Episode one was very much driven by men. The Fort is a bastion of male hierarchy where male Colts strive to become Clippers for their Baron and be rewarded with women; the Baron can take eight wives; and his first wife has to send out the invitations for his eighth wedding. Episode two starts out with the confident stride of the The Widow, in her thigh high boots atop six inch heels, across the floor of a club the likes of which we have not seen since STREETS OF FIRE (A ROCK & ROLL FABLE) where exotic dancers perform with power tools and the fate of Barons is discussed amidst befeathered escorts.
The Widow is there to meet with an embezzling former regent, Teague, and there is no love lost between them. Teague does not recognize her new title, disdainfully calling her Minerva, and she is upset that he stole from her. Each Baron seems to have a monopoly on some commodity and The Widow is able to maintain her power through her control of the oil fields. Teague does not expect that the other Barons will like being beholden to a woman. She implores him to join forces with her against Quinn who is the most stubbornly chauvinistic, assuring him the other Barons will fall in line after Quinn is gone.
Before the conversation can get very far Teague has his head split open with an ax hurled across the room. There are assassins everywhere but The Widow is a whirling dervish of knives and quite literally slices through all but one of them. She leaves one would-be assassin alive long enough to learn that Ryder hired the nomads to take her out. The Widow finishes him off with a heel through the throat proving her choice in footwear was fashionable and practical.
Meanwhile… M.K. is on the run after escaping The Fort and stumbles onto The Widow’s territory which is marked by her butterfly insignia. He spies Tilda hunting with shurikens shaped into that insignia and when she talks about her mother training her you know she is The Widow’s daughter. When Sunny, Ryder, and a group of clippers approach, Tilda offers M.K. sanctuary and brings him to meet the Widow.
It is a very special Thanksgiving episode of Into the Badlands with a tense family dinner between Quinn, Ryder, Sunny and Lydia with the full menu of resentment, secrets, and lies. They know M.K. escaped into The Widow’s territory but were not able to follow without it being seen as an act of war — not something that concerns Ryder who has already sent assassins her way. Quinn knows that somebody helped the boy escape and is much more concerned with that than the boy himself. Lydia knows that Sunny was the conspirator but is keeping that to herself for the time being. Quinn has heard about the attack on The Widow and obviously suspects that Ryder is behind it but everyone says the right things while working their best telenovela stares at each other.
The Widow walks in on M.K. taking a much needed warm bath and washes him while talking about her conspicuously absent son Percival. She explains that she is looking for a boy around M.K.’s age who was last seen at The Fort. The boy is special and she needs him to accomplish something great. She shows him a piece of paper with the symbol that was on his medallion but he feigns ignorance and assures her there is nothing special about him.
The Widow is looking to augment her forces and with Teague dead and M.K. hiding his light under a bushel she turns to nomads who she promises to give a territory to if they take down Quinn. The nomad leader is intrigued but they are skeptical about fighting alongside the female fighters that The Widow brings to the table. The Widow proposes a deal; if Tilda can defeat one of their nomads in combat they will join forces with her. If Tilda loses they can take her. It is not even remotely close to being a fair fight as Tilda makes short work of the nomad with throat punches, ball kicks, and finally a neck snap. The Widow has forged her alliance.
Quinn takes just Sunny beyond the walls of The Fort, where we get to see it’s curb appeal and hear his story of being a lowly “stunted grunt” whose father was beaten to death for stealing an extra corn cob without even raising a hand to defend himself. Quinn went to his Baron and asked to become a Colt and has not stopped killing since that day.
He takes Sunny on a covert trip to see Doc and his wife who turn out to be Veil’s adopted parents. Quinn gave them the girl when they could not conceive on their own after the doc saved Ryder’s life as an infant. Quinn gets some dire news about his headaches. He has a tumor and will be dead before too long. The doc assures him of discretion but Quinn cannot risk word of his weakness leaking out. He orders Sunny to go back into the house and “clip” the doc and his wife. Sunny refuses to do so but does not raise a hand to stop Quinn as he takes Sunny’s sword and does it himself.
Sunny does some soul searching as her cleans the blood of his girlfriend’s parents off his sword. He goes to talk to Waldo, an older wheelchair-bound clipper played by the great Stephen Lang, about the possibility of walking away from The Baron. He tells Veil that the Baron killed her parents and vows that her family is now him, her and their unborn child and they will be be leaving the Badlands.
The Widow knows that M.K’s powers only emerge when his blood has been spilled and she conscripts Tilda to train with him and cut him to prove that he is lying. As Tilda sits atop him with her blade he begs her not to cut him. He admits that he lied about his parents being dead and weakens her resolve by talking about finding her. They fake a wound and with The Widow watching from the next room it appears M.K. is not the special boy she is looking for.
Ryder falls into a trap when his prostitute shows off a brick of opium and claims she stole it from nomads who are holed up in an abandoned building with a large cache of it that they stole from Quinn. Now that The Widow does not believe M.K. has any special powers she gives him to the Nomads who are heading to execute the plan. Ryder and Sunny head to the warehouse but find only empty cases and rafters full of nomads. Ryder quickly ends up with a chain wrapped around his neck twisting from the ceiling. The nomads are gracious enough to lay out their plans; once Ryder and Sunny are dead, The Widow is going to take the fort and gut Quinn herself.
Sunny whittles the force down a half dozen nomads at a time and eventually cuts Ryder down. While he is paying attention to his Baron’s son he is caught from behind by the leader of the nomads and is in danger of being choked to death. Fortunately M.K. has escaped from the trunk of the car he was being held captive in — thanks to one of Tilda’s shurikens tucked in his pocket — and saves Sunny, killing the nomad from behind. He tells Sunny that he lied to him earlier and knows a way out of the Badlands.
Sunny and M.K. bring Ryder back to the fort and Quinn wants to crush his neck but Sunny asks to train him as his Colt. Sunny has never taken a Colt before and Quinn lets M.K. pledge his loyalty to him. He is going to need all the men he can find after all.
They are going to war against The Widow.