SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen season two-episode four of Into the Badlands.
Quote of the week: “The strong always rise to the top.”
Episode four, Palm of the Iron Fox, opens with Quinn and his men preparing for their assault on the Conclave. The majority of the episode centers around the Conclave and the effect it has on the characters. The one exception is MK; his search for the truth about his mother ends.
At his hideout, Quinn prepares his men for the assault on the Conclave with a fiery speech, which energizes them into a fighting frenzy. As Quinn leaves, he gives Veil his ring for Henry in the event that he does not return. Veil is left in the care of Edgar, one of Quinn’s Clippers. Veil did not count on Edgar watching her while Quinn was gone. She convinces Edgar to let her into the ventilation room, where she attempts to escape. She is almost to the top of the vent when Edgar tries to get past the locked door. She covers her escape attempt by claiming to want to feed Henry in private.
Foiled in her first attempt to escape, Veil tries a different tack: she drugs Edgar. Unfortunately for her, Edgar anticipated her escape attempt and locked the gate to the outside. While Veil is attempting to break the lock, Edgar sneaks up behind her. He is enraged, since Quinn would kill him if Veil escaped. They fight. Veil, in her desperation, kills Edgar by bashing his head with an iron bar. However, during the struggle, the key to the gate is broken in the lock. She can’t escape.
Meanwhile, Quinn’s men launch themselves down a large shaft which leads to a tunnel to Ryder’s mansion. Gabriel, one of Quinn’s Clippers, has infiltrated Ryder’s household as a servant. Gabriel kills the man guarding the underground gate and unlocks it for Quinn and his Clippers.
Above ground at the Conclave, Waldo gives the Widow advice. He tells her she must be fearless when she enters the room with the other Barons. Waldo also advises her to gain the vote of Baron Chau. The Widow meets privately with Baron Chau. Chau tells The Widow that she is not concerned about business but she is concerned that her vision of a world goes against the current order. Chau says she will support The Widow if she swears to stop sheltering the runaway cogs.
The Conclave is convened. The Widow offers to make a concession. She agrees to not shelter anymore runaway cogs in the future but she insists on keeping those whom she has already sheltered. Ryder refuses her offer and launches into a blistering diatribe against The Widow. He calls for a vote to strip her of her lands and power.
All of the Barons vote against The Widow except Baron Rojas. Baron Chau goes back on her word and does not support The Widow. The Widow is given 48 hours to leave the Badlands. The Widow tells the Barons her lands and power will be taken over her dead body. Waldo tries to calm the situation but Ryder tells The Widow that they can make that happen now. As they prepare to fight, The Widow stops them. She explains that she instructed her Butterflies to kill their families if she does not return. Brava Minerva! Quinn and his Clippers choose this moment to enter.
All of the Barons are shocked to see Quinn. None of them is more shocked than Ryder. Quinn tells his Clippers to kill them all while he chases a fleeing Ryder. What takes place next is a truly epic fight scene! Several Barons attack The Widow. She dispatches them with extraordinary skill. Baron Riojas escapes.
But it is the battle between The Widow and Baron Chau that is a jaw dropping spectacle. It is beautifully choreographed with beautiful and elegant moves. Even so, The Widow and Waldo are starting to lose when Tilda arrives. She kills the Clipper attempting to kill Waldo and throws The Widow a sword. The Widow kills one of the Barons as Baron Chau and the remaining Barons escape. Baron Rojas is one of the Barons to escape. The courtyard is full of dead Barons and Clippers.
Tilda showed considerable initiative by appearing at the Conclave to help The Widow. One of the former dolls, Odessa, probably convinced Tilda to disobey The Widow and go to the Conclave. Odessa is sowing discontent in a bid for power. Keep an eye on her.
Inside the mansion, Quinn is searching for Ryder. He finds Jade but lets her live. He sees Ryder running to the maze. Quinn follows him to the center of the maze where they confront each other. Quinn offers Ryder his sword to honorably kill him, yet Ryder refuses him. Quinn turns the blade on Ryder and stabs him. When Quinn asks Ryder why he did not kill him, Ryder answers with his last breath. He tells Quinn it is because he is his father. Well, it seems that Ryder really loved Quinn. As Quinn realizes the magnitude of what he has done, one of his Clippers pulls him away from his dead son. They escape as Jade finds Ryder’s body.
Back at the Abbot Monastery, MK decides to take matters into his own hands. He sneaks into the Master’s sanctum and uses one of the origami birds to put himself into a trance. In the trance, he hears his mother calling and discovers her bleeding from a stab wound. She says she forgives him. MK asks who did this. His darker self appears and answers that he should look in the mirror before he gives MK a devastating fly-kick to the chest. MK is injured in the trance and in present time. MK has his answer. He killed his mother himself in one of his rampages. This is what he has been hiding from himself.
Quinn is back and there will be war in the land. Ryder is dead and Quinn has to live with the fact that he killed his son, who apparently, loved him. The ranks of the Barons have been devastated and the remaining Barons have to deal with Quinn and The Widow. MK remembered that he killed his mother. He had a psychotic break which protected him from this knowledge. Now we understand why he was at war with himself. Will this knowledge finally push him over the edge? Veil killed a person in trying to escape Quinn. She is a healer with blood on her hands.
Quinn, Veil, and MK learned devastating things about themselves in this episode. Veil learned that she is capable of murder. MK learned that he killed his mother. Quinn learned that he most likely killed the last person in the world who loved him. Maybe ignorance truly is bliss.