Amazon UK TV review: Into the Badland Season 2, Episode 1
New world order8
Chris Bryant | On 22, Mar 2017
After a blistering first season, albeit with a rushed conclusion, fans will be happy with the return of Into the Badlands, as Alfred Gough and Miles Millar’s show takes us back to Sunny’s (Daniel Wu) world of tribes and killers. Having been renewed for a full 10 episodes this time, hopefully avoiding the issues of the past, AMC’s martial arts thriller continues to match innovative choreography with brutally rebellious drama.
Six months after the events that ended the first season, the world has been plunged into the dirt for most characters. The ‘How the mighty have fallen’ vibe fits beautifully, with characters usually clad in protective leather, clan colours, and armed with the sharpest steel now living and eating in the dirt, being reminded exactly how the ‘cogs’ live.
Daniel Wu’s strong, silent lead, now exiled and sold into slavery by The River King, proves that even shackled and chained, he’s a force of nature. Constrained to mining, barely fed, and barely recognised, Sunny endures his new life with the help of his workmate, Bajie. Bajie, played strongly by a chatty and street-smart Nick Frost, who serves to provide context for the mines, before he realises how useful his new friend can be. Sunny’s fall from grace is a smart move for the show, giving him a new ruthless overlord to rebel against and an nigh-on endless supply of henchmen to kill in increasingly creative ways.
Back home, Quinn’s son, Ryder (a petulant Oliver Stark), now rules the empire, but with only the untrustworthy Jade by his side and no father to guide him, the workers have begun deserting him, and The Widow has started taking his territory. Emily Beecham’s mysterious baron proves once again that she is more comfortable as a warrior than a ruler, freeing the workers and allowing opposition Clippers to roam free – with Quinn out of the picture, The Widow has become a new kind of adversary and it’s difficult to see how the other barons will react to her freedom-infused mercy.
Paced notably cleaner than the previous episode, Amazon’s deadlist original continues being a visual treat, brimming with duplicity and colourful characters. Blade-driven, multi-level fight sequences, and a couple of sharp twists to keep the audience guessing, suggest strongly that Into The Badlands is back – with a vengeance.
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.