Previously on Into the Badlands, “Nightingale Sings No More”
The Badlands have reached the point of no return. Death and chaos cover the territories thanks to Quinn and the Widow’s little war; the former proves there’s no honor among Barons as his suicide bomber may not have accomplished his primary task but managed to cripple Minerva’s military operations. Between the Widow’s deception and Quinn’s death wish, it’s up to Sunny to clear the Badlands of the poison that’s brought misery to virtually all of its inhabitants.
Before all hell broke loose in West Avalon, M.K. and the Widow are at an impasse. The Widow claims to have the knowledge that would restore M.K.’s gift, but our resident ne’er do well has no intention of to Minerva’s demands… especially after she imprisoned Tilda and Bajie and tried to kill Sunny – only after he learned Minerva gave Veil and Henry back to Quinn. Without Sunny or Bajie to back his play, M.K. has no other option to remain at the Sanctuary as the Widow’s “guest” while she expands her reach and replenishes her forces.
Say what you will about the turn Minerva made this season, Emily Beecham was one of the few bright spots with her steely commitment to both character and choreography. Everyone truly stepped up their game this season, producing such physically demanding fight scenes in an seemingly effortless manner. While every one of the cast rightfully deserves praise, Beecham held the show on her shoulders beginning with the premiere in her fantastic slaughter of Ryder’s clippers. Although she took a breather in the finale, no doubt a rematch between the Widow and Tilda will occur down the line. Time will tell if the Baroness will finally meet her match – or reactivate her Gift with M.K.’s forced assistance.
Inner peace and the no-kill clause had to take a back seat during the finale now that Sunny knows exactly where to find Quinn. After saving Lydia from her execution, only Sunny would be confident/foolhardy enough to rush into the enemy lair.
No Kentucky Fried dictator-in-hiding, no flight of fiery arrows was going to stop him from getting his revenge. Even after Sunny somehow survived a direct blast of dynamite (they make them strong in the far-future!), he wasn’t going to let a pile of rubble going to stop him. With Bajie in tow, the duo tore through Quinn’s clippers with blood purpose. For all his talk about leaving his old life behind, Sunny finally snapped back to reality and understood his particular set of skills
After 16 episodes of backroom dealing, triple crosses, androcide, a failed assassination attempt, one grapefruit sized tumor and a ridiculous amount of luck, Quinn finally met his match with a supremely pissed off Sunny. Determined to free his wife and child as much as murder Quinn dead, Sunny was nearly able to put the finishing touches on Quinn’s demise. Regrettably, like in season one’s finale, Sunny couldn’t see things through and Veil provided the deathblow at the cost of her own life. And unsurprisingly, the entirety of Badland’s viewership quietly sighed in disappointment.
It was difficult to watch Veil go through so much torment for most of this season but it was equally frustrating to see her in a diminished form after being written as a capable engineer in season one, determined to create a better world for herself, then Sunny and M.K. Gone was any hint of her ingenuity and pluck; rather, we were given ample showings of her (ineffective) cunning than hastily turned to desperation, which resulted in Veil killing possibly her best ally within Quinn’s camp.
Granted, Veil was Quinn’s prisoner for the entire season and was limited due to her concerns for Henry. Still, in nearly every episode, Veil became less of a factor as Quinn and Lydia took turns looking after Henry. Essentially this once-dynamic character that had all the potential to become a two-person threat with Sunny became a stepping stone for nearly every lead, propelling their respective narratives as Veil sunk further in priority. If anything she was given a relatively honorable death and managed to see Sunny one last time. It’s more than anyone could hope for in the Badlands, especially now that it’s in complete disarray.
Which brings us to Bajie and what could have been his last act on earth: broadcasting a SOS from an ancient communications platform. Grievously wounded during his fight with Quinn’s regent, Bajie hightailed it from West Avalon with the hope he could summon help from afar. If he wasn’t going to make it to Azra, at least someone from the fabled city could brave the Badlands and give M.K. the peace he deserves. But I wrote in reviews past, we haven’t a clue about what’s beyond the territories. Azra may exist but who’s to claim it’s the only city that remains?
Ultimately, “Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire” finalized the systematic destruction of the Badlands, creating a clean slate of sorts for season three. Though Chau and the Widow are formidable Barons, their influence isn’t nearly enough to maintain order in a region filled with rogue clippers, marauders and sadistic Nomads. Sunny won’t have much time to grieve as the Badlands will need his talents and leadership to prepare for the oncoming storm.
Into the Badlands S2E10
"Wolf's Breath, Dragon Fire"
Into the Badlands – S2E10 – Wolf’s Breath, Dragon Fire | Daniel Wu, Orla Brady, Sarah Bolger, Aramis Knight, Emily Beecham, Oliver Stark, Madeleine Mantock, Ally Ioannides, Nick Frost, Marton Csokas | Writers: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar & Matt Lambert | Director: Paco Cabezas