‘Into the Badlands’ 3×01 ‘Enter the Phoenix’ recap & review

Daniel Wu as Sunny – Into the Badlands _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan/AMC

*This article contains spoilers to tonight’s episode. Please be advised*


The Widow recaps the season with her war against the other barons – six barons total and now only two barons left – The Widow and Baron Chau. We see a war between the two armies. There is one butterfly who is dominating the battlefield until she is killed by a parade of arrows.

We then see a horse galloping on the beach with a rider – who happens to be the Widow- heading towards a secluded tower with sword gravestones. She hears another person in the area and tells them to show themselves. It’s Nathaniel Moon, now with a claw for a hand. The Widow has been looking for him all along. We find out that Moon was the Widow’s deceased husband’s regent and she would like to recruit him as her regent. Moon refuses which leads to an epic battle between the two. After the Widow bests Moon, she offers him exactly what he wanted – Sunny. He agrees.

We then see Sunny in the forest hunting. He spots a deer and aims his arrow at it until he sees the deer’s fawn follow behind. He puts his arrow away. We then hear baby Henry cooing strapped behind Sunny. We see a tender moment between father and son at the creek.

Meanwhile, a truck from the Widow’s fort is traveling on the road. They are stopped by brightly clothed warriors, who call themselves the Iron Rabbits, who easily take them down. One of the warriors reveal herself and we see it’s Tilda. She and her team, which includes Odessa, proceeded to kill them all. As Tilda attacks one and falls into the truck, she sees Bajie. Bajie has once again become a prisoner to the Widow, while Tilda has become a thief. Together, they are able to take down the Widow’s men and escape.

While at Quinn’s old fort, which the Widow has now taken over, she and Moon discuss their strategy on taking down Baron Chau. She then takes him to her fort where she visits a caged up M.K., who seems to be addicted to opium and threesomes. He looks upset and seems to be working with the Widow in order for him to get his powers back. The Widow tells him they will still work on it because he has nothing and no one else. M.K. is still holding out for Sunny to save him and taunts the Widow – mentioning Tilda and Waldo abandoning her.

In an abandoned RV, Sunny reads Henry a bedtime story – a book that Veil used to teach Sunny how to read. After putting Henry to bed, he begins to drink and sulk over Veil’s death. He wakes up to Henry crying and burning up with a fever. Henry’s cries bring scavengers to the RV, which Sunny takes down easily in a really cool fight scene in such a small space. Sunny finds a flyer in the pockets of a scavenger which has Sunny’s face and an award attached to it by the Widow’s fort.

Lydia is now the leader of her father’s people, the Totemists and has begun taking in refugees from the war between the barons. The Iron Rabbits (Tilda and Odessa) work for Lydia and have brought back the Widow’s shipment of supplies. Bajie and Lydia exchange quips at each other – with Bajie not trusting Lydia as she was a baroness. Lydia tells Bajie he is not welcomed and tells Tilda to hide to avoid the Widow attacking them for stealing the Widow’s prisoner. Tilda wants to attack the Widow and asks Bajie to join her to save MK. Bajie refuses to go back, even if he did promise to save MK.

Sunny and Henry travel to a home of a young couple with their own children. The wife cannot help Sunny and tell him to go to the refugee camp with healers. Sunny then accuses the husband of trying to have him murdered for the money but allows him to live because he’s a father too. Sunny takes Henry to the refugee camp’s hospital where he is tended to. The healer doesn’t know what’s wrong with Henry and has to run tests. She tells Sunny to get some food while she tends to Henry.

Meanwhile, Bajie continuously wins several games of Mah-jong and is caught cheating. The men hold onto Bajie and try to get their money back and find the Azra pocket watch. Sunny sees this and takes it back. Bajie and Sunny reacquaint themselves.

The Widow is looking over the coffins of her fallen Butterflies. The mother of one of the Butterflies blames the Widow for her daughter’s death. The Widow embraces the mother.

The healer tries to draw blood from Henry and sees a dark change happen to Henry.

Sunny updates Bajie on what happened to Veil, which Sunny still feels guilty about. They both continue to drink and Sunny tells Bajie that Henry is alive and well. Lydia interrupts them to yell at Bajie for swindling refugees and stares at Sunny. They both are then interrupted by the healer who shows Sunny that Henry’s eyes have turned black – like the monks and M.K. previously have. Henry has the power of the dark qi. Bajie tells him that Henry has the gift. Bajie has never seen it manifest in a young child before. Sunny believes all of this has to do with Azra, which Bajie calls ‘bullshit’ because he tried calling them at the tower (where we last saw him last season), but never heard from them.

We see a new group emerge from the wall from outside the Badlands. The leader – Pilgrim, who also has the Azra pocket watch, states he has arrived at the ‘promised land’ with his army. Baron Chau’s men see them enter and alert one of their bases. Pilgrim and two of his warriors – Castor and Nix – approach the fully armed base and tell them to submit themselves to his command. The army then proceeds to attack, but are easily defeated by the two warriors, who went full dark qi mode. Pilgrim then approaches the leader of the base and gives him the warning to tell the baron: “Join us or die.”

Dean-Charles Chapman as Castor, Babou Ceesay as Pilgrim, Ella-Rae Smith as Nix – Into the Badlands _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan/AMC


Just when I thought Emily Beecham could not outdo herself from the past two seasons, she has shown she is still the badass bitch from the first season we fell in love with her. Her fight choreography with Sherman Augustus, who has been promoted from recurring to series regular, was pretty epic and one that reminisces Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with all the flying and moves. It truly felt like I was watching one of the Chinese martial arts drama with their fighting style, which was amazing. Daniel Wu had previously stated that this fight between Widow and Moon was his favorite so far this season – although, he refused to mention the other fantastic fight scenes to avoid spoilers.

It’s hard to keep up with who Moon had served – he was a clipper for Quinn as well as the Widow’s deceased husband. Well, despite all the confusion, he now works for the Widow since she promised to give Moon revenge against Sunny. I feel like his addition will bring trouble to all fronts because Moon cannot be controlled. He’s a man of honor, but he wants revenge more than anything. His honor is either his death or others – there is no turning back with Moon. Hence, I feel he is a wild card this season. You just never know where his loyalties lie.

As for Sunny and his journey with Henry, I am just so in love with the baby they cast. He’s so cute! The child also brings out the paternal strength in Sunny. He is willing to brutally kill to protect his son – and that scene as brutal. Sunny did not even allow the hooligan to answer who sent them. Sunny’s kill mode comes out but is calmed down by the cries of his son. I do love this new dynamic between the two. Veil had told Sunny to teach him to be good, but maybe Henry will teach Sunny how to become that way too.

I was a bit confused on the other couple and their children. I don’t remember these people from last season at all. If he made friends with these people during his time hidden, then you could not tell. It was a bit awkward, but fortunately, we don’t see that couple again. I may have missed the mention of them, but it just came off as awkward.

After the past season had us waiting for the characters to meet again, we instantly saw the reunion of Bajie and Sunny. Frost and Wu have such great chemistry, I could see why Frost returned as his comedic, yet kick-ass partner. Bajie is truly the ying to Sunny’s yang, because with Sunny’s seriousness, we need a little comedy – even if it’s dark.

I am loving the fact that Lydia is now the leader of the totem people. She seems genuinely changed from the entire experience and actually wants to help the refugees. Her partnership with Tilda seemed inevitable. I felt like Lydia would actually be a better mother figure to Tilda than the Widow. With the loss of Ryder last season, Lydia may have found a child in Tilda. I really am looking forward to their dynamic, especially if the Widow gets involved.

I am looking forward to the addition of the new characters. Pilgrim’s two dark qi warriors – Castor and Nix – look like trouble. You can also tell they will be a force to reckon with against Sunny and, possibly, MK. It’d also be great to find out the origin of Castor and Nix. Maybe we can learn more about Azra and the powers behind it.

Into the Badlands airs Sundays on AMC.

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1849 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul