Previously on Gangs of London, Elliott manages to track down and rescue Finn Wallace’s driver, Jack, to hopefully gain some clues on the murder of the late boss. His efforts even catch the eye of the family’s new head, Sean. This is Elliott’s plan all along because he’s an undercover cop trying to infiltrate the criminal organization. While he recovers, Jack is visited by Ed who kills him and makes it look like a suicide in order to keep Finn’s dark secrets from ever being revealed.
We begin with a flashback to Sean’s childhood with him being lured deep into the woods under the guise of a hunting trip. He is surprised when he learns the true motive; his dad’s twisted take on a right of passage to see if he has the stomach for a life of crime. Over the course of the episode, we return to the scene and the events that transpired.
The flashbacks in the second episode of Gangs of London paint a different picture of the cold Sean that dropped an unlucky gentleman off of a building in the series premiere. He’s someone with a chip on his shoulder and some unresolved daddy issues. The experience sheds some light on his reckless actions in the present and his need to prove himself.
We learn more about the other gang heads and they serve as a strong contrast to Sean in terms of leadership. Asif, who’s in charge of the Pakistani heroin ring, has an intimidating presence over his underlings as he investigates a stolen shipment. It’s no coincidence he sees them as nothing more than chattel and disposes them appropriately with a captive bolt pistol. He can strike fear in his friends and foes alike.
Furthermore, when Asif or Kinney, the Welsh Travelers’ boss, interact with Sean, the approach with a respectful tone but are able to hold firm when receiving push back. For the latter, he informs the Wallace organization that his son murdered Finn. He won’t offer up Darren but he does give them the phone used to coordinate the hit.
One of the more intriguing aspects from this episode of Gangs of London, is the political and more cerebral maneuvering of the different groups. Ed and Alex Dumami make executive decisions overriding Sean’s edicts while Lale is responsible for stealing Asif’s product. You don’t know who really is calling the shots as well as how fragile and contentious these partnerships are with all the double dealing.
We also dive deeper into Sean’s older brother Billy. In the flashbacks, it’s he who picks up the slack when Sean can’t go through with his task. The elder Wallace brother proves he has the mettle to be a gangster even at a young age. In addition, through guile and smarts, he is the one to discover Lale’s involvement in Asif’s missing shipment. It begs to wonder if he didn’t struggle with drugs, how the family trade would be run if he were in charge. Being the eldest, Billy should have definitely been in line to be the successor.
The action sequences from Gangs of London continue to impress. The episode is bookended with a daring hijacking in the beginning and an all-out slaughter in the end. Director, Corin Hardy, expertly utilizes sound and viewpoints to create a chaotic and disorienting feel as if you’re right in the center of it all.
Episode two further creates a complicated criminal underworld with frightening bosses and political intrigue. It also builds upon the Wallace brothers and makes you question whether the right one is in power.
Gangs of London airs Sunday nights on AMC.
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