Warning: This contains spoilers.
Into the Badlands serves up a well-balanced entry into the pseudo-steampunk saga, as the Amazon exclusive amps up the tension without dispensing with story.
Centering around The Widow, her history and motives, Episode 9 manages to ensure the fight sequences get their spotlight, and uses the Baron’s backstory to guarantee the stakes are getting higher, as the second season draws to a close.
The catalyst for this episode is simply a little pressure and a little doubt. When The Widow feels threatened, she lashes out, suggesting to each character that she might not be the Woman-of-the-People saviour we had all come to root for. Turning on Sunny – Out of fear? Or strategy – The Widow ends up losing many of her alliances, concluding with a head-to-head with daughter-advisor-head clipper Tilda.
Ally Ioannides’ blue-clad killer finally questions her adoptive mother this week and nearly gets murdered in the process. Often underused, Ioannides’ lethal teenager, and her newfound feelings, almost steal the show from her on-screen mother, on and off the battlefield. The Widow’s loss of Tilda is a strong move for the show, isolating a number of characters in the process, and giving audiences exactly what they want – a showdown. In a world filled with ice cold killers, it’s lucky that the politics allows us to see who really comes out on top.
With only one episode to go, Into the Badlands has created such chaos that it’s difficult to guess where the story is headed. Episode 9’s compact, duplicity-driven plot and subsequent violent fallout sets the tone for more of the same. Having dipped since the opening few episodes, Badlands finds itself having to rush moments of narrative again, apparently without realising that the slow pace of progression is preferable, provided the audience gets the vibrant cinematography, colour-palette, and ever-innovative fight scenes it’s previously delivered.
While Episode 9 doesn’t fall into any huge traps of forced plotting, it serves as a functional episode. Interesting, illuminating, and packed with dishonesties, it seems Into the Badlands’ most dangerous Baron might not be Quinn after all.
Into the Badlands Season 2 is available to watch online exclusively on Amazon Prime Video UK, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. New episodes arrive every Tuesday, within 48 hours of their US broadcast. Season 1 is already available.