Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 2 episode of Into the Badlands titled "Leopard Stalks in Snow," you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.
Annnnd we're back with another episode of Into the Badlands! As Sunny slowly makes his way back toward the Badlands and his family, so too do we slowly creep toward the end of Season 2. If you're only just catching up on where we are now, feel free to check out all of our past recaps here.
Previously: Ryder (Oliver Stark) is well and truly dead at the hands of his father Quinn (Marton Csokas) but isn't above coming back to haunt dear ol' daddy as some kind of ghost-Ryder. Veil (Madeleine Mantock) makes her great escape in the aftermath of Lydia's (Orla Brady) revenge strike against Quinn for Ryder's murder, while M.K. (Aramis Knight) does the same once he learns that life with the Master (Chipo Chung) is not all it's cracked up to be. The Widow (Emily Beecham) decides to throw her lot in with Quinn rather than beg the other Barons for forgiveness. Sunny (Daniel Wu) and Bajie (Nick Frost) acquire a few new traveling companions.
Remember Lydia's plan to storm Quinn's super-sekrit-abandoned-station-hideaway at the end of last week's episode? Well, Quinn might have a tumor wreaking havoc on his brainpan, but he's no dummy, because Lydia's Clippers set off a booby trap that leaves most of them dead -- and in pieces. Lydia comes to in the aftermath of the ginormous explosion, staggering to her feet and surveying the remains of the day. It's a gorgeous cold open for its simplicity, with everything from dulled sounds to slow-mo camera work making us feel like we're the ones whose ears are still ringing. Amidst the dust and smoke, Quinn and his Loyalists emerge to finish off the Clippers who did manage to survive the initial blast -- and then he only has two words for his estranged first wife as he holds her at swordpoint: "Hello, Lydia." Dun dun duuuuuun.
Now traveling in their recently commandeered car, Sunny and Bajie are in desperate need of a healer for their two newest road trip buddies, Portia and her daughter Amelia. After stopping at an old apartment building, they encounter a group of people lounging around wearing gas masks and looking seriously drugged out. They're Gaspers, according to Bajie, and they're all getting high on the equivalent of "poor man's opium." An old man there, sans gas mask -- Doc Cloud (Peter Marinker) - is the healer, but he initially says he'll only help Sunny if he has something worth trading for until he sees who Sunny is carrying in his arms. "She told us to come here," Sunny explains, and the old man quickly ushers them inside.
Back at the station, it's safe to say the reunion between Quinn and Lydia is frosty at best. She admits that while she'd had every intention of killing him, her main reason for leading those Clippers into battle had been for the purpose of avenging her son. Their son, Quinn reminds her, because Ryder's death hurt him more than anyone else. Lydia shoots back that at least some good came from it. A part of me keeps looking around for Ghost!Ryder in this scene, if only to further emphasize the torment Quinn continues to experience.
Then again, maybe even Ghost!Ryder doesn't want to be around for what happens next: Quinn and Lydia exchange a few quick-witted jibes - she taunts him about Veil being yet another pretty young thing who's abandoned him, he counters with the fact that Lydia herself came back. "Only to put a dagger through your heart," she replies, and Quinn decides to offer her the same opportunity he'd given their son. He hands her a dagger - and where Ryder hesitated, Lydia doesn't. Did you really think Quinn was going to let himself be so easily offed, though? Nah. He lets her get as far as digging the point of the dagger into his chest -- and then there's a somewhat tension-filled moment involving a bit of bloodplay where estranged husband and wife wind up making out. I don't really know how to feel about this scene but it's clear that Quinn and Lydia's relationship isn't going to resemble anything normal.
The good news: Portia is going to be fine, in spite of the grisly knife wound Nos inflicted on her in last week's episode. Doc Cloud tells Sunny he's welcome to take anything he wants in exchange for bringing Portia back, but Sunny has a confession to make: he's the reason Portia was stabbed in the first place. If he's looking for admonishment, he's come to the wrong place. Cloud says he isn't looking to smack Sunny around for anything he's done. "Maybe you're not a good man. Maybe there are no good men, but I've seen a lot of bad ones - and trust me, son, you ain't that bad." Could it be this is one step of many Sunny is taking in the direction of forgiving himself for his past as a Clipper?
Tilda (Ally Ioannides) may be sitting comfortably in her role as the Widow's regent, but she's dealing with an unexpected variable: an unhappy Butterfly. Former doll Odessa (Maddison Jaizani) skips out on group training to request a private meeting with Tilda, and gets right to the point regarding her reasons for doing so: there are rumors swirling around that the Widow (Emily Beecham) is preparing to form an alliance with Quinn. Given that Odessa has only just escaped from being a servant on Quinn's land, she's not eager to renew ties with her former Baron. In Odessa's mind, the Widow is clearly no different from Quinn if she's teaming up with him -- but Tilda is quick to defend the woman she calls "mother," and Odessa wants to know why.
The relationship between Tilda and the Widow has been something of a mystery throughout these last 12 episodes, and now we learn its genesis. In a heartbreaking monologue, Tilda shares the darkness of her past with Odessa; as a house cog for the Widow's husband, she was subjected to repeated sexual assault and violation at the whims of the former Baron. In anticipation of yet another night of suffering, Tilda stole a knife from the kitchen and prepared to end her own life. When the Widow learned what was happening and killed her husband, she asked Tilda's forgiveness for not having done it sooner. The Widow may not be Tilda's biological mother, but Tilda calls her "mother" because of the life the older woman gave to her.
Odessa agrees to stay behind -- but she's quick to clarify that she's not doing it for the Widow. Tilda gives her a questioning look, but Odessa doesn't answer in words; she answers with a kiss. Tilda pulls away in surprise, but eventually one kiss leads to two and there's kiiiinda a makeout sesh happening until Waldo walks (or rolls?) in on them and says the Widow wants some facetime. Tilda tries to explain away the lady-kisses but Waldo doesn't really care who she's into; what she can't afford to do is let a crush cloud her judgment the way Sunny did, because it could get her killed. (Meanwhile, I'm still over here seal-clapping throughout the remainder of this scene because TILDA, MY BABY, I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU.)
A truck pulls up to the Widow's retreat containing a group of cogs seeking asylum, and Tilda recognizes a familiar face. It's Veil, who earlier in the episode had managed to escape from Declan and Quinn's other men with the help of a runaway cog. She and Tilda share a quick reunion (and an introduction to baby Henry) but Veil doesn't have a ton of time for pleasantries: she needs to talk to the Widow.
Still on the run from the Abbots at the monastery, M.K. briefly stops to do his best Bugs Bunny impersonation by digging up raw carrots to eat out of someone's garden. Naturally, he gets caught, and in the process cuts his forehead on some broken glass. As he lays on the ground bleeding freely, he realizes with horror that his dark powers could manifest at any moment - and once that happens, he might be impossible to stop. Fortunately, he's saved from a potentially disastrous situation by a conveniently-timed throwing axe, which finds its mark in the head of his attacker. But who's come to M.K.'s rescue? It's Ava (Eve Connolly)! M.K. is actually happy to see her, but she warns him that the other Abbots will be hot on their heels. Time to move! Meanwhile, M.K.'s still bleeding - but no sign of his dark abilities. Hmm…
The Widow and Waldo both assure Veil that she and Henry will be safe now - and the Widow offers Veil help in finding Sunny, but as we all know the Widow's generosity often comes with a price. You can almost see the wheels turning in the Widow's head as she directs Veil to open a drawer and retrieve a book - the cover of which depicts the mysterious city of Azra and the contents of which are written in a language no one can decipher. We've seen it back in season one, when M.K. stole it from the Widow and left it to Veil to translate - and now that the Widow has it back, she wants to use Veil for that same reason. The message of the book is not yet clear, but the Widow is convinced it could turn the tide of this war in their favor.
M.K.'s ready to stop running for a hot minute but Ava says they need to keep going; the Abbots have some kind of device that can track his gift. M.K. has the sinking suspicion that he doesn't even have a gift anymore; his face was cut but his dark power wasn't activated. Ava suspects it may have had something to do with the Master's hall o' mirrors, but at this point there's no way to tell for sure.
Those Abbots are on the move, alright, and getting closer and closer - to where Sunny and Bajie are currently hiding out. Apparently that device of theirs is going haywire somewhere in the vicinity of our dynamic duo's stomping grounds, and although Bajie manages to throw them off the scent by hiding in a bathtub they'll be back - and in greater numbers. (Aww, yeah, Star Wars reference.) Sunny remembers tangling with the Abbots in the season one finale and realizes they could be his ticket to reuniting with M.K. - but why does Bajie know so much about them? He's being particularly dodgy, even for Bajie, but Sunny can't press ahead to the Wall now - not when he has the chance to find his young friend. He snatches the car keys from Bajie's hand and drives away.
The Widow sends Quinn a note telling him to come alone and unarmed - so what does he do? Show up at her place armed to the teeth with at least ten of his men in tow. The Widow, to her credit, is just as distrusting -- she, Waldo and her Butterflies are ready and waiting for them. The Widow proposes her alliance with the ultimate goal of taking down the other Barons; Quinn appears intrigued, albeit hesitant to accept without hashing out the particulars first. Sending their backup away, Quinn counters the Widow's offer with one of his own: if she gives him Veil and Henry, he'll agree to her confederacy. The Widow balks at the idea of surrendering anyone who has requested sanctuary, but Quinn warns her not to make up her mind too quickly and saunters out. Creeper.
Hunkered down at an abandoned ski lodge, M.K. stumbles upon a tattered and torn copy of Wired magazine. There, on the cover, is a rendering of Azra -- the same city embossed on the book the Widow wants Veil to translate. In M.K.'s mind, the cover is all the evidence they need to prove that Azra exists -- and that he and Ava can get there, together. Unfortunately, the Abbots show up and put a pin in that idea -- but so does Sunny, who has tracked the Abbots to M.K.'s location.
While seeing these two reunite certainly gives me warm fuzzier, it also precipitates the beginning of this episode's epic fight scene. This week's showdown? Sunny, M.K. and Ava versus the three Abbots. Even wielding Silver Moon's sword, Sunny can only hold them off so long - and without M.K.'s dark abilities, they're severely mismatched. Sunny battles head Abbot Cyan (Cung Le), but quickly finds himself disarmed. Ava takes on two of the Abbots herself until a hard blow sends her flying across the room and impales her on a length of rebar. She summons all of her remaining energy to literally drive her fingers through an Abbot's throat before collapsing and dying in M.K.'s arms. Well, that's one way to go out…
And, in spite of their earlier argument, it looks like Bajie can't leave without driving through the wall of the ski lodge to save the day. We also learn the reason that he was so reluctant to face the Abbots: he used to be one of them. (Sunny and I are both stunned by this unanticipated reveal.) Bajie and Cyan come to blows, with Cyan chiding Bajie for getting slow right up until Bajie halts him in his tracks with some pressure-point action. Unable to move, Cyan can only stand in wait as Sunny drives Silver Moon's sword through him - but he manages to get off a few pressure points of his own, right into Sunny's chest. Sunny doesn't seem phased, because his next course of action is to slice off the side of Cyan's head. Talk about your holy s*** moment.
Veil hasn't had any more luck with translating that mysterious book -- which is a shame, because it's apparently the only reason the Widow was using to keep her around. She hasn't forgotten the time Veil tried to persuade Tilda to poison her back in season one, and she's using that as her justification for giving Veil back to Quinn. "If you really think that I'm so evil, then maybe you'll be safer with someone who truly cares about you," the Widow says, as creepy Quinn steps out of the darkness. MINERVA, HOW COULD YOU.
Sadly, M.K. doesn't get much opportunity to say goodbye to Ava; Sunny's ready to get on the road and head back to the Badlands once and for all. Turns out, however, that those pressure points Cyan powered into his chest might have had a worse effect than anyone realized. Sunny collapses onto the ground as M.K. and Bajie look helplessly on -- and that's how this week's episode comes to a close.
Holy smokes, that was a good one. Do you think Sunny's going to be okay? (Methinks he could use a healer at this point.) How will the Widow's newfound alliance with Quinn shake up the Badlands? And will Tilda get to have her some more sweet lady-kisses? Feel free to drop your theories in the comments or hit us up on Twitter @Syfyfangrrls.