The 100 – Season 3 Episode 15
“Perverse Instantiation – Part One”
Season 3 of The 100 is coming to an end and everything is looking hopeless with the increasing dominance of A.L.I.E. making stopping her nearly impossible.
Can you believe we’re at the final episodes already? It really has felt like a quick season for this show. Unfortunately it has also been the weakest season as I’ve pointed out many times but it isn’t without merit. The City of Light story has been really compelling since the start and having it take much of the focus over the past few episodes has created some really interesting scenarios.
Since this is the first part of a two part finale the focus is on resolving this major plot line and the plan involves getting into Polis to kidnap Ontari to give her the second A.I. Doing this will allow them to get a hold of the kill code that can stop A.L.I.E. once and for all. It’s a fairly reckless plan and they are all completely outnumbered but after Luna refused to accept the responsibility of being Commander and Raven’s hacking attempt from last week ended in failure there really is no other choice.
Fortunately Roan shows up who agrees to help them by pretending that Clarke is his prisoner while Bellamy, Octavia, Miller and Brian use the tunnels to cover them. As plans go it’s a fairly solid one and stands half a chance of getting them into Polis before all hell breaks loose.
There are a lot of complications to keep things moving along and increasing the tension as the episode progresses. I found Abby torturing Clarke to get the passphrase to activate the second A.I. She goes to incredible lengths such as stabbing her own daughter and hanging herself so that Clarke will break and give up the information. Of course we know that it’s not Abby consciously doing these things but it’s still haunting to see a woman torture her own daughter so casually. Paige Turco plays the distant and robotic part really well and Eliza Taylor counters that with a really raw emotional performance as she watches her mother condemn herself to death. The interesting thing is that Clarke doesn’t break despite what she is forced to deal with as she clearly believes that the greater good outweighs whatever her personal feelings are.
The reaction to Pike helping with the resistance effort from Octavia makes a lot of sense too. Trusting him is the last thing she wants to do after he killed Lincoln and she can’t believe that anyone would work with him. Indra makes good points about him having his uses and being unable to help if he’s dead. She is essentially using him until he outlives his usefulness and I imagine Pike is going along with it hoping for an opportunity to escape at some point. Considering he sustained some injuries here but still soldiered on I’m inclined to think that an attempt at a noble death is in his future. Not that he can be redeemed at some point but if he dies while doing some good then that salvages things a little.
Octavia’s a good example of why Pike can never be a functional member of whatever society develops when the dust settles. He has done a lot of wrong to a great many people and his beliefs don’t really combine well with the idea of a free and equal society. There is some indication that his perceptions are shifting as he works with Indra but it’s not really enough to prove that he can be trusted in any way.
There was a big surprise in the episode in the form of Jasper revealing that he had taken a chip and is under the control of A.L.I.E. The way it was handled worked really well as he acted normally around Monty until brutally stabbing him once the plan to attempt another hack into the City of Light was revealed.
Jasper falling under the sway of A.L.I.E. makes a lot of sense as he is very much a broken person so the promise of having all of his pain removed would be a very powerful motivator for him. He talks about being able to not think about Maya for the first time since she died and that gives him a lot of peace. Being haunted by her death has informed so much of his character this season that it is immediately apparent how liberated he must feel.
Unfortunately the trade-off is the same as usual. A.L.I.E. has full control of him and the power to make him do whatever she wants when he has no say in it whatsoever. He will be aware of what is going on but will be powerless to do anything about it. Devon Bostick does a really good job of conveying someone completely at peace who is also completely unsettling. Jasper is a really complex character and I’m glad that extends to when he is brainwashed.
Another surprise is when Ontari was found and is badly hurt to the point of brain death making it impossible for her to merge with the A.I. We know of only one other living Nightblood in Luna and she rejected her heritage so much of the hope seems lost with Ontari being injured the way she has been. It’s all fairly grim and it’s safe to say that the characters are at their darkest point by the end here.
As well executed as all this was it’s hard to say there was anything especially interesting going on here. We have these last ditch suicide missions fairly often on this show, especially around finale time and it’s really hard to get fully invested in them when the same structure is so often followed. The scenes are tense, the situation is well developed and many of the characters involved are people we probably care about but the overall feeling of having seen this all before is really difficult to ignore.
The whole idea of allying with an enemy of sorts to take down a bigger threat is fairly worn out at this point as well. Clarke and Lexa teaming up to take on Mount Weather felt earned because we understood the motivations of both of the characters. Seeing Pike team up with Indra doesn’t quite have the same impact because we Pike doesn’t feel fleshed out in the first place. Roan allying with Clarke doesn’t work so well for the same reasons. From a narrative point of view these things need to happen but from a character point of view they feel a little off.
A solid episode that loses points because it feels a little too familiar for this show. There are a lot of tense and exciting moments such as Abby torturing Clarke under the instruction of A.L.I.E. or Jasper’s betrayal. Having former enemies teaming up with Indra and Pike for example feeling completely unearned due to a lack of development for Pike. This review is a lot shorter than usual and that’s because it comes across as half a story that still needs to be wrapped up.