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Exclusive: Into the Badlands' Ally Ioannides discusses Tilda's evolution in 'Black Lotus, White Rose'
The shocks and twists are far from over on Into the Badlands, and tonight's episode proved that the show is still more than capable of surprising us at every turn — both when it comes to those characters who have been spared (for now) and those we have to say goodbye to as they go quietly into the night. We've lost some more characters this week (RIP Master and Ankara), but we've also gained some new allies (hi, Kannin!).
One character who has remained strong throughout it all, though, is former-cog-once-Butterfly-turned-Iron-Rabbit-and-now-lethal-warrior Tilda (Ally Ioannides), who has persisted in her survival in spite of all the Badlands continues to throw her way and proving that she remains as badass as ever. But what lies ahead for her now that she and the Widow have been reunited? SYFY FANGRRLS spoke with Ioannides ahead of tonight's episode about Tilda's evolution, her new friendship with Gaius, and whether we can look forward to the rekindling of any Tildessa romance by the end of the series.
One of the new pairings that has experienced some surprising growth even just over the course of this half of the season is Tilda and Gaius. I spoke with Lewis Tan about it last week, but what’s your take on these two and how they’ve managed to bond throughout these last few episodes?
I think that it’s an extremely authentic relationship in that they don’t have a lot in common at all at first. It seems like these two random people who are linked together by the Widow, but then as they start their journey they’re thrown into these crazy situations that really bond them and test who they actually are. In the Badlands, people aren’t defined by what they say, they’re defined by what they do. They’re defined by their actions, their character. If you’re saving someone’s life, if you’re taking the burden of killing someone’s mother off of them, that’s everything.
Even though they might not seem like they’re that close, whenever they’re tested they both really do care about each other and look out for each other. It makes sense, because they actually do have very similar backstories. It’s really special that they found each other through the Widow.
Tilda had a bit of a rough time in last week’s episode after being captured and tortured by Chau, but she was able to endure throughout it all. It’s kind of a testament to how far she’s come since the beginning of the show. What’s it been like for you to explore that evolution for her character?
It’s been really interesting. For me, it feels a lot different than it looks [with her] because she’s so close to me. I’ve been playing her since I was 16, and now I’m 21, and it’s kind of like she’s been evolving with me. Her arc makes a lot of sense in the way that she was really questioning things in Season 1 and 2, but it was more of an internal struggle. Then, at the beginning of Season 3, it was a lot of external rebellion, this “Look at me, look what I’m doing” act more for show, and now she has a really interesting balance of what’s going on internally versus externally.
She’s also taking more action, which I think is something that anyone does as they mature. It’s just more insane because it’s in the Badlands, so taking action means killing people. [laughs] But yeah, she’s really taking ownership of herself in a very humble way.Now that Tilda and the Widow are reunited, it feels like they might be on a path towards reconciliation after being at odds for so long. What does the status of that relationship look like heading toward the end of the season?
I just really love where the Widow and Tilda’s relationship has gone. I think it’s been so incredibly real. When you think about Season 1, it was essentially a girl who was being controlled by someone and forced to kill people against her will, and it was a really intense relationship. Obviously, they kind of drifted apart and Tilda was rebelling a lot, but now they don’t have to sit down and talk about it. In Season 1 and 2, it was a lot of the Widow being like, “You’re my favorite, you’re my little baby,” and now they don’t have to do that because it’s more of a real relationship. They’re saving each other all the time, they’re fighting this war together; they don’t have to sit down and talk about it because they’re proving it, and now everything is so solid that a smile is all Tilda needs to know they’re on the same side, that they’re working towards the same thing. They also really don’t have time to talk, because they’re trying to save the world. [laughs]
That’s what this is all coming down to, which I find so fascinating. Tilda has to make this insane choice of “Do I save the world or do I not?” She has really strong morals, and she cares about the future of the world, and she’s always gonna choose that, you know? She’s a hero.
Obviously, Tilda’s going to have her own role to play in the big war that’s coming. Everyone seems to have something they’re fighting for, so what’s her personal stake in this battle?
Tilda has always really cared about the fate of the Badlands and the less fortunate, even in how much she cared for MK and empathized with the burden of the gift. Then, when she was with the refugees, she just wanted to make sure those people were okay. She wants a world where there isn’t so much suffering and inequality. She was a slave before the Widow saved her, and she knows what that’s like, and she doesn’t want a world where there’s so much struggle for some people, especially when it’s out of their control or they were born into it.
I think that’s something really special that Tilda has always had, and now her morals are really being tested. She could go off with Odessa or she could go off with the Iron Rabbits again. There are so many choices that she could make, but she knows what it’s like to not be on top, and even though now she’s worked her way up in the ranks she really does still empathize with the underdogs, and she’s always gonna fight for that. I think she would put that above her own life, honestly.
I’ve got to ask about the state of Tildessa, because that’s a ship that fans absolutely love. Are we going to see any reunion there leading up to the final fight, or any hint at a possible rekindling of that romance?
I absolutely love Tilda and Odessa. It was so much fun to shoot all of that. I think that it's such an interesting relationship, and I love how it was handled in such an organic way. You know, Tilda had a crush on MK, but now she really likes this girl, and this girl likes her. It was always nice and never too explained.
I don't think I can say anything, but I think that everyone should just keep watching the show. There's just a lot that happens in these last few episodes. It's crazy as I'm thinking about it. It's really getting to the end, and there's so much that hasn't happened yet, like so much. [laughs] I would just encourage people to keep watching, and yeah. We'll see.
Check out a sneak peek of next week's episode, "Curse of the Red Rain," below, airing Monday, April 23, at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.