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TV Review: Into The Badlands 1.6 “Hand Of Five Poisons”
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Into The Badlands S01E06

Into The Badlands
Episode 1.6 “Hand of Five Poisons”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Michael R. Perry, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
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 20, 2015, 10pm

The trap is set. Ryder has aligned with Jacobee, and The Widow to kill Quinn and take over The Fort. Quinn doesn’t trust anyone though. He sees through Sunny who is hiding things from him. There’s a traitor in The Fort who snuck The Widow in. And Jade, his new wife-to-be was poisoned. Sunny meanwhile has to deal with a pregnant girlfriend, who Quinn told him not to see anymore, defending The Fort from invaders and MK’s mysterious dark power. Sunny has a way out, but that requires Mk’s head delivered as payment. It has come to this, the season finale of AMC’s Into the Badlands.

Spoilers below!!!

Sunny (Daniel Wu) rides out of the Fort to the deliver a bloody head to the River King. At midnight, Sunny and Veil will have a way out of the Badlands. Veil (Madeleine Mantock) confronts him with her knowledge of his role in her parents’ death. She is needed to treat Jade (Sarah Bolger). Quinn (Martin Csokas) suspects, as I did, it was Lydia (Orla Brady), and has her tossed out of the Fort… but Jade appears to be a slyer fox than we thought. Ryder (Oliver Stark) escorts her out and has no kind words… to her credit, she has even less for him.

Ryder tries selling Sunny out to Quinn for The Widow’s intrusion last week. Quinn has Sunny arrested and stripped of rank. Part of me believe Quinn is just covering his bases. Veil is kidnapped by The Widow (Emmy Beecham) because apparently she is the only one in the entire Badlands with any medical training now that her parents are gone. Sunny is locked up and Quinn tells him he’s only alive for information. This includes a reveal that he knows about MK (Aramis Knight) and his secret (something he heard stories about as a boy). This all seems so quick and I get the whole 6-episode premiere season and all that, but they spent 5 episodes creating an intricate web of lies, conspiracies, and intermingled plots and then tore through most in the first 25 minutes of the finale. Quinn and Sunny felt like they were headed towards a slow burn. All of a sudden Sunny is chained up making generic hero threats; “Quinn. When I get out of these chains, I’m gonna clip you first!”

Quinn goes to work on manipulating MK. Martin Csokas is truly fantastic here. In the first 5 episodes he’s been stark raving mad, a bloody psychopath, and evil dictator. Here he’s a quiet, soft-spoken, almost parent-like figure. He offers MK Sunny’s survival, a home for Tilda (Ally Ioannides); after her mother’s death of course, and a trip to the brothel:

“I’ll take you to the Tick Tock, pay for your first call. Trust me, you don’t want Tilda to be your first, you’ll make a fool of yourself in front of her, no, no…”

The plan hatched between The Widow, Ryder and Zypher (Ellen Hollman) is ready. They hope it leads to a double betrayal and two new barons in the Badlands. We find out the rat in Quinn’s camp is actually Waldo (Stephen Lang)… who would suspect the guy in the wheelchair right? He frees Sunny, and tell him to hightail it with Veil. “The system is broken, time to blow it up and start over,” he says. Quinn walks MK into an abandoned town square only to be surrounded by Jacobee (Edi Gathegi), Zypher, and Ryder; which seems to actually shock Quinn.

Quinn plays their game, blades MK and watches as MK goes dark lord on them. Quinn tries to sneak off but Sunny is there waiting and promises the Quinn will be his final tattoo (kill). Sunny tries to save MK, but he’s interrupted by a jeep delivering the three abbots who proceed to unleash holy hell. First they “turn off” MK, then it’s 3-1 against Sunny. The head Abbot is Cung Le, an Ultimate Fighting legend, so this was admittedly pretty cool.

The ending is send all of our characters off into unsuspected directions. We are left to assume that Quinn, Jacobee, Ryder and Zypher are all severely injured at best, dead at worst. The fate of The Widow is unknown as Tilda must choose between obedience to her mother or freedom. Sunny made his boat… but like he wanted; chain in the hull after his head-delivery was proven to be phony. The River King (Lance E. Nichols) promises to trade Sunny for payback.

I loved the first 5 episodes of Into the Badlands. As a history buff, I appreciated the futuristic feudal structure, and how it combined elements of various genres from martial arts movies to gangster films. It felt like it was all brewing to a war of sorts between factions in the Badlands. But it kind of fizzled in this episode as the focus switched to this new group and the mystery of MK and the Dark Ones. I’m going to hope this was merely an end to chapter one and we get a full double-digit array of episodes for the second season. I want to know if Quinn is dead (I hope not), and if Jade is the defacto Baron of the Fort. I want to see Sunny enact some level of revenge and gain some level of happiness. And most importantly I want to see Asra. Quinn showed MK an old model of Congress as a relic of the past. I feel Asra will end up being New York, or London, or any of the modern megacities.

I highly recommend Into the Badlands. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen on television. Catch up on Amazon Instant Video and stay tuned to Geeks of Doom and AMC for details on season 2.

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