Into the Badlands – S01E04
Title: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons
Episode 4 brings us a slight time jump (weeks now instead of days) with the Widow, The Baron and Sunny all setting plans in motion.
SPOILERS beyond this point.
The Big Heat
The episode opens with Tilda in a tattered white dress running through the woods. She stumbles in front of a jeep pleading for help. It’s good to know that in the Badlands the common ambush trope is still alive and well, because when the two clippers get out of the vehicle they are quickly dispatched by a couple of butterfly shurikens. The vehicle it turns out is the equivalent of an armored car and the Widow is there to make a withdrawal. The car (and money) belong to Baron Jacobee, so the Widow kills one of Quinn’s clippers and leaves him on the scene.
Upon returning to their new ‘old’ estate the girls discover a few old-world artifacts including a snow globe from Hawaii and an ancient (working) turntable with an intact record. While the daughters all get their groove on, the Widow is none too pleased. When Tilda calls her out on this, she pulls her aside and reminds her daughter of the patriarchal hell they were once living under.
The Beast With-Inside Out
Back at The Fort, Sunny has been training M.K. (which is a bit odd because I thought that Waldo was going to be doing that). Sunny is curious to see the extent of M.K.’s secret power, so he takes him offsite and cuts him. What follows is both expected, but also presented as a bit too easy.
As M.K. Hulks-out he takes Sunny down in a single strike, but Sunny (as skilled as he is) should have been ready for at least the initial strike. Once Sunny is down, M.K. collapses. Upon recovering, Sunny advises M.K. to try and focus himself the next time it happens to see if he can maintain some kind of control.
Meanwhile, Quinn’s bride to be Jade is looking over the wedding gifts that have been sent on from various Barons. Lydia and Jade sit down for a heart to heart, where Jade expresses a desire for them to be closer and have a mother-daughter relationship. Lydia states ever so plainly that her first bit of motherly advice would be to avoid having sexy time with both her husband to be and his son, proving once again that there are no secrets in the Badlands, and that Lydia is far more cunning and connected than she lets on.
Go Away Baron Tumor
The Baron’s consultation with Veil reveals that she wants to poison him to try and cure him. The Baron seems none to sure about this, but his options are rather limited at this point. When Veil later mentions this to Sunny and it seems like she actually plans to help speed the Baron on his way to the afterlife, Sunny advises her against it. If Quinn dies, the other Barons will swoop in to take control and that would be bad for Sunny, Veil and their child. While the Baron is alive, they at least have some semblance of stability.
With Veil having had no luck in translating the book on Azra, Sunny turns to Waldo for advice. Waldo tells him of the River King who runs a boat that can transport them out of the Badlands. He gives Sunny a toy soldier, a favor token that will, at the very least, get Sunny an audience with the River King.
Ryder, having had enough of his father’s scorn and prompted by the pending wedding which will set Jade, the woman he loves, as his new mother, decides to set his own plans in motion. He takes it upon himself to broker the parlay with Jacobee’s regent, but once the parlay is set, he presents a counter offer to Zypher.
Jade confronts her handmaiden Mari (Jeri Tubbs) as to the fate of her predecessor, another of Quinn’s wives named Beatrice. Mari informs her that she saw Baroness Lydia gathering monkshood, a toxic flower, which can be crafted into a poison, and that Beatrice passed away from ‘sickness’ not long after.
Fly like a Butterfly, Sting like a JacoBee
As Baron Quinn and Sunny head out to the parley point, a graveyard known as City of the Dead, M.K. sneaks along, because he’s M.K. and he must do the contrary of whatever Sunny tells him to do. Upon being discovered, Sunny puts him on lookout, which turns out to work in the Baron’s favor as M.K. spots Tilda preparing to make a hit on Baron Quinn, using a pick-axe (the signature weapon of Jacobee’s clippers).
A chaotic fight ensues, with M.K. confronting Tilda who cuts him with one of her butterfly shurikens. M.K. goes into rage mode, but is able to restrain himself from killing her. Whether this is due to Tilda’s pleas and M.K.’s affection for her, or Sunny’s earlier advice on focus is not entirely clear. Having found proof that the Widow was behind the hit, Jacobee and the Quinn cease hostilities (though both sides have seemingly lost most of their attached clipper forces). Jacobee tells Quinn that The Widow is his responsibility and he needs to take care of her in order to keep the peace with the other Barons.
But as he returns to The Fort, Quinn finds that this will be none to easy a task, as The Widow has raided his estate while he was away, killing the clipper’s left behind, bribing the cogs away (with the gold she stole from Jacobee) and capturing at least Ryder. The Widow has an offer for Ryder and apparently has Zypehr in her corner as well.
Steamboat Will He?
The final scene has Sunny meeting with the River King. Sunny presents the favor token, but the River King tells Sunny that the favor was meant for Waldo alone. If Sunny wants transport for himself and his loved ones, he’ll need to do a favor for the River King. It seems that a certain boy went wild and killed a bunch of Cogs that were being transported and the River King now wants payback. So if Sunny wants transport he needs to clip M.K. and bring his head to the River King.
Thoughts on the episode.
There were quite a few motivational reveals this week, that seem to increase the complexity of the political allegiances and face-offs that may be building. Jade and Lydia, Sunny and M.K., The Baron and everybody.
M.K. continues to be the most annoying character with his constant disregard for
We are given a bit more insight into The Widow as a kind of savior, at least against the ‘way of life’ that the Baron’s have created. It’s unclear at this point if she will turn out to be a true savior for others (such as the Cogs) or if this is just rhetoric for her own ascent to power.
If memory serves, it was a ‘river dragon/demon’ that transformed to become the steed for Xuanzang in his journey to the West. My guess at this point is that Sunny and M.K. may ‘aquire’ the River King’s boat for their own use.