TV Review: Into The Badlands 2.10 “Chapter XVI: Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire” (Finale)
By Dr. Zaius
Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Into The Badlands Episode 2.10 “Chapter XVI: Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire”
Directed by Paco Cabezas
Written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Matt Lambert
Created 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, May 21st, 2017, 10pm
The end of season 2 of Into The Badlands is here and it’s bittersweet. I always hate season finales of my favorite shows. No one likes saying good-bye. On a show like AMC’s Into the Badlands, it can mean saying goodbye in more ways than one. Sunny (Daniel Wu) fought his way back “into the Badlands” with one intention guiding him the whole way”¦ find Veil (Madeleine Mantock) and his baby. While he and new pal Bajie (Nick Frost) worked their way in, the Badlands were crazy with battles, betrayals, and Barons, oh my. Quinn (Marton Csokas) survived Sunny’s attack and has been living with Veil as his “guest.” The Widow (Emily Beecham) has been the true dominant force of the season. When she was essentially given a death sentence during the conclave, her response was to form an alliance with Quinn. This alliance led to Jade’s (Sarah Bolger) removal from the Fort, Ryder’s (Oliver Stark) death, Lydia’s (Orla’s Brady) capture, and Veil’s return to Quinn after an escape. When that was done, it appeared Sunny and Widow would align, but then Widow was exposed to have traded Veil. The Widow was left falling apart, fighting her own daughter and regent Tilda (Ally Ioannides) at the end of last week’s episode. Will Sunny find Veil and have a final showdown with Quinn? Will The Widow finally get what she wants out of M.K. (Aramis Knight)? Will I be able to cope with no Badlands for the rest of the year?!
Spoilers for the season 2 Finale of Into the Badlands below:
Sunny makes a pit stop at the Fort en route to Quinn. Thanks to old friend Waldo (Stephen Lang), he finds all he needs in his shed. Sunny’s action hero style arming up is perfectly juxtaposed against Quinn holding baby Henry, promising protection at any cost. I love that as we begin the season 2 finale, Sunny finally looks like the same character we met in the opening of the pilot, decked in his red coat, on his motorcycle. Quinn readies his clippers for the final battle when Lydia interrupts and informs them Quinn intends to kill everyone by blowing the hideout up. But they are brainwashed and follow Quinn’s one law: “Anyone who is not ready to die, does not deserve to live.” She is dragged away to await execution after one last brilliant interaction with Quinn. Csokas just shines. The dirtier Quinn gets, the rougher and more brutal, it’s just an outlet for Marton Csokas to turn Quinn into one of TV’s great modern villains.
Back at the Sanctuary, Widow is doing what she does, cutting deals. First she offers Waldo the position of Baron in one of the areas of the Badlands as I readies to leave her. Then it’s back to M.K. and Bajie and translating the book from Azra. Translate it or die trying. As Lydia digs her own grave, she makes a final and graphic escape attempt, but when all seems lost, Sunny appears and clips one of her assassins. “Where’s Quinn?” He has officially left his “no more killing” days in the past, he is a man on a mission. Daniel Wu personifies stoicism. There are so many loud, colorful heroes on TV, it’s pleasant to have a quiet badass warrior like him.
Tilda wakes covered in her own blood in a cell next to Bajie. She’s not in there 5 minutes before Odessa (Maddison Jaizani) frees her. The Widow and M.K. walks through the snowy terrain of the Sanctuary and he gets the line of the episode so far, “You think I can’t see through your bullshit!” When they almost get caught sneaking away, Bajie, Tilda, and Odessa are saved by Waldo and they drive away to find Sunny. Sunny meanwhile has found Quinn and it doesn’t go well for him. He charges into a barrage of flaming crossbow arrows in a fantastic tracking shot, taking shots to the chest and leg before Quinn brings the roof down on him. Of course Bajie finds him and Nick Frost gets a great line: “Looks like we’ll die alone, together.”
We get maybe the most gory fight scene in TV history as Sunny and Bajie take down Quinn’s army in battle reminiscent of The Bride vs. The Crazy 88s sequence in Kill Bill Volume 1. Limbs everywhere, blood geysers spraying, just awesome. And note how they frame the actors Daniel Wu and Nick Frost in the shot almost all the time; just absolutely amazing fight choreography here. Nick Frost went from throwing records at zombies in Shaun of the Dead, now he is using nunchucks to beat down an army of ninja warriors. This all brings us to our epic final showdown between Sunny and Quinn, and I won’t spoil it but some will not be returning for season 3.
The final scenes bring out real emotions and ask questions about the future. While much was resolved in a finale that paid off season long storylines, I’m left wanting so much more. The final moments hint at what I hope will be the direction for season 3, and that is the much teased Azra. Sunny, M.K., Bajie, The Widow; they all have connections to the city. We saw glimpses this season of what lies beyond the Badlands, and I want more.
Overall, Season 2 of Into the Badlands was”¦ what’s the term; F*cking Awesome! I can’t think of many shows, if any, that combine character arcs, fight scenes, and stunningly gorgeous set and costume design that Badlands has. It literally pops on screen, and moments like the two closing shots are picturesque and look like paintings come to life. The acting is great, each actor knows whether to be subdued, or animated. Nick Frost added so much to the show with his sarcasm and wit, and can we please get Marton Csokas an Emmy nomination? And seriously, no show on TV holds a sword to them when it comes to badass female characters. Widow, Lydia, Veil, Tilda, Jade, The Master, Baron Chau, Odessa… whereas season 1 was about introducing Sunny as the main protagonist, season 2 had Sunny’s journey in the background while the ladies of the Badlands dominated the screen. Just throwing it out there, but a spinoff about Minerva growing from a powerful little “flea” into the ferocious Widow we know and love; sign me the hell up!!!
The best part is I am obviously not alone anymore on the “how awesome is this show” train. When the show returns to AMC for season 3 it will again go up in episode from 6 to 10 and now to 16. Into the Badlands was amazing this season, and I’m sad to see it go, but so excited for where season 3 will take us.
Into the Badlands: Next on: Season 2 Finale
Don’t miss the season finale of Into the Badlands, Sunday, May 21 at 10/9c.
Into the Badlands: ‘They Are All Believers’ Season 2 Finale Sneak Peek
Lydia tries warn Quinn’s warriors of their impending demise. Don’t miss the season finale of Into the Badlands, Sunday, May 21 at 10/9c.