Gangs of London season 2, episode 1 recap – take me back to London

October 20, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
NOW TV, Streaming Service
3.5

Summary

It takes a while to get where it’s going, but the Gangs of London Season 2 premiere saves some huge developments for the back half, thoroughly shaking up the status quo as we return to the capital.

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3.5

Summary

It takes a while to get where it’s going, but the Gangs of London Season 2 premiere saves some huge developments for the back half, thoroughly shaking up the status quo as we return to the capital.

This Gangs of London season 2, episode 1 recap contains spoilers.


A year has passed since the events of the first season. Some things have stayed the same, but more things have changed. This applies to everything going on behind the camera in Gangs of London Season 2, but also to much of what’s going on in front of it. One of those big changes is Koba, and the second season premiere wastes no time in introducing him. The scene is a reassurance, in some ways. Gunshots still produce highly exaggerated arterial spray, conversations are still very fraught with imminent danger, and this show’s villains — not that anyone is a hero in this, but you get what I mean — still have weirdly violent or unpleasant eccentricities. As I say, some things have stayed the same.

But Koba is an intriguing change. He and a Georgian hit squad drop in on a gang of Algerians and ask some pointed questions about where they have recently acquired a shipment of arms. One of the Algerians is forced to swallow some pointed bullets, along with the questions. Koba’s name means something in the underworld. His presence suddenly means something to us.

Gangs of London season 2, episode 1 recap

The introductions don’t stop there, though I suppose “reintroduction” is more appropriate in the case of Elliot, who is in Istanbul fighting a giant Turk who looks like something out of Street Fighter. The build-up to the fight is better than the fight itself; it’s shot from the perspective of some innocent bystanders who weave in and out of the chaos, dodging bodies with their heads stuffed in washing machines, bodies impaled on broken mops, bodies being stabbed and shot. It’s a trick the first season used a lot, using the soggy sound of puncture wounds and the piercing screams to evoke carnage without necessarily having to show it. But by the time we focus on Elliot and his target — and he is a target, one chosen by the Investors, whom Elliot is working for as an assassin — it’s a bit of an anticlimax, just an excuse for a wrestle and a bit of unnecessary gore. He does find a letter with the Dumani name on it, though, which is as good a way to segue back to London as any.

This brings us neatly to Alex, who now has a beard and a coke habit and is repeating “This is my city,” in the bathroom mirror. But it’s part of a grandiose pitch to a start-up his company is investing in. We learn through his conversation with Asif that Abdullah Shafak, the big dude Elliot strangled in the previous scene, was one of his clients. Alex laundered two hundred million of Shafak’s money, which apparently wasn’t his to give, so now the Investors want it back. This is one of Alex’s immediate problems. The other is that he keeps seeing visions of a bleeding, screaming Sean Wallace on the bathroom floor.

It’s fairly obvious how all this connects, but the premiere makes it very clear with another scene that works as another introduction to Koba. Asif has brought him in to ensure that the rules of business are being followed by everyone, which means that Basem — the Algerian boss whose men Koba had swallowing bullets in the opening — buying guns from an unknown source was a big no-no. Some big faces from the first season, including Ed and Luan, are present for the meeting, which gives Koba a good excuse to exude some menace and remind everyone that he will get to the bottom of who’s trying to start a war in London by going around the Investors. And he’ll have them make amends, which probably didn’t need to be said outright, but he says it anyway.

It takes two minutes for us to find out that it was Luan who sold the guns to Basem. He’s trying to protect himself since Koba has insisted he only secure heroin from Asif rather than his own, trusted suppliers, and he has deduced — probably correctly — that Asif will be taking a cut of his profits next. Ed has figured this out, but Luan won’t reveal who supplied him the guns unless he gets some assurances from the Investors. Ed takes all this to Asif, who is willing to offer him a degree of independence and security in exchange for the identity of his supplier, but the conversation is interrupted by someone making a point of killing Koba’s driver outside. A message, to prove that even Koba isn’t safe? Perhaps, but it’ll certainly backfire in the short term, and won’t do much for Luan, who is on thin ice as it is.

How does Elliot fit into all this? Well, he’s going back to London at the behest of the Investors. Through his handler, Miss Kane, we learn that his hand is being forced by threats to his father and that he’s developing a drug and alcohol dependency to cope with what he’s having to do (we see him swilling a handful of pills with help from a hotel miniature). Shannon isn’t faring much better. She’s fresh out of jail on an evidence technicality, but she’s not exactly thrilled that Ed and Alex left her to rot. From their perspective, they couldn’t risk ticking off the Investors by having a cop-killing Dumani walking free. From hers, she was abandoned, so she wants nothing to do with either of them, even after Alex explains that he’s very close to a way of getting them all out of the criminal life completely.

What he’s planning relates to the laundered cash that was mentioned earlier. But the Investors give word to Asif that they have a zero-tolerance policy on anyone acting out of line, and that includes Alex, so since they know he has been trying to line his pockets, we learn that Elliot has been sent to kill him (the episode toys with the idea that he might be going after Luan, too, but more on that in a moment) Elliot turns up at Alex’s penthouse with a silenced pistol, but he has a different proposition. He presents him with the evidence that Sean gave him in the first season finale. With Alex’s contacts, they can blackmail the Investors. But Alex, believing they’ll find him and hurt his family, throws himself from the top of the Dumani Finance building, entrusting Elliot to watch over Ed, Shannon, and Danny.

It’s Koba and his black-masked hit squad who go after Luan. Here, the episode pivots into horror territory, as the first season often did. Luan gets to evoke that awesome moment when he absolutely owned Mosi and his goons by skewering, shooting, strangling, and drowning Koba’s men, but he’s unable to prevent Koba from snatching his wife out of the panic room hidden in the walk-in closet. I don’t know how Koba knew that was there, or how he was able to bypass the handprint locks, or why he left the kids behind, but these questions will presumably be answered in subsequent episodes. Either way, Luan survives, and the stakes have been raised considerably.

And that’s before the end of the episode seems to reveal who Luan’s weapons supplier is — Marian Wallace.


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