#IntoTheBadlands S1E1 Review

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.

Other storylines:

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).

Review: Iron Fist S1E1

“Snow Gives Way”

In the very first episode, we are introduced to most of what will probably become the ‘main’ cast. We have the lead, Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones), returning home to New York. His first order of business is heading straight for his father’s company and seeking out his father’s old best friend, Harold Meachum (which he quickly finds out passed away six years prior).

Problem is, everyone from his past believes that he and his parents are dead from an airplane crash fifteen years ago. Not only is he faced with disbelief from friends he always felt were like family, he is faced with constant judgment by all of those around him.

Dressed simply in dirty sweat pants and a rumpled shirt, he also seems to find comfort in walking around barefoot. This immediately makes the world view him as a homeless man and he is treated as such from the get-go, even though his demeanor is nothing like that of a homeless person (as represented by the gentlemen we later meet in the park when Rand encroaches on his spot—the man is the only one to treat Rand with kindness because he too assumes Rand is like him; homeless).

We meet the Meachum’s, Ward (Tom Pelphrey) and Joy (Jessica Stroup), Danny’s childhood friends and now the ones in control of his father’s company. Both openly face him with skepticism but Ward with outright hostility (which makes perfect sense since the ‘real’ Danny owns 51% of the company).

While Joy can see the resemblance of a younger Danny, Ward absolutely refuses to believe it and thinks it’s some competitor company attempting to sabotage theirs. Doesn’t take much for Joy herself to agree with her brother, and both treat Rand with cold indifference, which he accepts with disbelief and sorrow.

It is clearly not the homecoming he had been expecting. He can’t grasp why they can’t believe he is being earnest (he has a very innocent nature about him—which I see becoming one of his superhero weaknesses).

We also meet Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), the martial arts sensei of a small/struggling dojo in a shady neighborhood. It is weird how he is quickly tossed into her life and this felt really odd. I think they could have developed that a little better and made it a bit more smooth.

The episode is definitely slow as it is setting the stage for what I have a feeling will be a few running themes; power struggle, misinterpretations, sense of belonging ( and lack of), living in the past while attempting to move forward, the ‘hand’ in the shadows, the internal battle that Danny will face on a daily basis of biased views from both sides of the spectrum, his constantly having to prove himself to those around him, his almost annoying innocent naivety (like he is still that child that disappeared 15 years ago) which I am sure will get him in trouble often (not ‘getting’ how the world is, but valid in how it ‘should’ be).

I feel like the dialogue in the first episode was definitely strained. This can happen with a first episode though and I have seen it in a lot of shows. Doesn’t mean the show will be bad. I can say that the second episode greatly improves on this (still strained, but better).

The few fight scenes in this first episode were bad. I was really not impressed. It felt very sluggish and almost robotic. As an ‘expert’ raised and trained for the last 15 years by a ‘Master‘, it does NOT show. Sadly, this did not improve in episode two, but I am hoping it does as the show progresses. This show is about martial arts so hopefully, they put more effort into the choreography/training for these scenes.

For being the very first episode, I felt it was definitely more on the ‘meh’ side, but I decided to go ahead and watch the second one, which had improvements. I’ll post a review of that tomorrow.