With several ferocious and gorgeous fight scenes, a showdown or three, and mysterious cliffhanger, Into the Badlands‘ second season finale delivered what fans wanted — action galore and a few definitive answers. Did the Widow kill Tilda? Of course not — “What kind of mother do you think I am?” — but she did throw her Regent into a jail cell right next to Bajie. Tasked with deciphering the Azra book, which of course, he refused, there’s nothing left for the pair of cellmates but a quick rescue. Luckily a girl’s kiss left a lasting impression, sentences are unofficially commuted and the freed birds race off (with a little help) in a stolen jalopy. As Sunny rides, finally within reach of Veil and Henry, all Badlands‘ simmering pots come to a boil.
Fantastic fighter and just as smart, the Widow’s (aka Flea) hold over those she’s tried to sway to her side wanes. Disgusted by her duplicitous dealings, Waldo is next to turn against his former ally — though her offer to make him a Baron piques his interest, Waldo refuses to play puppet and leaves. An equally resistant MK refuses to play the Widow’s game; “If I do get my gift back, you’re the first person I’m going to kill.” Ever the dealmaker, she takes the challenge and bargains her own life against his.
Quinn knows what’s coming — “The greatest killer I’ve ever trained” — and prepares his soldiers with a stirring speech, calls them to give their lives to protect the only person who now matters to Quinn — baby Henry. Lydia, misjudging his men’s devotion, attempts a coup — only to find herself digging her own grave — but a hidden weapon and well-timed arrival save her neck, yet again. Despite Lydia’s warnings that Quinn rigged his tunnels to explode, Sunny refuses to turn back without his family, setting up the first of several intense fights.
Neither snow nor rain … nor flaming arrows will keep a man from his wife and son. In the first of Daniel Wu’s most incredible Badlands‘ sequences, he faces down round one of Quinn’s army, flipping and fighting, despite being hit with multiple arrows.
In a series of badass fights, Sunny and Quinn both battle through multiple injuries, explosions and one-upmanship; at one point or another, each man would seem to have defeated the other. As happens just a little too often, Bajie shows up just in time to release a fallen Sunny — who goes back in for another round with Quinn. Quinn is impaled by Sunny’s sword, but dead is never really dead … until Veil takes control. Knowing she has one good shot at taking down her captor and saving her son, she finally and fatally takes out Quinn, sacrificing herself in the process.
In his last (dead is never really dead!) fight, Bajie “I hate sidekicks” takes a pair of scissors to the side, not his preferred method of death. Compass in hand, he laments being on the brink of saving the world, and while Sunny buries the mother of his child, Bajie rides to an isolated tower, makes his way inside. In a scene directly out of Lost, Bajie opens the stolen compass, firing up a Dharma-like station, and slumps to the floor as a signal goes out to … I guess we’ll find out in Season 3.
Are those with the gift receiving a rallying call, or are there other forces we don’t yet know about? Quinn must finally and truly be dead, but is Bajie? Will MK get his gift back? Who will take care of baby Henry while Sunny fights off the Badlands’ myriad villains on his way to reunite with MK (and Bajie, if he’s still alive). With no one left on her side, what will be the Widow’s next move?
It’s clear that Sunny will continue his quest to leave the Badlands for a better and safer life with Henry, but it’s also clear that he can’t completely escape its grip. Presumably, he won’t leave without surrogate son, MK; likewise, will MK leave without Tilda? With amped up fights and beautiful imagery, Into the Badlands has found its groove as fluffy, fantastical fantasy, but plot-wise, it could use an injection. The audience needs more than a few heroes running hither and yon, on an endless road to something better, and just maybe (here’s hoping) Bajie’s mystery plan to save the world hints at something deeper.