Panel 1 makes sense once you understand that Bandit is pumped full of sedatives (and probably a bit exhausted on top of that). Still, it is the sort of anticlimax a writer wants to deploy carefully. It subverts expectations, but it’s definitely not comical, nor is it shifting our attention to some more important conflict. It’s just clarifying that this will be a mostly verbal fight scene. (Mostly.)

I think it’s the right call because this chapter has already contained enough (horrible) fighting for anybody. We’ve done the protagonist-on-protagonist fight scene before (arguably Byron v. Best, definitely Frigg v. Rachel) as the climax to some long-simmering conflict. The mood here is different. This is denouement.

I don’t want to get too hung up on whether Bandit’s “right,” “wrong,” or “half-right” in panels 3-5. Both she and Syr’Nj are working off limited information here, and when it comes to the Cultists, they always have been, always will be. Are the people who set Byron up as a “carrier” like this still alive and out there? Could they do it again? Maybe! Could they do it to anyone who was infected today? Maybe! Is it thus now, based on their knowledge, a moral imperative to kill Braggadocio in order to save some other townful of innocents? Kinda depends! These would be taxing tactical and ethical questions even for people who were fresh and at their best.

But I think the phrase “without his even tryin'” is revealing. Bandit’s feelings of never being totally accepted are getting conflated with her feelings about getting killed, losing Lumberton, letting herself trust and befriend Byron, and all the rest of it. It’s not like she could produce a ranked list of anguish-sources at this point. It’s all just one goddamned gob.