Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Into The Badlands Season Two, Episode Seven: Black Heart, White Mountain

Black Heart, White Mountain, will clearly go down as the worst episode of Into The Badlands to date.  I kept pausing the episode to check out how much time was left because it felt never ending. It's hard to believe that it only lasted an hour.  That time would have been better spent on conceivably anything else. We didn't even have an epic fight scene as a reward for sitting through this long drawn out nonsense.

So, last week we saw Sonny go down hard when he was attacked by an Abbot. For the first time ever, Sonny doesn't get up.  Though Bajie is concerned, it's MK who takes on the role of nursemaid.  MK clearly feels responsible for Sonny's position because Sonny was injured trying to save him.  It's only when MK happens to mention Sonny's wounds that the concern grows dire.  It seems that Sonny has been poisoned and the only one who would know how to cure it is the Master. Given that neither MK or Bajie are on good terms with the Master, this poses a problem. 

For his part, Sonny has entered a dream world.  In this world, Sonny is awoken by his son Henry and Veil.  In this moment, he has everything he ever wanted, so of course it's not going to end well is it? It begins with Henry telling Sonny that he doesn't want to a farmer and instead wants to be a fighter like his father. Sonny of course tries to blow this off as his son wanting to impress a girl. Things get serious when they race to the pig pen and find all the pigs dead and lined up in a row.  Sonny tells his shocked child that a predator must have done it.

Bajie and MK make their way to the temple with Sonny riding in the back of the car.  Both of them are resistant to telling the full details of exactly why they left the sanctuary behind but it's clear that each or bothered by it.  All of this is a set up to rush a relationship between MK and Bajie. If they are both going to be travelling with Sonny to the Badlands, they need to get along. Unfortunately, because we know that Sonny has plot armor and therefore is not really in danger, it all feels really underwhelming.  Of course Bajie and MK are going to find what they need to cure Sonny because Sonny cannot die.

Sonny's time in dreamland is really all about him dealing with his demons.  We know that Sonny no longer wants to kill but beyond his desire not to be a hired gun for a Baron, we haven't really seen an emotional conviction up until this point. For Sonny, his worse nightmare is that his son will follow in his footsteps and become a killer as well.  Sonny quite literally wears his sins upon his back in the form tattoos and in this realm they start to bleed. It's a play upon the blood he's shed over the years. When Sonny is then confronted by the people he killed, there's so many of them that he doesn't recognise any of them. They become a nameless, faceless horde ready to devour him. Sonny is quite literally overwhelmed by their number. The message is that it's not enough for Sonny to want to change, he has to confront his past and make amends for all of the things he's done wrong.

Bajie and MK wait until the dinner bells ring before sneaking in. Bajie tasks MK with finding a satchel while he searches for a scroll to tell them what to do. When Bajie comes across Sonny's compass, he takes it but does not let MK know he has it. Naturally, MK and Bajie don't make a clean escape and are caught by the Master, who is not pleased to see Bajie.  The Master says that at one point, Bajie was her most promising student and that's hard to believe looking at him today.  MK and Bajie are outnumbered and out armed and so Bajie tells MK to cut the acolytes, so that they will attack the Abbots.  The plan works like a charm and MK and Bajie are able to escape. What we learn from Bajie's plan is that the Master has limited control of her students. 

MK and Bajie perform some kind weird acupuncture on Sonny and pull him back from the brink of death. It's as ridiculous as it sounds.  MK and Sonny talk briefly about Bajie, whom MK has already decided is good guy. It's Sonny who has to remind MK that breaking into the sanctuary to save him was MK's idea and no Bajie's.  MK then heads to chat with Bajie. who explains that the only place he hasn't searched for his missing acolyte is in the Badlands. I have a feeling the person he's looking for his the Widow.

Speaking of the Badlands, the Widow, along with Quinn, have made their first move. Jade is having a bath and when she calls out to her servant snd no one arrives. Jade gets out of the bath only to discover that her servants are stealing anything which isn't nailed down. When Jade tries to stop the servants, Jade is slapped across the face for her trouble. A clipper rushes in to inform Jade that the Widow is on the property and killing people left and center. It's time to get the fuck out of dodge. Unfortunately for Jade, she doesn't move fast enough and quickly finds herself surrounded by the Widow and her butterflies.  Jade puts up a pathetic bit of resistance but is easily handled by the widow. 

Jade puts on her best bravado face because she's heard that the Widow doesn't kill women.  This is when the Widow informs Jade that the one making that decision is Quinn. Jade and Quinn end up doing a back and forth about her rise in station to his wife, what he believes to be her betrayal and his brutality.  The Widow watches this all from a distance and it's clear from the disdainful look on her face that she doesn't like how Quinn is treating Jade.  The Widow and Jade actually have a lot in common because both rose from common stock and both attempted to work around abusive husbands.  I don't think that the Widow will let Quinn have his way with Jade, if his intent is to hurt her. In fact, Quinn's interaction with Jade just might be enough for The Widow to decide that this alliance is too much of a compromise of her principals.