Amazon Prime UK TV review: Into the Badlands, Episode 4 (Two Tigers Subdue Dragons)
Chris Bryant | On 08, Dec 2015
Read our interview with Daniel Wu, star of Into the Badlands.
This week’s instalment of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar’s martial-arts packed drama starts answering the questions raised weeks ago – to excellent effect.
Sonny and M.K. begin their training, with Sonny as eager to learn about M.K.’s power as M.K. is to learn about Sonny’s. Quinn sees The Widow’s moves in Episode 3 as an outright declaration of war, and hopes to rally the other Barons to his aid, with mixed results.
Jacobi makes his first appearance in the form of Edi Gathegi, his soft tones and piercing stare acting as all the credibility he needs to portray a character as lethal as Quinn or The Widow. As a Baron, his presence must be felt, so as the plot is driven forward, Jacobi is forced to add to the body count to really prove himself.
With Episode 4 satisfying our thirst for knowledge – regardly both the huge world and the compelling plot – some may worry that this comes at the expense of some of the finer action oft on display in Badlands. Not a chance. With M.K. testing his control over his dark power, Quinn killing first and asking questions later (if he asks questions at all), and Sonny testing his skills against other Barons’ right-hand assassins, AMC’s stylish drama is as blood-spattered as ever.
This episode represents the first in which more questions are answered than asked, with a sizeable portion of this battle now explored – the only major omission being the other Barons, though Jacobi and his axe-wielding clippers seem to represent their interests comfortably enough. With the rules, players and limits somewhat tested, Badlands can get down to what it does so well: playing out an old-school power struggle for trade and goods against a unique backdrop of martial arts sequences and freakish characters.
The drama itself arrives in abundance here, with Sonny forced to negotiate with a mysterious “King”, who roams free of local allegiances. The real battle begins with a brilliantly pieced-together exchange in Quinn’s home – starting with his wife and fiancé and then involving himself and his son. Quinn’s family arrangements rival that of the Game of Thrones crowd, although better dressed and more impressive with a sword.
Overall, the result is a huge success. With audiences hungry for more information, especially where M.K.’s secret is concerned, the fourth chapter of Into the Badlands provides a rounded experience with the answers coming with an expertly-styled round of gang warfare. It certainly seems as though Badlands can do no wrong.
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)
– Quinn has promised to get The Widow in-line, with Jacobi promising that the other Barons will align with him if he does – a dangerous promise to make for both sides, and we very much suspect that underestimating The Widow is a mistake for anyone in this brutal world.
– Sonny is also forced to make a deal with the River King for his own way out, to save his soulmate and child, but it’s difficult to imagine him being willing to hand over M.K. for the privilege, and that’s without Quinn’s reaction taken into account.
– Quinn’s professional and personal life are somewhat chaotic, then again, he seems fairly at ease with both and when you’re that well dressed, chaos probably isn’t as much an issue. Being a power-mad sociopath is also a mitigating factor. Could Episode 5 contain Badlands’ first wedding? With the Thrones comparisons inevitably being made, it’s foolish to hope for a romantic, peaceful wedding in this world, right?