A lot of drama and action happened in this episode of Into the Badlands, “Carry Tiger to Mountain,” and the most interesting thing is that there wasn’t a lot of fighting! In fact, the bit of fighting there was kinda confused me. Definitely, the strongest parts of the episode involved all of the exposition and backstory we learned.
First, there’s the big bombshell–not only did Bajie learn that he might have started what could be considered another world war by sending the signal to Pilgrim at the behest of his former master Ankara (Clare Higgins), but Sunny also learned that he is actually a Catalyst, a person who has the Dark Gift buried deep inside him and passed it along to his son. Even more intense is that Sunny must go see Pilgrim in order to get his son the help he needs.
As Ankara tells Sunny, his and Pilgrim’s destinies are intertwined. The fact that we have a second source saying this does two things: it shows that Cressida’s ability to see into the future is legitimate. I feel like there was a bit of a question mark on if Cressida was actually looking into the future or if she was a quack. But apparently, everything she sees is accurate, since she accurately drew all of Sunny’s tattoos in blood on that creepy flesh-colored wall.
Secondly, Ankara’s message to Sunny makes it even more clear that Asra and its holiness is real. I mean, to be fair, the viewfinder’s image of Asra shows the place has been talked about for millennia at this point. But with people like Ankara, Cressida and Pilgrim talking about it in very real terms, it’s making Asra seem more like an inevitability.
The reason I’m mentioning this is because up until this season, characters have treated Asra and its story as nothing more than a fable. Characters have constantly talked down the notion of its existence, including Bajie, who became disillusioned after thinking no one responded to his call. Now that characters are beginning to know better, I wonder how this will shake up things in the Badlands. Will people start to fear Pilgrim’s might? Will they try to take him down? And the most pressing question at the moment–what does Pilgrim need with Sunny?
Of course, once Sunny gets to Pilgrim’s lair, he’ll have to contend with M.K. If it wasn’t for Pilgrim declaring a hands-off policy on Sunny, M.K. would be gearing up to kill Sunny the moment he steps through the museum. Since M.K. can’t kill him, the only thing they can do is talk. I am eager to see them hash things out–how is Sunny going to contend with the fact that he killed M.K.’s mother? How will M.K. reconcile with Sunny, if he does at all? A lot of unanswered questions at this point.
The biggest surprises of this episodes were the flashbacks. We were privy to some of Sunny’s early life–somehow, he was on a boat in the middle of a storm, and a hooded figure locked his Gift away. It looks like a woman, and it could be someone we’ve seen before–the Master perhaps?
The other flashback took us back to the Widow (aka Minerva) and Gaius’ childhoods. Apparently, the two were a bit of a thing as kids, even though their crushes on each other would have been forbidden since she was a kitchen Cog and he was the Baron’s son. Apparently Gaius’ sister has always been evil, since she was more than happy to whip young Minerva when she dropped the drinks for Gaius’ birthday party. Ever since, the Widow has felt like every man she thought she could trust has betrayed her, including her husband, who abused her so badly she snapped and killed him. However, Lydia gives her some sage womanly advice. Yes, her husband was evil, but not every man is her husband, including Gaius. In so many words, she was telling the Widow to stop seeing the shadow of her husband in every man she meets.
The Widow takes Lydia’s advice, but it doesn’t really sink in until Gaius proves that he’s not like the other guys from her past; he did, in fact, save her from her punishment all those years ago after the birthday party. By the by, points for inclusion: At the birthday party, there was a child with Down Syndrome!
What the Widow never knew was that Gaius had killed for her, dropping his father’s dagger near the pigpen she was being kept in. She still had that same dagger, verifying his story. This is a turning point for the Widow, but will it be too late? There’s one thread that is left hanging, and that’s Moon. When Moon came back late from his mission and without Sunny’s head, the Widow threatened to take his if Sunny ever came back. It’s clear Moon didn’t like being ordered around like that, and it looks like his mental wheels are turning. Eventually, he’s going to take the Widow on, and I don’t know if she’s going to win.
As I stated above, the fight scene is the only thing that really confused me this episode. Chau needed the refugees because she didn’t have enough men to spare for Pilgrim, who demanded 1000 of her people to help him uncover the mystery at the bottom of the holy grounds (is it a nuclear bomb or some other type of element of war that killed off our civilization?). Her Regent orders the men to take as many refugees alive, but yet they’re still killing a ton of refugees, too many to say they’re “harvesting” them for Pilgrim. When Castor starts slicing people is when I started getting really confused. They’re supposed to be rounding up able bodies, not hurting them! In any case, Chau’s men had a difficult time getting their job done with the likes of the Widow and the dream team of Gaius, Moon and Odessa.
Overall, I’m really excited for next week’s episode. There are so many cool storylines happening and I can’t wait to see them converge. And, of course, as cliche as it is, it’s also not bad to see shirtless Lewis Tan nearly every week. This is the second week in a row–if we get a third week of Tan sans shirt, it’ll be clear there’s a fanservice pattern going on. But I’m sure there won’t be many complaints.