Talk about your truth in advertising! There was very little chopsockey in "The Chopsockey Special", and nothing that special.

About the only thing special was the cinematography. The show skipped the usual grindhouse tropes and gave us primary colors, and Chinese settings, and bleak deserts, and ContraCrime Files hand-held realism footage, a weird bit of forced perspective, and a lot more mixed in. Congrats to director Meera Meron: she knows her stuff.


The plot was kind of eh, though. Starting with the framing device. Other than the fact that we learn that Pearl had a daughter named Aki (hmmm...) we don't learn much of anything about anything. Pearl has some kind of connection to the intelligence behind the Scar, and it's not a particularly friendly one. And that's about it. There's a (very) little bit of martial arts fighting: the chopsockey part. And there's a stab or two at stereotypes of Chinese culture. But that's about it. Slather a bit of mystery and fortune-cookie philosophy on the episode, and no explanation necessary.


Most of the episode is dedicated to Arthur's vision quest. And it was about as generic and trope-alicious as you could expect. Arthur wants a nice quiet life with a baby son? Check. Arthur is tortured by his best friend? Check. Arthur is literally crucified to represent how he crucifies himself with guilt? Check. Arthur was a bad kid until he had a life-changing experience with someone? Check.

We do learn the "origin" of Arthur, and how a cop named Sutherland turned him around. Although I wasn't clear how Sutherland ended up wounded. Was he wounded before he came in and confronted Arthur? I couldn't tell. We also got a brief mention of "demos", which seem to be robots or cyborgs (similar to Chris or Aki?).


Anyhoo, adream Aki guides Arthur through these various levels of his subconscious. She's the usual chatty but non-helpful spirit guide. Kind like Pearl the restaurant owner, who also gets to play psychiatrist with Grace a bit., with such gems as, "Learn that there are some things you can't control." Duh. Although it doesn't help that Pearl lampshades a problem with Grace's characterization. First she doesn't care. Then she cares. Then she doesn't care. Then she cares. I'd agree that she should make up her mind.


Besides Aki as mentioned, Chris and Julian appear as fragments of Arthur's dreams. Colin Cunningham as usual steals the show with his casual bloodthirstiness, sarcasm, and hammy overacting. He's like a cross between Nyarlathotep, the Joker, and Killian from the movie version of The Running Man. Chris doesn't have as much to do, other than torture Arthur with gusto and chew on his own arm after Arthur spills sauce on it.


Also, the episode features the return of several dead and/or gone characters. So if you wanted to see the Gentleman, the Scholar, Rib Bone, and Captain Clown Dick again, they're all here. Even if their appearances don't make a lot of sense. It also suggests that Arthur has a very boring life if all his brain can produce is either the guy who got him started as a policeman, or the drivers in the current race.

The most surprising thing about the episode is that... well, it doesn't resolve. It looks like next week Arthur is still trapped in the dream after killing himself. And Grace goes in to find him and bring him out. How she does that, who knows? The power of the Scar, maybe.


Overall, "The Chopsockey Special" was a bit misleading title-wise, and it really didn't progress the plot much. It didn't give us a whole bunch of insights into Arthur or Grace, either. It was a decent enough episode and pretty enough to look at. But not particularly special.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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