Intense. Exhilarating. Insane. Evocative. Intoxicating. Eerie. Heartbreaking. Tantalizing. THAT'S how you do a season finale!
On Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 10, we get emotionally whipsawed back and forth, going from one pulse-pounding action sequence after another, to an out of the blue, gut-wrenching death.
Add to that a surreal, WTF ending, and you have one of the best season finales of ANY show in years.
The major development was, of course, the tragic, heartbreaking sacrifice Veil made to save Henry and Sunny.
I have to say I NEVER saw Veil's death coming. I haven't been shocked by a TV death in years, but this one got to me.
Poor Veil, tortured and terrorized by that crazy bastard Quinn, gave her life to save Henry. I know life isn't fair, but after two seasons of unrequited love, I really was pulling for those two kids to have a happy life.
Teach him to be good.Veil [to Sunny]
This is the new normal in Peak TV: NO ONE is safe. Back in the day, putting the leads in danger was the SOP, only to have them saved at the end.
Now, with the sheer number of quality shows available everywhere, writers and producers have upped the stakes.
Death has become the "coin of the realm" these days on Peak TV. It has reached ridiculous extremes at times, with some shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones using character deaths as the primary way to advance the plot.
There are SO many deaths on The Walking Dead now we have come to both expect them, and become so desensitized to them, that it sucks all the intended impact out of the deaths.
Give me back my son.Sunny [to Quinn]
Make no mistake: there is A LOT of death here, but it's more like video game death. The action sequences are immaculately choreographed, with very imaginative setups and locations.
I marvel at the execution of these fights, especially with the time and budget constraints of a TV series.
Paco Cabezas Directed this one, and the beauty of the finished product is amazing: Sunny riding his motorcycle in the woods, with the shafts of sunlight framing his ride, his battle with Quinn in the rubble of the bunker with the snow coming down. Gorgeous.
Given the fact there is so much carnage, it's very difficult to give one death that much impact.
The shocking death of the angelic, beautiful Veil, who did so much to protect her son, had a significant impact because we CARED so much about her and Sunny.
I predicted in my review of Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 9 that Lydia would be the most likely to die. I thought the writers would do the obligatory season finale character death without touching the core of the show, but she escaped the reaper. Boy, was I wrong!
For that, they should be commended. I have no idea how this will effect Sunny's journey going forward, and that's a good thing.
We should be challenged by TV, not comforted and coddled. I like not being able to predict the outcomes of shows after watching the first 5 minutes. Sadly, that's usually pretty easy to do.
I've spoken about this with LaToya Morgan, one of the show's fantastic writers, and she told me about all the hard work that goes into creating a captivating, imaginative story.
The b -- side was all about the Bajie/Widow/M.K. drama.
Tilda is still alive, as expected, and she is in The Widow's dungeon, as expected.
The Widow talks a good game, but all she really wants is to rule ALL the territories.
Waldo: Where's Tilda?
The Widow: We parted ways.
Waldo: Just tell me she's still alive.
The Widow: God, what kind of a mother do you think I am?
Waldo: I don't know what I think you are anymore. First you betray Veil, then Sunny, now you own regent? You and Quinn deserve each other. I'm done.
Her endgame is using the book to get her "gift" back, as well as M.K.'s.
Why she wants M.K. to have his gift back is still a mystery, considering that's the LAST thing M.K. wants.
M.K.: Do you really think I don't see through your bullshit? I know what you are.
The Widow: Alright. No more games. The truth is, you're never going to leave this place until I get what I want.
M.K.: Yeah, and if I do get my gift back, first thing I'm going to do is use it to kill you.
The Widow: Well, that's a risk I'm willing to take, because I'm willing to die for what I believe. So, if you think that you can kill me, then try. But if I win, then you're mine. Do we have a deal?
Which brings us to Bajie.
Bajie is getting more and more mysterious, and his journey looks now to be the key going into Into the Badlands Season 3.
He's still comedy gold, but his darker side is coming to the forefront more and more.
Despite his protests, did he always know about Azra and how to read the book? It sure seems like it.
The Widow: You got what you wanted. Now you're going to translate it for me. If this book holds all the gift's secrets, one of them must tell you how to get it back.
Bajie: There's no hope for you. I know that now.
The Widow: What about M.K.?
Bajie: What about M.K.?
The Widow: Does the book say how to unlock his gift?
Bajie: I don't know-how would I know that?
The Widow: You're going to find out, or die trying.
The end scene was both mind blowing and deliciously tantalizing.
The mysterious tower, with decades-old satellite dishes and radio antennas all around, was another thing I never expected to see.
The inside immediately reminded me of the hatch in Lost, so much so I was totally expecting to see John Locke punching the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 into the console! Maybe the Smoke Monster is responsible for "the gift!"
Now we know about the significance of the book, at least relating to the compass.
Bajie turned dials, in order, on the control panel, matching the symbols the compass pointed to in the book.
This turned the whole facility on. It looked like there was sonar and other monitoring devices on the panel: maybe an old military station? A scientific facility?
Was the purpose of the tower to monitor, or to SEND out signals? Is it possible the gift is the result of some sort of signal being sent out, like an EMP or something? Or will this facility help Bajie find Azra?
This blows up the status quo for the series going forward.
Is Bajie the big boss man now? Will The Widow find him and get the book back? Or will turning on the tower give everyone their gift back, Bajie included?
If The Widow and M.K. align, can anyone stop her from ruling the Badlands?
I assume Tilda and Odessa will continue their relationship, and eventually come gunning for The Widow. M.K. would seem to be the key to that conflict. Will he help Tilda? My guess would be yes.
With Quinn now dead, Baron Chau might be the only Baron left to challenge The Widow. Waldo is aligned with Tilda as well since he helped her escape, so he might be a valuable part of the resistance.
The future of Sunny is wide open. He will clearly be devastated by Veil's death for a long time. I wonder if they will have a time jump, considering Henry is a newborn.
Somehow, I can't imagine Sunny having to take out 15 bad guys who interrupt him changing Henry's diaper, but you never know, right? How cool a fight scene would THAT be? Ha!
I can't tell you how much I loved this finale: it was an adrenaline fueled, surprising, and incredibly sad ride.
With Bajie now at the tower, who knows where this is headed? It's gonna be a long wait for Season 3 (sigh).
Tell me about your reactions, as well as your theories about what you think will happen now, in the comments section.
And if you want to relive the amazing season, then watch Into the Badlands online, right here on TV Fanatic!