The 100 – Season 3 Episode 11
The 100 picks up from last week with Raven fully under the control of A.L.I.E. and the attempt to free her from that influence.
This show is at its strongest when focusing on the characters and how their decisions have led them to the point they are currently at. Everyone has been through a lot since the first season and done things they never knew they were capable of so there’s a lot going on to shape who these people are and how they function within this world.
A lot has happened this season –too much I’d say- and there hasn’t been much time to slow down and take stock of what has been happening so it’s good that we finally have an episode that makes that the primary focus. This is a very simple story with a beginning, middle and an end that factors in the experiences of the characters involved to set up how things will progress. It’s straightforward and elegant in the way it remains interesting despite relatively little going on.
The centrepiece to this whole thing is Raven who has to be taken somewhere she doesn’t recognise so A.L.I.E. can’t send people to bring her back. She is taken to Niylah’s trading post which she naturally objects to. She is aware of what the Skaikru have been doing to her people and doesn’t want to associate with them. Clarke assures her that they weren’t a part of it which seems to be enough to get her to agree to help. I guess her reputation as the Wanheda still carries a lot of weight.
Raven is tied to the bed and A.L.I.E. does everything she can to help her to free herself. The results are brutal and really show how inhuman A.L.I.E. is by having no regard for Raven’s physical wellbeing. She is ordered to dislocate her shoulder to allow better access to the ropes and eventually when she proves to be no more use Raven is ordered to kill herself. It also helps show how powerful her influence is when she can order people to inflict horrible injuries on themselves and even override their own survival instinct. The loss of free will is one of the most terrifying things that can be explored in fiction and Raven is a really good case study for what can happen if someone is fully controlled by an outside force.
There are shades of The Exorcist in this episode with Raven possessed by another entity attempting to get inside the head of the other characters and wear down their resolve by reminding them of the horrible things they’ve done with the spin that those were bad decisions. Whether she is right or wrong it’s enough to make everyone doubt themselves in some way. I was also reminded of the Angel episode “Soulless” where Angelus uses his knowledge of the team to get inside their heads in a similar way.
The things Raven says to Bellamy were particularly cutting as she reminded him of when he destroyed the radio in season 1 that led to hundreds of deaths on the Ark as well as the lack of blame thrown his way for his role in irradiating Mount Weather which also led to the death of a lot of people. The first one was for purely selfish reasons and was definitely wrong but the second one was a difficult moral choice arrived at by both Bellamy and Clarke that can be argued as the right thing to do. A.L.I.E. through Raven isn’t interested in the facts as her mission is to play on guilt and insecurity in order to manipulate the situation to her own ends.
It also acts as an interesting mechanism to provide some context to Bellamy’s actions since the show began and presents the possibility that he can find some semblance of forgiveness and grow as a person as a result of his experiences. He makes a lot of mistakes and acts impulsively but does try to make up for them. Siding with Pike might be unforgiveable to some but A.L.I.E. reminding him –and the audience- of Bellamy’s prior actions somewhat shows that Bellamy is prone to acting without really thinking. It doesn’t really make up for undoing the character development he has experienced but at least the show is addressing it.. Bellamy doesn’t break during this personal attack which suggests that he has been going over these things anyway and there’s nothing she can say that he doesn’t already believe about himself. The slipup only happens when Niylah gets wind of Bellamy’s involvement in her father’s death. Having Niylah around helps him put a face to his actions which will likely intensify his guilt.
A.L.I.E. also uses Raven’s knowledge of Clarke against her. She attacks from the angle of people around her ending up dead while giving examples of those who have died due to some failure on her part and really hits her by mentioning Lexa’s death being her fault too. Lexa’s death being mentioned is the breaking point for Clarke; further emphasising how raw that loss is for her.
Jasper’s reaction is to almost destroy the second AI which Clarke stops with an impassioned plea explaining that it’s all she has left of Lexa. It’s a really heart-breaking moment as Jasper knows about loss all too well and doesn’t want to make things any worse so stops himself. It’s a powerful moment that shows the first signs of Jasper moving on with his life and putting his vendetta against Clarke aside. There is definite progression in his character which comes at a good time as his arc was starting to stagnate.
Octavia is having a crisis of identity as she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere at this point. Monty tells her that she is one of the 100 which means that he always has a place as far as he’s concerned and it looks as if she wasn’t expecting to hear that since she turned her back on them. The loss of Lincoln is still really affecting her and there is no love for Bellamy there at all but having her start to identify as part of the group again might help her move on.
Sinclair had some strong material here as he was torn between his duty of finding a way to get rid of A.L.I.E. and the potential the EMP has to do serious harm to Raven. He clearly considers her a daughter and says that she has a “brilliant mind” so the prospect of being responsible for doing more harm is difficult for him to comprehend. He does his job but Allessandro Juliani plays that anguish perfectly.
Monty killing his mother to save Octavia was somewhat unexpected but also fairly empty considering Hannah has barely been featured since she was introduced. It’s never easy to see someone kill their own mother but the lack of development of this relationship means that this doesn’t resonate as well as it should.
Similarly the reveal that he could have saved his mother doesn’t work either. Fair enough it’s possible to disable and remove the chips –though the mechanics of that are questionable- but it was either Hannah or Octavia and Monty made a choice. It’s not as if he killed her for no reason. I get that he’s upset about it but someone should have at least mentioned that he had no other choice.
We get some insight into the reason A.L.I.E. wants to get a hold of the second AI. Apparently that is the only thing that can stop her but it is still unclear how that works. She definitely wants to remove that possibility and that’s enough for now.
There’s a real sense of tension and urgency throughout the episode caused by the threat that A.L.I.E. represents and how close she was to finding them at each point. The episode was also wonderfully paced with a definite time limit on everything they did.
Lindsey Morgan’s performance in this episode was incredible. The way she copied the mannerisms of Erica Cerra when A.L.I.E. was in control was note perfect and her portrayal of an almost feral Raven as she tried to escape was great as well. Her acting also made it instantly clear when she had been restored to her old self. She absolutely owned every scene she was in and was never anything less than believable.
Another excellent outing that boasts an incredible performance from Lindsey Morgan who projects so many different sides of Raven in a single episode. The way that A.L.I.E. and Raven uses Clarke and Bellamy’s doubts and guilt against them is a great way for those characters to take stock of their actions and keeps the episode tense and compelling throughout. Monty’s internal conflict over killing his mother didn’t quite land properly but other than that the episode never failed to deliver.
- Lindsay Morgan’s incredible performance
- a great sense of tension and urgency
- the exploration of Clarke and Bellamy’s fears and doubts
- clumsy plotting with Hannah’s death and Monty’s reaction to it