Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 episode of Into The Badlands, “Dragonfly’s Last Dance” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.
Hi, Badlands die-hards! If you thought last week was intense, it had nothing on this week’s episode. I won’t waste too much time recapping, but here are some important details. Previously: Pilgrim finally handled the Castor problem by graciously… murdering him? So that happened. We also met Bajie’s ex-wife Lily, but it turned out that Sunny found out a bit about himself and his own history while on a quest to save baby Henry. Let’s dive back in, shall we?
There’s a Team Widow meeting happening, which currently consists of the Widow herself, Lydia, Nathaniel and Gaius (who, I guess, is not a prisoner anymore and looking rather sharp in his purple vest). The war against Chau has entered a stalemate, and both Lydia and Nathaniel are of the mind that the Widow should temporarily withdraw her armies and regroup. The Widow and Gaius, on the other hand, are voting for a surprise attack instead. Lydia tries to warn the Widow against making unnecessary sacrifices for the sake of her war, but the Widow’s mind is made up — and Nathaniel heads out to the rendezvous point, but not before he and Lydia share meaningful eye contact, of course.
There isn’t just trouble on the front lines, though, there’s trouble within too, and it’s all being led by a familiar face — Wren, the girl who lost her leg back in episode three. She’s got a new mimic limb and a band of disgruntled mutineers. “If the Widow won’t end this war, we will.” As for the Widow, she and Gaius are sharing a meaningful moment of their own over a blade (you know, as you do in the Badlands), which means they’re not anticipating an ambush from a group of former soldiers with gas bombs. They manage to fight their way through a few of the mutineers before they’re knocked unconscious.
As for Sunny, he’s enlisted the help of the River King (at sword point, technically) in order to locate Pilgrim. His directions, however, only amount to one of those fliers containing a crudely-drawn map. But Sunny’s got an ulterior motive: he wants information about Lily’s boat, the same boat he was on as a child. The same boat that mysteriously disappeared and then re-emerged three days later with everyone on board dead, save for Sunny and the captain. Said captain’s got a metal plate in his head as a result of the attack but during one of his more coherent moments, he tells Sunny that a group of men dressed in red and black armor had been looking for him. He also drops a particularly interesting factoid: Sunny has a sister who protected him that night, but he doesn’t know her name or what happened to her.
When the Widow wakes up in the same cage she’d kept M.K. once upon a time (along with Gaius), her captors, led by Wren and Arthur, casually inform her that they’ll be putting an end to the war — and her empty cause. Just then, Gaius goes for Arthur’s crossbow and takes an arrow in the shoulder for his effort. Left alone for a moment, the Widow deftly removes the arrow from Gaius’ shoulder. (If you thought I wasn’t yelling at the screen for them to kiss the entire time, you don’t know me by now.) When Wren and Arthur return, the Widow warns them that an armistice will only risk their freedoms further given Chau’s thriving cog trade.
Meanwhile, Lydia — who has managed to avoid detection by the mutineers — plays helpless just long enough to find out where the Widow and Gaius are being held. Outside the Sanctuary, Nathaniel has already been clued into the mutiny and heads to the refugee camp to enlist help from none other than Tilda. When Lydia’s snatched up by a few mutineers, she manages to convince them that she should be the one delivering the armistice document to Chau. Before she leaves, the Widow advises Lydia to “take the high road trail.”
Pilgrim’s group conducts a funeral for Castor. It’s a beautiful ceremony, complete with burning swords and a funeral pyre — but afterward, Nix is left particularly unsettled. She’d dressed Castor’s body for burial and noted the bruises around his neck. When she confronts Pilgrim about it, he reminds her of the importance of their work and relying on one another. It’s a moment that is underscored tremendously by the fear in Nix’s eyes when Pilgrim takes hold of her face. She doesn’t believe him; more importantly, she doesn’t trust him. Who she can trust, at least for now, is MK, who says he can train her to use her gift without having to cut herself.
While Sunny’s trying to decipher more about his past, Bajie and Lily are babysitting — and attempting to fix the boat, which took a beating in last week's episode. Talking about baby Henry leads into Bajie considering what it would’ve been like if he and Lily had had a little “sh*t machine” of their own, and then that leads into a big-time makeout sesh. Just when things are starting to get hot and heavy, they jostle the fuel line enough to start it up again, and Lily heads above deck while Bajie’s left… a little less than satisfied.
Reunited outside the Sanctuary, Lydia, Nathaniel, and Tilda weigh their best options for getting back inside. When Lydia makes note of the “high road,” Tilda remembers that it used to be what the Widow’s Butterflies utilized to sneak out of the Sanctuary at night under the Widow’s nose — or so they thought. For a moment, Lydia considers no action at all, letting the coup against the Widow run its course. But Nathaniel’s honor won’t let him sit by when he knows he can do something to help his Baron.
When Lydia doesn’t return in the allotted time, Wren makes good on her earlier threat to start killing hostages. But the Widow isn’t going to let that loss get under her skin without fighting back, and when Arthur comes up to gloat she stabs him through the neck with the arrow she’d pulled from Gaius’ shoulder. Now freed, the Widow and Gaius battle their way through their captors as long as they’re able before they’re quickly outnumbered — or so they think. The cavalry’s here! Or, more accurately, Tilda and Nathaniel are here, and after some much-needed reinforcements the Widow quickly has Wren and her mutineers surrounded.
The men from Sunny’s past have shown up to claim him, each of them wearing red and black armor with that mysterious lotus symbol engraved on the chest. But we know our favorite former Clipper isn’t going to go down without a fight. Only Sunny could turn a ladder into a weapon and a shield at the same time. With the last of the group down for the count, Sunny demands an explanation for who they are — but the man pricks his hand on a needle attached to his belt, poisoning himself before he has to answer any questions. Bajie catches the River King trying to make a quick getaway, and he gives Sunny their name: Black Lotus. “Now they know you’re alive, they won’t stop hunting you.” But Sunny is done with the River King’s manipulations, and makes quick work of his long-time enemy with a narwhal tusk. Back on the boat, Bajie makes a plea to Lily to come with them, but as far as his ex-wife is concerned it’s goodbye for now. Besides, there’s need for a River Queen now…
Wren and the mutineers have been sentenced to death by firing squad for their treason, and the Widow quietly thanks Lydia for her allegiance. “I always stand where I’m most useful,” she replies. “And right now that’s by your side.” Wren, meanwhile, is ready to stare down death without flinching. “I knew how this could end,” she tells the Widow, but makes one final request. “Be the leader that you promised to be. End this war once and for all.”
I know I say this a lot, but this may have been one of my favorite episodes of Badlands this season. The war is taking its toll on everyone. Who knows what the cost will be next week? Feel free to share your reactions in the comments or tweet us @Syfyfangrrls. And don’t forget to check out our interview with Orla Brady about tonight’s episode!