Into the Badlands Season 2 Premiere:
Sunny (Daniel Wu) is sent to be a “picker” in a prison-like mine. There he’s chained to an opportunistic criminal (Nick Frost). Meanwhile, the loss of Quinn (Marton Csokas) leaves a political power struggle for his son (Oliver Stark) and The Widow (Emily Beecham). Meanwhile M.K. (Aramis Knight) must learn to channel his powers.
The Into the Badlands Season 2 Premiere is one of the most peculiar hours of television I’ve witnessed in a while.
You might be wondering how this could be possible? It’s a futuristic chop socky drama filled with Matrix-level effects, and enough blood to paint the entire East Coast red. This isn’t like we’re trying to examine the nuances of Terrence Malick film or unravel the mystery of a David Lynch noir.
All of this is 100% true. However, what’s peculiar about this episode is this —
If you’ve never seen Into the Badlands before, you really don’t need to have to enjoy this episode.
Seriously, I barely remember watching the premiere for Fall 2015, and yet I was caught up to date by end of the episode. It’s almost as if they’re rebooting the entire series, but obviously they aren’t. I’m not sure if this commendable that I don’t have to go binge the first season to fully get what’s going on here or not. But, honestly, I’m not tuning in to find out the political ins and outs and the personal struggles of these characters (yet).
Why I came here, is probably the same reasons I a lot of you did — this series looks cool as hell, and Nick Frost is in it.
Let’s discuss the visuals — they’re amazing. Seriously, you’re not finding much better effects on cable television unless you’ve wandered into Westworld or Westeros. The martial arts choreography, the dazzling wire work, the slow motion, the bullet time — they make you miss The Matrix so much. It’s just a really fun, red-blooded romp through the apocalypse. There’s a sequence where The Widow and her army attack Quinn’s son and his troops — it’s phenomenal. Please go find it.
Then there’s Nick Frost. The man is just a charisma machine. Having seen one episode last season, my biggest complaint was “Why is everyone so serious?” And while this new season isn’t pies in the face and fart jokes, Frost adds much needed levity to a deadly serious series. His Falstaffian character, complete with the annoying requisite wavering morale compass, saves what could have been coma-inducing scenes of exposition. From the previews it’ll be great to see the beardy big man get his action chops up.
All and all — don’t sweat it if you’ve never watched Into the Badlands before. If you find a highlight reel on YouTube or the Wikipedia description of Season 1, that’ll suffice. If you do that jump head first into this really fun series that is a definite relief from the grueling drama of The Walking Dead.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10