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Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 episode of Into the Badlands, “Raven's Feather, Phoenix Blood” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.
Did you think I was making it all up when I said we got double the Badlands this week? You should all know you can trust me by now, because I never lie when it comes to this show. After this week, we'll be dropping back to your typical once-a-week airing, but let's just bask in all the goodness we get from back-to-back episodes for now.
Previously: A lot of ridiculously good fight choreography, and a lot of hilariously classic Bajie moments. The Widow and the Master have tentatively agreed to join forces, while Pilgrim and Sunny appear to officially be on the outs, seeing as how Sunny wound up thrown through a window and all. Oh, and Lydia did not die, but survived to see another day (and another smooch) with Moon. Be still my black heart.
As we found out last night, the Widow’s agreed to help the Master with their shared goal of taking down Pilgrim, but on one condition: she gets her gift back when all is said and done. Well, by all appearances, the Master seems inclined to give Minerva what she wants, but continues to question why the Widow needs the gift she’s so desperately seeking, especially when she already has so much strength. “The only power you trust is the kind you personally command,” the Master tells her, and dang, if that isn’t the Widow perfectly summed up in a single sentence, I don’t know what is. Without any further ado, the Master delivers a glowing tap to the Widow’s third eye — and the Widow falls unconscious.
When she wakes up, she’s in a forest somewhere, and instantly my suspicions have been raised. For one, she’s not wearing her trademark black, but a kickass set of crimson duds instead. For two, she’s surrounded by masked warriors swooping down from the trees. Oh, and for three, she’s got the gift, which means these guys are all totally screwed.But we don’t get to figure out what’s up with the Widow yet, because after the opening credits roll we pick up with Pilgrim, who’s currently intimidating one of his followers with light physical harm and threats to ensure the Meridian Chamber will be fixed from the damage Sunny caused. Equally down but not yet out is Sunny himself, who’s managed to swim to shore after his fight with Pilgrim, though he’s definitely seen better days — and there's no rest for him as more of Pilgrim’s followers are hot on his trail. After subduing one and crawling his way through a storm drain, Sunny encounters what looks like the remnants of an abandoned department store, complete with creepy mannequins, but he likely won’t have time to rest for long.
Meanwhile, Pilgrim is still having a No Good Very Bad Day, especially when he finds out that Sunny may have survived being thrown through a window (it’s Sunny, though, are we surprised?). He’s so mad, in fact, that he almost kills one of his followers with a gift-driven punch — only for Nix to stop him. It’s clear she’s more and more disturbed by the path her teacher is taking, enough to stand up to him now. Cressida catches up to the young woman, asking her how she’s able to access her gift without making herself bleed, and Nix smoothly replies that she just thinks of something that cuts deeper than a knife: Pilgrim killing Castor. MK’s still devoted to the man, but Nix has come to the painful conclusion that they’re all disposable to him. Once he doesn’t have any further use for them, they’re as good as dead too. Ultimately, rather than track down Sunny to take him back to Pilgrim, she saves his life from two Harbingers instead.So, as it turns out, the Widow is having a vision, or a dream, maybe, of what it would be like to have the gift. Perhaps the Master still has more to teach her after all? The aftermath of her fight is broken by Gaius; in this version of her life, he’s her Regent, and he warns her about straying this far from the Sanctuary when the Raven has been sending assassins after her at every turn. Whoever this Raven is, they’ve been leading an uprising against the Widow, who isn’t just rocking new colors, but a new insignia. Gone is the butterfly; in its place, a scorpion. The Widow is equally surprised, and horrified, to see cogs being rounded up and branded with her symbol, and immediately rushes to the aid of one, only to find a familiar face: Tilda.
But Tilda — the real Tilda, at least — has just crossed paths with a wandering Bajie and baby Henry, and after she and Gaius bring Bajie up to speed on everything that happened between the Widow and Chau’s armies, the four realize they’re all headed in the same direction: Lydia’s camp. Once there, Bajie asks Nathaniel Moon and the Viceroy herself for a small favor: babysit Henry for a little while, because he needs to find someone who can help turn the tide in the upcoming war against Pilgrim. That is, if she doesn’t skin him first.
Back in her vision, the Widow orders Tilda to be brought to her, but the scarred and shaken cog doesn’t sense any connection between them and proceeds to attack the Widow with a knife for having killed her family. The wound that results activates the Widow’s gift, and in response, she snaps Tilda’s neck. As Gaius orders two Clippers to take the body away, the Widow tearfully insists that she was only trying to help the young woman, but Gaius assures her that this is not who she is. “You are the Scorpion,” he says. “You tamed the Badlands. You need to remember who you are.” But the Widow is growing more and more suspicious of Gaius, and her paranoia leads her toward ultimately accusing him of being the Raven’s spy — and stabbing him to death.
But, at the end of it all, the Raven is closer than the Widow realizes, as a figure approaches from the shadows. It’s her, dressed in that signature black, and it’s time for their final confrontation, the two sides of Minerva warring against one another in a fierce and furious clash of swords. What proves to be the final outcome when the Widow is only fighting herself? She’s her own worst enemy, and the only question now is which side will win out. In the end, the Widow who had the gift all along falls, as the Widow we’ve known since the beginning confronts her darker half. “For years, you’ve tried to snuff me out, afraid to be exposed for what you really are.” When the Widow wakes up back in the Master’s mirror room, she’s all alone, confronted with nothing but images of herself. Her true self.
— Henry laughing at Bajie’s antics is a pure, wonderful moment I want to live in forever, as is the scene when Tilda realizes she’s going to have to change Henry’s diaper.
— Less pure: well, I knew Pilgrim and Cressida had a uniquely close relationship, but I didn’t realize it was THAT kind of close. Oh, dear. That’s one way to boost, uh, morale.
— A dynamic I didn’t realize I needed to see more of on-screen but will never turn down, ever, is Bajie and the Widow. Emily Beecham and Nick Frost are a joy to watch on-screen, that’s for darn sure.
So, how is the Widow's vision going to shape her moving forward? And what will Nix's betrayal of Pilgrim do for that whole relationship, not to mention her safety? And how great was that Waldo callback? Feel free to share your reactions in the comments or tweet us @Syfyfangrrls. And don’t forget to check out our interview with the Widow herself, Emily Beecham, about tonight’s episode!