Woah, this turned out to be a VERY loaded episode. The first four minutes into the episode has confirmed what I’ve been thinking for some time now. In the first season, the widow mentioned that she used to be gifted like MK. In this current season, not but two episodes before this one, Baijie had mentioned that he was the mentor to a young girl that he sacrificed his gift to protect. Now, it’s confirmed. Minerva, The Widow is that young girl. I’m glad that they added this flashback sequence to add some context to the relationship between Baijie and a young widow. With so much going on, I’m dying to dissect this episode so let’s go.
We catch up with The Widow and Sunny back at her compound. Sunny questions her sincerity when it comes to wanting to change things due to her uneasy alliance with Quinn, but she assures him that it was merely a means to an end. The Widow tells Sunny that with Quinn around, no one is safe, not even Veil and Henry. As Tilda and MK enter the room, Sunny informs her that MK has lost his “gift”, and that he will need to be kept under her protection. She allows MK to stay in the mansion, and request that one of her butterflies bring Sunny a change of clothes (bye-bye bad ass white costume). Although they seemed to be hashing out the details of their current alliance, something tells me this won’t last as long as I was hoping.
When we last saw Baijie in last week’s episode, he was merely looking on as Baron Chau’s men were slaughtered by Sunny, The Widow, Tilda, and some Butterflies. We find him now overlooking The Widow’s compound from the outside trying to find his way in, going so far as to run head first into a tree. He finds his way to the main entrance, trying to talk his way inside as a cog of Baron Chau’s. This entire scene is hilarious, from the guard pointing out his weight, to his very casual but easily missed “Hey” to one of the butterflies. As I’ve said before, Nick Frost’s portrayal of Baijie really brings a lot to the show (aside from his comedic relief). He connects certain plot points and character’s together in a depth that no other character has had on the show. I really hope that he sticks around for Season 3, there are still parts of the character that have yet to be fully fleshed out.
While in the room that MK is staying in, Tilda and MK catch up on all that has changed since they last saw each other. MK confides in Tilda that he is actually happy that his gift is gone, and that it gives him the freedom to focus on finding his way home. He tells her that he intends to find it, and that he wants her to come with him. She tells him that things have changed, and that she’s met someone that makes her happy; disappointing not only MK but all of the viewers hoping that a possible MK/Tilda ship would come to fruition. Odessa, eavesdropping by the door, abruptly enters and informs Tilda that The Widow is looking for her. Tilda then introduces MK to Odessa, but upon seeing him her face contorts into an expression of fear. She nods in acknowledgement and just storms off, Tilda follows in pursuit.
After catching up with Odessa, she warns Tilda that she needs to be wary of MK. She divulges that she was a part of the same cog shipment that MK was when he lost control of his powers and killed (almost) everyone around him. This also connects to the bounty that the River King placed on MK’s head towards the end of the first season. Tilda tries to explain how his power would allow for him to lose control and not remember, but Odessa isn’t having. She pleads with Tilda to stay away from MK for her own safety. Honestly, I think this could have just been clarified by Tilda telling Odessa that she has experienced all of this first hand already but hey.
In Quinn’s underground compound, he introduces Gabriel to ice cream for the very first time, telling him that they are the only two in the army to have ever tasted it. This scene speaks volumes about how far Quinn will go to manipulate and corrupt someone to do his bidding. Hat’s off to Martin Csokas for another amazing performance as Quinn. As much as I want to see him gone for good, whenever he is on the screen he shines. Quinn tells him that he sees a lot of himself in Gabriel, a fire inside him that he once had at a younger age. Poor Gabriel, I hope that ice cream is worth it. After sending Gabriel off with a duffle bag, he is met by his new bride Veil with Henry in her arms. He questions her silence ever since the news of Sunny siding with the Widow has broken, to which she replies “Why waste my breath on a Deadman?” Sheesh, if the tension between these two wasn’t thick before, Sunny’s arrival and a quick slap from Veil definitely made it so. He orders his men to take her to the Ventilation Room, keeping Henry in his arms. Lydia looks on from the back as all of this takes place.
Back at The Widow’s compound, MK overlooks Tilda training. The Widow tells MK that they can restore each other’s gifts, but MK turns it down in pursuit of a life of peace. She tells him that by restoring each other’s gifts that they can use them to bring peace to the Badlands, to keep Tilda and everyone else safe. She respects his decision, but implores him to at least give her offer some thought before he leaves. Sunny meets up with the Widow and Tilda in the armory before they head out to get Quinn. He once again questions her motives, letting her know that there is rarely anything simple when she is involved. A scream outside draws them into the main square, where we find Gabriel holding one of the Butterflies hostage. The Widow requests that Gabriel let the woman go, his reply being slicing her throat. Gabriel proclaims that the he has a message for Sunny, from Veil. He tells Sunny that Veil and Quinn have married, and that Sunny will not be acknowledged as Henry’s father. The Widow tries to silence Gabriel by telling Sunny that this is all a ruse to turn them against each other, right before Gabriel tells Sunny that it was The Widow who traded Veil and Henry over to Quinn. Before he can get confirmation, The widow throws a star into Gabriel’s chest. Before he dies, Gabriel announces that the alliance is over just as he reveals that he was wearing an explosive vest and pulls the trigger.
In the following moments of bewilderment and bloodshed, The Widow throws another butterfly shaped throwing star at Sunny, prompting him to make a quick escape. As he is making his way out, Sunny is saved once again by good ole’ Baijie. Before leaving to save his family, Sunny tells Baijie to get MK and to meet him at the Quinn’s old compound.
As MK surveys the aftermath of the suicide bombing he is grabbed to the side by Baijie. Baijie tells MK Sunny’s plan, but also that they need to grab the book of Azra before they go. During this conversation MK discovers that the Flea that Baijie had mentioned is The Widow, as well as the compass from the Monastery having been on Baijie’s person this entire time. They decide to sneak into the Conservatory later that night, but not without Odessa hiding behind a haystack hearing every word of their plan. While they look around for the book, they are caught by The Widow and Odessa. This reunion of the Widow and Baijie goes sour, as she tells MK that Baijie will abandon him, the same way the he abandoned her. She tells Baijie that now is the time to pay up on his promise of helping her decipher what’s in the book.
After Tilda reports back that Sunny had made his escape, the Widow begins to question whether she couldn’t or wouldn’t find him. She’s been having suspicions regarding Tilda’s allegiance ever since Veil, Lydia and Henry were traded back to Quinn to form their alliance. Tilda, very uncharacteristically but understandably comes right back at the Widow by questioning whether Quinn’s paranoia has rubbed off on her. Tilda tells her that the power has gone to her head and twisted her once noble ideals. She then tells her that she should have poisoned her when Veil gave her the option to do so. Visibly torn, the Widow attacks Tilda. What follows is one of the most ferocious fights in the past two seasons. More due to the built up emotion around it than the actual fight choreography, which was incredible in its own right. Emily Beechum (The Widow) and Ally Ioannides (Tilda) really took it to another level, the emotional divide between the two looking as real as it felt. The final moments before the credits really drive the nail in the coffin that this “Mother/Daughter”, Baron/Regent relationship has crumbled.
This episode really hit it out of the park in most ways, but fell short in others. The pacing for the episode was great, although I felt the few scenes between Lydia and Veil really slowed things down. The only thing I wanted more of was to see the dynamic between the Widow and her once mentor Baijie. I want to know more of the history between the two but all that it got was one measly scene, but with everything else that happened I can forgive it. The highlight for me was the Widow/Tilda throw down. It’s a very interesting turn that I didn’t expect for the show to take, but one that I’d really like to explore more. With the Season Finale Next Sunday, I can’t wait for Sunny vs. Quinn pt. 2