Into the Badlands Episode 2: Fist Like a Bullet
Review in a Tweet: “#IntotheBadlands Ep2 kicks it up. The pieces are being set, the tension is rising, and the fists are flying.”
The second episode of the series introduces “The Widow” (Emily Beechum) the new Baroness of the Oil Fields. The episode immediately displays how much of a boss she is as she effortless takes out a hitsquad hired by Quinn’s son Ryder (Oliver Stark). The following scene introdcues Tilda (Ally Ioannides) as she displays deadly aim with throwing stars at squirrels. She runs into M.K. and brings him back to her place where it is revealed she is The Widow’s daughter. While under their care, The Widow reveals she is searching for a boy who was wearing a pendant with the symbol of the city like on her notebook. M.K. realizes immediately that it is him, but doesn’t let on. Back at the plantation, it is revealed Quinn (Marton Csokas) has a brain tumor which he keeps quiet by clipping the doctor and his wife. The order was originally given to Sunny (Daniel Wu) but Quinn committed the deed himself after Sunny refused. Sunny is greatly affected, as the doctor and his wife are the parents of his girlfriend Veil (Madeleine Mantock). This leads him to finally commit to escaping the badlands with Veil and their unborn child.
Ryder is set up with false information from a lady of the evening who turns out to work for The Widow. She set up for a group of Nomads to ambush whoever shows up to the location. Before sending off the Nomads, she gives M.K. to them as she attempted to get him to display his power, but Tilda showed compassion and truly cut him and also made out with him later which was the last straw for the Widow. Ryder tells his father of the information and believes it, so Sunny and Ryder go to stake out the warehoue where they believe the Nomads to be stealing and selling Quinn’s opium. However, there they find nothing but empty boxes, and about 30 Nomads ready to ambush them. Ryder is immediately hung by his neck with a chain, and Sunny proceeds to kill 29 of the Nomads. The Nomad leader managers to sneak up on Sunny as he attempts to save Ryder and begins to choke him out with a bar, but M.K. shows up and kills the Nomad leader. M.K. reveals to Sunny he knows how to escape the badlands, and Sunny realizes M.K. can guide Veil to safety. Sunny decides to make M.K. his colt (apprentice) in order to train him and get Veil out of harms way. This news comes as they return to the plantation where Quinn is gathering his forces for war against The Widow.
The story structure of the episode is much cleaner and more precise than in the first episode. The plot is better laid out, and you get to see a lot more of the cast. I am personally a fan of having strong female fighers who do not miss a beat when going toe to toe with male ones. The opening fight scene with Beechum’s Widow sets up how powerful she is in the best way possible. Strong wit, and even stronger skills, I can’t wait to see how much deeper her skill set goes. Then there’s Tilda, who seems to be the young prodigy who works harder and hits harder because of it. Her fighting is equal parts brutal and graceful. Her butterfly shurikens give the Batarangs a run for their money. Where I think to story loses a lot of oomph, is where Sunny seemingly has conflicting issues. He wants to be loyal to his Baron, yet agrees with absolutely nothing. There does not seem to be any redeeming or nobleness to Quinn so Sunny’s conflict seems unwarranted.
The Widow on the otherhand, has thought out plans, deep foresight, and has the issue of survival and relevance to drive her. She might be cold and calculating, but she does so with multiple interests to support. Not to mention she is an extremely capable fighter who trains others to be so as well. The highlight of the episode was the final fight scene, Sunny vs. the 30 axe wielding Nomads. The fight choreo was beautiful. There were odd locations, great diversity of angles and shots, unique attacks, as well as an cranked up gore factor. I want to say more, but I feel the grandeur of the fight scenes causes more primitive reactions than thoughtful ones. I did a lot of “ooooh-ing” as Sunny’s dual sword wielding and spinning cut through people the way I imagined a garbage disposal works.
Overall, Into the Badlands seems to be ramping up and upping the quality in all sections. The pieces are being set, the tension is rising, and the fists are flying.
The show stepped up hard from it’s premiere and delivered knock out blows with it’s action and really put some stakes in the story as well.