‘Hand of Five Poisons’ Into the Badlands Season 1 Finale Review

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Daniel Wu as Sunny and Marton Csokas as Quinn - Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Patti Perret/AMC

Daniel Wu as Sunny and Marton Csokas as Quinn – Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Patti Perret/AMC

Review in a Tweet: “ ‘Hand of Five Poisons’ reaches for a reaffirming high five that you question reciprocating #AMC”

The Season Finale of Into the Badlands is full of action, and loose ends. Every character seem to be either putting their plan in motion or escaping someone else’s plans. Most of the events are set fourth by Ryder and Jade. Jade frames Lydia for her poisoning causing her to flee the plantation and return to her father’s commune. Ryder frames Sunny for The Widow’s trespassing, and also sets up his father’s assassination. However, this seems to have all been set up by The Widow, who is still gravely wounded by Sunny. So she kidnaps Veil to heal her. During her treatment The Widow shares her vision and informs her of what is in motion; Veil understands but does not agree with in terms of methods of acheiving. When it came down to the final part of the treatment, Veil pulls out her trump card in order to ensure her safety. She places 3 viles down, 1 with the cure and 2 with poison, she will inform Tilda of the correct one once she is returned safely. During their journey back, Veil enlightens Tilda on what she believes the The Widow to be which strikes a nerve. Before Tilda leaves Veil not only gives her the bottle with the cure, she enlightens her again with what she can do with that knowledge.

Marton Csokas as Quinn and Aramis Knight as M.K. - Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Patti Perret/AMC

Marton Csokas as Quinn and Aramis Knight as M.K. – Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Patti Perret/AMC

Quinn locks up Sunny after Ryder convinces him that Sunny let The Widow in, and proceeds to take M.K. under his wing claiming he has the potential to be an even greater clipper than Sunny. Quinn tells Sunny “I can’t wait to fill his back with little black lines.”. As Quinn walks away, Sunny threatens, “When I get out of these chains, I’m going to clip you first.” Quinn convinces M.K. to continue his training by promising to keep Sunny alive as well as Tilda. Knowing his feelings toward Tilda, Quinn offers M.K. a trip to the dollhouse for his first time. On their way to the dollhouse, Jacobee and his clippers surround Quinn and M.K., then Ryder reveals himself proclaiming to Quinn “You always told me power is taken.” Quinn then Slashes M.K.’s back to unleash his power, then attempts to get away during the chaos. However Quinn runs into Sunny, who was freed by Waldo, around the corner and is stabbed in the gut. Sunny tells Quinn ” You’re going to be my last tatoo!” and drops him with one of the best one liners in cinematic history.

Sunny then finds M.K., calling out to him and preventing him from dealing a final blow to Ryder. M.K. is then taken down by the Abbotts. Sunny attempts to stop them, but they are more than a match for Sunny. They also completely overpower him when all three Abbotts go into a dark state, like M.K., at will. They send him through a brick wall, knocking him out. The episode ends with The Widow revealing she used to be like M.K. and Tilda staring at the three bottles as she writhes in pain, Veil finding Sunny’s broken sword, Sunny chained up by the River King, and M.K. locked in a trunk driving across the desert with the Abbotts.

The season finale seemed to set more thigns up instead of resolving anything. I believe since Ryder played such a big part of the season’s climactic resolve, it hurt the impact because Ryder is an extremely annoying character. Annoying might be the wrong word, but he is supposed to be kind of a weasel, yet he just seems completely incapable and unworthy of any sort of power. He seems like the main villain’s side kick who gets smacked around for his incompetence. Him not dying was a huge let down for me personally. His central part in this coup completely overshadowed any development in the other characters. The worse part, is that it seems Zephyr and The Widow were just going to let him take Quinn’s spot instead of killing him. If he was being used as a pawn, I would have loved to see that realization on his behalf, that he is useless, pathetic, and lost everything. Instead, he runs away.

The separation of M.K., Veil, and Sunny add a nice layer of gravitas to the story. The three of them were set up to escape, but now are further than ever from that goal and separated from each other. Also, Tilda questioning The Widow and contemplating letting her day adds a healthy layer of drama that will likely be explored and expanded in the next season (assuming there is one). Lydia’s story kind of has no point, unless her commune goes on some sort of religious expedition, or become a great source of knowledge, their purpose seems to be nothing more than an obstacle Sunny will fight through to get M.K.’s location.

- Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Patti Perret/AMC

– Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Patti Perret/AMC

The final fight was not to the caliber I was hoping for. It was a great fight, beautifully shot as well, but relied to much on the mystic aspect of it. M.K.’s fight was boring. No one stood a chance against him, and he really did not do much. Sunny’s fight agains the Abbott’s was cool, but lack luster. There’s a part of the fight where Sunny is wielding his swords and is kicked into the truck, there one of the swords hits point first against the trunk then bends; revealing that it is a rubber sword. It is hardly noticeable, but it’s something I cannot unsee. Sunny is outclassed the whole time, even before the Abbotts go dark. There are three of them fighting in perfect sync, and Sunny is just out numbered. The synchronization of the Abbott’s made for gorgeous attacks, especially their final strikes in rotation around Sunny. But because of Sunny’s inability to really put up a decent fight, and the abundance of supernatural mysticism, the fight doesn’t resonate as much as some of the previous ones.

Season 1 of Into the Badlands was overall a great experience. There are not many shows that feature good martial arts choreography, and none at the caliber of this. Story wise, it is getting better but still a good level behind that of what AMC usually delivers. Overall, Into the Badlands delivers a unique blend that has never been done before, and they are doing very well. No show has emphasized the art of martial arts, and no movie is able to really do so for more than a few hours. It is uncharted territory, but Into the Badlands knows the directions. Lastly, Ryder is one of the most annoying characters of recent history. He isn’t one of those you love to hate, you just hate him. He deserves a worse death than King Joffrey.

The Verdict
4

Summary

Into the Badlands brings martial art epics to the small screen in it’s finale, and adds some real depth to its story only to end on a cliffhanger.

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