Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 episode of Into The Badlands, “Black Wind Howls” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.
Hey, Badlands fanatics! We took a bit of a break there last week (and it didn’t fully feel like Murder Lady Sunday without this show), but we’re back!
Previously: There are definitely some things to be excited about (I see you, potential Widow/Gaius romance), there are a lot of other things that are less exciting. Like the fact that Pilgrim might be issuing in a new age of “blood and chaos.” NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS.
After leaving Ankara and Vulture’s Peak, Sunny and Bajie are on the road again — this time, to locate a smuggler friend of Bajie’s living in a small fishing village called Black Wind. Said friend will presumably take them to the temple Pilgrim and his crew are shacked up in. Bajie’s pretty content to eat some jellied eel and reminisce about the last time he was here, but his smuggler friend — who turns out to be Lily, HIS EX-WIFE — is less happy about their reunion. When we first meet Lily, she’s playing a more extreme version of a drinking game mixed with some kind of bladed roulette wheel. She's like the Badlands version of Marion Ravenwood. I love her already.
Of course, Lily gets accused of cheating, and of course, Bajie comes to her rescue while Sunny parks it at the bar and enjoys a few shots. This is what happens when you tell Sunny to let you do all the talking, Bajie! Eventually, our favorite former Clipper enters the fray, but all I kept thinking while watching this fight scene is that he has a baby on his back. Remarkably, Henry never falls out. Maybe that’s part of his gift. Anyway, at one point Bajie uses a big squid as a pair of nunchucks and it is hilariously funny. Who knew seafood could be this versatile?
After the opening credits, Tilda and Odessa have made their way back to Lydia’s after that fight at the refugee camp, and Odessa’s feeling particularly snarky towards the older woman for leaving the refugee camp in order to sit pretty, but Lydia has a long-term plan, of course, one that involves giving people control of their own lands after the war. In the meantime, she imparts an important reminder to the young women: “We work together or we die.” Odessa confesses something to Tilda once they’re alone, though: she’s done fighting. But Tilda’s not close to giving up yet, especially not for those who can’t fight for themselves, and the two realize they may be at an impasse where their relationship is concerned.
Once at sea with Lily, Sunny tries to convince her to help them by using the baby card. Henry is super cute, after all, but Lily remains immune to his charms — until Bajie presents her with the money she’d won from that drinking game earlier. She’s less than thrilled about getting paid to help them with money she won for herself to begin with, but reluctantly agrees to get them to where they need to go. But after having a few drinks and finding a lotus carved on a board inside the boat, Sunny figures out that he has a deeper connection to Lily’s boat. It’s the same one he was on as a young boy, ferried under the control of the River King.
Meanwhile, Pilgrim cleverly convinces the kidnapped refugees to help him with his construction project by telling them that they’re free to leave at any time. All seems to be going well… until one of Chau’s men arrives to tell him Castor’s been taken by the Widow. When Pilgrim confronts Cressida about Castor, she very conveniently fudges the truth and informs him that Castor chose to go. Given how sick Castor is, there’s no doubt that Cressida was trying to cut off the dead weight to make room for MK. Her duty is to Azra above everything else, but Pilgrim warns her that further disloyalty to him may have its own price.
On the outs with Odessa and with no one else to turn to, Tilda shows up at the Widow’s front door — or her front gate, more accurately. With tears in her eyes, she offers the Widow a truce. She wants to keep fighting, but she needs a powerful ally to align herself with. The Widow reaches out to touch Tilda’s cheek, but Tilda brushes her hand away. They can either be allies or enemies, but that’s it. Her mother looks at her quietly and then chooses to accept her terms. It’s a beautiful scene because they’re both saying one thing while their eyes are saying something else entirely. At this point, I think the Widow is taking what she can get in terms of her relationship with Tilda. She’d rather keep her at arm’s length than not have her at all.
With Castor as her prisoner, the Widow has a choice to make. Nathaniel suggests cutting off his head and sending it to Pilgrim — which, whoa, dude, weren’t you just deciding not to revenge-murder Sunny? Do you still have some aggression you need to work out? The Widow’s plan is a bit more delicate; she chooses to sow the seed of doubt and betrayal in Castor’s mind with regards to MK before taking him back to his master. If she destroys Pilgrim’s group from within, it’s one less enemy for her to have to worry about.
Back on the boat, Lily and Bajie are proceeding to get drunk and talk about the good ol’ days — which amounts to Lily (rightfully, I might add) giving Bajie crap for ducking out on her years ago in pursuit of an Azra-related mission. Did I mention he took all of the money they had jointly saved too? I do feel a little bad for Bajie (Nick Frost has mastered the art of the kicked-puppy face), but Lily makes some good points. I would be mad for her, but she’s plenty mad for herself.
The Widow and Pilgrim convene to make the exchange with Castor, one the Widow claims she’s doing to further prove that she’s not their enemy. Cressida especially seems skeptical, but before they part ways she indicates to the Widow that she can sense the gift somewhere deep down inside her. When she asks the Widow if she longs to have it back, Minerva turns on her heel without answering, departing with Nathaniel and Tilda in tow. For now, Pilgrim and Cressida remain convinced that she’s a believer to be converted and not an enemy, which serves her fine. If she conquers Chau’s armies to bring them under her wing, she’ll have even more men to fight Pilgrim’s dark ones with.
The River King himself has shown up to stall Sunny’s plans, clued in to their whereabouts by none other than Lily. Confronted by an old specter from his past, Sunny does what he does best: fight. With Bajie by his side, the River King’s men are soon taken out, and Sunny stares down the face of his childhood oppressor. The River King begs Sunny not to kill him. He’s going to need help if he wants to get to Pilgrim in one piece. Convenient, no? Also, are we just going to forget that Lily essentially tried to sell them off? Really? Okay, then.
At the temple, Castor looks closer to death than we’ve ever seen him. Whether it’s his gift leeching common sense from him or an echo of the Widow’s words, he lashes out at Nix and angrily draws a sword to confront MK before Pilgrim steps in to break up the fight. He orders the others to leave them alone, and with tears in his eyes, he takes Castor into an embrace, telling him stories of ancient warriors called samurai who died honorably for their cause. “You have served your master well. We will sing your praises in the halls of Azra.” And with that, Pilgrim snaps Castor’s neck, cradling the boy’s limp body in his lap.
WOW. What an ending. I’ll be the first to admit I was a little sad to see Castor go, especially thanks to the way both Babou Ceesay and Dean-Charles Chapman played that surprisingly moving scene. But I have a ton of questions! What else are we going to learn about Sunny’s childhood? And what’s to come of Tildessa now that Tilda is formally fighting at the Widow’s side? Feel free to share your reactions in the comments or tweet us @Syfyfangrrls. And don’t forget to check out our interview with Emily Beecham about tonight’s episode!