As the first season of Peacock’s John Wick universe spin-off series The Continental comes to an end with the third and final episode Theatre of Pain, viewers can’t help but feel discontent as to how hastily the finale wrapped up the narrative. Previously, viewers learned how Winston’s elder brother, the ‘Nam war vet Frankie Scott, undertook the dangerous mission of stealing the High Table coin press from New York Continental in order to earn a life of freedom with his wife, Yen, inciting the ire of his mob boss and Continental manager Cormac O’Conner in the process. Winston got tangled up in that mess as well, and he had to witness his brother sacrifice his life to save him and Yen. A vengeful Winston decided to take revenge and put an end to the sordid history the Scott brothers shared with Cormac, and in order to do so, Winston assembles a ragtag team.
Frankie’s war buddy Miles, his crew consisting of his sister Lou, and their friend Lemmy join Winston’s side, bringing along sniper Gene Jenkins as well. Winston goes to meet Bowery leader Mazie to seek help from her army of homeless and, in a desperate attempt, momentarily abducts Cormac’s right-hand man, Charon, inside a bus, and shares his experience regarding Cormac to convince him to join his side. On the other hand, already pressurized by the High Table Adjudicator, Cormac releases his frustration by brutally killing his private cellist, a close friend of Charon. Along with this central plotline, other involved characters had their own different course set as well, which gets haphazardly narrowed down in the finale. The resultant product is a convoluted mess where every regard for characterization and tonal balance has been thrown out, totally dismantling the fine buildup that was created through the course of the first two episodes.
Battle Formation: Was Winston Able To Infiltrate The Continental?
In sync with the previous two episodes, The Continental finale opens in a flashback sequence as well, once again in 1955 in the dingy streets of the Bronx, where viewers meet the Scott brothers having a conversation with their mother. With their family home gone, thanks to Cormac’s machination, Mrs. Scott has no other option but to arrange the night stay of her sons inside a car trunk. Before leaving for work, she hands Frankie a gun in case a terse situation arises in her absence, and assuring young Winston of a better future, she goes on her way. Scene cuts to present: as Winston looks for something in the trunk of a car in Charlie’s junkyard, perhaps it comes to his mind that some things never really change, as he is still being hounded by Cormac after all these years.
At the Burton Dojo, Winston and his team prepare for their upcoming assault on the Continental, and they plan to seize the armory before Cormac can get to it, as it holds military-grade armaments that can easily change the course of the battle at a whim. Disgruntled with the way the crew is prepping, a desperate Winston exits and meets Mazie to finalize the deal between them by offering her a dilapidated bank to shelter her army of homeless. Later, detective KD visits the dojo and has a conversation with Lou as she questions about Winston, with officer Mayhew following KD from afar. On the other hand, under Cormac’s orders, Charon takes the assassin twins Hansel and Gretel to interrogate the bus driver, and after learning Winston’s location, the duo brutally kills the driver.
Disturbed by Miles’ apparent nonchalance about the recent efforts made by the local Chinese mafia to seize control of their dojo, Lou confronts her brother. It clearly seems like Miles is hiding something. Added to this, Miles’ readiness to risk their lives in Winston’s mission Lou attributes as a display of his rebellious nature, dishonoring the memory of their late father, Hieronymus Burton. Later that night, Lou gives Winston a heads-up by calling him and gets into a brawl with Mayhew in the telephone booth, who had been tailing her from the dojo.
Badly beaten, Mayhew goes to KD and informs her about Winston’s location, revealing the fact that he knew why she got so worked up about Scott’s brother’s case. KD suddenly snaps and lashes out at Mayhew, going to the hotel where Winston has holed up all alone. Lou had gone to inform Winston about the recent progress as well, and the duo got flanked by Hansel and another of the Continental henchmen. Winston almost manages to escape but gets apprehended by KD at the exit, and soon Gretel soon catches up to him after incapacitating Lou. After injuring KD as well, Gretel takes Winston to Continental. Lou returns to the dojo to let the other members of the team know about the situation.
The Final Showdown: Who Had The Last Laugh?
As Cormac forces Winston to reveal the location of the coin press and starts threatening to throw him off the hotel, Gene takes position and starts taking out Cormac’s men from his vantage point. Lemmy, Miles, and Yen infiltrate the hotel and catch the security off guard, effectively gaining the upper hand. KD manages to take a High Table gold coin from Cormac’s henchman and uses that to enter the premises of Continental, ignoring Mayhew’s warnings against doing so. To none of the viewers’ shock, Charon turns out to be on Winston’s side, and the duo corner Cormac, who manages to escape anyway. Inimicus protocol gets activated in Continental, sending the bounty on all of the assailants to each major position in the hotel via pneumatic canisters.
At their dojo, Lou gets cornered by Orphan Maker, the Chinese mafia boss, who reveals that contrary to the high esteem he has reserved for her late father, which is the reason she doesn’t want the mafia to desecrate their dojo and doesn’t use guns, Hieronymus was a cold-blooded killer who usurped the position of the previous owner of the dojo and their family. As proof of his claim, he gives her the signature weapon of Hieronymus, a custom-made handgun. The revelation shakes up Lou, who triggers an explosion inside the dojo to incapacitate the invading crew of Orphan Maker and goes to the Continental to aid other members.
While moving towards the armory to nab Cormac, Winston and Charon get surrounded by Cormac and his henchmen. However, the situation changes as a number of those henchmen turn out to be part of Mazie’s homeless army and a blinding shootout begins, leaving Charon, Winston, and the escaped Cormac as the survivors. Meanwhile, leaving a trail of bodies, KD finally catches up to Winston, and as she takes him inside one of the hotel suites at gunpoint, it is revealed that she was the only surviving member of the family that died during the arson incident in Bronx back in the 1950s—the one that Cormac forced the Scott brothers to orchestrate. KD states that although Frankie has passed away, she will make peace by taking revenge on the remaining Scott brother, Winston, by making him suffer in the same manner her own family did. Realizing what she must have gone through, Winston apologizes and reveals that Frankie is not to be blamed, as it was his idea to do so. Facing an emotional crisis, KD seems to have a change of heart as she can’t find it in herself to kill Winston and gets herself wounded instead as Gene shoots her unknowingly. Winston provides her with rapid-healing proprietary drugs that Charon had previously administered to him as well, and he states that he will return for her later.
After decimating multitudes of assassins and henchmen, Yen finally comes across Frankie’s killers, Hansel and Gretel, and prepares to take her revenge by triggering an explosion that will take out all three of them. However, she gets distracted, resulting in Gretel chasing her, while Miles gets flanked by Hansel and other crooks. Lemmy turns the tide of the battle by using the pneumatic tube to send explosives to various floors, killing a large number of enemy forces and thereby saving Miles in the nick of time. However, Hansel uses the same maneuver to claim Lemmy’s life. An aggrieved Miles gets assisted by his sister, Lou, and the duo manages to kill Hansel. After a grueling brawl, Yen manages to kill Gretel as well. With most of his force decimated, it can be stated with certainty that Cormac has been beaten, but he still has another ace up his sleeve, which, in his most desperate hour, he chooses to deal.
Did Winston Get His Revenge At The End?
As a last-ditch effort to escape and spite Winston and High Table in the process, Cormac activates the Defensionem protocol, basically a fancy word for lockdown and self-destruct procedure of the entire hotel. Just as he tries to escape through the subterranean transit, Winston confronts him but gets easily subdued. As Cormac goads about orchestrating the arson incident, KD, who has already arrived at the spot, overhears their conversation and shoots him to death. Winston manages to override the defense and stop both the catastrophe and the series of nonsensical events. The team finally gathers around the premises of the Continental and drinks together to mourn the deaths of their fallen comrades, Frankie and Lemmy.
Why did Winston Shoot The Adjudicator?
The next morning, High Table Adjudicator arrives with her brute associate to put the New York Continental on Interregnum and congratulates Winston on his recent victory. However, as she demands the return of the coin press and hands over control to Continental, Winston seeks to strike a bargain, as he already has the leverage. It is revealed that the trunk of the car shown during the beginning of The Continental Episode 3 contained the coin press, which has since been transferred to Mazie—and that’s how her homeless crew were able to enter the hotel in the first place. The adjudicator reveals that she was in fact the mastermind behind the whole turmoil, as under her command, Frankie stole the coin press in the beginning. Winston demands a conversation directly with the High Table, and in order to attain that, he kills the adjudicator just outside the Continental premises in cold blood. The experience gathered over the last couple of days has changed him to the core.
The associate makes the wise decision and leaves the premises with the deceased adjudicator. The Continental ends with Winston completely owning his role as the new manager of the Continental, but it goes without saying that repercussions will eventually follow. The High Table will send its regards, and Winston has to return the favor in kind—but with the associates he has gathered now, the job at hand will become a tad bit easier, at least.