Previously on The 100: Bellamy began narrating, and I guess we’re sticking with that. Jaha became an unhinged evangelical, Clarke broke Bellamy’s (and Bellarke shippers’) heart(s) by leaving Camp Jaha, Jasper did his best pre-massacre season two Finn impression, and the Ice Nation queen wants to steal Clarke’s powers by killing her. Also, Clarke hooked up with a pretty Grounder and was kidnapped by an equally pretty bounty hunter, but only so much can fit into one montage.
Bellamy, Indra, Kane, and Monty are right where we left them last week–in the claws of a booby trap, presumably set by Ice Nation. They’ve been waiting for three hours, but no one has attacked them. They come up with a convoluted, seemingly sound plan to escape which involves Bellamy running out first, but he only makes it halfway out of the car before someone puts a knife to his throat and takes him hostage. They get out of the car and surrender to prevent Bellamy from being gutted, and hooded, masked mercenaries capture them. Something isn’t quite right, though, as the mercenaries don’t look like Grounders, and aren’t immediately killing them, as we would expect from Azgeda. Once there’s a close-up on Monty’s face, we know what’s coming, but it’s still spine-tingling to hear him say, “… Mom?”
They hug fiercely, and even though we’ve never met this character before, it’s touching, especially when Monty starts to cry. He asks after his father, and his mother’s pause says it all, even before she says “He didn’t make it.” She hugs Monty, who looks like he’s in shock, but also a little inured to death by now, especially since he probably assumed his parents were long dead already.
Meanwhile, Kane recognizes the ringleader of the group, Pike, who smiles and laughs that it’s great to see him. They’re from Farm Station, the section of the Ark that was sending out the beacon last episode, and the rest of them are camped out in the mountains. “Grounder killers one and all!” Pike yells, and the farmers yell “Hoo-ah!”, including Monty’s mother, while Indra stands to the side. Well, that’s awkward.
Bellamy says they need to find Clarke, and Pike, who was apparently an “Earth Skills” teacher on the Ark, makes a throwaway comment that Clarke was one of his best students, because of course she was. As Monty soldiers on with the mission, Bellamy asks him if he’s all right. “I have to be,” Monty says with a stiff upper lip. This show of maturity is going to make it that much harder to sympathize with Jasper’s histrionic meltdown over a girl he knew for about five minutes. Just saying.
In the City of Light (which is beautifully rendered considering their budget; it looks like a particularly gauzy and less green version of Oz, with a bonus Elon Musk-esque hyperloop thing), A.L.I.E. is giving her cult leader spiel: no more hate, no more pain, no more suffering. Thelonius promises to fill the city with his people in order to save the human race, and it’s a relief to hear Murphy’s nasal voice intone, “Earth to Jaha!”
Jaha wakes from his “zen nap” (heh) on the boat with Murphy, who reminds Emori that the last time he accepted her help, two of his friends blew up. “No minefield this time,” she said smilingly, which makes it all better, I guess? He tells her that he’s not buying her “helpful tour guide act,” but she tells him in a sultry voice that “he’ll just have to keep an eye on [her],” and he smiles goofily to himself. Oh Murphy, you’re so easy.
Pike tells Kane that 63 Arkers from Farm Station are still alive, but thrice that number survived the landing. He glares at Indra, who handles the situation as gracefully as humanly possible and responds, “Ice Nation can be ruthless,” with sympathy and barely any defensiveness. “Take pride in the number you saved.” Kane tells Pike that Indra is a “trusted ally,” and he’s actually sort of exaggerating about that, but that doesn’t justify Pike’s abrasive response: “I’ll have to take your word for it.”
Kane tells Pike that they’ll need help rescuing Clarke from Ice Nation, and he and Monty’s mother exchange a pessimistic look. “If Ice Nation has her, you’ll need more than that…” she begins, but Pike says definitively, “We leave no one behind.” I suppose his devotion to his own people will be introduced as his redeeming quality, which makes perfect sense. Xenophobes in real life are often very devoted to their families, in part because they have a distinct “us versus them” mentality. Pike is clearly a bigot, but the personality traits that contribute to his bigotry also make him a good guy to have on your side.
We then catch up with Wanheda herself, who is currently being dragged by Roan across unfamiliar terrain. She’s bound and gagged, and makes a show of falling to the ground, apparently passed out. But we know better, and honestly, Roan should too. Playing dead is the oldest trick in the book. But he falls for it, taunting that “the great Wanheda is human after all.”
He starts to fill a jug of water, presumably to revive her, when she tries to choke him out with her restraints, awesomely. She holds him under the water for a minute, he stops moving, and she somehow falls for it, even though she literally just pulled the same trick 30 seconds ago. Really, Clarke? I know this scene is supposed to position Roan as Clarke’s equal and everything, but come on now. He holds her under the water until her incognito hair is washed back to its original, more vulnerable blonde, saying “That’s better,” while she sees markings on his face that tell her he’s Ice Nation.
Back at Arkadia, Abby is treating Jasper for his new freakout-induced injuries, admonishing that usually, follow-up appointments are meant for checking the old injuries. “I was trying to make the most of our time together, doc.” Emo Jasper definitely has more swagger now, I’ll give him that. Abby tries to talk to him about Maya, saying she “knows how much she meant to [him]” (do you, Abby? I don’t), and he responds, “What do you want to talk about? How dead she still is?” Ugh, now I’m annoyed with him again. Be in all the dark, complicated pain you want to be in, Jasper, but don’t be so petulant about it. Abby reminds him how well it went for Finn when he wouldn’t deal with his feelings, and the writers get big points for continuity. Now, it will bother me much less that Jasper’s arc this season is so similar to Finn’s, and I’m reminded that it’s generally a huge strength of this show that they always remember the characters’ histories with each other and add layer upon layer of context.
But of course, Jasper kills all of that goodwill with his answer: “But your daughter killed him too.” Yeah, Jasper, because he kind of deserved it, and you will, too if you don’t get your goddamn act together.
Outside Arkadia, Octavia is sleeping and Lincoln is stroking her hair. Aw. She wakes up and they start to have sexy time, but are interrupted by a gravely injured Nyko. They take him to Abby for treatment, but he has a rare blood type and they don’t have any of his type left. There are large reserves at Mount Weather, but Abby points out that it would be both dangerous and grotesque to treat him there; as we established last week, the Grounders would interpret the re-opening of Mount Weather as a violation of the peace agreement, especially considering that “they killed thousands of people for that blood.” Jackson rebuts that as doctors, they can’t just let him die. Abby isn’t just a doctor, she says, to which Jackson responds, “Maybe you should be.” Harsh, but possibly true, as this is a genuine conflict of interest and the first compelling argument I’ve heard yet that Abby should step down as chancellor.
Abby interestingly defers to Lincoln, since he understands Grounder culture better than she does, and was the one who warned her about the supply runs in the first place. However, his reasoning has nothing to do with Grounder culture, and basically amounts to “he’s my friend, please save him,” which makes this deferral kind of a cop-out. Jasper, who went into a violent rage in response to a stolen piano, doesn’t say a word, to his credit, and Abby tells him to get ready to face his feelings. (Why is he coming along on yet another dangerous mission when he’s clearly falling apart at the seams? Oh, whatever.)
Niylah, meanwhile, is having a really, really bad morning. Not only did Clarke seemingly abandon her before she woke up, but she’s now being beaten half to death by one of the other bounty hunters. He knows Roan came back for Clarke, and wants to know where she is, but Niylah isn’t talking. He’s about to cut off her hand when Kane, Pike, and co. arrive and Bellamy shoots him. Indra tells Niylah in Trigedasleng that they’ve come to help, and Pike barks, “English!” Wow. I HATE this guy. (But what a great, socially aware way to make him utterly detestable.) Kane warningly tells him to secure the perimeter, and once the unfriendlys are gone, Niylah tells them Clarke was there last night, but was taken by Ice Nation. “She was here when I fell asleep and gone when I woke up.” This poor girl.
If it’s any consolation, Clarke’s day isn’t going too great, either, as Roan once again has her bound and gagged, now in a field full of Ice Nation scouts. He whispers for her to be quiet while sort of lying on top of her, and is there seriously already chemistry between these two? I realize that they wouldn’t have cast someone as hot as Zach McGowan if Roan weren’t about to become an antihero of some sort, but between Lexa, Bellamy, and now Niylah, doesn’t Clarke have her hands full of love interests for the time being? Maybe it’s one of those things where Eliza Taylor is so beautiful and charismatic, she just sort of has chemistry with everyone, like Nina Dobrev on The Vampire Diaries.
Clarke figures out that Roan is hiding from his own people, and that he won’t kill her, so she makes the smart decision and screams bloody murder. Roan gives her a great, “Really?” kind of a look before saying, “Their deaths are on you.” I love Zach McGowan’s acting already.
He tries to reason with the scouts, telling them he doesn’t want any trouble, he just wants to bring Wanheda to their queen. But when the scouts see Clarke’s face, they react with awe and excitement, and want to take her to the Queen themselves. Roan lets go of Clarke in preparation for a fight, and she wisely makes a break for it. Roan disposes of the scouts in a swift and well-choreographed fight, utilizing a calm but brutal fighting style, and then shoots the scout running after Clarke with an arrow, pinning her down with his corpse in the process. If he’s going to be a new love interest, this is a great way to introduce him, because he may be the only person apart from Lexa who can really give Clarke a run for her money. He tells Clarke that it “didn’t have to be this way,” and I’m sure Clarke feels guilty to have indirectly caused yet more deaths, but not guilty enough to be distracted from stabbing Roan with the scout’s knife. I’m glad the show is making it clear that Roan only really has the upper hand because she’s tied up, but he prevails again, holding the knife to her throat. More sexual tension ensues.
Clarke’s people are walking through fields and getting warmer in their search. Pike is disappointed that Bellamy has changed from the brash, bigoted person we met in the pilot: “In your last communication with the Ark, you wanted to attack the Grounders. What changed?” This is fascinating, not only because it once again demonstrates how much the writers are paying attention to character development, but because it shows how much initially unlikable characters like Bellamy and Kane have been softened by their experiences with Grounders. In broad strokes, Pike represents everything Bellamy and Kane could have turned into if they hadn’t been humbled by the events of the last two seasons. (Although, to be fair, Bellamy was essentially an obnoxious teenager who grew up a little. What’s your excuse, Pike?) Bellamy simply tells him that they had a common enemy with the Grounders, and when asked what happened with that enemy, grimly explains, “We won.”
Indra hears the war drums of Azgeda, and Bellamy catches a glimpse of Roan taking Clarke towards the oncoming army. But she’s just a little too far away, and if they go after her now, they’ll expose themselves to the army and be outnumbered a hundred to one. Bob Morley does a great job of conveying Bellamy’s anguish at letting Clarke slip through their fingers, but Bellamy ultimately relents and they take refuge in a nearby cave. Indra leaves to warn Lexa that Ice Nation is marching against her, but not before she tells Kane that if Roan takes Clarke to the Ice Queen, Clarke will be killed and the grounders will be at war with Azgeda.
Roan takes Clarke to an underground bunker and painfully treats his own stab wound. He tells her that if she had cut him an inch deeper, he would be dead. “Maybe you’re not the Commander of Death after all.” He means this as an insult, but it seems likely that Clarke may have held back on purpose, both to assuage her Wanheda guilt and because thus far, Roan has been careful not to hurt her more than he has to. She asks him why he’s hiding from his own people, and he shoots back, “Why did you run away from yours?” He cauterizes the wound with a hot poker. Clarke doesn’t flinch. He calls her “Mountain Slayer,” but she says she’s “no one.” I guess redheaded Clarke is The 100’s version of Anne. He accuses her of abandoning her people, of taking the coward’s way out. She says, “You don’t know anything about me,” which people only say when they’re faced with an unflattering version of the truth. “You’re in disguise, same as me, you’re on the run, same as me,” she says. But as it turns out, he was banished, and Clarke is his ticket back to his people.
We fade in from an image of Clarke directly to a shot of Bellamy, who is distraught that they’re losing Clarke more and more by the minute. Kane and Pike convince him to stand down for the time being, while Monty insists on knowing what happened to his father. “We landed in the snow,” his mother begins, which explains why so many from the Farm Station survived, and also indicates that they landed in Ice Nation. The snow was so beautiful, she says, so the children started playing in it, and fifteen of them were swiftly murdered by Azgeda. (This is great writing; it paints a horrifying picture without any need for flashbacks.) Monty’s father pulled four of the remaining children back into the Ark and saved their lives, but was killed while trying to save the fifth. This doesn’t justify Farm Station’s Grounder hatred, but it goes a long way towards explaining it. It’s broadly similar to American discrimination against Muslims as a result of terrorists that have little to do with non-fundamentalist Islam, especially since the producers have referred to Ice Nation as a “fringe” element. The next exchange makes this theme even more explicit; Kane says, “That was Ice Nation. Not all Grounders are the same.” Pike says, dogmatically, “They are to me.”
Back at the burgeoning cult, Emori’s friend Otan is getting ready to drink the Kool-Aid, and goes off with Jaha. Emori tells Murphy that she was recruited by A.L.I.E. to collect tech and bring it to A.L.I.E.’s disfigured henchman, Gideon. She decides to steal from Gideon while he’s having a “zen nap,” as Murphy would call it, but he awakens just in time to try to choke her to death. Murphy hits him over the head with a crowbar repeatedly, but Gideon is unfazed, informing him, “There is no pain in the City of Light.” There is, however, throat-slitting, and Emori proceeds to do just that, and the two of them run off with the stolen tech.
Murphy feels a little guilty about killing someone, but Emori decidedly doesn’t, and kisses him on the cheek to make him feel better. This pairing is starting to give me the ick. They check out their stolen goods, and Murphy realizes that it’s A.L.I.E. herself, preserved in something that looks like a mixture of a computer hard drive and a Marvel Infinity Stone. Otan, who has become a religious zombie in record time, returns and tries to stop them from messing with A.L.I.E., putting a knife to Emori’s throat and threatening to kill her. Thelonius arrives shortly after, and tells Murphy sagely that “no one else has to die today.” Murphy, in turn, threatens to drown Jaha’s “imaginary friend” (heh) in the water. Jaha tries to appeal to Murphy’s vulnerability, telling him that losing Wells almost killed him, and that A.L.I.E. can “unburden” Murphy too, if only he’ll say yes. He’s about an inch away from telling Murphy to “accept A.L.I.E. into his heart,” but Murphy, bless him, isn’t having any of it, and exchanges A.L.I.E. for Emori before getting the hell out of dodge.
And then the kicker: Thelonius retreats to the City of Light, only for A.L.I.E. to reveal that “she hasn’t even told him the best part.” In addition to eradicating pain, hate, and envy, the City of Light has also apparently defeated death, as Jaha sees when Gideon approaches him, very much alive and sans disfigurement.
This could technically still mean that the City of Light is an illusion, and Gideon could be some kind of convincing hologram, but Jason Rothenberg said in a recent interview that the City of Light is indeed a “real place.” That could mean so many things, though, and I sincerely doubt that A.L.I.E. has cheated death in any satisfying sense, because that would sap all of the dramatic tension out of the show. So either Gideon has been resurrected in the City of Light, but devoid of anything that made him human, or the City of Light is exactly what it sounds like: some kind of spiritual plane/afterlife. I don’t know how this would work exactly, but it would be a great twist if Thelonius had died sometime over the summer, probably after taking that little blue pill. It would be just as well. The Wells justification makes his rapid transformation into a pod person a little more sympathetic, but he hasn’t been a likable character for quite a while, anyway.
Meanwhile, Abby, Jackson, Octavia, and Lincoln rush Nyko to Mount Weather for treatment, while Jasper uselessly looks around with wide, sad eyes. Octavia warns him, “Don’t do anything stupid” (Amen, sister), and he says to himself, “Like coming back here?” This is clearly supposed to be portentous, but considering the vast medical resources at Mount Weather, I’m not really sure they had a choice.
Some time later, Nyko wakes up after a successful blood transfusion, and Lincoln exhorts the group to get him out of Mount Weather, since the Grounders “will never see anything but death here.” Nyko rightly points out that “places aren’t evil,” and optimistically asserts that they can change the Grounders’ minds. Lincoln is dubious, but wants to “find hope somewhere,” and after Jackson reminds her how much good Mount Weather could do, Abby decides to open it up as a medical facility.
The dissenting (if not rational) view is represented by Jasper, who starts trashing the place and breaks down crying when he sees Maya’s favorite painting. I didn’t care all that much about Maya, but she has good taste:
Blake’s painting illustrates the Second Circle of Hell from Dante’s Inferno, which broadly represents the cardinal sin of lust. In the poem, Dante collapses from grief after hearing a tragic story of thwarted love, while the storm of condemned lovers swirling around him symbolizes love’s tendency to overcome reason and move us arbitrarily by our passions. Although I don’t really buy Jasper and Maya as star-crossed lovers, this is an apt representation of Jasper’s current mental state; his love for Maya has caused him to lose all capacity for reason, and has initiated his descent into a psychological hell.
Octavia and Jasper have a sweet moment in which she lets him cry on her shoulder, and tells him that it will get better. I’m hoping that this is Jasper’s “facing his feelings” moment, if only so we don’t have to deal with Emo Jasper all season, but more importantly, this scene reinforces my belief that Lincoln will be killed off this season. Although Octavia and Jasper haven’t had a real scene together since the first season, they still might be endgame, and it would make sense to bring them together after they’ve both lost someone.
In the cave, Pike brusquely tells Monty that they “did the right thing” at Mount Weather, because it’s “kill or be killed.” Then he chastises Kane for honoring the truce with the Grounders and refraining from colonizing Mount Weather (well, he won’t have to worry about that too much longer), because the Grounders are clearly going to break the truce. I have faith that the writers will give Pike a few more layers as the season goes on, but for now, I loathe him.
While the children are bickering, Monty realizes that Bellamy is gone, and we get a great shot of him disguised as an Ice Nation grunt among a huge and terrifying army, a great visual reminiscent of the famous “Guts” scene from The Walking Dead:
Bellamy successfully blends in and (somehow?) finds Clarke and Roan’s bunker almost immediately. They have a brief, blissful reunion; Bellamy’s happiness and relief to see her is palpable, especially when he brushes the hair out of her face (aw). She’s a little less thrilled, probably because Roan is standing right behind him. Roan nearly kills Bellamy, but Clarke pleads desperately that she’ll do whatever he wants if he’ll spare Bellamy’s life. He hesitates, and then stabs Bellamy in the leg and tells him not to follow them. See, I told you Roan was going to be a tortured antihero!
Side note: When Bellamy is making his way through the bunker, you can see in the background on the wall is written “the star spangled banner of triumph shall wave.” I don’t know if that will be significant, but at the very least it’s a nice bit of world-building.
Bellamy limps back and is found by Kane, Pike, and Monty. They say they can’t follow Roan and Clarke, because now he knows they’re being followed. (So… now there’s no trail? Is that the problem? It’s a little unclear.) Poor Bellamy gets crazy eyes and starts to hobble sadly in Clarke’s general direction, but Kane points out that he can’t even walk. “We can’t lose Clarke!” Bellamy yells, tugging at the heartstrings of Bellarke shippers everywhere.
Roan drags Clarke into a stone tower, and tells an unseen person that he has Wanheda, as promised. We’re meant to think it’s the Ice Queen, but he takes off Clarke’s hood and we see that it’s (drumroll please…) Lexa! Clarke is floored, but is already starting to look pissed off. Roan wants Lexa to lift his banishment in return for delivering Clarke (nearly) unharmed, but Lexa says coldly, “I’ll honor our deal when your queen honors our coalition.” Jeez, Lexa’s word doesn’t mean a whole lot lately, does it? She locks up Roan, calling him “Prince Roan of Azgeda” and revealing that he is the Ice Queen’s son.
Lexa apologizes to Clarke, telling her it had to be this way, because Wanheda couldn’t fall into the hands of the Ice Queen. If it makes you feel any better, Lexa, I don’t think this is the transgression Clarke will remember. Lexa is extremely ballsy, as per usual, and tops off this little speech with, “I need you, Clarke.”
This expression of affection and camaraderie is the last straw for Clarke, who has had murder in her eyes this whole time. She attacks Lexa and is dragged away by the guards, screaming things like, “I’ll kill you!” and “You want the Commander of Death, you’ve got her!”
Lexa looks a little shaken, as much as she ever does, and heads for the window. We zoom out, and it’s the Grounder Capitol, which we’re seeing for the first time, and it’s pretty spectacular.
See you next week!