In my quest to title each Into the Badlands recap after lyrics from a Hamilton song, the writers did me a solid by letting Nathaniel Moon, played by veteran actor Sherman Augustus, say a line from the classic George Washington showstopper:
Oddly enough, “One Last Time” was an inspired choice to describe the episode “Silver Moon, Red Sun” because each of the main characters of the show needs to learn how to say goodbye, in more ways than one. M.K. is plotting to escape the monastery, Veil is scheming to escape Quinn’s bunker, and Widow is prepared to hand leadership of the Butterflies over to Tilda if the Baron Conclave goes south. Still, something keeps tethering each of these characters in place.
Let’s start with our hero Sunny who opens the episode offering up some free advice to his chatty companion Baije.
Seriously, these Badlands writers are starting to make the #IntoTheHamLands entries too easy. After encountering The Great Wall of Trumpistan last episode, Sunny and Baije have to find an alternate route back to the Badlands. Baije insists he knows a smuggler who can get them through the wall when they happen upon a bridge and its protector. Even though the previews made it seem like the showdown between Sunny and this mysterious warrior would take place here, the rivals team up to take down a gang of bounty hunters instead.
After dismembering all of their attackers, Sunny and Baije seek shelter with their newfound companion. During a moment alone in the shade, they learn that he is also a former Clipper after spotting a portion of his 999 kill tattoos. This will be significant later.
Meanwhile in K’un Lun, M.K.’s adventure in the Mirror Room hasn’t made him feel any better about his situation. In fact, he’s more determined than ever to leave and find his mother. The desire to reunite with loved ones seems to be another overarching theme to season two.
Unfortunately for M.K., The Master isn’t keen on letting him leave before his training is finished. Remember what happened to Luke when he left Dagobah too early? The Master is trying to impart the same kind of wisdom to M.K., though it falls on deaf ears. Guess they don’t have Empire Strikes Back in the future.
In the Butterfly sanctuary, Waldo and Widow are having a strategy session in preparation for the upcoming conclave. Tilda is ready to accompany her mother as Regent, but is informed that Waldo will be going in her stead. It may seem like Waldo is teaching Tilda a lesson on how to be a good regent, but it feels like a power play on his part. Tilda probably feels the same. We’ll see how that plays out. In the meantime, how gorgeous are the sets on the show this season?
When we last left Veil and baby Henry, Quinn was engaging in some weird ass naming ritual and basically adopting Sunny’s baby as his own heir. He’s even singing lullabies and reading fairy tales to the baby when Veil comes in to perform a cat scan on Quinn. In case you forgot, before Quinn was impaled on Sunny’s sword, the thing that was going to kill him last season was a massive brain tumor. Apparently, Veil didn’t only nurse him back from sword wounds, she miraculously cured his tumor too. Or so he thinks.
The truth is that Quinn’s tumor is actually spreading. Veil is somehow masking his symptoms, which is likely due to the “medicine” she has him drink, and hiding away any evidence to the contrary. We all know it’s only a matter of time before Quinn finds out and there will be hell to pay. Hopefully, that will be long after Veil and Henry have made their escape, preferably through a southbound tunnel.
Back in the outer territories, Sunny and Baije have taken up shelter under the ex-Clipper’s own vine and fig tree. After a shave and a haircut, Sunny learns more about his new friend. He’s not any ordinary Clipper, but a legend known as the Silver Moon, one of the deadliest killers in all of the Badlands. Then, after 45 years of his life dedicated to his Baron’s service with an upright zeal, he left and was never heard from again. Moon, like Sunny, was a killing machine who got tired of killing and found a family. Sadly, there is no happily ever after for a Clipper, and Moon’s family paid the ultimate price.
Moon warns Sunny that if he continues to reunite with Veil and his son, they will suffer a similar fate. This echoes the earlier scene between M.K. and The Master wherein the wiser, more experienced elder warns our heroes of the danger of seeking out their loved ones. They want to talk about what they have learned, the hard-won wisdom they have earned even if no one wants to listen. Speaking of not listening, M.K.’s stubbornness continues to get him in trouble as he snoops around the monastery and finds out what happens to kids who try to run away.
It seems that the monks also rely on old technology and bring the runaway — who we learn is M.K.’s hammock-mate Tate — into some sort of lab where they strap him to a gurney and proceed to, I don’t know exactly? Like, use hi-tech acupuncture to remove his abilities? Either way, Tate is definitely getting tortured, though Jordan Bolger’s bare chest gained him an awful lot of new fans on twitter.
Before M.K. gets caught, he, well, actually gets caught by fellow novice Ava. M.K. basically flirts his way out of it, asking her to escape with him. Let’s say she does. What do you all think Tilda is going to do to her when she finds them?
Finally, the episode ends with a beautifully choreographed sword fight between Sun and Moon. Sure, Nathaniel has been nice to Sunny and Baije and had promised he wasn’t after the bounty on their heads. Instead, what Moon wanted more than anything was to battle a worthy opponent. Though it’s clear Sunny doesn’t want to fight, the two take up swords. I’ll let this tweet thread by author Michi Trota explain what was so great about this scene:
Fortunately, both Sunny and Moon survive this encounter, but I was hoping Moon would emerge from the episode as a partner than as an adversary. We’ll see when Moon returns. Because Moon is definitely returning.