I'll level with you: I'd been avoiding watching the mid-season finale of AMC's Into the Badlands, 'Leopard Catches Cloud', because there were so many storylines and I felt there was no way they could wrap them all up in a satisfying way. However, I finally dove in. Spoilers ahead.
Nix (Ella-Rae Smith), M.K. (Aramis Knight), and M.K.'s awful haircut discuss the ways to tap into their dark gift without cutting themselves. As they are discussing, Sunny (Daniel Wu) and Bajie (Nick Frost) arrive at Casa/Camp de Pilgrim (Babou Ceesay) and Cressida (Lorraine Toussaint). When M.K. spots the pair (technically trio, as sickly baby Henry is in tow) the reunion isn't as warm as Sunny seems to have wanted it to be. Sparks fly during their showdown, and finally with his dark powers M.K. is able to best Sunny. However, Pilgrim shows up to stop M.K. from finishing Sunny off. He clearly recognizes Sunny.
Everyone keeps calling Sunny … Sanso? Which leaves him as confused as I am. Cressida seems to find it hilarious that Bajie is the one who summoned the two of them there using the stolen compass. Pilgrim professes he can't cure the dark gift, but he can shape it, and tries to convince Sunny to join his cleansing quest.
Meanwhile The Widow (Emily Beecham) and Gaius Chau (Lewis Tan) try to plan an assault on Baron Chau (Eleanor Matsuura). They also FINALLY acknowledge the sexual tension that's been building between them all season.
A discovery is made in the giant pit that Pilgrim and Cressida have been digging in the entire time. I half expected Ivan Ooze to pop out of it (that's an O.G. Power Rangers movie reference for you younglings). Instead we get a chamber that's more Fifth Element than Power Rangers.
Speaking of sexual tension… Nathaniel Moon (Sherman Augustus) and Lydia (Orla Brady) discuss the upcoming battle. Somehow Lydia manages to turn planning a coup into flirting? I guess the couples that fight together stay together.
Bajie surprises Cressida with his ability to read the ancient scripts. His skepticism is palpable. Meanwhile M.K. finally confronts Sunny about having killed his mother and their conversation is anti-climactic. Sunny is so blinded by the situation with Henry that he is blinded to the perils Bajie warns him of. I sense an "I told you so" moment coming up.
The assault on Baron Chau's forces begins with some pretty sweet battles on horseback. This is the type of fight we expect in a finale, and to its credit Into the Badlands has always delivered on fights. It's the rest of the plot I'm worried about. Lydia almost proves to be unsentimental but rides in at the last minute to save the regent in distress.
The Widow, Gaius, and Tilda (Ally Ioannides) get ready to surprise attack Baron Chau. We discover Lydia was gravely injured on the battlefield. Is anyone important going to die this season?
Sunny completely ignores Bajie and activates the doomsday device with Pilgrim.
It's a family affair as the Chaus and the — Widows? — face off. Just when it looks like The Widow is done for (seriously, is no one going to die?) a The Master (Chipo Chung) comes out of nowhere, deflects all the arrows, and summons The Widow to a higher cause?!
Sunny is a moron and hands over his son to a total stranger while they fulfill some sort of prophecy he has zero clue as to the details about. Baby Henry goes all fully crazy dark eyed, and Pilgrim seems to siphon the dark powers off of Henry. I guess that's what one could consider a happy ending?
As predicted, 'Leopard Catches Cloud' left us with a giant case of proverbial blue balls. This season has been an insane amount of buildup, and quite frankly the payoff was subpar. There were some great fights this season, but it got bogged down in the mythology of the show.
[Correction] This episode was originally advertised as the season finale but it appears there will be more episodes this season. We sincerely hope they actually answer some questions in them…