BOO! HBO is full of tricks and treats. How about the trick of accumulating the most Emmy wins a few weeks ago? SUCCESSION and WATCHMEN were solid and how about Zendaya’s win? Well, unfortunately, no new seasons are in sight for any one of them but, that doesn’t mean HBO doesn’t have plenty of cinematic treats ahead. Here is a look at what is on the schedule for October 2020.
A few quick points:
We will finally be seeing Kidman & Grant this month
World-Class music artist David Byrne offers an HBO Special
We get a New Docu-comedy to the lineup
There’s a visit to the West Wing over on HBO Max
and, HBO is brave enough to show us CATS
HBO Original Series: We start off with the long-awaited THE UNDOING. From Emmy, Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning director Susanne Bier (The Night Manager) and the Emmy-winning creator of BIG LITTLE LIES, David E. Kelley and starring Emmy and Academy Award and Golden Globe-winner Nicole Kidman (HBO’s BIG LITTLE LIES) and Emmy nominee Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), comes this six-part limited series. You will find it debutingSUNDAY, OCTOBER 25 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT),exclusively on HBO. The limited series follows Grace (Kidman) and Jonathan Fraser (Grant), who are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight, a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and her family.
THE UNDOING also stars Edgar Ramirez as Detective Joe Mendoza; Noah Jupe as Henry Fraser, Jonathan and Grace’s precocious and artistic 12-year-old son; Lily Rabe as Sylvia Steinetz; Noma Dumezwe as Haley Fitzgerald; Sofie Gråbøl as Catherine Stamper; Matilda De Angelis as Elena Alves; Ismael Cruz Córdova as Fernando Alves; and Donald Sutherland as Franklin Reinhardt, Grace’s father, a retired financier and loving grandfather who is tasked with protecting his family when turbulent revelations come to light.
This series was ready to air earlier this Spring but HBO decided to hold it off until later in the year, as not to have a dearth of programming now. We finally ger to see the characters unravel in THE UNDOING.
In that same time slot in the three weeks prior to 10.25 is the final three episodes of LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. We have been following all the strange doings in & around them parts and it has been one crazy ride. You can be sure that October’s entries will not let us down. It continuesSUNDAY, OCTOBER 04 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT).All we have as of this writing are episodes titles:
Switching over to Monday nights we have two unique series airing in primetime. The first is a surreal, creepy examination of grief. It isTHE THIRD DAY, which continues starting MONDAY, OCTOBER 05 (9:00-10:00pm ET). Jude law’s story arc is concluded and the new arc called “Winter” begins starring Naomie Harris. What tale of grief from the island of Osea does she have for us? Episode brealdown might offer a clue:
–Episode 4: “Monday – The Mother”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 05 (09:00-10:00pm)
Helen (Naomie Harris) surprises her two daughters, Tallulah (Charlotte Gairdner-Mihell) and Ellie (Nico Parker), with a trip to Osea Island for Ellie’s birthday. After finding that the cottage she booked is suspiciously no longer available, Helen scours the island for a place to stay, but finds resistance at every turn. Written by Kit de Waal, Dean O’Loughlin and Dennis Kelly; directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
–Episode 5: “Tuesday – The Daughter”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12 (09:00-10:00pm)
As the islanders prepare for a fateful birth, Helen (Naomie Harris) reveals her true intentions in coming to Osea and, after joining a search party, is pressed on her past. A peculiar girl befriends Ellie (Nico Parker) and offers to take her to a mysterious place closed off to outsiders. Written by Kit de Waal, Dean O’Loughlin and Dennis Kelly; directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
–Episode 6: “Last Day – The Dark”
Beginning MONDAY, OCTOBER 05 (10:00–11:00pm ET/PT). Is the continuation of Luca Guadagnino’s WE ARE WHO WE ARE. This eight-episode series gives us American youths living in Italy, because of military parents, living the moment – right here, right now.
Here is a glimpse at what is going on in their lives in October:
–Episode 5: “Right Here Right Now IV”
Debut Date: MONDAY, OCTOBER 05 (10:00-11:00pm)
With his deployment timeline fast-tracked, Craig (Corey Knight) spontaneously proposes to his Italian girlfriend, Valentina (Beatrice Barichella). Determined to ship him off with a celebration he’ll never forget, his friends pool their resources for a Hawaiian-themed wedding that leads to an evening of debauchery. Written by Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Giordano, and Francesca Manieri; directed by Luca Guadagnino.
–Episode 5: “Right Here Right Now V”
Debut Date: MONDAY, OCTOBER 12 (10:00-11:00pm)
As the power struggle between Sarah (Chloë Sevigny) and Richard (Scott Mescudi) escalates, the relationship between their wives continues to grow, and Sarah fuels the fire by spending time with Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón) on the base’s virtual shooting range. Later, Caitlin asks Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer) for help making a bold statement; Danny (Spence Moore II) questions Jenny (Faith Alabi) about his biological father as he dives deeper into Islam; and Fraser forms his own connection with Jonathan (Tom Mercier). Written by Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Giordano, and Francesca Manieri; Directed by Luca Guadagnino.
–Episode 6: “Right Here Right Now VI”
Debut Date: MONDAY, OCTOBER 19 (10:00-11:00pm)
Sarah (Chloë Sevigny) is thrilled to learn about her son’s burgeoning friendship with Jonathan (Tom Mercier) and, grateful for a strong male influence in Fraser’s (Jack Dylan Grazer) life, encourages them to spend more time together – even if Maggie (Alice Braga) doesn’t understand. Richard (Scott Mescudi) uses a father-daughter hunting trip to get inside Caitlin’s (Jordan Kristine Seamón) head. Later, Sarah receives a phone call that will forever alter life on base. Written by Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Giordano, and Francesca Manieri; Directed by Luca Guadagnino.
–Episode 7: “Right Here Right Now VII”
Debut Date: MONDAY, OCTOBER 26 (10:00-11:00pm)
The friend group fractures even further over their hatred for Colonel Wilson (Chloë Sevigny), whom they blame for a tragedy that’s rocked the base. As Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón) momentarily pauses her self-discovery journey and Danny (Spence Moore II) fully commits to his, Richard’s (Scott Mescudi) insubordination reaches a breaking point, forcing Wilson to make a difficult decision. Written by Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Giordano, and Francesca Manieri; Directed by Luca Guadagnino.
Finally,ROOM 104will close its door to us. After four seasons and forty-eight episodes, the anthology concludes. It offers its lat two episodes beginning FRIDAY, OCTOBER 02 (11:00-11:30pm) They are –
It’s 1987 and friends Finley (Jordyn Lucas) and Grey (Natasha Perez) crash Room 104 to celebrate their last summer before starting high school, but Grey’s insecurities flare up when popular jock John (Jake Green) comes over. Written and directed by Mel Eslyn.
While Keir (Ntare Mwine) prepares for his Generations Ceremony, he reflects on his life and relives painful memories of the moments that shaped him. Written by Julian Wass; directed by Sydney Fleischmann.
Maher is back in the studio with REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER! Putting up with him as of late has been the likes of Jim Belushi, Bernie Sanders, Michael Cohan, Jane Fonda and Ewan McGregor to name a few. His long-running stintcontinues the season FRIDAY, OCTOBER 02 (10:00-11:00pm) and runs the subsequent Friday nights for the month. You can’t say Oliver has been resting on his ass, even though he had only one installment in September, because he just walked away with his fifth Emmy in a row. LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER. resumes its runSUNDAY, OCTOBER 04 (11:00-11:30pm) and each Sunday for the month. We owe Bill Maher a clip so here is his brief moment about RBG.
Movies:Out of the four theatrical movies debuting on HBO two of them are real horror stories. I’ll let you figure out which two as we tell you about DOWNHILL, CATS, EMMA and BLACK CHRISTMAS.
So, it might be the approach for sweater weather for some, but do we need winter activity already? HBO seems to think so as it gives us DOWNHILL starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. An idyllic ski vacation in the Alps takes a dark turn for a couple after a near-death experience forces them to reconsider their relationship. Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell star in this biting remake of the acclaimed Swedish film Force Majeure that finds the couple rocked by their reaction to nearly being killed in an avalanche. “A character-driven comedy working its way through a painful and real conflict” (Film Threat). Directed by Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; screenplay by Jesse Armstrong and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash. We can take to the slopes when it premieres on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 03 (8:00–9:30pm ET). Memories of a critically trashed theatrical run come to mind next as HBO boldly & bravely presents CATS to the schedule. The best thing to do though is to judge it for yourself. You get that chance when it debuts SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10 (8:00-9:50pm ET). An all-star cast and state-of-the-art CGI effects bring to life Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved smash musical based on the poems of T.S. Eliot. Starring James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Francesca Hayward. Directed by Tom Hooper; screenplay by Lee Hall & Tom Hooper.Launching on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24 (8:00-10:00pm ET)is a full 2-hour treatment of EMMA. A ravishing, hilarious new take on Jane Austen’s classic comedy, this stellar film stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the mischievous titular character who meddles in the love lives of those around her. “An unalloyed delight” (Movie Nation). Co-starring Johnny Flynn, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart and Bill Nighy. Directed by Autumn de Wilde; screenplay by Eleanor Catton, based on the novel by Jane Austen. If your town does not get to observe Halloween in any form or fashion you can always settle in for BLACK CHRISTMAS.DebutingSATURDAY, OCTOBER 31 (8:00-9:30pm ET)is this remake of a 1974 slasher film. t’s a Jingle Bell bloodbath at a college campus in this one. With the hallowed halls of Hawthorne College quiet over Christmas break, a cloaked killer begins targeting the party-hearty youths–until the tough coeds of the Mu Kappa Epsilon sorority house fight back in this chilling remake of the vintage classic. “A women’s horror film for a new generation” (Los Angeles Times). Starring Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Caleb Eberhardt and Cary Elwes. Directed by Sophia Takal; written by Sophia Takal & April Wolfe. Take a peek:
HBO Documentary Films: The first documentary of the month isSIEMPRE, LUISwhich debuts TUESDAY, OCTOBER 06 (8:00-9:35pm ET). It is a portrait of pioneering activist Luis A. Miranda Jr. (pictured). The documentary centers on Miranda Jr. who left Vega Alta, Puerto Rico for New York City in the 1970s. Filmed over the course of a year, Luis’ devotion to family and country propels him forward despite recent health issues. Always searching for ways to assist communities in need, particularly when his beloved Puerto Rico is suffering, Luis moves to action following the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, coordinating relief efforts and raising money and awareness. It is followed, on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16 (8:00-9:25pm ET), by a documentary about cyber-crime. Based on a best-selling book by New York Times national security correspondent David E. Sanger, THE PERFECT WEAPON explores the rise of cyber conflict as the primary way nations now compete with and sabotage one another. As fear mounts about how potential cyberattacks will affect 2020 elections in the U.S., the film features interviews with top military, intelligence and political officials and includes on-the-ground reporting from the frontlines of the cyber wars. It is directed by John Maggio. But we’re not done; one more new documentary to list for the month is 537 VOTES. It details how the international custody battle over six-year-old Elian Gonzalez triggered a political earthquake in Miami-Dade County in 2000, swaying the outcome of the presidential election. After election day, with the margin of victory hinged on Florida, George W. Bush won the presidency by a mere 537 votes. Relive that election and the hanging chad when this film debuts WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21 (9:00-10:50pm ET).A work entitled THE SOUL OF AMERICA is also on the slate. It is a documentary film based on Jon Meacham’s 2018 bestseller, which illuminates our present-day, fraught political reality by exploring historical challenges of the past such as the women’s suffrage movement, the incarceration of Japanese Americans, McCarthyism, and the struggle to pass Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. All were instances in which “our better angels” battled against the forces of hatred and division that are recurring themes in American life. Directed by Katie Davison, produced by George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt, executive produced by Peter Kunhardt. Find it TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 (9:00-10:15pm ET).We don’t have much information at this time but also look for BURNING OJAI: OUR FIRE STORY as blazes rage. It debuts WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28 (7:00-7:45pm ET).Also, completing its run, is the nine-episodes docu-series THE VOW. That is the one examining the NXIVM organization. Installment #7 leads the month on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 04 (10:00-11:00pm ET) and it concludes at the same time with #9 on 10.18. The news-breaking documentary series AXIOS will continue to work with Axios journalists to cover it all – politics, business, technology – and share insight on other big topics shaping the future. Find #29 debuting MONDAY, OCTOBER 12 @ 11:05pm & # 30 debuts MONDAY, OCTOBER 26 at 11:15pm.
You just watched, I hope, the trailer for a new comedic docu-series calledHOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON. It is a first-person documentary series hosted by an anxious New Yorker who attempts to give everyday advice while dealing with his own personal issues. Acting as both cameraman and narrator, John covertly documents the lives of fellow New Yorkers in a comic odyssey of self-discovery, inevitably making the audience comfortable with the awkward contradictions of modern life. So, each week he roams NYC with a camera and a theme. First up on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23 (11:00-11:30pm ET)is “How To Make Small Talk”followed on 10.30 with “How To Put Up Scaffolding.” Okay?
HBO Specials: The musical artistry of David Byrne (famed solo and Talking Heads performer) developed into a Broadway show and now becomes an HBO Special courtesy of the artist and director Spike Lee. DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA debuts SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17 (8:00-9:45pm ET). It was filmed during its Broadway run at New York’s Hudson Theatre, where it received much critical fanfare and played to sold-out houses during its late 2019 to early 2020 run. Featuring David Byrne (former Talking Heads frontman) and an ensemble of eleven musicians from around the globe, the show invites audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount. The HBO special was the Opening Night Presentation for the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it received tremendous critical acclaim. The film includes choreographed, untethered performances of songs from Byrne’s 2018 Nonesuch album American Utopia. For me, this is one of the treats for the month of October Is it for you too?
HBO Sports: A new sports documentary is in the lineup and seems quite interesting. It isWILD CARD: THE DOWNFALL OF A RADIO LOUDMOUTH. It charts the rise and fall of prominent New York sports radio personality Craig Carton. Through a series of candid interviews with Carton, the film reveals how the radio host’s secret insatiable gambling addiction, financed by an illicit ticket-broking business, brought his career to a sudden halt when he was arrested by FBI agents and charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and securities fraud in 2017. Carton was convicted and began serving a 42-month sentence in federal prison in June 2019. We see how it all goes down with interviews with his former co-host Boomer Esiason, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and others when it premiers onWEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 07 (9:00-10:15pm ET). REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBELdebuts a new installment TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT).
Other Movies and Shows:A pregnant 17-year-old from a small Pennsylvania town travels to New York City with her cousin, intending to have an abortion in this “quietly devastating gem” (Variety). It is NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS.The movieENDINGS, BEGINNINGSsports the same kind of title. This 2020 flick presents Shailene Woodley (BIG LITTLE LIES) who stars as a thirtysomething woman who breaks up with her boyfriend, quits her job and swears off men, then finds herself in a love triangle with two guys who are best friends. Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars in the twisted, surreal tale DEERSKIN about a middle-aged drifter who becomes increasingly unhinged after buying a vintage fringed deerskin jacket that seems to hold mystical powers. With Adele Haenel. Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux. HBO2 marathons the first seven episodes of LOVECRAFT COUNTRY before the eighth episode debuts on 10.04 and continues that pattern each Sunday up to its season-ender. It marathons the whole season on 10.31.
Other HBO Channels: As usual the Latino channel has a few and then just random picks for the other four channels. HBOLatino: The new content leading off isLINA FROM LINA. In this one, beginning on 10.02, a Peruvian woman working as a domestic helper for a wealthy Chilean family prepares for her annual Christmas trip home to see her teenage son, only to realize that he no longer needs her like he used to. A new comedy routine drops on 10.09 with ENTRE NOS PRESENTS: SHAYLA RIVERA: IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. In the entertaining caper film,LA ODISEA DE LOS GILES (Heroic Losers), a group of Argentines who are fleeced of their life savings by a devious lawyer band together to get revenge and reclaim what’s theirs. It’s the Friday night movie for 10.16. And on Friday 10.30 isMANO DE OBRA(Workforce). After a construction worker’s death while on the job, his brother takes the law into his own hands to obtain compensation for his widowed sister-in-law. HBO Signature: Infiltrating a California cult leads a pair of aspiring documentary filmmakers into a bizarre and increasingly perilous mystery in SOUND OF MY VOICE. Plus, there is THE OPERATIVE, an espionage thriller with Diane Kruger from 2019 and the award-winning and critic acclaimed ONCE, complete with its Best Original Song win for “Falling Slowly”. I’ll also single out THINGS NEVER SAID about a waitress by day and poetess by night. An unhappily married young woman finds strength on the spoken-word stage and in the man she meets while performing Also, the recent JOJO RABBIT and QUEEN & SLIM are worth a look if you haven’t seen them yet. HBO Comedy: HBO doesn’t cater to the comic scene as it did back in the day but if you hope to catch some this is the channel to find it. Here are a few I found on the schedule: GEORGE LOPEZ: AMERICA’s MEXICAN; CHRIS GETHARD: CAREER SUICIDE; DAVE ATTELL: CAPTAIN MISERABLE; WHITNEY CUMMINGS: I’M YOUR GIRLFRIEND; CHRIS ROCK: KILL THE MESSENGER and JERROD CARMICHAEL: 8. HBO Family:Gather the kids for the fun, especially if horror frightens them this month, and watch such fare as THE ADVENTURES OF PANDA WARRIOR; HOME ALONE: HOLIDAY HEIST, the fifth one in the franchise (who knew there were that many); PUPS UNITED: POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU and RISE OF THE GUARDIANS. HBO Zone: Ride the out of control crazy train in UNSTOPPABLE, go below in the Russian sub of PHANTOM, be brave in the darkness with the horror pic LIGHTS OUT and face THE THING, a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing. It couldn’t come up with a different title? This shocker follows a team of scientists investigating a strange discovery in the ice near a remote Norwegian outpost. Here, it is the month of Halloween, so it is apropos to check it out below.
HBO Streaming: Pretty quiet on the streaming site. I mean, there are no launches of new International content just the usual rotation of movies coming and leaving. But, since it is October, I’ll focus on some Halloween scenes to chill you to the bone! All four movies in the ALIEN franchise with Sigourney Weaver are still available alongside the two ALIEN VS PREDATOR movies. Also, find CHILD’S PLAY, THE DEVIL INSIDE, DOCTOR SLEEP, a The Shining sequel, GLASS, JEEPERS CREEPERS I and II, all seven in the LEPRECHAUN franchise (I don’t know if they all star Warwick Davis or not), MAGIC (pictured), which I remember watching on HBO in the late-’70s-early ‘80s, THE OTHERS and SEE NO EVIL. I know I have mentioned this before (probably last October) but it bears repeating that there is more to horror than TRUE BLOOD and LOVECRAFT COUNTRY when you look to series. Seek out FOLKLORE, GRACE, HALFWORLDS and even TODD MCFARLANE’S SPAWN if you dare. If you don’t know these titles, you aren’t snooping deep enough into the site. The site is also still touting 2020 Emmy Winners so go for it.
HBO Max: The new WarnerMedia site just throws too much at you, to be honest. It is building up a library that is hard to keep up with. He is a look at some of the new content coming in October.
Max Originals debuting in the month include the new Sundance award-winning film CHARM CITY KINGS starring Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Meek Mill. In the film, Mouse (Di’Allo Winston) desperately wants to join The Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt bike riders who rule the summertime streets. When Midnight’s leader, Blax (Meek Mill), takes 14-year-old Mouse under his wing, Mouse soon finds himself torn between the straight-and-narrow and a road filled with fast money and violence. So, we punch up the drama and swap out BETTY’s skateboards for dirt bikes. Got it. It uploads OCTOBER 8. Very little detail is given, except that it uploads OCTOBER 15, for A WEST WING SPECIAL TO BENEFIT WHEN WE ALL VOTE. Viewers will see the award-winning original cast’ reuniting for the first time in 17 years for a special staged theatrical presentation of the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode. Also slated is Greg Berlanti’s documentary series EQUAL, honoring the LGBTQ+ rebels of yesteryear with never-before-seen archival footage along with stylistic depictions. It uploads OCTOBER 22. A documentary, using a mix of contemporary interviews, cinéma verité and rare archival footage, called JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE,directed by Dawn Porter and executive produced by CNN Films, chronicles the late Rep. John Lewis’ more than 60 years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, health care reform, human rights, and his work on securing voting rights for all Americans. It is available as of OCTOBER 27.
There is also lighter fare.THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THE STORY starring lovable, furry Grover from Sesame Street, is a new animated special based on the acclaimed children’s picture book and there is alsoTHE ABC’S OF BACK TO SCHOOL: A CNN/SESAME STREET TOWN HALL FOR FAMILIES. Starting off the moth though is something unique. Uploading OCTOBER 01 is A WORLD OF CALM. The ten-episode series is a totally new type of television experience that combines mesmeric imagery with narration by A-list stars. Chopra-Jonas and Winslet join previously announced narrators Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy, and Keanu Reeves. The soothing imagery and tranquil narration will provide audiences of all ages a respite from the stress and chaos of everyday life right now. See it to believe it:
Cinemax:One last Original Series to go. The drama series WARRIOR begins its ten-episode, second season FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT), exclusively on CINEMAX. Based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, WARRIOR was created by and is executive produced by Jonathan Tropper (BANSHEE) under Tropper Ink Productions, executive produced by Justin Lin (director of Star Trek Beyondand Fast & Furious 9) for Perfect Storm Entertainment and executive produced by Shannon Lee for Bruce Lee Entertainment.
Season two follows rival Chinatown tongs, the Hop Wei and the Long Zii, as they fight for dominance amidst the growing anti-Chinese racism that threatens to destroy them all. After barely surviving last season’s disastrous showdown, Ah Sahm is back with the Hop Wei and determined to wreak vengeance on Long Zii’s new leader, Mai Ling (Dianne Doan), who also happens to be his sister. Spending his nights honing his martial arts skills at a notorious Barbary Coast fight pit run by a savvy, opportunistic woman named Rosalita Vega (Maria Elena Laas), Ah Sahm harbors ambitions to topple Hop Wei head Father Jun (Perry Yung). To accomplish this, he pushes tong heir Young Jun (Jason Tobin) into a new opium deal and welcomes the arrival of an enthusiastic new recruit and fighter, Hong (Chen Tang).
As the two tongs fight for dominance over the course of the season, both face numerous outside threats, including from the brutal Fung Hai tong and its nihilistic leader Zing (Dustin Nyugen), the embittered Irish labor movement led by tough-as-nails bar owner Dylan Leary (Dean Jagger), and the hostile local government under the politically spineless Mayor Blake (Christian McKay) and his scheming deputy, Walter Buckley (Langley Kirkwood). With the stakes mounting and tensions with her brother growing, Mai Ling struggles to control her new-partner Zing, and lover and tong lieutenant, Li Yong (Joe Taslim).
Meanwhile, brothel madame Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng) continues to pursue her secret and violent agenda and slowly becomes intrigued by Nellie Davenport (Miranda Raison), a wealthy widow using her fortune to rescue young Chinese sex workers. Struggling to get out from the Fung Hai’s grip, debt-ridden police sergeant Bill O’Hara (Kieran Bew) faces growing suspicion from his subordinate (Tom Weston-Jones) while fixer and profiteer Wang Chao (Hoon Lee) continues to play both sides. Socialite-turned-businesswoman Penny Blake (Joanna Vanderham) works to keep her father’s factory open using Chinese labor and must adjust to the arrival of her young, rebellious sister Sophie (Celine Buckens) who begins to cross family lines in favor of the Irish labor movement. Between the local political turmoil and the escalating gang violence, tensions in Chinatown threaten to boil over into a full-scale war that will raise the stakes and its survival of the fittest for those left standing.
–Episode 1: “Learn to Endure, or Hire a Bodyguard” Debut date: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT)
Back with the Hop Wei, Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) spends his nights at the Barbary Coast fight pit, confronting a new anti-Chinese group, Teddy’s Boys. While Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng) accuses him of just looking for another fight, an empowered Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) worries about her brother’s next steps. Meanwhile, Bill (Kieran Bew) finds it hard to break out of his role as enforcer for Zing; Penny (Joanna Vanderham) is determined to continue running Mercer Steel, much to Blake’s (Christian McKay) dismay; and Chao (Hoon Lee) offers Ah Sahm some advice for his future with Young Jun (Jason Tobin). Written and Directed by Jonathan Tropper
–Episode 2: “The Chinese Connection” Debut date: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT)
Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) and Young Jun (Jason Tobin) search for a discreet place to hide their product after striking a deal with a new opium supplier. As Lee (Tom Weston-Jones) becomes increasingly dependent on laudanum, he and Bill (Kieran Bew) continue to investigate the swordsman murders. Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) sends Li Yong (Joe Taslim) and Zing (Dustin Nguyen) to deliver a message to a rival tong. Penny (Joanna Vanderham) asks for Ah Sahm’s help in protecting her factory. Sophie (Celine Buckens) continues to pique Leary’s (Dean Jagger) interest. Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng) receives a visit from Nellie Davenport (Miranda Raison), a wealthy widow committed to ending the exploitation of Chinese women. Written by Brad Kane; Directed by David Petrarca
–Episode 3: “Not How We Do Business”
Debut date: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT)
With their new enterprise going well, Young Jun (Jason Tobin) shares his worries with Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) about the new men Father Jun (Perry Yung) has brought over from China, and later, the partners are impressed by Hong (Chen Tang), an enthusiastic recruit with a secret. Meanwhile, Chao (Hoon Lee) goes to Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) for help keeping Zing (Dustin Nguyen) away from his business, Sophie (Celine Buckens) grows closer to Leary (Dean Jagger), Nellie’s (Miranda Raison) politics raise questions from her peers, and things take a deadly turn at Bill’s (Kieran Bew) home. Written by Brad Kane; Directed by David Petrarca
–Episode 4: “If You Don’t See Blood, You Didn’t Come to Play” Debut date: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT)
As the police prepare for retribution, Chao (Hoon Lee) comes to Bill (Kieran Bew) with a mutually beneficial proposal. A sympathetic Sophie (Celine Buckens) offers Leary (Dean Jagger) a new plan. Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) and Penny (Joanna Vanderham) have a moment when he confides his plans for the future. Buckley (Langley Kirkwood) urges Blake (Christian McKay) to take a stand against the Chinese, Lee (Tom Weston-Jones) seeks to ease his pain, Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) invests in a legitimate business, and Nellie (Miranda Raison) urges Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng) to imagine a different kind of life for her sex workers. Written by Evan Endicott & Josh Stoddard; Directed by Loni Peristere
–Episode 5: “Not for a Drink, a F*ck, or a G**damn Prayer” Debut date: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT)
A guilty Mai Ling (Dianne Doan) tries to make things right with Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), who’s more intent than ever on seeking revenge. Penny (Joanna Vanderham) finds her business in trouble and learns that Ah Sahm has been using her. Leary (Dean Jagger) gets a warning and offers one of his own. Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng) pays an emotional visit to Nellie’s (Miranda Raison) Sonoma winery. Bill (Kieran Bew) and Chao (Hoon Lee) put their plot against the Fung Hai into action. Written by Evan Endicott & Josh Stoddard; Directed by Loni Peristere
Next Month’s Tease: Simple one, if you’re a fan – The Subtle Knife.
Last month’s answer – “I Dance Like This,” “Gasoline and Dirty Sheets,” “Every Day Is a Miracle” and “Dog’s Mind” are all songs off the American Utopia album by David Byrne. See his special this month.
Final Clip: So much to choose from. Did I mention David Byrne had an HBO Special this month?