What an eventful episode this turned out to be. As a recap, when we last saw the not yet proper trio of Sunny, MK, and the loveable Baijie (Nick Frost) there was a lot going on. We got to finally see Sunny reunite with his old “Colt” MK, which along with finding his love Veil and their unborn child (more on that later), was one of Sunny’s few reasons to actually go back into the badlands. We also got a very brief glimpse into the past of Baijie, by finding out that he was once a disciple at the Monastery like MK. After this discovery, an epic battle broke out between the group (including Eva, another disciple that was helping MK escape) and the Abbots that had been hunting MK, resulting in the death of Eva and the monks, but not before one of them had the opportunity to use The Hand of the Five Poisons technique on Sunny.
This episode picks up exactly where the last had left off, with MK and Baijie caring for an incapacitated Sunny as they try to plan out what their next move is. The banter between Baijie and MK is at times hilarious showcasing a real chemistry between the two, as well as it slowly peeling back the layers of Baijie’s character. As Baijie tries to explain the dire situation that Sunny is in, MK shows a similar headstrong attitude like that of his former mentor in his refusal to just let Sunny lay there and die. MK then comes up with the idea of breaking back into the monastery in hopes of finding a way to save Sunny, much to the displeasure of Baijie. Sunny, not only dealing with having one of the Abbot’s deadliest techniques used on him, is also confronting a more internal struggle as he is stuck in a dreamlike state for most of the episode. As he is unconscious, Sunny wakes up to everything that he has dreamt of, being with the love of his life and their already walking and talking son Henry. This dream starts to take on a darker tone as Sunny and Henry stumble upon some dead livestock with a single, large cross marking the flesh. I love how the overall feel of this “dream world” starts to take on a more ‘Amityville Horror’ vibe as the episode goes on. It seems as though young Henry has made a “friend in the forest” named Artemis, whose influence on Henry starts to bring out Sunny’s personal fears.
As most of the drama plays out in this dreamstate, there is plenty going on in the “real world” to keep things from getting stale. The alliance formed in last week’s episode between The Widow and Quinn seems to already be paying off, with both clippers and cogs alike fleeing to join the cause of the Widow. Jade witnesses first hand just how fast everything is falling apart as some of her own trusted handmaids begin to gather up all of the new Baroness’ valuables and begin to flee, one even openly attacking her before leaving. Just as things are looking bad for the compound, they immediately get worse as one of her last, loyal clippers informs her that the Widow’s forces are already breaching the perimeter. As they are trying to escape, the last of Jade’s guards are cut down in front of her. Just as she turns to save herself, no other than The Widow and Matilda come descending down the stairs behind her. A very, very brief fight sequence takes place, leaving Jade disarmed and vulnerable . I’m not gonna lie, it takes some real guts to have little to no fighting experience and still try to swing on the Widow, but what was she thinking? Even the Widow had to give her an “A for Effort”. But it would seem as though she is the least of Jade’s problems, as Quinn, the former Baron of the compound, as well as her first husband, saunters in. After some “catching up” between the two, Quinn tells the widow that his men will see Jade out to the borders and banished, but leave her unharmed. The news doesn’t seem to settle well with The Widow, as it already seems that she is beginning to rethink this new partnership.
As MK and Baijie sneak their way back into the monastery, it seems that some of Baijie’s old habits (seen in earlier episodes of this season) have yet to be put to rest. Upon finding what they need to save Sunny, the two are confronted by the Master, teacher to all of the disciples in the Monastery. It would seem as though she has yet to get over her falling out with Baijie, calling him her “once greatest hope, but now her most bitter disappointment”. This showdown with the Master (as well as a few disciples in the middle of dinner) turns into one of the most interesting fight scene’s in the show to date. In the ensuing brawl, Baijie instructs for MK to slice the disciples, which unleashes their dark powers on each other and the Master. This diversion ends up allowing Baijie and MK enough time to escape.
As his dreams begin to go down a much darker path, Sunny finds that there is also a darkness inside of his son Henry. After having found a sword given to Henry by “Artemis”, Sunny also finds one night that Artemis has been making marks in Henry’s skin similar to his father’s tattoo’s on his back. As Veil informs Sunny that she and Henry are leaving because of what she fears he is doing to their son, Sunny is led outside by a mysterious laugh and what seems to be a young girl peeking through the window. Beginning to fear that he and his family are being toyed with, Veil’s screams lead Sunny back inside only to find her lifeless on the floor. After finding Henry and that it was his son who had killed Veil, Sunny goes to confront Artemis. Artemis, it turns out is a young girl who had her and her brother’s life taken by Sunny back when he was Quinn’s number one clipper. She then reveals to Sunny that his past of “adding another mark” to his kill tally is the reason why he is haunted by the fear of never being able to settle down with his family in peace, that violence will seep its way into their lives, and more importantly his son.
Through this realization and coming to terms with his past demons in this dream state, Sunny awakes to the laughter and relief of Baijie and MK as Baijie declares “I just saved your life!”. As MK checks on a now recovering Sunny, and informs him that Baijie has a plan to get into the wall. They then cement the fact that they both view each other as more than friends, but family. When MK goes to give word to Baijie that Sunny is doing better, Baijie divulges that he had lost his “gift” when he had saved the life of his pupil that he had called ‘Flea’. He was never able to find her, but the Badlands is the only place that he hasn’t checked. If you’ve been paying attention to the show from Season 1, this opens up a huge theory as to the identity of Flea that will hopefully unfold over the next few episodes leading into the season Finale.
Overall, this was a solid episode. The story has matured so much up to this point that I feel that the action doesn’t HAVE to be one of the main draws of the show as it was in the first season. The writers seem to really be gearing up for what should be an explosive last 3 episodes of the season. Let’s hope that we get more questions answered than brand new one’s that we’ll be left with in 3 weeks.