Previously on Into the Badlands, “Sting of the Scorpion’s Tail”
For much of its second season, Into the Badlands delved further into the state of the world beyond the Wall, the complexities of the barony and the dark history of this future dystopia, as propelled by Sunny, Bajie and M.K.’s misadventures in the Outlying Territories. It was a lot to handle in the first eight episodes, and few could argue this world building – which was sharply in want during the first season – hindered the raw edge that gave Badlands its character.
In any case, the penultimate episode of this season managed a slow yet steady pace, providing equal parts action and suspense. For many of our players, the writing has been on the wall for some time, but it hasn’t been so noticeable to them until recently. Thanks to Quinn and Widow’s mutual desire to burn the last vestiges of civilization to embers, their recklessness and unquenchable need for revenge has placed all they allegedly care for in grave danger.
The most enlightening moment in “Nightingale” occurred in its opening minutes when it was revealed Minerva was Bajie’s long lost pupil, Flea. Although it was pretty telling who this tiny wonder was once she burst out of her prison, little Minerva mentioned how her father gave her the Book of Azra and proceeded to ship her off to parts unknown. Thankfully for her, she gained Bajie as a mentor and confidant, rather than a by-the-book, emotionally distant Abbot like Cyan. Obviously the two would have their differences which resulted in Flea’s escape from the Monastery and Bajie renouncing his vows.
Twenty years since and it’s apparent Minerva’s brief stay among the Order was traumatizing enough to transform her into the heartless ruler we’ve come to love (until recently). Her demeanor has changed for the worst since her shocking alliance with Quinn and after ridding the Badlands of the Barons Hassan and Broadmoor, and having Chau backed into a corner, Quinn finally made his play against the Widow by sacrificing his most loyal clipper Gabriel (John Bell) to create even more chaos. Amidst the carnage unleashed by the suicide bombing, Minerva suddenly shifted gear and went after Tilda for not being a loyal regent and appreciative ‘daughter’. The Widow is obviously becoming unhinged and it probably didn’t help that she was likely pushed closer to the edge by the duplicitous Odessa.
It was a matter of time until M.K. Tilda and Odessa shared an awkward moment together, but having Odessa (Maddison Jaizani) recognize M.K. from the time he slaughtered a boatload of people is a bit of a stretch. The immediate question that comes to mind is “How did Odessa survive if everyone else below decks was murdered?” She claims to have seen the glee in M.K.’s black eyes after killing the cogs, meaning Odessa had to have experienced a close encounter and somehow lived to tell the tale. Despite the kiss they shared, Tilda’s loyalty to M.K. prevails and given the events later in “Nightingale”, it appeared Odessa used her powers of persuasion on an already paranoid Minerva.
Seeing as Odessa attempted to gain a foothold in the power dynamic through Tilda and knows she couldn’t be swayed, Odessa turned failure into opportunity by ratting on the regent to dear ol’ mom. And we all saw the results of her messing with things behind the scenes. It was satisfying to see Tilda finally stand up for herself and take it to the Widow (for roughly 8.29 seconds) but Minerva proved that her regent still had much to learn. That is, if she’s ever released from the hole The Widow threw her in.
Meanwhile in West Avalon, Veil was still acting up knowing Quinn doesn’t give a damn about anyone or anything. Thanks to years of sleeping next to a bona fide psychopath, Lydia is sharply attuned to sensing danger on the horizon. Quinn is gearing up for a direct assault by the remnants of Widow’s forces as well as Sunny; what better way to kill two birds than with one really big stone falling on top of them. Rather take them head on, the southern fried tyrant plans to blow everyone up – save Henry, of course – as his time is at hand.
The countdown has begun and Sunny has no other choice but to go after Veil and Henry alone. Though M.K. would certainly want to fight by his friend’s side, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Bajie convinced his new pal to join him in finding Azra now that he possesses the book and compass. After all the pain and heartache each of the leads endured this season, it’s troubling to think the worse is still yet to come for our intrepid heroes.