Last night’s Into the Badlands — clunkily titled “Two Tigers Subdue Dragons” and not to be confused with this — was tasked with propelling us into the end of the season. In addition to a promised Baron v Baron showdown, the episode was the first to effectively use an episode-ending cliffhanger to guarantee viewers will tune in for the final two entries of its debut season. But did it deliver?
The ep opens with a bloodied Tilda running through the woods, and at first I thought maybe it was a flashback. Turns out that she was doing her mother’s bidding and luring some of Jacobee’s men into a Butterfly Warrior ambush. After killing them, the Widow decapitates one of Quinn’s clippers with Jacobee’s weapon of choice, the pickaxe. And it’s clear that Widow is a way better supervillain than Quinn.
At the Fort, Sunny and M.K. are in full-on Mr. Miyagi mode, training the young colt in the martial arts. Much like Daniel-san, M.K. is a little too hot-headed to listen to his sifu. And Sunny puts him on his ass.
To be honest, the kid isn’t endearing himself to twitter so much either.
Later that evening, M.K. starts practicing on his own and even considers cutting himself to unleash his superpowers. Sunny sees this from a distance and decides it’s time to step in and fix him once and for all. In another training session — in a far away location, Sunny unleashes the monster when he cuts M.K. on the cheek. Super Saiyan M.K. proceeds to force push Sunny to the ground before passing out himself. Sunny’s point was to teach M.K. how to be in control when his powers take over. This will be important later.
Meanwhile, Jade is having her own battle with Lydia over who gets to sleep with Quinn. Seriously, I don’t understand why so many people give a shit about Quinn. Not only do these two women fight over him, but I still don’t get Sunny’s allegiance to his baron. At some point, the ones who are supposed to be the protags need to turn on a character as despicable as Quinn or I’m gonna lose patience.
Speaking of Quinn, he’s still being treated by Veil for his tumor. She can’t do much for him because the only doctor in the Badlands who knows how to treat cancer is dead. Thanks, Quinn. Later, M.K. comes to Veil for more info on the book he stole because he believes it reveals a way out of the Badlands. Sunny is pissed because he thought M.K. already knew this. Sunny decides he needs to find another way out.
Back in the Butterfly lair, Tilda finds an antique record player, and the girls listen to the first music they’ve ever heard. Widow is a party pooper and breaks the record player while reminding Tilda she’s a sexual abuse survivor and doesn’t have time for such frivolity.
The Clippers end up agreeing to the parlay with Jacobee’s men and meet up in a cemetery. It’s refreshing to see there are black men in the future world of the Badlands. I hope Jacobee — played by Edi Gathegi, aka Darwin from X-Men: First Class — gets to stick around and become a major player (because we all know how well X-Men treated him). Also, his Clipper force is definitely the best dressed in the Badlands.
Tilda shows up incognito and triggers a battle between the two barons’ forces when she throws a pickaxe — which we remember is Jacobee’s signature move — at Quinn. Sunny catches it in time, but not before all hell breaks out and it’s full on Warriors vs. Clippers at the Staples Center. Meanwhile, M.K. spots Tilda and they throw down as well.
We also learn Jacobee’s regent Zypher is actually in cahoots with the Widow. The two badass ladies even try to sucker Ryder into joining their alliance, which he totally will, and then get got in the finale. I’m guessing.
After much blood is shed, the barons realize they were being set up by the Widow. Whether or not this means they’ll be teaming up is another story. On the other side of the cemetery, Tilda cuts M.K. and she witnesses him hulk out for the first time. M.K. is about to crush Tilda’s throat when his training kicks in and he’s able to control his rage.
After the battle, Sunny goes down to the docks to meet the River King (more black people in the Badlands!) for safe passage out for himself and his companions. The King isn’t trying to hear it though because he only agreed to meet Sunny as a favor for Waldo (Stephen Lang’s character and Sunny’s mentor).
River King is also pissed because the last time he had a shipment of cogs come through, someone murdered all of the passengers on board. He shows Sunny a wanted poster of the perp, and wouldn’t ya know, it’s M.K. The only way Sunny can get access to the King’s ships is by murdering his own sidekick. And we have our first interesting plot twist all season.