Saturday, April 2, 2016

The 100, Season Three, Episode Nine: Stealing Fire

Murphy and Clark have spent the last 24 hours locked in the same room that Lexa died in.  The bedding is still stained with Lexa's blood.  Titus makes an appearance because he plans on keeping his promise to Lexa to get Clarke out of Polis safely, Clarke however wants to see the Aden (Lexa's chosen successor) to make sure that he will keep his promise to keep her people safe. At the purification ritual, not only does Aden promise to keep all of Arkadia safe but so do the other nightbloods.

If that all sounds to easy, that's because it is.  Ontari arrives and her first act is to attack Clarke. Ontari only stops her attack when ordered to be Roan, the king of the Ice Nation.  Gotta pause to say how happy I am to see the ever so hot Zach McGowan. I hope that we will get to see a lot more of him. Ontari however doesn't even blink -- announcing that when she becomes the new commander -- she will take out Clarke and all of Arkadia.  I gotta say, Ontari is one scary chick and I wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley.

At Arkadia, Pike is in full on tyrant mode.  Pike makes his way to the jail and announces that everyone is going to be executed.  Lincoln steps forward to advocate for his people, taking full responsibility for the assassination attempt. Lincoln is backed up by Bellamy (finally showing some common sense), who claims that were they in the same position as the Grounders, they too would have leaped through the open door and tried to escape.  Pike actually has a moment of humanity and decides that only the leaders: Lincoln, Kane and Sinclair will die.

Bellamy and Monty then meet with Harper and Miller who are distrustful despite the fact that Bellamy shows Miller that he has been bugged.  Bellamy then tells them about the planned execution. Harper snarks about whether or not Monty's mommy knows where he is.  Bellamy gives up on convincing them of his sincerity and asks Miller and Harper to let Octavia know that he will be waiting for her at the drop ship.

Octavia is very distrustful though Bellamy greets her with open arms.  Octavia stabs Bellamy in the neck with a tranquilizer. Later, when Bellamy awakes, he finds himself in a cave with Octavia and a very disapproving Indra.  I'm totally team Indra and Octavia on this score, particularly when Octavia points out that no one would need saving were it not for Bellamy's actions.  Octavia decides that she doesn't need either Indra or Bellamy's help and heads to Arkadia alone to rescue Lincoln.

Pike has a second moment of humanity when he allows Kane to have a moment alone with Abby. Abby is determined to do something to stop Kane's execution but Kane is steadfast that Abby cannot get involved because the people of Arkadia are going to need a leader.  Abby reaches out and it looks for a moment like they are going to kiss (the shippers must have been screaming at this point) but Kane pulls away, not wanting this to be harder than it has to be.

Back at Polis, though Clarke is still thinking about what is best for her people, she clearly is still very much grieving for the loss of Lexa.  Clarke wonders if Lexa is really inside the tech and wonders if she will see Lexa in another form.  As much as Clarke mourns however, she is very much adamant that Ontari cannot become the new commander though it is her right as a nightblood to fight for the position. It's clear that Murphy wants out and honestly, who can blame him. Playing up on Clarke's feelings of loss, Murphy suggests that since Lexa is part of the IT now, it won't matter who gets chosen as the new commander.  He's certain that Lexa will have a positive influence on the new commander.  That hope and prayer is shot right of the water by Titus, who responds that the tech amplifies pre-ascension characters. Given Ontari's hatred of Clarke and Arkadia, this most certainly will not be a good thing.

It seems that Ontari has taken a page out of The Highlander.  The horn goes off announcing a new commander.  Clarke, Murphy and Titus run into the room to find a bloody Ontari, who has a bag filled with the heads of the other nightbloods.  Ontari declares herself the victor as the last remaining one. Luckily for Clarke and Murphy, Roan has the good sense to pull them out of the room.  Roan takes them to a secret tunnel, thus paying off the debt he feels he owes Lexa but makes it clear that when they see each other again, they will be on opposite sides. Murphy can tell however by the look on Clarke's face that they aren't going anywhere.  I gotta say that at this point, if I were Murphy I would have ran through the tunnel and left Clarke behind, particularly given that his safety isn't going to be high on her priority list.

Clarke and Murphy head to the flamekeeper sanctuary determined to steal the flame. Naturally, who should they run into but Titus, who blames Clarke for Lexa's death. Nothing like taking responsibility is there? Clarke is adamant that Ontari cannot be the leader and so Titus explains that they have no choice because if someone who doesn't have the nightblood takes the flame, it will kill them.   Clarke then remembers that Lexa didn't kill everyone at her conclave. How convenient. Titus admits that there's one other possibility - Luna, the woman who Lincoln claimed would take in him and Octavia at the end of season one.  Titus however doesn't feel that Luna is worthy because she fled the trials.

Ontari, who seems to have a thing for perfect timing, throws Murphy into the room and announces that she is ready for the purification ritual. Titus agrees and has Murphy escort Ontari to the commander's quarters to begin the ritual.  We have to pause for a moment.  I don't understand why Ontari would agree to this for one moment.  As a member of Skaikru, how would Murphy even know what this entails? Yes, Murphy plays the scene well but it doesn't even begin to make sense.  The moment Ontari and Murphy leave, Titus, who calls Clarke, the flamekeeper, gives her the commander kit, which includes a journal from the first commander (a.k.a. Rebecca), so that she can go find Luna. We all know that Clarke is going to end up with that tech in her head right?  It's the only thing that makes sense.

Clarke does think to ask about Murphy and Titus promises to get Murphy out of Polis.  Murphy stands to the side and flirts with Ontari as she takes a bath supposedly for purification. Playing the game to the hilt,  Murphy assures Ontari that he believes that what she did was smart. Roan marches in with Titus, who readily admits that he gave the flame to Clarke.  Roan puts a knife to Titus's head but Murphy calls out that they need him for the ceremony. Titus it seems doesn't want to be saved because he grabs Roan's knife, slits his own throat and whispers, "for Lexa" before falling into Ontari's bath. How's that for an exit?

Ontari won't be stopped that easily and tells Roan to light the pyre to signal her attention to the role of Commander.  Roan point out that she doesn't have the flame but Ontari argues back that no one will know this and that the only witness is Murphy. Murphy is quick to point out that he likes his head exactly where it is.  Clarke rides away from Polis on a white horse and looks up when she sees the red smoke in the sky.

Indra hears the horn and realises that means that Lexa is dead.  Indra decides to leave and Bellamy attempts to lay down a guilt trip, claiming that Indra is choosing her people over Octavia again.  Indra however is not swayed and simply states that Octavia is a member of her people and asks Bellamy to tell Octavia that she is sorry.

Back at Arkadia, after telling his people to have faith, Lincoln, Kane and Sinclair are lead from the jail.  Harper uses the radio to say that "the packages" are on the move and is overheard by Monty and Hannah (who I like less and less each time she appears). Hannah figures out that Octavia is helping with the escape and she quickly notifies Pike, who orders Bryan and two other guards to stay in the bunker room with the prisoners while they go look for Octavia.   Pike quickly discovers he has been lead on a wild goose chase and when he returns to the bunker room, he finds it empty. What Pike doesn't know is that they were hiding on the floor.

When Octavia, Lincoln, Kane and Sinclair, exit their hiding space, they find Bryan, who apparently is now on team good guy and Abby waiting for them. Abby however has decided that she won't be accompanying the escapees but this doesn't stop Kane from laying one on her.  Yes, the shippers must have screamed,  #Kabby, #Kabby, #Kabby.

Monty is forced to break cover to give the team a heads up and an angry Hannah grabs the mike informing Pike what is going on without ratting out her son. Yeah, I really don't like Hannah.  Pike makes an announcement saying that if they don't hand themselves in, all of the Grounders in captivity will be killed. Octavia is determined to go with Lincoln because they are a team but Lincoln drugs Octavia and asks Kane to take care of her.

On a hill outside of Arkadia, Octavia wakes up to see Lincoln being led outside.  Pike tells Lincoln that while he cannot promise to release the Grounders, he will promise that they will be treated well. Octavia watches from a distance as Lincoln kneels in the mud. Lincoln looks up and says, "may we meet again" and Pike pulls the trigger. Octavia is grief stricken but she looks down at Pike in such a way which highly suggests that his days are numbered.

The 100 does not have a lot of people of colour and so the death of Lincoln this week reduces representation greatly.  I know that Ricky Whittle, the actor who plays Lincoln, has been cast as the lead in American Gods, which probably means that his exit from The 100 was necessary but that being said, was there no other way to write his character off? In the last two episodes, The 100 has killed off Lexa who is LGBT and now Lincoln, who is a man of colour.  Yes, actors leave popular shows but the characters they portray don't have to die to make that happen.  It's telling that the writers saw death as the only solution to the loss of two popular marginalized characters.

I know that many will see this as The 100 playing up on the idea that because this world is dangerous anyone can die, but it seems to me, given how few marginalised people are actually represented, anyone doesn't mean anyone. Sure, they were going to lose both Whittle and Debnam (Lexa) but they weren't without choices. The framing of each death is absolutely problematic and both characters deserved better than they got. Lincoln has been a major character of colour from the beginning and though he died sacrificing himself for his people, one cannot help but think that had The 100, had more characters of colour from the onset, this loss wouldn't be as devastating as it was.

There's also the fact that The 100 is a CW show.  I might have been willing to give far more latitude given the fact that the actors are signed to other shows had this occurred on a different network. In terms of inclusion and proper treatment of marginalized characters, the CW has always had a problem. Their marginalized characters tend to die in disproportional numbers and are often subjected to horrible characterisation.  This is absolutely a thing and therefore, I fail to see why the CW should get a pass.

Pike is officially dead man walking and to be honest, I'm ready to see his character go, as much as I love Michael Beach.  His view on the world is absolutely myopic and shortsighted.  With Kane and Lincoln now gone, it means that Pike will probably do a lot more wrong before the end. He has no counter to his decisions now.  I do however wonder why Pike didn't say anything about the missing Bellamy given that these two have been in lockstep since his ascension to power.

Clarke now has the flame but somehow, I don't see the tech ending up in Luna.  The 100 has always made Clarke the super special one and her ending up in control of the Grounders would just be following that pattern.  I am not a fan of the whole, don't have time to grieve thing that The 100 ran with in terms of the death of Lexa and Clarke's feelings.  It's bad enough that they killed off Lexa after she had sex with Clarke but the lack of real acknowledgement of pain because Clarke has things to do, simply doesn't do it for me at all.  It makes their love seem insignificant no matter how weepy Clarke got on the white horse.

Once again, Murphy has been left to fend for himself. Murphy is absolutely the comic relief on The 100 and in this episode especially, it was sorely needed.  He always seems to end up in impossible situations and land on his feet.  I very much think that Murphy will prioritize his life over saving Arkadia.  I look forward to his interactions with Ontari.

Finally, I must mention Indra.  We know that as Lexa's second, the two had a very close relationship. Adina Porter is an excellent actress and all she has been given to do thus far is to play lapdog to White women. When she's not serving Octavia, she's serving Lexa and now with Lexa dead she is off to the side of Ontari.  The writers have built in story reasons as to why Indra cannot follow in the footsteps of Lexa and become leader and I call epic bullshit on this one.  The truth of the matter is that they are unwilling to move Indra out of servant class and will have her following the lead of White women forever.  Indra's character deserves better.