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Review: Into the Badlands Matures But is Still Crazy Ass Fun in ‘Enter the Phoenix’

by on April 23, 2018
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*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*

If you are willing to buy into what Into the Badlands is selling, that is top notch martial arts action, woven around a growing mythology and original premise, then have no fear because the season three premiere continues this trend and then some. Old friends and foes, new powerful and impressive characters, and mind-boggling fight scenes, especially at the beginning, set an impressive tone as the show launches its longest season yet, a total of sixteen episodes.

As usual, the Badlands is not the greatest place to be right now. The Widow (played by the impressive Emily Beecham) is trying to take full control over the Badlands with only one Regent now in her way. To this end, she tries to enlist a familiar face, Nathaniel Moon (Sherman Augustus) but first, they must fight, and what a fight it is. Swordplay, twirling, dancing on air, swords and walls, that ends in a stalemate at the top of a tower. Suffice to say, a deal is struck and wouldn’t you know, Sunny is part of the said deal.

Speaking of Sunny, he is now a single father after the love of his life Veil sacrifices herself to allow Sunny and their infant son to escape at the end of season two. While this was an old and to me, tired tradition of moving the plot forward by sacrificing the mother, it still left the central figure of Sunny now alone and trying to figure out how to care for/raise his son. When his son becomes sick, he finds a camp with a healer, where he also runs into some familiar faces, those being Lydia, Tilda, and Bajie.

It seems Lydia has taken up running a refugee camp for all those caught in the middle of the struggle for power in the Badlands. Not only that, but Tilda is more than happy to help by robbing the Widow’s supplies, exacting some little bit of revenge, although it is not nearly enough. It is during one of these raids that Tilda comes across an imprisoned Bajie and just like that, a reunion was born. A stunning discovery by the local healer concerning Sunny’s boy Henry is a great way to bring the Azra storyline back into the conversation and the new character that comes with it.

We are introduced to the Pilgrim (Babou Ceesay) and Cressida (Lorraine Toussaint) who have begun their holy quest to bring everyone into their holy cause or crusade and purge those who are deemed, unbelievers. This new religious/fanaticism seems to fit right in as if this was destined to be part of the story of the Badlands from the beginning. The way characters and pieces of the plot were moved around during this episode it wouldn’t surprise me, in the end, to see friends and enemies alike in the Badlands join forces to defeat this new threat.

In any case, the premiere was pretty flawless, with excellent fight scenes and great story development right away, showing me that the showrunners are more serious at developing the plot this year as they are the characters. One thing is for sure, things are never dull in the Badlands and I for one hope things stay that way.

Four and a half stars out of five

Positives

- Amazing fight scenes, especially the one between The Widow and Moon

- Mythology and religious storylines look good together

- Nick Frost is still a treat to have around

Negatives

- The 'poor single father' storyline surrounding Sunny might get old, but the spin with his son certainly helps

Editor Rating
 
Cast
92%

 
Sound
92%

 
Visual
94%

 
Writing
92%

Author Score
93%

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Into the Badlands had an excellent season three premiere with 'Enter the Phoenix', showing off some maturity in terms of both characters and storylines. Combined with the usual brilliant action, this could be one hell of a season

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