Into the Badlandsis super important to the discussion of representation for interracial relationships, particularly interracial relationships between two non-white individuals…
-The Nerds of Color (NOC) blog
Daniel Wu, a cast member and executive producer of the television series “Into the Badlands,” poses for a portrait during the 2015 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on Friday, July 31, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
I first “heard” about this show a few days ago from one of the ladies I follow on Twitter (Monique). And it turns out that she’s NOT the only fan out there! MANY black women, as well as Asian- American men, were tweeting about Into the Badlands.After all, it’s quite rare to see a Chinese-American man, Sunny (Daniel Wu) and a black woman, Veil (Madeleine Mantock) in a romantic relationship.
Hmmm… HOW to describe this show to a newbie? It’s (obviously) a martial arts epic, BUT there are elements of the Western (minus the guns), Southern Gothic (it’s shot on location in Louisiana), mythical (based loosely on a Chinese story: Journey To The West), and superhero genres (see M.K. ‘s secret powers) also. In some ways, it’s like our (modern) world, yet there are no guns used (BUT plenty of knives, swords, and other sharp objects). Warning: This is NOT for those of you who are scared of (fake) blood and violence (which almost reaches Game of Thrones levels).
Badlands is that society where society has kind of gone back to feudal times, and one of the main ideas was this “steampunk” aesthetic, to make things futuristic yet seem old at the same time since in this world, digital technology is all gone… – Daniel Wu
If you liked Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (like me), then you should definitely give it a watch! I esp. like the wire work, which elevates the martial arts to another level (NOT that I’m an expert, of course). I’ve seen some eps of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and Vanishing Son (which starred Chines/Swedish-American actor Russell Wong). M.K. (Aramis Knight- a teen actor w/ Pakistani and German heritage) is one of the Colts, or Clippers (warriors) in training. The actor didn’t have martial arts training before he got hired on the show, but had played sports and stayed at a low level of body fat. After I read up a BIT re: Knight’s background, I thought: Hell yes, this show has TWO Asian-American leads!
The dialogue on this show (so far- I’ve seen 3 eps) is NOT George Lucas Star Wars prequel-level bad, though it’s far from Shakespearean (as we find in Deadwood). Some of the BEST lines are given to the main villain, Quinn (Marton Csokas from Lord of the Rings), who is BOTH a father-figure and a boss to Sunny (who is The Regent, the head of the Clipper force). Yes, this show is VERY immersive- it’s even got it’s own vocabulary! You can watch Season 1 on Netflix or on YouTube (which includes behind the scenes videos).
NOTE: This post contains SPOILERS for the latest season of the Netflix original series.
What Piper does is try on identities. -Taylor Schilling
In Season 3, Piper (sometimes dubbed “a clueless white girl”) was using the Whispers work assignment to her advantage; she got a big ego (as we see at the start of THIS season). Well, Maria is NOT going to put up w/ that attitude! Also, the Dominican (who was disowned by her gang leader dad for falling in love w/ a Mexican man) has plans of her own to profit HER girls, the latinas. The numbers work in her advantage, as the prison (now managed by MCC, a private corp.) gets an addition of MOSTLY latina women.
It’s all grounded in the reality that they DO love each other…-Laura Prepon (Alex) on the (love-hate; complicated; manipulative) relationship between her character and Piper
What did YOU think of Piper’s comeuppance (for joining w/ the White Power women)? Yes, she needed allies, BUT (as she often does) Piper didn’t realize the consequences of such an (unholy) alliance!
When you know something [drug addiction] firsthand, there’s a sort of responsibility, which (for me) can often feel like… you know… too much pressure. -Natasha Lyonne (Nicky)
The relationship between Red and Nicky has been fraught w/ tension b/c of Nicky’s reluctance to get (and stay) sober. As we know from real-life statistics, MANY women (and men) are in jail b/c of drug-related issues; others get into drugs while imprisoned.
I have my “daughters.” That is my way of surviving w/ my morality- and what I hope to consider- my integrity- intact. The tough side is, there’s a line. If you cross it, you are out. And that costs me as much as it costs them, but there has to be a moral compass. And I adhere to it very strongly. -Kate Mulgrew on the maternal and tough sides of her character (Red)
Red has been one of my favorites from the start; she doesn’t have much to do until later in the season. She’s back in charge of the kitchen- good to see. Mr. Healy seems to have fallen in love w/ her (yeah, we saw that coming); she sternly tells him that “no relationship between a prisoner and a guard is consensual”).
Season four has some of the most explicit and complex discussions of consent I’ve ever seen on television. And in a time when there is still so much confusion surrounding consent and anger when it’s violated.
It’s significant that OITNB doesn’t just show Pennsatucky’s reaction to her rape. Instead, it forces Coates to reconsider everything he thought was true, to confront the ugliness inside him and surrounding him that pushed him to a place where he could ignore a woman’s needs for his own basic pleasure. He didn’t think he was raping her, but that doesn’t matter.
And now he knows it.
-Caroline Famke, Vox
We see what Alex is capable of when she kills the man (disguised as a new guard) in the greenhouse. Lolly (who becomes more and more unhinged in S4) and Frida (a convicted murderer) knows about this crime; they handle it in VERY different ways. Frida helps Alex bury the dead body in the garden. Alex has trouble sleeping, goes to hang out w/ Piper, and (in time)- they are a couple again.
Mr. Healy tries to help Lolly, who starts spouting paranoid stories. We learn more re: his backstory; his mother had mental problems when he was a young boy, then was put in a psychiatric hospital. THAT gets to the root of WHY Mr. Healy want to help troubled women. He falls short (of course)!
The new guards (former war vets) are NOT only working at Litchfield, they’re also living in the (built by prison labor) cabins on the property. They have issues and secrets of their own! Humphrey forced Maritza, at gunpoint, to swallow a live baby mouse and pushed Crazy Eyes/Suzanne into a bloody brawl with Kukudio.
When I heard that Judy was a cooking show celebrity and she was going to prison for some financial mischief, you think of Martha Stewart right away. [In the book on which it’s based, author Piper Kerman said Stewart was almost sent to Danbury, the inspiration for Litchfield.] She’s Paula Deen-like, because she’s Southern, but Judy King is another entity altogether. It’s just that those two are the ones that spring to mind.” -Blair Brown, Hollywood Reporter
We see how Judy King (veteran actress Blair Brown) is treated better, given her own room, etc. (being a rich and powerful celeb). I esp. liked her friendships w/ Poussey and Cindy. Do YOU think that these were real friendships?
Alison (who is Cindy’s bunk mate) wears a hijab (black scarf in this case) as a sign of modesty, due to her being Muslim. She also uses her hijab to hide a cell, which she uses to secretly communicate with her child via text. Cindy (a convert to Judaism) is suspicious of Alison at first, BUT in time, they get to know each other and become allies.
Speaking of unlikely allies… Figueroa dropped a sly bomb on Caputo when she asked him if he knew re: more inmates coming to his prison when he visited her house. Caputo, my the middle of the season, knows that his girlfriend (Linda) does NOT want the best for his inmates. Were YOU a bit shocked to learn that Linda had NEVER even visited Litchfield (though she worked for MCC)?
It’s war. Taystee has nothing to lose; she’s lost everything that she cared so deeply about. It’s time to fight. I think that’s where we will see Taystee go.-Danielle Brooks on what she sees next for her character
The season four finale of Netflix’s prison dramedy OITNB capped a season that explored the Black Lives Matter movement and the injustice that exists in the prison system.
The final moments of the season see Daya picking up CO Humphrey’s loose gun and aiming it back at him during a prison-wide riot, Attica-style. …After being abandoned by fiance Bennett, losing her daughter and seeing her mom released from prison, Daya has so much pent-up anger and frustration, she might just shoot. -Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter
Short/petite Poussey is killed by baby-faced guard, Bayley- VERY unexpected/shocking scene! Taystee, who was probably her closest friend, is heartbroken. Soso tries to drink away some of her sadness. Judy King has the star power to right at least some of the wrongs she witnessed in prison. Will she tell the truth about Poussey’s murder?
This 10-part series examines the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small North Carolina town. It was produced by the successful/critically-acclaimed husband-wife team of Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball) and Reggie Rock Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, Notorious).Aside from the timely/controversial topic, the supporting cast could be a big draw (incl. Oscar winners Richard Dreyfuss and Helen Hunt, as well as Law and Order‘s Jill Hennessey). The leads are two black actors- film veteran Sanaa Lathan (who plays investigator Ashe Akino) and up-and-comer Stephan James (federal prosecutor Preston Terry). James hails from Canada and notably played the young John Lewis in Selma.
First Look: A Murder Myster (FOX)
Actors Sanaa Lathan and Mack Wilds on The View (ABC)
“Moonlight” is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces.–A.O. Scott(The New York Times)
The fragility and preciousness of the spirit, the odds that are stacked against sensitivity, the distortions that can be inflicted on the soul — these are familiar subjects and sources of passion in literature and film. In “Moonlight”… they find fresh and renewed expression. -Mike LaSalle (The San Francisco Chronicle)
At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you. -Juan tells 9 y.o. Chiron (AKA Little)
This gem of a film was shot (on location, mainly in Liberty City section of Miami) over a mere 25 days- WOW! British actress Naomi Harris (Paula) had a quite busy schedule, so her parts were filmed over 15 days. I FINALLY saw this movie last week; it stayed on my mind for the next couple of days. The acting is VERY good, BUT much is also done w/ silence, cinematography, and music.
If you watch this actor closely, not only is he in the moment, but his body seems to be in constant motion even when he is sitting still. Like a hummingbird. -Excerpt from IMDB review of Mahershala Ali
You feel as if you are watching a real boy cope with life.There are parts where the film asks you what would you do IF you were Chiron? The camera is placed so that it puts you (the viewer) in the place of Chiron.
Stop putting yo’ head down in my house! You know my rule. It’s all love and all pride in this house! Do you feel me? -Teresa declares to teenaged Chiron
The main conflict is Chiron’s inability to define himself. We realize that he doesn’t fit into any of the categories available to him, so he forces himself into the tough guy persona of Black (last third of the film).
I was VERY pleasantly surprised to see Andre Holland (who I just fell in love w/ in The Knick)! He has a LOT of charm and ease as Kevin, a man who turned his life around after a rough life as a teen/young man. He is surprised to see how Chiron (AKA Black) has turned out, yet also concerned. Heck, I want Kevin to cook ME dinner… LOL! I’d never seen Trevante Rhodes before, BUT now I’m hoping that he gets some more meaty roles in which he can showcase his talent. Check out this film for yourself (if you haven’t yet)!
NOTE: This post contains SPOILERS for the TV drama series, including the Season 1 finale. Season 2 begins March 15, 2017 on OWN.
Episode 11: Men Like Trees Walking
Sophia is a very interesting character, she is the only pure & innocent one I hope she doesn’t get lost in all the adult turmoil.
Grace loves Noah because based on what she told him, he is “home” to her. Isabelle to me is controlling and insecure, Noah seems more himself with Gigi… with Isabelle, he seems uncertain… and if this were reality, Isabelle should probably move on (that’s what a real friend would tell her) as Noah is indecisive and you don’t marry indecisive.
-Comments from viewers
Calvary is losing money and members, b/c of recent scandals (murder of Officer Nelson; shooting of Mac); the deacon board is NOT happy. Gigi learns that Ray is taking her to court for custody of Sophia. Bishop won’t speak to Gigi. Jacob, realizing that his father won’t give him back his role (assistant pastor), meets w/ the minister of Triumph Church, Bassie Skanks, Bishop’s rival. Charity decides to record a CD of songs to sell online to raise money for the church. Kevin (still sleeping on the couch) gets closer to Adrian. Mac, who is in jail, has questions about Hell.
This ep pits the women against the men, in various different ways. Alexa is back, w/ a lawyer, b/c she MAY sue Calvary for firing her. Jacob is shocked to see her again; I (briefly) wondered if he still cared for Alexa. Bishop comments: “Pray for her. She’s chosen the hard road.” Hmmm… what exactly could that mean? What did you think of the (sly) way that Jacob approached Skanks at the basketball court? Skanks reveals to Jacob that Alexa attends Triumph. Jacob says that won’t be a problem if he comes to work there.
Did you think that Charity was being TOO hard on Kevin? After all, we know that Kevin has NOT cheated yet; he’s just looking at pics of men. However, he did enjoy chatting (and also flirting a BIT) w/ Adrian in the past. Kevin and Adrian go out to dinner at a nice restaurant (w/ candles). Hmmm… I was NOT expecting that to happen! Commentators said that Kevin was testing himself. Adrian walks out when Kevin declares: “I’m not gay.”
Episode 12: Veni, Vidi, Veci
Deacon Sykes (Connie) discusses women’s day with Lady Mae and wants Gigi to preach; Mavis has problems with her club- it’s going to have to close. Gigi, Ray, and Sophia attend the custody hearing. Charity and Kevin talk about his feelings.
Kevin finally tells his wife that he has feelings for men. Charity (understandably) gets VERY upset, slaps and hits him, and then doubles over in pain- YIKES! She is taken away to the hospital in an ambulance; Kevin goes w/ her. The rest of the family looks on w/ worry.
Episode 13: What Are You Doing Here?
Bishop visits Mac, and Mac asks him to be a character witness at his hearing. Bishop refuses, even though Mac threatens him re: some secret they share. Skanks drives Jacob to a plot of land across from Calvary where he intends to build a $40 million community center for Triumph. Henry (Mac and Lady Mae’s father) comes again to Calvary, but is stopped by Noah.Grace learns that Henry is terminally ill; she asks Kevin to help find Henry a hospice, and Kevin agrees.
At the annual ladies’ lunch, Lady Mae gives a sermon (“The Virtuous Woman”) and the audience misinterpret it as her endorsement of Gigi. The ladies give a standing ovation to Gigi. Lady May looks on in dismay; she had been wanting to preach herself!
Gigi tells her dad that she wants to go back to Phoenix with Sophia, but Bishop reveals that he has Parkinson’s and needs her to stay and preach. (Charity guessed something was wrong in Ep. 12.) Bishop knows that Gigi is a leader, like him; Jacob can’t fill that role.
Bishop tells Jacob the Lord’s will is for him to be his eyes and ears at Basie’s new community center. Jacob is surprised; he hadn’t thought of his work in THAT way before. We know that Bishop can be sly! What do you think of Pastor Skanks? He seems like he could be up to something shady.
Kevin is looking at a pic of a handsome, preppy black man on his phone. It’s NOT a guy from a hookup app; it’s a man who run a program (gay conversion therapy). He asks Charity to read about it. She does so, then decides that she needs space, so Kevin should move out for the time being. Look at the disappointment on Kevin’s face!
Grace takes Henry to a hospice. He reveals that Mac has been giving him hush money (as he knows re: a church that was intentionally burned down many years ago). Whoa- we need to wait to get details!
Mavis (Oprah Winfrey) and Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield) have a face-off.
I was impressed by the BIG fight between Lady Mae and her sister, Mavis, at Mavis’ bar. Oprah STILL has her acting chops (in case anyone doubted it), though she rarely takes roles! So far, she has appeared in 3 eps of Greenleaf.
Ray arrives (in a red convertible, as he promised) to take Sophia away for the summer. Two police cars arrive after they drive off. We see that Mac is out on probation. Cops and officials walk up the stairs; we know that they will arrest Bishop.