Synopsis: Ben lands in the body of an 18-year-old working for his father’s shoe store in Los Angeles’ Koreatown at the start of explosive 1992 riots. Facing an emotional connection in the riots to his past, Magic joins Ben on the leap.
Ben leaps back to 1992 to a family-run sports shoe shop in Los Angeles’ Koreatown at the start of the 1992 riots. Ben’s mission is to save the life of Jin Park who owns the store and gets killed in the original timeline. However, he must also work to unify the family and help Jin get past his fear and prejudice against a young black customer called Dwain who happens to be good friends with Jin’s son Sonny. Due to Ben splitting up with Addison. Magic steps in to do Hologram duties, but finds the situation of the riots and the fact that he can only observe and give advice triggering as he has a drinking problem and has some unresolved trauma from his experience of the Long Hot Summer riot of 1967 when he was beaten. At one point Magic has to step out, but thankfully gets a little help from his team and is able to step back in.
Ernie Hudson does a fantastic job with his portrayal of Magic and the trauma and stress that comes up for him as he witnesses the situations that Ben has to deal with. There’s a brilliant moment where it looks like young Dwain is about to be caught by the police in which Magic really struggles to keep himself together. Raymond Lee is as steady as always in his role of Ben and has a really strong scene where he gets between Jin and Dwain and tries to get them to reason with each other.
C.S. Lee is excellent in the role of Jin Park and does a brilliant job of portraying Jin’s fear and anxiety about Dwain. Likewise, Benjamin Flores Jr. is brilliant as Dwain and has a powerful scene where he calls Jin out on his anxieties and expresses his anger about the fact that he is constantly being judged by Jin and other people who prejudge him based on the actions of a minority of trouble-causers.
This was a really powerful episode that shone a spotlight on racial tension and the fear and anxiety that was around in 1992 during the riots. I also liked the fact that it was acknowledged by Ben and Magic that the judgment of the courts in regard to the Rodney King trial was a massive injustice against Black Americans. I remember seeing the Rodney King beating on TV here in the UK. This episode does a good job of discussing issues like race and the subsequent issues that surround Jin and his family within the context of the story.
Added to which. The scenes between Jin and Dwain were brilliantly acted and I liked the journey that Jin and Dwain went on as they slowly realize that they have a lot more in common with each other than they thought they did. The scene where Jin steps in front of Dwain at the end of the story to protect him from being beaten by the police was a brilliant resolution to that.
Overall. One Night in Koreatown was a really powerful episode and another standout for this season.
- CGI & Stunts9.5
- Incidental Music9.0