Season 2, Episode 1
Tiger Pushes Mountain
Six months after the Season 1 finale, Sunny finds a new foe, as well as a new, unexpected ally, while M.K. learns about his gift in a mysterious place.
Sunny's voice: "Hell isn't where you go when you die. It's what you become when everything you love has been taken away."
Six months after the River King traded him as payback for not giving up M.K., Sunny – Quinn's former Regent and the Badlands' deadliest Clipper – marches along an open-faced mine while shackled to other grimy men.
The Engineer, who runs the Bordo Mines, charges the men – known as Pickers – with digging for ancient artifacts from the old world. A Picker chained to Sunny coughs blood, prompting an armored Overseer to reach for his machete. Just as he swings, Sunny kicks the machete before the "defective" worker is offed, then kicks the Overseer in the chest. The Overseer falls over and the machete lands in his back. The other Overseers spring into action and surround Sunny, who uses the wooden stock he's confined to as a blockade. He manages to break free, but two Overseers wrap whips around his feet and catch him. "If your journey has led you here, this is where it's going to end," says the Engineer. He warns that no one gets out alive then knocks out Sunny with a punch to the face.
At the Abbot Monastery – where M.K. was brought after being taken out of the Badlands – purple-robed Novices work with Abbots to practice controlling their chi-enhanced power. M.K. trains with a young Abbot named Ava, using a staff. He asks when he'll meet the Master. Ava says it'll happen when he's ready.
At Bordo, in the bunkhouse, Sunny dreams about Veil – who was left behind, pregnant with his child, in the Badlands. Bajie, a Picker shackled to Sunny, wakes him up and introduces himself. "You look like trouble," Bajie notes.
A bell goes off, signaling the start of Sunny's shift. The men grab hammers and enter the heart of the mine where they must dig forty pounds or be whipped. Bajie tells Sunny that he ended up at the mine after an opium deal went wrong. Sunny inquires about a way out, but Bajie scoffs at the idea and advises Sunny to "start digging."
That night, M.K. lies awake in a hammock inside the Monastery's dormitory. Tate, another Novice, tells him he's a Nomad who was once worshiped for protecting his clan with his power on the edge of the Black Desert. M.K. reminds him that each cut that triggers their power brings them closer to death, but Tate suggests they're hiding like cowards and asks if M.K. has anyone "out there" he cares for. Suddenly, M.K. walks out.
M.K. roams the Monastery and enters a chamber where he finds the compass that belonged to Sunny. A woman holding a broom appears and M.K. asks about the compass then demands to see the Master. The woman tosses her broom at M.K. with superhuman force and M.K. flies across the room. M.K. realizes she's the Master and asks for assistance with controlling his power. "There are people who need my help," he says. The Master knows M.K. plans to escape to Azra with Sunny and Tilda, and says he can leave if he can get past an origami bird without unleashing his gift. She hurls the paper bird towards him and it cuts his cheek, triggering his transformation. M.K. launches himself at the Master, but she calmly puts up her palm to stop his punch. She then shuts down his power by delivering quick hits to acupressure points. "You still have many miles to go," she tells him. After M.K. leaves, the Master painfully pushes a broken bone back into place in the arm she used to stop M.K.'s punch. She then uses her powers to heal herself.
At Bordo, Bajie notices the tattoos on Sunny's back that mark his kills and knows he's a Clipper. Sunny grabs him by the throat, but Bajie promises to keep Sunny's secret.
Inside the bunkhouse, Sunny and Bajie eat slop, and Sunny asks Bajie what he's heard about the state of the Badlands. Bajie says the Barons are scrambling for power and Nomads are running wild. "Chaos leads to new opportunities," Bajie adds. Over a loud speaker, the Engineer announces it's time for fight night.
In the fighting pit, Overseers bet on Pickers who haven't made their digging quotas to battle a burly man named Mouse, who has killed all of his opponents. The Pickers cheer as Mouse crushes a Picker's head. Sunny tells Bajie he needs a map of the mines.
Ryder rummages through his old nursery at the plantation house that belonged to his father, Quinn. He admits to Jade that moving to the Baron Jacobee's mansion won't erase his unfavorable memories of Quinn. Jade reminds Ryder that he is the Baron now, in control of three territories, and "that night changed everything." She insists everyone believes Ryder killed Quinn and Jacobee. Cormac, Ryder's Regent, fetches Ryder to handle business at the oil refinery. Ryder refers to Jade as the "Baroness" and brings her along.
Out at the oil fields – which Quinn raided from the Widow – Ryder's armadillo flag flies high. Tilda, the Widow's daughter who's now clad in a black suit instead of a Butterfly uniform, sneaks up on one of Ryder's patrolling Clippers and stabs him in the neck.
Meanwhile, Ryder converses with an engineer about a decline in oil production. The engineer blames it on worker Cogs who are running away to the Widow's Sanctuary for safe refuge. Ryder stiffens at the Widow's name and Jade takes over to suggest making a new deal with Baron Chau for fresh Cogs. The Widow, who's hiding up above, signals Tilda to launch a grenade dart. Oil barrels burst into flames as Ryder's Clippers take him to safety. The Widow, Tilda and their army of Butterflies swoop in and attack the remaining Clippers.
Cormac runs off with Jade to protect her. The Widow pursues them, taking out all Clippers in her way, and keeps her eyes on Jade. Cormac gets Jade to a rooftop and stays behind. The Widow mercilessly slices through Cormac's body with two blades then hacks off his head.
On the roof, the Widow hurls a pair of throwing stars at the final group of Clippers who are protecting Jade, killing them all in one swift move. She corners Jade, puts a dagger to her throat and instructs her to deliver a message to Ryder: "I've reclaimed my oil fields. If he tries to take them back, there will be blood." She cuts the rope that holds Ryder's armadillo sign, then walks off, leaving Jade unharmed.
The next day, at Bordo, Bajie hands Sunny a hand-drawn map he got from another Picker. Sunny gives his haul away to another Picker, and Bajie realizes he wants to purposely get thrown in the fighting pit so he can escape. Bajie suggests Sunny take him along, but Sunny refuses. A female Picker finds a gold wedding ring while digging, but Bajie punches her and takes it. An Overseer unshackles him so Bajie can take the ring to the Engineer.
Bajie is granted a 24-hour reprieve from mining duties for the ring, but he tells the Engineer he has a "greater prize."
At her Sanctuary, the Widow holds a locket with a photograph of a young boy. Tilda walks in with news that their numbers are growing even more, after their stunt at the refinery. The Widow mentions a "storm" coming and hopes she's a worthy leader, but remains pleased Tilda is her Regent now. "If I gained the world and lost you, that would be the real tragedy," the Widow says.
In the courtyard outside the Sanctuary, refugees receive medical attention. Tilda introduces the Widow to Odessa, who was kept as a Doll – a prostitute – at the refinery. The Widow hopes the crowd will stay for her movement. "My dream is that one day there will be no Cog, Clipper, Doll or Baron. Only free women and men deciding the course of their own futures," she says. Treme, an armadillo Clipper, declares the Widow will fall soon enough and freely leaves the Sanctuary.
At the Monastery, M.K. confronts Ava about sharing their personal conversations with the Master. Ava insists it was her job. The Master appears and plans to takeover M.K.'s training. She asks M.K. if he's ready for "the hard part."
Tilda tracks down Treme and his group of armadillo Clippers in the woods and confronts them for violating the Dolls at the refinery. She thrusts a dagger into his throat and signals the Butterflies to kill the others.
At Bordo, the Engineer calls Sunny a "celebrated killer" and announces Bajie traded Sunny's freedom for his own. "I saw an opportunity," Bajie says. Sunny curses him and is dragged off by two Overseers.
At an abandoned barbershop inside a subway station, a man brings a newborn baby over to Veil, who has just given birth. It's Quinn, alive and well. "It's a boy," he says.