Update: Yes, I loved it.
It's a really pleasant news for me to know that Warrior is finally back. I almost forgot about it! I loved the first season. I can't wait to watch the first episode of the 2nd season tonight and enjoy its intro theme once again!
Well that season 2 started with a bang,great to have a class show like warrior back!
A lot of stuff to unpack was presented in this premiere. A new character was introduced: Rosalita Vega, played by Maria-Elena Laas. I'm guessing she runs the fight pit. I wonder if that means there's a new faction, and she's the leader. That would make her dangerous. All of those fighters or certain ones, people who specifically a lot of fighting against other people; would be working for her; or if it's nothing like that, and she's just someone who runs a fighting pit. Either way, she seems interesting.
There was a new faction introduced: Teddy Boys or Teddy's Boys. I'm pretty sure Ah Toy called them Teddy Boys. But in some descriptions of the episode, they're called Teddy's Boys. If it's the latter, Teddy must be their leader. I wonder if they'll show up again. It's possible that the ones who were killed in the warehouse were everyone in the group. But that may not be the case. If they're still active, I'm interested to see what part they'll play moving forward.
This season had a slightly different title sequence; the thing to note from it are the new cast members. It seems like Dustin Nguyen is a regular cast member for this season. The new additions are Celine Buckens as Sophie Mercer, Miranda Raison as Nellie Davenport, Chen Tang as Hong, and Maria-Elena Laas as Rosalita Vega. Only the latter and Sophie have been introduced in this premiere. I'm interested to see who the other two characters are.
We are finally introduced to Sophie, one of Penelope's sisters. She was mentioned in the second episode of the first season. I wonder if there's a potential romance brewing between her and Leary. I could be reading too much into it, but that first scene of the episode gave me that impression. And the dialogue between her and Penelope at the dinner table after Mayor Blake left interestingly involved a discussion about someone's son who won't stop talking about her, that he's infatuated with her. Even if it isn't romantic, I feel like that wasn't the (first and) last time Sophie and Leary will be in a scene together. Given that he was indirectly responsible for Mercer's death, I think that will add an interesting dynamic between the two of them if Sophie finds out. Most of all, I'm expecting that factor to potentially drive a wedge between Penelope and Sophie if Leary and Sophie start becoming a thing or start hanging out. It's possible that Sophie won't blame him for her father's death, but Penelope will, and that'll act as the catalyst. I really think something is going to start progressing and developing between Leary and Sophie. Romantically or not. I think there will be more scenes with both of them.
And it was subtlety mentioned what Penelope's other sister, Nadine, is up to; conveniently, I should add. But I don't mind. I wonder if there was more to it besides giving us exposition to where her other sister is when Sophie is now apart of the show. Due to the nature of said exposition, I don't think she'll show up at all in this season. If she does, that'll be nice. If not, I hope that she'll be introduced in the third season; that I hope will end up happening. You can be the savior, HBO Max.
Speaking of Leary, we were given a little backstory into his character. He was a married man and a father of two children. It's unfortunate what happened to them. That must have a bigger purpose than showing us that he was probably less of the man he is now back when his family was alive, and probably even more so when they lived in New York. It was almost like it was sad enough that it was a death flag. I know that Leary has his rematch with Ah Sahm in the finale; I saw the thumbnail for it on IMDb. He could die in that fight. Honestly, I hope he doesn't. And I hope he isn't injured in some way, permanently. Despite his flaws, I really like his character. If this show gets renewed for a third season, I'm really hoping that Leary didn't die in that fight because I really want him to continue being in the show.
I really liked the change in atmosphere. It felt very different from the first season. I don't know whether part of it was because a different camera was used to film it. There were instances where there were differences in the way the shots looked. It almost as if the quality was better than in the first season. I know nothing about the way filming works and all that, but maybe it had more to do with a different filming technique, not that a better camera was used. As I was saying, the change in atmosphere was great. We were shown a lot of new locations. I'm not sure if that's an indication of a bigger budget, but I really appreciated it.
The Fung Hai's place looked pretty attractive and somehow fitting for such a tong that consists of people who think they're direct descendants of Genghis Khan, you know? It looked like a place you'd expect people like the Mongols to be in; the way it was assembled and put together; organized and arranged; and all that.
The new looks of San Francisco looked nice, especially in that continuous, panning shot that went upward and looked down through the opening of the ship, then right through it; the inside of the ship where the fight pit is; and the look of San Francisco from above. Everything that was shown before the shot went upward and then down through the ship reminded me a lot of the video game: "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag." I'm guessing everything that was shown is apart of Barbary Coast. Or is that the name of the ship? Either way, everything that was shown on the way to the ship gave me vibes reminiscent of that one cinematic trailer where, at the end of it, it was night, and Edward waltzed away with a prostitute who was walking with someone else. It came across as very pirate-like.
And the warehouse where the Teddy Boys or Teddy's Boys; whichever one it is; the warehouse where they were at, when Ah Sahm, Ah Toy, and Lai came along and killed them. That location was another new one that brought along a different atmosphere compared to the ones from the first season, especially at night. The fight sequence in it was good as well; of course, there's a 'but' coming. But the flip that Lai did from on top of those crates was a little ridiculous. The fight sequences in this show have been grounded and realistic, for the most part. There has been realism, in general. That flip she did was not realistic; at all. I'm guessing a wire was used for the actress to do it; it did look a little off. Even if it didn't look off, it was still unrealistic.
I think the writers are putting too much emphasis on Ah Sahm's loss to Li Yong and making it seem much deeper than it actually is. The reason why he lost isn't what they're making it out to have been. It had nothing to do with his technique of fighting lacking in something. He got arrogant, and that's why he lost. Joe Taslim may be an actual martial artist, unlike Andrew Koji, which makes Li Yong look to be the better fighter. But I don't think his character is a better fighter than Andrew's character. I think Ah Sahm is a better fighter than Li Yong. He would've won if he had gone straight for Li Yong and taken his sash, claiming victory, before Li Yong came to, instead of getting arrogant, playing up to the crowd. I get what the writers are doing with Ah Sahm seemingly lacking something in the fighting department. I get the route they're seemingly taking, and it makes sense. They're probably mirroring Bruce Lee with Ah Sahm's character and how Ah Sahm feels like something is missing, which will lead to him developing and incorporating a different way of fighting, similar to Bruce Lee. The problem is, I feel like it's not only unnecessary but that it's also inconsistent. That's because the actual reason why he lost was, very clearly: arrogance, not that Li Yong was better, or Ah Sahm was lacking something. I guess the writers could use this route of self-discovery for Ah Sahm to actually realize why he lost and that it wasn't a lack of something, and that he'll also discover a new way to develop his fighting skills by incorporating something else.
This was an alright premiere. It focused a lot on continuing plot threads from the first season, which made it a little underwhelming for a premiere; and made it feel like any other episode instead of the first episode of a new season. It continued the plot thread from the end of the previous season with Bill's new "job" as a debt collector for the Fung Hai. It added more development to the plot thread with Bill and Lee hunting down the "Chinese Swordsman," and by extension, going to Chao again to add more pressure in hoping that he'll give them something they can work with. The plot thread with Penelope taking over her father's factory was developed a little more; more tension and pressure is being applied to that plot thread: the Irishmen are creating problems for her; they're attacking some of the Chinese workers who are in her employ.
But this premiere still felt like a premiere because two new characters were introduced: Sophie Mercer and Rosalita Vega. That opens up new plot threads to explore. And there seemed to be other new ones being set up: Ah Sahm and Young Jun are trying to locate a local opium source to make back some of the money they gave away of making by the deal between the Long Zii and the Hop Wei, the scene before the final scene with Buckley and the scene where Ah Toy asked Chao if he had gone to see his secret, to which he replied, "Tomorrow." Speaking of Chao, he does know who the "Chinese Swordsman" is. I was right. He knows that Bill is a debt collector for the Fung Hai, too. I'm very interested to know more about Chao and how he's so informed about everyone's business. And based on the slightly different title sequence, specifically the new cast members' names, there are two others whose characters haven't been introduced yet. Not only that, but the general atmosphere in this premiere seemed different compared to the first season. And there were some new locations, changes in scenery, and shots of places that weren't shown in the first season that really helped add to the change of atmosphere. I appreciated that. Nevertheless, this premiere was underwhelming. I'd rate it a seven out of ten, but it's practically a high six.