Last week I tried an experiment where I tried very hard to stay on topic and control my usual amount of The 100 related shrieking nonsense. It was an interesting feat but that’s not me so this week we’re going to return the usual tom foolery that is these recaps.
Which is just as well because HOLY BALLS THIS EPISODE WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC AND I DON’T THINK I COULD TALK ABOUT IT WITH REGULAR CAPITALIZATION ANYWAY??????
If last week was all about wrapping dangling story threads from s3, reestablishing character relationships and introducing new plot elements, this week was about setting up the major character arcs to come and I am HERE FOR IT.
Aside from the gloriousness of all of the above, to properly contextualize my excitement you need to know that while I am bellarke af, I go hard for bravenlarke and princess mechanic with minty and kabby trailing close behind. Also, girls with swords is probably my number one kink. What I’m trying to say is THIS EPISODE WAS A GIFT Y’ALL. I would like to thank god, my parents, the 100 writers, everyone and everything that made this episode something I could feast my brain and eyeballs on.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s discuss.
I know Natalie is thrilled.
We open to glowing blue butterfly (YAY) fluttering towards a chipped out new character we shall call Ilian methodically killing his family. It’s 9 days ago and he’s trying to get them to take the chip under the watchful eye of Alie (hey Erica Cerra! You look fabulous as always). Moments later, Clarke pulls the plug and he comes back to himself and realizes what he’s done. It’s tragic and Tree Adams’ magnificent finale score plays while Ilian cradles his moms as she dies and a part of me wonders why Alie was going to hard for the mom if she was on her way out but whatever it doesn’t matter BECAAAAAAAAUUUSE
WE CUT TO KANE AND ABBY FLUSHED AND FINISHING UP ROUND 17654932 BEFORE HAVING A BRIEF BUT BEAUTIFUL POST COITAL SNUGGLE.
If my math is correct, they’ve been at this for 8 days.
APPARENTLY I CAN’T PUT EMOJIS IN HERE BUT IF I COULD IT WOULD BE A PARAGRAPH OF PARTY HORNS, FIREWORKS AND FIRE.
I can’t say I’m actually surprised due to the trailer and some pretty heavy hinting on twitter but I’m glad this scene lived up to expectations. Amidst the golden glow of the inexhaustible supply of Polis candles Abby waffles for a minute over the ethics of rocking Jake’s wedding ring after entering a committed boning arrangement with his….friend? Mortal enemy? Still waiting for the Jake/Kane backstory. Kane softly assures her that Jake’s a part of who she is and puts the necklace on for her because the Jake was strong in this ep and everything that isn’t the real world is wonderful. Stick a pin in this, I have thoughts on it for later.
Anyway, the moment is over far too soon because Abby has to go doctor up Roan and his abs. Kane warns her to be careful because the streets of Polis are not safe for skaikru.
Cut to the streets of Polis where Ilian is plotting against skaikru with the new Trishanakru ambassador. A hooded figure listens in and we see it’s Octavia shrouded in shadow and what looks like maybe some sort of giant black lizard skin, idk, but she’s working it.
There’s a great caption out there for this but all I’ve got are really corny slasher puns.
Kane and Octavia rush to warn Roan who is struggling to justify his Lexa-like approach with skaikru to Echo. Faced with a threat to his throne, Roan’s basically like come on if you’re hard enough, Octavia’s like you’ve been shot in the chest let someone (hint hint) do it for you and Kane’s like ffs children can we try using our words first? Oh Kane.
I’d say who wants to bet this is all foreshadowing Octavia stepping into the arena as skaikru’s champion but we’ve all seen the trailer so probably no one’s going to bet against me. I gotta say, I am LOVING this dark!Octavia arc. Marie basically vibrates with pent up energy putting just the right amount of dissonance into Octavia’s cold, deadly mask. Eventually that girl is going to break and when she does it’s going to be messy but in the meantime I’m going to sit back and enjoy watching her artfully slice people up because girls with swords remember? Also she’s wearing a Laura Croft style double thigh holster I’M WEAK LEAVE ME ALONE.
Meanwhile, back in Arkadia, BRAVENLARKE RISES. Raven, Bellamy and Clarke are arguing over the best course of action. I super, super love the povs each of them are taking, it feels true to their characters and their histories in a way that makes me just happy sigh at the solid character development of it all.
I know it’s a crappy shot but it was bizarrely important to me to get a shot of all of them in this scene.
Clarke: save everyone, tell no one. Clarke is ever the optimist. She is desperate to find a way to save everyone because she is who she is. She also seems untroubled by the idea of keeping all of this a secret which, while unsurprising, is a touch troublesome. Let people in Clarke, it’s okay.
Raven: save as many as we can, crowdsourcing ideas for how. We saw her and Sinclair (*cries*) tag team the launch code problem and later the flame mystery last season and she did her best work in s2 when she had Wick to bounce ideas off of. Raven’s a collaborative thinker and thinks their best chance for survival is putting as many minds on it as possible. Plus, as she not so softly reminds Clarke, it’s what Jake would’ve done. Clarke’s not the only slytherin in this room.
Bellamy: just save people, however many you can. We dig into where Bellamy’s head is at a little more later but right now he’s playing peace maker between Raven and Clarke. He’s wary of telling everyone what’s up because he’s still conscious of the grounder threat and how Roan would be the only one standing between Arkadia and a mass of panicking clans if word got out. He’s down to tell people but wants to have a solid plan in place first.
Enter Monty! Well, not enter. Monty’s been lurking in the room staring at the raindrops on the window possibly to tune out the argument that has been (presumably) going in circles for two days. He’s also been thinking over the problem and has maybe got a solution: seal up the Ark, a habitat built to survive space, and wait it out. Seems legit!
Bellamy runs the plan by Miller and a recuperating Bryan (so glad they made it down from the tower but again I say how?????). Miller confirms they’re set up to handle food and oxygen for the 500 people Alpha Station can hold but what about water? No problem, they need to head to Farm Station and pick up their hydrogenerator. They just have to make their way through hostile Azgeda territory to get there. Pike is rolling over in his grave (does he have a grave? What happened to Pike?) Bellamy then dips out and allows Miller and Bryan a moment of privacy to deal with their marital discord. Seems like Bryan didn’t turn on Pike so much because he thought he was wrong as much as to save Miller. Sweet, but not what Miller wants to hear.
Sidebar, I really like that Bryan is hanging on to his pro-Pike/anti-grounder feelings (shout out to the show for calling Octavia’s method of dealing with Pike murder, seems like that issue hasn’t yet been laid to rest). It allows the show to dig into the nuances and ramifications of the Arkadia storyline in season 3 (a thing that needs to happen because they kind of, erm, skipped it) while simultaneously allowing Bellamy to turn the page (eh? EH?) and move on to a new chapter. Basically it’s handy for storytelling depth without prolonging the bashing of one of my favs. It seems like it’s going to be the death of briller which is sad but also all things come with a price and I’m cool with this one (soz briller fans, my priorities are what they are, no regrets).
We then have a light hearted moment between a dour Monty and chipper, shower cap clad Jasper as the latter takes a lengthy shower in the yard. Yay hygiene! Jasper doesn’t give a flying fuck what Clarke’s plan is, he just wants Monty to snag their weed stash. So, now that weed has been mentioned that means we’re getting another everyone is very stoned ep, yes? Excellent, I can’t wait. They seal their deal with one of their adorbs jonty high fives and my heart grows three sizes.
As the crew saddles up, Raven reminds everyone how explosive the hydrogenerator is (foooooreshadowing) and Clarke swings by to give the recovery team the random hunk of metal that will keep them safe from hostile Azgedians (more foooooooreshadowing). Bellamy invites Clarke along for the mission because they are married and tired of being separated and even though Clarke turns him down because ~responsibility, my heart explodes (AND BELLAMY????WINKS???????? AT CLARKE???????????? I DIE??????????????????).
I feel it is imperative to note that their hands touch in the hunk of metal hand off.
Up in Azgeda, the team scouts out Farm Station and realizes it’s not as abandoned as they thought. DUN DUN DUUUUUUN. Azgedian soldiers show up and more or less spit on the protection thingy. GOSH. WHO SAW THAT COMING. One of them also viciously backhands Bellamy to drive the point home and it was very rude, I must say.
With their weapons confiscated, the team makes their case to the crew chief. They’re highly skeptical that missing prince Roan is now king, (life would be so much more convenient if the cell phone network survived the apocalypse) but decide to let the team go about their business if they gtfo immediately.
Back in Arkadia Raven tries to rally the troops and gets five engineers for her troubles. She has a crisis about her ability to take charge (rip Sinclair) and Clarke steps in to give her a pep talk…sort of. It’s less a pep talk and more a “if we don’t step up than who?” because that’s Clarke all day but whatever. The important part here is the princess mechanic emotional support I have been desperate for and I am so emotional it’s leaking out my eyes.
A bald Jaha appears to offer his services because apparently he used to be an engineer before he was chancellor. If you’re a discussapalooza listener you will know I have wondered about Jaha’s backstory and here’s a piece of it. Knock me over with a feather I’m heavily intrigued by Jaha.
Raven viciously reminds him of the culling because so far this season is all about the s1 callbacks and Jaha cooly replies with the exact death count and offers their names (you gotta hand it to the man, he takes his fuck ups seriously) (he’s probably never going to be my fav but apparently he’s going to grow on me like mold). We get a reaction shot of Clarke looking uncomfortable and I’m starting to get really nervous about the choices Clarke is going to end up making this season.
Raven is not a forgive and forget sort of person and reminds a placid Jaha and agitated Clarke of all the chip-related sins Jaha committed against her and the others. She then puts Jaha on scrap sorting detail which, if you recall, is what Raven was doing when Jaha badgered her into taking the chip because Raven is a grudge-holding champion and I love it.
Over in Farm Station, the crew finds their hydrogenerator in a room full of enslaved people both grounder and *gasp* Arkadian. Bryan rushes to the side of some guy who is, I think, called Riley? I’m not really sure. They only said his name like eleventy billion times this episode. Anyway, Bryan seems really emotionally attached to this guy. Maybe they will comfort each other when briller inevitably break up (I don’t have an axe to grind against briller, I swear, I’m just responding to the incredibly heavy handed foreshadowing combined with the knowledge that Jonathan Whitesell has a role on another show so The 100’s going to need to write him off ideally without burying another gay).
We cut back to Polis and Roan sparring with Echo under the watchful eye of Dr Abby and I….I need a minute.
*collects jaw off the floor*
Okay we’re good. I’m good. It’s fine.
Echo is still stuck in her one track slaughter skaikru rut so Roan lets her in on the apocalypse. Echo is justifiably skeptical and offers to go to Arkadia to prove they’re lying. Roan says after I deal with this challenge to my throne be off but FYI me and Clarke are besties and she’s not lying to me. But anyway, the point is, Echo is going to head to Arkadia…..interesting…..
In the marketplace, Kane and Octavia approach the Trishanakru group and Kane asks why they can’t all be friends (oh Kane). Ilian and Octavia engage in an epic glare off. All this delicious tension is giving me the shivers. Do I ship it? Sure! Why not! Ship all the things.
And back we go to Arkadia. Clarke is in her room making a list of everyone she knows of that they need to save. Did anyone else’s heart drop when she whispered “it’s too many people?” While the crushing inevitability of mass death this season is setting up is very dark, I’m more concerned about the shades of Alie in that statement. WHATCHA GONNA DO CLARKE???? I AM SCARED FOR YOU!!!!
Her freak out is interrupted by the sound of music and joviality outside. She puts on her best grumpy cat face and goes to investigate the source of this unsanctioned levity. It’s Jasper embracing the time honored tradition of ignoring your problems in favor of alcohol. Clarke “you need to relax/I have no idea how to do that” Griffin is Not Having It. Unfortunately she no longer has any sway over Jasper who calls her out for secret keeping and twists the knife by pointing out her logic sounds a lot like the logic that sent the delinquents to Earth to presumably die. Ouch! Man, it’s almost like this episode is trying to make a point about Clarke/Bellamy/Raven and Jaha/Abby/Jake. Idk, they’re being so subtle about it so I’m not really sure.
In the bowels of Farm Station, Bellamy and co discuss their options now that they know about the enslaved prisoners. Sure they need the hydrogenerator to survive but, as Raven reminded them, it is also a highly explosive bomb. What to do what to do. Waiting is out, the slaves are being moved. Miller and Monty argue to take the bomb and skedaddle (heeeeey minty moral unity I SEE YOU) while Bryan and Harper argue to save the slaves. Harper’s pitch is particularly heart strings tugging, she reminds the crew that she knows what it’s like to be locked up (now that I type this out a part of me is like don’t 3/5 of the team? But sure, I’ll take it. Give Harper lines and depth!). My heart also cracked in half at Bellamy’s face when Monty told him he knows Bellamy wants to make up for the things he’s done but now is not the time. I love when this show remembers itself and brings that trauma back around.
I also love when The 100 presents its characters and by extension its audience with no good answers moral dilemmas and that is what is at the heart of this episode. Save the many and sacrifice the few or save who you can today and deal with tomorrow when it comes? Keep secrets for the sake of law and order or tell everyone and hope human nature rises to the occasion? It’s super easy to sit on the couch and say “well this is what I would do” but in the world of the show there are no good answers and everyone involved has a painstakingly exposited legitimate point of view. THIS IS THE SHOW I FELL SO HARD FOR AND I LOVE IIIIIIIIIIIT.
“You guys don’t understand, I am physically incapable of saying no to little girls.” – Bellamy, probably
But anyway, back to the matter at hand. The team is at a stalemate so the choice falls to Bellamy. Let’s be real, we all knew what he was going to do from the moment the small girl child (aka Bellamy kryptonite) dropped the help us obi wan note at his feet. The team sets off the hydrozine and takes out most of the Azgeda guards.
In the ensuing struggle, Bryan reveals the chief is Monty’s kill because he murdered Monty’s dad. In response Monty unchains the enslaved and lets them have at him. I just want to take a moment to appreciate the FUCK out of Chris Larkin here. I’m so glad the show has been steadily ramping up the emotional depth of Monty’s storylines because Chris absolutely nails it every time. The million and one emotions in his face when the newly freed people stream past him towards their kill is a masterpiece and really drives the emotional weight of the conflict home. Monty wanted revenge but doesn’t want to be a killer, he helped free them but knows the cost is 500 lives down the road. It’s too much but what else can they do but keep going?
Speaking of emotional conflict, back in Arkadia Clarke has a long overdue confrontation with Jaha and it is magnificent. Jaha has figured out that Clarke and co are up to something. He reminds Clarke he knows what the burden of leadership and necessity driven secrecy is like. Clarke, clearly horrified that he’s drawing parallels between the two of them, lays out his sins against her. “And now you understand why,” Jaha responds, in reference to the slippery slope that is being in charge. “The decisions you face just whittle you down piece by piece.” CHILLS GUYS. I AM SO SCARED FOR CLARKE.
We cut back to Polis and Kane returning to a brooding Abby in their room. The domesticity of it makes my heart go SMISH. Abby reluctantly admits there isn’t much she can do here and she needs to go back to Clarke. Kane understands and notices she isn’t wearing her necklace. The scene abruptly ends. Okay then.
Remember that pin we stuck in Abby and her rings? Taking it out now.
Abby taking her rings off after the conversation with Kane in the beginning feels either pointed or weirdly disjointed and I’m going to lean towards pointed bc I’m loving the hell out of this season so far and it makes me generous. I don’t think this moment symbolizes that she’s all in with Kane now since the entire point of the convo earlier was that he recognizes that Jake and his hopeful optimism is a huge part of Abby and makes it clear he doesn’t want her to get rid of that. So does this mean she is in fact shutting that part of herself down? Is she symbolically setting herself up to be a harder, more pragmatic Abby when she goes back to Arkadia to be able to face the insurmountable odds ahead of them? Only time will tell.
For real though, what is that cloak made of?
Meanwhile, Octavia visits the glowing forest clan’s ambassador (I’m sorry guys I can’t keep spelling that out) and gives him one last chance to back down. He says no and she stabs him in the neck. Direct! Efficient! I love it! You know what I also love? That Octavia is murdering on behalf of the sky people. I was a teensy weensy bit concerned pre-season that her assassin arc was going to put her in opposition with them (and lbr, it’s probably going to go wrong and cause problems down the road) but so far she is very much still in their corner and that makes me happy.
The Polis portion of this episode ends back in the throne room. Roan is waiting to be challenged when Echo shows up to report the ambassador’s murder. Kane’s holy shit what am I dealing with here look to Octavia and the way she’s smiling to herself while casually not making eye contact made me snort laugh. Kane isn’t the only one putting the pieces together, Ilian turns to her and asks if she’ll kill him too. She has no idea what he’s talking about AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN OFFERS HIM CONDOLENCES ON HIS LOSSES.
OH MY GOD Y’ALL IT WAS SO COLD. I HAVE LEGITIMATE GOOSEBUMPS. I AM SO HERE FOR STONE COLD KILLER OCTAVIA FOR AS LONG AS IT LASTS. THIS IS GOLD.
Bellamy returns home to his wife minus the requested hydrogenerator but plus 25 new children. That’s like, totally the same thing. Before he deals with the consequences we pause to note Miller and Bryan’s massive ideological divide and possible break up? Too soon to tell but it’s coming. We also see that Clarke knows Riley. Who is this mysterious Riley? Who cares? Not me! I’m assuming he’s the new red shirt since Bryan is presumably off the table.
Raven notices that the truck is suspiciously empty of her equipment and the ensuing fight is my favorite for the following reasons:
- Literally no one in this moment is right or wrong, they all have valid points and reasons for taking the stances they’re taking. HELLO MURKY MORAL DILEMMAS
- Raven is pissed. My girl is deeply pragmatic (much like her girlfriend Clarke) and has accepted they’re not saving everyone but was hanging on to the hope of saving a few. I both like how her anger fleshes out this side of her character and puts her in position that Clarke has been in numerous time before, giving her a little bit more of an understanding of what Clarke’s gone through and hopefully strengthening their relationship just in time for it to be tested by Clarke’s upcoming speech.
- On a similar position note, I like how dedicated this season has been so far to spreading the horrible decisions around between the three of them.
- I like that Bellamy and Clarke have switched places from the bravenlarke argument at the beginning of the ep. Now Bellamy is the one defending his position. For me it emphasizes the similar, balanced place that Bellamy and Clarke seem to be in this season. They’re two sides of the same coin, trading places and communicating their different povs, working to find a compromise. Which brings me to…
- Clarke totally gets it. Sure, Bellamy’s short sighted move screwed up their plans but she’s not holding it against him. She’s been there, she knows what those moments are like and she doesn’t fault him for saving who he can in the moment. I’ve been desperately curious to see what their conflicts are going to be like after everything they’ve been through in general and within their personal relationship and THIS IS LITERALLY EVERYTHING I WANTED. NO JUDGEMENT, JUST UNDERSTANDING. I AM SCREAMING. HOW FUNCTIONALLY MARRIED ARE THEY??????
All of the in your face Clarke vs Jaha parallels come to a culmination as Clarke gets up in front of the Arkadians and gives a speech. Oh what a speech it is. She tells them of the impending threat and the plan to make Arkadia their ark. She gives them her word that if they all rise up and work together, not only will every single one of them survive, but they’ll thrive. It’s glorious and does it’s job judging from how quickly people scuttle off to, idk, do things. Too bad she’s lying her pants off.
Now, to be clear, I do think the unsinkably optimistic corner of Clarke genuinely does believe that they’ll figure something out. After all, they always do. That said, she knows she’s selling the people a load of bullshit. The way she echos Jaha’s pray there’s a forgiving god line to Bellamy moments pre-speech makes that clear. I have heavy conflict over this turn for Clarke (and dread that it’s possibly the kindest move facing her in the upcoming episodes). On the one hand, as she says to a disgusted Raven, she got them their workers. On the other hand, oh god Clarke what’re you doing? DON’T BE JAHA.
That said, do I see a better option? No. This is a classic example of The 100’s MO: what do you do when all of your options are shit? But I don’t believe for a second this isn’t going to come back and bite Clarke in the ass hard. I do love that Clarke is learning that she can’t, and furthermore doesn’t have to, bear the weight of leadership on her own but I despair over her still hoarding the shitty moves. Again though, what else could she do? Let someone else take over? That ability is in no way a part of Clarke’s fundamental self SO I’ll just be over here chewing my nails to shreds waiting to see how this all works out for her.
On a more pleasant note, this week’s boom out comes with a shot of Clarke and Bellamy standing (unreasonably close) together, bracing themselves for what’s to come as a united team and obviously, I’m screaming.
- Ilian and Octavia both have a similar dramatic scream don’t they?
- SHOUT OUT TO CLARKE’S HAIRCUT AND OUTFIT REBOOT SHE’S LOOKING SO MUCH MORE LIKE THE CLARKE OF YORE AS OPPOSED TO THE WANHEDA OF S3 AND I LOVE IT
- “There’s no magic button to turn them off” that sound you may hear is a thousand pieces of canonverse spec fic collapsing under the weight of their own implausibility
- “The ark is our ark” do you sometimes hear these lines and just know that the writers were elbowing each other over how clever they are?
- Looks like Echo has also figured out what Octavia’s up to. She seems a little, dare I say, impressed? I am here for this relationship developing.
- I’m basically here for all Echo development. I love her, I don’t care. (Yes she betrayed my favs but like, who hasn’t betrayed someone at this point? I’m just rolling with it and my acceptance level definitely hinges on how attractive, charming and/or interesting I find each character. I am who I am. No shame.
- A note on the looming briller break up: in all seriousness, I’m actually hugely glad they’re heading towards a break up? Hear me out. Yes it sucks to see the show’s lone gay couple fall apart but come on guys, the moment they talked about their chicken farm we all knew they were doomed right? I’m super pleased though that it doesn’t look like it’s ending in death. Aside from Wick, how many relationships on this show have ended for reasons that don’t come with a body count? You can argue that Raven/Finn also broke up like normal people but I rebutt with sure and where’s Finn now? Oh right, sprinkled around the dropship. I’m just saying, yay for non-fatal break ups.
- *whispers* Mintyyyyyyyy
- But what about Harper? I mean, let’s talk Harminty. I’m in. BRING ON THE POLY.
- How many people can they save without the hydrozine? One hundred. Of course. There’s another one of those writerly elbowing moments.
- (Please excuse my screencaps, my wifi is being a butt)
Sooooooo what’d you guys think?