Warrior is produced by Justin Lin, Shannon Lee, and Jonathon Trooper. “There’s No China in the Bible” is the second episode of this new thrilling action-drama series set in 19th century San Francisco that centers the experiences of Chinese immigrants living in Chinatown, the Tong Wars, and their life under the oppressive government around them that sees them as less than human.
In episode one, “The Itchy Onion,” we were introduced to our main character, Ah Sahm, played by the talented and charismatic Andrew Koji. We were also introduced into the world of Chinatown and saw glimpses that those in it are more than the facades they put on for people to see.
The last episode ended with Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng) murdering the men who killed Chinese men in the area, a madame by day, Ah Toy is a skilled swordswoman, but her murders throw San Francisco for a loop. Having taken place in one of the White neighborhoods, or as the Chinese population calls it, the Pond, Big Bill (Kieran Bew) and his partner Lee (Tom Weston-Jones) are tasked with making an arrest in the murders. Unfortunately, this leaves Ah Sahm in trouble and detained for simply saving a woman and her ward. Having gotten deeper into the life of the Hop Wei, one of the warring tongs in the area, Ah Sahm isn’t innocent, but he isn’t a murderer.
“There’s No China in the Bible” also begins exploring the rising tensions between the Long Zii and Hop Wei tongs, opening with Young Jun (Jason Tobin), Ah Sahm and another Hop Wei man murdering a group of Long Zii men expanding into their territory. We begin to understand the position that Mai Ling (Dianne Doan,) Ah Sahm’s sister, holds within the Long Zii tong and the power she is looking to gain and maintain.
The violence in this episode is stepped up, with more blood and brutality and exactly what we should expect from warring crime families. Last episode we saw the action focus on quick moments, precise hits, and a little flair. By opening with a bloodied and quick scene, the showrunners set the tone for the world that Ah Sahm has found himself in.
The great thing about the opening fight is the excellent use of props, namely, the signature Hop Wei hatchets. With Ah Sahm standing lookout, the focus is instead on Tobin’s skill as Young Jun, making it clear that there are great fighters throughout the cast, not just Koji. Young Jun’s brutality in the fight also raises the stakes even more for Koji’s Ah Sahm.
Alongside the issues of Chinatown that are results of the warring tongs. Warrior shows us even more of the overt and oppressive racism that the Chinese residents of San Francisco must face. With two crimes, one where white men are the victims and one where Chinese men are, you see where “justice” is expected and where it is not.
Beyond this, even when a Chinese man is defending someone, he is in the wrong, he is to be arrested, and the truth doesn’t matter. Ultimately when Ah Sahm is taken prisoner his name and his actions don’t matter. He is made to be “John Chinaman,” member of the Hop Wei and someone who exists to pin any number of crimes on. His treatment is violent and his hopelessness is palatable.
Overall, “There’s No China in the Bible” continues setting up the world for the story to progress. But the standouts are Mai Ling and Ah Toy. They are women who are not seen as contenders for anything. But in this episode you see them flex their power and you see them building their businesses. Mai Ling is making her name known and is gaining power herself instead of being attached to a man and Ah Toy is much more than a madame.
With episode three coming this week, I’m excited to see what happens next. Does Ah Sahm find his way out of prison? Will the tongs be in all-out war instead of this push and pull dance? The story that Warrior is introducing us to and setting up is one I’ll keep tuning into.
Warrior airs on Cinemax every Friday at 9:00 PM central time.
Warrior, Episode 2 - There's No China in the Bible
“There’s No China in the Bible” continues setting up the world for the story to progress. But the standouts are Mai Ling and Ah Toy. They are women who are not seen as contenders for anything. But in this episode you see them flex their power and you see them building their businesses.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.