AMC’s Into the Badlands might have gotten a ten-episode second season (up four episodes from season one), but there’s no slowing down narratively. Episode 2 — which is actually chapter 8, proving just how propulsive the story of the Badlands is — wastes no time getting Sunny out of the mines, after a pretty awesome, and gruesome, fight scene to open the show. I would put the rest of the episode into three distinct buckets, that just so happen to coincide with a line from Hamilton‘s “My Shot.” And yes, I’m keeping up these #IntoTheHamLands recap titles all season!
There is clearly a generational divide among the key players on the series. Let’s focus on the kids first.
M.K. remains in the mountains to find — and fight — himself under the tutelage of The Master. Also, shout out to the producers for the Enter the Dragon homage during M.K.’s ayahuasca session with The Master.
M.K.’s session doesn’t go well as he sees visions of the bodies left behind in his wake, as well as a dark doppelganger of himself. The Master snaps him out of his vision, unsure if he is ready for the burden of being special.
Back at the Butterlfy stronghold, Tilda receives a lesson on how to be an effective regent from Waldo. Lesson #1: don’t slaughter a bunch of people without permission from your Baron/mother. Lesson #2: repress your emotions. Waldo laments Sunny’s inability to lock away his feelings — basically subtweeting Veil — and wonders aloud if his former padawan is even alive. Similarly, Tilda openly misses M.K., and it’s clear she’s going to ignore Waldo’s second lesson too.
At the Fort, Ryder is still trying to prove to himself that he is a Baron — or is that BAE-ron? — worth following. We know this because he freaks out when his mother, Lydia returning from exile for a brief moment, asks him for Clipper protection for her father’s religious commune (more on that in a minute). While he seemed genuinely pleased to see his mother again, the moment she reminds him how hard it is to be baron, Ryder throws her out and refuses her request for protection.
Finally, we’re formally introduced to the youngest member of the Badlands family, Veil and Sunny’s infant son Henry.
After last week’s shocking cliffhanger, we learn more about Veil’s current predicament. First of all, it wasn’t a mass hallucination: Quinn is back! Turns out, Veil found Quinn’s impaled body from the season one finale and nursed him back to health. For some reason? In return, Quinn helped deliver the baby and is keeping Veil under his “protection.”
In some sort of underground bunker, Quinn is plotting his return to power with a consolidated Clipper force but not before some weird ass naming ritual in which he smears deer blood on baby Henry’s forehead.
It’s also pretty obvious, and creepy, that Quinn is positioning himself as Henry’s surrogate father, even naming him “heir” to the Badlands, eliciting an epic side-eye gif from Veil.
It would probably be safe to assume that each one of the characters on this show could fall into the scrappy category. None more so than Sunny himself.
In the cold open, Sunny finds himself chained to the guy who sold him out last week. Turns out the mining supervisor isn’t a fan of rats. Baije convinces Sunny not to kill him, but it doesn’t matter because a giant named Mouse is sent out to kill the both of them. Fortunately for our heroes, Sunny makes like Luke Skywalker in the Rancor pit and gets the better of the beast, ultimately tossing him into a giant exhaust fan.
Meanwhile, former Baronness Lydia is in attendance at a wedding for two disciples at her father’s spiritual compound. Sadly for the newlyweds, the band starts playing “The Rains of Castamere” as a pair of nomads crash the party and turn the event into its own Red Wedding.
Lydia is no Catlyn Stark however, and fights back against the nomads as the rest of the party, including Father Lance Hendriksen, passively watches. She expertly slits her attacker’s throat and is drenched in his blood. This is why she came to seek her son’s help. We already know how that went down.
Scrappy little M.K. decides to overcome his nightmarish visions and asks The Master to allow him to return to his vision. Instead of running from his twin self, the two engage in one of the more impressive fight scenes of the series thus far.
I’m still not entirely sold on M.K.’s Chosen One storyline, but I’m here for more scenes with Chipo Chung’s Master, so…
Did anyone else think it was neat that Baije — who initially ratted out Sunny as a Clipper before becoming his unwitting sidekick — found, killed, cooked, and ate a rat? Just me?
If Baije’s play on ratatouille didn’t whet your appetite for gamey delicacies, Quinn’s Clippers-in-training brought a giant, slaughtered deer into his underground compound. Instead of eating it, though, Quinn used the deer’s antler to punish one of his minions for ogling Veil, as well as for the aforementioned creepy naming ritual for Baby Henry.
The only thing Veil is hungry for is to venture outside. She’s hungry for sunlight, which really means she wants to escape and find Sunny. Quinn, though, does the next best thing, and stuffs Veil and Henry into a different corner of the bunker that happens to have a hole in the ceiling. Baby steps, I guess.
You know who the audience was hungry for? Emily Beechum’s Widow! Criminally, the Widow doesn’t appear until the last segment of the show. She’s sparring with Tilda while Waldo is advising her from the bourbon cart. It seems that the other barons are looking to negotiate the new world order and have issued a conclave.
It’s almost certainly a trap to set her up, which means a bunch of dudes are about to get murdered next episode! Evan Waldo can toast to that!
The episode ends with Baije and Sunny finally trekking all the way across
Ireland the outer lands to the edge of the Badlands. Unbeknownst to Sunny, Baron Drumpf has erected a big, beautiful wall across the Badlands’ southern(?) border. It’s unclear at this point whether the outer lands actually paid for its construction.