A coupe is developing in the badlands and new alliances are forming. Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons let the action take more of a backseat as the plot started to take center stage. Following the events from last week’s episode, the Widow realized that with her limited force behind her, she would have to rely on more cunning means to reclaim her territory and best Quinn. Working from behind the scenes and waiting for the right moment to strike led Two Tigers Subdue Dragons to focus more on the minor characters and they are progressing their plot lines. Similar to the formula of many AMC shows, this week’s episode golden moments came in the last 10-15 minutes.
Starting with the minor characters’ stories in Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons, viewers got a chance to hear more about Quinn’s family drama. It turns out that Ryder’s resentment for his father stems from more than just the fact that Quinn shows no compassion, but the reality that Jade was, and still is, his childhood sweetheart that his father basically took from him. It is interesting that Ryder holds a grudge against his father, even though Jade was not necessarily forced into this life and continues to bed Quinn and carry on with the rouse of an engagement.
It is clear that Jade is not as innocent or a victim of Quinn’s selfishness herself and the one that sees through her act is Quinn’s first wife, Lydia. To no one’s surprise, Lydia may have been behind the death of Quinn’s second wife (who was just mentioned in this episode). Another bland revelation that just seemed like a filler until the main showdown came later in Two Tigers Subdue Dragons.
Since the events of the last episode, Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons brought about some interesting parallels between The Widow and Quinn in their thirst for power. The only difference in their approach is how they have used their sons/daughters to obtain. Quinn constantly tests and belittles Ryder by setting him up to meet with the neighboring baron’s clippers, by himself, to discuss the deals of the parlay. Meanwhile, the Widow has a little bit more faith in her daughter by placing her in situations that she knows she can handle.
Though Tilda remains loyal to her mother, Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons showed a little bit more insubordination from her as she started to question the point of weeks of hiding and plotting to take down Quinn. When Tilda finally spoke up against her mother, the Widow quickly reprimanded her and reminded Tilda without her mother’s way of parenting, she would still be growing up in a world where her “innocence” would have been taken at a young age. It seems The Widow earned her name from killing her former husband once she found out that he was sexually assaulting their daughter. Though The Widow’s back story makes her character easier to sympathize with, both barons are still relatively not good people.
It is clear that both Tilda and Quinn were forcibly born into this life of constant power struggles, but the two could not be more polar opposites. While Ryder clearly hates his father, he still subconsciously seeks his approval and does whatever he can to take his title. On the other hand, Tilda is not interested in the world of the barons’ quest for power that Into the Badlands centers on and it is only a matter of time before she defects from her mother.
Sunny was also having his fair share of troubles dealing with adolescence. His training with M.K. was progressing, but the shadow power was still out of M.K.’s control. Sunny’s yin and yang solution that there is an equal, opposite is not very compelling. Also, when M.K. was able to stop himself from fatally wounding Tilda during their minor bout was a little predictable and clichéd.
The following battle between Quinn’s clippers and Jacobee may have been brief, but it was still an exciting watch. Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons definitely saved the best, and redeeming, fight for last. Since the barons are supposed to be the best fighters of their regions, it is always interesting to see their unique fighting styles and who will best who. The same can also be said for the duel between Sunny and the Zephyr (Jacobee’s lead clipper). Zephyr alluded that the two’s paths have crossed in a more romantic way in last week’s episode of Into the Badlands, so it was intriguing to watch how their duel would play out.
It seemed that Quinn was about to be bested by his opponents until Sunny threw the butterfly star (sign of The Widow) into play. The parlay-turned-melee was over and the two houses came to a rocky truce. However, there is no telling how long that truce will last. In the last few moments of Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons, it was revealed that The Widow had already made an alliance with Zephyr behind-the-scenes and kidnapped Ryder to join their ranks.
Another revelation came in the true back story of how M.K. became such wanted target all over the Badlands. When Sunny went to meet with the River King, who looked like a mix between a well-aged Lenny Kravitz and Jimi Hendrix, he found out that M.K. lost control of his power and ended up killing over two dozen Cogs. The King offered Sunny safe passage, but only if he brought M.K.’s head to him to make up for the lives lost. An interesting turn of events that actually brings another struggle to Sunny’s storyline and more moral conflict.
Into the Badlands: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons was an episode that tried to place action in the background and bring a plot and storyline to the foreground. With only two episodes left till the finale, it is about time that Wu started focusing on making Into the Badlands’ characters actually interesting to watch and not just give viewers an hour of well-choreographed sword fights.
Opinion By Tyler Cole
IGN: INTO THE BADLANDS: “TWO TIGERS SUBDUE DRAGONS” REVIEW