Well that episode was a lot.
After watching it twice and a lot of thought, I very much enjoyed 410 a standalone episode. The fight sequences were quite neat, the emotional bits made me quite squishy (well, mostly), the deaths were quite necessary and the twist at the end was a total sucker punch.
All of the things I mentioned in last week’s intro about my issues with season 4 still stand and I was definitely having a hard time emotionally engaging because of them (I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I watched, to the point I started to alarm myself). There’s nothing that can be done at this point to undo the trainwreck of the middle of this season and because of said wreck, it’s robbed me of my ability to effortlessly emotionally connect with the show and that sucks a lot. I’m also not holding out hope that the last three episodes are going to stick the landing on any of the stuff they’re teeing up in a way that I find satisfying enough to overlook the middle of the season (sorry guys, I’ve been burned too hard). That said, I’m making a conscious effort to turn off the part of my brain that thinks about that kind of stuff (like a light switch!) so I can enjoy what’s in front of me because I’m boring myself by being a wet blanket.
This week on The 100, the writers made the bold choice to do a Hunger Games AU fix-it fic where things went the way they should’ve gone with Peeta (sorry not sorry).
Luna: idk one of the Careers. Cato? Was that a thing? I’m too lazy to google.
Echo: an OC gamekeeper with money riding on Rue and no issue changing the rules and arena obstacles to win
Kane: Effie (popped collar, carefully styled hair)
Indra: Haymitch if Haymitch were technically supposed to be coaching a different team
Bellamy: Gale minus the love triangle stuff
Gaia: Stanley Tucci (announcer dude with amazing, showpiece hair)
Clarke: the president of the underground bunker district
I guess the black rain is President Snow? I’m shaky on that last one but the rest of them are solid enough I feel confident saying fight me.
We open with a heartbreakingly (intentionally and appropriately) awkward Blake siblings scene. Octavia is trying to psych herself up for the battle ahead and Bellamy shows up to check on her. The last time he saw her she basically told him she sorta kinda maybe would be cool with killing him if she weren’t related to him and all of their baggage is hugely present in their struggle to figure out how to deal with each other here. Bellamy tried to give her an out and Octavia’s like you’re not my dad, I’m all grown up now. Clarke interrupts to try and give her a pep talk and Octavia basically shrugs and walks out. RIP Clarke and Octavia’s friendship that doesn’t look like it’s coming back anytime soon.
“Soooo….still want me dead?”
Out in the courtyard, Octavia takes her place on the stage and we have two surprise arrivals to complicate things. Ilian is here to fight for Trishanakru which makes sense I guess given he’s the only named member of the clan left and has also basically hit a wall in his plot usefulness and Luna barges in at the last minute to fight for nihilism. She tells the crowd if she wins they’re all going to die. Fun times, here we go!
In the champions training room, everyone flexes their muscles and swings around some seriously large and sharp weapons while Octavia loads herself up on some tiny knives and we all have a moment of silence for Lincoln’s lost sword. Indra comes to visit and in an incredibly moving moment that makes me cry a lot, gifts Octavia with the sword that was meant for her daughter and declares Octavia her people no matter who wins. This is a beautiful culmination to a relationship born out of Octavia’s desire to find people who would accept her as one of their own for who she is.
Let’s all take a second to appreciate how amazing Adina Porter is.
The rest of the named skaikru characters pow wow in the courtyard and discuss whether or not now is a good time to consider cheating. Kane is adamant that the grounders will respect whoever wins and Jaha’s like sure Jan. Bellamy looks suitably uncomfortable with the fact that they’re basically discussing whether or not Octavia will die and Clarke is…well, much like the entire season, Clarke is a cypher and mostly just absorbs what the people around her are saying without giving anything away about where she’s at.
After Bellamy and Kane leave to be Octavia’s official groupies and Jaha goes off the Jaha, she makes one last ditch effort to convince Roan to fight for all people claiming Luna is too big of a threat to let clan politics rule the day. Roan has a sudden and inexplicable fit of caring about grounder tradition and gives her back his half of their bff necklace. Personally I think given everything about him it would’ve made more sense for his resistance to be about honor and honesty more than Clarke disrespecting the grounder religion, something Roan has previously been willing to bend the rules of for Azgeda, but sure okay whatever. I assume the writers were trying to follow up the whole “you think we’re savages” thing from last ep and solid effort but points deducted for having the wrong character say it. Echo, someone who’s shown a billion times more devotion and belief in their religions than Roan, is literally right there.
LITERALLY RIGHT. THERE.
ANYWAY. *flips switch back off*
Kane and Bellamy give Octavia her final pep talk and Kane is adorably full of frantic combat tips. The dad feels are strong with this one and it makes my heart go SQUISH. Bellamy finally bursts out with this is dumb, you were the girl under the floor, be sneaky and hide until your competition takes each other out and then swoop in for the kill. This is both solid advice and a really great reminder of Octavia’s history with a bonus Aurora Blake mention which some of y’all know I live for. Once again my heart goes SQUISH.
The group says their potentially final good byes and Kane swoops in for a hug. Bellamy and Octavia have a loaded moment where they face off and I like to believe that both of them wants to reach out but doesn’t know how. Bellamy is trying so hard to respect Octavia’s boundaries and Octavia isn’t ready to let it all go and grab him. It’s tragic but it’s realistic and feels true to where they are with each other. With a final “may we meet again” “you’re damn right we will” the battle is on.
The detailed scenery of Polis is on full display and hats off to the set crew for going all out. Octavia is following Bellamy’s advice (SQUISH) and creeping around watching the action. Roan quickly takes out a rando rando (love the hammer head squish) and the trikru rando. Up in the tower, Gaia announces the score to the waiting crowd of official groupies (Bellamy’s looking like he’s going to spontaneously combust from stress and inaction) and takes a moment to mourn trikru’s lost shot at survival by going to her mom for a hug (SQUISH).
This show gives such great hug.
Back down in the kill chute, Luna tracks down Octavia and gives her a speech about how Lincoln was a moron and humanity is the worst. I do like that this episode finally, finally decided to talk about Lincoln and his legacy but a bit sad that it took this long to get there. I’m a liiiiiiiiittle confused by Luna’s assertion that skaikru taught her about human cruelty since her own people basically raised her like a pig for holy slaughter but sure, okay, she said that.
ANYWAY *flips switch back off*
Octavia’s outmatched by Luna’s battle prowess but is miles ahead in trickery and after distracting her with a handful of sand to the face, drops a load of pipes on her head and scurries away. She finds a new hiding place to tend to her wounds when Ilian pops in. He wants to form an alliance which is sweet but Octavia’s having none of it. She promises the next time she sees him, she’ll kill him.
I spy with my little eye something dirty, rotten and cheating.
Up in the tower, Bellamy watches the battle and notices a suspicious number of contestants are getting shot by arrows and that’s weird because no one went out into the field with a bow. He quickly clocks that Echo is mysteriously absent from the groupie crowd and in true Bellamy fashion, decides the best course of action is to run out into the kill chute and take her down because like hell is anyone going to cheat when his sister is down there. Classic Bellamy.
Back in the kill chute, Octavia gets herself in a bit of a pickle and is noticed by three warriors. Ilian drops down from the sky just in the knick of time and the two of them cut the three down. Octavia’s chastises him for following her (uh, you’re welcome?) and points out this isn’t actually the Hunger Games, they’re not going to be able to cheat their way out of killing each other if it comes down to the two of them. Ilian’s all don’t cuuuuur here for my clan and then gets shot in the neck. Well, I guess that solves that problem.
I’m impressed with the Ilian death scene, mainly because it made me feel a surprising number of things considering I don’t really care about Ilian (listen, he started out interesting and then got gradually less so as the season progressed) and/or this ship. The arrow didn’t kill him but it paralyzed him and realistically he’s probably going to bleed out, right? He reminds Octavia of her promise and she Atoms him off into the great sheep farm in the sky.
Pause to note that I really like how throughout the ep, Octavia is repeatedly shown being very respectful of the deaths she causes or witnesses. When she watches Roan kill the randos in the beginning, she whispers “ye gonplei ste odon” from her hiding place. She gives Ilian a really nice send off true to his beliefs, telling him in trigadesleng that there’s nothing to fear, death is the beginning of the next journey. I suspect the show is trying to set up a contrast between Clarke and Octavia’s relationship to grounder culture (specifically, Octavia takes the time to learn and respect it and Clarke seizes it when it suits her to use as a tool without actually understanding or respecting it) to subvert some of the tropiness to come and while I appreciate the effort, I’m not sure how much it does to actually undermine the white savior thing.
Personally, I appreciated it because of what it says about Octavia’s show long character arc of searching for a place she belongs. She hasn’t just been trying on grounder culture, she’s actually been immersing herself in it, learning it and absorbing it to the point where she’s found her place and truly embodies Lincoln’s dream of one kru, sky people and grounder all on the same level. I recognize that it still falls into the white savior trope considering where the episode seems to leave things, but I like that it ties together the culmination of Octavia’s arc and Lincoln’s legacy.
Cut to Bellamy being THE ACTUAL WORST at sneaking.
Top notch hiding place, very stealthy.
He makes his way up to Echo’s hiding spot and gets to her just in time to stop her from shooting Octavia in the head. He’s getting his cathartic strangle on when Roan, the party pooper, interrupts and puts Echo on time out. Actually, he banishes her and I have a lot of Echo sympathy feelings for her. She’s visibly destroyed, serving Azgeda was her entire life and everything she did was in service to them and now, moments from the end of the world, she’s basically told her life’s work is meaningless and worse (for her), dishonorable. Ouch.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, after Echo leaves, Roan and Bellamy have a final bro out. Bellamy tells Roan Octavia is the bamfest bitch in the land, she’s going to kick everyone’s ass and he’s lucky to have her as a sister and Octavia, drawn by the noise of the cathartic strangling, overhears it all from her hiding place in the corner and gives this gaspy little inhale thing that kills me. KILLS ME.
I also, super, super love how this scene reframes their interactions this episode. Octavia’s been pretty defensive towards Bellamy this whole time, braced for him to break out his usual over protective big brother schtick and holding him at arm’s length because that was seriously not what she needed to hear at the moment. But, surprise! Turns out what Bellamy was actually holding back (tragically believing that Octavia wouldn’t accept love and support from him and that’s what her defensiveness was all about) was how much he believes in her, her ability to win this thing and save them all, her ability to not only take care of herself but protect him. It’s everything she needed to hear and said in the only way she’d be able to accept it. If he’d told her this directly, she’d never know if he truly believed it or if he was, like Clarke, just saying it to psych her up for the battle. Instead, by overhearing him saying it to someone else with no knowledge that she’s listening, she knows that he truly means everything he’s saying and it gives her the boost she needs to go back out into the kill chute with a pep in her step and my heart goes SQUISH.
LOOK AT HER REALIZING HOW MUCH FAITH HER BROTHER HAS IN HER LOOK AT IT LOOK AT IT LOOK AT IT
When Roan steps back out into the kill chute, Octavia attacks him and let’s pause to note that this is the first time in the battle Octavia has gone on the offensive (SQUISH SQUISH SQUISH). Roan proposes a truce, pointing out that it’s probably going to take both of them to kill Luna and the two of them can have a go at it after they get her off the board. Octavia, having absorbed that maybe truces aren’t for losers, accepts and the two of them go on the hunt.
Insert cut scene where Bellamy mysteriously gets kidnapped but stick a pin in this for later.
They find Luna as she takes out the last rando and attack. For a second it looks like they may actually be able to defeat her before the pesky black rain decides it’s tired of being left out and interrupts the battle. Octavia runs for cover but Roan tries to tough it out (I accept nothing else from the guy whose go to move is cauterizing his wounds with a red hot blade while belligerently staring down everyone around him). Unfortunately for Roan, Luna is more radiation proof than she is and the rain gives her the advantage to take him out.
I don’t want to talk about it but know I have a major sad. RIP Roan, you were a good egg.
Once more for old time’s sake.
We then arrive at the final showdown between Luna and Octavia. Luna gives a pretty excellent villain speech where she picks Octavia’s earlier in the season darkness is all I am mantle. I know a lot of people felt like this twist was unsupported by her previous characterization but I’m going to respectfully disagree. Personally, I felt like her whole hippie thing was a load of condescending crap and for as much as she’s tried to pretend otherwise, she’s been just as much my people first as everyone else on this show. I also think the season has done a good job of showing her growing disenchantment with humanity in general. While she did team up with the sky people for a bit, it was at best a reluctant alliance, at worst, something she did because she had nothing better to do.
However you feel about it, it happened. She corners Octavia in room and follows a blood trail to a closet she speeches at and then stabs. TWIST. Octavia, crafty little critter that she is, laid a false trail and pops up behind her and stabs her with a parting “some people are worth saving, just not you.” COLD but I love it.
Octavia then makes an exhausted, triumphant return to the tower, accepts her victory dues and announces that actually, she wants to share the bunker. She gives a South Park style “here’s what I learned today” speech banding together as one kru before collapsing in a proud Indra’s arms and realizing that Bellamy is suspiciously absent from the room.
Oh hey, yeah, where is Bellamy?
TWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIST he’s in the bunker.
While everyone else was getting their murder on, Clarke and Jaha agreed that the Hunger Games were overrated (true, though I liked this AU a lot more) and seized the bunker for themselves, locking everyone else out. Bellamy is Not Amused.
Clarke I have never in my life been more disappointed in you, not even when I saw your season three hair.
Alright, let’s talk about this twist. I will admit that I am struggling with aspects of it a lot. It’s not so much that I don’t think this is a move Clarke would make. She’s shown herself to be incredibly ruthless when back into a corner and this is the kind of Slytherin Queen stuff I love about her. Let’s face it, banking on Octavia to win the conclave was a huge risk and honestly, seizing the bunker was a smart move for someone who ultimately decided they wanted the sky people to survive. I buy that after trying literally every trick in her arsenal to get everyone to work together, Clarke hit the fuck it point and reverted to my people first.
Where I’m stuck is multi fold:
- I am having trouble reconciling Clarke kidnapping Bellamy but then leaving Kane behind. It makes my shipper heart go pitty pat to realize that she was unwilling to Bellamy die but, considering that, how’s she going to do her mother dirty and not afford her the same courtesy (especially after that lovely Clarke/Kane bonding hug earlier in the season). We’ve been shown that Clarke is aware of and in favor of Abby and Kane’s relationship so when push comes to shove, she’ll grab her person but screw Abby’s? That’s cold.
- I’ve seen some people say well Bellamy was creeping around the streets to which I respond, yeah but Clarke didn’t know that.
- Are we supposed to believe both of them were intended to be kidnapped but they ran into Bellamy first and ran out of time? Back when Clarke was making the list did Kane explicitly tell her that his life shouldn’t be prioritized ever? That’d be a super Kane thing to do but I’m going to need some clarity on this next week
- I’d be all and on that note how’re you going to grab Bellamy and not Octavia but she was preparing for Octavia to die
- Although, on that note, why didn’t she just have someone nab Octavia out of the games? Actually I’m not mad about this one, I can rationalize it as Octavia was a billion times more likely to stab someone sneaking up on her and also something about being watched by the game, I mean, flame keepers
- My most significant issue is that because Clarke has been such a cypher this season and not talked about her own personal mental state really at all, this was more of an out of the blue twist than I think was actually intended. Did you know that Clarke was this close to the edge? I didn’t. I knew she was at wits end but I wish we’d been let into her head before now so I could look back and be like oooooooh yeah, okay, in hindsight I totally saw this coming. Instead, we’ve spent most of the season getting very little insight into Clarke and a lot of off screen CLARKE IS “TRANSCENDING TRIBALISM” THIS SEASON that’s very much at odds with where this ultimately went.
- I get that the show wanted this to be a gut punch and congrats, it really, really was, but it was a bit of a sloppy one, imo.
- I’m like 99% sure they’re going to follow this up with a massive Clarke break down (and if they don’t, honestly, fuck you show, like seriously, fuck you) but I’m not sure there’s any way they can do it that will be enough for me at this point.
- One of the most frustrating issues with last season was that the show would make big, dramatic character moves and then shore up the reasoning behind it afterwards and that was a highly questionable approach. I rolled with it because I’d accepted that their hands were tied for behind the scenes scheduling reasons and the writers were doing the best they could. This doesn’t feel like that. This feels like an intentional misdirect to preserve the twistiness of the twist and I really, really hate when shows consciously lie to their audience for the sake of an OH SHIT moment. t’s weak writing. It shows that they didn’t have the confidence in their abilities to misdirect us in an honest fashion and had to resort to dirty pool to make it work.
- I’m also REALLY REALLY MAD because I feel like I’ve been retroactively robbed of the significance of my favorite Clarke moment this season aka the end of 408. Seriously, what was the point of Clarke’s “epiphany” beside making her a nightblood for Reasons? It feels pretty damn hollow to me right now and that’s a blow I’m not letting go of any time soon.
- Maybe I’m taking this too hard, I don’t know. I’ve been incredibly frustrated with how indecipherable and closed off Clarke has been this season and as you can see, I’ve hit my limit on good will.
I do genuinely believe that the writers want us to wait and see and they’re intending to try to “fix” it next episode but like I said at the beginning of this recap, I really don’t think they can stick the landing at this point. I was willing to have that kind of faith last season because for all of s3’s sloppiness, I do think there was the bones of a really solid, linear story there and execution issues aside, I think the writing was incredibly strong. I do not feel that way about this season at all and I don’t trust them to magically straighten things out in the last three episodes.
That said, I’m sure they’ll do things I enjoy and I’m excited to see how this all plays out, but I’ve given up all hope of ever being truly satisfied by this season. Maybe season five will be better. I really don’t know anymore.
ANYWAY *flips switch back off*
- Clarke saying she wants humanity to survive even if it’s not her people seems a touch ironic right now doesn’t it?
- I do like that Bellamy’s grudge against Echo finally gets a time to shine, sort of, but much like the Lincoln stuff, I’m sad that it took so long to come to a head.
- It’s not so much that this flip doesn’t make sense as much as it makes me sad about a waste of character tension opportunity between the two of them. How much more gratifying would this have been if we’d seen him visibly struggling all season to set aside his rage over her betraying him/his people, killing his gf, nearly killing his sister, all after he helped and trusted her?
- Maybe that’s what we were supposed to get from their interactions (and I definitely got that from their showdown in 401), but the 405 forest trek muddied things up for me to the point that this felt abrupt.
- Luna slow motion killing that one dude without pausing her murder strut gave me a boner that still hasn’t gone away.
- Don’t judge me, I am who I am
- QUOTA LIMIT ALERT: add “we/I did what we/I had to do” the the never again list
What’d you guys think? Is everyone okay? Who needs a hug?