Nearly 6 months have passed since we last left the badlands, and along with it a lot of old enemies and new faces have changed places on the chessboard quite a lot. The last time we saw the badlands an all out war had been created by the brittle alliance between The Widow, Ryder(Baron Quinn’s son), and other clippers throughout the badlands. although it was far from believable, The Widow was pretty right about the alliances between them remaining peaceful, at least until Ryder raided her oil fields and took them for himself.
Now clearly power is something anyone who’s going to rule over someone with needs right, so why keep an alliance you know will eventually fall out? Enter Ryder as the new Baron in his lands. I will salute Oliver Stark for his new role as the reformed more experienced Ryder. He’s more muscular, war experienced and seasoned as a leader and decision maker. Stepping out of the shadow Quinn left behind for him as his own man was something very important for him to do, and it’s very clear in the first few minutes of the episode. He’s not the snot nosed kid using his father’s name as collateral anymore to gain ground. He’s established his own credentials and it’s time to unleash his army and take over once and for all.
He has poppy fields for Opium, the Widow’s Oil refinery, and he’s expanding his territory faster than his father could have ever envisioned. Ryder sat and watched for years while Quinn became lax, but he’ll keep his reign tight and hard unlike the rest of his rivals.
Catching up with the rest of the cast, Sunny(Daniel Wu), appears to have been traded over to a mining colony after he was discovered by the River King to be a clipper. In only something straight out of Mad Max, things in the long since forgotten world are dug up and turned into the quarry foreman for a break from duty lasting a mere 24 hours. Nick Frost(Hot Fuzz) joined the episode as a sidekick to Sunny. Although short lived, his role was very interesting. He was the betrayer and the savior to Sunny alike.
MK is training to harness and control his powers with other’s just like him, and realizing it’s not easy at all. Even more, he’s being told that he isn’t ready to meet the master due to his hasty approach at the plate with his mentor. It’s always bad when you want to rush through your training to learn something you’re not ready for, remember what happened with Prince Zuko in Avatar?
The drama with the Widow(Emily Beecham), is ever present even after the alliance was supposed to be forged in iron. You can see from how she carries herself throughout the episode that she’s not content with Ryder’s betrayal and is deadlocked on making sure she gets back what she wants–and then some. Claiming to want a world where all men and women are free, she accepts all of Ryder’s cogs, and surviving clippers to her compound. She offers them refuge, and independence–which to no one’s surprise the clippers decline. They’re then dispatched by Tilda’s squad, and forgotten about to rot.
What makes this particular part so interesting is, if the Widow is truly offering freedom, is it in exchange for increased forces? Or agricultural purposes? Either way, you can see the split when it comes to her male troops vs female. She gives Jade a serious warning for Ryder and lets her go, but to what end? We know they’re going to see each other again very soon, and Ryder will be more than ready for her.
In the end, it’s going to come down to who’s willing to kill who to keep their seat? We heard from Ryder that they have 3 territories, and if there’s supposed to be 7 Baron’s there’s only 2 left aside from himself and The Widow. Jacobee, and one other baron we haven’t met yet. As far as we know The Widow is the only female Baron, but who else is in the Badlands that could be so bad we haven’t seen their face? As the series goes on, we’ll find out. And when we do it will be a blood bath that’s worthy of the show itself.