Gangs of London made its American linear debut on AMC last week. The titular city’s underworld is turned upside down when the head of an organized crime empire, Finn Wallace, is gunned down. His son, Sean, must fill the leadership void and his initial moves irk the other gangs. Meanwhile, Elliott, a Wallace family low level grunt, catches a big lead towards finding Finn’s killer; the whereabouts of the boss’ driver, Jack, who went missing the same night of the murder.
Since the episode is part two of the premiere, we pick right up with Elliott heading deep into Albanian territory to recover Jack and bring him in for questioning. News gets back to their leader, Luan, and he makes a noticeable exit from Finn’s funeral. In a tense confrontation, Luan allows Elliott to return to the Wallaces with the missing driver as long as he tells them it was the Albanians who helped.
In a series with different factions, Luan proves to be an inspirational leader with a code. From the two-part premiere, despite being a criminal, he has a sense of honor. He can be understanding and keep his ego in check even after being belittled by Sean, he still lets Elliott return with a big piece that can help solve Finn’s murder. But he exhibits his icy demeanor executing one of his own for stepping out of line to reinforce his dominance to his underlings.
In addition to the Albanians, Gangs of London provides more insight into the motivations of the other groups as well. Lale and her crew continue to disobey Sean’s orders and search for a means to retrieve their cargo at the docks. She’s can’t afford to be idle and is focusing on short term earnings since she might not have a business long term. She becomes even further enflamed when she finds out one of the other Wallace partners is granted access to the docks.
A new outfit is also introduced, the Welsh Travelers. Their head is the father of Finn’s killer, Darren, and he tracks down his son and sends him off to safety while tying up any loose ends. That includes Darren’s friend and getaway driver. The Welsh Travelers are reminiscent to Brad Pitt’s gypsies in Snatch, and they could be a real wild card moving forward. It doesn’t seem they have any allegiances except to their own and may not be as easily intimidated by other gangs.
We dive deeper into Elliott as well seeing his non-criminal, humanizing life. He cares for his father who is suffering from health problems after a career in boxing. However, the big reveal is that he is an undercover cop trying to bring down the Wallace organization. This explains why he’s a little too sharp and such a skilled fighter for being a nobody in the gang. Elliott’s true intentions deliver one more group working against the Wallaces and another level of intrigue to Gangs of London.
The undercover policeman uses his contacts to help pursue Darren but arrives too late. Elliott is met by a Welsh Traveler goon and their fight is the big action sequence of the episode. Elliott’s opponent is a menacing figure and intimidates even more with his weapon of choice: a giant cleaver you can tell has a lot of victims because of how worn it is. Once again, we’re treated with a raw and exciting battle. You can feel Elliott’s desperation by his frantically grasping at anything he can use to defend himself. Moreover, the stunt choreographers find ingenuitive and unexpected ways to deliver that deathblow.
The other major shocker of the episode is Ed quietly killing Jack so soon after coming back. The pair discuss the secrets that Finn was keeping and the importance of them not coming out. They must be huge since Ed feels it’s worth sacrificing the only lead to his partner’s murder to keep them buried. This is definitely and interesting development and I’m excited to see explore this mystery more.
Crime dramas always have the potential to present a colorful cast of characters and Gangs of London is no exception. Though, Sean Wallace has yet to resonate. He is propped up with that series’ opening scene up top the roof but all his actions afterwards show why no one respects him. It could be by design and he has just lost his father, but he’s seems like that spoiled, entitled, kid desperate for attention.
From shutting down all crime to threatening to kill Elliott when he brings back Jack, Sean isn’t that likeable. Elliott, who’s so many levels below on the totem pole, is openly disrespecting him. This could be the beginning of a transformative character arc but right now, he’s one of the weaker players in the game despite having a prominent role.
The second part of episode one contains the expected vicious and violent action along with two major developments to draw viewers back to the main narrative.
Gangs of London airs Sunday nights on AMC.
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