Thursday, February 23, 2017

The 100, Season Four, Episode Four: A Lie Guarded

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So much happened in this episode.  For me what stood out a lot are the parallel stories told about leadership. On one hand, we have Clarke, who is acting Counselor in Kane's absence and while Clarke is doing what she believes is best for her people, she's clearly conflicted about her decisions. On the Ark, Clarke hated everything about Jaha, but now placed in a similar situation, she finds herself seeing a sort of kinship with the man.  Then there's Luna, who has abdicated leadership in the past and now finds herself in the position to save all of humanity by virtue of the blood she actively seeks to reject.  Luna could be a leader but she clearly wants no part in it.  Roan, clearly believes that he was meant to lead his people and enjoys his power but is all too aware of exactly tenuous his position is.  Kane, is desperate to hold the shaky alliance together but is also desperate to hold onto his new found morality. Finally, we have Abby, who depends on science to save the day.  The 100, is offering us several different types of leadership styles and they are all to some degree sympathetic.  At the end of the day, what really matters is humanity being able to survive the coming storm. 

Let's begin with the return to ALLIE's little island.  It seems that Jaha informed everyone that there's a lab there where Nightblood was originally made.  Abby, Raven, Nyko, Luna, Murphy, Emori and a few soldiers head out with the hope of turning everyone into a Nightblood.  As they reach the markers, Emori stops, having never passed it before because to do was to break ALLIE's rule about mutants on the island.  It's Murphy who crosses first and extends his hand in support to Emori.  I really like these two as a couple, even if they are always scheming for the best advantage for themselves. 

The moment they get through the barrier, they are attacked by ALLIE's drones and have to take cover.  Nyko ends up sacrificing himself to stop Luna from being shot to death.  As the crew dives for cover, Luna takes the opportunity to disappear. Without Luna's blood -- this entire endeavor is pointless -- so they split up to find her. Abby heads off with Emori and Murphy, who discuss hiding out in the shelter that he was locked in the first time he came to the island. Murphy's only objection is that it's no longer stocked with supplies, even though it's large enough for two.  Raven is forced to stay behind because of her leg.  This is when Raven notices that the drone Jackson shot earlier is still active.  Raven tries to get to it but is chased back to the bushes. It's then Raven notices Luna making her way back to the boat.  Raven chases after Luna, and just manages to cross the barrier before being shot.  Clearly, Luna has had enough and thinks that humanity is just horrible, and therefore; believes that project save humans should just end. Raven manages to talk Luna down by reminding her of just how good Adria was and adds that there are other Adrias out there.  Luna helps Raven retrieve the drone and Raven shuts it down.  I really like that even though Raven's disability slowed her down that her skill at hacking served as a reminder of just how skilled Raven is. 

With the way no clear of drones, Abby and crew reunite and enter the lab.  It's all bright and shiny, causing amazement.  It's only then that they begin to wonder why ALLIE felt the need to have drones in the first place.  Exactly what was ALLIE protecting the lab from? Abby wisely advises Raven to get the drones back in the air as soon as possible. 

Things in Arkadia start off light and almost fun, but don't stay that way for long. Courtesy of Jasper, Jaha awakes to find himself floating on a mattress in the middle of the lake.  Jasper calls the peoples attention when Jaha awakens before calling out to Jaha that he's been floated.  It's a light take on the very real punishments Jaha inflicted when he was Counselor. It's also btw the last time that I didn't want to slap Jasper this episode. 

The joy of Jasper's little prank quickly dissipates when clouds begin rolling in, thus indicating black rain.  Everyone makes a run for their shelter to avoid contamination except for Jasper, who simply strolls along like he doesn't have a care for the world. Monty, Harper and Clarke call out to Jasper, desperate to get him to run. Instead of quickening his pace, Jasper stops and opens his mouth to hasten his exposure when the rain starts to fall,  When Jasper grabs his throat in pain, it's Harper who holds Monty back from running out to rescue his friend. Unfortunately, it turns out that this is regular rain and so Jasper laughs at the so-called prank he pulled on everyone.  At this point, how Monty didn't punch Jasper in the face, is absolutely beyond me.

Jasper and Monty are ready to work on their second prank of the day. While working on the prank, Monty finds Clarke's list and is immediately enraged. He has particular resentment for Clarke choosing who gets to live and who gets to die thanks to the death of Maya. Yes, the man baby is at it again though he wraps it all up in righteousness, and tells Monty that he hasn't been selected to be saved. Clarke walks in and is hit in the face by the fire extinguisher foam that Monty and Jasper had set up for their prank. In less than a minute, Jasper is all up in Clarke's face and when she doesn't tear up the list, he grabs the intercom to announces to the people Clarke's plan. Clarke, who is quick on her feet, shocks Jasper with the punishment baton and orders him locked up, much to Monty's dismay. This of course is meant to echos Jaha's behaviour on the ark however, I'm all in favour of Jasper getting the shock treatment.  I'm only disappointed that she didn't follow it up with a slap. 
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Later Clarke tries to speak to Monty, who she believes is upset because he's not on the list. Clarke explains that they only need so many engineers and Monty isn't a full engineer yet. Monty however is more concerned about Harper being excluded. Monty floats the idea that Clarke should just let everyone know the truth and adds that they might just surprise Clarke.  Clarke is unwilling to trust that people will work because they see the value of 100 people and declares that too much is at risk. 

Monty takes a page out of Jasper's handbook and makes the announcement to the people himself, listing off the names of people who will be saved. Predictably, the people are not at all pleased and Clarke is forced to explain that she tried to pick young healthy and skilled women in order to populate the earth. Harper as it turns out was excluded though it seems she might fit the bill because her father had a debilitating illness which if Harper contracted, would be a drain on medical supplies. The people become even more enraged when they discover that Clarke and Bellamy's names are both on the list.  Given everything that Bellamy has done since landing on earth, I think they absolutely have a point here.  Before things can get too out of hand, Jaha intervenes and suggests they do a lottery in which everyone who works on the shelter will have a spot. This is enough to get the people to go back to work.  Alone, Clarke points out that this might not be the best strategy to move forward. What happens for instance if they don't get any doctors? Jaha explains that he's not trying to undermine her and that the list is pragmatic but people need a reason to work. 

Now that the people are back to work, Clarke heads to release Jasper from confinement. Jasper, being the resident asshole refers to Clarke as, "Jaha-Lite", indicating just how far she's come from his initial assessment of her. Clarke counters by saying that she has newfound respect for Jaha, and wonders if he was actually holding them together all of this time.  Jasper however sees this statement as proof of just how far gone Clarke has become.  With the world coming to an end however, Jasper doesn't have time to concentrate on doom and gloom and tells Clarke than when all of this shit is over and she thinks about his last prank, that she'll find it funny. If you're counting, this is the third time in the episode that I would have slapped the shit out Jasper.
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At Polis, things are extremely tense.  Kane meets with Octavia about her assassin activities and the fact that they lied to Roan about the missing flame. Octavia questions if she should have killed Indra's daughter and defends her other kills as necessary because she's a warrior.  Kane digs deep and points out that Lincoln knew when a warrior should kill and when they should stay their hand.  Because Kane believes that Octavia is out of control, he orders her to head back to Arkadia. Octavia however refuses to do until she speaks to Indra.  Their conversation is stopped when Kane is asked to go and meet with Roan.

Roan is clearly agitated when Kane enters the room. Roan is quick to demand a progress report, pointing out that it's been weeks since Clarke asked him to trust her.  Kane stumbles over his words and Roan quickly calls a halt to Kane's explanations.  Echo enters and it seems that she's taken Bellamy and Steve, who were on a hunting trip captive.  Proving that he's not the man that Bellamy is, Steve was quick to offer up the fact that Skaikru is rebuilding their ship and the fact that only 100 people will fit.  That's enough for Roan to lose his ever loving mind. Kane is quick to explain that the ship is only a backup plan and that the real plan is turn everyone into Nightbloods. Echo calls this blasphemy and Roan declares that it's a good thing the flame has been destroyed, or he would believe that they were making a play for his throne.  It's enough to make me scream, "dude no one cares about your damn throne because the world is coming to an end okay."  At any rate, with an almost imperceptible nod of his dead, Echo picks up the signal and slashes Stevens throat.  Steven is officially declared the first casualty in Azgeda's war against Trikru and Skaikru.  Roan orders Kane and Bellamy locked up as hostages and gives the order to hunt Octavia down.

Octavia walks into Trikru's embassy to find the ground littered with Trikru's warriors.  Octavia manages to find one mortally wounded warrior who is still alive and he warns her that this is the work of Azgeda.  The warrior goes on to say that Indra has left to warn her people and that Octavia should do the same before dying.  Octavia is quick to get a move on to get to Arkadia but she quickly finds herself being chased by Echo and a group of Azgeda warriors. Octavia manages to stay ahead for a time but finds herself cornered with her back to a cliff. Echo calls out that Roan wants to take her alive but Octavia refuses to stand down and so a fight to the death begins with Octavia fighting a 3-1 battle. Predictably, it comes down to Octavia and Echo. Echo manages to stab Octavia through the abdomen and Octavia falls over the cliff and lands in a fast moving river.  No one should be able to survive this fall, so Echo pays tribute to Octavia declaring,"your fight is over, Octavia of the sky people."

Back in Polis, Echo and Roan enter the holding cell to speak with Bellamy and Kane. Roan makes it clear that their plan is to attack Skaikru but Bellamy is certain that this plan will never work and that his people will be warned by Octavia. He tries to tell Roan that if he attacks that he will die.  This is when Echo drops Octavia's sword at Bellamy's feet and informs him she died honorably.  Roan offers up his sympathies but still orders Kane and Bellamy to be brought along.  Bellamy is crushed and starts to cry, repeatedly saying, "please, please, please", as if begging for this not to be true. 

What no one knows is that Octavia did indeed survive the fall and the river and has washed up on the beach. Octavia's horse comes along and wakes her by licking her fingers.  A wounded Octavia climbs gingerly on the horse before instructing it to take her home.  That damn horse deserves an apple. 

The different takes on what should be done regarding telling the people that the shelter can only hold 100, or lying to them, really comes down to ones view of humanity.  Clarke is a pessimist and clearly believes that humans exist with a crab mentality whereas; Monty sees only goodness and light.  I'm not sure that either side was proven by Jaha's intervention but a clear example that self interest will inspire cooperation certainly was.  

Jaha becoming a mentor to Clarke and last episode to Bellamy, is clearly an attempt by the writers to put Jaha on the redemption train. Suddenly we have Clarke making decisions that in season one she would have rejected and using the same type of justification that Jaha would have used.  It's irritating that the one to point that out is Jasper (who needs a smack) of all people.  Yes, the mantle of leadership is a difficult one and that is something that The 100 is clearly trying to drum into its viewership. 

Roan's sudden about face about going to war with Skaikru and Trikru doesn't really make sense to me.  The very fact that Skaikru is building a shelter should drive home the fact that disaster is indeed coming.  Roan, no matter how many warriors he has, cannot survive the coming disaster without the aid of Skaikru. It makes no sense to me that Roan is now ready to go to war with the one group of people who can save his life.  Sure, he has Echo whispering in his ear about the unrest amongst his people; however, now would be the best time to show real leadership by working with Skaikru rather than against them.  It's also worth noting that Kane withholding information from Roan also doesn't make sense because they need Agzeda on side to find a cure.  It's seems that the writer don't know what to do with the characters if they don't have Skaikru going to war against Grounders. 

As for the mission to turn everyone into Nightbloods, I want to know what the hell is on the island? Did the radiation create some kind of freaky monster, or are we about to discover yet another group of Grounders?  The lab is amazing and enough to make me wonder if people would be able to survive there if the worst happens?