Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 episode of Into The Badlands, “Moon Rises, Raven Seeks” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.
Hey, Badlands fans! If you’re anything like me, this week’s episode absolutely had you reeling (especially after that final scene). But I don’t want to waste any time getting to the goods of what happened, so let’s dive in, shall we?
Previously: The biggest bombshell of all, really, is that Henry has the gift! That definitely implies that Sunny’s ties to Azra are deeper than anyone realized. His and Sunny’s lives are in even more danger now that the Widow and Nathaniel Moon have joined forces, but with the arrival of a newcomer named Pilgrim and his acolytes, this situation in the Badlands is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Then again: has it ever really gotten better for anyone?
After successfully (and brutally, I might add) cutting a swath through Baron Chau’s Clippers, Pilgrim and his followers are on their merry way to their desired destination—but then Nix, one of Pilgrim’s soldiers, alerts him to a problem. It’s Castor, whose veins are looking a little too dark. Apparently, he’s been sick in some way for a while now—and if Nix is to be believed, he’s getting worse—but Castor insists he just needs some more rest. Pilgrim assures the young man that he doesn’t have to prove his strength, but also slips in a side remark about how his gift is only being used for the “greater good.” As it turns out, the group has already reached the place they’re looking for: the First Temple of Azra, perched on a small island a short distance away. “This is where you will build our new kingdom,” Cressida promises Pilgrim.
After the opening credits, we pick up at the Widow’s Sanctuary. Nathaniel Moon is sporting some fancy blue duds as her Regent, and the Widow has one more finishing touch to add to the ensemble: a finely crafted metal hand, the best mimic in the Badlands. Not only does it contain a blade that can be activated with a flex of the fingers, but there are darts in the knuckles. Nathaniel looks like he can’t wait to test out his new appendage—which is fortunate since M.K. has just come downstairs to whine about his opium being taken away from him.
When the Widow suggests that Nathaniel begin training M.K. to get him back into fighting shape, he scoffs at the idea and suggests one of his own: if he kills Nathaniel in combat, he gets his opium back. The fight is on! The revelation that M.K. once rolled with Sunny is a prickly thorn in Nathaniel’s side, and the opportunity to wipe the floor with Sunny’s former sidekick is too good to turn down. To be honest, M.K. should’ve realized he was outmatched when Nathaniel chose to do battle almost entirely with his one metal hand against M.K.’s blade, but I guess going through withdrawal has inflated his self-confidence. Once M.K.’s on the floor under Nathaniel’s boot, the lesson is over. “It’s time for your nap,” Nathaniel says and knocks him unconscious.
At the refugee camp, Sunny’s still trying to wrap his head around the fact that Henry has the gift. According to Bajie, it’s passed down through the parents—and since Veil never appeared to have it, all signs point to Sunny. The Master’s name gets bandied about as someone who could have answers, but Bajie warns Sunny that if she gets her hands on Henry he will never see his son again. That’s when Lydia recalls a former Master who was exiled from the monastery, known as Ankara the Mad Witch. After digging out her late father’s journals, Lydia unearths Ankara’s last location: Vulture’s Peak. Bajie admits to knowing how to get there but warns Sunny that they’ll have to cut right through the front lines of the war currently happening in the Badlands. Sunny’s insistent, and Bajie acquiesces—but he’s going to need a drink first to deal with the idea of seeing his first Master(!).
Pilgrim’s group has made their way across the water to the temple, but their findings within—an old museum, with dinosaur skeletons and artifacts preserved in glass displays—are a bit more uninspired than some followers anticipated after traveling thousands of miles. Disappointed grumblings within the group prompt Cressida to pull Pilgrim aside and urge him to “make an example of the unbelievers.” He calls everyone together and asks the doubters to step forward. “If I have led you to a place of doubt, then it’s my own conviction that needs testing,” Pilgrim says, blindfolding himself and issuing a challenge to them to draw their weapons. What will win out: their swords, or his blind faith? I think you can see where this is going. Given how easily Pilgrim dispatches his opponents, is it possible he has the gift? His eyes are covered, so at this point, it’s hard to be sure.
Sunny and Bajie are still debating whether or not to head out in search of Ankara when Sunny pulls out a dagger on someone approaching. It’s Tilda, and considering that she sold out Veil to Quinn last season Sunny’s response at seeing her is at least partially merited. Bajie’s quick to insist that Tilda doesn’t work for the Widow anymore, and Tilda admits she should’ve stood up to her sooner. “Veil deserved better,” she adds, joining a chorus of people watching at home.
Eventually, Sunny stands down, but only because a bigger threat has arrived: Nathaniel, with a small group of the Widow’s fighters in tow. Sunny can’t simply slip away, though. Lydia has Henry, and Nathaniel has just approached her to discuss why he’s there: to apprehend the Iron Rabbit. Sunny prepares to make a move against his enemy—but then Tilda steps in, disguised as one of the refugee camp’s war orphans, and allows Lydia to pass Henry off to her instead. Smoothly, Lydia suggests to Nathaniel that she discuss the issue with the Widow in person and leads the Regent away, but not before issuing a directive to Tilda: “Do not fight. Do not follow.”
Pilgrim is still having doubts of his own. After eavesdropping on a conversation between Nix and Castor, he seeks out Cressida to confess that the Temple isn’t what he’d hoped for. She reminds him that they've been led here as a result of the Catalyst's (Bajie, perhaps?) signal, so it’s clearly where they’re meant to be. Pilgrim admits his troubles are mostly centered with Castor's poor health, but according to Cressida: “black-eyed ones don’t have long lives.” Pilgrim’s attachment to the boy could be a problem, but the priestess takes the reassuring route. They’re going to perform the Sacrament under the full moon tonight in the hopes of getting some answers. “Your people believe in you,” Cressida says. “Now I need you to believe in me.”
M.K.’s talked one of the Widow’s Butterflies into smuggling him some drugs—harder stuff too, by the looks of it. As soon as he administers it, he’s confronted by a vision of another M.K. with black eyes: the side of him that has the gift, the one that’s trapped inside all because M.K.’s still convinced he killed his mother. But that’s not the truth after all, according to Black-Eyed M.K. The reality is much harsher. It was Quinn’s Clippers who invaded the camp where M.K. and his mother were living—and it was Sunny who killed M.K.’s mother after all. Confronted with that brutal truth, M.K. closes his eyes—and when he opens them, they’ve gone black, his gift activated once more. Outside of his own mind, however, the drugs he’s taken are so strong that he won’t wake up.
As Lydia prepares to meet with the Widow, she and Nathaniel have a moment to catch up, and this is where things get really intriguing. Not only do Lydia and this former Clipper have a past, but it’s a romantic past at that—one in which Nathaniel apparently tried to convince Lydia to run away with him while she was married to Quinn! The possibilities of love stories for both Lydia and the Widow this season have been previously hinted at, so it’s nice to see the beginnings of that stirring already. When the two women finally get to talking face-to-face, we discover that the Widow doesn’t have any inkling of the Iron Rabbit’s true identity. She thinks the thief troubling her is a man, not her estranged daughter! But she makes an offer to Lydia: hand over the Iron Rabbit, and she’ll appoint Lydia a position as viceroy in charge of Quinn’s old fort. It might be hard for Lydia to hold up her end of the bargain—if she agrees to it, that is—because Tilda’s already making a deal of her own to go north with Sunny, Henry and Bajie.
Back at the Temple, we witness the “Sacrament” Cressida alluded to earlier—and, to put it lightly, things get intense. I’m not especially squeamish, but even I had to look away at times when Pilgrim shoved those giant hooks under Cressida’s skin, using his strength to haul her into the air. The suspension is intended to trigger a vision, and it appears to work. “Tell me what you see,” Pilgrim says. “I see… everything,” is Cressida’s breathless reply.
What a way to end that episode, huh? Do you think M.K.’s vision about Sunny is actually what happened? And what do you think will happen now that Tilda has chosen to join Sunny on his journey? Feel free to share your reactions in the comments or tweet us @Syfyfangrrls. And don’t forget to check out our interview with Pilgrim himself, Babou Ceesay, about tonight’s episode!