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ElectricBoogaloo

S01.E05: Sanctuary

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An officer-involved shooting in Chinatown sends shockwaves through the community. Mei-Li and Jin are forced to revisit a traumatic experience from their past. Nicky and Henry make a startling discovery about the weapons.

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Original air date: 5/6/21

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It was nice to see an episode which brought all the characters together in one place, with one overarching situation (which was all quite natural, except for Evan sneaking in through the back even though there was a curfew and the place was "surrounded" by police, and wait a minute, HOW would he even know about warrants being issued, or that it impacted the restaurant, or that Nicky or her family even knew the person being arrested?  Ever heard of using his phone to call?).

For an episode addressing a topical issue, I think they did a pretty good job having the various characters reacting in different ways.  The mother had to play the thankless role as the non-supporter of the protest, but I think the situation they created with the graffiti made her response a little more understandable.  Having her say "Arrest me" was a bit much, though.

This show loves having the center part of the frame be in focus and everything around the center be blurry and warped.  It's a tad strange.

Nicky and Henry do have chemistry and that "thanks for showing me the stretch" was amusing, but Nicky was borderline annoying not even being willing to have a meal and being so impatient.  Wasn't one of the lessons from her mentor to be more patient?

Is that library inside the Chinese Cultural Center?  Maybe they should have made Henry the librarian and he could have an office there, instead of making the whole room their personal private space, complete with a conspiracy board.

There were a number of good character moments in this one.  The writing felt better, though there were a few slightly cheesy lines like Ryan saying he wished he could switch places with Joe.  

This episode also had Henry having a conversation with Ryan... it is always good to have all the characters interacting with each other, since Henry was basically in a silo with Nicky for four episodes.  It seems Nicky's mom knew who Henry was, though?

Edited by Camera One
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Althea's best line of the night was about the cops who wouldn't let her drive through a blocked off street to park so she had to walk: "They had no sympathy for my shoe situation!"

I'm glad the show brought up the fact that Asian-Americans have dealt with racism and discrimination throughout history, not just recently. The main difference is that it's been in the mainstream media more in the last year, particularly in the past few months, but it's always been part of the Asian-American experience. The dragon tail story that the parents made up to explain the broken window was sweet.

Some of the logistics and details of this week's story didn't really make sense (like why would Evan walk to the restaurant instead of calling to give Nicky the news more quickly and how did he manage to do so when there was a curfew and the restaurant was so surrounded by the police that Ryan's boyfriend couldn't leave?) but I appreciated the attempt at the actual content.

3 hours ago, Camera One said:

Nicky was borderline annoying not even being willing to have a meal and being so impatient.  Wasn't one of the lessons from her mentor to be more patient?

I get why she wants to find these weapons as quickly as possible but at the same time, you're a human being who needs to eat meals to stay alive so at least take the time to enjoy having a boba date with a guy who likes you. Plus it's good for your brain to take a break from the research you're doing so that you can come back with fresh eyes.

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I wonder if the show would have made the Black kid that was shot into an Asian kid and still have the Black Lives Matter people still come out to protest and support the family, might have put a unique spin on a theme that seems to be trending on many different TV shows.

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No Kung Fu fighting this week, because the main villain is racism. Not a bad take on a topical subject, and tying it into the racism Nicky's family has dealt with was a good idea, it added something a bit different to a topical issue that has been understandably showing up all over television. It was also nice having almost everyone in the same place for awhile, and we got to explore their dynamics more. Mom was stuck playing a bit of a devils advocate role, but she did have reasons to be worried about their restaurant and its clear that she was dealing with a lot of painful memories.  

I get that Nicky really needs to find the swords, but she really needs to take a break every once in awhile, especially when there's a hot guy who keeps asking her to hang out more outside of the magical sword field. Her tunnel vision must be exhausting to deal with, I am sure that her old teacher would tell her to chill. 

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Pei-Ling: "Do not look for logic where logic cannot live."  Hey, I'm pretty sure that's the motto for many CW shows!  Hell, Riverdale pretty much was raised by that phrase!  Of course, I say all of this with affection, because I wouldn't want my CW shows any other way!

Well, it's already episode five now, so I guess it was about that time for the show to dive into the always topical issues of racism, BLM, and police brutality, along with a reminder that Asian-Americans are also dealing with forms of prejudices and bigotry as well.  Heavy handed as to be expected, but I thought it worked well enough, and I liked how the whole family was involved and even got to be in a scene together again.  While the writing is still trying to feel itself out/spotty at times, I really do think they've done a good job with the family dynamic and how the characters interact with one another.

Althea is clearly not over what happened with her former boss and is still keeping Dennis in the dark about it.  I'm sure it will all come to ahead soon, but hopefully there won't be too much damage (well, outside of her former boss hopefully getting his ass handed to him one day.)  The character and Shannon Dang's performance continues to be a highlight here.

Looks like Ryan and Joe might officially be a couple now.  Hope it won't end up in angst any time soon, but, well, it's television...

Poor Henry just wanting to take Nicky out on a nice dinner date, and all she cares about are those damn magical swords.  Ghost Pei-Ling really needs to get involved here and be all "To quote another wise saying: Just do it!  And by it, I mean him, Nicky!"  At least they still have hot kung fu sparring to tide them over!  

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So the whole Spartacus scene was needed because Althea had a slow data connection and the video kept buffering???

On The Unicorn, Wade was desirable because he had been monogamous for the last 18 years... Nicky has been celibate for the last 3 years- Henry should hope an obsidian engagement ring comes with that dagger in South America. So convenient Althea is going to The Galapagos....

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I was actually annoyed by Henry trying to redirect Nicky off her quest. I guess I'm the sort of person who likes to work until I finish a task, and then take a break after. I actually find him a bit annoying in general, though. It feels to me like he doesn't really take her seriously and is just humoring her because he wants to get in her pants. Also, it annoys me that she can't do the research without him pulling a magical contact out of his hat. I don't want my heroine to be a helpless damsel but for the hunky smarmy dude who rescues her from dead ends. Is she or is she not the hero of this story? 

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4 hours ago, possibilities said:

It feels to me like he doesn't really take her seriously and is just humoring her because he wants to get in her pants. Also, it annoys me that she can't do the research without him pulling a magical contact out of his hat. I don't want my heroine to be a helpless damsel but for the hunky smarmy dude who rescues her from dead ends. Is she or is she not the hero of this story? 

Henry doesn't bother me, and to me, he seems genuinely interested in Chinese antiquities so would be motivated to be on this quest even if he weren't interested in Nicky romantically.

You raise a good point about why Nicky can't do research without Henry.  They haven't given an actual reason, like Nicky can't read ancient Chinese texts but Henry can, or something to that effect.  Plus Nicky could research volcanoes in China herself.  

The whole Randall connection isn't that believable, so I wasn't keen on that popping up again.  Nicky seems a bit too needy asking Henry impatiently how long he thinks Randall will need to find out something.  How would Henry know?  

Edited by Camera One · Reason: Mixed up Razor and Randall! Thanks paigow.
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Razor is the master thief. Randall is the shady dealer with all the intel

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It was nice to see something a bit different even if I think that combining attacks on Asians and BLM was more difficult than the show handled.

Althea gets my vote for MVP for finding the video even though everyone praised Nicky. I'm really liking Ryan and Joe too, they're vulnerable and sweet

 I didn't like Henry insisting that he take Nicky out for a date when they had a breakthrough; a breakthrough is when you want to double down on work. (Personally when I have a breakthrough, I get energized to continue working, not go out for a drink of a meal.) Dinner or a drink is for when you're  stuck.  But otherwise, Henry continues his 'too perfect' streak, after the sexy sparring and the obsidian discovery, he takes Nicky out for a date, and at the end it's his contact that leads her on the step.  Henry is even beloved by Nicky's mother, unlike Evan.

I find it weird in terms of timing to get the lead into her endgame relationship within the first couple of episodes of a series. Usually it takes till the end of season 1.

21 hours ago, Camera One said:

HOW would he even know about warrants being issued, or that it impacted the restaurant, or that Nicky or her family even knew the person being arrested? 

He's an ADA, it's his job to know about search warrants currently being issued especially in a volatile police situation just happening.

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3 minutes ago, statsgirl said:

He's an ADA, it's his job to know about search warrants currently being issued especially in a volatile police situation just happening.

That's good to know this is one thing that actually falls in his actual job description.

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1 hour ago, statsgirl said:

He's an ADA, it's his job to know about search warrants currently being issued especially in a volatile police situation just happening.

ignore obvious video evidence of his ex breaking and entering at Berkeley...

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5 hours ago, Camera One said:

You raise a good point about why Nicky can't do research without Henry.  They haven't given an actual reason, like Nicky can't read ancient Chinese texts but Henry can, or something to that effect.

So far it looks like all the books they consult are in English anyways!

In the picture in the book, is the guy with the flail blindfolded? (Anyways, the eight weapons are flail, axe, polearm/spear (not clear, the head is hidden), crossbow*, pair of hook swords, pair of daggers, some weird Klingon-ish short sword, and the main sword.)

* not only is the crossbow not held ready to fire, it's not even loaded. 

Contrary to the pilot, in this flashback Nicky sleeps in pajamas and not her usual robes. But Pei Ling is wearing all her daytime clothing. Maybe she thinks the nuns won't respect her if she's seen in PJs.

They keep talking about a green glow and yet the sword was inlaid with obsidian... why isn't it inlaid with jade? Too cliche? I don't buy the logic that obsidian inlays mean the weapon creators had to live near a volcano. There are whole trade routes to transport materials around the country and world. Jade (esp nephrite jade) actually does come from a very limited number of sources too, but thanks to trade routes it's available all over China and the whole world.

If Harmony Dumplings is a restaurant that's been in business for decades, there is no way the parents who run the place walk to a local grocery for an armful of supplies. Purveyors would deliver restaurant quantities to the restaurant.

Today in San Francouver geography: the Sam Kee (Jack Chow) building that Nicky and Henry walk by is famous.

Althea's knife skills are atrocious for a restaurant kid. Maybe her parents never let her in the kitchen?

I've moved on from wondering if Nicky's ever gonna get a job to wondering if Henry has a job.

The whole BLM plot has been heavy-handed AF but I did like when the kids overrode the parents and let protestors into the restaurant. And everything in the restaurant was great until Althea somehow rescued Joe with the next best thing to a Pepsi, Kylie Jenner style. That part was ridiculous, not just for somehow shaming cops into doing the right thing, but that Althea waited till the cops were coming in to search for exculpatory video. She did it in minutes! If she had started when Evan first alerted them, she could have probably gotten Evan to help drop the arrest warrant altogether.

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13 hours ago, arc said:

but that Althea waited till the cops were coming in to search for exculpatory video. She did it in minutes! If she had started when Evan first alerted them, she could have probably gotten Evan to help drop the arrest warrant altogether.

I thought she said the BLM social media director was late in posting the video...

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2 hours ago, paigow said:

I thought she said the BLM social media director was late in posting the video...

I guessssssss but she said she searched for the hashtag! There should have been people live-streaming it! By the time Evan dropped by there would have been a whole bunch of uploads by protesters whether or not the official organizers were late to post theirs.

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While this was much better than their usual story of the week, once again it wraps up too neatly in the end. I feel like they don't really have a clear plan for this show. 

I did like seeing everyone together. The family dynamics still remain the best part.

I am still trying to figure out Henry, I think most people would be annoyed with Nicky's one track mind. I mean I guess the mystery of the glowing weapons is really interesting. But doesn't he have anything else to do? Maybe not since it seems like the parents, Ryan and Evan seem are the only ones with jobs.

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52 minutes ago, Sakura12 said:

I am still trying to figure out Henry, I think most people would be annoyed with Nicky's one track mind. I mean I guess the mystery of the glowing weapons is really interesting. But doesn't he have anything else to do?  Maybe not since it seems like the parents, Ryan and Evan seem are the only ones with jobs.

I assumed Henry was working part-time at the cultural center teaching classes.  He also mentioned having TA duty in the second episode when Nicky was hoping to do research.  He is a grad student doing a Masters degree in "Ancient Chinese History".

Edited by Camera One
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51 minutes ago, Sakura12 said:

I think most people would be annoyed with Nicky's one track mind.

But every detective show ever has the detective obsessed with their case. That's what these kinds of shows do. 

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3 hours ago, Camera One said:

I assumed Henry was working part-time at the cultural center teaching classes.  He also mentioned having TA duty in the second episode when Nicky was hoping to do research.  He is a grad student doing a Masters degree in "Ancient Chinese History".

When grad students TA, that usually means they at the university where they're enrolled. But it's possible that he's also teaching classes at the cultural center in addition to being a TA.

ETA: I'm still laughing about UCSF having a great collection of Chinese texts so now I'm picturing Henry just barging into random med school classes and yelling about Chinese history.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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59 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

When grad students TA, that usually means they at the university where they're enrolled. But it's possible that he's also teaching classes at the cultural center in addition to being a TA.

The classes at the cultural center would definitely be a separate part-time job.  He's teaching tai chi there.  Unless he's just volunteering, but university students would need a source of income to pay tuition, so many Masters students I know also work part-time.

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I'm still laughing about UCSF having a great collection of Chinese texts 

Yeah, that's just really bad research/fact-checking by the Writers.  Maybe Henry has an exclusive underground source for ancient Chinese texts, from a mysterious figure simply called The Librarian.

Edited by Camera One

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5 hours ago, possibilities said:

But every detective show ever has the detective obsessed with their case. That's what these kinds of shows do. 

This is the 2021 take on Kung Fu and the whole "wandering do-gooder" genre, with much more pronounced mytharc than those shows used to have. Nicky isn't only obsessed with Zhilan; she's also taken on the triads shaking down Chinatown shops, the abuser leeching off Rhonda's mom, and the streetwear company exploiting its garment workers.

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All the more reason for her to be focused on her mission and not focused on dating.

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Being single-minded and persistent is great, but maybe where some people might get annoyed is how she is heavily reliant on other people for intel and research (Evan and Henry in particular, but also Althea when she is needed), and she seems to expect them to drop everything to support her current mission.  As stated above, Nicky could continue to do research herself, but in a previous episode, she is disappointed Henry has to TA and just waits until he's free to start research.  In this episode, she could simply have said she will stay in the library and Henry could go grab some take-out to bring back if he's hungry.  Her single-mindedness has also made her disregard other people's priorities, such as the request by Ryan to convince their father to get a health check-up.  And Nicky is also prone to jumping around from one single-minded pursuit to another, when she is presented with a new case-of-the-week.  I do like Nicky, but I'm unsure if this is a case of intentional writing to make her a flawed character, or if it's unintended and thereby sloppy writing that ends up making the protagonist look bad.

Edited by Camera One
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I like Nicky, but it's clear they have to dumb her down to make her rival love interests relevant. Otherwise, we would all complain about how they're not integrated with the plot. Yes, Nicky could do research on her own, but those scenes are better spent on the family members- who go back and forth about being family/crime of the week plot characters. Is it perfect, no? But I'd rather watch a show that's focused on the characters, that only has one over-arching plot, rather than ten different plots to incorporate the characters otherwise.

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Loved the Nicky/Henry scene at the start; LOL at people walking in on them, because, yes, y'all are in a public place, get it together!

I know this is a CW drama, but if there's one thing I need, it's Althea and her finacé to be okay. I'll take take drama from every other place.

The conclusion with the police officers was *meh* and unrealistic, but overall I thought the show did a good job of incorporating the network-mandated BLM plot, while also highlighting discrimination against Asian-Americans, and moving along their other ongoing plots.

Still like all the characters, they're the best part of the show.

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3 hours ago, william0102 said:

I like Nicky, but it's clear they have to dumb her down to make her rival love interests relevant. Otherwise, we would all complain about he male leads of shows how they're not integrated with the plot. Yes, Nicky could do research on her own, but those scenes are better spent on the family members- who go back and forth about being family/crime of the week plot characters. Is it perfect, no? But I'd rather watch a show that's focused on the characters, that only has one over-arching plot, rather than ten different plots to incorporate the characters otherwise.

Somehow writers manage not to dumb down the male detectives who lead shows, so I just don't buy that it's necessary to do that to Nicky. She's the least interesting and most  helpless character in the show-- it's crazy.

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8 hours ago, possibilities said:

Somehow writers manage not to dumb down the male detectives who lead shows, so I just don't buy that it's necessary to do that to Nicky. 

With most detective shows, the male detective is actually employed to solve cases, so they get help from co-workers or experts who are partly assisting them as part of their normal job, or they are equally motivated to solve the case.  This show's setup makes it more awkward, because Nicky's quest for the weapons and revenge is a personal quest, so anyone who helps her is basically doing her a personal favor.  I agree that how they are writing Nicky is not necessary, and I just hope that the Writers were self-aware enough to see the problem at this point, or if not, hopefully they see viewer feedback and adjust accordingly.

Edited by Camera One
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