'Dragonfly's Last Dance' is the penultimate episode of this season of Into the Badlands, and all we can say is we hope it delivers. Spoilers ahead.
This season has been building and building, and the only thing that could have been a satisfactory payoff was a battle of epic proportions.
The Widow (Emily Beecham), Nathaniel Moon (Sherman Augustus), Lydia (Orla Brady), and Gaius Chau (Lewis Tan) meet to hatch their plan to face off against Baron Chau (Eleanor Matsuura). The Widow wants to rush head first into battle, and apparently what she says goes. Lydia is full of dissent and tries to get Moon to see her logic.
Before they can get things going they fall under attack from Tilda's assassins — or are they still hers? Loyalties have flip flopped so much this season that it's been nigh impossible to keep track.
Sunny (Daniel Wu) gets a map to Pilgrim (Babou Ceesay) from the River King (Lance Nichols), but what he needs is info — not just about Pilgrim, but about his history with Lily's (Sophia Di Martino) boat. Bajie (Nick Frost) tries to use his charms to commandeer Lily's boat. We learn that there was another survivor (aside from Sunny) of the attack on the boat when he was a child. The captain at the time survived, and Sunny needs to seek out answers from him.
Moon arrives back at The Widow's now-captured sanctuary. We see the return of Wren (Tamsin Topolski) and Arthur (George Sear) lead the coup against her, demand an armistice with Baron Chau, and Gaius gets shot with an arrow. Great negotiating? If you don't remember the two of them, Wren lost her leg in the standoff with the sniper in episode 3, and Arthur murdered said sniper even when Sunny ordered him not to.
We get a funeral for Castor (Dean Charles-Chapman). While Nix (Ella-Rae Smith) looks legit broken up about it, I don't know if I can say the same for M.K. (Aramis Knight).
The River King continues to prove a the least trustworthy person on the show (and that's saying something) as he sells out Sunny's location.
Cressida (Lorraine Toussaint) also seems to have moved on from Castor's passing — Pilgrim, not so much.
The Widow tends to Gaius's injuries and receives the terms from Wren and Arthur, who clearly have no idea what they're doing. Lydia is caught in hiding and is no damsel in distress.
Moon flees to Tilda (Ally Ioannides) to enlist her help in regaining the Sanctuary and rescuing The Widow and Lydia.
Nix confronts Pilgrim about the true nature of Castor's passing (remember that whole neck-snapping incident at the end of last episode?) and seems to be questioning the entirety of his operation. However, she doesn't seem to have a ton of other options.
Sunny finds the mysterious fellow survivor of the massacre that took out his family. We learn that the assailants were dressed in red and black, and that Sunny had a sister who put up a hell of a fight. Also, the River King is in possession of a record of the other passengers of the boat that night.
Lydia once again proves herself to be on… team Lydia. She offers to help Wren and Arthur find The Widow's seal, presumably in a ploy to deliver the armistice agreement herself and escape. Or is she actually intending to end the war? The Widow looks just as confused as to Lydia's intentions as I am, but tells Lydia to take some sort of high road trail.
Bajie and Lily babysit Henry, and they're apparently the worst babysitters on the planet.
As Lydia leaves the Sanctuary, Tilda takes out her escorts, and Lydia's tune is suddenly that she wants to save The Widow. Turns out the high road is a secret entrance into the Sanctuary. Tilda leaves to rally her forces, and Lydia tries to convince Moon to sit out this battle and let the coup run its course. How does she not have whiplash from changing faces so often? Moon's honor prevents him from non-participation.
M.K. seems to have drunk the Pilgrim/Cressida Kool-Aid (also, what the hell is happening with his hair? Please, if there's a season 4, someone change this) but also offers to help teach Nix to control her gift without cutting.
Lydia's treachery (or is it?) costs several of The Widow's cogs their lives… and it also costs Arthur his life as he was taunting The Widow. We've had a lot of gross deaths this season, but an arrow through the back of the neck and through the mouth might take the cake. Gaius and The Widow escape their cage, teaming up for a delightfully choreographed wirework fight. Tilda comes to the rescue with a move stolen out of Wanted.
Here's my problem with this season. We get these random one-off conflicts that are beautifully done, but what I really want is for the storylines to converge. We only have one episode after this, and at this point there's nearly no way for them to satisfactorily meet up.
Sunny takes the passenger manifest from the River King (who keeps his word in that none of HIS men come after Sunny, but the folks in red and black who were originally pursuing him show up and show down). After some handiwork with a ladder, Sunny confronts one of the attackers, who instead of giving us answers… kills himself. REALLY, Into the Badlands? How much longer are we going to avoid giving any sort of answers? At least the River Kings tell us their name — they're called the Black Lotus. Sunny finally gets his revenge on the River Kings by ramming him through a spike.
Bajie tries to convince Lily to do more than just ferry them to near Pilgrim's fortress. She, however, has other designs and plans to take over the River Kings' territory. I'd honestly be okay if we never see Lily again. Di Martino's attempt at an American accent is painful.
Wren's final request before her execution for treason is for The Widow to be the leader she promised to be and end the war. It's a shame, because when we were first introduced to Wren she seemed like she'd have a considerable amount of potential.
Honestly, 'Dragonfly's Last Dance' felt like a filler episode, as did the last one. However, the preview for the finale of this season of Into the Badlands seems to promise us at least a confrontation between Sunny and M.K. (how much do you want to bet it ends up being diffused like the Sunny/Nathaniel Moon conflict?) and the discovery of Azra's roots — I feel like we deserved to be at that stage two episodes ago. Still, it's time to see this thing through.