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TV Review: Into The Badlands 1.5 “Snake Creeps Down”
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Into The Badlands S01E05 review

Into The Badlands
Episode 1.5 “Snake Creeps Down”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Michael Jones-Morales, Alfred Gough, Justin Doble
Starring Gabe Begneaud, Nazeema Bartek, Daniel Wu, Ruby Lou Smith, Aramis Knight, Ally Ioannides, Stephen Lang, Emily Beecham, Morgan Benoit, Marton Csokas, Sarah Bolger, Madeleine Mantock, Oliver Stark
AMC
Air date: Sunday, December 13, 2015, 10pm

Sunny has a way out of the Badlands… unfortunately it comes at a steep price. The River King wants the head of the boy who killed his crew; the head of M.K. (Aramis Knight). He is in high demand as he is also wanted by The Widow (Emmy Beecham). She wants whatever power possesses M.K. to help her alliance fight against Baron Quinn (Martin Csokas); an alliance that now includes Quinn’s son Ryder (Oliver Stark). Quinn is trying to stave off threats from all sides. There is The Widow and other barons who want him gone for trying to provoke war, and more pressing is the brain tumor eating away at his abilities and sanity. Time is running out for Sunny (Daniel Wu). The war on Into The Badlands between the barons is becoming unavoidable, and he has a pregnant girlfriend in a time and place where pregnancies are not congratulatory events.

Spoilers below.

Sunny continues to train M.K. despite bad dreams of what might happen should the boy’s powers go haywire. M.K.’s mysterious book and Sunny’s “broken” compass are somehow linked, and may point the way to Asra and a world beyond. Meanwhile, The Widow has bought off Quinn’s cogs (peasants) and is using them for her revolution. Jade (Sarah Bolger) offers advice to Quinn… educate them and treat them with respect… has she MET Quinn! His address to the clippers is interrupted by a tumor-headache which puts the emphasis of power in Jade’s hands. She is an interesting character. At first she seemed like an Anne Boleyn-like temptress sleeping her way to the top of the feudal structure. In the past two episodes though, there is far more intelligence and thoughtfulness to her role, somewhat akin to Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones. Interestingly enough, Bolger reminds me a lot of Natalie Dormer who portrayed Anne Boleyn in The Tudors AND Margaery in GOT.

Ryder seeks advice from Waldo (Stephen Lang). He’s told to be careful who he allies with. On the question of M.K.’s Asra pendant, Waldo tells him to go to his estranged grandfather. In the forest on patrol, Sunny finds a clever way of finding booby traps; spin kick a tree limb to send fruit and nuts crashing to the ground triggering the traps. Jade is training the clippers to work the poppy fields while Quinn goes to Veil (Madeleine Mantock) for medical attention “Your resting state is war” she tells him. They have an intense back and forth where he basically invites her to kill him out of revenge for her parents… but then he throws Sunny under the bus for their murder… God I love how evil he is!

Ryder goes to see his grandfather and it’s LANCE HENRIKSEN! Asra, he says, is a mystical paradise discussed by the old ones. But once Ryder is gone, he confesses to an underling that the pendant means there is a “dark one” in the Fort. M.K. meets Tilda (Ally Ioannides) for a secret meeting in the woods. She tries to warn him to run, but Sunny shows up to capture her; but not before she takes the ear of one of the overeager colts. Quinn tells Sunny to torture her until she spills The Widow’s location; and also not to see Veil anymore. Sunny, of course, at least to his face, complies.

Jade and Lydia (Orla Brady) seemed like they were actually connecting. Lydia even spent a day working the fields. Everything seemed peachy until Jade fell frothing from the mouth, seemingly poisoned. The final ten minutes are just an awesome simultaneous fight scene as The Widow comes to save Tilda. It’s Widow vs. Sunny in a battle that sees as many as 6 different weapons, from the traditional swords and stars to spears and mace & chains. Tilda battles with the one-eared colt. As both ladies appear to be on their last legs, M.K. cuts himself and unleashes holy hell and dark magic on the colt. Sunny witnesses it, but then gives chase, and we’re left with the chilling image of Quinn watching M.K.’s passed out body knowing his secret.

One episode left to the season finale! I hope Into the Badlands was able to maintain viewership from The Walking Dead, and capitalize because I am IN for a longer run. The vibrant atmosphere, the color and sound, and the intense fight choreography are all stunning. That final dual-fight had me in awe. The finale promises revelations and warfare. Ryder’s allegiance against his father; Sunny’s choices, M.K.’s dark power… all leading to an epic conclusion this coming Sunday night. Is it weird that my greatest hope is that the most evil character lives. I need more than just 6-episodes of Baron Quinn.

Into the Badlands returns Sunday night, December 20th at 10:00 on AMC with the season finale!

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