[This is a review of Into the Badlands season 1, episode 2. There will be SPOILERS.]
Television can be a savage wasteland to navigate through at times, with its ever expanding library of original content. Into the Badlands is one of those series you must set your DVR to record. It's certainly not the best written, or acted show on the market, but the "fun-factor meter" is cranked up to a million. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the beautifully choreographed carnage.
With only 6 episodes on the docket this season, Badlands must move quickly to get its story going. There is a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time, but the writers seem to have found a solid rhythm in only their second outing. This week gave us a closer look into the world of The Widow and her Clippers. Unlike Baron Quinn, Widow uses female enforcers, including one of her daughters named Tilda. In terms of combat, Tilda is just as deadly as her mother, yet when it comes to M.K., she appears reluctant to cause him harm.
It's unclear whether or not she knows M.K. is that gifted teenager The Widow is after, but the fact that she cares for him is undeniable. As this war between Quinn and The Widow escalates, it will be interesting to see which side she fights on. If one had to guess, Tilda will most likely side with M.K. and Sunny as they figure out a way to get clear of the Badlands. Either way, things are about to get messy.
In a world filled with colorful characters like Widow and Quinn, Sunny appears out of place. Daniel Wu's overly stoic portrayal of the famed Clipper was a cause of concern in the season premiere, but now it makes sense. He's not supposed to belong to this world he was adopted into and the Badlands are not his home. Everyone else has embraced this lifestyle, but you can see on Sunny's face that he has not. Even though he is extremely proficient at his job. He must have taken down at least twenty thugs in that warehouse all on his own (well, except for that last guy). The stunning fight sequences are reason enough to tune in each week.
At the end of the episode, Quinn tells Sunny to "saddle up" and get ready for war, but how will he respond to this command after the man he's trusted for all these years just slaughtered his girlfriend's adopted parents? Sunny tells M.K. that he can't leave the Badlands, but this scenario seems unlikely. Even with training, Sunny won't want to leave his new born child in the hands of a teenager, even though he is formidable when angered, or cut. Quinn is still a concern, as the crazed Baron becomes more unpredictable as his condition worsens. Sunny is short on friends, so hopefully he can train M.K. quickly and use him as an ally.
Into the Badlands also deserves praise for how well its handled the women that inhabit this world. The Widow and her daughter Tilda are both cunning, intelligent and equally skilled in combat. Apparently The Widow has other daughters, which we'll surely learn more about in time. Even the Baron's first wife (Lydia) is an interesting character. She is a loyal wife and without her, Quinn would not be as successful as he is now. Veil is the character we know the least about. Besides carrying Sunny's child and being a doctor, she remains a mystery. With only four episodes left, hopefully her character will be fleshed out more.
After just two episodes, are you finding yourself more invested in the show, or are the incredible martial arts the only aspect bringing you back? Keep watching to see what happens next.
Into the Badlands continues with 'White Stork Spreads Wings' next Sunday @10pm on AMC. Check out a preview below:
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