So I went to my preferred karaoke bar in NYC the other night, and who should be there but two of the stars of AMC’s Into the Badlands, Emily Beecham and Ally Ioannides, a.k.a. The Widow and Tilda. This is because magical occurrences happen inside karaoke bars, all the time.
Yeah, they’re pretty awesome. On top of Into the Badlands’ distinctive appeal for featuring an Asian American dude lead in a central romantic storyline with a Black woman, the show also offers a few of the most compelling women characters in the ever-burgeoning category of futuristic dystopian martial-arts adventure shows. The Widow’s female-fronted faction is a key player in the power struggle for Future Kung-Fu America, they are always making big plays, exploring honor and deceit, and throwing down with gangs o’ fools.
This most recent episode, “Palm of the Iron Fox,” (which lead actor Daniel Wu is hardly in, btw), is especially representative of these diverse intertwined storylines. Veil succeeds in making more grappling hooks than Batman did in all of The Dark Knight Rises, although she is foiled again in her attempts to escape captivity. There’s a massive climactic fight with the Widow, Tilda and Waldo vs Basically Everyone Else, which I want to say is… festive? Can we describe fight scenes as “festive” now? Certainly it’s kinetic and full of wuxia-influenced exuberance and acrobatics. The Widow performs an excellent stiletto-heel strike on one opponent (Martial arts fans please educate me if the high heels have been used as puncture weapons in other films, it really seems like that ought to be a thing) and Tilda arrives to save the day with well-placed throwing stars.
But only, presumably, because her crossbow was in the shop.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, the songs that Tilda and the Widow have been known to sing in karaoke bars include Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Eminem’s “Rap God,” and The Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma.” All excellent and stimulating song choices by my rigorous karaoke standards! Well met, Ally and Emily, and I hope that the musical episode of Into the Badlands comes together in this lifetime.
Dominic Mah is a writer, filmmaker, and ex-professional gambler. Follow him on twitter: @dommah and/or @thorhulkcritic and elsewhere on the internet at Karaoke Rhapsody and You Offend Me You Offend My Family