Expect story divergence, familiar faces, and plenty more high octane martial arts action when AMC’s Into the Badlands returns tonight at 10 pm ET following The Walking Dead. With Sunny (Daniel Wu) on a dark road and M.K. (Aramis Knight) having met his match, two powerful players have been thrown catawampus in the midst of a very serious turf war. I’ll let the trailer set the scene.
Note: Spoilers for Into the Badlands Season 1 ahead.
The series follows “clipper” (a kind of personal soldier/hitman) Sunny in his quest to escape his life of violence and protect his loved ones in a post-apocalyptic future. Along the way, he finds M.K., a young man with a dark gift who might be his ticket out of the Badlands. As you can see, Sunny isn’t looking so hot outside of Baron Quinn’s (Marton Csokas) fort. Following his indiscretions, Sunny has been shipped out to an unknown location to, presumably, fight for his life yet again. In an ironic twist, the one place he wishes to return from is the one he so desperately planned to escape. To get a change of visual feel, one of the series greatest strengths, shooting locations were changed from New Orleans to Dublin,Ireland. Wu addressed the new location and its potential to improve storytelling. Via SFGate.com:
“What Ireland provides for us is much more epic visuals. We can shoot in the mountains, we can shoot on the coast, it’s all within a half hour. It gives a broader scope compared to last season. New Orleans was basically swamp and more swamp and more swamp, we didn’t have mountains or any of that stuff. That was challenging about last season, we couldn’t really shoot anything in an epic cinematic scope. This season we have that, which kind of ups the game for the visuals of the show.”
As for the current state of affairs? Wu had comments regarding that as well. “This season, the stories have been broken apart. She’s here, he’s there, Ryder (Oliver Stark) and Jade (Sarah Bolger) have their story going on, the Widow (Emily Beecham) has her thing going on, everyone’s kind of separated. And then as the season goes on, everyone kind of comes back to the climax point, so we’re working our way towards that point.”
However, the location is not all that’s changing. The trailer seems to show Beecham’s Widow taking on an expanded role in the butt kicking department, something that she was already notorious for. Quinn’s son, Ryder, also appears to be in over his head since some things never change. Fans looking for a few more giggles and a little less grim, however, will be ecstatic for the newest face stepping on set. Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has joined on in the role of Bajie.
In an interview with IGN, Frost explained the role of a comedic actor on a show known for its dark side. “I think comedic can also mean gritty in a way. I think just because a character is wise-cracking or funny doesn’t mean they don’t hurt or don’t get frightened or sad. And that essentially what drama is… I think when people are collaborative, or are prepared to be collaborative, it’s difficult to say no. And in terms of the drama, that doesn’t make me nervous at all. I think shooting a fight scene for 10 days frightened me more than being gritty. Or being true, which is what drama is as well.”
As for who he is? Frost described Bajie as many things, with some of them less than pleasant. “He’s a smuggler and a bad man but he’s very charming and charismatic. He’s also a fighter. That’s what I think everyone does in the Badlands…I think I was very happy having conversations with Andy Chen, the director, and Master DeeDee, who does the fight choreography, where I don’t think they expected me to do a series of devastating heel kicks or anything like that. Bajie is a street fighter, he’s a wrestler, he’s a pub brawler, you know. And I think they worked to my strengths, me as Nick Frost, so it was a lot easier for me.”
The new blood might be the spark Into the Badlands needs to become another widely renowned AMC original. What is unlikely to change, if Frost’s mention of 10-day fight scenes means anything, is the visual spectacle provided weekly and, even more importantly, fight scenes which give audiences the feel of a classic martial arts movie come to TV.
Into the Badlands returns tonight, March 19 at 10 pm on AMC. If you have six hours to kill, catch up with Season 1 on Netflix. Until then, stay tuned with mxdwn Television for more information regarding Into the Badlands Season 2.