Friday, February 10, 2017

The 100, Season Four, Episode Two: Heavy Lies the Crown

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Heavy Lies the Crown deals with the perplexities of leadership.  Thus far, the one thing that The 100 has taught us is that whoever is in charge, is going to be put into extremely difficult situations which will lead them to make impossible decisions which will haunt them.  We've seen this repeatedly throughout this series.  When said decision inevitably leads to death, said leader always justifies it as doing what's best for the people, even if said people don't know or understand why they are dying.  Clarke, being one of the original 100, has been in the position to witness these decisions and their aftermath, all while striving to be different from those who came before her.  This is why it's so easy for others to point out that she's making the same mistake. It's why when Jaha says that one doesn't start out wanting to hurt one's people that it strikes a nerve with Clarke. What she must decide is how much people have a right to know about the true peril they are in.  

For much of this episode, Jasper is used as comic relief. I suppose I should be thankful that he's stopped crying for now.  Because Jasper knows the threat that the radiation brings, he has no problem being a douche and taking a long shower, using up their drinking water. His fatalism is revealed in his song choice.
I really could have done without this one, though I am sure that since it's from the eighties, our beloved Paul was pleased. Jasper is officially out of fucks but unfortunately, that's exactly how I feel about this character. Even the moment when Jasper tries to convince Monty to bring him back some weed from the Farm station isn't enough to remind of what I once found good about this character. 

The politics of the Grounders is something that has always been on the periphery of The 100.  We know that there are 13 clans including Skaikru, and we know that the clans are held together by one central leader, who is beholden to ambassadors from other clans. What we don't know is how well the clans get along with each other and how strong their alliances are.  From the beginning there hasn't been a lot of trust between Skaikru and the Grounders and ALIE's attempt to save mankind didn't exactly build on that tenuous relationship.  In the beginning of the episode, we watch as ALLIE forces Chai Romruen to kill his father, then his brother before holding a knife to his throat in an attempt to get his mother to take the chip.  Before Chai can kill himself, Clarke defeats ALLIE. Chai runs to his dying mother, whose last request is that he get vengeance for her death.  

At Polis, Abby and Kane are getting up after what was clearly a night of passion. Abby pauses and reaches for her necklace. On the necklace is Jake's wedding ring, the last reminder she has of her late husband.  Rather than getting jealous that Abby is holding onto her memories of Jake, Marcus actually encourages it, saying that Jake will always be a part of who she is.  I am really starting to like these two as a couple, given Kane's now complete rehabilitation.  I do however think that the ring is about more than simply remembering Jake, it's about remembering the horrible decision she made which led to his death. The ring is a symbol of Abby's ongoing guilt and complicity. The fact that after all that she's been through that she cannot take it off, suggests that Abby has yet to forgive herself. 

It takes several days but Chai makes his way to Polis where his anger at Skaikru is nurtured by others.  Chai is so blinded by hate, he doesn't even really see that he is being played when they convince him to challenge Roan, who is all that is standing between Skaikru and the other clans.  It's none other than Octavia who overhears this and delivers the news to Roan.

Roan is in a tough place. He's not fully healed and is all to aware that someone is going to challenge him for power.  He could do as his mother did and choose someone to fight in his staid, but he considers this cowardice and believes that it would only affirm to the people that he really is weak. Echo of course is still questioning why he is covering for Skaikru. When Roan finally reveals the impending disaster, Echo is quick to question whether or not it's the truth. Roan tells her to focus on the challenge at hand and then she can head to Arkadia as a spy and affirm his belief in Clarke. Echo is shifty as all get out and is known for her shifty ways, so I doubt that she'll make an effective spy but whatever.

What's interesting about Roan's impending challenge is not his determination to fight it but how it is stopped from happening.  Octavia knows that should Roan accept the challenge that he will lose; he did after all lose to Lexa when he was at full strength. Octavia approaches Raphael, the man pushing Chai to challenge Roan, asserting that since he has a problem with Skaikru, that he should challenge her instead. Predictably, Raphael gets all up in his feelings and suggests that Octavia isn't worthy of his blade.
Octavia by stabbing Raphael in the ear with his own damn knife.

When the ambassadors get together, it's Echo who announces that Raphael is dead while Octavia stands there looking smug as hell. Octavia may be being silent but everyone knows who took care of Raphael. Without Raphael to back his play, Chai worries that Octavia will come for him next but she shows him kindness of a sort and offers condolences on the loss of his family. There's no doubt however, everyone has been put on notice. Octavia does not play.

At Arkadia, things are looking bleak and the options are limited. It's Monty who points out that Alpha station survived in space and that all they really needs is a hydro-generator.  It sounds good until they realise that the only hdyro-generator is on farm station which just happens to be in Ice Nation. I suppose it's a good thing Bellamy was given a wooden pass.

Brian, Miller, Monty, Harper and Bellamy head off to farm station, only to find that the Grounders have taken up residence. They don't get to wonder how to proceed because Azgeda warriors quickly take them captive. Bellamy holds the talisman and tries to explain that Roan has accepted Skaikru, only to be punched in the face because the woman does not accept Roan as King. Fortunately for Bellamy and the crew, the chief accepts Roan's authority and makes it clear they are to get what they need and leave.

It sounds like the crises has been averted right? Wrong. As they walk through the station to get the hydro-generator, they discover that the chief is keeping slaves and some of them are Skaikru.  What to do? The crew get to work dismantling the machine and Bellamy suggests that they can return with a larger force the next day.  As with all best laid plans, things go pear shaped when a young girl approaches, and drops a note informing Bellamy that they will be moved tomorrow. With options limited the crew has to choose between taking the part they need and leaving or saving the slaves, thus returning us to theme of leadership being comprised of tough choices. This entire thing seems so forced because there had to be other options.  It's Bellamy who is still trying to work on his redemption after siding with Pike, who makes the final call to blow up the hydro-generator.

When the smoke clears, the crew gets their hands on the chief, who just happens to be the Grounder who killed Monty's father.  Monty now has a decision to make.  Instead of beheading the Chief himself, Monty frees the slaves who kill the Grounder.  The look on Monty's face suggests that he's glad he didn't become a murderer by directly killing the chief himself; however, he's fully aware that he's responsible for what happened to the man.  It's a sign of just how much Monty, our former fun loving pot head has changed since landing on earth.  Season one Monty could never have made this decision.

It's Bellamy's decision regarding the hydro-generator which finally causes Clarke to admit to her people about the impending disaster. The catch is that she didn't tell them the whole truth because as of now, they all believe that they can survive this. Clarke comforts herself with saving who is in front of her right now but as we all know, that strategy is short sighted at best.