Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Into the Badlands, Season One, Episode Five: Snake Creeps Down

The penultimate  of this first season was all about setting things up for the big season finale.  The problem however is that it felt like they were simply moving pieces around on a chess board and once again we got very little character development.  That's not to say that I feel like I don't know the characters, it's just that they all feel two dimensional with obvious motivations.  

Sonny is training M.K. on the big wall which surrounds Quinn's fort. M.K. tries to beg off saying that he is tired but Sonny is having none of it.  M.K. goes all black eyes and Sonny soon finds himself hanging off the wall.  M.K. reveals that he doesn't know the way to Asra. Sonny wakes up in a panic.  He then grabs the book that M.K. stole from the Widow and puts his compass into the opening in the middle. The compass starts to turn.  Clearly, these two items are meant to work together.  Are Sonny and M.K. more connected than we have been told?

In the big house, Quinn is feeling the pressure of the missing cogs.  Without the cogs, the poppy harvest will rot in the fields which will serve to further weaken Quinn's position among the other  Barons. Jade steps up to suggest that Quinn educate the cogs, adding that kindness will earn him more loyalty than the brutality he has been practicing.  Quinn of course does not agree and points out that he pulled himself up by the bootstraps.  Jade then changes tactics and brings up the fact that she used to pick in Quinn's fields and suggests that if he gives her some of his clipper force that she can get the picking done.

Quinn heads out to the veranda with the women flanking him to give his speech from the throne and is overcome by a headache.  Quinn is unable to finish his thoughts and is forced to return inside with Lydia by his side.  Veil comes by to treat him and Quinn decides that this is the perfect opportunity to talk to Veil about her parents.  Does Quinn admit to the murder and beg for mercy? Why of course not. Quinn chooses to tell Veil that Sonny's sword killed her parents.  This is technically true but he is withholding the fact that he was the one holding the sword. 

The Widow is cutting all of the new male cogs, testing to see if any of them is M.K.. Tilda takes the opportunity to question the Widow about M.K. and learns that every time M.K. uses his power it causes some of his life force to slip away.  It seems the Widow had planned to train M.K. to use his power properly. The Widow warns Tilda to be wary of men.  

After working in the fields with the men, Lydia goes to see Jade to say that she has a new found respect for her.  Lydia suggests that Quinn needs Jade more than her.  Oh dear, Jade better sleep with one eye open.  Ryder warned her last episode that Lydia has already killed one of Quinn's intended.  Jade who is completely guileless once gain offers to work together saying that they are both needed. 

That night M.K. and Tilda meet and she tells him about his power.  Unfortunately for the two of them, Sonny comes across them and immediately arrests Tilda despite M.K.'s protests.  Tilda is taken back to Quinn's fort.

After a little visit to Waldo to get his support for leadership, Ryder decides to see his grandfather to learn more about M.K.'s pendant.  Ryder is told that it's an orphan story about a place beyond the Badlands that is a sort of paradise.  Ryder's grandfather gives the impression that this is little more than a myth  The moment Ryder is gone, his grandfather orders his men to head to Quinn's fort because the "dark one" is there. What does this man know about M.K.'s powers and why does he feel threatened by them?

Bale unwisely taunts Tilda, calling her a bitch, and for his nastiness has his ear bitten off.  Damn right Tilda! Sonny locks up Tilda and goes to report to Quinn.  Being the ultimate sadist, Quinn orders Sonny to torture Tilda until she gives up the Widow.  When Sonny leaves, Jade arrives with some soup. They talk about how Quinn creeped all over he when she was 16. The reminiscing is cut short when Jade falls on the floor and has a fit.  My money is on Lydia for this one.   

Back in the dungeon, Sonny is getting ready to torture Tilda despite M.K.'s objections, when who should arrive but the Widow.  It's on like Donkey Kong and the two start to fight.  A colt enters to attack Tilda so M.K. cuts himself.  This however distracts Sonny long enough for the Widow to escape what would have been certain death.  Sonny runs outside to follow the Widow and Tilda but sees no sign of them.  

M.K. takes a few steps and then passes out.  What neither Sonny or M.K. know is that Quinn has observed the whole thing.  

As I said at the beginning, this episode was basically about moving the chess pieces around.  Sonny is obviously going to be forced to stop sitting on the fence and decide if he is going to continue to serve Quinn or take a leap of fate and defend M.K..  He has doubts about Asra but with Jade's looming pregnancy, he is clearly being pushed into a corner.

We know that Ryder is still making moves behind the scenes and by bringing his grandfather in, I think he has just opened a can of worms he cannot even begin to understand.  The one thing we have been able to count on Ryder to do this season is to screw up.

Obviously, Veil didn't kill Quinn when he told her about the sword which makes me sad. In the end, when Quinn gets his, I want it to be by Jade's hand.

Then we have Lydia and Jade.  Jade would have been better served by trying to fly under the radar and playing dumb as a stump.  By leading the harvest, Jade proved that she is capable and therefore a threat to Lydia. There's no doubt in my mind that Lydia did her in.  I want to see Jade get better and leave the Fort with Veil, Sonny and M.K.  

The big showdown is coming next week and it promises to be epic.  Into the Badlands is at its best when it is focused on cinematography and skillfully choreographed fight scenes.