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What Did Winston's Brother Steal From Cormac? The Continental's Coin Press Explained
Do not steal from the High Table, John Wick fans.
Spoiler warning! The following contains major plot spoilers for The Continental: From the World of John Wick premiere!
If the John Wick franchise has taught us anything, it's that you do not — under any circumstances — mess with the High Table. Break their rules, and, to quote Jabba the Hutt, they'll "put a price on your head so big, you won't be able to go near a civilized system."
Come to think of it, though, when has anyone in the Wick-verse ever strictly played by the rules? That old adage about there being no honor among thieves is just as applicable to the seedy underworld of professional assassins.
It's a ruthless dog-eat-dog (no pun intended) existence for those individuals who subscribe to the killer's creed. Beyond the wrath of the High Table, nothing holds more sway over the globe's network of contract liquidators than cold hard cash — specifically the iconic gold coins that serve as the centralized currency used by every initiated felon anywhere in the world. Whether you need to dispose of a body or fancy a stay at your local Continental, you better have the proper coinage on hand.
And as Berrada (Jerome Flynn) explains in John Wick: Chapter 3, these tokens represent something far greater than monetary value, they embody "the commerce of relationships; a social contract in which you agree to partake." For all intents and purposes, the gold coins are meant to impose a kind of paradoxical order upon a world without rules (i.e. an entire culture of bloodthirsty and oftentimes sociopathic opportunists that does not follow the etiquette practiced by law-abiding citizens).
So when a person threatens to disrupt the very cornerstone of the relative "honor among thieves" the High Table maintains at all times, you can bet the clandestine criminal cabal will do everything in its power to prevent the status quo from devolving into all-out anarchy.
That lengthy introduction brings us to The Continental prequel series (Episode 1 is now streaming on Peacock), whose entire storyline kicks off with a daring heist by Winston Scott's older brother, Frankie (Ben Robson), who steals something of unimaginable value from his current employer, the New York Continental, and its overseeing body, the High Table. Let's get into it...
What did Winston's brother steal from The Continental?
Using The Continental's annual and Uber-hedonistic New Year's celebration as a cover, Frankie and his double-crossing partner (Simon Wan) make off with a very old coin press from the hotel's underground vault. This brazen act of thievery shakes '70-era Continental manager Cormac (Mel Gibson) to his very core and for good reason.
Theoretically speaking, anyone in possession of the press can mint their own gold coins, flood the market with them, and cause a hyper-inflation scenario that destabilizes the entire system upon which the High Table operates.
This does raise some important questions. For example, does every Continental have its own coin press or is the one guarded by the Manhattan branch unique? If not, then was the system of individualized presses discontinued following the events of the show? Corollary to the second query: Did Frankie's betrayal lead to the establishment of a centralized forge like the one managed by Berrada in John Wick: hapter 3?
We get a sense of just how priceless the item is when The Adjudicator (Katie McGrath) and her torture-happy henchman (played by none other than series co-creator and executive producer Kirk Ward) get ahold of Frankie's partner, who reveals that he and Frankie had been offered "40 grand" to snatch the press.
"Keys to the world for a pittance," replies the amused Adjudicator through her creepy mask. "Not that anyone can put a price on it. The value of an artifact that could topple an organization that predates the Roman Empire." Yep, it's now official canon that the High Table has been around for thousands of years (think of it as the John Wick equivalent of the Illuminati). What's more: the timing of such a revelation could not have been better, considering the viral "How often do you think about the Roman Empire?" trend on TikTok.
In any case, Frankie has run afoul of an ancient society with more money and influence than God. If they truly want him dead, there's nothing he can do to stop the inevitable bullet to the head. And, indeed, that's exactly what happens to him by the end of the first episode. Before his death, however, Frankie explains to Winston (Colin Woodell) that he was hired to steal the press by a group calling itself "The Nile," which promised him enough money to get away from Cormac and start a new life with his wife, Yen (Nhung Kate).
No more information is given about The Nile, but it sounds as though this group plans to hold the High Table hostage or dismantle it entirely. Perhaps The Nile is made up of disgruntled assassins looking to strike back at the "The Man"? This is the counterculture era, after all. A fun thought, but based on the movies, where the High Table still reigns supreme, it doesn't look like any push to topple them will succeed.
How to watch John Wick spinoff The Continental?
The Continental premiere is now streaming exclusively on Peacock. Episodes 2 and 3 will debut on September 29 and October 6 respectively.
The platform currently offers two monthly subscription plans: Premium ($5.99 a month with ads) and Premium Plus ($11.99 a month with no ads and download access for certain titles).
If you're currently a student, you can enjoy the Premium plan for just $1.99 for an entire year.
Want more original Peacock content in the meantime? Be sure to check out Twisted Metal, Killing It, Bel-Air, A Friend of the Family, Poker Face, Joe vs. Carole, Mrs. Davis, MacGruber, and Based on a True Story