‘The Continental: From the World of John Wick’ – ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’ – Review
Things got off to one hell of a bloody, bold and brutal start in The Continental, an all-new chapter in the John Wick Universe which opens up the greater world of high-end assassination that John Wick served in as it transported audiences back to 1970s New York, and a raging war that was going to turn the underworld upside down. Now, with Episode Two, ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’ we begin to see the consequences of Winston Scott’s return to New York City and his pledge to raise this institution to the ground.
Where Episode One, ‘Night 1 – Brothers In Arms’ turned up the volume and gave audiences one hell of a thumping good time, Episode Two, ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’ is a far more layered and character-driven narrative point that takes audiences deeper into the motivations of its eclectic cast of characters, along with opening up the broader world of the John Wick universe, showing us the beginnings of organisations and structures that have become so valuable to the franchise. Director Charlotte Brändström brings a far more character-focused perspective to the series apart from his dynamic action set pieces and disco noir carnage that was first introduced by filmmaker Albert Hughes in Episode One. ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’ takes its time and brings a greater context to the characters of The Continental, but more importantly, Brändström shows that in this world, the consequences of her character’s actions have an even greater effect upon them.
With his brother now dead, an all-consuming revenge is pulsing through Winston Scott (Colin Woodell), and the ascot-wearing confidence man is ready to roll up his leaves, load up on as many guns as he can, and take the fight directly to Cormac O’Connor (Mel Gibson). Brändström’s focus on characterisation sees us focus on the strategic mind of Winston Scott, and actor Colin Woodell makes that his focus in Episode Two. While Frankie (Ben Robson), might have been the muscle of the Scott brothers, Winston’s the far more level-headed of the two, and he’s nowhere near equipped to just go in total John Wick style. For Winston, this is going to be a team effort, and we get to watch him put things together, which leads him to some very dangerous corners of New York, including a meeting with the Queen of the Bowery, Mazie (Zainab Jah). It’s incredibly interesting to see Winston’s character develop, and through Woodell’s performance, we see shades of how Winston is to become.
While Winston builds a crew, KD (Mishel Prada) is drawn deeper into the world of The Continental… and she’s ready to go to extremes to get the answers that she wants. This being the 1970s, the world of good cop/bad cop doesn’t really apply, and in a city this seedy and corrupt, KD’s ‘finger-snapping’ detective work marks her out as a true badass. KD’s presence in the series is important in that it gives audiences a different lens in which to view the narrative of The Continental, and Mishel Prada’s showcases a take-no-shit attitude that makes you want to know what happens next.
One of the most important characters within the John Wick universe also has a serious focus in Episode Two, ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’ in the form of Charon, the long-serving concierge of The Continental and loyal friend to Winston and John Wick, and who was brought to life in a sensational performance by the late, great Lance Riddick. In The Continental, we meet a younger Charon played by Ayomide Adegun, who is abidingly loyal to Cormac and who becomes a key part in Winston’s plan for revenge. In addition to Charon, audiences are also introduced to Gene Jenkins (Ray McKinnon), a former Army sniper and ‘retired’ assassin, who still takes on the occasional job where he sees his skills are necessary. Ray McKinnon brings a fantastic energy to the character, and he’s a definite scene stealer in the world of The Continental.
Again bringing everything together is Mel Gibson as Cormac McCarthy, the proprietor of New York City’s underground who is now facing pressure from The High Table for his recent failings. And the stress is beginning to get to him. A two-time Academy Award winner, Gibson is just having a blast with this manic character. Charged with the highest of treasons and coming ‘face to face’ with The Adjudicator, who is given considerable danger and menace in a superb performance by Katie McGrath, Cormac is beginning to lose it, and his rage really boils over in ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’. Winston picked a hell of a guy to tangle with, and if the end of Episode Two is anything to go by, the blood has only just begun to flow.
So much of Episode Two, ‘Night 2 – Loyalty to the Master’, hinges on a mix of paranoia and violence, and it’s an excellent second chapter of this three-part narrative. Minute by minute, the tension has risen, and it’s about to blow as we move into the endgame of The Continental. So lock and load….because things are going to get loud.
The Continental streams on Prime Video.
Image: Prime Video