The 100 – Season 3 Episode 5
The 100 continues to build the fragile peace between the Grounders and the Sky People by dealing with the fallout of the previous episode. I’m a little late with this review but I’ve been busy so something had to give.
A major aim of this episode seems to be attempting to explain the actions of some of the characters so far this season. Bellamy in particular has been acting completely out of character so some work is attempted to bring some validation to his behaviour.
Pike, Bellamy and the rest of their army come back from their attack on Indra’s forces covered in blood but none of it seems to belong to them as observed by Abby. This provides an effective mental picture that this was a massacre and largely unprovoked since the other side apparently didn’t fight back.
Clarke and Lexa’s discovery of the field of bodies reminded me of Finn’s Grounder massacre last season. It was a very grim image that shows how heartless Pike seems to be. Indra is left alive to deliver the message that the Sky Crew doesn’t support the alliance so the Grounders have to leave or be killed. Lexa’s reaction is pretty much as expected when she orders Arkadia destroyed in retaliation. Given the circumstances it’s hard to disagree with her logic here. She has to show strength as a leader and avenge her people. This situation is made even worse by the fact that these bodies are discovered while the body of the Ice Queen is being transported to Arkadia as a gesture of the peace that has now been reached.
Clarke’s reaction to the situation is very in keeping with her character. She has always been driven find a non violent solution to any problem. In this case she wants to speak to Kane to better understand the situation so that it can hopefully be resolved without any bloodshed. As good as it is there’s an undercurrent of having seen it all before. Just last week we saw Clarke and Lexa struggle to reach an understanding that would have them move forward together but this event seems to revert them back to the start of that conflict. It would have been much better if Lexa’s reaction hadn’t been so immediate and the two characters were allowed to discuss it to find out the best way of doing things.
In general it feels like the show is trying to do everything too quickly so we have this weirdly rushed war story appearing right after some semblance of peace was gained. Seeing the attempt to live in peace fail as the understanding slowly crumbles around everyone would have made more sense and probably would have led to more compelling storytelling. I wonder if The 100 is building to some other planned story that will take over the season so the writers feel as if they have to get through this quickly. If that is the case then whatever comes next will be coloured by the poor handling of this story.
Bellamy’s conversation with Clarke is well acted but feels more like it was designed to further the plot rather than be an open discussion between the characters that we know. Apparently Bellamy is angry with Clarke for leaving and feels abandoned by that action. Clarke counters that by telling him that she left because she trusted Bellamy to protect the people without her there. There’s also an attempted justification from Bellamy saying that he has always been this way and people are finally seeing the real him. This whole scene felt awkward to me because I didn’t believe that these words would come out of Bellamy’s mouth. He went through a defined arc of anger to acceptance while gaining leadership skills along the way so having him act like this is in complete contrast to that in a way that doesn’t really make sense.
This is made worse by Bellamy telling Octavia to “stop playing Grounder”. He had a really frank discussion with her where he told her that he understood that Octavia doesn’t feel like one of them any more so a reversal on this feels clumsy and out of place.
Pike is another big problem for this show. As a leader I get the impression that he doesn’t know what he’s doing which is fine if other characters oppose him in some way. Last season Kane and Abby’s differing viewpoints created a lot of good moments and showed two leader figures debating things naturally but Pike is just going along dictating what he feels needs to be done and nobody does anything about it. I’m baffled that Finn’s massacre of the Grounders last season hasn’t been raised as Pike’s plan closely resembles that.
Jaha’s return was really well done. He is a changed man returning to a society he doesn’t recognise so there’s a sense of him not belonging there. People are wary of trusting him as well which can be seen through the reaction people have to his presence.
One of the consistent themes in The 100 is rebuilding society essentially from scratch so Jaha’s presence brings something of a spiritual edge to that. Any civilised society developed throughout history has had some sort of spiritual element to it so having Jaha bring that to the table is an interesting piece of that overall puzzle. There will be those who follow him and others who think he’s mad which will create a realistic view how religion is perceived in modern Western society. Jaha’s talk about the City of Light isn’t quite a religion but it could easily become one and based on the things Jaha says it seems to be heading that way.
Raven’s situation is the perfect lens to explore the temptations brought by the mysterious City of Light. She is reluctant to believe that her leg will never heal and is struggling with the fact that she can no longer do things that once came so easily to her. The prospect of having all that removed is something that really speaks to her and her vulnerability is exploited so that she is a willing recruit. This led to a great scene where she fully trusted it and had Allie appear to her.
The other side of this is explored through Murphy and Emori who have become criminals tricking people into being robbed. They have abandoned the City of Light and become lawless as a result. Is this supposed to be symbolic of the freedom and danger brought on by rejecting a spiritual connection? If not then these are still great scenes that show Murphy and Emori having a lot of fun fending for themselves. This ties into the larger story when a Grounder recognised the symbol on the chip. I wonder how many people Allie has reached and how wide her influence extends.
An uneven episode that continues with the abandonment of established character traits from last week. The war plot feels like a means to and end that needs to happen for some higher purpose but isn’t coming from a place that makes sense. Jaha’s return to Arkadia and the spiritual aspect of his appearance in the forming society is a really interesting development that I look forward to seeing explored.
• Jaha’s return to Arkadia and the spiritual nature of his character
• Murphy and Emori having fun being thieves
• characters behaving strangely to further plot