Tokyo Vice season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

April 7, 2022
Jordan Russell Lyon 1
HBO Max, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
4

Summary

A steller mystery, with many questions raised that are likely to motivate audiences to carry on watching.

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4

Summary

A steller mystery, with many questions raised that are likely to motivate audiences to carry on watching.

This recap of the HBO Max series Tokyo Vice season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.

Tokyo Vice season 1, episode 1 recap

Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) gets ready. And after being told where to go, what to do, and to order, he meets a group of unimpressed men. Judging by their faces, it’s not good news that they have for Jake. They instruct Jake to stop with what he is investigating. Adding that Tozawa-san is a father to everyone in the organization, they say the story is not good for him. Next, they add that if Jake walks away then all will be good. But if he publishes the story, they will “visit” Jake’s family. Instead of providing an answer, Jake asks if he can smoke. 

Tokyo Vice cuts to two years earlier in 1999. Jake, now not dressed as suited up as before, is a struggling journalist teaching English to make ends meet. Eager to progress in his career, Jake takes a qualifying exam for the Meicho Shimbun Newspaper, aka the best newspaper in the world. Whilst he gets the honor of receiving the job, it also means that there can be no mistakes in his writing. To keep true to that act, Jake gets given a clear format/manual to work to. Not everyone is happy with Jake’s role at the newspaper though, some workers even declare that it “isn’t a tourist destination”. Regardless, Jake still makes some work friends, such as Tin-Tin.

After a man is found dead with multiple stabs wounds, Jake is assigned as one of the reporters on the case. The date of time is stated as April 6th, 1999 around 05.45 am with hemorrhagic shock (from the stab wound) the cause of death. As he investigates the death, Jake finds a letter from a loan shark. And after locating their offices, Jake discovers that the buildings have been cleared. Jake’s attempts to investigate the logo fail when no one recognizes the logo. 

The ending

Upon entering a shady nightclub, Jake becomes distracted by the waitress Samantha (Rachel Keller) as she sings Sweet Child O Mine. And Samantha seems to be as equally impressed by Jake’s level of Japanese. As they talk, he reveals that he wants to report on what really happens, and make a small piece of history. After somewhat being taken under Detective Hiroto Katagiri’s (Ken Watanabe) wing, Jake bar-hops with him. Detective Katagiri reminds Jake that “unless there’s a witness, there not been a murder”. Their night is over when they attend a distress call about “Pops”. Shortly afterward “Pops” sets himself on fire. Upon learning that there is a link to the same logo, Jake gets warned off the story. 

Armed with gifts, he goes for a copy of the no.1 report, and with the information, visits the deceased’s wife. She plays a call, it asks “why aren’t you dead”. Yakuza. “A real man pays his debts”. He didn’t take his own life because of debts, but to avoid living in shame. The calls stopped after he died. Once Jake returns to the scene of “Pops” death, he envisions the man pouring petrol on himself.

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You can watch this series with a subscription to HBO Max.

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