Amazon Prime UK TV review: Into the Badlands, Episode 5 (Snake Creeps Down)
Chris Bryant | On 16, Dec 2015
Read our interview with Daniel Wu, star of Into the Badlands.
“You’re not tired. You’re afraid,” Sonny says to M.K. during his training. The brilliance of Badlands is that this sentence could apply to any character. Five episodes in and everyone is already beaten, bloodied, and betrayed. It’s a series that so far moves as fast as its characters’ weapons and Snake Creeps Down ups the stakes once more.
With The Widow recruiting cogs in the woods and Quinn’s headaches forcing him to rely on his wives to run his empire – while quietly plotting against one another, of course – the world opens up a little for Sonny and M.K.. They begin searching for The Widow, as an in at the very, very deep end style of training – one proven all too dangerous when a bear-style-trap ensnares a fully fledged Clipper. The close-quarters combat, whispered plots and fantastic cinematography are all well-served by the large oak trees and their vibrantly green leaves – a reminder that while Badlands may produce some mind boggling combat, it doesn’t need to rely on the violence to look impeccable.
Aramis Knight (M.K.) has a particularly strong episode, gracefully transitioning from valuable to valued. With the mysterious warrior having previously been treated like a time-bomb, M.K. begins to relax in Sonny’s company and later proves that though his physical skills may not be strong yet, mentally, he knows exactly where he stands. Later, Ryder visits his maternal Grandfather (a wise and foreboding Lance Henriksen) who quietly produces a revelation about M.K.’s powers.
Elsewhere in the episode, it’s business as usual. And by business as usual, we, of course, mean that the list of unbelievable fight scenes just gets longer. This time, Sonny faces The Widow, using fists, fire and a few weapons that there aren’t even names for. The athleticism and martial arts displayed really are second to none: Into The Badlands has a strong enough grasp over tension to force the most lethal characters against one another time and time again without feeling contrived.
With several shock revelations in store, the war Quinn is raging with basically everyone has somehow become more dangerous, especially for our lead master and student.
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)
– Where to start this week? Shocks galore, but the surprise that is likely to most affect the future of Badlands is Penrith’s revelation that not only do people know about M.K. but that there are more like him. He refers to him as ‘A Dark One’ and appears to be rallying a special force to hunt him down. He’ll have to get in line, it seems.
– Quinn and The Widow witness M.K.’s powers, as he saves Tilda from a fellow Colt; both his power and his loyalty will prove to anger both of them. He ends the episode too important to scold for his betrayal, exactly the same as Tilda – who has clearly lied to her mother, but also saves her life. Badlands may be good at combat, but it’s excellent at crafting a precarious balance of trust between factions.
– Thirdly is the collapse of Quinn’s new wife – after a day helping Clippers milk poppies and seemingly befriending Quinn’s first wife. All suspicious eyes will of course look to Lydia (an intense and threatening Orla Brady), but we should have all learnt not to second guess AMC’s brilliant action series by now.