I know it’s particularly hard to put out an objective episode review in the middle of a Twitter s***storm, but here goes.
I’m just going to say right now, “Terms and Conditions” left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. It was the last episode going into a small two week break. It started strong, had an engaging story going, a nice build up of tension and intrigue…and then the end happened. Talk about letting the air out someone’s tires, especially after the brilliant “Thirteen.”
I know that people were anxious for a resolution after the whole Lexa drama, but I appreciated that they decided to spend a focused hour on the internal battle in Arkadia. It felt right, especially when Clarke pleaded the grounders to give Kane and his followers more time to take control. It was the natural progression in the storyline. This episode continued on the theme of repeating the same mistakes in history and expanded on the atrocities of marital law and the good old fashioned dictatorship. The strong willed egotistical dictator who would rather doom his people than back down. Because of his hubris, he’s delusional enough to think they could survive. He rules through fear and ready to squash those who oppose him. You know what fun it is to watch an oppressive dictator who cruelly oppresses your favorite heroes? It isn’t. They uprise in the spirit of humanity and…fail miserably. Welcome to the break folks!
For most of the hour, I was captivated by Kane’s struggle. While he waited patiently for things to unfold, you could see the whole internal dialogue through those pained eyes. Kane was truly disturbed by the dictatorship of Pike and did what he had to do, despite it going against his gentler nature. By the way, where was Abby? Shouldn’t she be his ally in all this? Anyway, Kane was the true highlight of the entire hour. He’s always been a favorite of mine, and after this episode I just love and respect him more. He cares about the people of Arkadia, despite their shortsightedness. I think he should escape in the tunnel and watch them all burn.
Where Kane is my hero though, Bellamy continues to baffle me. He betrayed his sister, his sister’s lover who was also his friend, the Grounders who trusted him (not to mention shooting the messengers in the beginning which is a dick move), and a lot of his close friends just to hit the realization at the end that Pike was a maniac? Why didn’t he just shoot Pike and go let everyone out of the cage? I know, it wouldn’t make him any better than Pike sentencing Kane to death and there’s still half a season of story to unfold. Still, it would have made me happier. This was an awfully long hour just for Bellamy to whisper to Monte and do nothing before we go off into the break.
The Raven plot twist was definitely interesting. Raven realized that ALIE was bad. She couldn’t remember Finn. The one true love of her life and she couldn’t remember their first kiss or anything. I’m glad she had that moment. She’s strong. But now Jaha wants to take away the free will? Oh man, he is nuts. While I didn’t mind the fact that this took place during an intense tale of rebellion, it baffled me as well, but I was at least pleased with Raven. It was her human moment. She realized that they need that pain – the good and the bad memories. Glad to see Jasper saw it that way too.
With “Thirteen,” the outcome was depressing, but it came with a shocking reveal that accelerated the story with a huge push forward. I mean the possibilities! (I say Clarke becomes the new commander.) This episode was just…depressing. It didn’t do much to ignite the hope, even if it was fun to watch until the rug was pulled out from under us (which seems to be a habit this season). The previews even showed Bellamy going and getting outside help. The guy who was able to cripple Mount Weather single-handedly from the inside can’t get Kane’s internal allies to take down one guy? Why does Bellamy get to be the hero after what he did?
Don’t get me wrong though. I love Bellamy. To see him like this halfway into the season is frustrating as Hell. I know he’ll come around. I know that he’ll at least earn Kane’s forgiveness, probably Abby’s too. But now he’s below square one. No, worse than square one. At least he was the leader right off the bat in season one as soon as they hit ground. He was a crappy leader, but he learned. To see him fall back this far due to poor judgement is just disconcerting. What’s to save him from the same fate as Finn? Who knows, but this is no way to treat a beloved character.
I know a lot of people are outraged by “Thirteen” and the loss of a beloved character in Lexa. I defended the choice to kill her, and I’m sure people reading my take on Bellamy are pointing at the computer going, “See, that’s how we felt with Lexa!” The thing is I’ve grown attached to all of these characters. I care what happens to all of them. Lexa was sad, no doubt, but she wasn’t one of the ones we’ve gotten to know since the very beginning when the 100 teens touched down. She wasn’t part of the whole drama of the dying Ark and the struggle up in the sky. For those that have survived all that, anything that happens to them hurts more. I’m more engaged in what happens to them. So yes, Bellamy, and to a lesser extent Monte (although it is his mother so his defection is more understandable) just stings. It kills me to see Kane be persecuted by his own kind when he’s come so far since season one. Remember, he used to be a dick. He reached out to Bellamy and got punched in the nuts anyway. His whole plan failed because he couldn’t kill Bellamy and he got a death sentence for it. It’s one thing to go dark, but this is just too dark. Did I also mention that Abby wasn’t there for any of it?
Overall grade for “Terms and Conditions,” a C-. I was at least interested in what I saw until the last ten minutes when it all went south. Let’s just hope we get past all this Pike crap so we can get back to the real drama at Polis.