Read our interview with Daniel Wu, star of Into the Badlands.
“You know what’s out there beyond our borders? A big sackful of stories. It’s a wasteland, no, no, it’s a paradise, it’s a whatever.”
This week’s Into The Badlands focuses more on the growing tension between Quinn and The Widow. Growing tension that results in a lot of new tattoos.
After fleeing into The Widow’s territory, M.K. and his powerful secret meet Tilda (Ally Ioannides), The Widow’s right hand assassin and daughter – in that order. The Widow herself (the mesmerising Emily Beecham) is once again enchanting and deadly in equal measure, although the scales tip towards the latter in this episode. Opening with an incredible scene in which she takes on a number of assassins, The Widow reveals herself to be Quinn’s biggest threat.
Badlands’ most deadly, Sunny, manages to raise the body count even further, after a mission gone wrong becomes a Kill Bill-esque battle against a small army of opponents. Daniel Wu’s athleticism may impress, but it’s edged out by his theatrical battles, as Martin Csokas’ Quinn tests his loyalty. The calibre is continued when Wu asks advice of a former Clipper, Waldo (the ever-raspy and battle-worn Stephen Lang). The exchange is short, but both actors provide an intensity and depth worth paying attention to.
In between moments of fantastic dialogue and boggling massacres, Into The Badlands also tells a thrilling tale. The writers – Alfred Gough and Miles Millar – are brilliant at creating a story that alludes to a colossal and rich world; the Badlands terminology is woken tightly into the fabric of what’s shown, the idea that this story occurs in a very large, very dangerous world not difficult to arrive at.
Still cryptic and still bloody, Into The Badlands follows up a mysterious first episode with the right amount of answers and new questions to keep viewers entertained beyond a narrative cliffhanger or two. The characters are realistic enough to warrant emotional responses and the action is bold and unyielding.
Into the Badlands is available to watch online exclusively on Amazon Prime Video UK, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. New episodes arrive every week on Tuesdays, within 48 hours of their US premiere.
Additional notes (contain spoilers)
– A stellar week leads to a few major questions. Sunny’s increasing desire to leave the Clippers, coupled with The Widow’s quick-paced warmongering, suggest that Quinn doesn’t have long before he’s no allies left – but if the brutal murders he committed in Sonny’s name are any hint, we doubt he’ll go without a fight.
– With M.K. now under Sunny’s wing, it’s already early enough to excitedly speculate about exactly how lethal M.K. can be when provoked, especially considering Sunny’s will to preserve the boy’s conscience.
– Although The Widow steals the show, her daughter Tilda proves equally as fascinating. Another ruthless assassin endangering themselves to save an innocent M.K., just after another expertly choreographed murder? Into The Badlands certainly knows how to balance hearts with blades.
– The lasting impression of the episode, beyond questions about future wars and relationships, is of the strength of everything involved. The plot itself is remarkably written, managing to add dimensions to characters without lessening their power as pillars of the genre.