We return to the Badlands six months after Sunny’s capture to find our favorite Clipper shackled and suffering the pompous Engineer’s (Steven Walters — aka Outlander‘s Angus Mhor) mine-related drivel. Anyone who’s ever watched this series was simply counting down; how quickly — and violently — would Daniel Wu would break free and kick some ass? Thankfully, the wait was über short. In the blink of a flashing blade, quickly repurposed by Sunny’s nimble mind and body, the man was (albeit, temporarily) free, a wake of goonbodies left behind.
And, it only takes those few opening minutes to remind us how very necessary Into the Badlands is, because there’s simply no other series (talking to you, Iron Fist) giving viewers this mind-bogglingly amazing level of martial arts. Unfortunately trapped, Sunny has to come up with another plan — again, it doesn’t take long — this time aided by his new sidekick, Nick Frost’s surprisingly industrious, and very chatty Bajie. Aided by a map, Sunny gets ready to escape again — viewers flip the hourglass and breathlessly wait — but turncoats will be turncoats, and Bajie’s just another in Badlands‘ line of betrayers.
The whole thing feels very Mad Max, which in anyone’s book is a good thing, though the show definitely has its own unique identity. Between a quick catch up with M.K. (Aramis Knight), who’s training to control his powers with new Master (Chipo Chung); who quickly surprises the would be badass both with her knowledge and skill. Side note: Is The Master trying to tell us that M.K.’s a replicant?
Bajie’s welcome levity and less enjoyable platitudes — “Chaos leads to new opportunities …” — lead to the Badlands version of Fight Club, where the Engineer gets his jollies watching slaves (especially a Clipper like Sunny) beat each other to death. Despite the boss’ proclamation that “No one [here] gets out alive” (thanks, Jim Morrison), everyone but him realizes Sunny will, indeed escape; it’s just a matter of time.
In other big happenings, after Jade (Sarah Bolger) reassures Ryder (Oliver Stark) what with Daddy gone, he’s the badass baron and they can go public with their illicit affair, OF COURSE The Widow (Emily Beecham) and Tilda (Ally Ioannides) pop in to prove her wrong. Bookending Sunny’s phenomenal opening fight scene is The Widow’s own incredible and (contrasting Wu’s solemnity) joyful spree. It’s just the near-end Badlands fun you’d expect and want. The mother and daughter team are silently violent, blowing the refinery, taking control of the oilfields, and killing off a bunch of unsuspecting Clippers who thought they’d been freed.
This head falling was my everything:
As fun as the fights and the addition of Nick Frost’s welcome comedy are, I’ll admit I’d been feeling a little melancholy over last season’s finale events, when one of the show’s best characters (and best actor contender) was killed off. So imagine my surprise — and yours, I’d venture), when the hour closed with a sweet scene revealing Veil (Madeleine Mantock) had delivered Sunny’s adorable baby,
suddenly, that loving look disappeared from mother’s face, replaced by … fear? Was it fear?
Yes, it was. Because, when Veil looked up to see who had handed over her little newborn son, told her “It’s a boy”, she sees the wonderful (to me) smiling face that belongs to …
… QUINN (Marton Csokas).
Yeah, no one has any idea how he’s survived being stabbed by Sunny, but by gum, there he was. Could it be a vision? I suppose, but since reading this quick preview of the season with Daniel Wu, I think not. It looks like our favorite Baron is here to stay, and I for one am thrilled.
As The Widow sweetly remarks to Tilda, “I’m glad we found our way back to each other”, Into the Badlands.
P.S. I need all The Widow and Tilda’s costumes.
“Tiger Pushes Mountain” was directed by Nick Copus (Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, Nikita). The song this hour was Rag’n’Bone Man’s Human.