Last week’s cliffhanger for “Golden Triangle, Part I” was so terrific that it would seem to be impossible to top it in the second half of the story. And, sadly, that turns out to be the case in “Golden Triangle, Part II.” The episode is still really good, and is required viewing along with the first installment, but it never pays off to the level you’d like it to, given how shocking things were at the end of the initial part. But, hey, that’s how it goes.
I sort of assume you’re watching these episodes as we go along, so I try to do my best not to post any significant spoilers until the week after you’ve been tasked with your viewing. So don’t be mad at me here when I tell you that the first and most important piece of unfinished business in “Golden Triangle” is the matter of Castillo’s wife, May Ying, played by Joan Chen.
In other reviews, though not the ones for Miami Vice, I have complained about something I call Any Asian Will Do casting. Television shows and movies habitually treat all Asians as exactly the same, despite the fact that there’s as much variation between Asian ethnic groups as there is among white people. You wouldn’t cast an Italian to play an Irishman, but it’s perfectly okay in Hollywood to stick Chinese characters in Japanese roles, or Filipinos in Vietnamese roles. I mean, who cares, right? They all look alike anyway. Or so the thinking clearly goes.
Anyway, Joan Chen is not Thai, as she’s supposed to be in this episode. And Keye Luke, who makes a great turn as the nefarious Thai drug lord General Lao Li, doesn’t hail from that region, either. In fact, I’ll wager we don’t see a single ethnic Thai in the entire episode. It’s not the sort of thing that wrecks suspension of disbelief, or ruins the episode, but it’s disappointing when casting directors don’t even try.