Into the Badlands was a great surprise when I saw it last year. It’s a cool, inventive take on the kung-fu and wuxia style. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where barons control everything inside the badlands. Then there’s a world outside, much of which was mysterious in the first season. And then there’s a supposed shining jewel of a city called Azra. The gunless nature of the world works wonderfully with all of the martial arts going on.
Now, it’s time for season 2. At the end of the first season, our heroes Sunny and MK were separated. Sunny is outside of the wall, but he must find his way back in to save his family. And MK is training with the Abbots, people who all have the same, mysterious power that he has. The world is fun. The acting is passable for the most part. There are some stand out performances. And the fighting is great.
I didn’t notice it in the first season, probably because most characters were in uniform, but Into the Badlands has some great character design. It’s much more noticeable on the parts outside of the badlands, where people aren’t so orderly. There’s a lot of details out there that make the world feel alive and exciting.
Newcomer to the show, Bajie, is a great addition. He’s the talker of the show, but he’s not too shabby at all in a fight. That gives him more to be than just a funny sidekick to Sunny. And he gets increasingly more important as the season goes on.
Okay, here’s some spoilers for the first season, Quinn survives! And the show is great for it. Quinn is my favorite character in the show. He just has a gravitas and manner of behaving that makes him grand. He just takes every scene he’s in.
Also, I think season 2 is more violent than season 1. There’s blood and a lot of limbs being cut off. It’s a really stylized kind of violence that mixes in with the martial arts well. And while some fighting scenes are choppy, the important fights look great.
Season 2 doesn’t reveal more information about the why’s of the world, but we do get to see a lot more of it, especially outside of the wall. And we learn a bit more about some mysteries such as Azra. And we have an even longer season 3! I’m hoping for a lot more world building.
I can’t wait for more Into the Badlands. It’s a fun, stylish and unlike other shows on TV.