The other day I was wondering to myself how I was going to survive if The 100 kept up the brutal, relentless strain on my heart it steadily built through the first three eps so in a way, I’m actually kind of glad 404 didn’t really click for me. It was a nice breather especially considering how stressed I was going in based on all the promo.
Artist rendering of me watching this ep, adrift and out to sea muttering wtf to myself.
If you can’t tell, this recap isn’t going to be anywhere near as gushy as the last few so if you adored A Lie Guarded, that’s legit, there was great stuff, don’t let me piss in your cheerios. That was crude, I’m sorry.
Before I really lean into the whining, let’s start with some positives. I am SUPER INTO the places this episode maneuvered the characters into. A lot of really awesome (horrible) stuff is teed up for the future and I’m very excited in a masochistic sort of way to see where this all goes. I don’t begrudge the episode it’s set upiness, it’s a necessary part of every story and I think this episode is definitely going to be one of the ones that works a lot better on binge. It also had some really great moments but somehow, when strung together in a cohesive standalone ep my general feeling is okay so that happened.
I’ve been thinking about this pretty much all night like the totally normal, non-obsessive person I am and I think my issues largely boil down to a combination of three things: plot that feels a little too manuever-y, twists that feel a little too gimmicky and drama that felt a little too melodramatic-y (I had a motif going leave me alone). The 100 is very much a fast paced, twisty, dramatic rollercoaster and I love that about it but sometimes it tips a little too far and I stop feeling like I’m on the rollercoaster and start feeling like I was dumped off the side in the tilt and last night was one of those times (I kind of lost the track of that metaphor but I was determined to ride it to the end).
Idk guys, idk. I really don’t know what it is that didn’t land for me but it was something. Maybe by the time I get to the end of this recap I’ll figure it out.
The ep divides neatly into three separate plotlines, each one featuring an old and new member of the power triumvirate: Clarke/Jaha in Arkadia, Raven/Abby on a mysterious island with a mysterious hatch, and Bellamy/Kane in Polis. The storylines were largely disconnected and if I thought that would be the case for more than an episode or two I’d be nervous because I tend to think too many separate, complicated, concurrent storylines was a major weak point of season 3 (obvs it isn’t the multiple storylines that are a problem but the part where this show tends to embrace go big or go home as a lifestyle choice and when you have three GBPGH stories happening at once, it can get messy and competitive).
The Arkadia portion opens with Jaha, napping while he floats around the lake behind Arkadia. “Hey Jaha, looks like you got floated!” Jasper cries. It was a prank! I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be harmlessly ridiculous or something a little more sinister since the prevalent attitude among the delinquents and now the rest of the population has been very fuck you Jaha, you floated my parents. I mean, apparently Jasper does roofie Jaha to knock him out so….whatever, everybody’s laughing. Clarke even gives it a shot for like, half a second before shutting things down so people can get back to work.
Alright, good joke, but that’s enough unauthorized fun.
It strikes me here how absolutely terrible Clarke is with person to person level management. She’s an excellent strategist and politician but man is she needs to stop trying to be the cool mom, it’s not working for her at all. This is going to be a theme for the ep.
Clarke and Monty have a brief conversation where they recap where everyone else is and why Clarke’s at Arkadia in the dialogue equivalent of an anvil dropping on all our heads but we’re all spared by a peel of thunder signaling potential oncoming back rain. As everyone races inside, Jasper casually strolls through the yard and drinks the rain while his friends scream in horror. He starts to choke, collapses, only to pop up like jk because nothing says comedy like making your best friend watch one of his nightmares come true before his eyes for funsies. Jasper’s a fucking dick!
The seriously I’m not laughing prank war continues in Clarke’s office now with Monty pitching in (Monty I expected better of you, does this seem like the time? Why’re you regressing to your pilot self?). In a plot maneuver so blatant and contrived it makes me want to tear my hair out, Jasper finds the list Clarke left basically lying out in the open (sorry, on a shelf).
Everything about the setup of this scene annoys me and feels like a device to get to the emotional fallout of Jasper finding the list. Which, fine, if you want to get technical that’s the point of all scene set up but I can see the puppet strings and that’s sloppy. I have a hard time swallowing Monty being on board to mess with Clarke after the conversation he just had with her, I have a hard time swallowing Clarke would leave the list out like that, even in a space that’s primarily hers, not only because it’s stupid af but because Clarke hates the list, you’re telling me she wouldn’t at least stick it under something so she didn’t have to look at it? The only thing about this scene that feels true and earned is Jasper’s reaction to the list’s existence in general and Monty’s reaction to not being on it. Devon Bostwock hits the perfect mix of betrayed and sardonic and Chris Larkin’s shock is heartbreaking.
Then things go from bad to worse to oh fuck. Clarke comes in, gets foamed, Jasper confronts her, tries to get on the loud speaker and Clarke shock batons him and throws him in jail. Yiiiiiiiiiikes.
This shaving cream doesn’t even smell like Bellamy, everything’s the worst.
Clarke attempts to talk Monty down, she miscalculates and assumes Monty’s mad because he’s not on the list. Monty, slytherin that he is, understands the logic but has some (reasonable) concerns with how far Clarke is willing to go. Never fear, he has a shittier plan and as soon as she walks away he hops on the loudspeaker and reads the list to Arkadia at large. Way to escalate an already awful situation, Monty. I do love that Clarke put Abby first on the list (mother/daughter feeeeeeelings) and the skepticism Chris interjects into reading Octavia’s name made me laugh.
The Arkadians then queue up to tell Clarke how shitty her plan is starting with Riley doing his best Bryan is unavailable so I’m here to pinch hit. Clarke tries to explain why she chose who she did and like, god, this is awful. Obviously it’s awful in a ethical sense but it’s also awful because Clarke wtf are you doing? You’re better at diplomacy than this. Put down the idiot ball and stop trying to rationally explain why some people are marked for death. There’s no universe where that’s going to go over well.
In an unexpected twist, Jaha steps up to shield Clarke and offer an alternative plan: a random lottery and slackers are disqualified! It’s good that they’re mixing in a different flavor of shitty plan. Variety is the spice of life. Clarke pulls Jaha aside to point out the holes in his plan and he’s like yeah but at least no one’s yelling at you anymore.
At a loss for what to do with herself I guess, Clarke goes to visit Jasper in jail and apologize. I have super mixed feelings about this scene. On the one hand, Jasper makes good points and they have a nice conversation about how if you agree with Jaha, you need to examine your life and your choices. On the other hand, I have a hard time with Jasper, of all people, moralizing at Clarke. Remind me of your contributions to the problem Jasper? They seem to have slipped my mind.
The Polis portion of this week’s escapades open with Kane putting Octavia on time out and sending her home after giving her a harsher version of the speech he was giving Bellamy throughout season 3: murder is not the answer to all of your problems. He also throws in a bonus this is not what Lincoln stood for to twist the knife.
Meanwhile, Roan’s taken to wearing grandpa Theo’s underwear and it seems to fit as well as his crown because he is cranky. He calls Kane into the principal’s office and demands he explain himself and the sky people’s plans because sharing is caring. Kane digs his toe into the carpet and stutters around a non answer but it’s no use, Roan already knows what’s up and he is Most Displeased at being left out of the loop. He snaps his fingers and Echo drags a bound and gagged Bellamy and a disposable extra into the throne room. Turns out the extra has snitched. Kane tries to mitigate the damage but snitches get stitches and Echo slits the rando’s throat. Apparently Roan’s only willing to swallow bs when it comes from Clarke and he tells Kane to prepare for war and throws him and Bellamy in jail.
Echo how could you? That was my favorite extra.
Meanwhile, Octavia goes to say goodbye to Indra only to discover a pile of dead bodies in Trikru’s satellite office. Luckily, Indra isn’t there. Less luckily, Azgeda has officially declared war on Trikru and Skaikru. Octavia skedaddles to do her best Paul Revere.
Echo, in full panda paint, takes chase and corners Octavia on the edge of a dramatically high cliff overlooking a river and one of them, idk probs Octavia, challenges the other to a duel. Octavia gives it her all but at the end of the day she’s been training for what, a few months? Echo’s been doing this all her life. Also, it seems Octavia’s sword is made from scrap metal and snaps. Does anyone take pride in their work anymore? Octavia then charges straight into Echo’s sword (????????) and slow mo falls off the side of the cliff. It really says something about this episode that it managed to make two girls with swords not work for me. The camera then spends a moment being weirdly invested in Echo’s anguish (gosh I wonder if Echo’s going to have lasting regrets over this that informs a shift in her character arc).
Back in Polis, Kane and Bellamy are chilling in jail musing on the inevitability of war. Kane’s not worried because he’s put all of his eggs in an Abby-shaped basket and his unwavering belief in her ability to save the day is lovely. Before Bellamy can point out science takes time, Roan and Echo come a’calling to drag them back to Arkadia as hostages when they march to seize Arkadia for shelter.
Speaking of unwavering faith, Bellamy’s like jokes on you Octavia’s going to get there first. Oh boy. Echo delivers the bad news along with the pieces of Octavia’s sword and oh look another scene I have super mixed feelings about. On the one hand, Bob Morley brings his A game as per usual and watching Bellamy collapse was very upsetting. On the other a) anyone who’s seen the season trailer is fully aware Octavia isn’t dead so this whole shtick feels a touch gimmicky in away that lessens the emotional impact for me. B) I’m also personally not a huge fan of the editing choices made here. The camera spends an equal amount, if not more, time focusing on the other characters in this scene with Bellamy’s howls serve as the backdrop and for me it mitigated what could have been a total gut punch by shifting focus. The distinctive piano score and swimming camera focus seemed to be trying to add an element of surrealism to the moment but instead of heightening things, I found it distracting.
Anyway, cut to the bank of the river and Octavia clawing her way out of the water at the feet (hooves) of a waiting Helios. I’ve been told this is an amazing Lord of the Rings tribute but as that is not really my jam, it was lost on me. I’m just a sour piñata all over the place, sorry guys. Looks like Octavia will be able to sound the alarm after all. Again I say huzzah!
On Becca’s Island, the STEM team arrives to scope the place out. They’ve got Nyko and Luna in tow, the former trying to convince the latter the sky people are cool. She’s skeptical which, yeah okay, fair. She asks him how long before chocolate cake turns into getting hung upside dow- wait, no, that isn’t right.
The group starts making their way towards the center of the island and Becca’s security drones start shooting at them while everyone wastes a lot of bullets (hey didn’t Pike say they didn’t have very many of those?) trying to shoot them down. This is basically the rest of the plot of this storyline.
Nyko gets shot which is sad in a theoretical sense but he’s been such a sporadic character I have a hard time getting too upset and the group loses Luna because of course they do. Things are off to a swell start.
While everyone plays hide and seek with the drones, Raven hides near the beach and tries to get close enough to reprogram one. She’s momentarily distracted by Luna strutting out of the woods ready to bounce. Here’s a question, was she going to jack their boat and leave them stranded or is she actually a mermaid and planning to swim away? If the first, dick move (and honestly, not that surprising coming from Luna, she doesn’t strike me as much of a team player unless she picks the team). Raven runs her down and speeches her into staying.
“We’re bffs now, right? No takesies backsies.” Luna is all of us.
Now working as a team, Luna snags Raven a downed drone and Raven hacks into it. There’s a there and gone in a flash moment where Raven shakes off a headache. Uh oh, looks like the Alie super brain reprogramming comes with a price. Who’s surprised? Not me.
In the woods, Abby throws herself into the line of fire to keep the drones from shooting an already wounded Jackson (and Jackson’s anguished “Abby!” straight up kills me) but Raven’s a goddess and takes over just in the nick of time. “What happened?” Abby asks. “I happened.” Raven replies. Classic! Raven has a drone army now, this is hands down my favorite thing to come out of this episode.
As the group reconvenes and heads towards the center of the island (the heart, one might say, if they are me and unable to ignore the LOSTyness of this particular storyline), Raven thanks Murphy for helping her out when they were dodging drone bullets. It’s sweet but I was also super into Raven roasting Murphy so I’m sad to see that go. Also lowkey annoyed that what may be a major turning point for their relationship (him saving her, her acknowledging and thanking him for it) was sort of squished in between action and plot.
Anyway, the group approaches a clearing and finds…..a hatch! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No Desmonds here (yet?) but they do find a state of the art lab. Thanks Becca! Abby and Raven’s science time boner faces are my fav.
Additional Notes Dialogue Whinging:
- “If we don’t find Luna, everyone we know is going to die in a wave of fire.” Miller I love that you’re taking charge and this is very dramatic, I can see you’ve been taking notes when Bellamy speeches, but like, nightblood isn’t going to make anyone fire resistant.
- “I know you think people will freak out, but if you just tell everyone the truth, maybe they’ll surprise you.” Have I mentioned how much I hate when the callbacks are this on the nose?
- “It’s not your blood that defines you, it’s your heart.” And the award for most painfully corny line goes to…
- “I didn’t survive the ice nation just to die because you think I’m not good enough.” Riley do you even have a SAG card?
And that’s a wrap! What did you guys think? Am I alone in camp downer? I’m cool with that, by the way. I hope this episode worked out better for everyone else and I have high hopes to be back in full flail next week, this one just felt like too much while simultaneously being not enough to me.