For obvious reasons, we’ve been riding the Into the Badlands train from jump, and now that it’s here — and a huge hit — we couldn’t wait to add the show to the Recap rotation. We’ve been holding on to this one for a while too, since we got an early look at episode two a few months ago. As much as I dug the pilot, I always thought the second episode was where the series was going to take off with audiences. And if nerd twitter was any indication Sunday night, everyone else agreed.
Like the debut episode, “Fist Like a Bullet” cold opens with a fantastically choreographed fight scene. This time, the series’ main antagonist — The Widow, played by Emily Beecham — does the ass-kicking in a very Old West/steampunk inspired strip club (complete with power tools). It seems that Nomads have been hired to take her out; whether they’re the same Nomad group she had kidnap M.K. remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Beecham gets to show off some of her kung fu training, and we get to see that awesome opening credit sequence again — featuring music by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. This show is so Asian.
Later M.K. is making his way through the woods — after escaping The Fort last week — and comes across a stranger who looks like if adolescent Zooey Deschanel had a Japanese fetish (so basically Baby Katy Perry). She identifies herself as Tilda, and after some uncomfortable banter between the two, they hear horses in the distance. Apparently, the Baron has sent a Clipper force to locate the runaway, so she takes M.K. to her mother to be kept safe. Of course, this ends up being a terrible idea.
Sunny just so happens to be leading the search party and orders his men to stop pursuing because they’ve reached the border between Baron Quinn’s territory and The Widow’s turf. And this is our first hint at Tilda’s parentage. Immediately, M.K. realizes he’s being led into the one place he’s been trying so desperately to escape — remember, Sunny rescued him from The Widow’s band of Nomads last ep. Widow pretends not to recognize M.K. and even interrogates him about his pendant (which is currently in the Baron’s possession). He lies unconvincingly, and Widow lets him go. Also, mother and daughter creepily watch him as he bathes.
Back at the Fort, Quinn is still pissed that one of his slave boys has escaped and blames his son Ryder for being an idiot. He also tasks Sunny to come with him on a special trip to the doctor’s office. This is unusual because Quinn doesn’t normally venture out of the walls for routine visits, and he also doesn’t request an entourage. Just Sunny.
At the doctor’s house, Quinn learns that his frequent headaches are the result of a growing and inoperable brain tumor. Quinn isn’t too thrilled about this news. While Quinn is getting checked out, Sunny has a heart-to-heart with the doctor’s wife. We learn that Sunny’s secret girlfriend Veil is actually the adopted daughter of the doctor and his wife. She also knows about their secret romance and the baby on the way. Quinn emerges from the exam room and exchanges pleasantries with the doctor and his family. Outside, Quinn tells Sunny to go back inside and murder the both of them. Sunny refuses to kill his secret in-laws so the Baron gets his own hands dirty.
He’s also not too happy about his chief Clipper’s outward defiance, and orders him to torch the house. This absolutely destroys Sunny, and plants the first seeds of his eventual turn against his Baron. It also leads to the strongest scene in the whole episode, when Sunny promises Veil that they will be leaving the Badlands.
We really need to step our hashtag game up.
Anyway, back at the Widow’s plantation, she still has suspicions about M.K.’s identity and tells Tilda to draw his blood in order to make him go Super Saiyan again. Because Tilda has an unconditional crush on the boy, she gets him to feign the injury and fool her mother for the time being. At the same time, Widow has invited a group of Nomads to work together against Quinn.
They refuse to work with the Widow — whose plantation is basically Themyscira since M.K. is the only dude in the whole place — because they’re all misogynists. Widow offers up Tilda in a deal. If the Nomads can take her out, she will be given to them. If TIlda wins, though, their alliance will be solidified. Needless to say, Tilda wins.
The Nomads do get one consolation prize, though: M.K. Their first move is to set a trap for Ryder. Because he’s an idiot, he falls for it and leads himself and Sunny into an ambush at a decommissioned wind turbine. Why? Because an extended fight sequence inside a wind turbine. That’s why.
Even though Sunny takes out most of the Nomads, their leader is still able to get the jump on him and is about to choke him out until M.K. shows up in the nick of time. Now, Sunny owes the kid a life debt. M.K. also admits that he does indeed know the way out of the Badlands, and Sunny sees — perhaps for the first time — an opportunity for freedom for himself and for Veil. In return for saving his life, Sunny offers to train him, and thus a hero/sidekick partnership is born.