Into the Badlands returns with new characters and new discoveries

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Apr 22, 2018, 11:24 PM EDT (Updated)

Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 premiere of Into The Badlands, “Enter the Phoenix,” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.

Hey, Badlands fans! I know you’re all just as excited as I am for this show to finally return. It’s definitely been a minute since we last saw our favorite faces. Let's dive in, shall we?

Luckily for those of us with short-term memory, we have a handy recap-in-voiceover-form from none other than the Widow herself to get us up to speed on the big picture of what’s been going down in the Badlands—namely, war, and lots of it. The Widow’s armies have been cutting a swath through the land, eliminating most of her competition save for Baron Chau, who isn’t giving up her territory any time soon. Cut to a massively awesome battle sequence between Chau’s Clippers and the Widow’s Butterflies. It looks like the scope of the fighting is getting even bigger this season, and I am Here For It.

As for the Widow, she’s got plans fo her own while her armies are off fighting her war, and they involve a recruitment strategy. When she finally reaches her end destination, none other than Nathaniel Moon steps out from the shadows. The Widow isn’t the first to seek him out; others have tried and died for their troubles. He may be missing a hand, but he’s more than capable of wielding a sword with the other. A fight ensues, during which we learn two things: 1) Nathaniel was a former Clipper for the Widow’s late husband, and 2) now she wants to enlist him as her new Regent. In return, she’ll help him get revenge on the person responsible for taking his hand last season: Sunny. Methinks this alliance is going to create some problems—not just for Sunny, but for literally everyone. (Sidebar: I’m gonna need a gif of that moment when the Widow jumps up to perch on two sword hilts in freakin’ high-heeled boots. Killer.)

Meanwhile, the man of the hour has been out fending for himself out in the woods for the last six months. One sign that Sunny may have become a secret Soft Boy, though: he nearly kills a deer until he realizes its baby is tagging along. Turns out he’s in the same sitch. A gurgling sound from the pack strapped to Sunny’s back clues us in to the fact that little Henry is in tow, and both father and son are hungry. Even the strongest of former Clippers is having trouble feeding his child. (Second side observation: the baby they’re using for Henry is PRECIOUS.)

Remember when we saw Tilda and Odessa drive off into the sunset? Well, they’re still going strong, but now they’re gaming the system their way—with a GD girl gang of thieves who frequently hit up the Widow’s supply trucks to make things that much more difficult for her. However, it looks like Tilda (who’s calling herself the Iron Rabbit now) didn’t count on this particular group of trucks containing a prisoner transport—or that the prisoner in question is Bajie! Wasn’t he bleeding out last time we saw him? Now he’s sporting a pretty spiffy-looking purple suit and definitely Not Dead, so things are looking up for our resident schemer. 

Not so for M.K. Don’t let the girls in his bed fool you; he’s basically the Widow’s glorified prisoner, and judging by the scar marks on his arms there have been countless attempts made to try and re-trigger his gift with no success. M.K. seems to be coping with his captivity the only way he knows how: getting suuuuper high. But when the Widow returns to break up the party, we see her patience is starting to wane. These two know how to get in their digs at one another; the Widow insists that Sunny won’t be coming back any time soon, and M.K. counters by reminding her of Tilda’s choice to run away. They trade a few physical blows as well as verbal before the Widow leaves M.K., still locked up in his gilded cage.

Sunny and Henry take shelter in an abandoned old camper, where Sunny reads an old copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book to his son—the same book that Veil first taught him how to read. (Ugh, their love was so EPIC.) But in the morning, something’s not right. Henry’s crying, and when Sunny goes to check on him he realizes his son is burning up with fever. There are bigger problems to worry about, though, and they’re circling the camper ready to strike. Sunny takes the necessary precautions to protect his son and then proceeds to take out the three men who are there to kill him, one of them via Henry's crib which is apparently booby-trapped with spikes—you know, just in case(?!). There’s a bounty out for Sunny now, courtesy of the Widow, and he and Henry are in more danger than ever.

Bajie and Tilda’s paths converge with another’s: Lydia. She’s taken a new leadership position this season, supervising the refugee camp which is now filled to bursting. They’re having trouble meeting everyone’s needs, and when Tilda shows up with Bajie in tow Lydia’s concerned that robbing a prisoner transport will raise the Widow’s ire even more than if they had stolen a truck full of food. Tilda’s anger against her mother could put everyone in danger, Lydia warns, but Tilda’s also the only one who appears to be remotely concerned about how M.K. is doing—or where Sunny is. 

Sunny isn’t far away, as it happens; after failing to find help for Henry, he’s directed to the refugee camp and their healer. He’s a bit of a helicopter dad, so the healer tells him to get some fresh air and food while she works on figuring out what’s wrong with his son. That’s when he runs into Bajie, who’s already been told to get gone by Lydia but it seems he can’t help himself; he’s in the midst of drinking and cheating people out of their money, per usual. An angry confrontation leads to one of the other players producing the Azra compass from Bajie’s pocket, but that’s when Sunny intervenes and basically scares the men off with a fierce look. 

The two men grab a drink to catch up. Apparently Bajie believed that Veil and Sunny were off living happily ever after, but Sunny quickly disabuses him of that notion. There’s no time to wallow, though; the healer’s back with Henry in her arms, and she’s made a startling discovery. While trying to draw blood, Henry’s eyes turned black. He has the gift! But how? Bajie admits he’s never seen it manifest in a child so young before, so it could be what’s making Henry sick. Sunny’s convinced the answer might lay in Azra, but Bajie’s not so sure. If you’ll recall, he sent them that message from the tower at the end of Season 2—and according to him, he waited around for months with no reply.

But someone else has joined the party now: a mysterious man named Pilgrim. Wielding an Azra compass of his own, he and his caravan are making their way into the Badlands. Pilgrim and two of his fighters, Castor and Nix, walk on ahead from the main group, only to be stopped at one of Baron Chau’s checkpoints. Her Clippers warn them off, but Pilgrim encourages them to take the salvation he offers and “welcome your messiah.” Chau’s Clippers are unmoved by this newcomer, and that’s when Nix and Castor step up to the plate, each of them cutting themselves to activate their gift. An absolute bloodbath ensues, and by the end of it only one of Chau’s men is left (barely) alive. Pilgrim informs him that it’s his responsibility to pass on the message of what he’s witnessed today. “Tell them a reckoning has come,” he says. “Join us, or die.” 

And that’s it for Episode 301! Were you as shocked as I was by that big Henry reveal? Those new characters this season are definitely going to shake things up, huh? Feel free to share your reactions in the comments or tweet us @Syfyfangrrls. And don’t forget to check out our interview with Badlands EP Al Gough about some of tonight’s most surprising moments, as well as an exclusive clip of next week’s episode! 

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