Into The Badlands (AMC): Season 2, Episode 4

NOTE: This review contains SPOILERS. New episodes will be airing Sundays (10PM EST) on AMC.

Episode 4: Palm of the Iron Fox

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The Widow (Emily Beecham), Waldo (Stephen Land), and Tilda (Ally Ioannides) ready to fight.

 

 

Baron Chau (symbol: fox) is basically the go-to slave trader (with Cogs as her primary resource ). She has the largest cog population; we learn that The Widow grew up on her plantation. The Widow’s philosophy on life is basically the opposite of Chau’s, who believes in survival of the fittest.

Later on, there is a fight among the Barons in the courtyard. Tilda (who came to The Conclave in secret) saves Waldo’s life. 

He killed so many people while sitting in his wheelchair, it’s easily the most impressive part…  -Excerpt from Mic revew

 

That Cog in training, Gabriel, who was scared to fight is a spy in Ryder’s house. He sends a message (via dove) to Quinn. Speaking of unlikely fighters…

***

Veil (though she’s a healer) finds a warrior w/in herself in this ep. After she gets access to the sun room, she attempts to escape (carrying Henry in a pouch). It doesn’t work, b/c the man stationed on guard, Edgar, gets suspicious. Later at dinner, Veil compliments him for his cooking. She put a sleeping potion in his drink, so Edgar gets slowed down in his pursuit of her. (Sunny is NOT in this ep, BUT he’d be proud of his lady!)

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Quinn (Marton Csokas) faces off against Ryder (Oliver Stark).

Were you a BIT surprised when Ryder hesitated to kill his father? Well, I wasn’t; he just doesn’t have the chops to fill his father’s position as Baron. I DID feel sorry for Jade- she really loved Ryder. Quinn (finally) killed Ryder; I thought it was going to happen much earlier (S1)! Also, I wanted to see more of the father-son showdown. As for Jade, I think she’s going to get major revenge on Quinn.

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Into the Badlands (AMC): Season 2, Episode 3


NOTE: This review contains SPOILERS. New episodes will be airing Sundays (10PM EST) on AMC.

Episode 3: Red Sun, Silver Moon

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Sunny (Daniel Wu) and Bajie (Nick Frost) meet a legendary warrior.

Sunny and Bajie meet a big/tall/imposing former Clipper, Nathaniel Moon (AKA Silver Moon) on a bridge. They are defeated by him, BUT then find themselves under his roof (a VERY old/abandoned church). NOT only is this guy a strong actor (gravitas, anyone?)- he did his OWN stunts during the fight scenes (whoa)! Nathaniel (who’s a BIT of a legend among Clippers) has killed 999 men in battle. His wife and son were killed long ago as revenge against him. Men like them can’t have (normal) lives, he tells Sunny (who doesn’t agree, of course). However, he and Nathaniel have a LOT in common also. 

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Sunny (Daniel Wu) fights Nathaniel Moon (AKA Silver Moon).

Afterbuzz hosts were thinking/hoping that Nathaniel would stay on longer on the series, BUT he has a final battle w/ Sunny. He considers Sunny a worthy opponent; he’s in a league of his own w/ regards to fighting (as was explained by Waldo in a previous ep). 

The significance of the sword being taken by Bajie has more to do with the fact that it is a prestigious weapon that was owned by a legendary clipper, hence will command a great fee/value… -Comment from a viewer (YouTube)

***

MK’s roomie is caught trying to escape, so his powers are taken away. The procedure is performed by those same three robed monks that first captured M.K. in a cold/dirty operating room. M.K. looks horrified- HE may decide to make a run for it, instead of continuing his training w/ The Master.

***

To keep herself (and baby Henry) on Quinn’s good side, she tells him that his brain tumor has NOT changed since last month. She hides the current x-ray, showing him the previous one. Quinn is acting weirder… and weirder- he’s a VERY watchable character still.

Later on, he saves the life of the teenage boy (Cog) who was caught running away. Boy, was I surprised! Quinn sees that this kid is scared of fighting, so he motivates him (playing a father figure), then challenges him to attack. 

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The Widow (Emily Beecham) arrives at The Conclave.

The Widow (AKA Minerva) and Waldo arrive at Ryder’s estate for The Conclave. Afterbuzz hosts wondered: How/when did Waldo ally himself w/ The Widow? It’s a VERY good question; it seems like it happened rather quickly. 

Lang makes for a great grizzled mentor figure, albeit one with a shroud of uncertainty about him. He’s already betrayed one Baron, and there’s no guarantee he isn’t maneuvering Widow to her death by insisting on accompanying her in Tilda’s place. Whatever his motivations, Waldo’s increased role this season is appreciated. -Excerpt from IGN review

Shots Fired (Fox): First Impressions

DOJ prosecutor Preston Terry (Stephan James) and investigator Ashe Akino (Sanaa Lathan)

NOTE: This review contains MILD SPOILERS for the first three hours of the series.

[1] Shots Fired is at its best when raising legitimate questions about the criminal justice system and attempting to answer them. But I don’t know if there is an answer. The dark overtones that envelope the show at times feel real and appropriate. For a topic this serious, darkness may be the only way to truly shed light on the gravity of the situation.

[2] …I am not surprised by the haters in the reviews here. To me, these are people that are stuck in their ways and are not trying to see the world through different sets of eyes. Blacks and others have had to watch MOST TV through white people’s eyes and they expect us to be happy for it. Now you have a show like this that is finally putting Black people in a humane and more realistic light and they can’t handle it.

[3] I’m Asian male [Vietnamese] that grew up in a working class neighborhood and episode 1 gave me goosebumps because it aligns so much with our reality. You probably thinking how can I say that when I’m an Asian male. Truth is, many of our struggles are similar to blacks in America. You may not know, but there is an Asian gang culture in every major cities in America due to the same reasons that make it hard for blacks to succeed in America. Any law enforcement officers in major cities can confirm this.

-Excerpts from various IMDB reviews

Deputy Joshua Beck (Mack Wilds) is the young cop and family man who becomes an outcast on the police force.

Unnecessary police violence, particularly white cops against black offenders, is a topic that has everyone on edge. But, what happens when it’s a black cop that shoots an unarmed white kid based on racial profiling? 

The show centers on junior DOJ prosecutor, Preston Terry (Stephan James- who is Canadian and just 25 y.o.), and investigator, Ashe Akino (Sanaa Lathan- daughter of a prolific Hollywood producer), who are sent to a small North Carolina town to investigate a police shooting. It’s much better, if a black officer (Deputy Joshua Beck- played by 28 y.o. Mack Wilds)  is investigated and convicted by a black prosecutor, as one of Preston’s superiors in DC says in the first scene. Ashe and Terry dig deeper and find that an unarmed black kid was shot by a white officer not too long ago in the “houses”(projects) of this same town. 

Critics (and viewers) see a lot of potential in James; he definitely has that “It” factor (which an actor needs to get to leading man status). Don’t forget that a very young Blair Underwood played an attorney on L.A. Law in the ’80s. Wilds is doing pretty well in this role (never seen him before); the actor admitted that he never imagined himself in the shoes of a police officer before. He’s got an innocence and freshness about him- key for his role. What to say re: Sanaa Lathan?  Hmm… well, she’s got youthful looks (even at age 45); her acting is not terrible, but pretty one-note.

Governor Eamons (Helen Hunt) talks to press while her aide Sarah (Conor Leslie) and Preston (James) look on.

Patricia Eamons (Helen Hunt) is the first female governor of the state; she was the one who decided to bring in the DOJ.  Local pastor Janae James (Aisha Hinds) points out, after all the shootings of unarmed black men, why is this the case where the feds decide to get involved? Hinds’ outspoken activist, yet also spiritual, character is unlike most preachers we’ve seen on TV- female, youthful, and putting faith into action. 

Richard Dreyfus is introduced (near the end of the second hour); he is a 1st gen American businessman looking to advance a new prison/educational complex. I’ve seen three hours so far, but  may keep w/ it (if the writing gets stronger and the veteran actors get more to do). So far, British actor Stephen Moyer (who plays Lt. Breeland) has just been a jerk. He may have brought some fans along w/ him from True Blood (never seen that show, so can’t judge).  I’m waiting to see more of Will Patton (who plays the sheriff); he has a way w/ ambiguous characters.  

Jill Hennessy at the Sundance premiere of “Shots Fired.” I was very happy to see her back on network TV!

We get to see Ashe and Preston in their private lives, unlike what you’ve seen in most Law and Order-type series. Speaking of that iconic TV show, the still stunning Jill Hennessy plays Alicia Carr, the heartbroken mother of the white college student. She gets a chance to shine in the third hour. Preston, who could’ve been a professional baseball player, is trying to earn the respect of his father (Dennis Haysbert) and older brother, (a pro football player). Ashe is a woman with serious anger issues, trying to keep primary custody of her daughter. Her Latino ex-boyfriend is planning to marry (a younger Latina woman) and raise their daughter full-time.