In episode 5, ‘Snake Creeps Down’, Baron Quinn (Marton Csokas) pinned Sunny (Daniel Wu) and his pregnant girlfriend Veil (Madeleine Mantock) against each other, was Tilda (Ally Ioannides) captured and rescued, did we see Ryder’s grandfather Penrith (Millennium’s Frank Black, now as white as snow, Lance Henriksen) who fed his grandson some fabricated story about a world outside of the Badlands – which doesn’t exist, according to him, did M.K. (Aramis Knight) get a new nickname (‘The Dark One’) and got Jade (Sarah Bolger) herself poisoned. Lydia (Orla Brady) is Suspect #1.
The Power of Hindsight
With ‘Hand of Five Poisons’, we’ve reached the 6th episode, which serves as the season 1 finale. Obviously, AMC didn’t want to commit themselves too much. A martial arts show was still a gamble. The genre had never managed to punch a hole in a wet newspaper – on television. Besides, judging by the looks of it, the production expenses must’ve been high. Ordering more than 6 hours would’ve been reckless. It’s only with the power of hindsight, that it’s a shame the series has already come to an end. There may be terrific things up ahead, though; the first season of Breaking Bad consisted of a careful amount of episodes, too (7).
Suspecting Lydia might have been the point. It looks like Jade staged her own poisoning, to get rid of her rival sister wife. And so it happens. Quinn bans Lydia from the Fort, sending her out into the wilderness, with nothing but a bag of figurines. She’s got nowhere to go but to Penrith, her father and spiritual leader. He makes her pledge to discard all of her possessions, kind of like the High Sparrow tends to do, and take a bath, as a way of long overdue baptism (the Walk of Shame hadn’t been invented yet).
Mole, Show Your Face
Sunny let the Widow (Emily Beecham) get away last time, which makes Quinn make his second bad decision in a row; lock up Sunny, leaving his fate in the hands of M.K., his new protege. It forces the real mole to show his face: Waldo (Stephen Lang). He breaks out Sunny, tells him to get on that boat – Sunny made a deal with the River King (Lance E. Nichols) to set sail at midnight – and live the life he was born to have. Waldo’d found Sunny as a young kid, wearing the same symbol M.K. got from his mother. In other words: they both must come from the same place, the place that ‘doesn’t exist’.
At the Dolls
Sunny first makes a stop at Downtown Badlands, at the ‘Dolls’. That’s where Quinn’s going to bring M.K., to get that whole virgin thing taken care of. When they arrive, Ryder’s conspired against his father with Jacobee (Edi Gathegi). No dolls here tonight, dad. Quinn, having seen the power M.K. holds, cuts his protege, who then goes all dark-eyes on their attackers. Quinn hides in the shadows, but he’s run out of luck. Sunny’s sword goes right through him. It’s the last clip he’ll ever make.
Two Bottles of Poison on the Wall
The Widow, wounded by Sunny, has Veil taken to her – because, you know, there’s only one doctor left in the Badlands, apparently. It’s interesting to see Veil getting to Tilda. Violence isn’t the answer, they both believe. Veil wants to make sure she’s brought home in one piece, and puts down three small bottles of different colors. Two contain poison, one the cure. When Tilda’s brought her as close to home as possible, Veil tells her the blue one’s going to make her mother better. But Tilda has her own choice to make. Would the world be better off with or without the Widow?
The Monks are Coming to Get You
Meanwhile, Jacobee’s gang has been thrown through about every wall available. But there are new customers, driving into town. Monks. They want to take M.K., but Sunny doesn’t want to leave the Badlands without him. Fights a long (and awesome) fight against three equally dark-eyed gravity-defiers. He doesn’t stand a chance, though. M.K.’s put in a box – just like he started the season – and driven off to god knows where. Sunny’s picked up by the River King and transported to god knows where – but a different god knows where. He’ll be back for Veil, I’m sure. But like I said, just when we’re hooked on this brilliant martial arts curiosity, it’s over. Hopefully next year, Sunny’s motorcycle ride will last a few more miles.