DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Continental: From the World of John Wick Season 1 Episode 1, “Brothers in Arms,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
The John Wick franchise took the world by storm with its stylized ultraviolence and high-octane action. Well, that and the Keanu Reeves of it all. Peacock seeks to capitalize on the John Wick craze with the prequel miniseries The Continental: From the World of John Wick. “Brothers in Arms” brings Winston Scott back to NYC to protect his older brother from Cormac, the merciless head of The Continental. So far, it’s … an okay start. The series lacks charm and feels hollow. Some of the visuals are Wick-ian, especially New York at night, and there are fun fight sequences, but it somewhat misses the mark left by its predecessor.
That said, two episodes are left, and I’ll keep watching with an open mind. The performances are solid, even though the show tries to make the lead actor fill that Reeves void. Admittedly, this is an impossible task.
Ready to delve into “Brothers in Arms”? Let’s get to it.
We open with a flashback to 1955. Two young boys sit in a police station, Frankie and Winston Scott. As the older brother, Frankie takes the fall for a crime Winston committed. Winston sobs but complies with what his brother asks him to do. Then, we speed forward years later to sometime in the 1970s. An adult Frankie (Ben Robson) mingles among the New Year’s Eve party at The Continental. He chats with Cormac (Mel Gibson), who claims he took Frankie under his wing.
After ensuring the partygoers see him, Frankie departs the hotel. He reunites with his partner, and they proceed to rob Cormac of his most prized possession: an ancient coin press. We know how valuable gold coins are in this world. When the partiers ring in the New Year, Frankie and his partner seize the distraction to break open Cormac’s safe, extracting the press. Unfortunately, Frankie’s partner turns on him and tries to steal the press for himself.
Then, a bevy of Cormac’s hired muscle appear, guns blazing. They catch Frankie in the act. Naturally, a fight ensues. Once Frankie takes care of everyone within, he hops out of the window with the coin press. Before one of Cormac’s men shoots him, Yen (Nhung Kate) swoops in to save the day with the getaway car.
Later, we see an adult Winston (Colin Woodell) sitting at a table with some older gentlemen in London. He’s quite the financier in these parts. He’s trying to get one man in particular to invest in his idea for car parks. The man brings his wife over, Mrs. Davenport (Claire Cooper), who’s unconvinced that this would be a suitable investment. However, Winston talks his way into Mr. Davenport signing on the dotted line.
That evening, we learn Winston’s having an affair with Mrs. Davenport. She wanted her husband to invest in Winston’s car parks, but she played devil’s advocate to secure the deal. They have sex to groovy music (it is the ’70s, after all). This room has a killer view, too. While she’s in the shower, Winston is sedated and carried out of the hotel in a laundry cart.
Meanwhile, Cormac reprimands his henchmen for failing to track down Frankie and the coin press. We see Charon (Ayomide Adegun) is with him. Cormac orders one of his minions to jump to his death. We see him do just that as Winston is led into The Continental. Welcome home, bud. Winston reunites with Cormac. Cormac orders Winston to find Frankie before he kills him. Winston wants nothing to do with Cormac and his world; however, he’ll do what it takes to protect his brother. He knows how ruthless Cormac can be. Charon escorts Winston to the elevator. He’s never heard anyone talk to Cormac that way.
Later, KD (Mishel Prada) and Mayhew (Jeremy Bobb) get some early morning action before they begin their day. KD works on the force, and it seems Mayhew is her supervisor. Oh, and Mayhew’s married, so this is affair territory. But everyone appears content with this arrangement. Then, we pop on over to Miles (Hubert Point-Du Jour), Lou (Jessica Allain) and Lemmy (Adam Shapiro), who might be close to meeting their Maker. A formidable (and sexist and racist) mob dude is about to kill them. Thankfully, they gain the upper hand, slaughtering everyone there except the aforementioned mob dude. (He does get his fingers handed to him, though.)
KD watches the mob dude make a beeline for The Continental. She snaps photos of him. She tries to tail him inside the hotel, but Mayhew bars her entry. He urges her to steer clear, stating that it’s dangerous. Naturally, KD is irritated.
Next, Winston reunites with a young Charlie (Peter Greene). He informs Charlie about Frankie’s situation. Charlie gives Winston his vehicle to drive around the city. However, Winston must cover it when it’s parked. That’s Charlie’s baby, you know. Meanwhile, Miles, Lou and Lemmy arrive home after almost dying. Lou is tired of all the mob/underworld stuff. Miles insists this transaction is the last one, which will be a boon for their business. Lou just wants to keep their karate business afloat with more legal methods.
Then, Winston enters Lou and Miles’ establishment. Initially, they flirt until Lou discovers who he is — he’s Frankie’s younger brother. Frankie used to work with them until he bailed. There’s bad blood between them. Hesitantly, Lou allows Winston access to their basement, where Miles and Lemmy are. They brandish their weapon at Winston. Winston rattles off a fact about Frankie only he would know, making the men let their armor down ever so slightly.
Miles fills Winston in on what transpired between Frankie and their group. Frankie seemingly vanished after abandoning them during a crucial job. There’s talk he might be in Alphabet City, Winston’s old stomping grounds.
We leave Winston for a hot minute to check in with Adjudicator (Katie McGrath), whose henchman is beating the snot out of Frankie’s partner from the night Frankie stole the coin press. Adjudicator wants to know how much this man received for attempting to foil Frankie’s plans. She gives context regarding the coin press and its value to NYC’s underworld. Then, she orders her man to kill her prisoner. Adjudicator looks formidable as hell.
Later, KD nonchalantly enters The Continental. She surveys her surroundings. After getting a drink, she notices the patrons behaving strangely. KD asks the concierge (Sallay Garnett) if she can get a room. Unfortunately, they’re all booked up. The concierge offers recommendations for nearby hotels, but KD declines, simply departing. I know her Spidey senses were tingling while in that hotel.
Next, Winston wanders into an abandoned theater, where he finds a mannequin sitting in the front row with the words “F*ck you” written on its forehead. That mannequin is enjoying some Woody Woodpecker cartoons on the big screen. Suddenly, Winston is strung into the air via a noose. Frankie and Yen emerge from the shadows. Once Frankie sees who their prey is, he releases Winston. Talk about an emotional brotherly reunion.
Yen instantly distrusts Winston, but Frankie’s somewhat willing to hear what his brother has to say. Winston reveals that Cormac is pursuing him and the coin press. Winston was asked to retrieve Frankie; however, he refuses to do anything for Cormac. He suggests they leave the theater and find a better place to hide. Winston tells Frankie he’s loaded — he can give Frankie and Yen enough money to disappear forever.
Their conversation is cut short when Cormac’s men topple out of three black cars. They storm the theater. Our trio escapes just in time with the coin press in tow. Winston drives them to Charlie’s place, where it’s safe. We learn Frankie and Yen are married, and they hope to start a family soon. Of course, all the mob stuff is a significant obstacle. Meanwhile, Cormac asks Charon to summon The Twins to take out Frankie. Charon informs Hansel (Mark Musashi) and Gretel (Marina Mazepa) about Cormac’s wish to enlist their services for another assignment.
While showering, KD hears a sound in her apartment. She wanders out to find a hefty file from Mayhew on Frankie. She flips through it, discovering he deserted the army and was arrested as a child. At Charlie’s, Winston and Frankie have it out. They air their dirty laundry. Winston always felt abandoned by Frankie, who pushed him away. Frankie insists he did that to protect Winston and ensure he had a good life. Well, seeing Winston is planted squarely in the middle of the conflict, that doesn’t matter now.
Then, Yen discovers one of Charlie’s men betrayed them. He called Cormac to report on Frankie’s location. Winston, Frankie and Yen zip out of there, with Cormac’s men hot on their heels. It’s a stylized car chase incorporating Matrix-esque slow-mo moments and plenty of flying bullets. Their vehicle crashes once they’re back in the city. Cormac’s men lead them inside a building, but it’s not long before Winston and Frankie turn the tables on their potential captors.
Later, Yen herself gets in a badass fight with one of the baddies inside one woman’s apartment. How that woman slept through that fight, I’ll never know. Well, unless certain paraphernalia was involved. Meanwhile, The Twins, dressed identically with matching haircuts, hold their guns while riding the elevator to greet Frankie. Next, Frankie, Winston and Yen board a helicopter on the roof with the coin press in hand. Hansel and Gretel shoot the helicopter pilot, but he can still fly said helicopter.
While in the air, Frankie is struck with a realization. No matter what, Cormac will always pursue him. That means Yen and Winston will incessantly be in harm’s way. Frankie tells Yen he loves her and kisses her. He urges her and Winston to work together. Then, he takes the coin press and leaps out of the helicopter. Frankie stands on the building ledge, prepared to jump. However, Hansel and Gretel shoot him in the head. Winston and Yen scream.
Later, Cormac opens the coin press. Instead of getting what he wants, he finds a monkey statue flipping the bird. Winston knocks on Miles’ and Lou’s door while holding up Yen, who was shot on the roof. Lou and Miles answer. He tells them he needs guns and a lot of ’em. This means war.
Will Winston and Yen get revenge for Frankie’s death? Can KD crack open the case? Only time (and two more episodes) will tell.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick streams new episodes every Friday on Peacock.
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