Ah, summertime. Picnics, barbecques, fun in the sun, catching up on the DVR…
Yes, thanks to a spectacularly busy spring, I confess that I have fallen very behind on all my favorite shows. One of the first shows I caught up with through binge viewing on the DVR was the second half of The 100 season three. I brought you my thoughts on episodes 3.09 – 3.12, now I share my analysis of the remainder of the episodes, 3.13 through 3.16.
3.13 – “Join or Die”
While this episode served its purpose in the overall plotting, that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. This had to be one of my least favorite hours of the season. For one, they f***ing mutilated Marcus Kane! You bastards! Was that act of him being crucified on the cross necessary? Why were any of them crucified? Why such a brutal punishment? Grounders are kind of used to pain and death. It was too over the top, too unnecessary. It’s not that I’m against execessive brutality, I’m not, but it really should mean something if you’re going to go there (often times it does with Game of Thrones).
Why do something so extreme to the resisters of the City of Light? There’s only 3 percent of them. Don’t they have enough to fill their city? A.L.I.E.’s motives were murky at best so far and I’m still not sure why she wanted everyone to take the chip other than she’s greedy. That sort of physical pain, as intense as though it may be, wouldn’t be enough to have Kane flip. Pushing Abby to manipulate Marcus so urgently and carelessly, thus giving herself away, didn’t add up either. I thought A.L.I.E. was smarter and more patient than that, especially when all they had to do was put a gun to Abby’s head. That would have saved a lot of trouble if they went there first!
Speaking of which, just how did Jaha, Abby, and the entire population of the Ark make it to Polis before Pike and Kane? Didn’t those two have a significant head start? Putting that aside, it was rather disconcerting to see Polis fall so easily. One other thing we’ve learned about the Grounders in three seasons, they aren’t sheep.
The flashback of Pike teaching the 100 back on the Ark before they were to go to the ground was interesting, but didn’t serve much purpose other than to kill some time and fill in some tiny blanks we had on their preparation for the trip. So Pike doesn’t mind being the jerk if it means people survive. Good for him. Does it make him any more sympathetic? No. Are we forgiving him now for killing Lincoln and the other 300 grounders even though it was completely unnecessary? Not one bit. Indra’s torture of him in the cell, 300 lashes for each person killed, was a real treat, even if he was needed to help them escape. I’m really, really loving this sensible thinking Murphy this season, even if Pike’s actions were hypocritical.
What I liked even less was the adventure to the land of Luna, or whatever their world is called. It was some more group therapy, which I suppose is needed, but was Bellamy basically blaming Clarke leaving for his actions? I’m not going to read too much into their conversation, but let’s just say that their little adventure only had one pay off, that shot of them in the end on an old rig in the middle of the ocean. Now that was cool, the only appealing visual of the entire episode.
3.14 – “Red Sky at Morning”
Before I get to the action, I’m not exactly sure why Harper finally threw herself on Monty after all this time, but I love it! Those two are quite the adorable pair. What’s even better is they got the quick approval of Raven with a “Finally!” Please TPTB, let a romance actually survive on this show for once. After all, people need to start pairing off and having kids if they want to assure long term survival.
That whole Luna story was a train wreck though, wasn’t it? Who decided to write Clarke so self-righteous, so eager, so damned desperate? Octavia give the right answer, making Luna take the chip makes them no better than A.L.I.E. Why didn’t Clarke listen? It’s clear that in desperate times, Clarke still does forget there are moral lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I know she thinks she’s doing it for the right reason, but it is hard to differentiate her between a good and a bad guy when that happens. Marcus Kane would have taken the moral high ground and no for an answer…that is the Marcus Kane that isn’t a chipped droid right now. There’s also that nasty problem of wherever Clarke goes, death always seems to follow. She really is Wanheda.I was glad to see that Luna was the better fighter and I imagine we’ll see her and her world again, although Clarke better hit the ground running when that happens.
I’ll tell you who isn’t a chipped droid right now, and that’s Murphy. I have always had a curious fondness for his character, but this is his defining moment and it rocks. He’s the one that manages to get Indra and Pike to work together and has the intel and the rationale about the true enemy they are facing, one very evil AI. The others are being controlled. It pays to gather information first, doesn’t it? But yeah, despite all the efforts, it goes south anyway. Murphy has his weak spot and it’s Emori, and sure enough she ends up being chipped after he lets her in on the plan. I get that it was meant to show that no one could be trusted, but I thought that sucked anyway.
I won’t even get into Monty having to delete his mother’s code, thus killing her twice, especially when it didn’t help them against A.L.I.E. It was a weak setup that Monty had to do it instead of Raven. It was never clear to me why A.L.I.E. didn’t suspect Raven was behind this. Obstacles or not, A.L.I.E. has become too invincible a foe. She even found her way into the land of Luna, and I was pretty damn annoyed with her by the end of this episode. I’m all for dark twists, but leaving the audience utterly hopeless just isn’t any fun. This one left a very bad taste in my mouth.
3.15 – “Perverse Instantiation – Part One”
Alright, so everything is hopeless, now what? Well, turns out, more of the same. Not that you can fault this part one. It did put all the chips into play so that part two could play out the rightful conclusion. Turns out, all in all, this was an entertaining, action packed hour.
The return of Roan is certainly good timing, but did he end up digging his own grave instead? I hope he’s not dead because I think they’ll need him next season. Okay, I want to see him return next season. He’s a bad ass but has a heart. Luckily, he wasn’t under control of A.L.I.E. and only wanted to see Ontari be the leader. Since Clarke just happened to be out of Nightbloods, that’s exactly what they’ll do. Again, it’s the lesser of two evils situation. What I’d like to know is how does Clarke know Ontari is chipped? Wasn’t she chipped after Clarke fled the city? Maybe the assumption was that everyone in Polis is chipped. That’s all I’ve got.
We knew right off the bat the half baked plan devised between Raven and Clarke was going to fail (after all, what show have you been watching) and boy did it. Of course it happened because Jasper ended up being chipped by A.L.I.E., which was a big twist…oh hell, we all saw it coming. Someone had to be and he’s been flirting with it all season. I guess his reason made sense, he didn’t want to see the land of Luna nuked like Mt. Weather. He’s never going to recover from that, is he? Luckily the twist was used more for tension than shock value, because I definitely feared for Harper’s life. Monty didn’t need ANOTHER loss at this time and I was so afraid they were going to go there. I just love that after all the deaths we’ve seen on this show we still care enough for the remaining characters that we’re crosssing fingers that they don’t get killed.
The reveal did no favors for Clarke, since A.L.I.E. found out the half baked plan. Going back to my contrast earlier of Clarke’s actions versus what Kane would do (WWKD?) Clarke was willing to allow her mother to die rather than take the chip where Kane caved. It goes to show, maybe that moral center doesn’t serve people well in some situations. Does A.L.I.E. not know Clarke? She cannot be broken. She massacred people at Mt. Weather rather than give in. She’s lost everyone else, why not Abby? That’s why I think it’s so sweet that Kane gave up for her. He does love her. They better be shacking up in season four.
Wasn’t it pretty cool too to see Bellamy and Murphy fighting together in the elevator? It does show how much both these guys have changed since season one and that they’re back together on the same team finally. Both have taken that long heroes journey, often reluctantly, but have come out better for it. Well mostly better, except for the whole scarred for life thing.
This hour’s unsung hero, besides our MVP Raven with her awesome hacking skills, is Indra. Who didn’t cheer her going out of her way to save Kane, despite his evilness? From what Kane said about her being crucified in part two, she paid dearly. That is what makes her character so compelling, she rewards loyalty and never forgets those who stood by her, whether they are Skaikru, mind controlled, or other. You better take notes Pike! Heck, Clarke should as well. Too many people in this world turn on each other because of immediate circumstances and the “greater good” instead of remembering the past (cough Bellamy cough). Indra is one of the true heroes in this story, not the wishy washy ones that turn on a dime because “they have to.” That’s one of this show’s favorite questions, do you die doing the right thing or survive doing the wrong thing? Defining moral ground is tough.
But yeah, Ontari is brain dead. Now what? Remember Mt. Weather…
3.16 – “Perverse Instantiation – Part Two”
We win, but we lose. Anyone see that coming? (I see everyone nodding, including myself).
I’m going to tell you what I loved most about this episode. I LOVED that we finally got to see scenes of Clarke and others in downtown Vancouver. We know they shoot in the area, but the world circumstances have never given them that chance. To see them now, where so many other shows have filmed, is pretty wicked. Clarke’s reaction to seeing such a modern city was priceless.
The return of Lexa was AWESOME! I’m not sure about the future availability of the actress (Alycia Debham-Carey), but I like the idea of Clarke becoming the next leader (after some gene therapy), putting that chip into her head and her having Lexa come out like that and help her through impossible situations. I know there has been a lot of bitter disappointment about Lexa’s death and it’s hard when a fan favorite is lost to see how it serves the overall purpose. I get why she died, even more so after seeing the finale. Did her return make her death easier for fans to take? Probably not. After all, Clarke having a relationship with an AI in her head isn’t practical. But in the end, Clarke can’t have that kind of life, with anyone. It’s a sad reality, but she has to answer to other people now. It’s the path she chose. Whether she ends up leading her own people or Polis or both remains to be seen but that’s her destiny now. There’s no happy ending and if anything I see her joining her fellow leaders as an AI in the future when her fight is over. I just don’t see another way for her.
I also got pretty excited when Murphy got to play his role as the real Flamekeeper, with Clarke taking the chip. I have a big feeling this is foreshadowing for the future setup. Fine, I hope it’s foreshadowing. If not, why are they teasing me like this? Both looked very comfortable in those roles. I love that Murphy even had to hand pump Ontari’s blood to keep the nightblood flowing into Clarke. He’s finally found a purpose in life and it’s a good purpose. It’s still inconceivable how he ended up here!
Speaking of purposes, Bellamy finally admitted he was wrong and tells Pike so. He’s accepted to living with what he’s done and I’m for one both grateful and confused by the statement. This wasn’t a guy that was angry at grounders last season. He saved them! But hey, as I said in the last episode’s review, his is a hero’s journey and perhaps he’ll stop making such bonehead decisions now and be the leader he’s destined to be.
How was it that Clarke AGAIN faced a lever pulling decision that was the difference between life and death?] Geez, again? It reminds me of Dr. Romano vs. the helicopter in ER. It didn’t get him the first time, so it tried again and succeeded. I get it wasn’t a light decision and one she had to drag out, but at the same time, it did make for a convenient way to push out the action to the last possible second. It was mayhem in that throne room! Kane choking Bellamy (he did have it coming), Jackson charging after Abby, Emori going for Murphy… just make that freaking decision fast Clarke!
Would you have believed A.L.I.E. 1 that the slow flood of radiation from the nuclear power plants would eventually kill everyone in six months? Do you agree with Clarke choosing to face that obstacle instead of A.L.I.E. 1’s mind control? She chose free will over dying with aritifcial eternal bliss. Was that her choice to make? Sounds like another hero I often see struggle with such notions of free will, one Mr. Dean Winchester. It should be noted, Clarke was called by Becca “Commander.” Foreshadowing? Again, I hope. I’m very sad that Clarke’s decision meant the end of Becca too. She at least has a shrine in the Flamekeeper’s room in Polis to be remembered by.
My heart was most crushed by the sudden rush of pain and memories on those affected. It was really hard to watch. Poor Marcus, realizing all that he did, like perhaps nailing poor Indra to a cross after she saved him. It was his reaction that got me emotionally worked up the most (because Henry Ian Cusick is an acting God), and I loved that Abby in her grief went over to console him. Jaha was a pretty big mess on the floor too and I’m sure that his actions be a dominating topic at the beginning of season four. Emori was a bit less regretful and just happy to be with “John.” Aww, young love in the strangest places. Jasper got his own hard dose of reality but at least best bud Monty, fresh from rescuing his new love Harper, is there to console.
However, it wouldn’t be this show though without a brutal slaying, and what do you know, turns out it’s still a happy ending. Octavia putting a knife through Pike is the way of the Grounder. Blood must have blood and his blood had to be spilled. He earned it. I take that to be a powerful symbol, the knife is through the heart of season three. It’s done.
So yes, many questions for season four. Clarke is free of the chip, but will she need it to become commander next? Will she go through the gene therapy to follow that path? Anyone think that they’ll all try to figure out a way to get back in space? Granted I don’t see how it can be pulled off in six months, but it does seem fitting they go back to where they started. Just no more floating people. You’re all better than that now. Nah, I really don’t want to see them in that environment again. They were all dicks up there. Another option is to live in a bunker a la Mt. Weather. Except that was blown up. Yeah, they’re pretty much doomed.
Season Three Final Thoughts
The first three seasons have pushed hard the idea of putting the main characters in no win situations and seeing how they react. After all, this is a fight for survival and our heroes still keep fighting despite the odds. Some have found their humanity along the way, others have chosen to set it aside to serve the greater good, others have died horrible deaths. It has shown who handles the pressure well, who has weak moral ground, and who has some learning to do. One thing for sure, these are definitely not the kids that landed all the ground in season one, nor are the adults the same either.
Storytelling has always been The 100’s big strength and overall it was good this season. It was still solid, but it faltered in spots, a lot more than last season. All in all the plotting came around full circle though and delivered a satisfying conclusion. For one, I loved the theme that heroes are often accidental and can do extraordinary things during the course of seeking redemption. The flashback revealing Becca as the first commander ended up starting a whole way of life for those left on the ground. She gave them hope where there was none and her second AI has preserved their race and defined their customs. Her story has mirrored some of those of The 100 and their remarkable paths since they hit the ground from the sky.
I still call foul on some of the methods use to drive plot though. The introduction of Pike went from promise to perplexing behavior, even for a guy that saw the circumstances of the world differently. The ease in which he gained control proved that many in Arkadia still had an issue with trusting grounders, but Pike just took the whole thing too far. He was more radical than inspiring and just plain annoying most of the time. The type of conflict that he generated was more a reminder of the poorly played out conflicts in season one.
I love seeing characters grow instead of regress and while Murphy’s growth can be celebrated Bellamy’s “downfall” was the largest misstep of this season. It was though everything he learned in season two was forgotten and the rationale given to us in the end still didn’t give his actions plausibility. They at least were able to use his misguided actions to create some strife between him and Octavia, who clearly has found herself and knows who she should be. She is a grounder at heart and Indra is her mother figure and rock, especially at a time when Bellamy has failed her and she’s lost the love of her life, Lincoln. Octavia doesn’t need anyone to care for her anymore. Pushing Bellamy into responsibility for others and not just his little sister is a big step that he wasn’t able to take this season, but will be forced into from this point forward. That is if they can ever trust him again.
I applaud that this year’s hero to surface was an unexpected John Murphy, which is a nice contrast to Bellamy’s rise last year. I just hope that they don’t knock Murphy down to the levels they did Bellamy this year for the sake of a plot in season four. He’s come so far! I’d like to see Bellamy and Murphy act as equals, one playing a role in Arkadia (Bellamy), one showing prominence in Polis (Murphy). I’d also like to see Murphy’s romance with Emori thrive, just because this show needs romances that don’t end in death and they aren’t the typical star-crossed lovers.
Clarke needs to listen to her calling and no doubt that goes beyond the walls of Arkadia. The fact that Skaikru was accepted as the 13th Clan should not be forgotten, which makes Clarke in line for the role of leader.
I’d like to see the show take a different approach to the new season and stop with the constantly harsh obstacles and bitter foes. Don’t eliminate those conflicts of course, just back off a little and give stories time to blossom. Given these dire times, it’s time for more community building and fighting a natural enemy, not each other. Hey, conflict is natural, but perhaps it’s time to see the better side of human nature. I know that can be impossible in an apocalyptic story, but where there is life there is hope, and this show could use it after three seasons of total bleakness.
So, that’s a wrap on season three. What part of season three did you like or dislike? What’s your hope for season four?