The 100 – Season 3 Episode 13
“Join or Die”
Pike starts to receive some punishment while Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia and Jasper search for the mysterious Luna (Nadia Hilker) as The 100 starts to bring all the divergent plots together.
Pike has been offscreen for a while and that is definitely a good thing considering how problematic a character he has been but eventually there had to be a resolution to his story as it can’t simply be implied that the Grounders got their revenge on him and call it a day. The problem is that it’s hard to make any revenge story compelling for anything beyond cathartic reasons. There’s the danger of falling into the trap of Pike being a bad guy so it has to be satisfying seeing him get what’s coming to him.
That isn’t really something I see any value in because Pike wasn’t developed enough for me to even hate him. I disliked how one note he was as an antagonist but that’s about it and I knew nothing about him as a character other than he used to be a teacher and hates Grounders for reasons that aren’t clear to anyone but him.
Thankfully this episode attempts to give Pike some depth by flashing back to two weeks before the 100 were sent to Earth. Jaha ordered Pike to teach the kids how to survive on Earth because they were about to need it. At this point it was still unclear if Earth was actually survivable but since the Ark was running low on resources the long shot was the only plan available to them at the time. Pike objects to this because they don’t give him a lot of time to teach them. Keeping the intention a secret from the kids rubs him up the wrong way as their perception will be that the lessons are a waste of time since they will never actually get to use them.
I thought the classroom scenes were really well done as it calls back to a more innocent time from the perspective of the unsuspecting kids who had no idea what was about to happen to them. Their reaction to having their time wasted is to waste Pike’s time which frustrates him to no end. He appeals to Jaha to go with them so that he can protect thim and teach them how to survive on a practical basis.
All of this makes Pike a little more interesting as a character and at least suggests a reason that he wouldn’t want to go along with what the current leadership are doing. It is well established that he doesn’t agree with their judgement so having him use an opportunity to amass support of his own makes a lot of sense. Revelations like this should have come at the start of his campaign. The damage hasn’t been repaired by any stretch though as we still don’t see where his hatred of the Grounders comes from, not to the degree that would internally justify his actions at least. What he did was horrible but if we could at least understand why he did it then it might be more palatable. Maybe that will be retroactively fixed in the episodes to come.
Indra was the one to dish out his punishment which makes sense given her connection to the audience as well as her connection to the 300 people that Pike was responsible for killing. Her retribution is to cut him 300 times so that he can feel the deaths of the people he killed in a really visceral way. It’s brutal but Pike takes it in his stride without ever breaking which shows that he at least believes in what he did and is willing to face the consequences. I don’t see redemption coming for Pike anytime soon but I do think he will have his uses in the attempt to stop A.L.I.E. Murphy is right in pointing out that he’s strong so will be useful but I really liked his twist of the knife when he tells Pike that he learned nothing from him because all of his survival knowledge was picked up when on the ground. Murphy is telling Pike that he is nothing to him and it’s a fairly cold declaration. I’m all for this as Pike is beyond redemption as far as I’m concerned. He probably won’t survive the season but he will have things to do yet.
Things in Polis have gone really bad under Ontari’s leadership. People who defy her are being crucified for their trouble and blood literally runs down the streets. It’s a disturbing image that shows just how bad things are at this point. This is made worse by the influence of A.L.I.E. who seems to order this punishment for those that reject her. She is a very powerful threat and her lack of compassion for those who don’t do what she wants is really disturbing as it shows how inhuman she is.
I found Pike’s muttered line “About what I expected!” when seeing this devastation to be really powerful. In his mind he has been completely proven right about the Grounders and the brutal way they treat people. He doesn’t understand the wider implications of A.L.I.E’s control as he has been removed from the developments in that area but it’s interesting to have his prejudice reinforced in his own head by thinking that the Grounders are capable of everything he said they were.
Kane seems to be the last line of defence at the beginning of this episode and goes through a pretty profound emotional journey as he seems horrified that everyone around him has succumbed to A.L.I.E. and it appears that he has no supporters left. A.L.I.E. using Abby against him with her attempted seduction to convince him to take the chip is really low and the fact that Kane realises that Abby isn’t herself says a lot about their relationship that has developed. When the carrot doesn’t work A.L.I.E. uses the stick and adds Kane to the line of crucified people in order to bring him round to her way of thinking if only to make the pain stop. When that doesn’t work Abby’s life is threatened which breaks Kaine and has him take the chip. The resistance against A.L.I.E. really isn’t looking good at this point.
Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia and Jasper’s mission to find Luna so that she can bond with the second A.I. and become Commander does bring some hope for the effort to stop A.L.I.E. but not much. They do find Luna but the catch is that she is completely unwilling to help. She has made a vow to never kill again which Clarke tells her isn’t necessary as she can blaze her own trail as a leader and change laws to suit whatever her agenda is. Her refusal to accept the responsibility of being the next Commander adds further complication to the story but considering there are 3 episode left after this one, her quick agreement was never going to happen. I imagine the next episode will deal with her reasons for refusing and give us further insight into what she stands for.
Luna is an interesting character so far. I like that she is soft spoken and everything she says is delivered in a very measured tone. Nadia Hilker’s performance hints that there is a lot of regret in her past that is informing her reluctance to get involved. I look forward to seeing this character developed. Also, her people living on an oil rig created a really cool visual and helped reinforce the fact that she clearly likes to be left alone.
Before Luna was found there were some interesting things going on between this group of characters. Bellamy’s frustration at Octavia not forgiving him despite the fact that he said sorry is pretty laughable. Octavia can’t simply forgive him due to his involvement in Lincoln’s death and Bellamy is being pretty selfish assuming that she will simply forgive him for what he has done. His suggestion that she should have trusted him shows how delusional Bellamy is at this point. I do believe that he regrets what he has done but his assumption that there is a simple fix for this is completely misguided.
Octavia’s obsession with finding Luna ties into the grief she is experiencing after losing Lincoln. Her main motivation is to make his death mean something and bringing Luna back to sort out this mess is the way to do that as far as she’s concerned. As a result she is driven to succeed to the point of desperation. I get the impression that she hasn’t fully dealt with her grief yet so I imagine that is coming. Having her build a fire in a way that mirrors the lessons that Pike taught in the flashbacks was a nice touch showing that Octavia is capable of learning even from those she doesn’t respect.
A great episode that attempts to develop Pike and flesh out his motivations for doing everything he has done. It doesn’t repair the sloppy characterisation earlier in the season but makes things a little better. Kane’s emotional journey that led him to take the chip was really powerful and shows the dwindling resistance against A.L.I.E. The introduction of Luna worked really well and Octavia’s desperation to make Lincoln’s death mean something comes across loud and clear. There’s lots to build on as we hit the home stretch towards the finale and I remain interested.
- flashbacks to a simpler time that start to develop Pike
- the introduction of Luna
- Kane’s emotional journey
- Pike’s development coming a little late and not quite justifying his actions