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'Into The Badlands' recap: 'Fist Like a Bullet'

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Patti Perret/AMC

Into the Badlands

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season

Is every episode of Into The Badlands going to open with a fight scene? I really, really hope so, because “Fist Like a Bullet” pulls out a pretty great one to kick off a fun and compelling hour of genre television. Into The Badlands has its problems, but knowing exactly what people are tuning in for isn’t one of them.

“Fist Like a Bullet” opens in a strip club that boasts, like so much of the rest of the Badlands, an aesthetic that’s part Western part steampunk. In walks the Widow, looking to have a chat with her former regent who just so happens to be enjoying a dance from a woman making sparks with a buzz saw on her plated chest. The Widow wants to recruit people to go after Quinn, but everyone is reluctant or scared. Good help can be hard to find in the Badlands.

Just as the Widow is being turned down by her former regent, a gang of assassins storms the club, killing the regent and making the HUGE mistake of trying to kill the Widow. Seriously, she takes them all down so easily. She stabs them about 17 times each before they even know what’s happened. It’s so good you guys, and my favorite fight scene of the season so far.

One attacker is left alive, at least briefly, so the Widow asks who hired them. He tells her that it was Ryder, Quinn’s son, who put the hit out on her. With that information out, she kills him, leaves the club, and the opening credits roll. I may be falling for this show.

Meanwhile, M.K. has spent the whole night trying to escape, only stopping in the forest to drink some water. When he does, he stumbles upon a girl about his age. She’s quick with a throwing knife and kills a squirrel and easily sneaks up on M.K. before he has any idea she even saw him.

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When some of Quinn’s men and dogs are heard in the distance, she helps M.K. escape, taking him across the border to the Widow’s land. Why? Because she’s the Widow’s daughter, Matilda. That explains her superior knife skills and superhuman speed. The Widow is of course excited to see the boy, as he fits the description of the one she’s been looking for, the very one she told Sunny to bring to her. M.K., trying to save his own life, lies about his identity, and also lies when the Widow shows him a picture of Azra, the city seen on his mother’s pendant.

Back in Quinn’s territory, he’s working to figure out who among his men could have helped M.K. escape, and also who could have hired the men to attack the Widow. Considering the look he gives his son during their meal, it seems like he knows, or at least suspects, that Ryder had something to with it.

There’s a chance that Quinn also suspects Sunny of some wrongdoing, as he takes him beyond the wall for a trip, just the two of them. While the excursion does have a rather logical purpose, with the Baron going to see a loyal doctor and learning that his brain tumor is growing, there’s a more sinister intention lurking as well.

NEXT: We gotta get out of this place[pagebreak]

When the Baron leaves the doctor’s house, he orders Sunny to go in and kill both the doctor and his wife. Sunny is distraught, not only because they are innocent people, but they’re also the adoptive parents of his pregnant lover, Veil. Sunny refuses to kill them, so Quinn does it himself, but not without a warning to Sunny. He tells him that he doesn’t often give second chances, so Sunny better be careful moving forward.

While the Baron is straight up murdering people, The Widow is making plans to take him down. She invites a few Nomads to her house in hopes of recruiting them for her fight. When they decline, saying they could never team up with two girls, the Widow makes an offer: Matilda will fight one of her men, and if she wins, the Nomads have to join with them.

The men, of course, agree to the deal. Matilda is too good though, and she kills the Nomad rather easily, hopping off his shoulders and turning his head around a full 180 degrees. This family has some serious fighting skills.

With the Nomads now on her side, the Widow turns her attention to finding out if M.K. is the boy with special powers who she’s been looking for. She tells Matilda to provoke him and draw blood. While she initially agrees, M.K. convinces her not to do it. Instead, they fake the drawing of blood and, for now, convince the Widow that M.K. doesn’t have any crazy powers.

Still, M.K. is stuck in the house and could be found out at any second, so Matilda agrees to help him escape. Late at night, when they can’t find a secret passage out of the house and the Widow stumbles upon them, Matilda kisses M.K. to make it look like they just wanted to find a secret place to smooch. That angers the Widow enough to ask M.K. to leave, to suggest that he’s no longer welcome in her house.

The Nomads know that there’s a bounty out for M.K. though, so they just steal the boy and bring him to an abandoned warehouse where they’ve set up a trap for Ryder and Sunny. Ryder, being the idiot that he is, fell for a trick played by the Nomads where they made it look like they were stealing opium from Quinn and storing it in an abandoned warehouse.

Because Ryder is insecure, hotheaded, and constantly feels the need to prove himself, he relays the info to his father. While Quinn seems unsure of the information, Sunny offers to at least check it out with Ryder. They both head to the warehouse where, once inside, a number of Nomads hang Ryder from the ceiling and then attack Sunny.

This is Sunny though, and he’s got quite a few Nomad bodies in his past. He even manages to balance on skinny beams and slaughter like eight dudes at once. If there’s a showdown or team-up with him and the Widow in the future, I might fall even harder for this show.

Anyway, Sunny manages to kill off most of the Nomads, but the ringleader gets the upper hand. That’s when M.K., who was locked in the trunk of the car outside and somehow got out, stabs him through the chest and saves Sunny’s life.

Not only does M.K. save Sunny’s life, but he also admits that he lied about one thing: He does know a way out of the Badlands, and perhaps to Azra. With that in mind, Sunny brings M.K. back to Quinn’s house, where he can keep him safe under his watch. He also tells Quinn that since the boy saved his and Ryder’s life, he wants to make him his Colt, which is basically an understudy of sorts.

He’s going to train M.K. to be a fighter, and while Quinn may believe it’s to serve his needs, Sunny wants to train him so that he can take Veil and her unborn child safely out of the Badlands. That’s all well and good, but Quinn is ruthless and perceptive. You have to wonder just how long they can keep the charade up, and just what will happen when their secret is exposed. 

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