Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 episode of Into the Badlands, “Curse of the Red Rain,” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.
I spoke too soon. I always do. I was prepared to go into this week's episode with hopeful optimism as is my norm — misguided, perhaps, but optimism nonetheless. And then this show basically stabbed a giant sword through my heart when I wasn't expecting it, rendering me a helpless, hopeless mess of a human being. Was that too dramatic? Well, it's how I feel, and if you're reading this recap now then you probably know why.
Previously: Sunny has a sister! And she's not dead! As it happens, his big sis Kannin has been alive and well and in the service to the big bad Black Lotus brotherhood this whole time. All it takes is the two of them laying eyes on each other again after years apart for Kannin to realize where her loyalties truly lie, and after opening up a can of W.A. on her captor (and abuser) Magnus, she helps Sunny and Bajie escape the Black Lotus' clutches. Meanwhile, the Master has crossed over to the great beyond thanks to a sword in the back from MK (RIP, and also ugh, MK), and the Widow is preparing to rejoin her friends and take down Pilgrim once and for all.
After Cressida’s surprise visit to the Sanctuary with a list of demands for Lydia and Moon to meet ahead of Pilgrim’s arrival, the witch is back to check on their progress — and she’s not too pleased with what she finds. Sure, the Widow’s butterfly emblem has been replaced with the Azra logo and aesthetically everyone seems to have complied, but Lydia’s been dragging her heels on getting Cressida the supplies she asked for, and with good reason. Right at that moment, the Widow steps from the shadows to put a sword to Cressida’s throat. You thought she was going to let this injustice stand? Oh, and she’ll be taking Cressida prisoner because that’s what you do when someone rolls in and tries to claim your territory.
Once Cressida has been locked up, it’s time for the Widow to check back in with her people. First up is Lydia, and the two women reconnect with baby Henry looking on. The Widow passes on the info she’s learned from the Master — with Pilgrim weakened by his efforts to raise the sleepers at the monastery, the time to strike is now. She wants to make sure she has Lydia’s support, and Lydia gives it to her — but the Widow has something for her in return. When the fight is over and they’re the last ones standing, she wants Lydia to take her place. It’s an incredible evolution for that character, seeing how far Lydia has come — first Baron’s wife, now with a possible future all her own — and the image of these two women, once at odds, now clasping hands in friendship is a powerful one.
Speak of the handsome devil, he’s just arrived at the Sanctuary with Tilda and the rest of his sister’s former army, who have now pledged to fight for him and for the Widow’s cause instead. But Minerva isn’t about to confess something as, oh, MAJOR as a possible baby to him yet, no. Instead, she pulls Tilda aside for a little mother/daughter heart-to-heart, and honestly, it’s really good to see these two back together again, ready to defend each other against whatever threat comes next. The Widow asks Tilda to use her tracking skills to sneak through the woods and find out how far Pilgrim’s army’s gotten — and to take Nix with her. When Tilda protests, saying she doesn’t need the backup, the Widow gently insists that her daughter come back to her in one piece. We stan badass lady warriors with character growth!
After a brief pit stop at the burned-out monastery, Bajie realizes what we’ve all known for weeks already (I know you were dead for a second, man, but try to keep up): Pilgrim’s raised an army and he’s leading it to fight the Widow. Sunny then remembers with no small amount of alarm that his son is there, and they need to get back to the Sanctuary ASAP in order to join the fight. Kannin, who seems to know something about something, claims she can take them through a shortcut that will get them back to the others known as Dragon’s Tooth Gorge, but Bajie’s already smelling the fishiness in that promise and pulls Sunny aside to question his sister’s motives. Sunny, always more inclined to trust when it comes to family, sees no reason not to do the same in this instance, but Bajie’s concerned that his friend’s faith might be misplaced.
I’m getting the sense that it might not be a good idea to leave Cressida unsupervised, even as a prisoner, and my instincts are right on the money when she manages to cobble together enough ingredients to perform a ritual. The result? Blood rain pours from the sky, saturating the land and everyone who happens to be standing outside; it also interrupts Gaius and Minerva’s reunion convo right around the time she PROBABLY would have told him about the baby, sheesh. The spell’s effects don’t last long (and make for some pretty gnarly show visuals as a result), but when Lydia confronts Cressida about her involvement, she just feigns innocence and once again tries to persuade Lydia to join Pilgrim’s cause. Lydia’s response is to order the woman thrown in the brig.
The war is on! Pilgrim, MK and the army of dark ones are on the offensive, but the Sanctuary appears deserted with no one standing guard at the wall. As they make their way forward, the Widow appears, standing tall upon the ramparts — and Gaius and Tilda fire flaming arrows behind the group, igniting the trenches of flammable gas that have been laid as a trap. Cut off from their caravan and the remainder of their supplies, Pilgrim and the dark ones press forward, only to be subdued further by a barrage of arrows, dwindling their number even more. By this point, Pilgrim’s had enough. He runs toward the wall and propels himself in the air using the gift, giving himself the leverage he needs to confront the Widow head-on. Of course, she challenges him to be a Real Man and fight her without his ability, and from the start, it’s apparent that the two are very evenly matched. But the Widow’s only got a minute to stall him and makes her rope-bridge retreat as a truck full of explosives detonates beneath the wall itself, launching Pilgrim through the air and immolating several of his remaining followers. By the time Pilgrim staggers to his feet, he’s got enough survivors left to continue the charge forward.
Gaius and Nathaniel tell the Widow they’ve got her back; they’ll take on Pilgrim while she ushers the rest of her people to safety, while Lydia’s instructed to kill Cressida down in the brig. But we all know that Cressida is someone who really shouldn’t be underestimated, and when Lydia draws her blade, Cressida mutters some kind of chant that turns her eyes red. What?! I had a sinking feeling about Lydia ever since the beginning of this episode, if I’m being honest, and my greatest fears are confirmed when Cressida’s powers get the better of her in this fight. Stabbed with her own blade, she’s left bleeding out on the floor of the brig, but the one solace we have here is that she doesn’t die alone. After fighting Pilgrim’s dark ones, Nathaniel and Gaius also retreat for safer territory, but Nathaniel spots Cressida making her escape and immediately knows something’s happened. He rushes to the brig to find Lydia, but it’s too late. With her dying breaths, she tells him that she was wrong about everything, everything but him. “Throw your sword in the ocean, get out of the Badlands and live life in peace,” she whispers, and then kisses him for the final time before we cut to black.
— “For a warrior, hope is a double-edged sword.” “Then try not to cut yourself.” THIS is one of the many, many reasons I’m devastated about the loss of Lydia on the show, because who else but Orla Brady can deliver lines like this so flawlessly?!
— M.K. lie-bragging to one of the former sleepers about how he stabbed the Master in the front made me want to throw my remote at the screen. WHAT A LOSER.
— With that scene in mind, it was a little cathartic to see MK burned but not completely down and out after the explosion at the wall. Does this, like Two-Face, complete the final step in his villain origin story?
LYDIA NOOOOOOO. That's basically my only response to this episode, and I will be in mourning for a very long time. And I know the pain is only just beginning! Feel free to share your reactions in the comments or tweet us @Syfyfangrrls. And don’t forget to check out our interview with Eugenia Yuan about tonight’s episode!