“Into the Badlands” Recap: Power Shifts

It’s been six months since last we saw Sunny and co. after that grueling first season of Into the Badlands. A lot has changed in these past few months and everyone has been scattered across The Badlands and beyond. Sunny has been sold into slavery and is determined to return to rescue Veil and his unborn child. M.K. has been whisked away to be trained in his gift but it isn’t all he hoped for. In the wake of the power struggle last season, The Badlands have fallen into chaos and The Widow is determined to take them into the future she believes is best for everyone. “Tiger Pushes Mountain” was written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and directed by Nick Copus. Here is what went down in the season premiere.

MINING FOR A WAY HOME | Sunny (Daniel Wu) has seen better days. He has been enslaved and is brought to a mine where he will work as a Picker until he dies according to his new owner, The Engineer (guest star Stephen Walters). He is determined to escape and return to The Badlands to save Veil (Madeleine Mantock) and his unborn child but even with his Sunny-moves, there are a lot more guards than there are of him. He is partnered up with a lovable crook, Bajie (Nick Frost), who acts as his unofficial tour guide of this new situation. Unlike everyone else at the mine, Bajie knows what a Clipper is and recognizes Sunny’s tattoos when he sees them. He convinces Sunny that he can trust him to keep his secret and gives him some news on what has happened in The Badlands since he’s been away. They don’t talk for long because it’s Fight Night! Only catch is, the ‘volunteers’ are the Pickers who didn’t make their quota and their opponent is a giant man who just might grow in size with every kill he makes. Sunny decides purposely missing his quota and getting in the ring is his best shot at escape but he doesn’t have time to put his plan in effect because Bajie takes the first opportunity he has to tell The Engineer what Sunny is in the hopes it will earn him his own freedom. The Engineer takes Sunny away to do god knows what to him but that is next week’s problem. Elsewhere, somewhere far away from where Sunny is undoubtedly having a really bad day, Veil gives birth to Sunny Jr. The twist? The person who helped deliver the baby is none other than a not-so-dead-after-all Quinn (Marton Csokas)!!

HEAD BUTTERFLY IN CHARGE | The Badlands have slipped into chaos in the six months since the finale. Ryder (Oliver Stark) has taken over as Baron with Jade (Sarah Bolger) as his Baroness and together, they rule three territories. He is called away to the oil refinery they took from The Widow (Emily Beecham) and Jade comes along to pretend she isn’t really the one running things. At the refinery, Ryder is informed they are losing numbers of cogs by the day and deserters are being welcomed by The Widow and given sanctuary. Jade has a plan and Ryder just nods along, disillusioned that he is in charge, but it is then that The Widow, with Tilda (Ally Ioannides) and a whole army of Butterflies, shows up. They cause an explosion to get Jade away from Ryder and while Tilda and the Butterflies take out as many of Ryder’s Clippers as they can reach, The Widow chases after Jade. It doesn’t matter how many Clippers they put between her and Jade, she takes out every single one of them (in sparkly heels no less) and finally corners Jade on the roof. Instead of killing her, The Widow wants to use Jade to pass on a message to Ryder. She is taking back her oil fields and he would do best not to get in her way. Back at her fort, The Widow worries that she isn’t worthy of all the faith their growing numbers are putting in her but Tilda reassures her that there is no one more fit to lead them. She takes The Widow to introduce her to some of their newest recruits, particularly a group of Dolls they rescued from the refinery. One of them, Odessa (guest star Maddison Jaizani), proves to be a potential Butterfly in the making and The Widow tells them all she hopes they’ll decide to stay because unlike everyone else they’ve ever met, The Widow is giving them the choice as to what they want to do. A handful of Clippers are less impressed by the whole “free will” plan The Widow has and they take their opportunity to leave. Unfortunately for them, Odessa and the other Dolls told Tilda about the horrible things those Clippers did to them at the refinery. Tilda, being Regent, takes a group of Butterflies after them and they turn the Clippers into individual fountains of blood out in the woods.

THE LAST AIRBENDER | M.K. (Aramis Knight) has been taken to what appears to be the Northern Air Temple to be trained in his gift. He is assigned an Abbot to train him but what he really wants is to speak to The Master (guest star Chipo Chung) and get answers about his power. He sneaks into The Master’s chambers late at night and when she catches him, he discovers that she has been waiting for him to do just that. He wants her to teach him to control his power so that he can return home to help Sunny and Tilda but she tells him he isn’t ready. He disagrees and she offers him the chance to leave if he can get past her origami bird without unleashing his gift. He once again underestimates appearances (wheelchair fight, anyone?) and isn’t worried. She sends the bird flying at him and sure enough it cuts his cheek before he can even blink and just like that his power is activated. He runs angrily at her and throws a punch but she blocks him and power-pokes him until he passes out. She sends him back to his room and only once he’s gone does she reveal how much using her power is actually draining her. The next day, when M.K. is training with his Abbott, The Master shows up and informs her that she will be taking over his training personally from now on.

• Line of the Night goes to Bajie for, “The thing that every time I talk you threaten to kill me. It’s just…it’s boring, ya know?”
• Ryder is going to blink a little slower than normal one day and find Jade has completely taken over The Badlands herself and she and The Widow will be ruling the world with Tilda as their go-to assassin.
• Bajie’s opium theft debacle story is the greatest thing I have ever heard and I would like a flashback sequence for a visual element.

So what did you think? What is going to happen to Sunny now that The Engineer knows what he is? How did Quinn end up alive and with Veil? What’s next on the Widow’s plan for Badland domination? Will M.K. be able to control his power in time? Let us know your theories in the comments below!

Be sure to catch Into the Badlands Sundays at 10/9c on AMC!

Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC