Amazon Prime UK TV review: Into the Badlands, Episode 6 (Hand of Five Poisons)
Chris Bryant | On 23, Dec 2015
Read our interview with Daniel Wu, star of Into the Badlands.
Into The Badlands season finale represents the culmination of numerous bodies, many mysteries and a whole lot of betrayal Unfortunately, it also fails to meet the standard of the previous five episodes.
Badlands’ first season has been overflowing with style, phenomenal kinetic energy and a glimpse into a rich and stunning feudal landscape. Episode 6, however, seems desperate to keep viewers interested more than entertained.
It’s forcibly written, adding new factions to introduce more mysteries without really solving any of the existing ones. Jumping between story threads, the script fails to add a third dimension to any of them, and where the previous episodes have slowly but beautifully unwound, the threads here are torn asunder in the hope of creating a finale out of the loose ends.
The luxuriating pace of the show also gave the cast and crew time to add weight to their characters, settings and visuals. While Hand of Five Poisons does charge forward, the utmost sin it commits is that even amongst the chaos, there’s really not that much. The only fight scene relies solely on M.K. and his supernatural tendencies, with Sonny’s involvement feeling strained and questionable; it’s more of a plot point than a display of martial arts, with no other battles to be fought.
Sticking to the feudal steam-punk aesthetic, the show is still visually impressive, but the suddenly poor writing after a season paced for in-depth enjoyment and optical amazement ensures that Episode 6 pales in comparison to its predecessors. It’s as though the season were cut short by a few episodes, or the writers realised they had little time left before the finishing line. Into the Badlands is yet to be renewed for another season and although the season has been indulgently brilliant thus far, this conclusion may jeopardise the future of an oft-unique, enjoyable show.
Into the Badlands is available to watch online exclusively on Amazon Prime Video UK, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
Additional notes (contain spoilers)
– So, M.K. is not only alone in his talents, but has been taken by those who appear to completely control theirs – although their reference to him as a “Dark One” may well place him still in danger.
– Sonny’s disappointing (possible) killing of Quinn raised no eyebrows or satisfaction, after his blood-pumping “You’ll be my last tattoo” threat. Quinn’s not the type to give in easily, though, so maybe a satisfying death awaits him in the future.
– One storyline that did fit comfortably was Quinn’s first wife, Lydia, who flees to her home amongst her family of peaceful nomads. Still far from being trustworthy, Lydia is as much a survivor as her tyrant husband and just as talented at revenge.
– Elsewhere, Sonny’s family’s fate remains unseen, a rushed few moments of losing faith in Sonny, and then saving with The Widow and Veil appears to have no more depth than being an extension of Sonny – existing solely to give him something to fight for. With Sonny being such a troubled character, giving Veil a third dimension could’ve had the audience a little more involved.