Previously on Into the Badlands, “Palm of the Iron Fox”
While Quinn opened up a massive can of worms last week, it gave the Badland’s most powerful players the best opportunity to alter the map and potentially establish a new order within the territories. In hasty fashion, Jade inherited the authority she not-so-secretly desired from the start, while gaining an unlikely ally. Meanwhile, Veil continues to play a very bad hand and at this point is praying Quinn and his clippers don’t call her bluff. Then our favorite bad-ass The Widow decided enough was enough with the intrigue and deception and made the probably the craziest decision yet in this obscenely violent world.
Back in West Avalon, Veil had lost all honors and privileges in her association to Quinn due to her extremely shaky story about Edgar’s death. Apparently Declan (Karl Shiels) is not your average mindless sword-wielding sycophant and calls Quinn’s special lady out on all her bullshit. Edgar tried to kill you? Lies. He tried to rape you??? First off, he was an honorable man… and gay. Oh, by the way, I found the real X-rays you’ve been hiding from Quinn. You gon’ get it, girl.
Like Ryder, Veil could have been dunzo real quick by Quinn’s blade, but she knew exactly which buttons to push in order to get Henry back in her arms. Even with the ghost of Ryder taunting and berating Quinn about women being his soft spot, he conceded in the hopes that Henry would be his redemption story. Yeah, unlikely after all the piles of bad karma Quinn picked up after knifing his own son because Ryder didn’t attempt to kill him fast enough. Family drama, right?
Even with a personality-altering malignant tumor pulsating in what’s left of his brain, Quinn was smart enough to mine the entrance to West Avalon, effectively annihilating what I imagine is only the first wave of clippers under Jade’s command. Unfortunately Lydia was leading the charge and took just enough of the blast to stay alive, and will likely become a “guest” inside her ex’s macabre Fortress of Solitude next week.
Oh, before I forget, The Widow in all her wisdom decided to set her allegiance to Quinn (!!!) to double her chances in eliminating the remaining Barons that tucked tail and ran. That was a surprising development to write the least. Waldo was certainly not pleased by the news and at the end of their tentative partnership (if it goes down), I’ve a feeling The Widow will be faced with heaps of regret, either due to the scores of girls she could lose in battle or realizing too late that she made the world worse because of the sweet lure of revenge.
Elsewhere, on the edge of the Badlands, Bajie led Sunny to one of his old haunts and reacquainted with his old friend and fellow brigand Nos. Formally known as The Commodore (Marc Rissmann), Nos makes his living like anyone in this world who has an inkling of power: on the backs of the timid and defenseless. Scrap metal is but one of his revenue streams but his venture in peddling dolls and grooming young girls for the business is inherently repulsive. Once this “big boss” starts parading the women he and his men constantly abuse, you automatically want this man dead. Hell, what’s worse than death? Whatever it is Nos deserves it times infinity.
After establishing the vibrancy and respective capabilities of every female lead in Badlands for a season and a half, we sometimes forget that their status and experiences aren’t even close to the norm. As bad as Sunny, Bajie and every other nameless male they’ve encountered in the Outlying Lands appears to have it, no one has it worse across the board than women. Short of exhibiting considerable skill as a maker or clipper, most women in the Badlands are forced into one of two forms of permanent, tormenting bondage: either you toil on your knees as a cog or thrown about like a piece of meat as a doll.
Sunny is obviously disgusted by Nos’ vulgar displays of control which caught the eye of a doll named Sophia (Farzana Dua Elahe), who drew up enough courage to beg Sunny to clip her pimp. Undoubtedly writer LaToya Morgan wanted to mirror Sophia and her daughter Amelia‘s strife with Veil and Henry, as Sunny can only fathom that his family is far too vulnerable to survive any longer without his presence. The danger Sophia and Amelia face every day is all too real and the latter is at risk to be put on the track whenever Nos sees fit. And still, the personal code Sunny created, like, a week ago Badlands time is paramount over human trafficking and child endangerment.
Lest we forget, Sunny was a bad guy not so long ago. A man simply cannot renounce his old life overnight, not if its foundation was firmly set with the blood and bones of 400 souls. There’s also the fact that Sunny isn’t emotionally mature. Outside of his trysts with Veil in the first season, he seldom exhibited any emotion… possibly because he never knew how to convey his feelings. Hell, the only education Sunny was given in his formidable years was how to kill a man efficiently with any weapon at his disposal. Humanity remains a foreign subject to our lead.
Nine out of ten viewers would have instantly agreed to Sophia’s terms if they were in Sunny’s shoes, especially if they had his remarkable fighting skills. Unlike The Widow, who still has it in mind to liberate all women from the seemingly interminable scourge that is patriarchy, Sunny is focused only on one woman and is willing to bite his tongue if it’ll get him that much closer to Veil and Henry. Yes, Sunny has grown thanks to Veil’s love and understanding. It’s opened his eyes to the horrors of the Badlands, much of which he brought forth as Quinn’s right hand. Yet Sunny has plenty to learn when it comes to using his death-dealing abilities for the preservation of life.
The ex-regent’s reticence to Sophia’s pleas was commended the following morning by Nos, who was tipped off by another doll. If we didn’t hate The Commodore already, the beatdown he and his men gave Sophia – with continued taunting about putting Amelia “to work” – finally gave Sunny the incentive needed to kick up some dust and provided “Monkey Leaps” the big battle Badlanders anticipate every week. As usual, Wu and the fight team were exceptional as they transitioned smoothly between melee and weapons fighting within the confined spaces of Nos’ compound. Saved (kind of) by Bajie once more, Sunny and his cohort hightailed in a post-apocalyptic sedan with a pair of new travelers. It wouldn’t be surprising if Sophia doesn’t make it through the next episode given how severity of her wounds. The guilt of Sunny’s inaction that night with Sophia will likely drive him to assign himself as protector to her child. If anything Amelia will be good practice for Sunny and his eventual foray into fatherhood.
That is if the Commodore’s men or the Engineer and his crew or bounty killers or an one-handed Silver Moon doesn’t slit their throats down the road.
As an ancient Chinese proverb goes, ‘A man need never revenge himself; the body of his enemy will be brought to his own door.’ Plenty was brought in “Monkey Leaps” and consequences of everyone’s actions in this episode will felt for the remainder of the series, let alone this season.
Into the Badlands S2E5
"Monkey Leaps Through Mist"
Into the Badlands – S2E5 – Monkey Leaps Through Mist | Daniel Wu, Orla Brady, Sarah Bolger, Aramis Knight, Emily Beecham, Oliver Stark, Madeleine Mantock, Ally Ioannides, Nick Frost, Marton Csokas | Writer: LaToya Morgan | Director: Paco Cabezas