TV Review: Into The Badlands 2.1 “Tiger Pushes Mountain”
By Dr. Zaius
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Into The Badlands Episode 2.1 “Tiger Pushes Mountain”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
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 19th, 2017, 10pm
In the late Fall of 2015, AMC debuted Into the Badlands, and it took me all of 5-minutes to be floored by the show. A wild mix of post-apocalyptic steampunk, techno-feudalism and martial arts, Into the Badlands stars Daniel Wu as Sunny, the head clipper for Baron Quinn (Marton Csokas). The Barons control their piece of land, and with guns a thing of the past, young warriors are trained to fight with blades and other weapons. The fight sequences and choreography were some of the best ever for television and a standout for the series. When a strange teen, M.K. (Aramis Knight) who unleashes superhuman power when he bleeds, show up in the Badlands everything changes for Sunny. Sunny begins having conflicts of self; his loyalty torn between his father-like Baron, his pregnant girlfriend Veil (Madeleine Mantock), and the world beyond the Badlands. In the end, a mammoth war broke out, Quinn stabbed Sunny in the back, and Sunny and M.K. attempted to escape, only to fall into a trap.
Spoilers for the season premiere of Into the Badlands below:
“Hell isn’t where you go when you die, it’s what you become when everything you love has been taken away.”
6-months after the end of season 1, we see Sunny as a prisoner in a hellish landscape that looks like Army of Darkness meets Mad Max: Fury Road. His growing compassion nearly gets him killed as he defends a fellow slave in a glorious opening fight scene while his arms are trapped in a pillory like device. We see M.K. training at a Tibet-like monastery against a absolutely gorgeous backdrop. Aside from it’s amazing martial arts choreography, Into the Badlands is possibly the most eye-poppingly beautiful show on television, utilizing just an epic mix of production design, costumes, locations, and cinematography.
Sunny opens his eyes to a vision of pregnant Veil. “I’ll find you, I promise,” he tells her before waking next to talkative fellow prisoner Bajie, a barely recognizable Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead). Together they head off to the mines with Sunny looking for a way out, and Bajie assuring him, there is one way… death. M.K. wanders around the monastery until he finds the Master (Chipo Chung). She tests his “gift” and then puts him in his place. We see in graphic detail just how powerful M.K. can be, because even though he was defeated by her, her arm was left broken in gruesome fashion. My only issue so far, is the increasing use of slo-mo in the fight scenes. That got real boring, real fast back in the Matrix films, and I hope they don’t beat the dead horse here.
When Sunny removes his shirt, Bajie immediately jumps on the fact he’s a former clipper and plays “Guess the Baron” despite Sunny NOT being thrilled. He presses Bajie for information, and the Badlands are apparently in total chaos. Chaos leads to new opportunities though. We head to the Fort, as Ryder (Oliver Stark), Quinn’s son is the new Baron with his lover and Quinn’s ex-wife Jade (Sarah Bolger) at his side. As they head out to inspect the oil fields, Tilda (Ally Ioannides) and mom, The Widow (Emily Beecham), lead an assault and holy blood spatter! The Widow literally slices and dices through most of Ryder’s crew on her way to Jade, using everything from swords, to ninja stars, to her trademark penetrating heel. Wow! She tells a horrified Jade that the oil fields are now hers.
Sunny devises a plan to escape captivity, but Bajie proves you just can’t trust the convict chained next to you. Tilda meanwhile convinces her mother to change the old Baroness ways and create a more democratic and equal Badlands. As Tilda demonstrates that she may be ready to take over for her mother, we pick up on Veil, fresh off giving birth to a baby boy. Who hands her the child… QUINN! YES! Quinn was never revealed to be killed, but certainly gave the appearance of having met his end at the end of last season. Marton Csokas was my favorite part of the show, his ability to morph from charming and inspiring leader, to psychotic bloodthirsty dictator in the blink of an eye was awe-inspiring. And his deliciously evil accent just adds to it. I’m so excited he’s back.
Welcome back to the Badlands! We have epic amounts of blood and gore, with some breathtaking fight sequences. We have a hero who is left in an even worse position thanks to deception, and a great character return/reveal. The colorful aesthetics make the show beautiful to watch, and the bloody action sequences somehow keep pace with the palette. This shows is definitely a world worth investing time in.
Into the Badlands returns next Sunday night at 10:00pm ET on AMC. Season 1 is available now on Netflix, and it’s only 6-episodes.
Into the Badlands Season 2: ‘Justice, Redemption & Family’ Official Trailer
Fight for justice. Fight for redemption. Fight for family. Don’t miss the Season 2 premiere on Sunday, March 19 at 10/9c on AMC.