Into the Badlands returns to third-season form with “Leopard Snares Rabbit”, an action-packed episode that establishes some intriguing new character dynamics and sets the show in an unpredictable direction.
After Into the Badlands essentially spent the last episode stacking dominoes, ready to be knocked down – in typically stylish fashion – as the season progresses, it returned with a vengeance this week in “Leopard Snares Rabbit”. Blood, guts, betrayals, needlessly lengthy and convoluted episode titles that mess with this site’s formatting – it’s nice to see the show back on form.
Anyway, we opened with Nathaniel Moon rolling deep with the Widow’s Butterflies on Tilda and Odessa’s band of merry thieves. Tilda apparently calls herself the “Iron Rabbit” now, which if it was established in prior episodes I definitely missed. Nonetheless, his new go-go-gadget hand proves too much for Tilda and in a typically heroic act of self-sacrifice, Odessa gets herself captured to facilitate her girlfriend’s escape.
Meanwhile, Sunny and Bajie are driving north, presumably to find the Mad Witch, but they’re hampered by the on-going war between the remaining Barons, most particularly a chokepoint known colloquially as “Sniper Alley” which is heavily guarded by Chau’s archers and their poison-tipped arrows. This is the kind of task well-suited to the best clipper in the Badlands, especially when he’s dressed in Widow blue and can helpfully impersonate a new Regent, but it’ll take him the entire episode to do come up with a plan.
A standout of “Leopard Snares Rabbit” was undoubtedly Odessa, who turned the sass up to maximum while clapped in the Widow’s chains under interrogation. Tilda and her crew were tipped off about the impending attack by a note attached to a carrier pigeon that simply read, “Get out now.” The Widow would quite like to know who sent that missive. “Could be anybody,” according to Odessa, “because nobody is buying your bullshit anymore.” That’s my girl. The Widow describes her as an “inconsequential fling” in this episode, convinced as she is that Tilda’s rebellion is just a desperate plea for her mother’s attention, so it’s nice to see Into the Badlands proving she’s anything but.
It shouldn’t come as much surprise that the sender was Lydia, which Nathaniel promptly figures out when he’s set on the trail and immediately recognises her handwriting. They had a fling once, you see, and Nathaniel decides to let her keep playing both sides rather than grassing her up, presumably in the hopes of getting to do the no-pants-dance with the Widow’s new viceroy. I wonder if there’s a gadget in his new hand for such things? No matter.
Turns out Sunny’s plan to bypass Sniper Alley with some big mirrors and an old-school bow is successful, but at a cost. There’s a bit of business with one of his recruited teammates getting shot, poisoned and eventually having her leg amputated, which she isn’t exactly thrilled about, and another sobering scene in which the sniper – a kid, really – is executed by one of the Widow’s fighters – also a kid, really – which reminds Sunny of him being a kid, too. It was all very insightful.
Speaking of kids, Tilda turned up on the Widow’s turf to bargain for Odessa’s release. She initially offers to stop raiding the Widow’s convoys, but adds that if the Widow releases M.K., she’ll re-join her ranks. But it turns out that M.K. has had quite enough of mainlining smack and slinging dick at the Widow’s concubines anyway, so he reactivates his Gift and wrecks shop, before promptly leaving with Tilda and Odessa. Kid’s living quite a life, at the moment.
This puts me in the rather unusual position of having absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I’m thankful for this. Not that Into the Badlands is a particularly predictable show, given how insane it often is, but “Leopard Snares Rabbit” introduced a lot of really compelling dynamics that I’m interested to see play out in subsequent episodes. I’ll always tune in for the fights – there were a couple of good ones here, naturally – but this season is really starting to ramp up the drama, too. I’m into it. You should be too.