Cinemax’s ‘Warrior’ Episode 4: ‘Blood and the Sh*t’

Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) and Young Jun (Jason Tobin) are in a stagecoach with four strangers: a racist white couple, a racist cowboy and a white priest who tries to keep the peace.

The white woman, Nancy (Bianca Amato), is the first to openly voice her revulsion, saying,  “They shouldn’t be allowed to buy tickets. It’s a well known fact that they carry diseases.”

Her husband Shepherd (Ashley Dowds) replies, “Keep your voice down, dear.”

The woman confidently says, “They can’t understand me.” We, of course, know that Ah Sahm can understand them well enough. She has to add, “My God,  the smell alone.”

Sitting opposite the white racists and next to Young Jun is a priest, Father Flynn (Andrew Stock), who quotes Leviticus 19:34 (“New American Standard Bible”): “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.” He concludes, “There’s room for everyone in God’s heaven.”

The cowboy, Mason (Craig Urbani) who is sitting next to racist woman’s husband agrees with her.

Young Jun also complains while Ah Sahm remarks they have been able to get out of Chinatown and take in the “fresh air” of Nevada, Young Jun remarks that where they went was a “dusty shit bowl” with bad food, bad food and bad hotels. He’s not happy about riding in the stagecoach with “hairy ducks,” and he gives this episode it’s title: “I’ll take the blood and shit over the Grass Valley,  Nevada.”

Ah Sahm were sent to bring back a corpse in a coffin which Young Jun says is “fucking coolie work.”

“Neither of you boys speak English, do you?” the priests says. Neither Ah Sahm or Young Jun replies.

Mason declares that the two Chinese don’t speak English or Jesus and  just by looking at them you can tell the Chinese “ain’t fully evolved into civilized humans.” He calls them worms and reasons that’s why they worked on the railroad.

Their coach driver, Lem (Jonathan Pienaar), suddenly informs them, they are making an unplanned stop–not for just a meal, but the night.  The stop is at an isolated saloon run by a woman, Billie (Erica Wessels), and her Chinese cook, Lu (CS Lee).

Ah Sahm and Young Jun lug the coffin off the top of the stagecoach and into the saloon. There Young Jun asks for “Two whiskey, please.”

Billie tells him, “Don’t you mean three. If he’s not drinking, he can’t stay.” She’s referring to the coffin, but remember Young Jun doesn’t speak English well.

Ah Sahm and Young Jun get their two whiskeys.

Mason, on the other hand, is determined to get some sleep, but Billie tells him, “The only beds here come with the whores,” to which Mason replies, “What good is a bed without one?” The available whore is a quiet Native American, Wankeia (Rachel Colwell), and true to his racist principles, Mason declares, “I don’t sleep with no red skin.”

Billie informs him, he’s out of luck because the other one, Sally (Annette Kemp), is upstairs with a customer. Not the patient type, Mason goes upstairs and interrupts the ongoing transaction and Sally’s customer (Francois Groeneward) flees.

The Chinese cook, Lu, comes and talks to Ah Sahm and Young Jun, serving them some real food–drunken chicken. Otherwise from he tells them from there to San Francisco, it is all pork and beans.  He’s from Yubei that is, all things considered, not that far from where Ah Sahm was raised, Fushan. Ah Sahm used to go to a mountain in Yubei.

Young Jun admits to Ah Sahm, “You know I’ve never been to China.” He continues, “I’m a Chinaman who’s never been to China.” Young Jun was “born in San Francisco,” but he knows he’s not considered “American” so “I don’t belong anywhere.”

Once Mason is done whoring he comes down and begins to pick on Young Jun and Ah Sahm about their usage of chopsticks. Although at first Ah Sahm tells Young Jun to ignore Mason, as Mason continues, Ah Sahm stands up and says that Mason would be “easier to ignore without his teeth.”

Father Flynn keeps the peace by offering to buy Mason a drink which is the one vice that the church allows priests.

Young Jun decides to try the Native American whore and their interlude is tender.

Later in the kitchen, Ah Sahm takes his plate to the kitchen and talks to the cook who tells him it’s been a long time he’s seen Chinese at his place and heard white people talking down to Chinese.

Ah Sahm is surprised, “Your place? Aren’t you the cook?”

Lu is not only the cook, he’s the man who planed each plank and put them together. Before that, Lu says, “I’ve done it all ten years on the railroad laying down track.” Then he caught gold fever and spent “five years squeezing gold” out of a site that white people had declared was dry, but then found that he couldn’t get an equal exchange rate for his gold, meaning “twice the work for half the pay, I couldn’t live with that any more.”

Looking through the doorway to the front room, he looks at Billie and says, “That little lady right there, she is my gold mountain.” He advises Ah Sahm, “That’s America. little brother. Plenty of opportunity, just never where you think.”

Young Jun finishes with the Native American whore and comes downstairs. He declares to Ah Sahm that he’s in love. “She’s just like me, a stranger in her own land.” He goes to the bar to get three whiskeys. Father Flynn has passed out.

Mason can’t leave the two Chinese men alone. After being insulted by Mason, Young Jun decides to walk away and tells Mason to “fuck off.” Mason declares that now the “yellow man” with his “little yellow dick” has warmed her up, he wants some “red pussy” so she can experience a real man.

Young Jun doesn’t quite understand what’s being said, but he’s a bit sweet on the woman. It looks like there will be a fight between Young Jun, Ah Sahm and Mason, but suddenly Mason’s head bursts, the blood spattering Young Jun.

The local outlaw Harlan French (Christiaan Schoombie) enters: “Good day everyone.” He apologizes for the little bit of “gruesome.” Harlan is disappointed that the passengers of the stagecoach didn’t leave their valuables in the coach. He instructs his three men to take everyone’s valuables at gunpoint. Harlan questions Lem, the driver, who Harlan pays and tells to let the horses kept in the stable go. Apparently, the regular driver was “indisposed.” Harlan knows Billie and warns her not to try and shoot him and watches her unload her gun.

Not satisfied, Harlan also wants to the coffin. He tells Young Jun and Ah Sahm to take the coffin outside but only Ah Sahm can really understand. The priest says, “It’s sacrilege,”  but Harlan knocks the priest out with the butt of his rifle.

Young Jun tells him: “Fuck your mother.”

Harlan instructs his three men to kill the two Chinese.

Ah Sahm and Young Jun take out the men, and by the time, Harlan runs back in Billie has reloaded her gun and shoots at Harlan who runs back out and with Lem escapes on horseback.

Young Jun takes the guns from the dead men.

In two parallel discussion in English and Chinese, the passengers and Billie and Lu note this doesn’t make sense. Why would Harlan want a coffin? Opening the coffin, they all see that indeed there is a corpse. Ah Sahm plunges a knife into the corpse and after rummaging around, finds a small bag filled with gold nuggets. Young Jun had no idea that there was gold.

The racist woman’s husband, Shepherd declares, “We were all robbed because of a couple of damn Chinese smugglers.”

Billie tells them that Harlan will come back. “He’ll back with an army and he’ll won’t leave anyone standing.” Harlan was wanted for murder and robbery in Carson from a bank robbery a few years back. Hiding out in the desert isn’t an option because “this is his territory and he knows every inch of it.”

The father suggests leaving the gold there and hiding out. Shepherd supports that plan, but remember, these white people have been making plans about someone else’s gold in English, that Young Jun doesn’t really understand.

Ah Sahm then finally addresses the other passengers in English, saying, “That would be a great plan if it were your gold; but it’s not.”  Then he challenges Shepherd, “So all you got to do is come here and take it from me.”

Ah Sahm explains to Young Jun the situation: The horses are all gone. It’s 30 miles to the nearest town. There’s nowhere to hide in the desert.”

In Chinese, Lu addresses Ah Sahm and Young Jun, with a gun in his hand, saying, “You brought death to my house. If you were real men, you’d stay and fight.” Young Jun draws his gun.  Although Ah Sahm and Young Jun believe they will likely die, Lu tells them, “At least I got something and someone to die for. What do you have?”

Ah Sahm signals Young Jun to put his gun down.  Later Ah Sahm tells Young Jun he should leave because this isn’t his fight and he could take the gold back to Father Jun. But Young Jun says, “If I had a brother, I’d like to think I’m the kind of brother that would stay and scrap with him.”  Young Jun tells Ah Sahm that all he has in Father Jun, but he again wants to be brothers with Ah Sahm.

Looking at Billie and Lu, Young Jun asks, “Do you believe that? True love. That would never happen in San Francisco.” So much for civilization.

Young Jun goes up for one last time with the Native American whore, but sees both whores leaving. She asks him to come with her.  Young Jun gives her a nugget of gold and tells her his name and she tells him hers. With a kiss, he watches her leave by the window and tells himself to leave with her.

That leaves a rather scrappy magnificent seven: two couples (Nancy and Shepherd, Billie and Lu), Ah Sahm, Young Jun and the priest.

Under a full moon, Harlan returns with about nine men, including Lem, to see Ah Sahm sitting alone. “You the welcoming committee?” Harlan says that it diesn’t matter what kind of “circus kicks” one does,  “I haven’t met a man who can dodge a shotgun blast pointed straight to the face.”

Ah Sahm attempts to negotiate, but Harlan says, that in order “to negotiate you need some leverage.”

Ah Sahm believes he has some leverage: “If you leave now; I won’t kill you.” Harlan seems amused by that, but that’s short-lived. Ah Sahm rips out his Adam’s apple and then the real fighting begins.

Upstairs, Lu begins firing and is joined by Billie. Then the racist couple are shooting. Nancy reveals some secrets of her own–she’s a crackshot and better than her husband but Shepherd gets shot. Billie and Lu are also shooting, but where is Young Jun and the father? Did they make a run for it?

Young Jun makes his entry from the front, quickly dispatching two men before brawling with a much bigger assailant. After crashing through a window, he’s saved by Wakeia. After the fighting seems done, Young Jun and Wakeia enter the saloon and see the two couples and Ah Sahm have survived. Then from behind, there’s a click of a revolver being cocked, but the father shoots that last gunman dead.

The father, Nancy and Shepherd all survive and will wait for the next stagecoach. Somehow, Billie and Lu have already sent word to the town that they have dead wanted men and expect to get reward money.

At the end, Young Jun and Ah Sahm with hats (Young Jun becomes the man in black) on saddled up horses left by the dead men. Lu bids them farewell, telling Ah Sham, “Get back safely and, when you do, I hope you find something worth fighting for.” He also adds, “I’d ask you to come back and visit us again, but I’m not sure I’d mean that.” The two will ride on to the nearest town and hire a coach there–without the coffin.  After Young Jun tips his hat to Wakeia, Ah Sahm and Young Jun ride off into the sunset to music reminiscent of spaghetti westerns.



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