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Into the Badlands – S1E4 – Two Tigers Subdue Dragons

Previously on Into the Badlands, ‘White Stork Spreads Wings’

Starring: Daniel Wu, Orla Brady, Sarah Bolger, Aramis Knight, Emily Beecham, Oliver Stark, Madeleine Mantock, Ally Ioannides, Marton Csokas | Director: Guy Ferland

QUICK CUTS

The Widow finds new allies in her war against all the barons. Sunny attempts to teach MK how to focus his dark power and it doesn’t go well at all. Jade investigates Lydia’s ominous past. Tilda yells at Widow like she’s grown and pays all her bills. Ryder can’t find a single woman that loves him. Quinn parlays with Jacobee (Edi Gathegi) but things go from bad to terrible very fast.

Images: AMC

Images: AMC

A TANGLED WEB SHE WEAVES

Wow, where to begin?

The plot has thickened so much in one episode of Badlands, it’s practically a gumbo.

The Widow wastes no time in triggering her labyrinthine designs to effectively cripple the most powerful barons, diminish the ranks among their clippers and basically take over the entire Badlands. And it all began with a little gold and a well struck pick axe to the brainpan.

For a majority of “Two Tigers” the baneful Widow took a backseat yet her presence was felt throughout as her daughters, spies and newfound allies did all the heavy lifting for her. Typically an enigmatic figure, the Widow’s strategy to overtake the barons from the inside out is as bright as day and no one appears to have a counter to her pernicious plot. It’s evident that Minerva has spent years perfecting her plans and awaiting the right moment to enact them; though her motivations initially appear myopic and ruinous for all, Widow’s endgame also has a more acute purpose.

After letting her girls know how much she disapproved of their dancing (obviously the lessons learned in Footloose didn’t prevail 500 years in the future), Widow took Tilda to the side and explained her reasoning for her destructive actions: to ensure women have an equal stance in this wretched world and no longer be exploited by any man. This is all well and good, however Tilda still has her doubts about the ends justifying the means. Furthermore, does the Widow intend to better the lives of all women within the Badlands or only those she deems worthy? If there’s one thing about Beecham’s Widow that’s a certainty, it’s her admiration for power and the ability to bend others to one’s whim.

DEATH BECOMES HER

Concerning the high-handed intrigue that saturated every second of “Two Tigers”, the mental boxing match between Lydia and Jade is in its middle rounds and neither one of them has able to find a weakness in their game just yet.

As a former attendant to The Fort, Jade appears to have the ear and favor of the house staff. Her dismissiveness to the traditions of the barons irks Lydia but not enough to make her do anything absolutely murderous (for the moment). Although Ryder and his big whiny mouth dropped a huge nugget of a secret about Quinn’s other second wife during a moany rant about his love being unrequited.

badlands s1e4 jade in fields

Dude, get over it. Jade’s not yours and never really was. Besides, do you want a pick axe in your head like the guy in the beginning of the episode? I think not. Once more, Ryder is dumped by another woman he loves. So what does he do? The grumpy gus races over to the next best thing: THE WIDOW. Of course, makes sense. #Ryderism

Anyway, Jade investigates further about Beatrix’s (original second wife) fate and learns from handmaiden Mari that she was allegedly poisoned by Lydia herself. As much as Lydia may dislike her husband, she sure as hell doesn’t want to let go of what influence she has in The Fort.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYES

During one of their secret practices, Sunny remarks how there are two sides to everything in life. Fear and hope, light and dark, etcetera and so on. In regards to his as-of-yet undomesticated colt MK (Aramis Knight), his casual disobedience and lack of common sense is far less worrisome than the evil that lurks inside him.

badlands s1e4 MK Tilda

Sunny experiments with MK’s power and received chunks of brick in the back for his trouble. After regaining consciousness, the clipper tells MK to focus on anything pure in his life to quell the darkness. The colt soon gets his first test in the form of a defensive Tilda (Ally Ioannides), who staged an assassination attempt on Quinn’s life. Aware of MK’s supernatural capabilities, Tilda readied herself for the transformation after accidentally cutting him. Seconds from death, Tilda pleads with MK and manages to break through, returning him to normalcy.

It seems someone has a soft spot for somebody. Awwwww!

Back at the Widow’s hideout, Ryder strikes an accord with the baroness. He’ll gain his father’s territory if he acquires The Boy who’s hiding within The Fort. Thankfully, Ryder occasionally knows when to keep his mouth shut, especially when he has a huge bargaining chip in his pocket to play against Minerva and her cohorts.

badlands s1e4 Sunny and River King

Oh, we nearly forgot to mention that MK is a straight up serial killer. Yes, Mr. Babyface himself. Sunny was able to receive an audience with the River King (Lance E, Nichols), a man of considerable importance in the comings and goings of the barons’ supplies and products. The River King has no interest in Sunny but gives him a chance because he owes Waldo (Stephen Lang) a favor. The King will grant Sunny and his company passage outside of the Badlands… if he finds a kid who, oddly enough, resembles MK. It appears our resident tween was activated during one of King’s transits and painted the lower deck of his ship with enough blood it looked like the lobby in Cabin in the Woods.

At any rate, MK is a marked man by practically everyone. Good luck, kid. Think pure thoughts.

Into the Badlands S1E4
  • 10/10
    Plot - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Fight Choreography - 9/10
9.3/10

Summary

There was a lot that occurred in “Two Tigers” with every lead character however it never felt like a jumbled middling mess. The pacing was quick yet steady and the plot impeccable. There are motivations abound however none of them are stilted or obvious. Things are going along as well as the Widow and Quinn could hope in their respective camps, however their top lieutenants are experiencing doubts about not only their baron’s desire for warfare but their purpose as a whole.

Even the increasingly obnoxious Ryder is an engrossing presence, if only to see what kind of trouble his short-sightedness will get him in each week.

The sudden interest in MK by nearly everyone will make an escape from the Badlands a nearly impossible venture, that is if it even occurs this season. The tension is steadily mounting to the point that not a single lead is guaranteed to survive in the next chapter of this extremely enjoyable series.

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About Rexlor Graymond (493 Articles)
Rex Graymond is 24.6kg tripolymer composite, 11.8kg beryllium-nickel-titanium alloy. Constructed in Northern California. Loves comics and films almost as much as pancakes. ALMOST.
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