Previously on Into the Badlands, “Chapter XX: Blind Cannibal Assassins”
It didn’t take long for the action to unfold in the Badlands this week, but we first gained insight on The Widow’s past as a lowly cog for House Chau. It was Gaius’ thirteenth birthday and how else does a family with everything celebrate but retelling their dominion over the Barony via disturbing looking marionettes. Nothing warms a child’s heart like seeing paper mache assassins being decapitated by an ancestor! Anyway, the flashback noted a few things about Minerva’s humble beginnings, the Chau family philosophy and a key moment in the history of the Badlands.
We learned the Chaus founded the Barony and created “order” within the Badlands, a significant milestone that certainly accounts for the colossal ego of the Baron (aka Juliet… we finally know her given name). After the world’s most demented puppet show, Minerva and Gaius locked eyes for only a moment and that was enough to make her spill refreshments, causing the birthday boy to cut his finger when helping her pick up glass. Naturally, Gaius’ father Baron Alexander Chau (Hon Ping Tang) had to make an example out of Minerva and demanded his son cane her ten times. While Gaius hadn’t the nerve to abuse cogs (a sentiment he apparently continues to adhere to in present day), Juliet was eager to whip their servant until she was bloody.
This segment opened up a whole other dimension to Juliet and Minerva’s rivalry from last season which led to the bloody debacle laying waste to countless people. Clearly Baron Chau (Eleanor Matsuura) believes she’s unequaled because her family was uncontested for generations. If it wasn’t for them, all Barons, be them legacies or self-made, wouldn’t have the power and influence they acquired if it weren’t for Horatio Chau forming the Barony. Yet there’s the added measure that Chau has always seen The Widow as a lesser creature because she flogged her without hesitation so many years ago. Minerva won’t stop fighting because she cannot let Chau beat her again, and Chau’s hubris can only be appeased once the cog-who-wants-to-play-queen is thoroughly defeated.
Thankfully for Minerva, Gaius (Lewis Tan) somehow snuck into the trunk of her ride, offering his services while refreshing The Widow’s memory about how she escaped from the pig pens that long, terrible day 20 years ago. After the substantial number of betrayals by men – which include M.K., Waldo, Sunny, Quinn, Ryder, her sadistic husband for starters – The Widow is rightfully suspect in taking Gaius at his word. Furthermore, Minerva likely made a mistake in threatening Nathaniel for not killing Sunny when he had a chance. Regrettably desperation makes fools of us all and she freed him to help defend the refugees who are being culled by Chau’s men at Pilgrim’s insistence.
Due to the failed assassination attempt, Pilgrim and Cressida have the upper hand on Chau (for now), demanding 1,000 heads to help them unearth a structure that may lead them to Azra. In the meantime, the “merciful man” introduced himself to M.K. who was intrigued about Pilgrim’s power to suppress his Gift but remained obstinate about killing Sunny. I’m unsure what it is about M.K. but his stubbornness combined with an inability to look at the big picture can be damn frustrating. He may be a special kind of Dark One, but is he really worth all this trouble? At the same time, one would think after getting bumped in the head so many times M.K. would realize people in power seek to exploit him for their insidious goals. *sigh* I don’t know. Add poor Castor (Dean-Charles Chapman) into the mix – a boy who gave his all for a cause that has slowly betrayed him – and Nix (Ella Rae Smith), who clung to M.K. faster than you can say “Florence Nightingale”, and Pilgrim’s happy family is likely to disintegrate from the inside much sooner than expected.
Beyond the Badlands, Sunny and Bajie arrived at Vulture’s Peak and found Bajie’s old mentor, “The Mad Witch” known as Ankara (Clare Higgins). She lives up to her moniker, creepily slinking around Sunny and Henry, effortlessly sensing both of them carry The Gift. Ankara staves off the affliction growing inside Henry but only temporarily. In fact, her interest is more in Sunny who she described as a “catalyst”, a person of great chi though it’s been suppressed by someone with abilities greater than her own.
It’s unclear if Ankara tapping into Sunny’s memories activated something within the aether, but Cressida received a frantic vision of tally marks, an image discernible only to M.K. who knew the pattern all too well: the kill count tattooed across Sunny’s back. Things are aligning into a contentious path that will likely cause greater discord within the Badlands. Azra help them all.
Into the Badlands S3E5 Review Score
"Chapter XXI: Carry Tiger to Mountain"
Into the Badlands – S3E5 – Chapter XXI: Carry Tiger to Mountain | Daniel Wu, Emily Beecham, Aramis Knight, Orla Brady, Ally Ioannides, Sherman Augustus, Babou Ceesay, Lorraine Toussaint, Ella-Rae Smith, Nick Frost | Writer: LaToya Morgan | Director: James Marshall