Alright alright alright. For a pretty much entirely set up ep, Red Sky At Morning was incredibly solid. There were some unexpected twists, some shitty plans and choices, some trauma and an amazing new side character for people to worship (because she’s AWESOME). It’s weird, the ep ended more or less where the previous one started, but somehow there’s still so much stuff to break down. Neat trick!
I didn’t have much by way of expectations for this ep beyond expecting Luna making skeptical faces at Clarke to bring me great joy and they did so, yay! Cleared that bar and then some.
Polis is still decorating the streets with blood and crucified bloody bodies (Jaha has a seriously fucked up aesthetic) and the reluctant adventure squad is making their plans. Some zombies come down to see if anyone has chip related regrets and Indra stabs dude in the forehead with a metal chain stake thing. It was badass and my entire timeline screamed INDRAAAAAAAA at once. Fandom unity is nice.
Apologies for the shitty screenshot, it all happened so fast, but dude’s face is priceless and I love the extra on the side who’s like, putting together a grocery list in his head.
Murphy encourages everyone to run and Pike and Indra are like nah we’re going to go be heroes first. Indra holds Murphy at knifepoint to expedite his info dump and he reveals Alie can probably be destroyed by destroying the backpack. Then he reluctantly agrees to finally participate in the main plot, less for altruistic reasons and more because he thinks his chances of survival are a lot better sandwiched between Pike and Indra. He’s probably not wrong, if given the choice between a pack of extras and some named characters, the named characters are pretty much always the way to go.
In the CoL, Alie has added coffee shops! Okay she added umbrella-ed patio tables but leave me alone I’m running with this. Now we can all have canon compliant coffee shop AUs. The forehead spike dude approaches Jaha and Alie to apologize for not being as badass as Indra. They’re like it’s cool no one is and mention the extras were already rounded up and are being crucified (apparently you can only say no to the chip for so long before Jaha loses patience and starts nailing you to stuff).
Alie realizes they’re going for the backpack and tags Emori to run interference. Emori pops up in front of them in the CoL raising some questions about how the people in the CoL work, are they really semi-autonomous shades of themselves like the sales pitch claims or are they fully pawns that Alie can load and discard at will? If the latter, let’s take a moment to appreciate the juxtaposition of Alie’s aesthetic, happy people wandering about, with Jaha’s, bloody people nailed to chopped up furniture. There’s a lot going on with the Jaha/Alie dynamic and all of it points to Jaha being the literal worst.
Emori: I am better than you.
Anyway, Emori is rocking her ninja turtle hand (title courtesy of Toni_Watches and if you aren’t reading her photo recaps, you’re missing out) and Jaha’s basically like that is unseemly and Emori’s like fuck off I’m awesome because she is and I LOVE that she’s super cool with herself exactly as she is. Her attitude about it all reminded me a lot of Raven (specifically of course you would I’m awesome) and I suddenly have a mighty need for a lot of Emori/Raven fic, either bffs or girlfriends, I’m not picky.
Cut to Luna’s oil rig where it’s story hour. When this clip aired, several people pointed out the extra’s story foreshadowed bad stuff afoot for the oil rig (fairly a given seeing as it’s The 100 and the adventure squad showed up at their door) and also that the story she’s telling comes from The Odyssey ties back into the Homeric thematic motif this season has going for it. Nicely done, A+ nerdery. The adventure squad is chilling, waiting for another round of Let’s Convince Luna to Uproot Her Life and Save Our Asses. Round 2 goes much like round 1, Luna is not having it. Go Luna, it’s a shitty, thankless job and you’ve got a nice set up. Maybe it’s the slytherin in me, but I am totally cool with Luna prioritizing herself and her way of life. Plus, it makes things trickier for the adventure squad and I was going to be SUPER disappointed if Luna stepped up to play the role of deus ex machina.
Bellarke: Wait, so, what you’re saying is you’re not going to throw yourself into the plot with no regard for your safety and mental health? We don’t understand.
Luna and Octavia have a heart to heart. Octavia tries to talk shit about Luna not being much of a savior and Luna’s like you don’t want a savior you want a fighter. Because fighting is how Octavia saved herself, she doesn’t see how this is a problem and also doesn’t understand how Luna’s totally cool sitting this fight out. Luna proceeds to drop some harsh but not unfair truth bombs about fighting and death being all they know. She isn’t wrong.
Pause to mention how much I love the juxtaposition of Luna and literally everyone else up until this point. It’s funny in a tragic way how no one can wrap their heads around her pacifism. All of these people have been conditioned since birth to survive at all costs and they can’t imagine another way and here’s Luna who was also raised in a fight or die society except she hit a point where she independently stood up and said nope, this isn’t for me and is standing by her principles. Have I mentioned I love her? Because I do. Turning your back on your cultural conditioning because it’s not how you want to be entirely on your own is a massive feat of strength, the depiction of which has only been lightly dabbled in up until this point (Maya probably being the most prominent example). I’m not saying they should all follow her lead (they have a point, they’re fighting to, you know, save the world, but I love the clash between the POVs). I’m also not saying I want the main characters to suddenly become pacifists (it’d be narratively boring for one, conflict is a key component in making stories go round), but it would be cool if Luna’s model is what the show ends with them working towards.
Anyway, over in Arkadia, Raven is using her Alie acquired coding skills to figure out how Alie, the CoL and the zombies work. She thinks she’s figured out how to shut it down and Monty wants to wait for Clarke. Raven is not totally copacetic with this idea (kind of loving her sarcastic ‘just like always’ line re: waiting to follow Clarke’s lead. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Clarke as badass in charge but I also like characters wanting the agency to operate independently of her especially since Raven’s attitude is yeah but I’m a deeply capable badass too because TRUTH).
Harper shows up and drags Monty out for a break. Turns out her version of a break includes gettin some (*high fives Harper*). It took a minute for my brain to stop going WHAAT WHAAAAAAT WHAAAAAAAAAT???? But when it did, several things occurred to me:
- This isn’t actually as out of nowhere as it initially seemed (I’ve read so much fanfic at this point I sometimes legit forget Monty and Miller aren’t actually married), Monty and Harper have a bond that goes all the way back. I mean, even in season 1 Monty got peeved with Jasper for being a dick about Harper.
- Absolutely here for subverting the desexualized Asian stereotype, good job show.
- I’m going to go ahead and assume Monty is bi for Minty reasons and also because gimme all the bi rep.
- Super down for girls making the first move always, death to traditional “appropriate” feminine passivity. You go Harper, get it.
Anyway, it was super cute all around, especially Monty pausing to make sure Harper wasn’t chipped (please oh please don’t be foreshadowing) and his excited ‘oh my god’ as Harper led him away.
Octavia: You’re seriously going along with this?
Bellamy: You’re acting like this is the first time I’ve supported one of Clarke’s more terrible plans.
Back on the oil rig, Jasper gets his flirt on and Clarke channels her inner Jaha and lays out her plan to subvert Luna’s choices and forcibly plant the chip in her neck. I don’t know why I was remotely surprised that this is where she’d go with it, Clarke is categorically ruthless when her people are on the line. I also don’t know why this disturbed me more than stuff like genocide and letting bombs drop on allies but ugh, Clarke, buddy, sweetheart, I love you but I’m so disappointed. I really hoped that part of Clarke’s arc this season was learning there are lines when it comes to bulldozing people to accomplish a goal and I’m not saying that can’t still be a part of it, but it looks like we’re not there yet (though, the end of the ep indicates it could be around the corner).
Even though this is a shitty plan that completely disregards Luna’s consent in regards to her entire life, Bellamy and Octavia don’t have a better idea so after some initial balking, they sign off (Octavia with no small amount of disgust, pointing out that even Alie gives people a choice and seriously Clarke you’re sinking to Jaha’s level, THAT IS NOT A GOOD LEVEL). I get it, I get why, I think it’s all in character, but that doesn’t mean I like it.
Over in Arkadia, Raven busts into Monty and Harper’s afterglow with a hilarious ‘finally’ (also a cute nod to s1 when Monty walked in on her and Finn having a post-coital snuggle, yay for subtle parallels) to announce she found something. Raven dug through the code and found Alie’s stronghold. She wants to go after it. Cue another round of Monty advocating waiting for Clarke and Raven not loving it. They compromise by agree to investigate more.
Cut to Luna teaching some children how to fish, another neat, subtle parallel to Lexa teaching her own batch of kids to fight. Luna stressed the importance of working together, Lexa stressed the importance of being bigger and badder than your opponent. It makes you wonder what the show would’ve been like if Luna had been the commander in season one. Bring on the alt universe fic please.
Clarke shows up to make one last ditch attempt to convince Luna the flame is her birthright. Clarke semi tries to call Luna out for running from conclave and Luna cuts through the bullshit and clocks Lexa’s importance to Clarke (possibly hinting that she gets that Clarke has a personal stake in this too? I might be reaching). The show passed up another opportunity for Clarke to have an emotional breakthrough (which, fair, if Clarke’s going to break down I want it to be with people she knows better *cough*Bellamy*cough* but please god let her have some kind of moment at some point, all this bottling is Not Healthy). Clarke tries to spin her hard sell around Lexa’s eleventh hour Blood Must Not Have Blood turnabout and presses as hard as she can. Luna’s eyeroll GIVES. ME. LIFE. While BMNHB is a good cause, Luna’s got a point that it would take a lot of blood to make that stick and that’s not her thing.
No means no.
Clarke says fuck it, activates the chip and tries to stick it in Luna’s neck. Luna takes her down so fast I couldn’t even get a good screenshot. Turns out just because Luna won’t fight doesn’t mean she can’t. She casually mentions that ps if she’d stayed in conclave there’s a more than likely chance she would’ve been the commander and you’re welcome for letting your girlfriend live (ngl I cackled, I’ll own it). She confiscates the chip and waltzes off AND SERIOUSLY GUYS I LOVE HER SO MUCH????? LIKE?????? HOW AM I SO ATTACHED IN SO LITTLE TIME?????????????
Oh right, stuff’s happening in Polis. Emori and Alie are chilling in Titus’ temple waiting for the reluctant adventure squad to arrive. To kill time, Alie explains she wants the flame because it will connect her to all the minds stored on it including Becca’s. The RAS creeps out of a secret passage and Pike immediately starts shooting because Pike. Murphy stops him from shooting Emori because awwww, Murphy in love. Murphy goes to destroy the backpack and Emori points out it’s, you know, a nuclear bomb capable of taking out all of Polis. Gosh, I wonder if that ends up being foreshadowing.
On the oil rig, Luna’s traveling people have returned with an uninvited guest. It’s Alie! Where’d they run into zombies? Details, whatever (blah blah blah, drone followed them from Niylah’s, v convenient plot point but whatever, I’ll allow it). Luna puts Clarke, Bellamy and Octavia in the freighter on time out so they can have a think about their lives and their choices. Alie clocks the flame chip, has her zombies knock Luna out and bar the door to the freighter so the adventure squad can’t interfere. Someone does something with the flame and I’ve watched it twice now and can’t figure out what. Luna did some slight of hand? Idk, the main takeaway is neither Alie nor the adventure squad have it.
Cue a lengthy waterboarding sequence. Fun stuff. As Luna’s version of Gustus/Bellamy loses his shit, Alie’s zombies torture Luna. Jasper is also watching from captivity but is distressingly resigned to the whole thing, he’s super used to his life going to shit immediately at this point. Alie’s zombies do the whole TAKE THE CHIP OR DIE song and dance. Derrick, Luna’s Gustus takes the chip so Alie will leave Luna alone (stg if this is any kind of foreshadowing I will flip a fucking table) but psyche! Once he’s an Alie zombie, he takes over the torture. HOW DO I CARE ABOUT THESE PEOPLE SO MUCH ALREADY? MY HEART BREAKS.
This kicks off a really neat storyline juxtaposition. Alie ties all the locations, including the CoL, together, cutting back and forth between Raven saying fuck it and going into the CoL (alerting Alie to what they’re doing), Alie explaining the stakes to Jaha (and by extension the audience) and the reluctant adventure squad trying to figure out if they can shut down the backpack without nuking the city. Her biggest concern is whoever’s hacking into her code and Jaha’s like if it’s Monty, I got this.
Everything about this is unacceptable.
Jaha sends Hannah to fuck with Monty. It’s really fucking upsetting. Chris Larkin and Lindsey Morgan deserve standing ovations for this scene, I’ve got goosebumps, I’m crying, it’s intense. Jaha put the Hannah code as the last line of defense around Alie’s kill switch (foreshadowing some finale stuff FOR SURE), banking on Monty being unable to delete his mom even to save his friends and the world. However, he miscalculated and Monty kills the last shred of his mom. Unfortunately, because this show is FUCKING CRUEL, he didn’t delete her in time and Alie was able to evacuate her code and power source and neither Raven nor Murphy are able to pull off their missions.
Pause to appreciate the technicals of the following Raven and Monty scene. When the Alie code shuts down, the background score shuts down along with it. Monty’s realization and Raven’s tears all go down with no soundbed behind it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and other shows) made use of this technique in the highly traumatic episode, The Body and wow does the lack of score really drive home the stark truth and trauma of the things the characters are saying. A++++ technique and also how dare you do this to my emotions.
Back in Polis, Alie needs to stall 60 seconds more. Emori begs Murphy to stop explaining that if the CoL goes down, it’ll take everyone in it down too. For anyone not keeping up, this is definitely finale foreshadowing. Brace yourselves for a very high body count. Murphy eventually hits the button but whomp, whomp. Too late. Alie successfully migrated TO THE REMAINING PIECE OF THE ARK. WE HAVE COME FULL CIRCLE. I’m placing bets on destroying the CoL also destroying the remaining piece of the Ark along with the Flame, thematically wiping the slate clean and doing a full reset for season 4. I’m really excited about this and ngl, will be mildly peeved if I’m wrong.
Back on the oil rig, the storytelling extra who flirted with Jasper staggers into the freighter and lets the adventure squad out. I forgot to mention she got hit with an arrow, so she dramatically dies after letting them out. I’ve seen a couple of people calling her Gina 2.0 and ehhhhhhh don’t totally agree. Just because she got a name doesn’t mean she was ever more than an extra and I’m not filing it under gross fridging because I feel like she was more of a convenient plot tool than a lady dying to give dude characters emotional trauma but if you’re irritated about it, I get it. Using a WOC as a plot device is a little squicky.
Alie brings in one of Luna’s children and holds her at knife point to get Luna to submit. She’s clearly picked up that emotional manipulation is the way to go, raising the question of whether or not the lengthy torture sequence was all the necessary but whatever. Luna immediately kicks everyone’s ass illustrating she could’ve stopped the torture at any point but didn’t want to kill her people (NO SERIOUSLY I LOVE HER SO MUCH). The adventure squad arrives a moment too late right after Luna kills Derrick and holds him as he dies. It’s all terribly upsetting.
Luna: Don’t be The Worst Clarke. Leave that to Jaha.
Crossfade from a pan of the oil rig scored with tragedy violins and Luna crying to her putting on the ceremonial red heda scarf. Ngl, I had a really shaky moment and thought that she was actually going to take the flame and I cannot stress enough how relieved I was when twist! She’d drugged the adventure squad’s cups with sleepy juice to send them packing. Guys, Luna taking the flame would be such a cheat code. I don’t want it to be easy and have the season conflict resolution rest on the shoulders of anyone other than one of the core characters. That is not narratively interesting or how good stories work.
The episode ends with a gorgeous shot of the adventure squad standing in the rock garden, right back where they started, realizing that it’s up to them to save the world and they have no idea how to do it.
- if Pike makes it to s4 (which, ngl, I’d be cool with especially since it would mean we get another season of Mike Beach who is delightful), I would be super into lots of stuff with him and Indra interacting. Here for unexpected, contentious character pairings.
- Ditto Emori and Raven. Super hoping Emori joins the gang and she and Raven become bffs and they just sit around and give everyone shit and high five each other for being awesome.
- I SEE YOU CASUAL BELLARKE LEG TOUCH
- Love how Luna comes out and Bellamy and Clarke jump up like WE’VE GOT THIS and Octavia and Jaspet are like we’ll let mom and dad handle this one.
- HOW DOES ALIE KNOW SINCLAIR IS DEAD? WHO’S CHIPPED? DID JASPER TAKE THE CHIP? IF SO WHY? PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE HARPER BUT WHEN WOULD IT HAVE BEEN HARPER? WHO’S THE MOLE THIS IS KILLING ME
- Tbh, totally leaning towards Jasper. Aside from the fact that finale leaks have told us he’s in the CoL in the finale (could be a misdirect), the editing is hinting STRONGLY at it being him. When Clarke says ‘any one of them could be chipped’ who’s standing directly behind her center framed in the shot, his face shadowed when everyone else is illuminated? Jasper.
- Further subtle reinforcement, at the end, when everyone looks to Clarke, the Blakes are in sync and Jasper is noticeably a second behind. Blake sibling connection or foreshadowing that Jasper’s out of sync with the group? both-both-is-good.gif
- Monty lashing out at Raven hurt SO MUCH but grief is unfair and that was horrifically realistic.
- Indra reluctantly picking up the gun was a powerful moment and symbol of the significance of the grounders and arkers coming together to defeat Alie. Nicely done writers and nicely done Adina Porter, excellent physical acting with the hesitation and slow acceptance that this is how it has to be if they want to not die.
- Love how Bellamy ran straight for the little girl to make sure she was okay when the adventure squad burst into the torture room. He’s such a mom.
- Jasper’s “it’s what we do” response to Octavia telling him what happened to Shay was a brief moment that really underscored a lot. I really fucking love how it highlighted the whole ‘maybe there are no good guys’ theme of our heroes not being all that heroic without, you know, punching us in the face with it.
- I think my favorite moment of the whole episode (aside from all the Luna kicking ass sequences, I’m a sucker for hot girls kicking ass, I know what I’m about) is Luna asking Clarke “You believe that to defeat an enemy that will stop at nothing, you must stop at nothing. How is that different from blood must have blood?” Not only is that a really well written, powerful line that drives home a huge part of the overall point the show is making, Clarke’s face clearly showed that she heard it. This is a MASSIVE part of what Clarke needs to learn about herself and her leadership and all the pieces are in place for her to start working on that. THANK YOU SHOW I’VE BEEN WAITING, NOW DELIVER.
- Do not think I missed Bellamy standing guard over Clarke (okay, everybody but he was standing between Clarke and Octavia, they were the closest to him, blocking subtly reinforcing his priorites) when she woke up on the beach, I did not.
- Ditto his sigh and jaw clench when she checked the tin to ascertain the flame was still there (me too buddy, me too).
- As per usual, I urge you to check out Natalie Crown’s awesome review.