Wow. Man. Okay. That episode was a LOT.
I don’t know about you guys but I was edge of my seat pretty much the entire episode. So much tension! So much hard to watch shit! Season one boys club reunions! So many emotions!
There is basically no point to this recap because I’m like 99% sure all of you have seen the ep by now (unless you want me to come to your house and yell at you? idk) but godammit I will be peeved for the rest of forever if I recap every s3 ep except one, so here we go!
No but seriously, Adventure Squad road trip web series. I’d kickstart it, who’s with me?
We open with our intrepid gang of sort of heroes charging the rover and still lacking a solid plan. Bellamy wants to head home and regroup. Clarke No Chill Griffin is back in full force and doesn’t think that plan is proactive enough. She’s grasping at straws and is ready to start storming villages demanding they hand over any spare nightbloods they have lying around. The rest of the group is not a fan of this idea. As Octavia points out, they have a habit of bringing destruction with them and she doesn’t want to unleash that on more innocent people. Clarke makes a last ditch argument for the lives of the many over the lives of the few but she’s voted down and storms off to sulk.
Two minutes in and there’s already so much to process. I love that the group is pushing back against Clarke. I love her to bits but she comes up with some spectacularly bad plans and it’s good that people check her from time to time. I also love that Bellamy, specifically, stands up to Clarke. I adore that he supports her through thick and thin but it’s also very important for the balance in their relationship that he can say ‘hey Clarke this is your desperation talking’ when that’s what she needs to hear. Not only does it demolish the gross princess/knight trope (and emphasizes his value as her partner when she listens to him), but it keeps her from going down a deep, dark rabbit hole of awful. It’s also awesome that Clarke accepts this. She knows she’s grasping at straws and she’s learning when it is and isn’t acceptable to force people to fall in line. This scene felt like the incredibly satisfying fruition of a lot of character growth, is what I’m trying to say.
So, anyway, Clarke goes off to have an everything sucks and I don’t know what to do sulk. Uh oh, there’s Alie which means a zombie isn’t far behind. Gosh I wonder how Alie knew where they were. Could Jasper be chipped? A random extra pops out from behind a tree to kidnap Clarke and the chip when lo, a wandering Roan appears! He does an excellent Robin Hood impression, kills the zombie and takes the chip from Clarke and tries to leave. They have an excellent exasperated sibling exchange where Roan refuses to take Clarke seriously at all and it’s endearing af. Then Bellamy pops out from behind a tree (apparently ‘hide behind a tree’ was the go to direction for this scene) to back Clarke up. Clarke does a patented Clarke Griffin on the spot recalculation and promises Roan a fully enflamed Ontari if he helps them. The Bellamy shoots Roan in the arm to make sure he can feel pain/isn’t chipped because nothing says please help us like a non-fatal gunshot wound.
Speaking of web series I would totally fund.
The squad arrives back at Arkadia and explains the new plan. Clarke and Bellamy go to get Roan on board and after a hilarious sidebar moment where Clarke stares Bellamy down like a disappointed mom and he sulkily apologizes for shooting him, they lay out the stakes and Roan agrees to help him. Three cheers for a Bellarke + Roan dream team. Now all they have to do is waltz into a city filled with hive minded zombies and extract Ontari. You know, easy stuff.
Back in the loading bay, the squads hug it out and say goodbye. Monty and Raven assure Clarke they’re good to handle the Alie side of things if Clarke can nab a nightblood. Alie will never see them coming! Except, oh wait, she will because someone is chipped and feeding all of this back to her. Dun dun duuuuun.
The polis-bound adventure squad leaves the Rover in the woods and prepares to split up and head in. Roan asks for the flame, pointing out that the plan is a lot more convincing if he has bait to lure Ontari out. Clarke hands it over with the caveat that she’s going with him. Roan points out she’ll need to be his prisoner and she agrees. Bellamy is zero percent okay with this plan.
So, Bellamy pulls Clarke aside to try and talk her out of it. The bellarke theme kicks into high gear and I start to hyperventilate. He asks Clarke if she’s really going to trust Roan with her life. She says no, she trusts Bellamy with it because he’ll have her back the entire time. GUYS. GUYS. GUUUUUUUYS. This isn’t the first time Clarke has trusted Bellamy with her life, this isn’t the first time she’s explicitly stated she trusts Bellamy with her life. This is, however, the first time she has explicitly told HIM. TO HIS FACE. that she trusts him with her life and IT IS A LOT. Bless Bob Morley and his facial acting because he makes sure the audience sees how much that means to Bellamy in the way he blinks and staggers a little. THIS WAS HUGE FOR HIM. AFTER EVERYTHING HE’S DONE CLARKE DOESN’T EVEN HESITATE TO PUT HERSELF IN HARM’S WAY BECAUSE SHE BELIEVES IN BELLAMY TO HAVE HER BACK AND KEEP HER ALIVE. I’M FINE.
*forcibly reins self in*
Anyway. This kicks off the murdering of my emotions portion of the episode (aka the rest of it). Back in Arkadia, Jasper’s helping Monty look for some hardware Raven needs to shut Alie down. Monty helpfully lays out the entire plan for Jasper because the characters don’t watch the episodes and have a pretty strong suspicion that Jasper is chipped. They share a moment where they talk about their feelings. Jasper forgives Monty, Monty calls Jasper his brother and they hug it out. It’s really touching and cruel as fuck because SURPRISE. JASPER IS CHIPPED. I really fucking hate this show sometimes.
How much more tragic is this screenshot when you think about how the last time they really saw each other they were in a fight?
Jasper attempts to stop Monty by stabbing him in the gut with a screwdriver (ouch) but Monty fights him off and manages to lock himself into the Take Down Alie HQ with Raven. They try to warn the other half of the adventure squad that they’re walking into a trap but it turns out Jasper cut necessary transmission wires. Well, shit.
Over in Polis, shit continues to be not good. Squad B (the Blake siblings + Briller) get into position while Squad A (Clarke + Roan Brotp forever) wander the bloody streets with nearly identical WTF expressions. This is not the Polis they last saw. Miller and Bryan have an adorable sidebar where they envision a peaceful future involving a farm and some chickens. I’m still not aboard Briller but my god do I want them to have those chickens. Unfortunately, this is the kind of pre-battle conversation that reeks of doom so I’m pretty braced for Bryan to die before the season is over (casually ignoring the possibility of anything terrible happening to Miller because NO). To add an extra layer of emotional agony to the moment, Bellamy looks over and sees a devastated Octavia eavesdropping. Like I said, the rest of this ep is an emotional murderer.
I want to pause and take a moment to point out the significance of Bellamy urging everyone to use non-lethal force as much as possible. Again, this is character growth in action. I know a lot of people were hoping for some big, explicit turnabout post-massacre, possibly involving a speech? Idk. But to me, this is so much better than that. He’s made it clear he regrets his actions but instead of making a splashy statement about it, he’s just quietly enacting the change. Show over tell, people. Words are nice but actions often mean more.
Gosh this shot reminds me of something.
Squad A reaches the tower and Jaha comes out to explain to them just how fucked they are. Clarke throws a desperate look over to where Bellamy is hiding but unfortunately, he can’t come to her aide because he’s being attacked by a squad of zombies. Roan tells Clarke to run because he’s not so secretly the best but they’re stopped by Chip!Kane who shoots Roan in the chest. I’d be a lot more upset about this if I hadn’t convinced myself Roan will be fine (he groaned as they dragged him away and we never saw a body, he’ll be back I BELIEVE). In a crescendo of dramatic strings, the zombies drag a struggling Clarke into the tower.
Back in Arkadia, Monty is patching himself up while Raven sciences a chip. Monty’s concerned that Harper’s outside with no idea that Jasper’s been chipped. A deeply cynical part of me can’t help but wonder if part of last ep’s Monty/Harper sex scene was to make Monty’s concern (and therefore the audience’s) concern about Harper more believable. If so, is just like to say that we’d believe it and care either way because a) Harper is awesome and b) pretty sure we all understand that the delinquents care about each other.
Meanwhile, Jasper’s being a total creeper and hanging around outside the door trying to freak them out over the comm. He tells Monty he took the chip after seeing how thoroughly they ruined Luna’s peaceful community. He says as far as he’s concerned, Earth isn’t survivable. Aside from being heartbroken, I’m a little disappointed. Not because I don’t believe Jasper’s reasoning behind taking the chip (although it also feels suspiciously, or perhaps sloppily but I like to think otherwise, incomplete), but because I wanted Jasper to be stronger than his pain. He was the most blatant example of trauma and grief this season and it hurts so much to see that it got the best of him. On the other hand, this is tragically realistic and part of the reason I didn’t want this to happen is because it happens so much in real life. I’ve seen enough of it. I wanted Jasper’s story to be different.
Up in the Polis tower, Chip!Abby greets Clarke with a hug. It was incredibly distressing to see Clarke lean into it for a second, knowing full well it isn’t really Abby, because she wanted comfort from her mom so much. It’s so easy to forget that Clarke’s an 18 year old girl with the actual weight of the world on her shoulders and split second details like this drive home how horrible that is.
If everything wasn’t already deeply upsetting, here’s where the truly horrific shit kicks into high gear. Clarke refuses to tell Alie the passphrase for the flame, so Abby has her tied to a post and starts slicing her up.
This scene was fucking excruciating. I honestly wish Paige Turco and Eliza Taylor weren’t so good at their jobs because they nailed this and it was awful. Clarke’s voice breaking as she begs her mom not to let them do this, Abby calmly assuring Clarke that she’s the one who’s doing it (though the pointed pan to Alie standing over her shoulder says otherwise) and then slowly stabbing her with a scalpel was so creepy and horrible I had to stop every 30 seconds and calm down and I have a really high tolerance for this kind of shit.
Much like the lengthy Kane crucifixion scene, I do wonder why Alie thought this was going to work. She’s clearly learned that the best way to get people to comply is to threaten their loved ones as she has Abby change tactics and ask for Bellamy to be brought up to the tower instead.
Because. You know. Clarke’s biggest weakness is Bellamy and her mom knows it.
As in she loves him the most and will do anything to protect him.
*shrieks for a thousand years*
“No, mom, it’s platonic.”
So, then we have another patented bellarke platonic crossfade, you know, the kind that seem to pop up whenever the show wants to make sure we know that CLARKE AND BELLAMY REALLY CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER OKAY? The zombies start to dragging Bellamy away, Octavia freaks out, Bellamy tries to frantically assure her it’s okay as they drag him away, I’m sobbing because this is all far too much for me to cope with, AND MURPHY APPEARS OUT OF THE DARKNESS WITH RIFLE WIELDING PIKE AND INDRA THEY TAKE OUT THE ZOMBIES AND SAVE THE DAY AND I SCREAM AND THROW EVERYTHING ACROSS THE ROOM. I knew something like that was probably going to happen but that in no way diminished my glee to see the reluctant adventure squad coming out of the darkness and saving everyone’s asses.
Lots of reunions, lots of emotions. Bellamy warily thanks Pike, Miller and Murphy sass each other, Octavia asks Indra wtf she’s doing working with Pike. Indra reiterates the season/show theme: the only way we get out of here is together. Sidebar to appreciate the reaction shot of Bellamy’s face when Octavia tells Indra that Pike killed Lincoln. A+++ subtle show not tell that Octavia is working her way towards forgiving Bellamy (I am not holding out for an explicit I’m sorry for the beating because that’s not how she/they operate).
Bellamy rouses the troops and they decide to head up the tower to save Clarke and hopefully the world. GUYS DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I’VE MISSED BELLAMY GIVING A MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH? SO. FUCKING. MUCH. CLARKE INSPIRES BELLAMY AND BELLAMY INSPIRES THE MASSES. IT’S BACK, THEY’RE BACK. EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE AND I’M SO HAPPY.
“I’m a little rusty but I think I’ve still got this.”
In case anyone wasn’t keeping up and missed how much they’re resolving Bellamy’s arc in this ep, there’s a blatant parallel to 3×03 moment where Pike takes out the grounders working the elevator wheel and Bellamy yells at him for shooting them. Same circumstances, Clarke’s in trouble and they’re working on a compressed timeline, but this time with more growth. Murphy and Bellamy get in the elevator, everyone else stays down to push and blow the tunnel when they get to the top. How will they get back down? They’ll worry about that later.
In the elevator, Murphamy have a moment. Bellamy asks Murphy why he’s doing this. Murphy tries to pass it off like it’s just about survival. Bellamy stares him down until he admits “you’re not the only one trying to save someone you care about.”
You know. Casually comparing his canon romantic feelings for Emori to Bellamy’s feelings for Clarke.
Bellamy, who just kind of looks at him like yeah, fair, okay.
Nbd. Nbd. I’m fine. I’m FINE.
*shrieks until the end of time*
“Murphy. It’s platonic.”
Where was I? Oh right. Back down in the tunnel, Octavia and Indra have a sidebar (so many emotion-laden sidebars this ep, I love it, thank you show for including so much emotional payoff in such a tense, plot heavy episode. Remember how you did this. Do it more). Octavia breaks down and tells Indra that Lincoln was her home. Indra tells her that her home is in her heart. I cry.
Shit hits the fan and Chip!Kane shows up and shoots Pike, Miller and Bryan. The elevator grinds to a halt and some zombies break in and attack Murphy and Bellamy. Everything is VERY TENSE. Lots of fighting and shock lashing ensues, Indra knocks Kane out by kicking him in the face. Pike earns a modicum of respect from Octavia and drags himself back up and gets back on the elevator wheel all by himself (Octavia, just roll with it, he’s a very conflicting character). Bellamy tries and fails to subdue the grounder choking Murphy out and ends up shooting him in the head (pause to note his hesitation and the way his hand shook, there’s that show not tell storytelling again). High fives all around for this scene, the direction, choreography and editing were top notch.
Back in Arkadia, Jasper has switched tactics and is playing remember how all of our friends died to…idk, try and traumatize Monty and Raven into opening the door? Throw off their concentration? Prove to the audience the writers remember all of these things? Who can say. Though, point of order, Bellamy killed Dax, not Clarke. TAKE THAT CONTINUITY SUPERVISOR. Anyway, he fails, Monty and Raven’s machine works and they get into Alie’s code. Unfortunately, Harper chooses that moment to wander into the hallway. Jasper bonks her over the head. Whomp whomp. He offers them a choice, destroy the machine or he’ll shoot Harper in the head.
Up in the throne room, Alie is getting nervous. In the most macabre display of teamwork yet, Abby, Jaha and Ontari make a noose. In a last ditch effort to get Clarke to give up the passphrase, Abby hangs herself. It’s the fucking worst. I really can’t deal with elongated hanging scenes. Thanks for doing it twice, show. Just to twist the knife a little harder, Chip!Alie reminds Clarke if she doesn’t give up the passphrase, Clarke’s the one who will kill Abby (twisted false logic but effective on a guilt trip level and also SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK SHOW????). Unfortunately, Alie miscalculated and Clarke’s will is strong.
Down in the tunnel, the team sets the bombs and starts to climb. At the last second, Kane wakes up and staggers directly into bomb range. With a literal snarl, Indra throws herself off the ladder and knocks him out of the way. Their friendship is my favorite and I stg if she dies I will RIOT.
The elevator reaches the top of the tower and Murphamy gas the zombie welcoming party. Alie is REALLY nervous now (don’t take on the adventure squad, kids, you will lose) so she has Ontari kneel down and let Jaha beat her over the head with what looked like an ornate fireplace poker. Those meddling kids maybe fucking up her plans but like hell are they getting her nightblood.
In yet another beautiful 3×03 parallel, Bellamy bursts into the throne room with Murphy in tow. Bellamy shoots Jaha (YES) while Murphy rushes to cut Abby down. Bellamy untied Clarke and after making sure Abby is breathing, she rushes to Ontari only to discover she’s brain dead and non-viable for flame purposes. Bummer.
And we’re back to square one. No nightblood, no plan, except this time they’re trapped at the top of a 20 something story tower surrounded by AI controlled zombies. What fun! Can’t wait for next week.
“This is what I get for deciding to plot.”
- I’ve seen people shitting on Clarke for talking to the chip and idk, I guess you guys have never personified an inanimate object for coping reasons. How nice for you, what’s being well-adjusted like? Whether or not you accept the flame = Lexa thing, Clarke is obviously getting through her grief by hanging on to it and that’s legit and normal. It doesn’t make her stupid, it makes her grief-stricken from losing someone she cared very deeply about and she’s dealing how she can. Leave her alone or I’ll fight you.
- Roan casually tossing Clarke’s pistol over his shoulder GIVES ME LIFE
- I loved all the delinquent goodbye hugs but how hilariously awkward were they? It’s almost like Clarke and Bellamy no longer remember how to hug people they aren’t married to.
- Idt I’ve mentioned it in these recaps but I future ship the shit out of Octavia/Roan and them doing the side by side power strut gave me a LOT of feelings.
- I’m assuming Jasper’s going to die with the CoL which means the last time he and Monty truly talked they were both mad at each other and that entire moment between them this episode was a lie and I hate everything my heart is broken.
- While I love that the writers stepped up Monty’s role this season, when wishing for that I forgot that getting your own storyline in this show means getting a shitload of trauma and suffering.
- START WITH BELLAMY BLAKE HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAIMFINEFINEFINEFINEFIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE
- “Nathan! You’ve looked better.” “You haven’t.” SEASON ONE BOYS CLUB REUNION SOMEBODY HELP ME I AM ON THE FLOOR.
- “Clarke’s always in trouble.” I mean honestly when did I start loving Murphy so much?
- For as horrible as the Clarke/Abby stuff was, I’m glad it focused on them and they never got Bellamy up to the tower. While I am curious how that negotiation would’ve gone down with Bellamy’s life on the line (it’s a romantic notion to think otherwise, but I think she probably would’ve held out and that would’ve broken me, for one), it was bad enough watching Clarke get tortured and I’m glad the scene focused on Clarke and Abby’s relationship. They have had barely any focus this season so it was nice (boy howdy does that word seem wrong in this context) to get a reminder of how much Clarke loves her mom (I don’t want any ‘but she was going to let her mom die’ nonsense, it obviously would’ve broken her but hello, she’s Clarke Griffin on a mission to save the world)
- WHAT’S GOING ON IN ARKADIA?????? IS HARPER OKAY????????? WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO????????
- It sure is curious how people keep bringing up how important Clarke and Bellamy are to each other. Even more curious how it’s been significantly increasing in frequency, blatancy and plot relevance over the course of this season. It’s almost like the show is building to something but what could it be?
- Natalie’s flails are my flails
OH MY GOD TWO DAYS UNTIL THE FINALE GUYS. Sorry about the lateness of this recap, I hope I’ve managed to give you a temporary reprieve from guesstimating the potential body count coming up. I’m putting money on the population of Polis and most if not all of the people still stuck in the CoL when it goes down. What about you?