If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed I got a little dramatic with my righteous rage over last night’s episode of The 100. My bad, whatever, blame the alcohol, I was pretty drunk by the end of the ep. Now I’m sober, I’m calmer, I’ve rewatched, and I stand by all of my anger but am in a better position to explain it so let’s recap this shit (and, sadly, I do mean shit).
I am curious about the choice to jump a week before the beginning of this episode. On the one hand, I get it, Clarke is calmed down enough to think things through. On the other, it seems like a waste of some perfectly good rage built up at the end of last week’s ep. I was super looking forward to Clarke and Lexa flat out brawling and this felt a little bit like a let down (and before you rush to think that’s my shipper bias showing, I’m also hardcore rooting for Clarke and Bellamy to fight, I’m a huge believer in scream your feelings out and clear the air, it shows passion and makes for more interesting character interactions this, imo, squandered that opportunity). It comes back to show, not tell. By telling us Clarke has had a week to calm down and not showing her working through her rage, it feels flat. It makes it seem like she did an emotional 180 much faster than she actually did. As a friend said to me after the ep, this show has always been fast paced but this was too fast paced and I think that applies to the whole episode and made it a weaker storytelling beat overall.
I am glad that we got a let’s hash out what happened at Mt Weather convo at the very least. (Although, lbr, if we hadn’t had at least a token nod to that there’s no way this ship could believably sail). While I understand Lexa’s position and why she’s asking Clarke/the skaikru to join the coalition and why it’s a good idea for them to do it, Lexa telling Clarke it’s the only way she can protect Clarke’s people is a really good example of why this ship fails to hit my ship buttons. I get that Lexa cares deeply about Clarke, I would never deny that and I get that the only way she can show that and still maintain a strong face of leadership in front of her people is to line up all her political ducks, but the fact that she has to go to those lengths illustrates that as much as she wants to be and as much as she’s trying to be, she’s not in a position to put Clarke (as herself and not a figurehead/leader) first and that’s where it all falls apart for me. I generally ship ships that are on the same team and because of their positions within this world, Clarke and Lexa can never truly be a united front, they are always going to have their individual people between them. For Lexa to continue to be a good commander (and while I hate some of the decisions she’s made, I would argue that from a grounder perspective she is very, very good at her job), she will ALWAYS have to put her decisions as a leader before her decisions as a lover. We saw this in season 2 and this is just reinforcing that on a larger scale.
I gotta say, I am so glad that Clarke recognizes that for all Lexa cares about her, there’s a political component to Lexa having the Wanheda on her side that can’t be ignored. I get why she’s making the decisions she’s making and I’m glad she makes them with (at least partially) open eyes.
I did very much love the grounder politics and first look at the actual city of Polis in this episode (Indra grinning at Kane, excited to show off her city made me legit squeal with glee). The writers have been touting the expanded worldbuilding as one of the highlights of this season and I’m here for it. I do think there was a lot of wasted screen time with people trying to convince Lexa and Clarke to kill each other (though I’m less annoyed at the Clarke/Roan scene because I have already established I am pro-Clarke and Roan scenes). We already know the political advantage in the grounder world of killing the Wanheda so that didn’t need to be established. We also know there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell Lexa is actually going to decide to kill Clarke so why bother? To establish who the characters’ enemies are? We already knew the Ice Nation was no good, we could’ve reasonably assumed that Roan has a vendetta, so that just leaves Titus and honestly when has a bald advisor with religious head tattoos not been tasked with whispering nasty ideas in a leader’s ear? In addition to (and tied into) the aforementioned tell not show weak storytelling, I think this episode showed an underlying WE DON’T TRUST OUR AUDIENCE TO KEEP UP SO WE WILL EXPLICITLY LAY IT OUT attitude on the writers’ part and that is not my favorite.
I’m also a little apprehensive of where the show is going with Lexa’s arc this season. It sure as hell looks like they’re setting up a scenario where her feelings for Clarke completely undermine her authority and will therefore reinforce the ‘love is weakness’ bullshit from season 2. I don’t know about you but I vehemently hate that theme. I am all about love giving you strength and at this point that doesn’t look like the direction they’re going with this and that gives me a major sad.
I was a little confused by the sort of fight between Kane and Abby at the beginning of the ep, not what the fight was about but why the circumstances for the fight exist in the first place. I totally understand where Kane is coming from, opening up Mt Weather and moving people into it was an honest to god stupid political move and I’m genuinely not sure where Abby was supposed to have been coming from. I get using their medical facilities, she was a doctor a hell of alot longer than she was a chancellor and that was absolutely a doctor’s decision. The rest of it, what? Season 2 showed us that while she’s prone to making emotional decisions, she’s also very capable of making mediated political decisions and as Claire Legrand pointed out in conversation, she’s clearly a good chancellor off camera or Arkadia wouldn’t have flourished as much as it did over hiatus so where the fuck did this idiocy come from? Someone give me a reason because it sure as hell feels like clunky, inorganic writerly maneuvering of characters into position to make plot events happen down the road. It’s sloppy in a way I like to think the show is generally better than. Also, skipping forward to their scene in Polis when Abby tries to pass the chancellorship like it’s a hot potato (which, ???????????? seriously wtf are the writers doing with her), ‘let’s hold an election when we get back to Arkadia’ GOSH I WONDER WHO ELSE WILL RUN AND IF THAT WILL BACKFIRE HORRIBLY. On the bright side, how fucking excited is team Kabby right now? I only low key ship them and I’m excited, so I can’t imagine how over the moon y’all are.
Speaking of opening up Mt Weather, the partial adventure squad walking into a Farm Station party in the Mt Weather dining room we last saw covered in the bodies of children was chilling (ditto the moment a little later where Bellamy stood in the field of yellow flowers outside the MW door aka the field where Keenan’s (name?) burnt up and blistered body collapsed while Cage and Tsing watched and god I hated the mountain fuckers). I am 100% team Octavia on this one, gross, nope, I’m out. I’m entirely unsurprised by this development, Pike made it pretty clear last week that any empathy for people who weren’t on his team was long gone. I am mildly side-eyeing Bellamy’s apparent chill over it though. Of all people, he knows exactly what that room was the scene of and while I get that he can be pragmatic when he needs to, that seemed a little overboard.
For as much as it broke my heart, I very very much loved the scene between Octavia and Bellamy. I love how much their relationship has grown over the course of the show, I love that Bellamy has shed his overbearing obnoxiously protective brother role and can accept that Octavia is not happy and needs to leave. I love that he trusts her to be able to take care of herself and I love that he immediately reassures her that even if she has to leave Arkadia, she will always have a place with him (AND THEY HELD HAAAAAAAAAAAAANDS). It’s especially heartbreaking considering we know from the season trailer that something is coming that will destroy their relationship and I’m going to hold these precious moments close and cry over them while I brace for the explosion. (Also, lots and lots of crying over people leaving Bellamy Blake. One of the episode subthemes was ‘everyone leaves Bellamy’ which is obviously meant to show he is emotionally vulnerable and blatantly teeing up his susceptibility to Pike’s influence. I get why it’s being done but, as with basically everything else in this episode, I wish it had been done better. This episode is about as subtle as being hit in the face with a sledgehammer.)
Speaking of things I am sad about, how about Echo? I was so excited that Echo was coming back and then I had the misfortune to see an unconfirmed spoiler that ended up being true. I wish they’d gone another route and not had Echo betray Bellamy and co (seriously, dude can NOT catch a break this ep) but I get why it happened (see above about blatantly positioning Bellamy to join team Pike).
Alright, so, sibling scene aside, I’ve been kind of a downer, let’s talk about something I loved about this ep: Raven Reyes. Maybe it’s my super fan showing, maybe it’s how fucking awesome Lindsey Morgan is, but I fucking love this character and everything she does. Raven is in full Raven this ep, she’s cocky, she’s snarky, she’s generally the fucking best. In case I haven’t made that absolutely clear, I am so overjoyed that Raven is getting actual screentime this season and plot stuff that doesn’t tie into her being a love interest. Also that scene with Sinclair when he confronts her about limitations? More tears. Lindsey Morgan is amazing and that scene gave me more feelings than the rest of the episode combined. I’ve mentioned before that I’m super here for other characters looking out for Raven and I feel like this is the first time we’ve seen an in depth look at her and Sinclair and I love it. Everyone should look out for Raven, not because she needs it, Raven will handle her shit if it kills her, but because she deserves all the nice things.
Further happy stuff, Abby and Clarke gave me a lot of feelings. I wish they could’ve had more of a moment to comfort each other but I didn’t honestly expect it. This show moves fast and this episode moved faster than most.
(Oh and as long as I’m focusing on the good stuff HOW AWESOME WAS IT THAT JAHA WASN’T IN THIS EPISODE AT ALL? SO AWESOME.)
I don’t have too much to say about the summit scene. The costumes and atmosphere were gorgeous, the grounder anthem was awesome. I get that ceremony was an established procedure but I’m not going to lie, seeing Clarke Griffin on her knees hurt my heart a little (a lot). Other things that hurt a lot: Bellamy’s face when he realized Echo had set him up. Also his face when Clarke told him she was staying. I get why the plot needed these things to happen but they hurt me. Somebody give that boy a hug because he needs one.
Okay, now let’s talk about the MAJOR FUCKING SHITFEST THAT WENT DOWN THIS EPISODE. Specifically the fridging of Bellamy’s girlfriend Gina. I am so fucking mad you guys. Like legitimately disgusted and I didn’t even like Gina (I mean seriously, how could you? she had all of the characterization of paste. Pleasant paste, but still paste). From the moment Gina appeared all inoffensively bland and sans actual personality, I was afraid that this was her fate and assured myself that the show was better than that. I have never been more upset about being wrong. For a show that loves to proclaim how feminist it is, this was an incredibly shitty move that I’m honestly flabbergasted they went with. Allow me to direct you to this post which flawlessly breaks down all of the issues with how her role played out. If you don’t feel like clicking through, let me summarize, all of the impact of her death was basically already in place and if the writers had trusted their audience to know the characters and understand their motivations, they didn’t need to FUCKING FRIDGE THE POOR GIRLFRIEND. This was some amature hour misogynistic bullshit writing and I’m so fucking mad I can barely see straight. Not only that but it telegraphed Bellamy’s arc to the point where if character arcs were physical objects, you could see his from fucking space (also, sidebar, what the fuck was up with ‘yeah I did’ re: killing the grounder guards? I can see where he’ll be open to following Pike’s lead after this episode but that seemed a bit premature). It was some lazy garbage writing and I can’t wrap my head around what it’s doing in this show.
And so the stage is set for an anti-grounder coupe in Arkadia which seems a little, I don’t know, repetitious of already covered themes? Like, season one was all about the delinquents learning that not all grounders are bad and now it seems like we’re going to watch a faction of the adults learn it all over again. Up until this episode, I kept assuring myself that I could trust the writers to do something cool and unexpected with it but honestly, after this episode’s bullshit my trust level is lower than ever. I do like how they tied in Emerson and the Ice Queen reveal but honestly, by the time the show got to that bit I was so disgusted and disengaged, it didn’t really have an impact.
Before I wrap up, I want to talk a little about the episode structure. I’ve mentioned that it felt more rushed than usual which is honestly weird because looking back, the first half of the episode was kind of slow. There was a lot of set up (some, I would argue, that was recapping things already established but whatever) and then the last 15 minutes were kind of ALL THE PLOT HAPPENS AT ONCE. I feel like this episode’s story would’ve been much smoother split into two eps. My sister called me to rage after the episode and pointed out that for all Jason Rothenberg likes to compare The 100 to Game of Thrones, this episode clearly illustrated a massive failure to understand part of what makes GoT so good (my note: at story structure, I have massive problems with a lot of things about GoT). While people like to complain that episodes of GoT can seem boring since they have to visit about 40 different characters for about 5 minutes, each of those 5 minute glimpses advances the 40 stories that much further. That means when the plot kicks in and knocks all of the characters over, you care, it has an impact on all of the characters. You’re not like oh yeah that dude, totally forgot about that dude, we haven’t seen him in weeks. Last week opened up a bunch of new stories (Murphy and Emori off to have adventures, Monty reuniting with his mom which btw if she was in MW I will light shit on fire, Lincoln existing) and this episode left most of them lying in the dirt. I get that the show has a lot to accomplish in a limited amount of episodes and some sacrifices have to be made, but I also feel like good writing means that sort of stuff shouldn’t be obvious and this episode felt pretty obvious (see above comparison to sledgehammer and repeat for emphasis).
So, yeah, tl;dr, this episode was not my favorite. It felt like it dangled Clexa in a dramatic and tantalizing fashion and expected the audience to be so overwhelmed by the glory of a lead f/f ship on network television that they would ignore the weakness of the rest of the episode. As much as I am absolutely pro f/f visibility, I think using it as a shield to cover shitty storytelling is cheap and honestly, pretty gross. I know this show stumbles a lot with some of its “progressive” messaging but I honestly thought it was better than a lot of the hot garbage tossed into this episode and I’m deeply disappointed. Representation shouldn’t come at the expense of quality, no one wins in that scenario and it just hands ammunition to the assfaced shitfucks who like to say you can’t have diverse representation and quality storytelling at the same time (which is obviously not true). Here’s hoping it gets back on its feet next week.
I don’t even have a gifset to leave you with, I’m too mad and I want to forget this episode even happened.