Good shows can keep you entertained for an hour. Great shows can transcend their hour and seep into your everyday life causing you to ponder your own morality, relationships and beliefs. The 100 got me this week. I know that it's not considered one of the most "award-worthy" shows on tv, even though the criteria for that is so subjective it's stupid. I will argue that it is one of the most consistently compelling shows on television. I will argue that it is not afraid to push the envelope and defy expectations or logic. It's silly. It's scary. It's thoughtful. It's painful. It makes me care about fictional characters more than one should probably care about fictional characters. It's a nice escape on Wednesday nights at 9pm, but it's also so much more. It boasts strong female characters who make their own decisions and are never a prop to further a man's story. It boasts strong men who challenge authority, protect their loved ones and own up to their mistakes. It also never lets these strong characters stay on a morally high ground so that they become unrelatable. They rise and they fall and they continue to grow. This, in my opinion, is great television and it is only getting better.
Lincoln opens the episode with a little tutorial on how to best exfoliate ones skin on a post-nuclear war ridden Earth. Really though, he's having to smear deer blood all over his face so he will look more like a Reaper. Ick. Lincoln and Bellamy, all dressed up in Grounder gear and looking mighty fine, hash out a pretty crappy plan for getting into Mount Weather. Lincoln will pose as a Reaper who is trying to bring a stray Grounder (Bellamy in this case) to the Weatherites in exchange for the red Reaper drug. When they get to the door, Lincoln will bust out some sweet moves and kill EVERYONE while Bellamy sneaks through and successfully infiltrates the Mount Weather compound. Ehh…okay guys. Good luck with that one.
Bellamy, or super genius of all things mythological, and Lincoln have a wonderful little exchange while traveling though the forest. Lincoln has really turned into a wonderful character. We only get little snippets of his story every few episodes, but it's really heavy stuff and it makes him one of the more fascinating characters on the show. This time around we learn that Lincoln has had contact with the Sky People loooong before he ever met Octavia. When he was a boy a man crash landed on Earth in what I can only assume was a one man ship. Bellamy refers to this as suicide by Earth. It's something he heard about when he was a guard on the Ark but he never really knew if it actually happened. Well, apparently it's a thing, Bell. A really sad thing too. Little Lincoln brought the man food and water, but when his father discovered the Ark man, he ordered Lincoln to kill him. Clearly, Lincoln has an inherent empathy for the Arkers. This, as he tells Bellamy, is why he was drawn to Octavia and chose to protect her before he ever really knew her. She's also really pretty. You know it was a little bit of that too, Lincoln. Don't lie.
Lincoln tells Bellamy that when Reapers bring Grounders to the Mountain Men, the captives are split into two groups. One group is for harvesting, or draining blood and bone marrow as we have unfortunately already witnessed this season. The other is for the Cerberus project, basically drugging Grounders and turning them into a Reaper army that does all of the Mountain Men's dirty work. Smarty pants Bellamy notes that Cerberus refers to a mythological 3-headed dog that guards the Underworld. I like smarty pants Bellamy. He may be one of my top 3 favorite Bellamy's.
The last bit that I love from the beginning of Lincoln and Bellamy's excellent adventure is their little bonding moment over Octavia. Bellamy acknowledges that Lincoln is good for Octavia and that he helps make her strong. Lincoln throws back a "she was already strong" and I love him for it. Also, he is 100% correct, but more on that later!
Back at Camp Jaha, Indra brings a hoard of Grounder warriors to help train with the Arkers. Kane is apparently the diplomatic representative now. Abby is MIA, or maybe just back at the village of Tondc. Jaha is skeptical of everything. The adults really have it together. I really am enjoying this new Marcus Kane, though. His time in captivity with Lexa and the Grounders really seems to have given him a new purpose and drive. He is trying to learn their language and he is offering help as best as he can. When he offers to show a group of curious Grounders how to use a gun, though, Indra steps in and shuts him down. Octavia explains that the Grounders believe that if any of them uses a gun to kill another Grounder the Mountain Men will level an entire village to the ground. This is most likely a superstition founded on a bit of experience. Anyway, the Grounders and the Arkers are going to have to find a happy medium in order to effectively fight together in this war.
Murphy gets involved in yet another scuffle, this time with a Grounder. They are really both to blame, but Kane tries to save face with Indra and punishes Murphy. Jaha manages to get him out of it though by requesting him as a guide to the old dropship. Oh, the ole homestead. I really love how this show weaves in old plot points in order to bolster the current narrative and to provide interesting character development. Jaha wishes to see his son's grave and Murphy is the only original member of the 100 hanging out at Camp Jaha. Jaha doesn't seem to know that Murphy was terrible to Wells and was at one point accused of murdering him. Murphy realizes, though, that he is not necessarily wanted at Camp Jaha, so he obliges.
Clarke is also having a hard time fitting in over at the Tondc. Clarke, Lexa and the Grounder commanders fight over how to rescue all of their people from Mount Weather. One Grounder leader, Quint, believes that they should just open all the doors to expose the Earth-intolerant Weatherites to the toxic air. Clarke understands the engineering side of the Mount Weather compound and believes that they have to be more calculated in their rescue. Mount Weather was built to survive. It's people know how to protect themselves from the outside. This is why it is important that Bellamy be their inside man. He can shut down the acid fog and other weapons that Mount Weather could use during an initial attack on the compound. Lexa points out that it is only a prayer that Bellamy makes it inside. Lexa just doesn't believe in Bellamy like Clarke does. Give it time, Lexa. But really, Lincoln and Bellamy's plan is so problematic. Lexa is probably justified in her concern.
After a confrontation with Quint, Clarke escapes from the village to get some air. Why are you alone Clarke? What even? Oop. She's not alone. Major/Lieutenant/ResidentMeanLady Byrne is there to guard her. Hey Byrne! How's the…OMG. Byrne turns around and HER ARM HAS BEEN RIPPED OFF. It's just gone. She tells Clarke to save herself and just dies. What. The. Hell.
Quint shows up and decides that he wants revenge for his brother. His brother died in the drop ship rocket blast attack from the season one finale. More continuity! Yay, show! After a bit of a scuffle, Lexa straight throws a knife into Quints hand and tells him that attacking Clarke is basically attacking her. This sobers him up real quick. Lexa commands a lot of respect from her people but I can tell that she is beginning to lose some of their trust the more she bonds with Clarke and the other Arkers. Lexa tells Clarke that Quint is hers to kill, but Clarke is obviously hesitant. Before she can really say anything a roar rips through the air and Lexa, very much afraid, whispers "pauna." GOSH I HOPE PAUNA IS A DINOSAUR.
Pauna does not mean dinosaur, unfortunately. I suppose that wouldn't really make any sense. A gorilla makes sense though. I guess? Turns out, the Tondc settlement is close to an old zoo! Field trip! This gorilla is a bit pissed. Or maybe it's just hungry and trying to live it's life. Stop encroaching on it's land, people. Oh. That's the underlying problem to many conflicts in the world, including this fictional one! Clarke and Lexa flee from the gorilla and end up locking themselves in some animal's habitat at the crumbling zoo. While they catch their breath, Lexa continues to tell Clarke why she is too weak to be an effective leader. It isn't just that love is weakness (still mad about that one, Lexa). Clarke went back and saved Lexa before the gorilla could get her. Apparently that was showing weakness. There was something else too but all I really took from it was that an effective leader has to completely shut down all emotions that even make them human in the first place. Be a shell of yourself, but golly, you'll sure lead your people into prosperity!
I really like Lexa, but I feel like she is projecting her past failures as a leader onto Clarke. Lexa lost her girlfriend to a rival clan and now she condemns love. Blah Blah Blah. Maybe Lexa just grew up with this mentality because it's the mentality of generations of Grounders? If that's the case, I hope that she and Clarke learn from each other and figure out ways to be stern but compassionate leaders.
In the meantime, they have to get away from the gorilla. Clarke is also a smarty pants and figures out how to do it! At the same time, she figures out how to win the war against Mount Weather! Two birds with one stone. Well done, Clarke. Clarke and Lexa stand at the habitat door and open the hatch. When the gorilla barrels in, they sneak out the door and lock it behind them. They get out from the inside. This turns into Clarke realizing that there is already an army of Grounders inside of Mount Weather. They may be beaten down from all of the blood drainage but they are there! Taking the compound from the inside still relies heavily on Bellamy. Lexa asks if she has faith that he can do it and Clarke quickly agrees that she does. #Bellarke
Murphy and Jaha are having an intense therapy session over at the drop ship. Murphy tells Jaha how Wells really died at the hands of a twelve year old girl. A twelve year old girl who only killed Wells because she couldn't kill Jaha. This scene was FANTASTIC. It's one of the main reasons why I think this is one of my favorite episodes of the series. Neither of these characters is central to the main storyline right now. They are basically the C-plot. But geez, they are an interesting C-plot. I like action and adventure in my shows. I wouldn't watch so much sci-fi if I didn't. But I also love the quiet moments. The quiet moments that let you into a characters head and feel so many feelings that you might just combust.
Both of these men have blood on their hands. Both of these men have been wronged. Both of these men do not feel as if they are wanted at Camp Jaha (or "Camp You" as Murphy hilariously pointed out to Jaha). I read a lot of reviews that give Jaha a lot of flack. I do think that he can be a bit much sometimes but I also believe that his character brings an intriguing look at faith into the show. Jaha has always been about his people. He has also, to some degree, relied on faith for many of his decisions during the past two seasons. So, his sudden desire to lead his people to an apparently better life at the City of Lights is not out of character. He always wants to do well by his people and he doesn't just rely on his own merit to do so. He trusts in a higher being. He's got a real Moses things going on here and I kind of dig it.
It's easy for me to just joke that Jaha is still suffering from oxygen deprivation since busting out of the ark and landing on Earth. He learned about the City of Lights from a family that instantly gave him up to the Grounders. What little they told him, though, he has held onto and is now in a place where he can seek it out for himself. He has this unwavering faith that the City of Lights is the answer to a better life. It's nice that there is a character that doesn't look at this Earth like all they can do is try to survive. He looks at it like a place where he can live. Every character seems to be doom and gloom all the time. It makes sense because they have all witnessed so much death and destruction. I like that at least one person is willing to seek out something that they think can be beautiful instead of resigning to the fact that they will probably all die horrible deaths.
Jaha, maybe the City of Lights is a trap. Maybe it's this shows Terminus and you'll find yourself mingling with some hungry cannibals that welcome you in under false pretenses. Whatever happens, I am SO interested in this City of Lights. I am SO interested in what this show is doing with the concept of faith (and different faiths-like how Lexa mentions that Grounder commanders are chosen by the departed commander's spirit. So, reincarnation?) and I am SO into Jaha taking this Moses-like journey with his reluctant disciple, Murphy. Give me more!
Remember when Lincoln said that he didn't make Octavia strong because she already was? This is why! Indra sets up all kinds of training fights at Camp Jaha. It really only looks like the Grounders are participating. I guess the Arkers will start soon? Octavia steps up and asks to fight. Indra scoffs but Octavia stands firm. She ends up going against a beast of a man. She really has no chance. She can't, right? Octavia is scrappy and she is physically stronger than when she landed but this guy has YEARS of training under his belt. Nah, she gets a beat down. Octavia gets a few swipes in, because let's be real, tiny and swift can still do some damage. This guy is too good, though. It's not sad to watch, though, because while she is clearly taking a beating, she KEEPS GETTING UP. This shows her real strength. It's raining, it's muddy and she doesn't give up. Ever. Indra has to stop the fight. Octavia has grown more than anyone else on this show. It can't be difficult though when you start out at as a super naive girl that grew up under a floor board. Earth has really been her place to shine and spread her wings.
I love that this episode shows us that Lincoln, confined to the ground, looked to the stars for most of his life. Octavia, prisoner all of her life on the Ark, looked to the Earth. Somehow, they found each other. He found his star. She found her Earth. THEY WILL PROBABLY RULE EVERYTHING ONE DAY. I am 100% okay with that.
Indra is hella impressed with Octavia's gusto during the fight and asks her to become her trainee. Indra was pretty one-dimensional up until this point. She was all kill kill kill the Sky People! I like that this moment shows that she is willing to work with those that she respects, even if they are one of the dreaded Sky People. Indra is an excellent warrior and I like that Octavia is going to become a super awesome warrior princess with her help.
Soon after this, however, Kane comes to Octavia with a little proposition. Kane is looking to the future after the war on Mount Weather. He knows that they know little about their Grounder friends, or about any other community on Earth. He knows that Octavia is a solid go between so he asks if she will be his eyes and ears with the Grounders. She takes this to mean spy and..well…yes...she would be a spy. Lots of governments use spies, Octavia. It's nothing new. I get where Kane is coming from. He wants to trust the Grounders but he doesn't think he knows enough about them to be certain that they won't turn around and kill all of the Arkers after they fight Mount Weather. It's a valid concern. Octavia makes it clear that she won't be the one to help though. He pleads that she do it for her people. She says that she is and goes to sit with Indra.
Octavia has officially chosen the Grounders! I'm pretty sure she also chooses Bellamy and probably most of her 47 friends trapped in Mount Weather too. Not Clarke. That look she gave Clarke last week when she told Bellamy he was worth the risk was not a good one. Clarke should maybe be a bit scared of Octavia if anything happens to Bellamy or Lincoln.
Speaking of Bellamy and Lincoln. Oh. Dear. God. I thought that their plan would go horribly wrong but not this horribly wrong. Lincoln brings Bellamy into the Reaper tunnels but tries to backtrack when a Reaper hunting party saunters in. Bellamy tells him to pull it together because this is their best shot. They proceed to make it look like Bellamy tries to escape but Lincoln catches him. The Reapers believe it and tell Lincoln to tie Bellamy up with the rest of the Grounders. Not gonna lie, Bob Morley's scared face when they started putting the blindfold on Bellamy gave me heart palpitations. There was so much fear there. So good.
The Reapers line up their captured Grounders, but not before taking almost all of their clothes off (I'm not complaining), so that the Mount Weather doctors can examine the goods. The doctor begins to sort the captives into harvest and cerberus groups. Bellamy locks eyes with Lincoln a few times because this is the point where Lincoln is supposed to go all crazy and kill them all allowing Bellamy to sneak in. But he doesn't. The Reapers are getting their reward for bringing the captives to Mount Weather. The red drug. Lincoln, a recovering red drug addict, stopped pretty cold turkey a few episodes back but addiction is messy. Addiction is dangerous. It's SO incredibly refreshing to see a show treat addiction for what it is. A character can't have addiction as a plot device, eventually grow away from it and then never speak of it again. Lincoln is clearly drawn to the drug and the slow realization on Bellamy's face that Lincoln isn't going through with the plan is PAINFUL. SO PAINFUL. Lincoln succumbs to desire and gets injected. Earlier in the episode, when telling the story about his father making him kill the Sky man, Lincoln says that, "the world has been trying to turn me into a monster for as long as I can remember." I guess it still is. :[ Bellamy is sorted into the harvest group (HELLO. That man is totally cerberus material. How dare you, Mount Weather!) and he tries to fight as they lead him into the Mount Weather compound. Lincoln lays there, the drugs slowly taking over, and watches Bellamy disappear inside.
I am sad. and scared. and not prepared for next week. The entire promo is Bellamy being tortured. How am I supposed to watch that? Bellamy is my favorite character. He was a straight up asshole at the beginning of the first season. We all remember the selfish "whatever the hell we want" guy that I actually thought would die at some point because he was so awful. Um..well. Basically, the writers showed me that they know how to give a morally gray character proper character growth, that still keeps him a bit morally gray, but also turns him into someone so ridiculously compelling I get mad when he is only in .3 seconds of an episode. I guess I wanted him to have a storyline this season. They are giving him one. They could have been a bit nicer about it. I'm 99.8% positive that Bellamy won't die, but this next bit for him looks rough. It'll probably end up being a beautiful story of power and redemption or whatever but I'm just going to continue being mad until I inevitably die of stress next week.