Sunday, February 14, 2016

The 100, Season Three, Episode Four: Watch the Thrones

Obviously the title on this episode is play on the show Game of Thrones.  From the very beginning it becomes clear that this episode is really going to be all about the power struggles.  Will Lexa remain Queen and will Pike become leader of Skaikru given that the Ark survivors are having elections for the first time?  Who ends up leading will have a large impact on the direction of this show.

Let's start with Skaikru.  Pike is absolutely livid that 36 of his people were killed when the Mountain was blown up.  At this point, his rage blocks him from seeing that not all Grounders are the same. It's an obvious mistake.  What Pike truly wants is vengeance for all of the people who have died and Bellamy, who is filled with guilt over the loss of his girlfriend is easily swept up in Pike's rage. It's clear that Pike is wrong but in situations like this, when people are hurting, it's easy to follow someone who promises them some form of justice.

This situation with Skaikru shows us exactly how much Marcus has grown.  When he first landed on the ground he was very much like Pike.  He had an us versus them mentality and couldn't see the larger picture.  It's telling that when Pike started to actively and vocally call for an attack on the Grounder protective forces that Marcus didn't physically punish him the way that he did to Abby.  Marcus is certain that he is in the right but for the first time he is willing to step aside and allow majority to rule.  I suppose in many ways this shows not only an evolution in Marcus but an evolution in Skaikru.

Lexa's approach to leadership is really quite different than Pike.  Yes, she is willing to sell anyone out if she thinks that her people overall will benefit but she is also willing to let go of what amounts to treason so that her people can heal and move forward.  Lexa began by outsmarting Queen Nia by making Skaikru the thirteenth tribe so that she couldn't be summarily voted out. Knowing that this wouldn't end the threat, Lexa then challenged the Ice Queen to battle.  Nia chose Roan and Lexa chose to represent herself.  After defeating Roan in battle, Lexa could have killed him but instead killed Nia, ending the rebellion and creating an ally in Roan.  The one thing Lexa is, is smart.  Lexa sees the whole picture in way that Pike cannot with his scorched earth policy.

Pike wants a war and he uses the loss at the  Mountain to encourage people into battle. In short, Pike is a fanatic and it's all too easy to follow someone when gripped with loss and fear.  The problem is that leading from that position more often than not leads to disaster.  It's certain that if he attacks Indra's group which is just there to protect Skaikru, he will move them from collateral damage straight into a war they cannot hope to win.  Pike didn't actively seek to become leader, he became leader by default. People in an emotional state would not listen to reason as presented by Marcus or the ineffectual silence offered by Abby.

Pike thinks he has the moral high ground because of the people he lost at the Mountain but in actuality he is no better than Nia.  His inability to distinguish between factions and his scorched earth policy means blaming others for the crimes of one.  He is willing to commit a genocide for his vengeance. This brings us to Jasper and his manpain.  Jasper makes the point that despite being backed against a wall that Skaikru didn't have the right to wipe out the Mountain people. His wallowing is absolutely self serving, given the very limited options Clarke et al had at the time but it does serve to highlight the problems with Pike's policy towards the Grounders.

I think that Watch the Thrones is the best episode since the first one this season because it forces us to consider all sides in this debate.  On some level, Pike has a point about the best defence being a strong offence, even though he misses the nuance and fails to understand that choosing a time to act is paramount. My other issue with the Pike's storyline is that it is going to crash the people of the Ark right back into war with the Grounders. We've been doing this for two seasons already and though this episode was intriguing, The 100 needs to either come up with a new threat (and no that doesn't mean more time for Jaha), or start showing them building an actual society and developing.  We cannot keep watching the same battle play out season after season. It's time for something new.