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Into the Badlands S2E1 Recap/Review: Tiger Pushes Mountain

The season premiere did not disappoint!  I felt the episode was aptly named considering what happened.  The song in the beginning was dope too! Let’s get to it!

Recap

Sunny (Daniel Wu)

Daniel Wu as Sunny – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

Sunny is sent to a mining colony.  Seeing an opportunity after meeting the boss, who calls himself The Engineer (Stephen Walters), Sunny attempts an escape. He gets caught, but not until he kills several of the guards.  Sunny has a dream about his woman Veil (Madeleine Mantock) heavily pregnant with his child.  He promises to find them in his dream.  When Sunny wakes up, he finds himself shackled to Bajie (Nick Frost) who gives him the lay of the land.  The miners are required to collect a quota of items to avoid getting whipped.  If whipping doesn’t help, then they are put in the fighting ring.  Once in the ring though, not many survive.

Daniel Wu as Sunny, Nick Frost as Bajie – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

Bajie recognizes after seeing Sunny’s back that he was a clipper in the Badlands.  He even figures out through process of elimination that he clipped for Baron Quinn.  Apparently, Bajie travelled to the Badlands a few times to get opium.  Word is the place is in chaos after Quinn’s disappearance.  Determined Sunny needs to escape so asks for a map of the mines.  Bajie helps by getting a map from the miner that’s been there the longest.  Sunny thanks him but doesn’t want to take Bajie with him. His leg mate gets a reprieve from mining when he steals a gold ring from another worker.   Seeing an opportunity, Bajie tells The Engineer that Sunny was a clipper looking to escape in exchange for his freedom.  Thanks to Bajie, Sunny is now heading to who knows where!

MK (Aramis Knight)

Chipo Chung as The Master – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

MK is training with the abbots that kidnapped him in the season finale. He gets frustrated because his questions have not been answered and he wants to see the master.  Eva, the abbott assigned to train him, is also irritated that she repeats herself every day, “The Master will see you when you are ready.”  That night he talks with one of the other novices.  The guy doesn’t trust the peaceful ambiance the monks try to convey.  We learn that the guy used his powers to protect his clan before getting transported to the sanctuary.  He would rather die protecting his clan while he can than prolonging his life learning control.  MK decides to investigate.

Aramis Knight as M.K., Chipo Chung as The Master – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

He goes into a room where on the shelf are small origami animals. MK sees Sunny’s clock and notices a female monk.  He demands to see the Master (Chipo Chung), not realizing that he’s talking to her.  She brings him something to eat, telling him she has had rice prepared since he arrived. MK believes he has wasted his time with his training but the Master disagrees. She also knows about Sunny and Tilda. He demands to leave if she doesn’t want to show him how to control his powers.  The Master stipulates that he can if he passes the crane origami without using them.  The crane’s wing cuts his cheek so his eyes turn black and attacks the Master. She shuts him down speedily restoring MK to his normal state.  When he leaves the arm where she caught his punch is broken. Like you can see the bone!  She heals herself and gets this worried look on her face.

The following day, during the training session MK confronts Eva about revealing things about him to the Master.  Her explanation: it was her duty to report on his progress.  The Master interrupts, indicating that she will be overseeing his training.  When Eva leaves, the Master asks MK if he’s ready for the hard part.

The Badlands

Sarah Bolger as Jade, Oliver Stark as Ryder – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

Baron Ryder tried to erase his old life by staying at Jacoby’s house with his wife, Baroness Jade.  However, his old home calls to him so he goes there.  Jade tries to beef up his ego by reminding him that he “killed his father and Baron Jacoby,” earning the respect of the other barons and his clippers, rules three territories, and the oil refinery.  Speaking of the refinery, Ryder brings Jade to check on the progress.  When they get there, they learn that more cogs have defected to the Widow and the production of the oil is taking longer because of the lowered work force.  Jade makes the decision to lower the hours, negotiate for more cogs with Baron Chau and up the rations for the cogs that remained loyal.  Ryder agrees.  Just as Jade starts walking away, staying to work on the schedule, Tilda, fires an exploding arrow from her crossbow at one of the trucks, causing chaos.  The Widow, with her butterflies, attacks the refinery.  She goes after Jade, who goes up to the roof of one of the buildings.  After defeating several clippers, she reaches Jade.  The Widow has a message for the Baron.  The refinery is now hers.

Emily Beecham as The Widow – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

At the Widow’s sanctuary, Tilda updates The Widow of casualties and additions to their sanctuary after the attack.  Tilda wants the Widow to interact with her new charges. Outside at one of the food stations, Tilda introduces the Widow to one of the dolls rescued at the refinery, Odessa (Maddison Jaizani) who killed one of Ryder’s clippers in the chaos.  She explains to everyone there that they are not forced to stay with her, they can leave if they wish.  She wants to create a better world where men and women are on equal footing and the labels of cogs, clippers, barons, are gone.  One of the clippers get huffy because he enjoyed his status just fine.  When he realizes she is serious about letting him leave, he does with a group of his buds.  Tilda later catches them on the road.  Hearing how he treated Odessa and the other dolls she orders them killed.  Tilda walks away as the butterflies exact vengeance.

A baby cries in a room somewhere with a dark alley.  We see someone clean, then hand the baby to Veil. Aww! The person that hands her a new baby son is none other than Quinn (Marton Csokas), alive and well! Yep we end on that note!

Review

This was a great season premiere! There is so much nuance in this episode!  The title, “Tiger Pushes Mountain” described a few of the main characters.  Sunny trying to escape the mines. MK trying to learn his powers.  The Widow getting the refinery back. Clever wording on the part of the writers.  The time jump is fine as it gives context to the differences from when the show started.

Sarah Bolger as Jade, Muiris Crowley as Cormac – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

I thought it flowed like the first few episodes last season.  There were at least two major fight scenes, world building, and even the way that the main characters were reintroduced was familiar but also shows how vastly things have changed.  For example, I remember in the series premiere we first met Sunny, he fought in a badass way, then he met M.K. We get introduced to Baron Quinn and his family, Sunny’s girl Veil newly pregnant, then the widow.  In the season 2 premiere, we see Sunny again, but in dire straits, he fights for survival, then we see how MK is doing at the monastery.  We catch up with the new Baron and Baroness Ryder and Jade, then what the Widow is up to with her butterflies.  Veil has just given birth to a son, which Quinn, very much alive, has helped with the birth.  I sense a pattern.

Emily Beecham as The Widow – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

The Widow win hands down for the fight scenes this week!  Sorry Sunny, but you came close! I feel like the Widow did Sunny proud slicing and dicing her way to Jade. Although the way that she killed Cormac (Muiris Crowley) was overkill.  I felt bad for the guy.  The heels that The Widow wore was used to good effect!  Is it just me or has she gotten even more ruthless when she kills? They way that she used her butterflies to kill the last few clippers to get to Jade was like she was saying, “This is too easy.”

Ally Ioannides as Tilda – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

It is obvious that Tilda decided to choose the tincture instead of the poison on the Widow when she was injured in the season finale.  Now Tilda is regent.  The relationship between the two seems to have improved, but Tilda is starting to make decisions that could have consequences later.  She went and killed the clippers that treated the dolls badly, even though the Widow let them leave her compound unharmed.  I have a feeling that Tilda will continue the Widow’s first vendetta in creating a safe world for women.  The Widow is starting to realize that as her numbers have grown, she needs to start realizing her ultimate goal.  She has mentioned that she wants to create a world where there are no labels.  If everyone is considered equal, would she still be considered a leader then? Would it create more chaos?  The other barons would want to protect their power structure.  My guess is they will make their move soon after that attack.  There is also a darkness or ruthlessness that I’m seeing in Tilda which I hope is explored this season. Will the Widow notice in time to reign it in?

Maddisan Jaizani as Odessa – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

I do not trust Odessa. There is something off about her.  She may be a plant but she could also cause discord between Tilda and the Widow for reasons like obsession or power.  I will be watching her like a hawk!

I had this reaction when hearing Ryder killed Quinn and Jacoby.

via GIPHY

Ryder’s “power” is a joke.  He is a fraud for even remotely claiming he killed his father and Jacoby.  I feel like if Jade was not his wife, he would be in even worse shape. At the refinery, I’m wondering what Ryder would have said if Jade had not stepped in with a sound decision.  I am starting to compare Ryder with Quinn more now that he’s Baron and Jade with Lydia (Orla Brady).  I just think that Quinn would have been in the fight against the Widow when she attacked instead of escaping.  Quinn would have checked to see if his wife is okay.

Sarah Bolger as Jade, Oliver Stark as Ryder – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

I also think that Lydia would have showed less fear faced against The Widow.  In Jade’s defense, she was a cog before becoming Baroness so she is now being brought into the politics of ruling which is whole other game. I still felt the Widow would have defeated her no problem which would have been disappointing.  I hope this causes Jade to get a backbone and learn defense.  Jade and the Widow have a lot more in common though because of how they want to treat cogs and others.  It would be interesting if they ever aligned.

Stephen Walters as Engineer – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

If the Engineer looks familiar, it is because he also plays Angus on the hit Starz show Outlander. So even though he is playing a jerk, it is nice to see him while Outlander is still on break.  I still need to watch the rest of last season sigh…

Nick Frost as Bajie – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

Nick Frost brings some needed comic relief to the series as Bajie.  From his story to how he became a miner to the fact that he was bored with Sunny always threatening his life gave a brief lightness to the episode.  The only major thing that bothered me about his character was when he hit the woman to take her gold ring away.  Bajie warned Sunny that he likes new opportunities, so as someone who dealt with shady Barons, he had to have known Bajie would use him to get ahead.  But what if Bajie also did that on purpose? Sunny is the one most likely out of anyone to succeed in escaping the mines.  Maybe Bajie threw him a bone to the point they both escape alive.  We will see next week.

Aramis Knight as M.K. – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

MK wins for best location because that waterfall was gorgeous! Seeing all that lush greenery was heaven.  Because of this I got irritated with MK because his accommodations are better than Sunny’s that’s for sure!  While I do agree that the monks are hiding secrets, I am going to reserve judgement on the reasons for them.  And should MK be surprised that Eva would reveal information about him? Really? Maybe he should have kept his story to himself.  Didn’t he learn anything while in the Badlands?

Chipo Chung as The Master – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

The master just became my new favorite character! I thought it would be Bajie but you can’t beat someone that can heal herself! My guess is the reason she wants to take over MK’s training is because she broke her forearm stopping that punch.  His power must be deep if she is unsettled.  I like the mystery the actress Chung brings to the character which makes me want to know more!

I’m not surprised that Quinn is alive.  Sunny didn’t stab him in the heart or cut off his head.  Also, I did not see a dead body.  Since Veil was looking for Sunny during the season finale, she probably found Quinn and for some reason decided to help him.  It feels creepy him handling the birth.  That makes him useful though so I’m conflicted.  It was very timely of Sunny to have the dream he did of Veil. I wonder if she was about to give birth right around that time?

There are many more questions I have after this episode which has me curious about this season. Here are just a few of them:

  1. What are the abbots, in particular the Master hiding?
  2. What makes MK so special?
  3. How is the master able to heal herself?
  4. Why are the miners digging for buried old things? Who oversees that area?
  5. When will Quinn makes his move to exact revenge on his son?
  6. Is Quinn keeping Veil there under duress?
  7. Will Ryder EVER have a fight scene?
  8. Are we going to see more of the guy that MK talked to? He also seemed like an interesting new character.
  9. How many will Sunny and the Widow add to their body count this season? I feel like they are in a dead heat at the moment.
Emily Beecham as The Widow – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

What did you think of the episode? Favorite fight scene? Any questions you have after the premiere? Sound off below in the comments!

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About Natty Willy

Went to the library and Natty fell in love with all things fiction. Natty grew up watching all kinds of movies ranging from Star Wars, "The Chinese Connection", all things Disney, musicals like "The Music Man" to comedy action films featuring Whoopi Goldberg. Lover of old school cartoons like X-Men, TaleSpin, and DuckTales. Grew up on shows like Family Matters, Full House, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Have eclectic musical tastes. Lover of books, appreciation of all things geeky.
  • Ray

    Great Review! I did enjoy the episode till Quinn ass showed up. But what a great opener.

  • Thanks for commenting! Because of how crazy Quinn is, the possibility of him somehow surviving his injuries was very high. Are your thoughts aligning with mine or do you have any additional nuggets? ~ Natty

  • Ray

    Nope! I right there with you. I was still a great season 2 opener tho.

  • Will

    Loved the episode and this was a thorough and entertaining review. Good questions as well. In addition to those, I hope we get more details about the connections between Lydia’s father and those working to help MK control his power. I don’t think Lydia is quite ready to retire into a peaceful life and she may find a way back into power with Quinn before too long.

  • Thanks for commenting! I hope so too! I agree that Lydia is not ready to hang up her Baroness hat! I’m ready for Quinn to mess with Ryder ~ Natty

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