TV Review: Into The Badlands 3.1 “Enter the Phoenix” (Season Premiere)
By Dr. Zaius
Monday, April 23rd, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Into The Badlands Episode 3.1 “Enter the Phoenix”
Directed by Paco Cabezas
Written by Matt Lambert
Created by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Starring Emily Beecham, Sherman Augustus, Daniel Wu, Ella-Rae Smith, Orla Brady, Ally Ioannides, Nick Frost, Dean-Charles Chapman, Babou Ceesay, Maddison Jaizani, Aramis Knight AMC
Air date: Sunday, April 22nd, 2018, 10pm
Warner: Spoilers for Into The Badlands below:
Finally, we re-enter the Badlands! Last season, Sunny (Daniel Wu) finally was able to slay his ultimate demon, his former Baron, Quinn (Marton Csokas). In the battle, Veil (Madeleine Mantock) was killed leaving Sunny a widower and father on the run. Meanwhile the Badlands exploded into a war of Barons and Baronesses until only two remain, The Widow and Chau. The Widow (Emily Beecham) has M.K. (Aramis Knight) held captive but her desire to control the Badlands lost her her daughter. Tilda and her had a violent falling out and now The Widow will stop at nothing to gain full control over the Badlands.
In the season 3 premiere, The Widow gets us up to speed and we witness some of the bloody battles of the war. She rides a majestic black horse along the coastline till she’s on the doorstep of Nathaniel Moon (Sherman Augustus), who is sans right hand after an encounter with Sunny last season. They have a breathtaking 3-minute sword fight that encompasses everything that makes Into the Badlands such a breath of fresh air on television. The fight choreography is absolutely phenomenal, blending the high-flying artistry of Hong Kong action with the grounded realism of Japanese samurai films. And the scenery continues to be its own costar. Beecham and Augustus trade blows up and down a gorgeous stone tower overlooking the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Seriously, this is as beautiful a pre-credit scene as has ever been on TV and kudos to the cinematographer Daniel Aranyo for some truly epic shots.
As a convoy rides along, Tilda (Ally Ioannides) dressed like a character out of Mortal Kombat greets them and soon her clan of “Rabbits” is wiping out the convoy with the help of a captured Bajie (Nick Frost). They return to a refugee camp run by Lydia (Orla Brady). Tilda is dead-set on revenge, but Lydia is convinced revenge is clouding her judgment. Meanwhile, Sunny is living out of a camper raising Henry. A group of attackers charge in and we learn a valuable lesson”¦ Sunny is a VERY defensive father, and he graphically ends the threat after finding that there is a huge price on his head.
When Henry gets sick, Sunny takes him for help and ends up in the refugee camp where he meets back up with Bajie, telling him the sad fate of Veil. Henry it turns out has the same dark power in him as M.K. (Aramis Knight) displayed. Sunny thinks the answers lay in Azra. Perhaps we shall find out because a huge caravan of brightly colored people holding the same compass Sunny has and demonstrating the same power arrive at Chau’s walls. In another stunning scene of swordplay and Badlands production, a pair of unknown warriors cut themselves and power up, taking out a wall-full of guards. When one is left barely breathing, the leader of the group (Babou Ceesay) tells the survivor to spread the word and announce the day of reckoning.
Whew. As I prepare for the demise of one of my favorite shows next week (Ash vs Evil Dead), I get reprieve in the return of another favorite with AMC’s Into the Badlands. It’s so easy to fall back into this creative world with its characters who we watched develop over two seasons now. The style, cinematography, and production design on this show are unmatched. It feels like I’m watching House of Flying Daggers meets Seven Samurai. It’s bright, colorful, fun, bloody. Seriously if you are not watching the show, get on it! Seasons 1 – 2 are available to stream and binge on Netflix, so catch up and then tune in next Sunday night at 10:00 for another new Into the Badlands.
Into the Badlands: ‘The World of Season 3’ Official Teaser
Get a window into the world the characters are facing this season.
Into the Badlands Season 3: ‘A Bigger World: New Locations’ Behind the Scenes
The cast and creators discuss expanding the Badlands in Season 3 to feature Pilgrim’s fortress, the front lines of the battlefield and more.