Halfway through the first season of Into The Badlands and a couple of things are very clear. The Widow has a larger plan than we have seen, Quinn is still dying, and we learn how M.K. ended up in the Badlands.
After being surprised and displaced from her territory by Quinn and his Clippers, The Widow (Emily Beecham) has regrouped with Matilda and the remainder of her forces to an abandoned mansion to plan her next move.
Ambushing a nomad convoy using Tilda as bait, the Widow comes away with a large amount of gold and staying the course on her plan of taking out Quinn and getting support of the other Barons for doing so. Tilda openly challenges the Widow’s recent actions and rather unexpectedly the Widow reveals part of her reason for doing what is doing. She wants to craft a world where women craft their own destiny, and are not made either servants or thrown into doll houses, and is willing to do what she deems necessary to reach that goal.
Lydia (Orla Brady) is still contending, and seemingly trying to help Quinn’s wife-to-be, Jade (Sarah Bolger). Planning the upcoming wedding, Jade looks to buck some traditions because the other Barons will not be attending, so having a “place of honor” for their gifts is not something she deems important. Lydia cautions her that traditions go towards keeping the tenuous peace, and it’s probably not a smart idea to continue sleeping with Ryder (Quinn’s son).
Sunny continues to train M.K. and while the boy shows promise he still has a lot to learn about improvisation when taking on an opponent. Taking him to an abandoned stretch of land and cutting M.K. to bring out his hidden abilities, Sunny tells M.K. he needs to face his inner fear to control whatever this power is. Quinn consults with Sunny about his taking of the Widow’s oil fields and how the other Barons are not entirely pleased. Seeking a parlay with another Baron, Jacobee. Quinn hopes a formal alliance will make the other Barons more agreeable to his recent actions. Still trying to prolong what time he has left, Quinn visits Vail to see if there is anything else that can be done. Veil suggests what is seemingly the Badlands version of chemotherapy, to “poison” him to kill the tumor. Quinn is hesitant but Veil seems to think it will give him more time but is unsure, as her father thought he had a few months at best.
Ryder is sent by Quinn to arrange the parlay with Jacobee and to make peace with Jacobee about the gold shipment that the Widow took, He and his father are at odds about his role and his past relationship with Jade, as it appears they were childhood sweethearts. We learn Quinn has taken a second wife before, but died due to “natural causes” and Ryder warns Jade to not be naive. Ryder meets with Jacobee’s Regent, Zypher (Ellen Hollman) and sets a place and time for the parlay, and close to Quinn’s territory, as his father directed.
At the parlay, we meet Jacobee (played with an underlying menace by Edi Gathegee), accompanied by Zephyr and a detachment of Clippers. Jacobee tells Quinn that since he provoked The Widow, it’s his problem. Take care of the problem and Quinn has the full support of the other Barons. One ax throw by Tilda, and the parlay descends into a short but effective fight scene with Quinn facing off against Jacobee and his Clippers, while Sunny faces Zypher. Seeing M.K. struggling with Tilda, Sunny is able to stop him from killing Tilda, grabbing the ax, and showing both sides that the Widow has manipulated both sides.
Upon returning to the Fort, Sunny and Quinn find the fields empty and the Clippers dead. Locating a survivor, they learn that the Widow killed the Clippers and offered the Cogs gold, more gold than anyone has seen, and the promise of a better life. Quinn mandates Sunny find the Widow, kill her, and return her body to Quinn so she can be displayed on the gates of the Fort for everyone to see. Sunny then makes a visit to the River King, who moves all cargo throughout the Badlands, and learns that a shipment of Cogs was massacred prior to delivery, and there was one survivor. M.K. was that survivor.
The River King (Lance E. Nichols) makes Sunny an offer, find and kill M.K. and bring him his head, and he will offer safe passage to Sunny and anyone he travels with out of the Badlands.
Meanwhile, we see that Ryder has been taken prisoner by Zypher and The Widow. The Widow makes Ryder an offer, presumably the same one made with Zypher. Kill their respective masters, and the Widow will see they are rewarded.
This episode revealed a lot in a short amount of time and in contrast to the previous episode, which was a bit of a slog. A good amount of exposition packed in to a short amount of time mixed with short, but meaningful action. Hurtling towards what looks to be an explosive finale in the next two episodes, Badlands is delivering on story, characters, and the best fighting and action sequences you will see on television right now
Into The Badlands airs Sundays at 9pm EST on AMC