Enjoy this image folks, everything else is terrible.
Why couldn’t I have gotten this obsessed with a nice show? Something with depth, sure, but ultimately out to make me feel good? Instead I fell into the masochistic cycle of loving The 100 where everything hurts and is terrible and I’m too far gone to pull myself back.
Before I get into the episode I want to take a minute to appreciate what kind of brilliant television we’re watching (I said brilliant, not imperfect, the show has flaws but I’m not focusing on those right now). This is a show that never said it was out to make us feel good things, just feel things and my god does it masterfully accomplish that. I can’t remember the last time I was so deeply terrified, horrified and creeped the fuck out by a television show. With that in mind, hats off to the writers, they’re accomplishing their goals. Assholes.
This episode’s storylines were fairly isolated from each other (which is kind of hilarious considering two of them take place mostly in the same location and have any of the non-Jasper delinquents even noticed that Raven has turned herself into a robot? I know they’re worrying about some massive other things but seriously, I thought they were all friends) so I’m going to cover them by story.
Onward, into the darkness!
Emerson: DEAL WITH YOUR SHIT CLARKE.
Clarke: I DON’T WANT TO AND NOBODY CAN MAKE ME.
We open to Clarke and Lexa having a moment that, because this is The 100, abruptly switches from sweet to creepy as Lexa startles awake from a nightmare to reveal she talks to previous commanders in her dreams. For someone who says he’s never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jason Rothenberg sure mixes in an awful lot of things that seem like they could be nods to the show. Sounds a lot like prophetic Slayer dreams, no? Anyway, INTERESTING. The previous commanders are deeply concerned by Lexa’s commitment to blood must not have blood. I don’t know about you but I felt like I got hit in the face with a brick called foreshadowing.
Their moment is further interrupted by Titus bearing a gift from King Roan of Azgeda (personally I would’ve preferred if Roan had delivered it himself but we’ve already established that this show does not believe in giving us nice things). It’s an Emerson in a box! Thanks Roan! I thought it was also pretty interesting that Roan sent Emerson to Wanheda and not Lexa. I see where his loyalties lie, or more specifically don’t lie.
So, anyway, Emerson in a box. Lexa wants to let him go, Titus thinks this is a shitty plan. Lexa turns to Clarke for back up and TWIST, Clarke also wants to kill him. Titus and Lexa are both very surprised and Lexa’s a wee bit salty that blood must not have blood seems to only apply when it’s Clarke’s people’s blood on the line. However, Clarke quickly slytherins her into submission with some fancy talk about starting wars vs finishing them. Lexa’s like fine but you have to be the one who slices him to pieces, no more hiding behind other people. It seems like the audience aren’t the only ones getting frustrated with Clarke repeatedly letting other people take action this season.
The Clarke and Emerson face off was hands down my favorite moment of the episode and really drove home one of the core parts of the show. Clarke lays Emerson’s crimes at his feet and he throws them right back at her by listing the number of his friends and family she killed including his two young children. Everyone’s a bad guy! Isn’t perspective fun? Eliza Taylor’s face is a masterpiece as she reels from every blow and immediately slams her walls back into place. Emerson then twists the knife a little harder and drops a series of truthbombs on Clarke ending with the harsh reality that her pain and guilt and horror will be with her for the rest of her life. Clarke deals with this by walking away which perfectly encapsulates her season three arc so far, shit got too real and Clarke is refusing to deal with any of it. I don’t see this working out well for her in the long run.
The Polis plot wraps up with an elaborate ceremony where Clarke is supposed to deliver Emerson’s death by 49 cuts (I’d thought the Mt Weather death toll was 48, but apparently I missed something). Emerson is looking super at peace with this, he’s done with everything, he wants to die because he’s decided it’s better than living in this shitshow of a world. However the twists keep a’coming and at the last second Clarke announced jk, she’s not going to kill him. She doesn’t know if Emerson’s death will bring her peace, but she doesn’t believe she deserves it (*sobs forever*). I’m glad she acknowledges that she wouldn’t be killing him for what he’s done, she’d be killing him to make herself feel better about what she’s done. I need Clarke to start working through her pain. I’d hoped after last week’s confrontation with Bellamy we’d see her being less in denial and while she still very is, this scene gives me hope that as with Bellamy, we’re seeing cracks in the denial veneer.
And so we end with blood must not have blood. Lexa gives a noble and inspiring speech, but the assembled grounders are deeply confused and very displeased. This will go well, I’m sure.
Arkadia- Cult Shenanigans
Audience: WHEN WE SAID WE WANTED RAVEN TO BE HAPPY THIS IS NOT WHAT WE MEANT.
Writers: *maniacal laughter*
In cult land, Abby is very concerned and highly suspicious over Raven’s sudden change in heart and pain level. I gotta say I am also a little confused. Without having any kind of scientific knowledge on the subject, I accept their explanation of how ALIE blocks pain but I’m confused by how that translates to Raven’s leg. My understanding is that pain is generally a warning sign that something is not right with your body so cutting off the pain doesn’t actually fix the root problem. If Raven isn’t feeling any pain, does that mean her leg is going to totally fuck up one day with no warning or does Alie somehow heal her too? I HAVE QUESTIONS.
Now that Raven has converted to Cult Jaha, Alie and Jaha have a job for her: search Arkadia’s mainframe for ALIE 2.0 for mysterious reasons I don’t follow and can’t tell if I missed stuff or if it’s yet to be revealed. Pause to get incredibly excited about all the storylines starting to come together. Also, Raven calling Alie Red? A+++
Oh man, SO MANY REVEALS with this storyline. My entire body went cold when Jaha genuinely did not remember who Wells was. Throwback to Murphy in ep 1, when you take away the darkest parts of ourselves, what’s left? Everything in us is a tangled web of good and bad and you can’t remove the bad without massive ramifications to the good as well. I’m so, so into this season’s theme, guys. Everyone is trying to hide from themselves and escape their pain and they’re all going to have to decide if what they lose through escape is worth it and this is the kind of philosophical shit I live for. God, I love this horrible show.
Also, sidebar, Jasper’s side eye when Jaha forgot Wells was one of my favorite things he’s done in a while (pause to reiterate that I don’t hate Jasper’s storyline because of the PTSD, I actually think the portrayal is very powerful, raw, moving and well done, I hate Jasper’s storyline because Jasper worked my last nerve a season ago). Anyway, seems like he’s maybe having second thoughts about escaping his pain if it means he’ll forget why he has the pain in the first place. Granted, he immediately asks Abby for the chip (Abby says no because she’s the best and having absolutely none of this bullshit), so maybe I’m giving Jasper too much credit.
MORE REVEALS. Okay, so, really quick, I just want to take a minute to pat myself on the back because I TOTALLY CALLED (a version of) THIS WEEKS AGO. I’m excited because I’m generally completely shit at calling plot twists. Okay, self congratulatory moment over. So, it turns out that Becca, one of the creators of ALIE, escaped aboard the 13th station with a second, improved (though we don’t know how yet) version of ALIE/the City of Light. Alie was hoping that Raven could find this other version of her, but did not realize that the 13th station was shot down ages ago. The 13th station was called Polaris. Cut to Titus in his temple, waving an ALIE chip in a tortured Murphy’s face, demanding to know where it came from (I wonder how long it’ll take Clarke to find out that Titus has one of her people locked up in his basement dungeon and I wonder how well she’ll take that?). Slow pan to a beat up escape pod in the corner that reads “POL (smudged lettering) IS”. SCREAMING. THE GROUNDERS HAVE THEIR OWN VERSION OF THE CITY OF LIGHT. MY CRACK THEORY ISN’T SO CRACK AFTER ALL. $20 says that conclave is actually communion with their version and the commander’s spirit choosing the next commander happens through stored brain scans of previous commanders talking to either Titus or the nightblood in conclave. THIS IS SOME GRADE A SCIFI SHIT HERE AND I AM INTO IT.
Some reveal shit I am super not into? Alie turned Jackson and he’s going to spy on Abby. Cue the entire fandom screaming NOOOOOOOOOOO in unision. The one team we thought was unbreakable and the writers broke it. I’m so distraught.
Arkadia- The Darkest Timeline
Octavia: I will save this storyline if it kills me and how am I the most well adjusted of all of us? I lived under the floor for 16 years for fuck’s sake.
The darkest timeline opens with Octavia on the phone with Kane while spying on some of Pike’s crew as they gallivant through the woods continuing to be the absolute worst. I love love love that Kane is organizing a sneaky rebellion carried out by some of the delinquents. I also love that Octavia has fully embraced her superhero status and have a lot of feelings about her swooping in to save that kid, keeping them both quiet even as acid sap drips off a tree and burns holes in her face. Things I do not love? Monty’s mom. She sucks and Monty deserves a better family (Miller could be his family, just saying. Forgive my callousness, but does anyone actually believe Miller’s boyfriend is anything other than a red shirt disguised as a possible long term character?).
Speaking of Miller, he continues to be the best and uses his sneaky thievery skills to break into Pike’s office and plant bugs. Go Miller! I love seeing him actually do things! As the rebellion spy squad listens in, Pike reveals to a team, including Monroe (whose first name is Zoe, thanks for the reveal Jason you cruel, cruel dick) and Monty (whaaaaatcha doing Monty? How’d you end up on side evil?), that within a year Arkadia will run out of food. DUN DUN DUN. Pike’s solution? Clear the village and take their fertile land. Fuck you, Pike. Pros: Bellamy and Monty have concerns (it’s hard to get a read on where Monroe falls because Katie Van Stuart has the ultimate vault of a poker face but I love Monroe so I’m going to assume she had concerns as well). Cons: Pike talks them out of them pretty quick with his usual kill or be killed argument. Sigh. I’d hoped that clearing the village would be Bellamy’s line but I have vastly underestimated how dark the writers are committed to going, when will I learn that they’re always going to push it further than we expected?
I get that a lot of people are horrified by what’s happening with Bellamy and I get it, I do. But, again, I can see that he genuinely believes this is his only course of action to keep his people safe. “We’ll do what needs to be done” was a chilling call back to all the times he and Clarke have assured each other they did what had to be done and if you need me I’m over here drowning in my tears. I’d also like to point out that we’re absolutely supposed to be horrified by this storyline. This is not a nice show for nice people. This is a dark show that continually puts its characters between a rock and a hard place and then lights everything on fire to force them into action. Is it incredibly hard to watch? Absolutely. But that’s kind of why I love it. Abandon all morality ye who enter here, there is no right and wrong there’s only survival. All of that said, I think that the show is making an effort to tell us that for as much as it seems like Bellamy has been seduced to the dark side, it’s a brittle veneer over a bottomless pit of extreme turmoil and he’s going to break and start clawing his way back to the light soon (please god let it be soon, this is so hard to watch). Tragically, I don’t think the break will happen before some deeply terrible shit I don’t even want to think about goes down.
Anyway, back to the plot at hand. Octavia rushes off to warn the village because Octavia is flawless. Unfortunately, the villagers are like oh hey skaikru? Fuck you. Luckily, Octavia saved that kid earlier and he vouches for her. But, back to the unfortunate stuff, instead of evacuating, they decide to set a trap and thump Octavia over the head so she won’t interfere. Cue me freaking the fuck out because oh god this is going to go horribly wrong.
Sidebar scene for Kane and Abby to have a pow wow status update between Team Rebellion and Team Cult Management. It’s a brief but uplifting scene where Kane reiterates Bellamy’s importance when it comes to turning the people around (a nice nod to Clarke inspires Bellamy, Bellamy inspires the masses and I’m still weeping about it) and laments his failure to turn B back to the side of light and Kane’s moral conflict over sending the kids into danger. Abby assures him he’s not a failure and that the kids are doing what they think is right, gives him a soft kiss on the cheek and calls it hope. The good ship Kabby is officially setting sail and I am aboard it. The completely stupefied look Kane gives her warmed the pieces of my broken and aching heart.
Oh look! I was right. Team Evil shows up to clear the village and the Grounders open fire and trap the Arkadians in a toxic inferno. Thankfully, Octavia gets free in time to give them just enough of a warning that most of them get free. However, IN A COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE TURN OF EVENTS, Monty (beautiful, heroic Monty), races back into the toxic cloud to drag Monroe to safety. Tragically, he is too late and she dies. I AM SO UPSET. ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT I GOT SUPER ATTACHED TO MONROE OVER THE COURSE OF THE SHOW, I’VE BEEN SHIPPING THE SHIT OUT OF HARPOE (Harper x Monroe) so not only is one of my tertiary favs cruelly taken from us after only just getting a first name, my crackship is sunk. RIP Monroe, you survived much longer than you were supposed to and still died too soon.
The darkest timeline ends with Pike and Bellamy having a conversation about where it all went wrong in the village and Pike’s like yo, your sister is a problem. Bellamy immediately goes on the defensive. Sorry Pike, this is the one area you will never talk Bellamy around on. Pike, the crafty bastard that he is, seems to realize this pretty quickly and backs off to who’s the ringleader? Yes, it sucks that Bellamy did not hesitate to jump on the let’s blame Kane train but at the same time it makes total sense. There is still a shred of Bellamy left in this broken, zombified husk of a man and a cornered Bellamy will do anything and turn on anyone to keep Octavia safe.
I’m a little confused because I’ve seen some people saying that Bellamy is lost to us because he’s turned on Octavia. I can only assume they missed his face in the village when Monty’s mom blamed her for Monroe’s death (*insert four billion stabby emojis here*) and his face again when Pike brought up Octavia as a problem to be dealt with. I’m not saying that still caring about his sister should make the rest of his arc okay, that’s a personal call. For me, I’ve never held these characters to a real world standard of morality (I found it SUPER ANNOYING when Finn kept trying to do that in season one). I’ve accepted and embraced that everyone one of my favs has done, is doing and will do absolutely appalling things and for as much as it kills me, I’m rolling with it. Whether or not you can/want to do that is up to you. As with everything having to do with this show, there is no right or wrong answer.
Some final thoughts to leave you with:
- So, like, is Lincoln even still on this show?
- I get that this season so far is all about all of the characters trying to escape their pain by being dramatically not themselves and I ultimately think that’s a really cool and interesting (and deeply, deeply heartbreaking) way to depict how their trauma is manifesting. I also completely believe that the end point will be that you can’t do that, the only way to truly heal is to embrace your pain and learn to live with it. That said, I’m getting a little tired of how this is being depicted with Clarke’s storyline. It seems like the main selling point of her arc is the Clexa of it all (and the politics, obviously, but a lot of that depends on you being emotionally invested in Lexa’s well being and I’ve said before, I’m of the opinion that, SHIP STUFF ENTIRELY ASIDE, her death serves the story more than her life at this point, so I’ve pretty much entirely divorced myself from caring about her fate since I think it’s pretty well sealed. APOLOGIES FOR BEING SUCH A CALLOUS BITCH). I have to say, for someone who doesn’t ship Clexa (which is a personal preference thing and I totally get why people ship it, I wish I did so I could be more actively emotionally invested in the Polis arc), watching the main character (aka the person who traditionally drives the plot), repeatedly choose to NOT do things, is getting kind of boring. I’m rapidly getting over ‘hiding from her feelings and letting Lexa do the heavy lifting’ Clarke. I want ‘I will make shit happen if it kills me’ Clarke back. Fortunately, I think she’s on the way.
- On the bright side, INDRA AND OCTAVIA IN POLIS NEXT WEEK. Please, please, please let Octavia forcibly pull Clarke’s head out of her ass and wake her the fuck up.
- As always, I urge you to read Natalie Crown’s brilliant breakdown of the episode. Her insight is fabulous and incredibly eloquently expressed and she covers a million tiny nuances that I left out as well as adding some beautiful personal insight to the Raven/City of Light storyline and some level-headed and frank thoughts on Pike. She also lays out her predictions for the season and I 100% support all of this.
- Remember guys, everything sucks right now but we’re not even halfway through the season. Without seeing how this all plays out, I (personally, PERSONALLY, how you feel is up to you) refuse to call anything ruined or unfixable (well, for a given level of fixed, I suppose). We all knew this season was going to be dark, we all knew our heroes were going to do terrible things. This is The 100, guys, if you didn’t see bad shit coming what show have you been watching? Maybe we didn’t realize how dark and how terrible the show was willing to go, but if you separate yourself from the horror of it all, how surprised are you really? Each season exponentially steps up the trauma of the previous season and we should’ve known they were going to have to go extreme to top genocide. Can you even imagine what the finale is going to be like? Personally, I think that nuke Jaha brought down is going to come back into play. What’s more extreme and dark than causing a second (I’m assuming smaller since they’re going to need a world left to play with for season 4) nuclear apocalypse?
Aaaaaand that’s another week down. How’s everybody doing? Who needs a hug? What did you guys think of the episode? Talk to me please, I’m drowning over here.