I have made no secret of how much I’ve loved the shit out of 3b but a part of me was braced for the other shoe had to drop. How long was I going to be able to ride this wave of relentless awesome? It turns out the answer is right up until Join or Die.
Ironically, this is the episode featuring shiny Ark delinquent flashbacks, the long awaited Bellarke hug and also the turning point where the show stops being even remotely subtle about how head over heels Bellamy is for Clarke. Man oh man am I feeling like the ficklest of all the girls right now.
To be clear, there was some really, really great stuff in this episode. There was also some really ehhhhhh stuff. And then there was some painfully obvious stuff. I know The 100 isn’t the subtlest of shows but this episode felt extra over the top in places.
Back in Polis, shit is not good. The population has gone all Alie zombie, the streets are literally covered with blood and they brought back crucifixion for reasons (sidebar, why? Are these supposed to be people that said no to the chip? But they’re all grounders and why would a bunch of people with zero understanding of technology be all I’m good when their commander ordered them to take the chip? The ones we saw take it raised no questions they were just like okie dokie if the heda says so. I know we saw people resist Lexa’s authority but she was doing shit that they understood and didn’t agree with. Also, ice nation seems like some contrary fuckers. Ontari’s a commander of the more traditional style and she’s ice nation so that brings them into the fold. Am I thinking about this way too hard? Probably.)
Back on topic, Pike is super unimpressed. I still can’t get over how immediately and thoroughly I was on Pike’s side. Jackson pops up to play welcome wagon. The juxtaposition between his super calm and pleasant demeanor and the bloody, nailed to a cross body behind him was A+ for the welcome to horror show bizzaro land vibe. Kane is basically the walking personification of WTF?????? Jaha struts out and everyone’s like oooooooh that’s why everything’s the worst. As Ontari performs creepy zombie communion, Pike calls Jaha out on being nuttier than a bag of peanuts and I find myself cheering for Pike because this show is a total mindfuck sometimes.
Pike attempts to hold Ontari hostage and gtfo, not realizing all of his people are already team zombie (seriously why the fuck am I so emotional over Pike’s betrayed “you’re farm station!”), refuses the chip and Jaha throws him in jail. Kane also politely declines. Jaha sends him to his room and Abby wanders up like yo I got this. Dun dun duuuuuun.
Cut to ARK FLASHBACKS! Jaha, Kane and Abby call in Pike and let him in on the secret sending the delinquents to Earth plan. They want him to teach the kids Earth Skills. Sidebar, high five to the costume/make up department for appearance continuity. They even removed the highlights from Kane and Abby’s hair. Gotta say though, bearded Kane? So much better. Goateeless Jaha on the other hand is still a sanctimonious prick.
EVERYONE IS SO SHINY AND CLEAN
AND THEN ALL THE FRESH FACED BABIES FILE IN AND I AM EMOTION. There’s Miller and Murphy and Jasper and Harper and Fox and Monroe and Roma and Dax and Octavia and there isn’t really too much to say yet except when was the last time all their hair was so clean? I am amush and feeling the strong urge to do a season one rewatch.
Back in the present, the team adventure portion of the adventure squad is following Lincoln’s aesthetically pleasing but functionally questionable map to Luna. I lose a few minutes imagining how great an adventure squad road trip web series would be. Jasper’s like what are we going to do if Luna’s not down for plan A (a not unreasonable question given she already refused to participate in plan A back in her conclave days). Octavia’s like don’t worry about it, plan A will work because Lincoln said she would help us with a wildly different set of circumstances. Seems legit and not at all like someone screaming FOOOOOORESHAAAADOWIIIIIIIIING.
They hit a literal roadblock and decide to continue on foot. Octavia takes off sprinting through the forest, Clarke on her heels. Bellamy has concerns but Octavia tells him to calm his gun boner because it’s going to be fine, dammit. Her faith is touching but literally when has anything just been fine since they landed on Earth? They arrive at the end of Lincoln’s map and find some decorative rock piles, no Luna. Morale is very low.
For a second we legit forgot what our lives are like and thought this would be easy.
Back in flashback land, Pike demonstrates how to make a fire by making a fire. On a space station. Okay. Apparently it’s fine and not eating through tons of the Ark’s precious oxygen because he puts a box over it. And it isn’t immediately smothered. I’m just….whatever. Sure! Murphy’s a sarcastic dick and everyone laughs at Octavia for being right. Jasper makes weed jokes. Classic.
Right after Flashback!Murphy declares he’ll survive, we cut to a Polis jail cell where Murphy is surviving. Subtle. Indra is also there, digging her chains out of the wall because Indra is the best. The zombies throw Pike in the cell and he’s like oh son of a bitch of all the students, it’s you? Indra’s like I’m going to carve you up for what you did to my army and Pike’s like bring it (no for real why do I have so much Pike respect? Where did this come from? I don’t want it). She then proceeds to cut him up while the audience gets a bunch of reaction shots of random extras going all aaaaawkward. Interesting screentime choice.
Back at the rock garden, the adventure squad is building a fire, just like Pike did in the flashback! Again with the subtle connections. Bellamy makes the mistake of touching Lincoln’s journal and Octavia freaks out. Bellamy asks her how long she’s going to be mad and they recap a bunch of shit we already know. Lots of Blake sibling emotions, weirdly filler feeling dialogue. Bellamy storms off and Jasper tosses some pine branches on the fire. It burns green because radiation or something and Octavia realizes they’re supposed to build a signal fire. I forgive a lot of clunky shit because Clarke and Octavia smile.
Kane: It’s not you, it’s me. Well, actually, it’s the AI in your brain.
Over in Polis, zombie!Abby pretends to be regular Abby to get Kane to tell her where Clarke is. When that doesn’t work, Alie hits the seduce button and Abby abruptly switched over to trying to sex the info out of Kane. It was like a fucked up Sims game. Kane catches on because Alie is not even remotely smooth. Uh oh. Team zombie decides to crucifix him (UNACCEPTABLE). It is a lengthy, gory, upsetting scene. I have some questions about the pacing of this episode and some of the things they chose to spend screentime on over others. I’m not bothered by the horror of the crucifixion because apparently I am incredibly desensitized to violence and gore but like, it was so long? Ditto Indra cutting up Pike and all of the aforementioned reaction shots? Why spend time on that? I don’t care about how a bunch of random extras feel about Pike getting cut up. I did not need to know how many hits it took to hammer a nail into Kane’s hand (also, WHY IS ANY OF THAT EVEN HAPPENING WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS WHY WHY WHY).
Back on the beach, apparently Bellamy has been sulking while it went from late afternoon until the middle of the night. He’s such a drama queen, I love it. Clarke comes to find him. They have a talk. The bellarke theme plays and it is very emotional. If you’re confused why I’m taking this all so calmly, I have thoughts but they are not the thoughts I thought they would be and I’m saving them for the end so you can easily skip my whining.
I very much love that Clarke so passionately reinforced that they need each other and that they’re at their best when they’re working together. I love that Bellamy was all I don’t want to talk ACTUALLY I LIED I DO because, again, he is such a drama queen. I liked that they started off talking about Octavia and transitioned into him and then Clarke, reinforcing that Clarke and Octavia are the two most important people in Bellamy’s life. I also love that he cried (death to toxic masculinity, boys can cry). I’m glad he acknowledged how mad he was that Clarke left and it made my heart hurt when he said I don’t want to feel like that anymore. I have issues with some aspects of their conversation but overall YAY FOR CLARKE AND BELLAMY REAFFIRMING THEIR SUPER TEAM STATUS.
Nothing says platonic like smelling someone’s hair.
ANYWAY. They agree to be friends again and hug it out. By hug it out I mean they bury their faces in each other’s necks, cry a little, smile a little, hang on for dear life and Bellamy basically inhales Clarke’s hair (like actual audible audio track). Hands down definitely the most friends only thing I’ve ever seen. Then some merninjas come out of the water and knock them out which is good for the plot because they weren’t going to let go of each other any time soon.
The merninjas drag them up to the fire. Turns out they’re Luna’s welcoming committee. I thought the grounders eschewed technology? Do scuba suits not count or do Luna’s people not play by the same rules? Octavia introduces them and name drops Lincoln. The merninjas hand out vials of mysterious neon juice and tell them to drink it if they want to come with them. Octavia immediately bottoms up because she’s taking blind faith to a Jaha-esque level this episode.
Step away from our children.
Jasper follows suit because solidarity. They pass out and Clarke and Bellamy share possibly their most exasperated parental look yet. Then Clarke says “together” and they drink and here are all the emotions I was not getting from their beach talk, it’s almost like things work better when you show them instead of blatant telling. Also, can we talk about how Bellamy watches Clarke as he passes out? Like we get a Bellamy POV going blurry camera shot to make sure we don’t miss it. Apparently the beach talk was the green light to stop even pretending to be subtle about Bellamy being totally gone for Clarke. I am cackling with anticipatory glee.
And we’re back to flashbacks. Pike has figured out the big secret about the Ark dying. He says it’s the only way sending kids and not scientists to Earth makes sense. I question his definition of makes sense while loling at the writers once again blatantly addressing plot questions raised by the audience. The dropship is going down tomorrow and Pike is deeply dissatisfied by the retention level of his class. I feel like a lot of teachers can relate to his stress. He decides to step up the learning by….beating up Murphy and goading the class into banding together and beating him up. Miller bonks him over the head with a pipe because Miller is the best in all timelines. I understand Pike’s desperation and get the whole desperate times call for desperate measures thing and that he’s trying to illustrate that they’ll have to work together with no outside aid to survive but jesus. Poor Murphy.
Murphy: Everything I know about inspirational speeching I learned from Bellamy in season one. Speaking of, I miss my boyfriend.
Once again we cut to Polis and Murphy applying Pike’s lessons. He makes an impassioned plea for Indra to stop cutting Pike to pieces and gives a motivational speech for them all to team up and work together against the greater threat. He inspires some of the grounder extras to call off Indra (I guess that’s why we got all those boy this is an uncomfortable scene reaction shots?) It’s all very season one Bellamy and I love it. Here for unexpected alliances and Murphy/Indra/Pike is, well, not unexpected because it was pretty clear this is where it was going to go once they were all in the cell together, but definitely going to be an awesome dynamic. Can’t wait.
Back on the Ark we’re treated to a lovely slow mo sequence of all the delinquents boarding the Ark to the tune of a slowed down, acoustic version of Radioactive. It’s haunting and nostalgic and full of all of the emotional resonance I somehow wasn’t getting from the rest of this episode. Face by face we see them walk down the hall. We see Abby say goodbye to an unconscious Clarke, we see Bellamy run up and start hauling delinquents on board (shout out to the pilot hair), we learn that Murphy was the first person to board the dropship, we see Jasper freaking out because he can’t find Monty (I’m assuming Chris Larkin was not contracted for this ep). It’s beautifully shot and edited and of all the stuff in the episode, this is the sequence that made me bawl. Emotions are weird. It also drives home the fact that the delinquents, more than anything, are the emotional core of the show. And what’s more frustrating, it shows that the writers know this (especially considering the last two episodes). The emotional beats hit home the hardest when they’re focused on the core characters and given time to breathe (so why oh why did I get to see like 14 extra faces making the same expression in the Polis jail cell? I THOUGHT WE WERE PAST THE PACING FUCKERY)
Jaha: Have I mentioned recently how much I am The WorstTM?
Time for more Polis stuff. Kane is not enjoying his time on the cross but still isn’t willing to take the chip. Jaha puts a gun to a zoned out Abby’s head because if there is one consistent thing about this show, it is that Jaha fucking sucks. Kane immediately caves and takes the chip. It’s extra upsetting because Jaha/Alie are just doing this to find out where the resistance is hiding and he doesn’t even know. Tragedy abounds. I have a lot of emotions including OMG HE LOVES HER AND WOULD DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT HER IT JUST MAKES SENSE and oh fuck now all the adults aside from Pike are in the CoL setting the stage for an adult culling and a delinquent driven season 4 and they’re going to get Kane and Abby out right? RIGHT?????
The adventure squad regains consciousness in a rusty shipping container (ermahgawd could they be on the oil rig? The only still to be revealed location in the opening credits?). A person who is supposedly Luna comes in (okay fine, she’s probably Luna, I’m just, idk, underwhelmed byt this whole scene). Clarke gives her a painfully earnest please take this chip and save the world speech. Luna’s like hard pass. Fair. They did just storm in and basically ask her to upend her entire world. I like the parallel the show is setting up between Jaha’s fuck consent, take the chip approach and (hopefully) Clarke accepting Luna making her own choices. I wish it had been set up with a wee bit more subtlety but this entire episode was like a brick to the face. Sidebar to note how Bellamy watches Clarke, not Luna, the entire time. See my above comment about the show leaning into Bellamy hearts Clarke like whoa and repeat.
The episode ends with the adventure squad standing around like holy fuck we’re in the middle of the ocean on an oil rig. I’d feel the boom, out a little bit more if it weren’t for, you know, the title sequence we’ve been watching all season. Sometimes paying close attention to all the details bites you in the ass, I suppose.
- I had been functioning under the assumption that Octavia still had the CoL chip she snagged off of Monty’s mom but in the previously on it looks like Monty has it. Literally the one thing stopping me from being worried about Monty going into the CoL was oh well at least he doesn’t have the the chip and I don’t think he’s going to see Octavia any time soon. I HAVE CONCERNS.
- FLASHBACK!PIKE FANGIRLING OUT OVER NERD!CLARKE I LOVE IT
- although, point of order, was Clarke actually that good of a student or was she cheating off of Wells? I seem to recall her mentioning copying Wells’ homework but I can’t remember if that’s fanon or canon
- While I’m on the topic, sad face at the lack of Wells. I wasn’t expecting it but it would’ve been nice (no I do not count the brief recycled pilot footage)
- So relieved at the lack of Finn though. I was worried.
- You guys caught Bellamy thunking his head against the steering wheel when Octavia jumped out of the rover, right? So cute. So older sibling. Nice detail.
- “We need each other, Bellamy” crying about it.
- Jasper’s quip game was on point this episode.
- Wow the boat people tattoos look a lot like Emori’s. Wonder what that means.
- Yes I am still clinging to a Luna identity twist. Leave me alone, I’ve lost it.
- I’m going to work on emotionally disengaging from Kane and Abby for self defense purposes while still really hoping I’m being dramatic and unnecessary.
- Love that Clarke’s hair is back, but next up in Meg nit-picks petty bullshit, wtf is that coat and boob chain combo?
Alright, here’s where I break down why I’m a little salty about the beach scene. For anyone overjoyed by it, please skip this. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, I hate that I’m currently being this person, but I gotta vent.
It felt rushed. Yes, a huge part of this is me just wanting all bellarke all the time, but after two episodes of we need to talk looks, two and a half seasons of significant bellarke partnership and the epic argument in Hakeldama, it seems like them patching things up and talking it out should have been an Event and not a brief conversation smashed between torture and plot. Contrast it with the slowed down boarding the dropship scene. There were long pauses and lots of faces, we got a minute to fully process the resonance of every moment. I did not get that from the beach scene. I will say it helped to watch that scene isolated from the rest of the episode, but instead of soothing me, that only irritated me more. It gave me flashbacks to the pacing fuckery of 3a: minimal time to process, we have plot to accomplish!
I still feel like there’s a lot of stuff they haven’t talked about yet? Nevermore and Hakeldama teed up the opportunity for them to work on all of the issues with their dynamic and literally none of that was touched on? Having rewatched this several times to sort out how I feel, I do think this issue is possibly/probably premature. I think there were cues that this conversation isn’t totally finished and issues resolved and we have three episodes and season 4 to get into it. If the writers are holding back until they can take more time with it, I am super cool with that (if, however, they never bring up the Clarke the savior/Bellamy the good little follower dynamic again or worse, lean into it, I will punch a lot of kittens in the face. I don’t want to, but I will. That shit is gross and unacceptable and they need to not do that).
This physically pains me to type but what the fuck was Clarke even saying? Her whole forgiveness schpiel felt like a bunch of meaningless platitudes and I’m sure I’m supposed to read it like she’s trying to convince Bellamy he can forgive himself so she can believe it about herself (especially since she pretty much literally said that and maybe that’s what a huge part of issue number 3 is rooted in: Clarke’s dialogue did not work for me in the slightest, that “the question is, will you forgive yourself” line. What the fuck did someone just write down a fortune cookie?) and I get that she’s basically trying to be all ‘I’ve got your back’ and I love that but I still felt like it leaned uncomfortably close to their old Clarke tells Bellamy how to feel dynamic and I kind of thought all recent signs pointed to moving past that? If Clarke just tells Bellamy to forgive himself and that’s that, what the fuck was the point of his entire 3a arc? I’m assuming we’re going to see them both working on this going forward and it’s cool that they’re verbally reinforcing their team-ness first but idk I’m just….dissatisfied.
I seriously can’t believe I’m saying any of this. I cannot believe we finally got a big emotional bellarke conversation and I’m not over the moon about it. I’m so mad at myself right now you guys, I really am but I feel the same way about the beach scene as I felt about a lot of the Clexa stuff in 3a, that the writers are relying on the audience to be so into the shipper moments that they don’t think too hard about what’s actually being said and that pisses me off. Hakeldama set an incredibly high bar in terms of bringing up literally everything I wanted them to talk about and then Nevermore seemed like it was reinforcing a lot of the stuff that came up there plus some and it’s all still unspoken so now I’m questioning whether or not I read way too much into things and I fucking hate that I’m doing this.
AAAAAAARGH WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME WHY I AM I THE WAY I AM WTF WTF WTF.
So yeah. Salt over. I’m the worst. I’m sorry to be the person talking shit when it seems like literally everyone else in the bellarke fandom is over the moon. Ignore me. We still got a lot of great stuff, bellarke as co-parents continues to be the best of all things and I’m super excited to see what happens now that the show is being so much more obvious about Bellamy loving Clarke.
Wheeeeee! The good ship bellarke appears to be starting to sail! *toots horn* *throws confetti* *eats feelings* *rocks in the corner and mutters about how kabby will be fine*