solution to his gambling expenses. Penelope Blake (Joanna Vanderham) reveals the exact circumstances which led her to marry Mayor Samuel Blake (Christian McKay). Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) offers Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) a way out of a potentially bloody tong war.

What is Big Bill’s Story?

Even though Big Bill is not someone one would want to cross, he gets his arse handed to him on a platter when the Fung Hai tong send their “stick boy” to give him a friendly reminder. The police sergeant’s gambling debts are mounting. Consequently, Big Bill gets the proverbial sh** beat out of him.

Big Bill, in getting to spend more time with Officer Richard Lee (Tom Weston-Jones), tries to develop a better understanding of the Southerner. During “The White Mountain,” Big Bill and Lee pose with other officers for the local newspaper. Lee is not happy about being in the photograph. This is possibly a publicity stunt to quash swelling resentment for Ah Sahm’s court case. In the scene, the officers are threatening to cut off the braid of an accused Chinese man. The officers know the cultural importance of the braid to Chinese men. With the braid removed, these men cannot return to China.

All Hail the Queen

Screen Capture: Dianne Doan as Mai Ling in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”
Screen Capture: Dianne Doan as Mai Ling in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”

Mai Ling, otherwise known as Xiaojing, has been working overtime getting what she wants done. In “The White Mountain,” via Wang Chao (Hoon Lee), we see Ah Sahm’s sister arrange a meeting with the Fung Hai tong leadership. Mai Ling anticipates the leaderships reaction to her speaking for the tong she represents and has their fish dishes prepared with poison. Despite this, she was not prepared for a decoy. The individual Mai Ling killed was not the real Fung Hei leader. With Wang Chao having set up the meeting as to Mai Ling’s personal order, his personal reputation could be tarnished significantly.

Knowing Penny “Biblically”

The repulsion Penny has for her husband is clear. If she wasn’t, Penny would not feel the need to drug the San Francisco mayor so that he passes out before he can have his way with her. The only reason she married Blake was that she wanted to save her father’s company.

Screen Capture: Andrew Koji and Joanna Vanderham as Ah Sahm and Penelope Blake, respectively, in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”
Screen Capture: Andrew Koji and Joanna Vanderham as Ah Sahm and Penelope Blake, respectively, in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”

In “The White Mountain,” Penny and Ah Sahm get to know each other on a ‘biblical’ level. Their blossoming relationship gets to take the express route to pound-town. As a result of their romantic entanglement, they share with each other personal details. Does anyone else notice, especially because we are now half way through the first season, how convenient this is? We still no relatively very little about the characters. This will change before the season finale’s closing credits.

Mayor Blake’s Extracurricular Activities

Is Mayor Blake the person he purports he is? There are many sides to this character’s personality which would shock the conservatively minded. Tied up in an uncompromising position, Blake is saved by Walter Buckley (Langley Kirkwood) moments before the police raid the boarding house. If you were wondering if Penny knew of her husband’s night time activities, how quickly she mounted Ah Sahm should have been a clue.

Ah Sahm’s New Understanding

Screen Capture: Andrew Koji and Jason Tobin as Ah Sahm and Young Jun, respectively, in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”
Screen Capture: Andrew Koji and Jason Tobin as Ah Sahm and Young Jun, respectively, in the David Petrarca directed Warrior episode “The White Mountain.”

Further to becoming passionate with the Mayor’s wife, Ah Sahm has developed a better understanding of how life works in the city by the bay. Ah Sahm recovery from the beating he got from Father Jun (Perry Yung) during last week’s episode, “John Chinaman,” is a speedy one. There is also a friendship developing between Ah Sahm and the Younger Jun (Jason Tobin). Friends are people one should be able to trust implicitly. “You know you can trust me,” Younger Jun said to Ah Sahm as they both relax with smoke a molasses joint.

Even though there are moments when Younger Jun seems genuinely likeably, there remains something lurking in the background of my mind which tells me he’s not completely trustworthy. Consequently, Ah Sahm must watch his step with his boss’ son. Characters speaking of trust, especially in gang related driven narratives, should be ringing alarm bells. It’s a well-proven trope of both film and television. If a deceitful character mentions trust, there is something sinister behind it.

By the end of their conversation, it is apparent Young Jun is more interested in discovering if he can trust Ah Sahm rather than being trustworthy of his new found friend. Ah Sahm should not allow himself to become deceived by Young Jun. The aspects of the Young Jun’s personality we see are only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more underneath the surface we are yet to discover.

Not Everyone Considers Justice Blind

After the miraculous dismissal of Ah Sahm’s court case, it has a ripple effect of the city’s population. As a result, many of the white San Francisco residents are angry they did not see ‘justice’ done. Via Buckley, the mayor apparently sends a message to the deputy chief of police they will not capitulate to the “Yellow Peril.” Is Buckley doing what the mayor wants or is he pursuing a personal agenda? Like a lot of characters in Warrior, Buckley’s true motives do not revolve around selflessness. Do not forget it is Buckley that positions the mayor in a photograph which could topple his political standing.

What does Shannon Lee have to say about the series?

Final Thought

If there is a “Yellow Peril” in San Francisco, considering what we saw in “The White Mountain,” it is the Deputy Police Chief Russell Flannagan (David Butler). If you remember the raid on the boarding house, you will immediately know what I am referencing.

For stimulating read revolving around “the Dragon” himself, read the Larry Lease written article “Bruce Lee: The Heart of the Dragon.”