The 100 – Season 4 Episode 7
The 100 slows things down a little when irradiated rain forces everyone to take shelter and worry about their future.
This was a refreshing change of place. The 100 has been burning through plot at an accelerated rate this season and it has caused a lot of narrative issues for the show. I mentioned last week that the show is stuck in a rut of a tiresome “one problem after another” structure that prevents things from having as big an impact as they should. When every single episode has high stakes life or death struggles to overcome then none of it has any meaning.
There was a bit of that in this episode but the bulk of the narrative was focused on the characters who were essentially stuck in small spaces and forced to interact with one another. Slowing things down and allowing the characters to develop feels long overdue and is more than welcome at this point.
Bellamy has been a problematic character of late after the betrayal of his fundamental traits last season. A lot of his arc has been defined by seeking redemption of some kind. He clearly wants forgiveness for what he has done but the speed of plot on this show has prevented this from being explored in any meaningful way. This all changes in this episode when a quiet discussion with Kane allows some exploration of where Bellamy’s is currently at.
He goes off half cocked to save a stranded father and son from the lethal storm pretty much to prove that he’s not as bad as people think he is. This is something he needs to prove to himself more than anything else and saving trapped innocents is a good way to show it. We don’t ever see the people he goes out to save but that’s probably necessary since losing them is important and it’s not a good idea to use this to kill off main characters. It could have tied in nearly with Octavia being trapped but it’s better that Bellamy doesn’t get to succeed.
His conversation with Kane is really well put together and speaks to the history these characters have with one another. Kane tries to make Bellamy feel better by pointing out how he shouldn’t punish himself because he is a good man. Bellamy’s entire motivation to save the stranded father and son is to prove that he can still protect people because he feels that he has lost the ability to do that. Kane is the voice of reason in all this and tries to tell him that he did his best and that it isn’t his fault.
Bellamy isn’t really willing to hear it and the mention of his mother from Kane is enough to confirm that. He is all too quick to remind Kane that he “floated” his mother which basically tells Kane that the subject is completely off limits to him. It would have been so easy for this conversation to result in Bellamy regaining his confidence and mending his rift with Kane but I’m glad that the writers took a more difficult route and kept the tension in their relationship.
Octavia finds herself stuck with someone she definitely would rather not be around. Ilian definitely isn’t anyone’s favourite person after his role in the destruction of Arkadia and it’s all Octavia can do not to slit his throat. It isn’t actually clear why she doesn’t do just that as she really hasn’t been shy about doling out that kind of punishment in the name of protecting her people though part of it might have to do with her fragile psychological state.
She has lost so much and her own humanity seems to be in question now. She mentions that killing doesn’t phase her any more and that really terrifies her. Ilian doesn’t see her that way but Octavia isn’t one to be reassured considering how far gone she is. I found this pairing to be really forced and not very believable. The whole having sex with someone to feel something else never comes across well and this is no exception. The characters barely know each other so it just becomes about having a hook-up for the sake of having one and it doesn’t really add anything. Octavia seems to be more accepting of him by the end of the episode so it may take her in an interesting direction though it would have been better if Ilian had turned her down.
Adding Murphy and Emori to the story of recreating Nightblood works well because it frees us from the usual interactions in this story and allows for some interesting developments. It is made clear that someone will have to risk their life to test the radiation cure treatment and Emori concludes that she will be the test subject at the front of everyone’s minds because she can’t see Clarke, Abby or Raven being subject to it. Her first instinct is to run and take Murphy with her but he thinks that she’s overreacting.
Luckily an anonymous Grounder attacks and Emori seizes the opportunity to remove herself from consideration by spinning a web of lies about the man hurting her and her brother. He becomes the test subject and Emori is off the hook though was she ever on the hook? Her confession to Murphy about the fiction she created and his recognition of how clever Emori’s plan was worked really well. This is a good way to use these characters while furthering on the main plot.
I love how visually different this setting is as well. Seeing the characters in impossibly clean surroundings using recognisable appliances is unusual given how rustic the show normally looks and it’s a welcome contrast. The characters treat it as the novelty it is as well which only adds to it. The look on Clarke’s face when she lies down on an impossibly soft bed for what is probably the first time in her life speaks volumes about the lack of comfort and hardships these characters have to endure.
A solid episode that strips back the story and allows the characters to develop. The strongest interactions came from Kane and Bellamy when Bellamy goes off half cocked to save the lives of a stranded father and son. Ultimately he’s unsuccessful which plays into his insecurity but Kane tries to make him feel better by telling him that he is a good mad that his mother would be proud of. This doesn’t work as Bellamy resents Kane for killing his mother. It’s a brave choice to preserve the tension in their relationship and it is definitely the best decision.
Emori’s assumption that she will be used as the guinea pig to create Nightblood might be an overreaction but it really works given her understanding of the logic of the situation. It’s good to see her and Murphy do the heavy lifting while furthering the plot and her decision to lie about the random Grounder attacker in order to remove herself from consideration. Murphy’s reaction made it even better. Octavia’s hook-up with Ilian was really forced as the whole having sex just to feel something other than pain routine never works. It would have been better if Ilian had turned her down and focused on the fact that her humanity hasn’t entirely eroded.