This Into The Badlands review contains spoilers.
Into the Badlands Season 3 Episode 11
Into the Badlands season 3 is its best so far. The stakes are higher, the themes are richer, and the cast is more diverse. Everything clicks while everybody clashes.
Well, not everybody. The best part of this season is seeing all the characters you never thought you’d see join together doing so to defeat a common enemy, much like the characters in an ‘80s action cartoon would (I mean that in the most flattering way, of course).
But what’s really incredible is watching it all unfold, moment-to-moment, and witnessing a complex web of character relationships unfold and grow in new and interesting patterns. If anything, season three of Into the Badlands can be described as one big story mandala that keeps getting larger and more complex, mystifying who ever has the mental discipline to hold their attention on it long enough. Do not miss a line of dialogue here, folks. An important detail can be brought up and a big payoff down the road might soar high above your head.
So, yes, “The Boar and the Butterfly” is yet another very extensive info dump session. But it’s never a boring one. The plot flows much more naturally than it did even during the show’s sophomore year.
One major highlight of this hour is the re-introduction of Ankara the Mad Witch played by the fantastic Claire Higgins, one of those truly gifted actors who makes the most of every scene she’s in no matter what. You might say that this character is reminiscent of Ohila, the High Priestess of the Sisterhood of Karn on Doctor Who. And you would be right. But over here on Into the Badlands, she has more screentime, so Ankara is more fleshed out, so to speak. (That’s not a Hellraiser reference, I swear.)
In other news, this episodes officially marks the point where Nix (Ella-Rae Smith) finally hops off the fence and lands Sunny side up — er, on the side of good, I mean. In fact, she helps Sunny go on a sidequest to find Ankara and has a fateful showdown with M.K. in the process. M.K. is a totally different character this year. It’s hard to believe that this is what he’s become. Remember his more innocent days at the beginning of the series, back when Badlands was filmed in New Orleans? Yeah. I barely do, too.
Tilda and Gaius sneak into his mother’s fortress, and Tilda kills her. Yes, it’s a brutal moment, but one that most of this show’s target audience was waiting for all episode. Gaius (played by Lewis Tan) is getting more and more focus as the show winds itself down. That’s not a bad thing, as Gauis is a covenient character to have around in a lot of ways. Not only does he help speed the plot along, he also functions as his sister Baron Chau’s achilles heel — not to mention a love interest for The Widow.
Speaking of which, “The Boar and the Butterfly” features two more elaborate fight sequences with The Widow which can only be described as, well, freaking amazing. The first involves the baronness formerly known as Flea having a therapeutic showdown with Bajie for old time’s sake, as arranged by The Master (long story). This sequence is perhaps one of Badlands‘ most amusing, not to mention charming, stunt sequences ever and should not be missed. The second pits her against Sunny himself in a marketplace full of innocent post-apocalyptic bystanders.
The Widow vs. Sunny scene is a crucial moment for both characters, a cleansing ritual of sorts, that clears the way for an alliance that is as necessary as it is uneasy. Sunny must gain retribution for The Widow’s role in Veil’s untimely demise, and the Widow must gain his trust while defending herself and besting him. Sounds easy, right? Just kidding. It’s really not. That’s what makes this standoff a breathtaking one.
If anyone embodies the spiritual lessons that Into the Badlands seeks to teach, it’s definitely The Widow. Her fight with Sunny demonstrates that she’s able to tame the darkness within her and strike a balance between light and dark in order to bring about a better good for all instead of just to amass more power. Will you hold power over others or hold it with them? If you’re anything like the rest of the people in this show, you’ll probably do both.