Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Into the Badlands, Season 2, Episode 3: Red Sun, Silver Moon

At some point I’m really going to need these gazillion different storylines to get together

Let’s look at Sunny first

He and Bajie are being hunted by bounty hunters after escaping the miners and happen to run into another clipper, Nathanial Moon, who helps them kill the horde.

And, I say again, the choreography is beyond beautiful and awesome. These fight scenes take up most of every episode and every single one of them is awesome and beautiful and amazing and underpins the essence of this show.

And it is nice to see Bajie not being awesome but not being a liability either.

This man is Nathanial Moon, a legendary clipper with immense skill and an incredible kill count. While he does work as a bounty hunter, he isn’t here to collect on Sunny and Bajie. He’s here to be a great big warning and learning process for Sunny along with a huge chunk of philosophy.

Nathaniel killed for his baron until finally he ran away because he is thoroughly sick of killing and looked for something to fill “the void” inside him that all that killing caused. He met a woman and fell in love and had a child and finally found future and peace

Until the relative of one of the people he killed tracked him down and killed his family. His lesson: you can’t run from what you re, you can’t run from your past, you can’t hide from what you are, you can‘t change

The powerful part of this is not that his baron hunted him down – but that it was a random relative of a random person he killed. Given how many people they’ve killed (over 999 for Nathaniel and 404+ for Sunny) the chances of someone not coming for them at some point is almost non existent. It’s not just one person you need to avoid/kill/remove.

And Nathaniel has 999 marks – but has killed more because after this number of kills there seemed no point to mark more. He considers it to be nothing more than vanity and that normal kills just don’t matter any more.

He philosophises more about gods, death and mercy (which I all beautiful and sad and powerful) and ultimately what he’s looking for is either someone to kill him or someone worthy enough to be that 1,000th kill mark.

In steps Sunny and another long, beautiful, amazing fight scene

Which ends with Sunny winning – and refusing to kill Nathaniel even as he demands Sunny grant him the honourable death he has earned. Sunny refuses, he hasn’t given up – he’s going to keep moving and finding Veil and his child: though Nathaniel warns him that he’s going to lead a trail of bodies right to his door: and Veil and his child will be the last ones. It’s painful because we can so clearly see the reality of this

When Nathaniel tries to kill Sunny, Bajie cuts off his hand. They now has his impressive sword to sell to smugglers to get across the wall

Brief visit to MK who has discovered that people who run away from the monastery end up being “cleansed”. I.e, strapped down and tortured with needles.

Abbot Eva tells him it’s very necessary for them to be imprisoned – because they are very very very very dangerous. But MK has done a complete 180 on the Master – deciding she’s afraid of them since she’s trying to make him go slowly on finding out what happened to his mother since it’s dangerous for him to do the mirror thing without more control

He also wants Eva to run away with him – do they even come close to having that kind of relationship?

MK really is coming off as increasingly petulant.

Another brief visit – to Veil and Quinn where we see Quinn continuing to be creepy towards Veil while she continues to treat his head injury by fabricating X-rays of his head. Quinn is also gathering his cult of followers and training loyal, dangerous fighters by being super terrifying to one who tried to run away – but sparing him and probably winning an almost cultish following.

Let’s finish with the Widow – she’s heading to the conclave that Ryder has ordered and carefully expositions the whole stakes: they need to get 2 Barons on side. All the Barons hate her. But then, none of them are exactly a fan of Ryder taking over Jacoby’s territory.

She’s also taking Waldo rather than Tilda – because he’s a strategist, he’s experienced, he knows the Barons and – as he puts in – he follows orders (Waldo’s watching you Tilda). She makes the obligatory threats which do not impress Waldo at all

But we do get some of Waldo’s motivations. He never cared much about the common people as a Regent – but since becoming disabled and in a wheelchair and cast aside his eyes were opened to the plight of the common people. Which is what the Widow is all about – and Waldo’s for that while also painfully aware of what power tends to do to people