- The Continental episode 2 reveals that Cormac is the first character to break the hotel’s no killing rule.
- Cormac’s killing of the cellist puts him at risk of being excommunicado and vulnerable to reprisals from past enemies.
- The fact that Cormac isn’t immediately punished for his killing changes the dynamics of John Wick 2’s dark ending.
John Wick: Chapter 2’s ending twist is completely changed by a key scene from The Continental episode 2. Peacock’s prequel series is a different beast from the usual John Wick fare – as the titular, Keanu Reeves-shaped assassin is nowhere to be found in The Continental’s three episodes. Following Wick’s “death” in Chapter 4, the franchise is at an interesting crossroads. The Continental and upcoming movie spinoff Ballerina represent attempts to gauge interest in the franchise beyond Wick, though Reeves will make a guest appearance in the latter.
The Continental cast Colin Woodell as young Winston Scott, and charts how he came to run the famous hotel for assassins. Each episode is feature-length, which gives the story a chance to flesh out the lore behind the franchise’s criminal underworld. It reveals the hotel’s rule about no killing was firmly in place back in the ’70s, though the manager Cormac (Mel Gibson) manages to bend that rule to his favor during the first episode. Fans of John Wick will recall Wick himself broke this rule in Chapter 2’s ending when he executed the sequel’s villain Riccardo Scamarcio’s Santino D’Antonio.
Mel Gibson’s Cormac Was The First John Wick Character Confirmed To Break The Continental’s No Killing Rule
Wick’s killing of D’Antonio in John Wick: Chapter 2’s ending was seen as completely beyond the pale as if an unsanctioned killing had never been committed on the grounds of a Continental before. Of course, Adrianne Palicki Ms Perkins had already violated this rule within the franchise, where she killed poor Harry (Clarke Peters). Perkins soon met her end at the hands of the older Winston’s (Ian McShane) assassins, but The Continental’s second episode reveals Mel Gibson’s Cormac is the first person confirmed to have broken this rule.
The violent manager of the New York Continental is having a bad week, and in the same episode is given three days by The Adjudicator (Katie McGrath) to sort out his mess. When the hotel’s cellist announces he plans to leave to take up a position in Ireland, Cormac is initially oddly supportive of the move. However, when the musician innocently reveals he tried to convince the concierge Charon (Ayomide Adegun) to leave with him, Cormac’s mood darkens considerably.
Cormac asks the cellist to play him some music, before proceeding to beat him to death with a golf club. Letting his temper get the better of him and breaking the one supposedly unbreakable rule of the hotel shows Cormac’s hold on power is slipping, and likely explains why Winston will soon be taking over his position.
Why Cormac Risks Being Excommunicado By Killing The Hotel’s Musician
Not only is the killing of the cellist a cruel, spiteful act, but Cormac ran the risk of the High Table making him excommunicado. This would render him vulnerable to reprisals from past enemies, with all High Table services being made unavailable to him. It is, of course, an act borne of frustration over the gold coin press being stolen from “his” hotel, and that his own men are incapable of getting it back.
It’s also because Cormac perceived the cellist – who had become good friends with Charon – as having tried to “steal” Charon from him. Cormac is trying to shape Charon into becoming his loyal servant, but despite the fact Charon had passed on the cellist’s offer, the manager still took it as an unforgivable insult. This act may have made him feel powerful in the moment, but it ultimately makes him look weak in the eyes of the High Table.
Cormac Not Being Deemed Excommunicado Changes John Wick 2’s Brutal Ending
When John Wick killed D’Antonio in the New York Continental, it was an instant scandal. He was quickly declared excommunicado, with the High Table offering a high reward for his head. The killing at the end of John Wick: Chapter 2 is what set off the events of the next two movies, with Wick struggling to untangle the mess he created. Despite Wick being seen as a legend in the criminal underworld – and proving his skills time and again – he was given no special treatment by the council when it came to his actions.
That makes it all the stranger that when The Adjudicator learns of Cormac’s killing on hotel grounds, she deems that it is kept quiet. That’s because she figures Cormac’s rule will come to an end soon without her intervention, and a violent showdown would likely lead to the recovery of the coin press too. While a prior death on The Continental‘s titular grounds gives context to how Winston and Charon would act when Wick does the same thing, it’s intriguing that Cormac isn’t immediately punished for the same deed. Of course, a lot changes in the underworld of the franchise in the decades between outings.