The Continental, Episode 2: If I am going to give credit to the creators of “The Continental: From the World of John Wick,” it’s in their curation of needle drops, consisting of a variety of jazz, reggae, classic rock, and classic hip-hop albums. And while the show never feels overwhelmed by the use of songs to the extent that it is validating its 70s setting to the audience, it also feels like the show doesn’t have an auditory soundscape of its own, lost in the shuffle of so many disparate genres of music. It kind of hits at the central problem the existence of this show entails – complexity for a franchise that always prides itself on the simplicity of its plot and emphasizes vibes and absurdity within the self-contained cartoonish violence.

The Continental: From the World of John Wick, Episode 2 “Night 2: Loyalty to the Master” Recap:

With the death of Frankie and Winston’s proclamation, “I need guns, lots of guns,” one might have been mistaken to think that this episode would lead directly to an attack. No such luck because “The Continental” is anything but interested in reaching the point. It does take a stand in terms of how the story would progress.

The episode opens with Frankie’s personal items being given to Winston in an envelope, the body being interred, and Winston and his team standing in front of Frankie’s ashes as a farewell speech, with Winston promising that he will kill Cormac O’Connor himself. That righteous anger does make sense considering the flashback sequence acting as the cold open, which showed Frankie and Winston throwing a Molotov cocktail at a seemingly empty apartment, only to realize from the screams that it hadn’t been. So now Winston and his team have to start making the team a la “Seven Samurai” and “Ocean’s Eleven” style.

First, we catch up with Yen. We see her dreaming about the first time she met Frankie back in Vietnam, where she tried to blow up a restaurant by wearing a suicide vest, except for the vest to fail. As she stands in the middle of the restaurant, flummoxed, her eyes meet Frankie’s. Back in the present, Yen wakes up from her slumber, recovering from the bullet hole that injured her in the last episode. Her rage on learning that Winston had burned her husband’s body without her permission is almost transcendental—choosing to attack and choke him out—until Winston pokes his finger at the bullet hole, and Yen is forced to loosen her grip.

Meanwhile, Miles has a plan to bring in Gene Jenkins (Ray McKinnon), the kooky psychotic sniper who is currently retired from High Table work and fresh off a new bounty at the park. However, he had missed his target for a second there. The ageing horticulturist comes down to his house to find Miles with a proposition: to take down The Continental. Even though Miles ultimately used reverse psychology, he didn’t have to as Gene was almost immediately in with this plan—because, according to him, taking down Cormac O’Connor was a righteous fight.

Speaking of O’Connor, he is not having a good day. After having lost his coin press, he is met by the High Table’s adjudicator, whose white mask covering the lower half of her jaw hides a face so terrifying it apparently scars Cormac mentally enough to stop eating. The adjudicator gives Cormac three days to locate the coin press and the people responsible for the heist at the feet of the High Table. Failure to comply will result in the declaration of “Interregnum” and suspension for Cormac. He finds a window of opportunity here.

Back to Winston, who is now seeking an audience with Mazie, the competitor of Cormac’s, who runs a rival organization at the Bowery. One might wonder what this character has in connection to the Bowery King of the films, played by Lawrence Fishburne. Winston goes to the soup kitchen, and realizing that the old woman is a decoy, he tries to intimidate her, only to be faced by shotguns pointed at him from all sides, except for a woman at the far end who ignores the situation. Realizing that it is Mazie, they shift their conversation to the rooftop, where their interaction is more civil. Winston is ready with a cash offer for hiring these mercenaries, but Mazie apparently doesn’t care for money. She cares for love, or, as it can be interpreted, the love for a story. She believes that her love helped the homeless, giving them a form of invisibility and armor because Mazie, through her love, helped them reclaim their humanity.

The Continental: From the World of John Wick, Episode 2
A still from The Continental: From the World of John Wick, Episode 2

For the person already within his team, Miles and Yen have a side mission where they interact, and Miles reveals his relationship with Frankie and how the battle between Muhammad Ali and Frazier Irving was so potent that, for that day, the war actually came to a halt. It was a temporary moment of peace, which is something they have spent their lives searching for since the war ended. Yen then has to save Miles from attempting a botched robbery because she believes it is a “shit plan.” However, that interaction with Miles contributed to her finally coming to Winston’s side by helping Miles, Gene, and Winston supply the map that Frankie had made, which corresponded very well with Gene’s own blueprint of The Continental. It also helped that when she returned to the theatre, which had been her home, she had been followed by O’Connor’s goons, and she had to use tools within the theatre in traps installed Home Alone-style to murder and cut through the goons.

As for Lou and Lemmy, Lemmy is down to help Winston take revenge for Frankie’s death, not because of his love for Frankie but because of his love for Miles and Lou. Lou, on the other hand, has a character exploration where we learn that she is the only one among her siblings who is still very interested in maintaining Burton Karate as a dojo. She does have her own antagonist in the Orphan Master, a local gambler interested in increasing his business of installing cigarette machines through all the businesses in Chinatown. But because of her refusal, Orphan Master used kids to destroy the glasses in her dojo. She goes to confront the Orphan Master, which gives us one of the few fight scenes resembling a blaxploitation movie. She also has her own creed of not using any guns but using knives because they offer a choice of life and death as opposed to guns. She takes a similar approach to the attack against the Continental by agreeing to help but not directly getting involved.

The final member of the job needs to be an inside man, and that is where Winston has to choose. Thus, while on a reconnaissance mission with Gene, he recognizes Charon sitting on the rooftop of The Continental, having a conversation with the young cellist Thomas. Charon had just finished writing a letter to his father in Nigeria, whom Cormac had promised to bring home to the United States as a reward for his loyalty. Thomas is clearly smitten with Charon and tries to convince him to go with him to the Music College, but Charon refuses, citing his loyalty towards Cormac.

Taking Mazie’s advice to heart, Winston goes about employing Lou to follow Charon and thus identify his weak spot—his father. Having procured the letter that Charon had received from his father, Winston kidnaps Charon in a very interesting fashion by having Lou and Lemmy take over the bus and remove all the passengers except Charon. They finally drive the bus to an abandoned warehouse, where Winston tries to convince Charon of what Cormac O’Connor used to be by telling his story. Back in the day, Frankie and Winston were available for collection from nearby shops in exchange for protection. Frankie started skimming from the top under advice from Winston, and that went on unnoticed until one night, the windshield of the car that they were living in exploded, and they were dragged through the windshield (broken glass and all) to the feet of O’Connor. It was only when Winston revealed his complicity in the scheme that Cormac had an idea to employ them permanently instead of killing them. As he surmises, Cormac only cares about himself, and his loyalty only stems from how much Charon can be of use to him. Winston here offers Charon a way out before it’s too late.

The Continental: From the World of John Wick, Episode 2 “Night 2: Loyalty to the Master” Ending Explained:

One aspect of the plot that hasn’t been touched upon, also because it feels the most ancillary of the lot, is Detective KD’s effort to track down Winston and Frankie Scott and any and all activities related to the Continental. Mayhew, her colleague with whom she is having an affair, warns her time and time again to stop interfering, but KD doggedly pursues her leads, even managing to figure out how Frankie Scott’s body hadn’t been tagged but sold off to a guy in a suit who had been driving a green VW van. KD’s investigation is “The Continental,” trying to explore the normalcy of 1970s New York, hitting against the absurd world of the hotel’s guild of assassins and gangsters. The fact that it still feels half-baked doesn’t bode well.

The episode finally ends with Charon returning to The Continental’s office to find Thomas’s bruised and battered head on the floor, blood spooling out of the dead body, and the cello being destroyed. Ostensibly inviting him to congratulate him on his achievement as well as listen to a piece on the cello (“Loyalty to the Master”), Thomas’s life had already been forfeited when he revealed to O’Connor how loyal Charon is to him, even when given the option to go away from The Continental. In the present moment, O’Connor reveals that he killed Thomas because he dared to steal something vitally important.

In that pivotal moment, Charon decides to reveal Winston’s plan to O’Connor. O’Connor is pleased, such that when asked by Charon as to what Thomas had been sealing, the man replied without missing a beat, “You.” It is both touching and frightening at the same time, held together by Gibson’s almost firecracker-unpredictable energy, at times making you wonder whether he is actually playing a character or playing himself.

The problem with “The Continental” overall is that, though it has been touted as a three-night event, its structuring clearly reveals a bigger plan. The editing, too, makes you feel like you are watching a 10- or 12-episode season compressed to three episodes, and I won’t be surprised if the show leaves room open for a continuation down the line. The Continental is a serviceable action show with enough budget and ambition to sustain modest storytelling. The fact that it is connected to the John Wick universe and the franchise as a whole is just dragging it down because the show is completely focused on over-explaining the world without really focusing on the vibes and absurdity of the action. Here’s hoping that the final episode has some more action set pieces than this one. At the very least, this show will have a killer soundtrack.

 << Previous Episode

The Continental: From the World of John Wick Episode 2 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
The Continental: From the World of John Wick Episode 2 Cast: Mel Gibson, Colin Woodell
The Continental: From the World of John Wick Episode 2 Genre: Action thriller, Crime drama
Where to watch The Continental: From the World of John Wick - Miniseries

Similar Posts