Previously on The 100: Pike was elected chancellor, Bellamy helped him massacre a peacekeeping army of Grounders in their sleep, and a barricade and kill order was placed on Arkadia. Also, the entire fandom imploded, but “Terms and Conditions” took a break from that regularly scheduled programming to focus on fixing the Bellamy debacle.
We begin with Hannah telling Pike that several of their teams have encountered Grounders about a mile outside of camp, and were attempting a defensive position when they “ceased transmissions.” So wait, the Grounders are already killing any Arker who’s outside of camp, even though they apparently haven’t been informed of the kill order yet? I thought the entire purpose of this blockade was to keep the peace. And where is Octavia? Wasn’t she supposed to warn them? As I said in my recap of “Thirteen,” this blockade plotline is good in theory, but completely muddled in execution.
They demand Pike’s life in exchange for the Grounders who were murdered, which is more than a fair trade if you ask me, but they undercut their moral high ground when they throw a couple Arkers’ severed heads to the ground and say they “left the bodies for the animals.” Acting like cartoonish villains, they throw the Arkers’ deaths in their faces, saying it “took them a long time to die” and that all of Arkadia will too, if they don’t give up Pike. Again, not crying any tears over the Pike sacrifice, but why are the Grounders behaving this way? Lexa commanded them to maintain the peace, and I would say that plans may have changed now that she’s dead, but if they were acting under another Commander’s orders, they would have just attacked by now.
The Grounders tell Bellamy to choose what’s best for his people, and he coolly replies, “I do that every day,” and shoots them point-blank. Well. At least this time he was sort of provoked?
Pike meets with his main followers, and Hannah, tells him that they only have enough food to keep everyone fed for a week during the blockade. He makes a passive-aggressive comment about Bellamy’s “theatrics” alerting the Grounders to a possible attack, which is interesting. Bellamy really needs to take a hard look at his choices when Pike starts sounding like the voice of reason. But, of course, that restraint only lasts for about two seconds, before Pike gets paranoid about Kane fomenting insurrection and orders Monty to institute camp-wide surveillance. Monty is shocked that Pike wants them to spy on their own people (which, yes it’s shocking, but also, NOW is when you decide to be shocked? Really?). I love that The 100 is drawing parallels to the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance, as this is the only logical end to Pike’s paranoid xenophobia and persecution complex.
Sidebar: There have been a lot of complaints about Bellamy’s arc this season, and I agree with some of them, but for the most part, his motivations have been fairly clear. He wants to protect his people at all costs, and the events at Mount Weather (both the explosion and Lexa’s betrayal) triggered a latent tendency towards bigotry that we saw in season one. Monty, on the other hand? What the hell is his deal? He’s been a sweet, likable character since the beginning, and there has been absolutely no development of his motivations for being complicit in Pike’s atrocities aside from a vague, “I missed my Mommy so now I’m siding with her.” This is a much bigger flaw in the writing this season than Bellamy’s development, if you ask me.
Funnily enough, Kane, Miller, and Harper are hanging onto his every word through the bug planted a couple of episodes ago. They listen to Pike say that they’re fighting two wars now, one external and one internal, and they should assume that everyone and anyone could be the enemy. That sounds healthy. Pike claims that Monroe and McCoy died because Kane passed information to Octavia and “sold them out to the Grounders.” (Of course, it could have been Pike going all Napoleon and deciding to take over everyone else’s land for no reason. That might have something to do with it, too.)
Kane starts strategizing about concealing their meetings from the surveillance, taking different routes out of camp, etc., to which Harper replies, “Or we could just shock-lash Pike’s fascist ass and hand him to the Grounders.” Amen, sister. I always knew I liked Harper. Kane says that would be murder, and treason, and “that’s not who we are.” I don’t have too much of a problem with treason when your leader is Pike, but I guess he’s right about the murder thing.
Elsewhere in Arkadia, Raven is telling Jaha that she and A.L.I.E. have hit a wall in their search for the 13th station, and Jaha says that they need to get more recruits to the City of Light in order to put more brainpower on the problem. Kane has confiscated their chipmaker, and they have a slightly too-cute moment in which Raven says “But who would be crazy enough to–” just as we hear Jasper belligerently begging a beleaguered Sinclair for alcohol. And if that isn’t cheesy enough, Raven and Jaha are also playing chess. Just in case you didn’t get that they were trying to be evil puppet masters.
Pike goes over the inventory with his goons, and finds that they’re running low on ammunition, which explains why they’re not just gunning the entire army down. (Gee, maybe if you hadn’t executed a peacekeeping army you would have ammunition left for actual conflicts? Just a thought.) Kane takes Pike aside and states the obvious: without ammunition, they don’t stand a chance at defeating the vast Grounder army. Pike says that they’ll have to, and Kane says Pike has to turn himself in. All right, I understood why Kane didn’t want to murder Pike (sort of), but expecting him to willingly sacrifice himself to people he hates is downright absurd. Pike reacts exactly as you’d expect, scoffing, “Is that why you’re here, to run this plan by me?” Kane insists that it’s the right thing, and Pike responds, “Like you were doing the right thing when you turned in that boy, Finn? You surrendered one of the young lives you swore to protect.” I mean, in their defense, they had already sent all those kids down to Earth when they knew it probably wasn’t habitable, so their interest in the protection thing comes and goes.
Pike says that the only way to end this war is to put the Grounders down for good. Kane points out that he’s become a fascist, and that “when this ends with their camp in ruins, [he] won’t be able to claim that no one told him there was a better way out.” This conversation comes off as a little heavy-handed, because in real life, everyone involved would know that it was fruitless. But on the positive side, this scene is wonderfully acted by Henry Ian Cusick (Michael Beach is great as well, although he has less to work with).
Meanwhile, Raven lures Jasper away with the promise of booze, and asks him to break into Pike’s office to steal the chipmaker so he can join her in the City of Light. Everyone knows she’s with Jaha, so she would raise suspicion, but they just think that he’s a “drunken idiot,” Jasper finishes for her. “For what it’s worth, I think you’re more than that,” Raven says significantly. She says that he’s the perfect person to break the passcode because Monty’s in charge of security, and no one knows more about Monty than Jasper (aw). Jasper responds, “Sounds like a terrible idea. I’m in,” and makes Raven laugh. I never really considered these two as a pairing, but they have all kinds of chemistry in this scene. As long as Wick really isn’t coming back (boo-hoo), I’m totally on board.
Kane, Miller, and Harper have a secret meeting, and exposit that Octavia has gone dark. (Where the hell is she? I thought she was supposed to make it back with Indra before the blockade went into effect?) They listen in on Pike’s meeting with Bellamy, where Pike is confirming that they don’t have enough ammunition for a bunch of extended firefights. Instead, they’re going to use automatic weapons to do as much damage as possible, force the Grounders to retreat and get reinforcements, and blow them up with a rover rigged with explosives. Kane once again points out the obvious: “It doesn’t matter how many Grounders they kill. Ten times that number will descend on Arkadia, and no one will survive.” I can’t quite decide whether I think it’s a flaw in the writing that Pike is this stupid, but I’m going to say it’s not. He was elected to office with a platform based on hatred, not superior intelligence or strategic skills. The Trump candidacy has made me immune to thinking any amount of stupidity from an elected official is unrealistic.
Kane goes to Sinclair and asks him to disable the rover with his technical skills, and Sinclair readily agrees. Nice to see Gaeta on the right side of a rebellion for a change.
Unfortunately, they’re super obvious about their scheming, and Monty immediately spots them and tattles to Bellamy. Bellamy catches Sinclair working on the rover, and immediately sees through his half-hearted lies, especially since Kane is sitting like two feet away and sketchily darting his eyes over at Sinclair like an amateur. Sinclair tries to say his work order is in his desk, and before Bellamy has even done anything, just sort of makes a break for it. Um, there’s a blockade, dude. Where are you even going? This is the most incompetent coup I’ve ever seen.
Bellamy places him under arrest under the charge of treason, and then says into his walkie, to no one in particular, “One down.” Well, if all of them are that easy, then the fascists really have nothing to worry about.
In the City of Light subplot, Jasper is coming up with ideas for Monty’s passcode, and Raven is telling him that none of them are right without even trying them. Jasper suspiciously asks what her connection to the computer is, but she says it’s better not explained. He finally figures out that the passcode is “Earth,” because in their bromance days he and Monty used to look out the window of the Ark and play “which planet would you rather,” and Monty would always choose Earth. Aw, this breakup is so sad. When they get in, Jasper says he wants to be first in line for a chip, because he’s in a lot of man-pain, or haven’t you heard?
But to his credit, Jasper hasn’t completely lost sight of the potential dangers associated with the City of Light, because he proceeds to test Raven as they’re searching for the chipmaker. He draws a parallel between the situation with Pike and Finn’s death, but she barely registers a reaction. “You remember that, right?” he says nervously, probably remembering that crazy moment when Jaha forgot Wells. “I entered the City of Light to relieve my pain,” Raven says agitatedly, “why would I remember that?” Yikes.
Jasper says that he would love to forget Maya’s death, and only remember the good times he had with her. “Like when Finn gave you that necklace?” She touches the necklace, perturbed. “Is that how it works?” he asks. “You can think of your first kiss, and just be happy?” Aw. I’ve been hard on Jasper this season, but I find it really sweet that he wants to keep his positive memories of Maya. She whispers, “Of course,” but she’s clearly lying, and realizes she can’t remember her first kiss. A.L.I.E. tries to tell her that it’s not important, but Raven is awesome and shakes her off. “Where was my first kiss?” she asks Jasper. He doesn’t know (it would be weird if he did), and A.L.I.E. encourages her to stop thinking about it and take the chipmaker out of there. Raven visibly struggles, saying to herself, “Finn was real. I can’t remember anything about him,” as A.L.I.E. is shocked that Raven isn’t following her instructions. Finally, Raven says, “We can’t let her have this,” and puts the chipmaker away (but doesn’t destroy it), and tells Jasper to run. I’m not sure you can physically run away from an AI in your brain, but go, Raven!
Later, Jaha is talking out loud to A.L.I.E. in the middle of camp, Baltar-style. A.L.I.E. says that no one has ever been able to resist her mind control before, and that when she tells someone to do something, they listen to her. But “Raven is strong,” Jaha says. A.L.I.E. says that Raven is a problem, since free will and consent are “part of her programming,” which Jaha offers to override. So wait, all of this has been A.L.I.E.’s version of free will? I’d hate to see what her version of nonconsent looks like.
Sidebar: Is Raven really a special snowflake with a superhuman resistance to mind control? I have mixed feelings about this wrinkle to the mythology. I think Raven is great and strong-willed, and I it would make sense if she were one of a relative few who could resist A.L.I.E., but if she’s literally the only one who can overcome the mind control, that would be a little cheesy. If she can disobey A.L.I.E., I would expect that Clarke could as well, and Abby, and maybe even Octavia. We’ll see how it plays out.
Pike, Bellamy, and Hannah hold Sinclair for an interrogation, but he’s not talking. Pike tells Bellamy to give him his gun, and Bellamy hesitantly complies without even asking what Pike is going to do with it. Frightening, but not unrealistic. Luckily, Pike is just using the gun as an intimidation tactic, and smashes it on the table. Hannah says Sinclair is a traitor, and on the Ark they would have floated him. “But we’re not on the Ark,” Pike says, which once again makes his character mildly more shaded and interesting.
Hannah finds Monty broodily checking that there’s nothing wrong with the rover, and finally shows some compassion when she says that she “knows this must be hard for him.” He recalls that Sinclair was his mentor, and wonders if he did the right thing by helping to lock him up. Where did all of these characteristic, human reactions come from? We needed to see this type of conversation happen like, four or five episodes ago. Hannah responds, in turn, “If something helps you survive, it’s always the right thing.” Solid moral reasoning, Mom. “Pike taught me that. Taught all of us. It’s what kept us alive.” This sounds like a fucking cult.
Bellamy finds Kane looking pensive, as he does, and says, “Sabotaging the rover wasn’t much of a plan.” There’s an understatement if I ever heard one. Bellamy goes on to say that the rebellion is pulling focus from the threat outside the walls. “The threat is inside the walls,” Kane says. “Can’t you see that?” Kane is killing it with the inspirational rhetoric this episode, but incidentally, where is Abby through all of this? There’s no way she wouldn’t be helping Kane, so it’s really awkward that they clearly couldn’t get the actress for this episode. Bellamy guilt-trips Kane that Monroe died because of him, and Kane fires back that now Sinclair is next. Bellamy gets a bemused look on his face and says, “No, Pike wouldn’t do that.” Oh come on, Bellamy. What are you, new?
Kane says Pike is turning the entire camp against each other. Half the camp will be behind bars, while the other half starves. Bellamy shifts uncomfortably on his feet and says that Pike has a plan. “Pike always has a plan, and it’s always the same one,” Kane says, correctly. “Take the fight to the Grounders. That’s what got Monroe killed.” YUP. But then Kane loses me when he explicitly asks Bellamy to join the rebellion. “It’s not too late to choose the right side,” he says. I appreciate that he cares about Bellamy and wants him to redeem himself (don’t we all), but this plan is way too risky. Bellamy has clearly become a Pike zombie, and now he has solid proof that Kane is, in fact, involved with the insurrection. Why would Kane ever reveal himself without getting some sort of inkling that Bellamy wanted to come over to their side? Bellamy proves me right by saying, “That’s just what I came here to tell you,” but at least he didn’t arrest Kane on the spot.
Then, we’re treated to a weird little scene between Miller and his Piker boyfriend, which illustrates that there’s tension in their relationship because Miller is lying about being part of the rebellion, and the boyfriend is lying about being part of the surveillance. I’m glad they’re keeping up the LGBT representation after Lexa’s death, and that a full-on kiss between two men is making it past The CW’s censors, but we don’t know anything about Miller’s boyfriend or their relationship. All we’ve known up to this point is that he exists, so they can’t expect us to care about this conflict without further development.
At the prison cell, Sinclair claims he’s “ready to talk” to Bellamy, which would be pretty suspenseful if we hadn’t already seen Sinclair give Lincoln some kind of secret signal, so we already know it’s a trick. Sinclair says he wants immunity while Pike says dumb, stereotypical things to Kane like “We didn’t start this war, but you can be damned sure we’re going to finish it.” Ugh, whatever. Perfect human Lincoln aggressively and uncharacteristically berates Sinclair for being a coward, and then starts beating him up, and Bellamy falls for it hook, line, and sinker. He opens the door, Lincoln yells “NOW!”, and all the prisoners start beating up the guards. That part is a little satisfying. Pike turns on Kane and says, “I don’t suppose you know anything about this.” Kane replies, “As a matter of fact, I do,” and actually shock-lashes him! That part is a lot satisfying.
In the ensuing chaos, the prisoners are gradually subdued, but Monty hears Harper reference Pike’s impending doom over the walkies and warns Bellamy that the riots are a distraction. Monty is being THE WORST in this episode! Kane almost gets out of Arkadia in the Jeep with Pike hogtied in the back, but Bellamy stands in front of the gate with his gun raised and lots of cavalry behind him. Kane yells at him to get out of the way, and for a second it looks like he’s considering running Bellamy over, but we all know he won’t. Pike grumbles, “You should have killed me yourself.” Kane gives him a look that’s half-“I’m too righteous for that,” and half-“Yeah, sorta.” He relents, and is taken prisoner by Bellamy and the other morons.
Pike holds Kane under arrest, and asks him if he has anything to say for himself. Kane goes into full-on presidential mode and gives a rousing, beautifully delivered speech about ethics, progress, and progressivism:
“I admire your adherence to the rule of law. I really do. But these are times when we have to look beyond the rules. To realize that they were established to serve the world of the past, not the future. I beg you one last time, to see the world as it is, not as it was. Or as you want it to be.”
Pike, however, is unmoved, and says that if he really thought turning himself in would secure the camp’s safety, he would do it. I actually sort of believe him on that; I don’t think it’s cowardice, but pride and hatred that prevents him from making that sacrifice. Pike convicts Kane of treason, kidnapping, and attempted murder, and sentences him to death. Bellamy watches, horrified and teary-eyed, as soldiers take Kane away. On the one hand, my heart always goes out to Bellamy when he cries, but on the other hand, WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.
Pike looks like he’s taking no pleasure in this, and Bellamy asks, “Sir, are we really killing our own people now?” “We’re at war,” Pike replies. “Crimes against our leadership can’t be tolerated.” He tells Bellamy that people died because of Kane (again, not really true) and that Pike needs to make an example of him so everyone in camp will fall in line. Bellamy nods that he understands, but finally, finally looks dubious that Pike is quite right in the head.
We finish up with a great montage set to “Remains” by Algiers. (Overall, season three of The 100 hasn’t been quite as great as season two, but there’s no denying that the music has been on point.) Raven touches the necklace Finn gave her, Jasper listens to Maya’s iPod, Kane is thrown in prison with Lincoln and the other rebels, Miller and Harper give each other a look that says, “And then there were two.” It ends with Bellamy convincing Monty to defect with him, right before Hannah asks them if they identified anyone working with Kane. They know about Miller and Harper, but Bellamy quickly says no, and Monty goes along with it. (Monty, why are you so impressionable this season?) Hannah can sort of tell they’re lying, and says, “It’s not really hard choosing what’s best for your people, is it?” And Bellamy ends the episode the same way he began: “I do it every day.”
This is clearly supposed to be Bellamy’s big lightbulb moment, and the beginning of his inevitable redemption arc. Like almost everything about this episode (and plotline, for that matter), I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, if Bellamy is going to have a redemption arc, this was absolutely the most realistic way to do it. He isn’t motivated by some noble realization that Grounders are human beings and should be treated with respect. He witnessed (and participated in) the murder of hundreds of Grounders, but he’s only shaken out of his complacency by the prospect of losing someone close to him, one of “his own.” It’s infuriating in the best way, because it’s completely true to life.
That being said, are they going to try to convince us to forgive Bellamy in just a few episodes? His actions weren’t quite as bad as Finn’s, but they were close, and in that case the show acknowledged that there was no coming back from massacring innocents. Will Bellamy’s reprehensible actions be forgotten much more quickly because they took place offscreen, and/or because he’s a fan favorite while Finn was a big dull dud? I love Bellamy as much as the next person, but I’m not sure he can come back from the terrible things he’s done, at least not without dealing with the consequences of his actions in a meaningful way over a long period of time. If the season finale rolls around and the characters have already forgiven and forgotten, I will not be a happy camper.
See you next week!