Spoiler Alert: Expats (5th Ep)

The 5th Episode of the Expats: The Central was chosen to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. As the word suggests, the series revolves around the meaning itself: “the act of someone renouncing allegiance to their native country.”  Directed by Lulu Wong and based on the 2016 novel

The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee, The story focuses on the premise of  “The vibrant lives of a close-knit expatriate community: where affluence is celebrated, friendships are intense but knowingly temporary, and personal lives, deaths and marriages are played out publicly—then retold with glee.”

The 5th Episode as the “Central,” departs stylistically from the show’s obvious Wong Kar-wai influences. Instead, it borrows a page from the ensemble works written by Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia in particular, which is reminiscent of the “urban legend” prologue of the show), zipping back and forth between exuberant character introductions in a long montage while a storm looms.

Beneath Margaret and Hilary’s ivory tower, Hong Kong is a bustling city full of life, but it is also fraught with political and interpersonal conflict. Alongside other supporting characters we’ve encountered in the past as well as ones we haven’t, their respective maids, Essie (Ruby Ruiz) and Puri (Amelyn Pardenilla), who we’ve watched gradually grow from the periphery in earlier episodes, take center stage now. 

Spoiler Alert: Expats (5th Ep)
Image Source – Digital Mafia Talkies

There are also some newcomers in the lives of Tony (Will Orr) and Wen (Maggie Lee), Charly’s roommate from college, and his mother, the janitor, are affected by the storm as well as the current Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, which firmly places us in the 2014 zeitgeist of the nation.

The episode’s examination of the Filipino labor force in the city, a thriving community with its own little games, gathering places, and slang for the type of domestic work they perform, is unquestionably its best feature.

This episode of “Central” is exactly what Essie and Puri have been waiting for—a long time in the periphery of the show—and it does them full justice. A singer preparing for a reality show audition, Puri, thinks Hilary is not like the other wealthy ladies who work with her peers.

Her suspicion is almost realized when Hilary invites Puri to drink with her following a heated argument that ends with David leaving.