Can a clipper really hope to have on ordinary life when his clipping days are done?
That's one of the main questions Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 3 poses, when Sunny and Bajie meet Nathaniel "Silver" Moon, a legendary escaped clipper.
Sunny just wants to reunite with Veil, the love of his life, and baby Henry, but Moon stands in the way.
Nathaniel looked like a major problem at first blush, but he saved them from a deadly fate at the hands of some Nomad bounty hunters, in a spirited fight on a narrow bridge.
I love that they make the action set pieces out of the ordinary, this time in an unusual location. Sunny: no weapons? No problem! And Nathaniel sure likes to lop off some heads, doesn't he?
I especially liked the soccer kick he used on the decapitated noggin of the last Nomad he offed. Boom!
Bajie is still hilarious, and the old school way he dispatched his Nomad was humorous in light of all the frenzied fu going on around him.
Nathaniel: Your friend doesn't talk much.
Bajie: No-he prefers punching people, when he's not slicing and dicing them up.
The philosophical musings by Nate and Sunny about what it means to be a life long killer was a good break from the action.
There was a lot of talking in this one, with less fighting, but it felt right to me.
To see there is still hope in Sunny after all he's been through is essential going forward.
Nate's story was intentionally a close parallel to Sunny's predicament (a little too on the nose for me, frankly), and I wish they hadn't made it almost identical.
We get it, Nate's story didn't have a happy ending.
It was a painfully obvious counterpoint to Sunny, something that could have been done with a little more subtlety, but if it gives us more insight into Sunny, then that's OK with me.
It doesn't matter how brutal the world is. If you kill enough, it hollows you out. Guess I wanted to see if I could make myself whole again, and find some kind of redemption.Nathaniel
The writers should work a little harder next time. Just sayin'.
I knew where this was headed between the two after their first discussion, and it didn't disappoint. The battle between Nate and Sunny was titanic indeed, with excellent use of super slo-mo.
There was a biblical element here as well, and it reminded me of the Cane and Abel story. To my mind, Nate was Cane and Sunny was Abel. Nate even had a jawbone as part of his sword. I doubt that was a coincidence.
Only here, Nate was beaten. But Sunny, with his soul still intact, refused to kill Nate.
Nathaniel: I guess this is what I've been searching for-an honorable death.
Sunny: I'm not going to be your executioner.
Nathaniel: I earned this death, and you deny me?
What I didn't see coming was Bajie coming up big again, cutting Nate's hand off in mid-swing!
Bajie is becoming a great partner to Sunny, and I'm glad he was added to the story. Nate's sword will prove to be a very valuable commodity in Sunny's quest to get back into the badlands, for sure.
The parting words of Nate might be more than a little ominous, though.
You'll leave a trail of bodies before you make it back to your family, and theirs will be the last ones. Theirs will be the last ones, Sunny!Nathaniel
Can Sunny outrun his past? It will be interesting to see if he backslides like Nate, or will he keep his goal in sight.
Meanwhile, M.K. continues to annoy me.
As I said in my review of Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 2, the character for me is blah. I don't like the actor's portrayal, and his fight scenes are just OK.
He is a weak spot, along with all the Quinn family mess.
He, like Sunny, wants to escape his circumstance, especially since it's not going so well with The Master anymore.
It's a long road, M.K.. Don't look for short-cuts.The Master [to M.K.]
Those crazy kids!
The Abbots got a lot more sinister too, what with the torture they inflicted on one of the kids who tried to escape.
Is it possible to leech out the power that these kids have? Evidently.
And since The Master has already told M.K. how powerful he is, it's not a stretch to think he's gonna be on that table soon.
The Master is a liar. She's just afraid of us.M.K.
Now it seems like they might be trying to force a romance between M.K. and his trainer, Ava.
Geez! So, are they really going to try to escape? Two would-be lovers on the run? That's never been done, right?
Quinn continues to be a major creep as well.
He goads poor Gabriel, another kid who wants to escape his trap, to cut him or die. Nothing like running mind games on innocent kids, huh?
Are you a clipper or a coward? Show me!Qiunn [to Gabriel]
Veil is playing a very dangerous game with Quinn. By not telling him the brain tumor is getting worse, she runs a great risk. Not just for her, but her baby.
Is the tumor making Quinn so lovey dovey with Veil and baby Henry? Could very well be.
His condition is bound to get worse, but I have a feeling Sunny will show up in the nick of time to save them from cray cray Quinn. Here's hoping.
Again, my favorite character, The Widow, has no fight scenes! This is getting frustrating.
I was hoping for some conclave action, but all we got was a talky preamble.
I love Stephen Lang as Waldo, so the strategy scenes with The Widow were fine.
Tilda is a tad bothersome to me, too. Ally Ioannides is a better fighter than the actress, and the scenes where she has to emote are cringe-worthy at times.
That's the only problem I have with the show in a broad sense.
We have a few lead characters done by great actors (Sunny, Bajie, The Widow, Veil, Lydia, and Waldo), and the rest are average or downright awful. That horrible accent by Quinn sets my teeth on edge!
The fight scenes are consistently exhilarating and, let's face it, they are the main draw here. But good performances are what puts a show above the rest of the pack.
I hope going forward they focus less on the Quinn family (Quinn, Ryder, Jade, Lydia) drama, and more on The Widow and Sunny. That was the big flaw in the previous season IMO.
It seems like the conclave will be the focus of the next one, so that should be fun.
Waldo: So, get ready to face the music?
The Widow: And make them dance to my tune.
We can only hope it doesn't go well, so we can see The Widow and Waldo kick some Baron ass!
That's my take: tell me yours. Do you agree with me about the strengths and weaknesses? Who is your favorite character? Least favorite?
And, of course, you can watch Into the Badlands online right here on TV Fanatic!