Monday, April 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'Into the Badlands' - Sunny and Bajie Approach the Black Lotus with a Dangerous Deal in 'Requiem for the Fallen'

AMC's Into the Badlands - Episode 3.15 "Requiem for the Fallen"

Sunny, Bajie and Gaius seek an unlikely ally in the fight against Pilgrim. Cressida has a disturbing revelation. The Widow questions her future.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AMC's Into the Badlands.

"Requiem for the Fallen" was written by Matt Lambert and directed by Paco Cabezas

To Pilgrim, everyone is essentially expendable. He suffers significant losses during the battle with The Widow and her forces. His rage was amplified because of losing so many. And yet, he still projects power because he wields the ability to create new Dark Ones. He promised so many individuals that they could harness the power of gods. He sees it as his sacred duty to restore Azra over the Badlands. He doesn't care to heed the warnings that came from the previous times the world has fallen because of this power. He just sees it as his destiny. He has power to give and take these abilities. When Kannin returns to try to talk or knock some sense into him, it's a devastating loss for her. That's the only reason she returns to Sunny. She understands that the threat from Pilgrim is now suddenly too grave. He may be the only hope of survival for the Badlands. But again, the show is asking the important questions of what kind of world these characters actually want to live in. Nathaniel is defeated after losing Lydia in battle. He believes he has lost everything that has ever mattered in his life for a second time. He would rather go back to his solitary life in the wasteland. That's the place where his life was content even though it was him essentially wallowing in the sorrow of his loss. Minerva is more than willing to carry the blame for Lydia's death as well. She forced her people into this confrontation. She came close to killing Pilgrim by taking him by surprise and weakening many of his forces. And yet, Minerva and her troops are still forced on the run. Nix is killed here while M.K. is miraculously brought back to life. Both of those developments are a little anti-climatic. Nix was ultimately defined by wanting vengeance against Pilgrim for killing Castor. She stayed behind to potentially get that. Instead, her head is ripped off completely. That moment mostly indicates to the audience that Pilgrim is still a major threat - as if we needed that reminder at this point. Meanwhile, it truly did seem like M.K. died in the previous episode which contributed so much to Pilgrim's rage. He is the one person whom Pilgrim actually trusts. That doesn't mean he's safe from Pilgrim's wrath though. In fact, Cressida is now starting to worry about the monster she helped create. Of course, that's a little too late in the hopes of giving her some character dimension. The people who are with Pilgrim at this point should really be with him until the bitter end. The show has yet to give the audience a reason why we should still be engaged with M.K. in this conflict though. Instead, he once again presents as a petulant child furious that people lie to him. That's all that's fueling him at the moment. That rage could be interesting. But it also can't usurp Pilgrim's own extreme emotions against those who stand in his way of reviving Azra. Pilgrim doesn't care that the legacy of his people is genocide. He sees that as the way to keep their memories and history alive. As such, he has become even more brutal as a leader than was initially teased. Sure, that's not a particularly surprising reveal. It just has the effect of unifying the Badlands against him because he's the common threat. It's noted that all it took was one tyrant to bring all of the warring factions together. Minerva no longer sees herself as a baron who can order people into battle. Instead, she is more concerned as a mother and the potential world she is creating for her child. It should be happy news. Instead, she is conflicted because of all the chaos and destruction. She had a plan for the future but she's more defeated now than ever before. She doesn't even wish to go along with Sunny and Bajie as they recruit the Black Lotus to end Pilgrim for good. She can't be disengaged from the entire conflict though. She has played such a crucial role in this story. That means she too has to have some kind of priority in its conclusion even if it's a fatal one for her.