Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Into The Bandlands, Season Two, Episode Ten: Wolf's Breath, Dragon Fire

Here we are at the final episode of season two. The entirety of season two has been leading up to a showdown between Sunny and Quinn.  Sunny's drive for the entire season is to find Henry and Veil and now that he knows that they're being held by Quinn, the confrontation is unavoidable. We've had two seasons now of Marton Csokas unfathomable accent which he occasionally drops and I for one have had enough. Quinn had better be good and dead now because his character has far out lived its usefulness. Having killed his own son, Quinn is absolutely determined to hold onto Henry for some reason.  This means holding baby Henry in the most creepy fashion while cooing his promise to protect him. It's yet another reminder that Quinn is mentally unstable because there's no reason to protect Henry from his father. 

Clearly, Quinn is determined to die before the tumor can take him out, despite his confidence in the men he has trained to go up against Sunny. Other than Veil, Lydia seems to be the only one in her right mind in the bunker and she decides to spill the beans about Quinn having the place rigged to explode should Sunny get too close to Veil and Henry. This should make sensible people run for the hills but apparently, the fighters are so dedicated to Quinn, they're willing to die for him.  Look, I know that these guys have to stay around to make the big battle more epic but having them choose to die to prove their loyalty to a man who has never done anything to earn said loyalty is plain and simple ridiculous. For being the only to show any kind of common sense, Quinn decides that Lydia has to die.

Now that The Widow has had her confrontation with Tilda, it's time for one with Waldo.  It's easy to see why Waldo like Tilda was originally drawn to the Widow but since that time, all she's done is betray her stated ideals.  Waldo is particularly concerned that The Widow has killed Tilda.  The Widow is incredulous and questions what kind of mother that would make her.  I'm with Waldo and his hard glare at that one. Now that The Widow has Bajie and MK in her custody, freeing the cogs and changing society are no longer a priority and so she offers Waldo the chance to be a baron in her sted, snarking that this is what he's always wanted. 

Having tossed aside her commitments, The Widow is now free to talk MK into getting back his powers.  MK however turns the table and holds a knife to his own throat. It's a good move because while MK may not be able to defeat The Widow, there's no doubt that she needs him. MK decides to use his leverage to demand to see Bajie.  The Widow is more than happy to comply and then promptly drops the bomb about the book, causing MK to realise that Bajie went into the monastery to get the book and that saving Sunny was just a byproduct of that decision. That's enough for MK to wash his hands of Bajie.

Bajie is promptly tossed into the cell next to Tilda.  Tilda tries to trick the guard by claiming that she's too hurt to reach the food he brings her, but he's too smart to fall for it.  Bajie is not impressed by Tilda's tactic. Odessa shows up to break Tilda out of jail and Tilda demands that Bajie be released as well, particularly when Odessa is forced to reveal that she's the one who ratted out Bajie and MK in the first damn place.  Tilda wants to go and confront the Widow in order to free MK but Bajie and Odessa manage to convince her that she's in no shape to do so. Bajie, Tilda and Odessa make their way outside to a vehicle which Bajie struggles to hot wire.  

The threesome find themselves confronted by one of the Widow's man but fortunately for Bajie, Odessa and Tilda, Waldo shows up and sends the guard on his way.  For much of the season there was some tension between Waldo and Odessa over their importance to the Widow. Now Waldo and Tilda face each other as two disillusioned people who have come to care for each other nonetheless. Tilda asks Waldo to travel with them but he declines.  It's bittersweet and a long time coming, but easily one of my fave scenes this episode. Tilda and Odessa give Bajie a lift to Quinn's bunker and Tilda offers to come along to help but Bajie assures her that he's got this. Tilda and Odessa then drive off together.

Having reclaimed his old clipper bike, Sunny is now locked loaded and on his way to find Quinn.  Lydia has been taken into the woods and forced to dig her own grave.  Lydia manages to kill one of the guards and takes off running.  Lydia doesn't get far because she trips and falls. Before the guard can deliver the killing blow, he makes eye contact with Sunny.  The guard doesn't even get the chance to speak before Sunny tosses his knife and kills him on the spot.  Lydia is more than happy to tell Sunny where Quinn is and to warn him about the explosives. At this point, there's no going back for Sunny.  Sunny does however hand over his spare sword to Lydia should she need it for another day.

Sunny's first attempt at assault upon the bunker does not go well, despite the fact that he fights his way through flaming arrows.  Sunny is eventually stalled when Quinn sets off an explosion. Fortunately for Sunny, Bajie arrives to pull him out of the rubble. Then we're off and running for an epic fight which includes good acrobatics, beheadings, impossible sword work and nunchaku. It's what we've come to expect from Into The Badlands and the pay off for this seasons meandering plot. 

Sunny and Veil are finally reunited.  They both have to go after Quinn because Quinn still has the baby. Bajie assures them that he will stay behind to deal with Quinn's sidekick. This is followed by Bajie claiming to hate sidekicks. It's cute and reminds us that despite all of his awesome fighting this episode, Bajie's role has been to be the side kick and the funny man this season. Bajie's finally battle is pretty good but he doesn't emerge unscathed. Bajie manages to kill Quinn's man but in the process is stabbed in the abdomen by a pair of scissors. An upset Bajie has a seat as though he's preparing to die and talks about how he had planned to save world. Bajie looks wistfully at the compass. 

MK meets with the Widow again and she makes it clear that he has no choice but to for him to regain his powers. MK threatens that should that happen, the first thing that he will do is to kill her. The Widow however isn't bothered because she's apparently ready to die for her beliefs. How the hypocrisy didn't burn her is something I will never know. 

It's now time for the showdown and to ensure that the stage is appropriately set, Quinn sets off a small explosion.  I suppose he's never heard of mood lighting. Even though both men aren't in top shape, this is a fight to death, so they give it all they've got.  Things are pretty even until Quinn moves to go after Veil, causing Sunny to throw his sword right through him. Viewers experienced in this genre know damn well that despite the fact that Quinn should be out for the count that this blow will not be enough to fell him. 

With Quinn down, the little family can finally embrace. For the first time, Sunny gets to meet and hold his son. It's sweet and it's been a long time coming.  Veil suggests that they get moving before the structure crumbles.  Sunny calls out for Bajie but gets no response and the room that he left Bajie in is now empty. Before the little family can escape, Quinn grabs Veil from behind. Quinn demands that Sunny hand over his son if he wants Veil.  No matter what happens from this moment on, Sunny is going to lose someone he loves. Veil takes the decision out of Sunny's hands by impaling herself on Quinn's sword and driving it through Quinn as well.  Quinn crumples to the ground and Sunny rushes to Veil's side. With her dying breathe, Veil asks Sunny to take care of their son and raise him to be a good man. 

Sunny makes his way outside with Henry and his bike is long gone.  The camera pauses on Sunny's face to remind us of how broken he is now. 

Bajie rides Sunny's bike along a coastline and makes his way to an old satellite station. Bajie is still struggling from his wounds but he makes it up a flight of stairs. Bajie inserts the compass into the book and it lights up and flashes.  Bajie then pushes a series of buttons and a signal is sent out. Bajie then crumples to the ground repeatedly saying, "Azra". 

Anyone else at all pissed off that Veil was killed off so quickly? They didn't even give them five minutes to reunite as a family before promptly killing Veil off.  It's also worth mentioning that Veil has been the only reoccurring WOC since season one and now she's gone. Despite having a protagonist of colour, WOC are not well represented on Into The Badlands. I am glad that if Veil had to die, she chose to do so to save her child but we all know that next season, Veil's death will be turned into a reason for all of Sunny's manpain.  

After two seasons, we're still not closer to finding out what Azra is. At this point, I'm beginning to think that it's Atlantis or perhaps even aliens.  Either way, I'm already tired of this storyline not going anywhere.  Into the Badlands has already been renewed for a new season and given an expanded season, so I suspect that after Sunny stows the baby somewhere, the writers will finally deal with Azra.

I really hope that we haven't seen the last of Tilda and Odessa.  Into The Bandlands really needs the representation. Odessa is a realist while Tilda is an idealist, so they work as great checks and balances for each other. Personally, I would love it if they teamed up with Lydia and did a threesome like Thelma and Louise, kicking ass and taking names. 

At this point, I greatly suspect that the Widow is going to be the antagonist next season given that she's trapped MK and Bajie has reached out to Azra.  I think that she'll be a far more interesting antagonist than Quinn ever was. The Widow's character arc has been the most interesting this season. We've watched as she has committed herself to ending the practical slavery and hierarchy in the Badlands, to making compromises and deals with Quinn of all people. We've watched as The Widow has made alliances, only to promptly destroy them and we've watched as she handed Veil over to Quinn.  Now that she has betrayed so many people, The Widow is willing to cast that goal aside for Azra.  I think that we can be certain at this point that her path will only lead further and further away from the light.