Into the Badlands Is Over and I'm Already In Martial Arts Withdrawal

Illustration for article titled Into the Badlands Is Over and I'm Already In Martial Arts Withdrawal

Just like that, all six episodes of AMC’s Into the Badlands have (already?!) wrapped up—and with it go some of the most mesmerizing, elegant on-screen battles ever produced on an American TV program. I’m going to fill the hiatus WITH prayers to the cable TV deities urging AMC to officially greenlight a second season. Spoilers for last night’s season finale below!


Quinn. Freakin’ Quinn! I know I complained a lot about the one-dimensionally evil schtick of his character, but I was totally shocked when he bit the dust, and am kind of bummed that he was offed so early. (He looked pretty dead... right? Like officially nixed?) I would’ve liked to see more character exposition to build up tension between him and Sunny, though, which would’ve made Sunny’s treachery all the more satisfying, but looks like the show’s bearded antagonist was written off pretty quickly.

Also, Sunny’s fight against the Abbots?! Damn. It was cool, and I loved Sunny’s double-sided sword, but this fight really straddled the line between fighting and dancing for a second—maybe a little too much for me, at times. The synchronized punches reminded me of a cheesy Power Rangers pose or something, but hey, that trio sure beat the crap out of Sunny. And looks Sunny is from Azra after all! The Widow, too? How did she lose her M.K.-like death powers? Did Sunny also have them at some point? I also loved the Tilda/Veil/Widow subplot with the medicine and poison vials, and learning more about the Widow’s past, and how she’s got more layers and underlying contradictions to her personality and story than Quinn ever did.

I talked to Daniel Wu, as well as showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar last week, and all three of them sounded extremely confident that AMC would bring the show back for a second season. Anyone else out there besides me who wants to sign up for a kung fu class in the meantime, or watch the entire Bruce Lee oeuvre? What did you guys think of the season finale?

Photo: James Minchin III/AMC.

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I found it unfocused and kind of cursory, actually. Quinn was dispatched way too abruptly; I’d expected at least a big Quinn-Sunny battle, rather than having Sunny’s arc culminate with three new guys coming out of nowhere without him even stopping to ask what their deal was and whether they had any reason to fight at all. And a lot of the other characters’ arcs seemed to be either wrapped up or cliffhangered kind of halfheartedly. So Lydia just gets kicked out and becomes a nun? Veil just gets randomly left behind? It all felt kind of slapdash, like they cared more about action than story. However cool the action was, it doesn’t carry any weight if the story around it doesn’t work, and I feel the story really lost its way.