Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 7 Review: Black Heart. White Mountain

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When you hear about people battling their demons, it's usually metaphorical. In Sunny's case. it's horrifyingly literal. 

On the atmospheric and creepy Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 7, everyone involved is haunted by something from their past, and must overcome it in order to move forward.

Bajie and M.K. Have a Plan - Into the Badlands

Sunny is still unconscious, and is in a very bad way.

Still reeling from the revelation of Bajie being a former abbot on Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 6, he is the one who susses out what's really wrong with our hero.

M.K.: I couldn't find any wounds. There are some weird markings on his chest.
Bajie: His chest? Oh, shit.
M.K.: What?
Bajie: The bruises. Cyan must have attacked him with the 5 poisons.
M.K.: The what?
Bajie: The 5 poisons-The Hand of the 5 Poisons. That's one of the abbot's deadliest techniques. What are they teaching you?
M.K.: So, what can we do?
Bajie: Nothing. There's nothing we can do. Look: this one's already affecting his brain. Liver, kidney, lungs are next, then the heart. He'll be lucky if he lasts the day.

If that sounds familiar, "The Hand of the 5 Poisons" was the title of last season's finale. Now we know what that means, and it isn't good. 

We know Sunny isn't going to die, despite the dire warnings from Bajie. 

So this sets up another mismatched buddy road trip, this time with Bajie and M.K.. 

I've made no secret that I hate M.K.'s character, but I have to say the actor does give a better performance here.

My guess is it's because of Nick Frost, the actor who plays Bajie.

Bajie is Angry - Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 7

Bringing Frost and his hilarious character into the mix was a great move.

Frost's Bajie is a revelation: funny, mysterious, wistful, and profane, sometimes all at once.

M.K.: You're just angry because you know this is the right thing to do.
Bajie: Every time I try to do the right thing, I end up tits deep in shit. And I do NOT like having shitty tits.

Frost brings out the best in all the other actors, and that's a rare thing these days. 

This role should make him a superstar in waiting, and any praise he garners is well deserved.

He gets serious often, from his wistful memories of the novice girl Flea, to his past dealings with the mysterious Master, and it gives much needed depth to an already amazing character.

There's also a dark side, as evidenced by him stealing Sunny's compass from the monastery without telling M.K.. 

Maybe he has a plan to find Flea. It shows how good he is deep down, since he gave up his gift to save her from The Master.

But it's also a bit of a screw job to Sunny and M.K., since the compass might be a very important piece in finding their way back into the badlands.

It wouldn't surprise me if Bajie turns on Sunny and M.K., but I hope it doesn't happen: they make a great team.

Bajie clearly has an issue with his time at the monastery.

He was lied to, just like M.K. was.

The battle with the novices, the abbots, The Master, Bajie, and M.K. was sweet.

M.K.: Any ideas?
Bajie: Cut the novices: they'll attack the abbots.

Bajie's strategy was very clever, and it shows just how resourceful he is.

He has proven to be a force to be reckoned with, and judging by the look on The Master's face, he must have been a very powerful abbot in the making.

Sunny Has a Problem - Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 5

Even though he was in a coma like state, Sunny's most pressing problems were entirely in the ol' noggin.

What started out to be a dream come true, being reunited with the love of his life Veil, and a now grown child Henry, quickly turned into a J Horror movie, complete with a creepy girl with pale white skin and stringy black hair covering her pasty face.

In Sunny's dream life, he has no tattoos from all the lives he took, and leads the quiet life of a farmer with Veil and Henry.

The creepy girl, named Artemis, worms her way into Sunny's consciousness, primarily through Henry.

Sunny hates what he was, and runs from his past in every way possible.

He can never seem to escape his former life however, and his overriding fear is he will pass this legacy of death to his son.

Artemis is his "ghost of Christmas past," a constant reminder of what he was, and what he may become again.

As hard as he tries to be a better man, bad things keep happening in this dark fantasy, and it gradually erodes his relationship with Veil.

Sunny: Where are you going?
Veil: I'm taking Henry away from here-away from you.
Sunny: What? Why?
Veil: Sunny, I don't know what's going on. Why would you give him that sword? The cuts on his back. The dead pigs-wolves did not line them up like that.

The scene with Sunny and Artemis is very effective.

The photography, with the fog and the muted colors, gives it the proper horror movie vibe, and the interactions between the two raise the stakes to an epic level.

Sunny: Where's my son? What did you do to him?
Artemis: What did I do?
Sunny: You made him kill his mother.
Artemis: That wasn't my fault-it's yours. Do you know why you can never have the life you want? This dream? All this time, you've been so worried the threat would come from outside, but it's been inside you all along. And now, it's in your son.
Sunny: Where's Henry?
Artemis: He will become you, and that will be your legacy.

The battle between Sunny and the ghosts from his past, all his former victims, was extremely well edited. 

The cuts between Bajie trying to save his life, and Sunny's battle with his long dead ghosts, was exhilarating.

With every sword stroke, another flaming, bloody tattoo scar appears on his back -- chilling.

And the climax, which cuts from the ghosts covering Sunny's screaming body, to him holding the dead body of his love Veil, to the blood soaked face of his murderous son Henry, to the pools of blood forming clipper tattoos on the barn floor, is at the same time terrifying and heartbreaking. 

This show is, visually, probably the most stunning of any you will find on the dial.

The fight scenes are amazing, the color palettes used in the production design are eye popping, and the lush, movie like look is a hard thing to pull on a weekly TV series budget.

Damn, I almost forgot the B side, you guys.

The Widow and Tilda Train - Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 2

The Widow, now fully aligned with Quinn, makes her move on Jade's compound, killing friends and influencing people right and left. 

It didn't take much effort to make Jade's cogs and clippers turn tail and run, and she had Jade in her clutches in no time.

Jade: I thought you didn't kill women.
The Widow: You're right: I don't, but he might.
Quinn: Always good to see you, Jade.

The talk between Quinn and Jade was dripping with venom. I loved it.

Quinn telling her they were almost exactly alike was spot on to me, but Jade disagreed and still professed her genuine love for Ryder. 

Did she really mean it? Maybe. But I think she was throwing her "genuine love" for Ryder in Quinn's face just to piss him off.

Well, mission accomplished.

An escort of my men will take her [Jade] to the border, and then she's on her own. Let her suffer what miseries she's given to others.

Quinn [to The Widow]

Will The Widow allow Jade to, just like that, be dropped off at the border to fend for herself? I'm totally not feeling that.

But if she does end up on her own, I wouldn't be surprised to see her eventually cross paths with Sunny's crew. 

Who knows what would happen then? Would she align with them to help Sunny get Veil and Henry back from the evil Quinn?

She is a survivor above all things, so she would do whatever it takes to stay alive, and sticking it to Quinn would  be icing on the cake.

All in all, this was an exhilarating episode. The horror vibe was definitely different, and not what I expected, but it was immaculately executed.

That's my two cents. Tell me what you thought about this one in the comments section.

And unless you live under a rock, you already know you can watch Into the Badlands online right here on TV Fanatic!

Black Heart. White Mountain Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Ron Gilmer is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and read his personal blog at Idiotbox Watcher.

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Into the Badlands Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

M.K.: You're just angry because you know this is the right thing to do.
Bajie: Every time I try to do the right thing, I end up tits deep in shit. And I do NOT like having shitty tits.

M.K.: I couldn't find any wounds. There are some weird markings on his chest.
Bajie: His chest? Oh, shit.
M.K.: What?
Bajie: The bruises. Cyan must have attacked him with the 5 poisons.
M.K.: The what?
Bajie: The 5 poisons-The Hand of the 5 Poisons. That's one of the abbot's deadliest techniques. What are they teaching you?
M.K.: So, what can we do?
Bajie: Nothing. There's nothing we can do. Look: this one's already affecting his brain. Liver, kidney, lungs are next, then the heart. He'll be lucky if he lasts the day.