In life, everything that matters usually has a cost, and the drama revolves around whether or not you're willing to pay it.
Cost is front and center on Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 5, which finds Sunny and Bajie on the latest stop in their buddy road picture adventure: a camp full of reprobates called "mechs," led by a the slithery dude Nos.
Nos is an old mate of Bajie (who doesn't he know?), and it seems he has a sneaky way back into the badlands. But, of course, there is a cost.
The Silver Moon sword is just the ticket, and all is well. That is, until it isn't.
I'm really liking the Mad Max vibe this season, and these mechs (they must have gotten their name from video games back in the day) all dress the same (of course!), giving their world a nice palette.
That's good production design: every barony, every camp, and every group has their own uniform of sorts, and it really adds to the visual appeal.
Anyhoo, Nos seems like a cool dude, but the whole "dolls" deal automatically makes him scum in my book.
Poor Amelia. Knowing she is going to be used and abused as a whore while still a child is wrong on so many levels, but it just goes to show you how bad the badlands really is.
I guess we wouldn't watch shows about the future if everything was unicorns and rainbows, now would we?
Sunny is a good man, so I was kinda surprised when he refused to help Portia and Amelia escape a lifetime of servitude.
But Nos, being the dick that he is, pushed the issue, and Sunny had no other choice but to kick some mech ass.
The "reluctant hero" trope is as old as the hills, and the reason it works is the audience wants it.
As long as the hero doesn't REALLY want to kill, but is forced to by circumstance, then bring on the bloodletting!
Portia: Kill Nos.
Sunny: I don't do that, not anymore.
Portia: I could pay you.
Sunny: I don't kill for hire.
Portia: I'm begging you, please.
Sunny: Look, I'm sorry about Amelia, but I can't help you.
Time after time, Sunny shuns his past, but cannot escape it. Like an old gunslinger, everyone wants to take a shot at the king. We know Sunny is basically good, but we also really like seeing him kill.
That dichotomy is exciting, so we, the audience, rationalize the carnage by giving Sunny a pass. He had no choice!
The truth is, Sunny probably likes to kill deep down, but is suppressing it.
The mech fight scene was amazing, with Sunny disposing of mech after mech basically unarmed. A killer example of hubcap fu was very cool, and the double decker bus fu action was very energetic.
Hell, Bajie even got in on the action, with some Negan barbed wire bat fu to the back of Nos' noggin: sweet!
Sunny's group is getting bigger and bigger: now we have Sunny, Bajie, Portia, and little Amelia all tearing down the highway in a Mad Max mobile.
If it keeps going like this, Sunny will need a bus before he gets to the badlands!
Meanwhile, Veil barely escaped serious consequences for the murder of poor Edgar.
Quinn's right hand man knows all, and his blackmail of Veil would have had her in a tight spot, but she used her feminine wiles to get Quinn back on her side.
Women always were your weakness.Ryder's ghost [to Quinn]
The scene between Veil and Quinn was VERY tense. Quinn was doing his best Negan, holding a knife to baby Henry's throat, but Veil used his love for her to wriggle out of the situation.
I don't care for the accent, but I gotta give props to Marton Csokas in this scene. He played Quinn with a wild eyed intensity that was amazing to see.
I didn't see Veil escaping after the booby trap went off, but it was a long time coming. Hopefully Quinn and his men won't catch her too soon.
And the writer did one thing I thought I'd never see – she actually made tumor induced Ghost Ryder a badass instead of a coward: bravo!
Ryder's ghost: She's lying to you. Do you really think the tumor is gone?
Quinn: She's saving my life.
Ryder's ghost: The why do you still get the headaches? And you seem to be getting weaker by the day.
Quinn: I'm stronger than I've ever been.
Ryder's ghost: Then why am I here?
Not much Widow here, which was a bummer for me: she's just about my favorite character.
But, as I predicted in my review of Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 4, The Widow chose an alliance with Quinn over the other barons, much to Waldo's dismay.
Waldo was erring on the side of safety, but The Widow's hate for the slave society outweighs everything else.
Minerva, align or die. Those are the options.Waldo
Given the failed attempt to take out Quinn by Lydia, I wonder if an alliance is even possible. My guess is yes. Otherwise we'd have no conflict, right?
I didn't think Jade would get control of the barony, but it is what it is. Is she better than Ryder? Probably. But I don't think it will end well for her: either Lydia or Quinn will end up the boss there.
This is random guys, but I HAD to share this quote from Bajie about a memorable birthday:
So, the next morning I wake up completely naked, totally hung over. Worst birthday I ever had. But hey, you only turn 11 once, am I right?Bajie
Adding Bajie to the show was a masterful move: the comedy he brings is essential to making the plot more than just fight/talk/fight.
Don't get me wrong: the fight scenes are definitely the star, but any added depth of character only makes it better.
One more random nugget. I loved Quinn watching the old silent movie "Safety Last!," with the great Harold Lloyd dangling from the clock, in one of the most iconic scenes in movie history. Little things like that really lets me get my film geek on!
Lots of plates are spinning here: will Veil escape? Are we going to see a Widow/Quinn alliance?
Where will our traveling all stars, led by Sunny, end up next?
All good questions, and I'm confident we'll get answers.
Oh, and a shout out to the great LaToya Morgan, who did such an amazing job writing this episode: you done good, kid!
So that's my take: tell me yours. Let me have it in the comments section.
And, as always, you can watch Into the Badlands online, right here on TV Fanatic!