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Into the Badlands – S1E5 – Snake Creeps Down

Previously on Into The Badlands, ‘Two Tigers Subdue Dragons’

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

QUICK CUTS

Quinn sows seeds of distrust everywhere because misery loves company. Ryder seeks information about Azra from his bible-thumping grandfather. Sunny catches MK and Tilda together and interrogates the young butterfly to learn as much as he can about the Widow’s plans. Minerva sneaks into The Fort to rescue Tilda and MK unleashes his power. Unfortunately for all, an unseen party witnessed his transformation and that spells all kinds of trouble for Sunny.

Images: AMC

Images: AMC

PRISONERS OF THEIR NATURE

Thanks to Widow’s cloak-and-dagger strategy in “Two Tigers Subdue Dragons”, a sizable portion of Quinn’s clipper force has been bumped off, all of his cogs were “liberated” by the butterflies and Ryder – now an ally – ensures The Fort and its territories will soon be under her direct control. Quinn’s entire crop of poppies could rot, meaning a shortage in opium that could prove catastrophic for all the barons. The Widow’s cunning further proves how far-reaching her plans for domination reach. The badlands will be hers, no matter the level of disorder she creates.

His health progressively worsening, Quinn has another appointment with Veil (Madeleine Mantock) in hopes to delay the inevitable. By now, there’s no need to disguise revulsion with pleasantries and platitudes: Veil hates Quinn with all her being and he hates the flourishing love between her and Sunny. Veil knows full well that Quinn killed her parents – and he actually admits it. Justified in ending his life then and there, Veil restrains herself for the sake of her unborn child (the last sliver of info Quinn doesn’t know).

The baron commends her self-discipline by revealing he didn’t kill her parents… their deaths were by Sunny’s blade.

That dog.

If Veil actually falls for his guff, she might as well hop on the Quinn train and become his third wife.

badlands s1e5 lydia and quinn

Speaking of his happy marriages, Jade and Lydia almost reached an accord during “Snake Creeps Down”, putting personal hatred aside for the good of the territory. In an odd turn of events, Quinn gave Jade half his fighting force to work the fields AND the authority to personally oversee their duties. The man may be slowly dying but certainly his penchant for pissing his first wife off remains quite alive. It’s a bit odd how much delight Quinn takes in going against Lydia’s sound suggestions. Perhaps it all stems from Ryder’s botched ransom and rescue attempt years ago. Perhaps his protestation stems from another as-of-yet unrevealed event.

For all one knows, Lydia’s frustrations may have gotten the best of her, evidenced by Jade’s quick and effective poisoning. Technically, others may have been in play to rid The Fort of such an impressive influence, but who else but Lydia has the most to lose?

badlands s1e5 quinn and jade

Either way, Marton Csokas’ portrayal of Quinn has been consistently impressive. The pomposity and sheer creepiness he radiates as Quinn has quickly made him a villain I intensely love to hate. Every time he smiles on screen is like watching a wolf toying with his prey before slowly sinking its fangs into their neck. If only Csokas could finally figure out which Kentucky-fried accent to stick with and he’d be the perfect genial antagonist. Bless his heart.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Once more, Ryder shows his cards believing he’s a hot hand when he’s quickly losing all his chips to more skilled hustlers. Considering all the wannabe baron has experienced in such short time – being rejected by his mother and former flame, nearly suffering brain damage and becoming a pawn in The Widow’s vast conspiracy – he truly cannot take a hint that he continues to wallow in mediocrity. In a brief meeting with Waldo (Stephen Lang), he suggest to Ryder that he visit his estranged grandfather Penrith, played with deliberate inscrutability by Lance Henriksen.

Also known as “Preacher”, Penrith regales to his grandson that his mother may be lost to him but he can still live a righteous path. Ryder righteous? Old man, you really don’t know your family that well. Hoping to learn more about MK’s pendant, Ryder revealed his ace in the hole. Penrith feigned ignorance but his gaze told another story. Stoic he may have appeared, Preacher was obviously alarmed by the pendant, requesting his abbots be summoned immediately after Ryder departed. Whatever protocol is executed to purge a “dark one” from the badlands does not strike one as being a precision assault but a scorched earth maneuver. Very, very bad news for The Fort. Apparently this isn’t the first threat Penrith and his holy rollers have faced; if he and his older warriors remain breathing, they must be extremely effective at their self-ordained talents.

RAISING HELL IN THE PITS OF DESPAIR

Place your bets!

Sunny versus Widow!

Who’s qi will reign supreme?!

badlands s1e5 widow

Badlands surprisingly rewarded its viewers with the fight they’ve anticipated since the first episode. Rather than expectedly build up their showdown for the finale, Sunny and Minerva trade blows in the final moments of “Snake Creeps Down” and boy did they deliver. Emily Beecham and Daniel Wu have been steadily impressive during their respective action sequences, easily hacking their way through thugs and cutthroats like cords of wood. Their duel was an eventuality that many fans were relishing and once it finally arrived… well…

For lack of an exhaustively grandiloquent repartee, that entire fight scene was EVERYTHING.

The intricate bladework. The intensity. The dedication and precision in featuring various techniques. Swapping their katana and jian for shuang gou and guan dao. Not to mention the demands of the stunt work. Hats off to all who put together that killer sequence. It’s moments like those that make Badlanders (just made that up, props to me, Internet) wish AMC gave them at least four more episodes.

badlands s1e5 MK surprise

While the mayhem unfolded, Bale (Benjamin Papac), a colt whose ego was bruised and ear lost earlier in the episode, wanted his pound of flesh from Tilda. Like a punk, Bale stomped MK’s girl-friend into a corner, giving The Boy no other option but to cut himself and save his only pal. The awakening of this dark force was enough to draw the attention of Sunny and the Widow (who used the distraction to escape with Tilda in tow).

badlands s1e5 sneaky quinn

Regrettably, the ol’ baron caught every single detail of what occurred.
To quote a rather infamous scoundrel, I have a bad feeling about this.

Into the Badlands S1E5
  • 10/10
    Plot - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Fight Choreography - 10/10
10/10

Summary

“Snake Creeps Down” was an absolute high point in the new series, for the shortened fight between Sunny and Widow alone. More was learned about the mystery of Azra, which may not be the paradise MK and Sunny assume. Given the murderous nature of the kid during his metamorphosis, there may be good reason few people know of the mythical city’s existence.

Whilst everyone is fighting amongst themselves for scraps of territory, it appears the true threat may be Penrith and his holy order. Think about it: aside from Waldo, we haven’t seen many older folk in the badlands due to the extremely high mortality rate. It’s apparent that if you live by the sword, you usually die extremely quickly by the sword. Don’t count grandpa out. Something tells me the man knows how to ball. By that, I mean kill very well.

Oh, it’s on now.

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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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