I freaking love Into the Badlands!!!!!!
Whoa….not sure where that little outburst came from, but yeah….Into the Badlands is seriously one of my favourite shows on TV right now! I remember back in 2015 when AMC announced their slate of upcoming shows this was one on the list and when I saw the teaser trailer, I knew I would be jumping straight on this show! I am a massive fans of martial arts and some of my favourite actors/martial artists are Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa and leading man in Into the Badlands Daniel Wu. So when I heard about a martial arts action show set in a post-apocalyptic world it was just something I had to check out.
This year we got a full 10 episode second season for Into the Badlands and holy shit has it been a very consistent and awesome season. I just never get tired of this show as it has everything in it that for me personally, has the makings of a brilliant show! This week’s Season 2 finale titled “Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire” is a culmination leading up to Sonny taking on Quinn, the Baron that trained him as a clipper, and saving his son and his love interest Vale from the crazy Baron played by Marton Csokas.
THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!! IF YOU’RE NOT UP TO DATE WITH INTO THE BADLANDS THEN STOP READING NOW!!!!
Let’s get into the episode shall we? “Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire” saw the conclusion of Sunny and Baijie’s (played by Nick Frost) journey to an end. For a while now it’s been suggested that Sunny would eventually rescue Vale and his son from Quinn, the episode saw the plan come into action. It’s been building up that Sunny and Quinn would go head to head in a final showdown to prove which one is better, the master of the student. Meanwhile, it was a big episode for Baijie as we got to see that there is a lot more to his character than he shows to the other characters. I was so satisfied with the ending of this episode as it was a big week for both these characters and it was exactly what I had hoped for Sunny and Baijie.
I really thought this episode did a brilliant job of present Sunny with a big challenge, more so than the events that unfolded at the end of Season 1. This did feel like a one way ticket for Sunny as it was like the final assault to take down Quinn, single handedly may I add! What we got to see in the later part of this episode was an all out assault from Sunny taking down Quinn’s army of clippers, with some pretty epic martial arts packed action sequences. He got put through the ringer sustaining some pretty bad injuries and at one point I was thinking, there’s no way he’s gonna be able to fight Quinn in this condition…this added to the suspense and the character development making that final battle with Quinn that much more epic and on such a larger scale than we previously thought. I can honestly say that the final showdown between the two was completely worth it and was one of the best action sequences I have seen on a TV show to date.
For the season we have been waiting for that inevitable reunion between Sunny and Veil and man did it hit in the feels. Daniel Wu has become one of my favourite martial artists, next to the like of Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa, and I think he demonstrated his range as an actor in this season. I highly rate him as an actor and this he is one of the best, if not the best, on the show and I think the final scenes between Sunny and Veil support why I think this. In the end it seems that after everything that Sunny had gone through to get reunited with Vale and his son, it was Quinn who ended up getting his revenge by killing off the woman he loves. I kinda had an idea that this was a possibility in the final episode but it was still a sad moment after how hard Sunny had fought to get to this stage. In some way, I wished that we got to see more from Vale and possibly getting her own back on Quinn for being imprisoned most of the season. I think her death did have a big emotional impact on the episode and it did leave a sad feeling on the end of Season 2.
When I found out that Quinn was alive at the start of Season 2, I was so stoked that we’d get to see more of Marton Csokas as I thought he has been brilliant on the show and his character has been well developed over the two season’s. I’ve read that people have complained about how over the top his acting is and that he sometimes comes across as being ridiculous when approaching the character, but I think it suited the type of man that Quinn is and I personally think that over the top-ness helped emphasis his character at certain points. I think the point of Quinn’s arc was to show that he is still very much a Baron and it helped convince the audience why Quinn’s men were willing to lay down their lives to serve their Baron. I did think that Marton Csokas was brilliant and did play Quinn with a sense of being reborn with a new purpose and had the fire and determination to carry out his grand master plan. I think that the later part of Season 2 showed how much charisma Quinn has and why he has managed to gather followers to fight for him once more, testament to Csokas acting. I thought that the death of Quinn was needed in this season as it now gives the show a chance to move on from here, focusing more on the mysterious land of Azra. It will be sad not having Quinn on the show anymore but I think it rounded off his story very well and was the ending the character deserved giving Sunny the chance to move on from this point in his story.
While we had the battle between Sunny and Quinn raging on, we also had another story arc in this episode that came to a close with Baijie’s character which I thought was a really strong week for him. I thought that Nick Frost has been brilliant in this season and has been a fine addition to the show. I like how all season long we have seen his character conflicted between trying to be a good friend but also trying to pursue his own desires. I thought that this episode confirmed what his intentions were and he proved more than ever to be a faithful and loyal friend to Sunny, giving up his life so that he could help Sunny save his family from Quinn. I really enjoyed seeing Baijie getting stuck in on the action and fighting off some of Quinn’s clippers, even if in the end it did prove to overwhelm him and costing his life. I do think that Nick Frost has brought a lot to the show with his character and has been a solid element this season and I think it will suck not having his presence on the show going into Season 3. I think it’s safe to say that his character didn’t go out without a fight though, pretty strong exit for Baijie’s final moments in the Badlands. It’s safe to assume that Baijie is dead after suffering some pretty bad wounds, but who knows if this is the last we’ll see of him? I really hope that we see more of him again.
One of the strongest segments of Into The Badlands has always been the martial -arts action sequences and without fail, they were just brilliant this week. I mean would you expect any less from Daniel Wu?! I personally think that all the fight scenes involving Sunny were just fantastic, especially with the amount of flying limbs and blood splatter as he took down the army of his former Baron. Like I mentioned earlier, I personally think that the final battle between Sunny and Quinn is hands down one of the show’s best action sequences to date. It had a combination of martial arts and some pretty epic swordplay involved, which featured some really strong, emotional and brutal parts of the fight which were a pleasure to witness.
The episodes main focus was around Sunny and Baijie launching a suicidal assault against Quinn’s compound, with a pretty sucky ending for both character’s. It was sad that Sunny never got to be fully reunited with his family and that Baijie ended up losing his life after beginning to uncover the secrets of Azra, which surely will be a focal point next season. I think the only issue I had with the finale is we didn’t really get a lot of time with the Widow and M.K. I know the main focus was about Sunny taking out Quinn but I think that we could’ve seen a little more from the Widow, especially as we did have this build up that the Widow would be going against Quinn and his forces. I mean her character kicks ass and is a strong figure in the show, but maybe this is just something the writers meant to do and will elaborate on it next season. She did suggest to M.K about restoring his powers as well and I hoped to see more development on this, but again maybe this is something we will be seeing in Season 3. These characters didn’t have much of an impact on the finale but I do think it is setting up the bigger picture going into Season 3, which will be a full 15 episode season I believe.
I can’t talk about this episode without mentioning about Waldo, played by Stephen Lang. I think he has had an important role this season and I think this episode helped pave way for him to forge his own path, instead of serving under the Widow. I like how he began to doubt whether the Widow had what it takes to take down Quinn and live up to the promises and ideals she convinced him would change the Badlands. In a way, Waldo breaking off from the Widow and her crusade showed that she has failed to live up to the ideas she strive towards, I suppose it was her falling from grace if you will. He did have a big moment in helping to save Tilda, which I think was a great touch as it was like he was her mentor and this was his last act to protect her from the Widow. I wish that Waldo had more of a role on the final conflict as I think he could’ve helped Sunny a lot, but then again I didn’t want his character running the risk of being killed off as I think he will have a big year in Season 3.
Overall, I thought that “Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire” was a great ending for Sunny’s one man mission against Quinn to save his family. I do think there could have been more of a focus on the Widow and M.K but I think the episode served the purpose of delivering the dramatic ending for Wu’s character. It definitely delivered on the reunion of Sunny and his family, with an emotional ending at the results of Quinn’s actions. It did a great job of one final sense of redemption for Baijie in proving that he was a loyal friend to Sunny, with some pretty amazing fight scenes that are the show’s bread and butter. I really enjoyed the episode as a whole and think this is exactly what Into The Badlands does best. A very character driven show, that has great story development with the amazing martial art choreography that makes this show stand out from the rest.
Season 3 of Into The Badlands will be dropping at some point in 2018!