Bajie Makes Everything Better: Into the Badlands, ‘Black Wind Howls’

Into the Badlands, Season 3, Episode 6: “Black Wind Howls”

It’s so exciting to see this show lean in to Nick Frost’s natural playfulness, and breathe some serious life into Bajie.

When he first appeared on the scene, Bajie was little more than pure comic relief, the Badlands’ version of the drunk prospector from an old Western. This season, Frost has embraced the physicality of his role, and the writers have found how much fun they can have with a character whose backstory is a little murky.

Bajie was used to great effect this week, because the hour needed that injection of fun to bolster what was otherwise a pretty uneventful episode.

Bajie and Sunny

Bajie is one of the few characters on the show that has experienced life outside the Badlands, and it’s a treat to see him so full of glee as he eats his way through the crowded market stalls of Black Wind. He and Sunny are looking for passage back to the Badlands, and Bajie knows of a smuggler who will do the trick.

Of course, it’s not that easy as the smuggler in question is Bajie’s ex-wife, Lily, and she’s just been accused of cheating in a game of spike roulette. This triggers a battle scene led by a bouncing Bajie, who’s waiting for Sunny to join the action. The battle turns into a chase, which leads to Bajie using the inventory of a fish market as his personal armory.

The heroes make their escape, but Sunny wonders if he’d be better off back on the dock. Bajie vouches for Lilly, who promptly hands them over to the River King, to use the bounty on their heads to pay off her debts.

Before the second big battle of the night, Sunny sees a ghost version of his childhood self all over the boat. It just so happens that this was the boat that brought Sunny to the Badlands, and something bad happened during the journey. First things first; Sunny and Bajie fight off the River King’s goons, and force him to be their guide to find The Pilgrim.

Tilda and The Widow

After Chau’s attack on the refugee camp, Tilda decides that the refugees’ best defense is a good offense. Tilda shows up at the Widow’s door with an offer of a truce. She doesn’t want to be Widow’s right hand or daughter again; rather, she wants to end the war to help the refugees start new lives. The Widow gladly accepts.

Knowing she can’t afford to fight a war on two fronts, the Widow needs to have another sit-down with The Pilgrim to review the terms of their agreement after Chau’s raid on the refugees. Luckily for her she has Castor, who is extremely sick. The meeting ends amicably enough, though not before the Pilgrim’s prophet, Cressida, senses the Widow used to have the dark power within her, and would be more than happy to have it return.

The Pilgrim

There’s a little dissension in the Pilgrim’s ranks, after he uncovers that Cressida is the one who sent Castor into battle to die like a warrior. It’s not a mistake he will let happen a second time.

He gives a pep talk to his new workers, and promises freedom through Azra. And, he has the unpleasant task of sending Castor on this journey to Azra by snapping the boy’s neck.

Thoughts and Impressions

This hour uncorked a few new bits of information like Bajie’s pirate past and Sunny’s experiences on the boat as a boy, but by and large, not a lot happened. Episodes like this are not unexpected, given that Into the Badlands expanded its episode count this season.

Centering around Bajie made the difference between a fun hour to watch, and an episode full of filler. Frost’s energy is undeniable, and the writers seem to enjoy working on the canvas that is Bajie — so with him around, the Badlands and the show will never be boring.

Craig Wack

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