The latest episode of Into the Badlands may have just revealed the real villains of the series; it's possible that the Black Lotus are Into the Badlands' true antagonists. All season long, Into the Badlands has been building up Pilgrim (Babou Ceesay) as be the greatest threat to the Badlands, but things may not be as they seem.
The Into the Badlands season 3 premiere introduced Pilgrim as the show's next major villain. Pilgrim is a survivor of the Lost City of Azra with deep ties to Sunny (Daniel Wu). Pilgrim entered the series as the respected leader of a cult-like group of refugees and has since assembled an army of followers simply by welcoming outsiders who have no other place to go. In the Into the Badlands midseason finale, Pilgrim gained the Gift by absorbing it from Sunny's son, Henry. While it's been said that the Gift isn't a weapon, Pilgrim is using it solely for the purpose of conquering others.
Though Pilgrim is becoming even more dangerous as the season goes on, Into the Badlands' latest episode, "The Boar and the Butterfly", suggests that the Black Lotus are the ones who Sunny should be concerned about the most. Toward the beginning of the episode, Sunny begins looking for Ankara, the old woman who helped him save Henry, and discovers that she was attacked by the Black Lotus. The Master (Chipo Chung) sends Widow (Emily Beecham) and Bajie (Nick Frost) to capture her before the Black Lotus gets their hands on her. Ankara tells Sunny and Nix (Ella-Rae Smith) that the Black Lotus are an "ancient cult whose sole purpose is to eradicate the Dark Gift from the face of the Earth."
A group of Black Lotus warriors, led by a new character (Francis Magee), are briefly shown looking for Ankara. Though they play a small role in "The Boar and the Butterfly", it's clear that their search for Ankara will send them on a collision course with Sunny. This isn't the first time Sunny and the Black Lotus have crossed paths either. The Black Lotus have been hunting Sunny since he was a child. They're actually the ones who drove Sunny and Pilgrim from Azra and destroyed the city. Earlier in season 3, the River King led Sunny into an ambush set by the Black Lotus.
The Widow, who recently changed her ways, has set aside her war with Baron Chau (Eleanor Matsuura) to join forces with Sunny, the Master, and Bajie against Pilgrim. However, their new mission could be delayed, or perhaps even ruined, by the arrival of the Black Lotus. It's worth noting that Pilgrim may also be on the Black Lotus' radar. Pilgrim's attempts to spread the Gift will gain their attention sooner or later. If the Black Lotus were to successfully eliminate Pilgrim, they would of course emerge as Sunny's ultimate enemy in Into the Badlands.