[This is a review of the season 1 finale of Into the Badlands. There will be SPOILERS.]
Everyone is searching for a new beginning in the thrilling season 1 finale of Into the Badlands, entitled 'Hand of Five Poisons.' Sadly, many of our heroes don't get the new life they were looking for.
Lydia may be that one anomaly this week as she searches for redemption at the hands of her father Penrith. After being wrongfully accused of poisoning Jade, Quinn chooses a punishment that he feels is worse than death by exiling her. She may look like a spoiled princess, but Lydia is one tough cookie and knows exactly what she is doing. The former baroness swore to her father that she would never leave again, but if Into the Badlands is renewed for a second season, there is little doubt that she will return to action away from this new spiritual life she has chosen.
Sticking with the incredible female cast, Emily Beecham (The Widow) and Madeline Mantock (Veil) delivered their best work to date. The Widow's preaching about a world where women have the same rights as men didn't sway Veil from searching for Sunny later on. Her speech had the opposite affect to where Veil tells Tilda that she should consider killing The Widow, since her view of the world is twisted. Either way, Veil proved that she can be just as brutal as Sunny when she needs to be. Perhaps that is why she chose to go back to her shop instead of staying in the badlands. Too bad she was late to the party.
Sunny is being pulled is so many directions he doesn't know where to look. Soon after his capture at the hands of Quinn, his old friend Waldo came to the rescue, but in the process he revealed his true identity as an informant for The Widow. Good to know that he's still on Sunny's side, but what's his end game in all of this? The only thing that Sunny is sure of is that he needs MK to get to the fabled city, so Veil and their unborn child can be safe.
In the spectacular final battle Sunny informs Quinn that killing him will be the last time he "clips" anyone. That seems unlikely since this dystopian future is one brutal place. MK, as long as he's in that trance can defeat almost anyone, except for these new warrior monks, or "abbots" as they're called. Veteran mixed martial artist Cung Le appears to be their leader and is able to control the "dark" power within. Even Sunny looked like a rookie compared to the trio of abbots.
The motivations behind these new players is still uncertain. In last week's episode, Penrith said that the dark one (MK) needed to be cleansed, but does that mean death? It doesn't make sense for these warriors to kill one of their own, so perhaps they are taking him to a place where they can train him? Hopefully we will get a second season to see where this all goes.
Another scenario to consider is the possibility of Quinn's survival. Sunny is more than capable of making sure someone stays dead, but when Veil arrives at the massacre, Quinn's body is nowhere to be found. To be fair, her scene is brief, but since Quinn killed her parents, one would think the writers would show her examining his body to make sure. No such scene exists, so there is a chance he could have escaped. Like Sunny, Quinn is a survivor.
The Widow's fate is another uncertainty as Tilda must decide where her loyalties lie. It would be a shame to lose such a strong character like The Widow, but how much longer can Tilda remain under her rule? Her mother has protected her, so it seems more probable that Tilda would just runaway instead of murdering her injured mother.
There is still so much left to uncover in this solid but brief first season. If Into the Badlands gets the greenlight for another season, what do you want to see? Stay tuned to see what happens next.
Photos: James Minchin III/AMC