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The Dead Lands S01 E07 Main

The Dead Lands - Season 1, Episode 7: “Broken Promises” TV Episode Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Premiered on Shudder

the dead lands poster large

Directed by Michael Hurst
Written by Glenn Standring
2020, 45 minutes, Not Rated
Released on February 27th, 2020

Starring:
Te Kohe Tuhaka as Waka Nuku Rau
Darneen Christian as Mehe
Richard Te Are as Tui
Vicky Haughton as Turika
Nathaniel Lees as Te Kaipō
Rob Mokaraka as Hako “the Terrifying”
Stephen Grey as Mātua aka The 1st Warrior
Ria Paki as Te Ripiripi aka The 2nd Warrior
Colm Woulfe as Tūmarō aka The 3rd Warrior

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Review:

Man, you’ve gotta love that penultimate episode of a season of engrossing TV. That’s often where the heaviest action comes into play and (in a horror series) you get your goriest gags and “Oh shit!” moments. While the word formulaic can certainly have some negative connotations, this is one time where I’m glad to say it’s a positive thing. Episode 7, entitled “Broken Promises”, isn’t breaking any promises to the faithful viewer in action or character arc.

Waka (Te Kohe Tuhaka) and Mehe (Darneen Christian) are at a personal crossroads after she realizes that he was resurrected and is, in fact, one of the dead. Their feelings must be put on hold as Waka decides to help his father, Te Kaipō (Nathaniel Lees), by defeating three legendary dead warriors who are holding the three young shamans he needs to fix the world. Meanwhile, Mehe is drawn into Te Kaipō’s world of sorcery and the secrets of the afterlife as her true purpose and power becomes clear.

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If I have a complaint after this episode, it’s that I have to wait even a day for the finale of Season One. “Broken Promises” tears right into it with an expository flashback, and then you’re off and running. Finally, we get a touching moment between Waka and Mehe, as my new favorite pair share a moment after Waka warns her to keep her distance from his father. It’s not the easiest thing to balance the action and the human drama without one overshadowing the other, as it has in some other episodes, but here it’s sublime and a joy to feel and absorb.

And that action? The fight scenes throughout the first six episodes have been well-choreographed and highly competent but not flashy. “Broken Promises” changes all that with not one…not two…but three stellar fights against legit intimidating warriors. There’s an intense and acrobatic beach fight against the tribe’s greatest warrior, Mātua (Stephen Grey; Mortal Engines), followed by a perilous challenge from the legendary liar and trickster, Te Ripiripi (Ria Paki), and concluding with the ultimate challenge from the monstrous Tūmarō (World’s Strongest Man, Colm “The Wolfman” Woulfe). All the battles are perfectly tailored to their respective warriors and contain some serious wow moments. Colm Woulfe is gigantic and truly terrifying. And, of course, the gore turns the volume up to eleven this time. It’s awesome.

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I don’t want to give it away, but this episode comes complete with a moment of humor that utterly and completely vindicates the comparisons I’ve been making between Te Kohe Tuhaka and a certain actor with a famously strong chin. You can’t miss it, and it will make you grin from ear to ear.

“Broken Promises” delivers on every front and leaves you setup for what should be one hell of a finish. It’s easily the most complete episode of the season – pacing, action, character arc, surprises, and visuals. That ending…it kind of makes me angry in the best possible way.

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Grades:

Episode: 2.5 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US

About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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