Loyalties are questionable. Love is in jeopardy. And hidden motives come to light. All from Machiavellian power plays. Into The Badlands sounds like Game of Thrones all over again.
At the end of previous episode 4, Sunny (Daniel Wu), head clipper to Baron Quinn, meets The River King (Lance E. Nichols) to discuss payment of granting passage out of the badlands. Sunny and his pregnant lover Veil (Madeleine Mantock) will have safe passage if Sunny delivers the head of the teen boy M.K. to The River King. A month ago, M.K. (Aramis Knight), now a colt in training to become a clipper like Sunny, was among a shipment of 28 cogs, slaves, to be delivered to The River King. When The River King's men opened the hatch, all 28 cogs were slaughtered, supposedly killed by M.K. after his dark energy was unleashed. To The River King, the loss represented not only a loss of money, but also a loss of respect. He then shows Sunny the wanted poster of M.K., and asks, "Do we have a deal?" While Sunny looks on silently.
Whereas, in the next episode 5, at The Fort of Barron Quinn atop a wall, Sunny trains M.K. in clipper fighting tactics. Now tired after the constant sparring, M.K. warns Sunny to stop. Sunny then quickly grabs ahold of M.K., bringing the teen to the edge of the wall, and asks, "Or what? You're gonna kill me? Just like you killed those people on the boat?" He also asks M.K. what happens to him if he can't control his power. M.K. replies, "I can. You saw it at the parley." Which in episode 4, while empowered with his dark energy, M.K. refrains from killing Tilda (Ally Ioannides), a Butterfly warrior, and daughter of The Widow (Emily Beecham). Sunny then asks, "How do I know you weren't lucky?" Then dramatically in the next moment, it's now M.K. holding Sunny at the edge of the wall. Sunny now sees the young colt's eyes glazed over in black, a sign of his dark energy, as M.K. replies, "You don't," and has Sunny fall from the wall. Sunny then awakes gasping, which also awakes Veil as both were in bed at her home.
"Sorry for waking you," says Sunny, as the encounter with M.K. was only a dream. "It wasn't you," says Veil soothingly, as she follows by saying, "It's being pregnant. You know I won't be able to hide it much longer." In the badlands while serving a baron, a clipper is not allowed to father a child. And Veil tells Sunny in the pilot episode that she wants both him and the child. Sunny then tells Veil that there's a way out of the badlands. "There's a boat going up river. But the price is steep," says Sunny, thinking about M.K. "How steep?" Veil asks softly, for she too knows M.K. But Sunny doesn't divulge to her about the deal. Thus all happening in episode 5.
In the beginning scene of season 1 finale episode 6, titled, "Hand of Five Poisons," Sunny rides his motorcycle up to the docks to meet The River King. While meeting inside, he drops a bloody sack on top of a desk. "Your payment, in full," says Sunny, and then adds, "We need to leave tonight." To which The River King replies, "Anchor's up at midnight. Don't be late."
Sunny then visits Veil, a doctor, at her clinic to inform her to wait for both him and M.K. so that all three could leave the badlands. Sunny had duped The River King when he dropped off the bloody sack. Both saw the severed head of a young boy, though it was the head of Bale, a colt like M.K, who tried to kill the captured Tilda in episode 5, yet was saved by M.K. using his dark energy who then killed Bale. Thus after Sunny had fought and injured The Widow, another baron who came to rescue her captured daughter at The Fort of Baron Quinn (Marton Csokas), he had made use of Bale's freshly deceased body.
Upon visiting Veil, she then asks Sunny, "Did you kill my parents?" In episode 2, Baron Quinn and Sunny visit Dr. Vernon and his wife Hannah about the baron's brain tumor, while during the visit, Hannah tells Sunny she knows about Veil's pregnancy, is happy about the news, and have kept it secret. Shortly after the two leave the home, Baron Quinn orders Sunny to go back inside and kill Veil's parents, fearing news of the brain tumor would leak out to the other six barons to make him look weak. Sunny refuses. The baron then unsheathes the long sword from Sunny's daisho, a samurai sword set, and goes back to kill Veil's parents. Afterwards, the baron sees Sunny back outside, and says, "As far as I'm concerned, you killed them."
After reminding Veil that he told her Baron Quinn had killed her parents, Sunny promises her that things will be different. Though he didn't kill, he didn't dodge his complicity. In episode 5 while seeking her care, Veil confronts the baron, who then tells her that Sunny killed her parents, and finishes by saying, "It was his blade that ended their lives, not mine." Which of course was a half-truth. Deep down Veil knows Sunny did not commit the act, though knowing he was nearby offered her no solace. After Sunny tells her that his way out is their only chance when he comes back with M.K., she says, "If I'm still here when you get back, you'll now my answer."
Meanwhile, an aide to the Priest Penrith (Lance Henriksen) travels to a church to meet three cloaked Abbots. During the meet, he shows the Abbots M.K.'s wanted poster, revealing there's another 'dark child' in the badlands. And that's when the Abbots take off in a truck.
Concurrently, Lydia (Orla Brady), first wife of Baron Quinn, tends to Jade (Sarah Bolger) after being poisoned. Jade is scheduled to marry Baron Quinn, for a baron can also have more than one wife. Be that as it may, Lydia is suspected by Baron Quinn of having poisoned Jade out of jealousy, and has their son Ryder (Oliver Stark) banish her from The Fort. Seeing she has no place else to go, she returns to the spiritual compound of her father, who is Penrith.
Upon returning to The Fort, the baron confronts Sunny. After blaming his head clipper for not killing The Widow, whom he injured in their fight, he also has Sunny arrested as a traitor, and apprehended by his fellow clippers. The baron while having witnessed the fight, had also seen M.K. bleed himself to unleash his dark energy to save The Widow's daughter Tilda from Bale.
Quinn later meets Sunny inside the brig, and reveals that not only will he make use of M.K., but that he will also raise Sunny's child from Veil. Though he also did promise not to harm Veil. To which Sunny says, "When I get out of these chains, I'm gonna clip (kill) you first."
Meanwhile, as Veil packs to leave with Sunny upon his expected return, she's abducted by The Widow's daughter Tilda to tend to her mother's wound, yet later is sent home. While also, the baron makes a deal with M.K. to let Sunny free. Yet before that happened, Sunny is set free by his former mentor and clipper Waldo (Stephen Lang), revealing himself to be the true traitor to Baron Quinn while in league with The Widow.
Later, there's an epic showdown. Sunny catches up with both Quinn and M.K., and plunges his sword into his baron's stomach. M.K. also unleashes his dark energy by sending Zypher, a clipper of Baron Jacobee, into a wall. For Zypher was also working for The Widow.
Then the three Abbotts appear, and with their mystical energy, manages to subdue M.K. Yet Sunny takes them all on, though he's also subdued, and later captured by The River King for double crossing him about their deal with M.K. While M.K. is taken by the Abbotts in a truck.
Let's hope Into The Badlands doesn't go the way of Pan Am. Canceled after one season, Pan Am was to be ABC's Mad Men of airline drama starring also Australian actress Margot Robbie, to appear later in films, The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, and plays herself in The Big Short. Still, AMC is usually patiently supportive of its TV series, for example renewing both Halt and Catch Fire and Turn: Washington's Spies for third seasons. Into The Badlands deserves another season.