Sometimes I walk away from an episode of The 100 feeling like I got hit in the face with a brick. Not in a painful way, but in a ‘okay that was very abruptly intense and now I don’t totally know what to do with myself’ kind of way. Last night’s episode, God Complex (apt title in a number of ways) written by Lauren Muir, was one of those episodes.
That episode was A Lot: a lot of angst, a lot of adventure, a lot of things happening (seriously a lot of things happening). It was a very efficient episode, I’ll definitely give it that, the sheer amount of stuffed packed in was impressive. On the less awesome side, it felt a little like everything was dialed up to 11 and at a certain point my brain kind of switched over to white noise in self defense. While I very much enjoyed the episode, at several points I did very much wish it was possible to pause a live broadcast to take a breather.
But hey, let’s dwell on the part where I very much enjoyed things because boy howdy do I want to talk about them. Onward!
Damn, I already made a Mt Weather joke last week
Clarke’s face is my face when I have a pop-tart in the toaster oven.
Science Island opens up with the dude we know is not actually Baylis the new nightblood in the people microwave and Clarke informing everyone that surprise! The timeline is down to 10 days before the surface of the Earth is basically on fire. The mood in the room is appropriately somber but cautiously hopeful, especially when Jackson cranks up the dial and Baylis (ngl I keep almost typing Baelish) seems to be doing fine.
Lol, joke’s on him! He’s just an extra! Pretty soon he starts to bubble like a Peep and things get pretty gross and screamy after that. Whomp whomp. One more last shot for our intrepid heroes to come back from. Fear not, at the rate we’ve established, ten days means at least ten more last/only shots, maybe more if they keep dividing the storylines.
While Raven and Roan clock some quality time watching the Weather Channel (forecast: hot, shitty), Jackson and Abby review their notes and maybe figure out a way to not fry the next test subject. Unfortunately they’re currently out of red shirts and can’t pop out to the store and pick up another one. In the ensuing argument, the group figures out Emori was less than honest about her history with not-Baylis and in a room full of morally questionable people, her sin is the freshest so it looks like she’s drawn the guinea pig short straw.
After locking Murphy and Emori up so they can’t destroy the microwave (and a heartbreakingly impassioned plea from Murphy to Raven to not do this to them and oh god do I love that Raven is the one Murphy turns to), team science argues over the morality of serving one of their own up to a probably lost cause. Luna takes a stand and says no, attempting to back her word up by fighting Roan, but is not at her best and is overruled by Roan putting her in, idk, a sleeper hold? Is this a sleeper hold? Anyway, she gets knocked out. Consent rejected.
It’s dark times over on Science Island and Raven points out the extreme Mt Weatherishness of harvesting bone marrow from an unwilling donor. I slightly resent the need to state what I feels an already incredibly blatant parallel but the moment is made pretty powerful by Abby and Raven, the two people on science island who experienced the drilling, representing the opposite ends of the spectrum: Abby ordering and executing the extraction and Raven vocally protesting.
“Don’t look so concerned Clarke, I have overwhelming chemistry with literally everything.” – Roan, probably
While the extraction takes place, Clarke and Roan have a leadership is hard pow wow up on the second level behind a giant window looking down on the lab (the visual symbolism is strong). While I love, love, love that this scene gets turned on its head later, I absolutely adore that for maybe the first time ever this season, someone comes to talk to Clarke about her ability to lead and tells her *shocked gasp* she’s doing a good job.
Listen y’all, I know that Clarke has made some messed up calls and has thoroughly earned a lot of the criticism characters have been throwing at her but it was SO NICE to see someone recognize that she’s trying her best and all things considered, she’s made a lot of necessary calls that no one else could step up to make.
Unfortunately Clarke has one more monstrous call ahead of her and here’s where the Science Island storyline gets REALLY FUCKING UPSETTING. Murphy and Emori have a conversation that destroys every one of my feelings where these two historically selfish people display how much they mean to each other as Murphy swears he’ll kill Clarke if she touches Emori and Emori pleads with him to play along and survive. Then Clarke comes to collect Emori and Murphy flat out begs Clarke to not go through with it. I’m just going to go ahead and say it, I think Richard Harmon is the best actor on this show and this scene was both amazing and horrible and I can’t actually talk about it because I’m overwhelmed.
Then Clarke does a thing and I’m giving it its own section because I have a lot to say and a bunch of recap to get through.
Party At The Disco
Back in Arkadia, Jaha is making a super funeral inspiring speech about how the Earth looked really pretty from space but now is actually trying to kill them and that’s pretty rough. Clearly he has been spending more time with Jasper.
Speaking of the dude in question, he’s jauntily marching off into the woods with zero equipment or protective anything because of course he is and Bellamy goes with him to babysit because of course he does. Even before we get to the actual meat of their storyline, I am suuuuuper into it. Jasper’s chipper dgaf-ness is an excellent contrast to Bellamy’s extremely dour outlook and the juxtaposition is grand.
Because the writers have been reading my diary (I’m assuming because this is everything I wanted), Jasper’s jaunt outside the gate wasn’t just a random walkabout, he was out to collect some of the hallucinogenic nuts from season one. On the way there, he and Bellamy have a heart to heart about the pointlessness of hanging on to emotional baggage when the world is ending tomorrow.
“I know it seems like I’m just being a dick but I’m trying to help! I thought you of all people would relate, Bellamy” – Jasper, probably
Alright so, this scene is amazing and super necessary for both characters. First of all, it’s an excellent and overdue context for Jasper this season. His occasionally cruel trickster persona has been a very truthful and poignant portrayal of how some people deal with trauma and mental illness and I love it for that alone but it hasn’t all been about ‘the world is ending I might as well let my pain fly free and strike any target, yolo.’ Jasper has, in his own way, been trying to help his friends in the only way he can. He’s accepted the inevitability of their demise and has let go of his baggage and wants everyone else to do so as well. His arc reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Angel (what can I say the Buffyverse is on my mind), “if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.” Jasper wants his friends to spend their last days free to embrace all the things there are to love about this terrible, beautiful planet in a way they haven’t in their struggle to survive and that’s kind of poetically lovely.
Which leads me to my other favorite thing about this scene.
“What is the point of beating yourself up over all of the crappy things you’ve done? You did them! And don’t say you had reasons because at the end of the day, at the end of the world, nobody gives a damn about your reasons because they are your reasons. No matter how much you punish yourself, it’s not going to change anything. It’s not going to bring anyone back.”
What a fucking fantastic speech (and Devon’s delivery was on point, as always). Here’s the thing: Jasper isn’t wrong. For all that many of these characters are carrying around their baggage as punishment, what’s done is done and their reasons are their own and ultimately only matter to them. I think it’s also telling that of everyone who has tried to give Bellamy a buck up Charlie speech, Jasper is the one that actually gets through to him.
Jasper doesn’t try to tell him what he did is okay because of his reasons like Jaha, he doesn’t tell him it’s okay because he’s still a good person like Kane, he doesn’t tell him worry about it later we have stuff to do like Clarke. Jasper acknowledges that Bellamy’s done what he’s done and doesn’t offer him absolution but asks him to really examine what the point of the endless self-flagellation is in the end and that resonates. He doesn’t ask him to do anything or even tells him he should do anything, he just challenges Bellamy to accept what he’s done and decide how much it really matters in the face of looming extinction.
Jasper and Bellamy return to Arkadia to find an End of the World party in full swing. Leaving Bellamy to introvert in the corner with an open invite to join in, Jasper delivers the Jobi nuts to the cheering crowd because Jasper is so totally that guy at parties. Bellamy dithers for a minute over whether he wants to be sad or get high when one of his season 1 hook ups wanders over and lures him into the party and I’m glad because if anyone needs to blow off some steam it’s Bellamy.
It is obviously a totally zany coincidence that the girl in question looks an awful lot like Clarke right down to the identical hair styles.
Pirates of the National Cadogan Code Treasure
The adventure time portion of this episode kicks off with Jaha overhearing Niylah sharing a grounder prayer with Harper. I tip my hat to Omar Madha, this episode’s director, because the whole ep is full of amazing little physical moments that absolutely make it and Jaha’s dramatic turn and faux-casual sidle up to Niylah when she says “from the ashes we will rise” is one of them.
Hey guys, remember Cadogan’s cult from episode 403? Doesn’t matter if we do because Jaha does. After Niylah explains the Second Dawn’s tagline has been part of a traditional grounder prayer for as long as she can remember he presses Kane for a team to send into Polis to try and contact a flamekeeper. He’s puzzled out that the bunker they found before was a decoy to keep the losers out of the cool kids club. He’s logic-ed this out because he admittedly relates to Cadogan’s way of thinking and I have a good chuckle over Jaha’s self-awareness and simultaneous lack of.
After a tender goodbye with an adorably sloshed and tragically fatalistic Harper, Monty joins Kane and Jaha on their quest. High five Monty! Way to level up! Pro tip, if Jaha tells you to get in a boat, stay out of arm’s reach.
In Polis, things are not looking good. Azgeda and Trikru (plus allies? unclear) are on the brink of civil war and on top of that the population has been decimated by the black rain. But all of that is secondary to the most important thing: INDRA’S ALIVE. I didn’t actually think they’d kill her off screen but I’m still super glad to see her. She greets Kane with a punch in the nose, sad contrast to their hug in 401, but she’s a little peeved that the sky people have allied themselves with Azgeda. Kane fills her in on the much bigger problems they’re dealing with and she grumpily agrees to help them.
Gratuitous pretty girl picture
Indra takes the group to see her daughter with the most fabulous hair on the show. Gaia and Jaha immediately hit it off when they discover the origins of the grounder religion are inextricably tied to Jaha’s new favorite cult. Tree Adams’ pirate-alicious score kicks into high gear as the team rushes off to battle their way through Azgeda to Becca’s tomb and the potential location of, or at least clue to, Cadogan’s real bunker.
Kane, being Kane, tries to use the Azgeda seal to ensure safe passage to get through to the temple containing the tomb (all of the Nic Cage references in the writers’ room index cards make SO MUCH SENSE now). It works but PSYCH, Indra is NOT DOWN to share a bunker with Azgeda for five years and snatches Monty’s rifle and shoots all the guards. I am momentarily distracted trying to figure out when she spent time at the firing range but as magical aiming ability is like, the least of my issues with the entertainment industry and guns, I’ll let it go.
In the temple, the team uncovers the entrance to the tomb but alas, they have a level 11 key and the tomb requires a level 12. What to do, what to do? Good thing they brought Monty because once again his brain cracks the code. He’s now rivaling Raven for the official plot hack of the show. The adventure squad solves the puzzle and opens the tomb revealing Becca’s resting place is in fact Cadogan’s bunker (can’t wait to see how that all came about). Jaha’s fondest wish has come true and he really has found the cult that might save them all.
LOOK HOW HAPPY HE IS YOU GUYS.
Clarke Griffin: Official Post Apocalyptic Reincarnation of Buffy Summers
Alright guys let’s talk about Clarke’s choice. Before we get into it let me just applaud the show for how they’ve been building Clarke’s arc for four seasons to build up to this moment.
In season one, Clarke stepped up to lead the group not because she wanted to but because she recognized Bellamy’s style of leadership was unsustainable and someone needed to temper him. The whole time she assured herself that this was just temporary and when the rest of the Ark came down, someone would relieve them of the burden. Cut to season two, the adults come down but once again Clarke recognizes the unsustainability and ineffectiveness of the way the adults are running things and steps up again to save her friends and her people. This puts her in the position to make some seriously monstrous choices (like, you know, genocide). She cracks and runs away only to get dragged back in season 3 where she once again finds herself in the position of making world altering decisions she didn’t ask for on behalf of everyone. Sure, at any point she could’ve sat back and said ‘you know what? This isn’t my responsibility’ but that’s the exact opposite of who Clarke is at the absolute core of her being. This season has seen her trudging along, still fighting, still trying her best , still weighing the lives of many against the lives of a few and looking more and more ready to shatter as she does it. Heavy lies the crown indeed.
Throughout all of this, she’s been brushing up against various leaders and absorbing their wisdom and experience and by taking their advice, inadvertently continuing the cycle of awful that has been basically this whole show. This moment seems to be no exception. Once again there’s a monstrous choice in front of them and once again Clarke steps up to make it. It says a lot about what she’s become that I would’ve 100% believed it to be in character if Clarke had sacrificed Emori. I would’ve hated it, but I would’ve believed it.
Standing over Emori’s unconscious body, syringe in hand, the full weight and true meaning of Dante Wallace’s words land on her like a sack of bricks. “I bear it so they don’t have to” coming on the heels of Emori driving home in the previous episode how unnecessarily isolated Clarke’s allowed herself to become (and the tie in of Emori being the one to confront her with that and now being the one on the table gives me goosebumps) makes her realize that bearing it so they don’t have to doesn’t mean making yourself an island and holding yourself apart from your people. Being the kind of leader that inspires people to fight and die for you isn’t about being some remote untouchable figure. Allowing yourself to be whittled down by the choices you have to make doesn’t mean you become hollowed out and empty until you feel like all you have left to give is bearing the weight of your horrible choices on behalf of everyone’s survival.
All of the leadership advice that Clarke has absorbed comes back to one thing: you put yourself on the line for your people. Bearing it so they don’t have to means you are the shield that stands between them and what’s coming. It goes back to what Jaha, JAHA, knew in season one (my friend Danni is letting out a well-earned victory cry right now): you don’t ask your people to do things you aren’t willing to do yourself.
And so, Clarke Griffin once again embodies the legacy of Buffy Summers. She’s up on the tower recognizing death is her gift (you cannot tell me that part of this choice, whether Clarke realizes it or not, is a Slayer-style death wish and a part of her is ready to be done). She injects herself with the nightblood serum, ready to die to give her people and all the people they can reach, a chance to live because underneath all of the horrible choices she’s made, Clarke Griffin has a heart that encompasses oceans and I love her so much I can’t stand it.
At long last, Clarke Griffin has found her line.
Obviously, the show isn’t going to kill its heroine (especially not in a random mid-season episode) and Abby completely loses it and smashes the microwave, effectively ending the human trials and maybe signing humanity’s death warrant because underneath everything else, she can’t lose her daughter.
THIS IS A LOT.
- I’m guessing based on this week Harper’s going to be team party ’til the world ends when we get back from hiatus and that gives me a sad. I get that this is supposed to be spillover from her arc last episode and watching the guy die and some sort of self imposed penance for pushing him but it still felt a touch abrupt. One of the downsides of having such a sprawling cast is we don’t really get to see every character’s story fleshed out to an ideal degree.
- On that note, SO GLAD MILLER’S OKAY AND FINALLY WOKE UP FROM HIS NAP
- It’d be nice if they would like, do something with him, though.
- Isn’t Jarod Joseph a regular now?
- Honestly the fact that the looming radiation wave has killed off all of the mosquitoes is nearly enough to get me on team radiation.
- This is a small detail but worth pointing out because I love it so. When Roan refers to Emori as a freak, Raven immediately shuts him down and the conversation carries on. Writers, take note: this is an excellent way to call out and shut down othering in your writing. It doesn’t have to be a Thing, it can be as small as two lines of dialogue, but I am here for the pushback to prejudice.
- I love the emphasis on how injured Luna is as it reinforces the idea that none of them could take her down if she were at full strength.
- I was initially a lot ‘must we really’ to the on-the-noseness of Raven’s “welcome to Mt Weather” line but I recognize the necessity of explicitly pointing out the parallel for people not keeping up (while simultaneously wishing the show didn’t feel the need to write for the lowest common denominator) but have since forgiven it for teeing up Clarke’s ‘I bear it so they don’t have to’ moment later because goDAMN did I love that moment.
- Did they really have to say it twice though?
- “Did you come up here to make me feel better?” “That’s never been my strength.” I LOVE CLARKE AND ROAN SO MUCH Y’ALL
- I’m sure there’s a lot of debate going down over whether or not “Dancing isn’t what I had in mind” means Bellamy and Not!Clarke ultimately hooked up but I’m taking it as they did because man, could Bellamy use the stress relief.
- That’s maybe unfair to Not!Clarke but I have a ‘I don’t get emotionally involved with extras’ policy on this show for sanity preservation reasons.
- God Complex count: Science Island deciding who lives and who dies in the name of potential solutions, Jaha’s continued belief that he is the chosen one, meant to lead his people to safety, Indra sacrificing soldiers to hold Azgeda off while the adventure squad searches the tomb, Clarke and Roan literally above it all behind a glass window watching Abby extract Luna’s bone marrow, Roan telling Clarke (paraphrasing) that part of being king is seeing your people as pawns, Clarke changing the game and putting her money where her mouth is, Abby refusing to play by the new rules.
- Clarke being a nightblood combined with all of the foreshadowing that seems to be hinting at Clarke becoming the next commander gives me a lot of squicky feelings about the gross colonialism, savior-ish corners the show keeps writing itself into and let’s just…let’s not do that, okay?
- For context, Danni has been leaning on me since hiatus to accept that Jaha is ultimately the best leadership example on this show and I am finally, finally seeing her point. She’s also brilliant and has an appropriately brilliant take on the leadership themes on the show that is doing a lot to assuage my aforementioned Commander Clarke fears.
- Thank you show for giving us this gif:
That’s a wrap, folks! What’d you think?