Into the Badlands, S1E1 – “The Fort”
I have wanted to watch this show for many months now and finally, last night, I watched the very first episode. I am just upset I decided to watch it at 1am, and needed to be up at 8am for work, or I would have watched all of it in one sitting.
Yes, it was that good.
Unlike my review for the first episode of Iron Fist, the martial arts in this first episode blew me away. I was on the edge of my … bed. Since I was lying in bed and surfing Netflix. Daniel Wu is absolutely amazing.
The episode opens up with action and ends in mystery, and I find myself itching to get home to watch the second one.
We encounter Sunny (Daniel Wu), a total freaking NINJA, who comes across a band of what we assume are some bad, excuse my Trump reference here, hombres. I don’t really want to spoil this for anyone who hasn’t watch the episode, but fighting ensues and it is epic.
We are introduced to the mysterious M.K. (Aramis Knight) that Sunny saves (maybe), and then takes to the Fort, where his ‘Baron’ rules. Apparently the Badlands are zoned out areas of civilization that are ruled by dictators (or so we assume from this first episode). Not sure yet if this is some post-apocalyptic tale or a ‘new world’ where things were always ‘this way’. I am curious to find out though!
Anywho. Sunny demands from M.K. why the nomads spared his life (as they are apparently murdering savages), and finally M.K. admits that someone named The Widow wanted him tracked down and brought to her (we later find out she is another Baron from a different zone). M.K. is tossed into Sunny’s world and immediately placed on the radar of those in power (and those wanting to be in power), adding to the boy’s mysteriousness.
What is it about him that everyone seems drawn to? Even Sunny, who has been a loyal servant of his Baron, risks everything to help the boy? We get a sneak peek into what might make him special in this episode, and again … the fighting totally impresses me (no joke!).
So while this boy and Sunny appear to be the main arch of the episode, we also get a little insight into Sunny’s world. His background is a mystery itself. When he breaks up a fight in the ‘yard’ between M.K. and another boy, and takes a medallion that caused said fight that belongs to M.K., it rekindles his questions about his own past and draws him even closer to the boy. It forces Sunny to revisit his own origins (as he was found as a child with no memory of family or home and raised by the Baron). There is also a love interest in Sunny’s life and it looks like things might be taking a dangerous turn there, inciting even more interest in ME.
The Baron, Quinn (Marton Csokas), is a man used to having his orders obeyed without question but now that his son Ryder (Oliver Stark) is coming of age and ready to rule, he is getting some unwanted feedback/pushback. This is causing strife between father and son. Especially considering that Quinn sees Sunny as more of a son than his own (which of course makes Ryder hate Sunny).
Quinn is taking on a second wife, and his first, Lydia, is planning the wedding. Lydia (Orla Brady) doesn’t seem to care about said second wife (but actually does) as long as she holds the true power over him/their son. She is clearly cooking up something though, and as per most shows like this, there are wheels spinning in her head. I have a feeling she is either going to help Sunny/be on his side or use his downfall for her own gain.
Something is also definitely up with the conniving ‘mistress’/second wife, Jade (Sarah Bolger). She is up to NO good.
These ‘other’ Barons. We meet The Widow (Emily Beecham) and she has me intrigued. She sends a group of skilled assassins after Sunny, and of course, he wipes the proverbial floor with them, making her cliché response “You really are as good as they say,” the only thing that made me snort (ha). She wants the boy and has offered Sunny sanctuary (and something more that she hints at but I have no idea WHAT), in return for giving her the boy. Which, he of course refuses … BUT it is curious that he didn’t kill her on the spot, something he SHOULD have done if he were truly loyal to his Baron … which only increases my curiosity!
The episode ends with M.K. being tossed into prison (I won’t say why!), and then being set free by Sunny (placing himself in great danger for the treasonous act—and WHY?!). Sunny lying in eying the medallion that raises millions of questions, and that hoe-bag Jade up to no freaking good. So yeah … I cannot WAIT to watch this second episode.
So quick wrap-up: awesome martial arts, superb acting, a lot of mystery/intrigue that makes me want to tune into the next episode, the landscape/world setting sucked me in and I need to learn more about it, and overall TRULY interesting characters (not people just there to be there to fill a scene).