Into The Badlands Episode 2.2 “Force of Eagle’s Claw”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Matt Lambert
Starring Daniel Wu, Orla Brady, Sarah Bolger, Aramis Knight, Emily Beecham, Oliver Stark, Madeleine Mantock, Ally Ioannides, Nick Frost, Marton Csokas, Chipo Chung AMC
Air date: Sunday, March 26, 2017, 10pm
Warning: Spoilers for Into the Badlands below:
We returned to the world of the Badlands last week on AMC with the Season 2 premiere of Into The Badlands and life is not good for former clipper Sunny (Daniel Wu). He is a prisoner in a Mad Max-style mining colony stuck with fellow inmate Bajie (Nick Frost), both looking for a way out. Meanwhile M.K. (Aramis Knight) is training at a monastery trying to control his powers and the Badlands are up for grabs as The Widow (Emily Beecham) tries to consolidate the territory lost by Baron Quinn (Marton Csokas) who was thought dead… that is until he turns up holding a beautiful new baby: Veil’s baby, Sunny’s baby.
The Engineer (Stephen Walters), after finding out Sunny’s former employment, sticks him in the fighting pit to battle to the death, cuffing him to Bajie because “who needs a rat?” The opening fight scene reminds me of the first fight in the first-ever episode where I was left mouth open screaming “OH SHIT” at the screen. After watching multiple episodes of Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix, I gotta say, it’s great to be back to watching some truly awesome fight choreography.
Tilda (Ally Ioannides) meets with former Regent Waldo (Stephen Lang) and he chastises her for disobeying her mother’s order and slaughtering the released clippers. She tells him she did what she felt was “right,” but he tells her Sunny was the best because he put his emotions away… until he didn’t. Lydia (Orla Brady) has left the Badlands and Quinn and is home with her father (Lance Henriksen) in hippie-like peace until their festival is interrupted by two nomads. Lydia is a former Baroness… and things do NOT go well for these guys. The bloodshed is off the hook here, just spectacular. And can we stop and just say that Into the Badlands may feature the most kickass women on all of TV. Last week Emily Beecham was hypnotic in her frenzied attack on Quinn’s family. And now Lydia… whoa! As the father of a 6-year-old girl, these are the types of shows I got to get her into sooner rather than later.
Speaking of powerful females, The Master (Chipo Chung) trains M.K. by allowing him to see the bloody memories of what he’s done when his power is unleashed. Turns out Quinn is training a new army of clippers at a new fort. I love Csokas on this show, his drawl is wonderfully evil. And amidst the clanging of swords, a baby cries, as Veil (Madeleine Mantock) is there with hers and Sunny’s child. Interesting to see what develops there as it’s uncertain for now if she’s a prisoner or there on her own volition. Most assume Sunny is dead, so option B is a possibility.
I need to pause to mention again how absolutely gorgeous this show is. While the cinematography and production design is great, the true unspoken star here is Ireland. Production shifted from New Orleans, Louisiana, to in and around Dublin, and it adds an awe-inspiring sense of scope to Into the Badlands. I paused the TV on a scene where the monastery warriors train in front of a cascading waterfall and it looked as if I paused on a painting. The color palette is phenomenal, the contrasting purple and orange against the greens and blues of nature. Sunny and Bajie roaming through the endless green. Just gorgeous.
Lydia turns to son Ryder (Oliver Stark), the new Baron of the Fort, but one too many insults gets her thrown out. M.K. continues his training battling his dark self including another great fight sequence. We find out the Veil is a “willing prisoner” so to speak, unable to leave Quinn’s grasp. It was her who saved him, when he was left for dead and they both wonder if Sunny is alive or dead, thought delusional Quinn’s take is, “Sunny would never leave me, so he must be dead.” Veil names the baby Henry after her father… who Quinn brutally murdered in an unforgettable scene from season 1, the scene where the audience found out just how truly evil Quinn was. One thing for sure, Quinn is deadly when it comes to protecting her and the baby. As that relationship is examined, Sunny and Bajie’s grows as well. Nick Frost is hilarious, morphing from comic relief to integral side character in one glorious rat-eating scene.
What an episode! The show is paced wonderfully, following the theory of pairs, as in an ensemble show needs only to break into pairs to get everyone involved and keep the flow. Here we have Sunny and Bajie, Quinn and Veil, M.K. and the Master, Lydia and Ryder, The Widow and Waldo. There is always something meaningful happening on screen, there is no dead time. The Irish backdrops add so much and the violence is fast and furious and has enough bloodshed to make even an Evil Dead fan happy. Simply put, this show should be event television at this point. Both episodes so far into the second season, I have audibly yelled at the screen and been in constant awe.
Catch up on season 1, which is streaming now on Netflix, then tune in AMC next Sunday night at 10:00 PM for another episode of Into the Badlands.
Into the Badlands: ‘Nowhere is Safe’ Sneak Peek Ep. 202
Waldo advises Tilda about how to be a successful Regent.