Previously on Into the Badlands, “Chapter XIX: Leopard Snares Rabbit”
While deception was imperative for the survival of a few characters in last week’s episode, an underlying theme of redemption was present in “Blind Cannibal Assassins”. Lydia, working under The Widow as her Viceroy, remains accountable for countless refugees and for their sakes, hoped to assure Minerva a pact with Pilgrim and Cressida is far better than engaging a war on two fronts. For Baron Chau, elimination is the only answer and left the task to her estranged brother. As for Sunny, once again he was faced with the consequences of his past actions – which now place his son’s life at grave risk.
Early on we’re introduced to the black sheep of the Chau household, the Baroness’ brother Gaius, played by Lewis Tan. Little is revealed about Gaius’ backstory or how long he’s been a thorn in his sister’s side, but it’s clear he’s vehemently opposed to the unnecessary slaughter of cogs for the war effort. Imprisoned the last 18 months for aiding cogs in their escape from Chau territory, Gaius was coerced by dear sister to track and eliminate Pilgrim for the sake of his men and the remaining cogs his family lords over. It didn’t take long for Gaius to agree to big sis’s terms, and hastily put together a death squad to neutralize the mesmerizing newcomer and his priestess, Cressida.
Unfortunately for Chau, he had to choose the day The Widow and Lydia accepted Pilgrim’s invite, but how couldn’t they when he basically littered all other their poppies? Anyway, it didn’t take long for Gaius and his men to get in the thick of it with the Badlands, deadliest including the murderous Castor (Dean-Charles Chapman) who went black(eyed) and didn’t look back.
Per usual, we were treated to a dazzling display of skill and technique from Tan, Chapman, Emily Beecham, Babou Ceesay and the fight team as simultaneous battles were occurring throughout the ancient museum. Each actor performed admirably, especially the original cast who have shown marked improvement with each season. The addition of Tan will certainly add a new dimension to overall story and its action sequences… whenever he finds time to recover from his major league assbeating.
Furthermore, we followed M.K. as he stubbornly trekked across war-torn territories to avenge his mother. Nevermind that he’s bleeding all over the place… he’s gotta kill Sunny! This time for a legit reason! Apparently the sudden restoration of his Gift last episode took far more out of him than he realized; ambushed by a band of nomads, M.K. was saved at the last second by Nix (Ella-Rae Smith) who tracked his location with her Dark One-O-Meter. So much for freedom… our resident Golden Child escaped one selfish, brutal captor only to be soon received by another, albeit one who plys his trade with charisma and “purpose”.
It’ll be interesting to note if M.K. will accept Pilgrim’s journey for Azra after his traumatizing ordeal with The Master. Although the pair aspire to reach the fabled city, it’s likely they’ve differing agendas that would cause unenduring friction. Because who isn’t rubbed the wrong way when M.K. isn’t involved? However, there are Castor and Nix. While I see the latter attempting to recruit M.K. to the cause, the former – who has an increasingly opposing view on Pilgrim’s crusade – may be the X factor that compels M.K. to continue on his own path.
Meanwhile in the north, Sunny and Bajie quickly found themselves at the mercy of a renegade cult of blind cannibal assassins. Again, Sunny’s past haunted him as he revealed to Bajie he and Waldo were responsible for the assassins’ existence. When he was a colt younger than M.K., Sunny held Waldo in the highest regard in spite of his dubious tactics and uncompromising authority. In this instance, Waldo stabbed the eyes out of traitorous clippers – a sadistic reminder that loyalty to their Barons should have been as blind as their newfound circumstance. Having no other recourse but to follow his Regent’s commands, Sunny blinded at least one fugitive clipper, who presently took care of Henry.
Those pair – Jarl and Allisoto – formed their bizarre clan to best cope with their “sins” against the Badlands and atone for them by consuming the flesh of others who sought to leave their former home’s borders. Naturally, the entire premise is crazy as hell even for Badlands, and for the most part this group of subdwellers never felt like a true threat as Sunny alluded. In fact, he handily dispatched virtually all of them. At best they were an unintended yet convenient pit stop for Sunny’s Apology Tour, which was headlined with the presence of his greatest threat, the newly minted regent, Nathaniel Moon.
Thankfully for Sunny, Bajie and all of us viewers, Moon promptly ended his quest for vengeance when he realized his rival had a son to look after. Granted, the two didn’t mend fences but struck an accord in the name of fatherhood. This is the best move for both characters seeing as they’ve far more complex and potentially enthralling storylines to dive into the next few episodes. Lest we forget, Moon and Lydia are laying groundwork to usurp Minerva, a conspiracy that would require all the focus and subtlety Nathaniel possesses. He couldn’t dwell on killing Sunny to restore his honor. Ultimately, both men have one less chip on their respective shoulders which should lessen their concerns – but not by much.
“First we survive blind cannibals. Then Moon decides not to kill us. Maybe miracles do happen.” It’s astonishing to hear those words come out of Bajie’s word considering the tumultuous relationship he has with lady luck. Then again, his odds of living a few years more in the Badlands increased significantly once he partnered with Sunny. It wouldn’t too surprising if fortune turns in their favor. Then again, hope is a commodity no one can afford in the Badlands or beyond its borders.