GASP!! I … I … I think I need to watch this episode again. It’s like the 100 writers decided that “Bitter Harvest” would be the one where they put all their shocking twists for season 3. There were definitely some fun “What what whaaattt!!??” moments here, but I’m not 100% sure I understood what the hell was happening with all the A.L.I.E. plot points. I mean o.k. let’s review: A.L.I.E. nukes the world, A.L.I.E. has a v2.0 and it’s somewhere on the Ark, v2.0 either was or wasn’t created because v1.0 had … let’s say … some high severity bugs … v2.0 can’t be found on the Ark … oops the Ark actually had a 13th station (Dun dun duunnnn!!) and it was … shot down, for some reason? And Station 13 is POLarIS … POLIS!! DUN. DUN. DDUUUNNNNN. Also Murphy’s super good at being tortured.
The funny thing about the 13th station is that if you’re a Hunger Games fan, there really wasn’t a shocking twist here at all. The 13th station is a given. District 13 is the key to everything. It was the stuff of legend until it was proven true and now it’s the key to defeating President Snow … err … in this case it’ll probably be they key to A.L.I.E. defeating humanity. Let me watch this again to see if it makes more sense … Aaannnnd done. Hmm. For the most part I came out of my second viewing with just more questions.
“Blowing a space station out of the sky to get others to join isn’t exactly an inspirational Unity Day story.” Wait so … why would they … what … I don’t … that’s all you’re gonna tell us??
“My creator thought she needed a more secure work environment.” “So did you go too?” “No, I was the reason she wanted a more secure environment.” Hmmm? Why?
I’ll get to a few more points about this storyline in a bit, but first let’s talk about a few others.
Clarke and Emerson … Clemerson
Bringing Emerson back this season was a nice move on the writers’ part. Until he showed up again in 3.03, I honestly had completely forgotten about him. When Cage got taken out by Lincoln at the end of the season 2 finale, he was the last and only Mountain Man I had thought about possibly surviving. Meanwhile I was totally forgetting that Emerson had also gotten the bone marrow treatments to given him resistance to the radiation as well. His survival into S3 is a good way to hold Clarke accountable for her actions at Mount Weather. Emerson himself is a horrible shithead, so it’s not as if I feel any sympathy for him, but finding out that Clarke killed Emerson’s two kids?? Ouch. Not the kids Clarke, not the kids!! They can’t help what a dickhead their dad is. Sigh. Too late now.
The Clemerson arc yielded mixed … well, mostly positive results for me, but one less effective result as well. I already mentioned the gist of the plus side above, but I’ll just add to that the fact that a couple lines from Emerson made me go, “Oh daaayyuummnn.” I mean, out loud. At the TV, by myself. Which is a good thing. The reveal about the kids was one of the lines that prompted this, but the other was Emerson yelling, “You can kill me Clarke, but you can never escape from what you did. My pain ends today, YOURS HAS JUST BEGUN!!” as Clarke hurried out of the room. Snaps. This guy aint’ fuckin’ around, and the actor who plays him did a great job with this. He’s got such an amazing angry yelling voice that I think he even scared me into thinking my pain had just begun too. Yikes!! Since they didn’t kill him off, I kinda hope he resurfaces again later.
The less effective part of all this for me was the back and forth between “Will Clarke kill Emerson, or will she have mercy?” Because honestly, was there anyone in the universe who thought Clarke would actually personally execute this guy by slowly slashing him up 49 times?? Come on. That’s not how Clarke rolls. Granted, it’s not how Bellamy rolls either, but we see what happened there. GRR. So there really was no suspense here, and leads directly to my next point …
My slight annoyance with the not-so-suspenseful “will Clarke kill Emerson” quandary was actually kind of an offshoot of the fact that the “Blood must have blood? Or must not have blood?” dance is already getting a little old for me too. I’m trying to figure out why that is. I really don’t have a problem with it on Lexa’s side … her grappling with the pressure to stick with the Grounder way vs. creating a peaceful society makes sense and resonates well with things we see playing out in our current day reality. So Lexa’s struggle with this is actually quite interesting, especially because her people will all certainly think she’s insane.
I think it’s Clarke’s side of it that kind of annoyed me in this ep. Her journey with this didn’t seem to ring quite as true to me – the idea that Clarke would call for Lexa to refrain from taking revenge on Skaikru, and then turn right back around and demand revenge with Emerson – it just seemed like too much of a punk-ass move for Clarke. She’s too pragmatic for the revenge thing anyway; if anything I would expect that her argument to kill Emerson would have been focused around simply stopping him from coming back to fuck with them again in the future, Murphy-style. Clarke is a pretty left-brained person, and as such she tends to think more logically than emotionally in situations like this. So this was a weird break from that, and the way it was played on screen didn’t really help. It all felt a little wooden.
That said, I think it would have made more sense for Clarke’s emotional side to take over if she was still in the mentally tortured state had been in during the first three eps this season. But since then, she seems to have mostly gone back to normal Clarke, just trying to keep the peace and keep everyone safe, not to mention saving various sexy idiots from themselves (Hello, Bellamy). So then, while I loved the venom Emerson was spitting at her, it feels like it would’ve been more effective if Clarke still seemed like she was grappling with the “I’m a monster” thing a little more. She seemed a tad rattled by his taunts, but overall it didn’t feel like much of a struggle. I think that’s mainly a result of how much story there was to tell in this ep, there wasn’t much time for this.
Anywho. I’m kinda nitpicking; this stuff was mostly fine I guess, these were just the things that kept it from being a home run for me.
You wanna know what has been a home run though? Yeah. It’s becoming easier and easier to forget that Octavia was on shaky ground early on this season. Floorboard Baby ground. Thank god that seems like a distant memory at this point due to the sheer heights of her badassery in the past couple eps. It almost feels like she’s starting to replace Clarke for me as the #1 “girl power” character that I root for. It’s not that Octavia’s badassery is new by any means – we got plenty of it in the second half of season 2 – it’s just that I haven’t always been 100% sure that her efforts have been pointed in the right direction. Let’s take, for instance, the scene in season 2 when she insisted on going mano-a-mano with that huge Grounder when Skaikru and the Grounders were training before attacking Mount Weather. I admired her sheer determination and DGAF attitude, but I also cringed and questioned her sanity. It wasn’t until the season 2 finale two-parter that I was fully onboard with both her mission and her badassery. The first couple eps of S3 gave us an annoying diversion from that, but now we are back on track and I’m more onboard with Octavia than ever.
One last thing related to this topic: I want to elaborate a bit on why Clarke would move down on my “favorite girl power characters to root for” list, while Octavia overtakes her at #1. Keeping Clarke cooped up in the tower at Polis for most of season 3 really doesn’t do her any favors in terms of my excitement for her storyline. I say that because keeping Clarke cooped up anywhere stifles her from doing what she does best. Or at least, from doing it in an exciting way. Let’s compare this to early season 2. She was trapped in Mount Weather for the first 2.5-ish eps there, and I wasn’t into that either. BUT, at least she spent that entire time trying to escape. And letting her escape so early on in the season was the smartest thing they could have done. The moment Clarke got into those tunnels with Anya was the moment I perked up and started pumping my fists for season 2 to really begin.
We’re not getting that type of adventure for Clarke in season 3, which, granted, is obviously a very different situation for her in that she’s not trapped anywhere. At least not anymore. There’s not a need to escape this time. At this point, she’s at Polis because it’s strategically where she should be right now. And that makes complete sense, it just also makes me kinda bored. I don’t get super pumped to watch my characters lounge around all season on lavish couches in soft lighting from 100 candles. Particularly on a show like this. Maybe the show should change its title from The 100 to 100 Candles. I kid. Anyway the unbridled elation I felt when Clarke and Anya began their escape from Mount Weather is the exact same feeling I got from last week’s ep, when Clarke was finally on the move again. I mistakenly thought that momentum might continue for her, but it turns out that I was wrong. I really miss the days when Clarke was hiding amongst dead bodies in plastic garbage bins, jumping off the sides of dams, and getting into kick-ass hand-to-hand combat fights, all while making alliances and saving Skaikru. Sigh.* At least we have Octavia now.
*p.s. I promise this statement isn’t anti-Lexa – Sub Lexa in for Anya and I’m on board wholeheartedly, as long as we give these ladies something more exciting to do.
Arrgh. I’m sad Monroe’s dead, but I’m not sad in the way I should be sad. I’m more just kind of pissed off about it, and I’ll tell you why – Monroe deserved better than this. She’s been with us since season 1, and yet we barely caught a couple quick glimpses of her this season before they decided to make a minor show of killing her off. This goes back to my complaint in my 3.04 review about there being too many characters on this show now. If they had killed Monroe in season 2, back when they were actually, you know, using her for stuff, it would have 20x more impact on the audience. She’s never been a super high profile character, but think about how many pivotal moments she played a key role in last season. She was there with Bell and Finn for that entire hunt for Clarke in the first 5 of S2 – interrogating the Grounder, finding the other station wreckage and saving the girl from the side of the cliff, all of that. And then in the final eps, she was there for the attack on Mount Weather too, right on the front line, trying to convince Clarke to go home after Lexa abandoned them.
But now? The fact that we barely saw her at all in season 3 made her death feel cheap. Like the writers just killed her off because they needed to raise some stakes a little, and she was an easy target. They had too many characters to deal with this season anyway, so hey, why not just off Monroe for a little extra shock and awe? The fact that she’s had so little to do this season makes it feel like the poor girl was barely even present for own demise. And that is a bummer. R.I.P. Monroe. We hardly knew ya.
Kane and Miller – Killer!?
Now there’s a weird ‘ship name. As much as Monroe’s death annoyed me, this ep had a pretty big silver lining in the supporting character arena – Miller finally gets to step up to bat. His opportunities to do this over the span of the series have been far too few, and he deserves a chance to shine, baby. “Bitter Harvest” gave him his big break, at least for season 3, and I loved it. How cute is his relationship with his boyfriend, too? I saw some people on tumblr last night who are angry that these two didn’t have any PDA. And I totally get that, but honestly I kinda loved how dudely they are to each other too hahah. It just adds to the cuteness for me. We’ll probably get some PDA, in time.
Last week I wanted to mention Kane stepping up to the plate as well, but I don’t think I ended up getting to it. I’m loving his partnership with Octavia this season, and his partnership with Miller in this ep gave me just as much giddiness. I hope this continues.
It’s coming, babes. The Kabby fire was lit tonight. It’s about time The Olds got some action, really. (“The Olds” is a rude name my cousin uses for essentially everyone who was on the Ark in season 1. It makes me laugh because they are the parental figures, and it’s how the teeny-boppers would see them. And though the nickname is ageist, I feel like I’m allowed to use it because I’m most certainly far closer in age to The Olds than I am to the age of the young’ns. The Olds are my people.)
Anywho. If there’s any character development achievement to be commended on this show, it’s Kane. It’s amazing how far the guy has come from the apparent jerk he seemed to be in early season 1. And it all feels completely natural too, because even in season 1, we saw that he had this in him. He just didn’t have the right cause to fight for yet. Now, he has it, and I’m glad he’s such an integral part of this show.
Uggh. I am dead serious when I say that Bellamy is starting to remind me of Brendan Dassey, and that is NOT a good thing. No matter how much he knows that what Pike is doing is the wrong thing, and no matter how much he protests at first, he always backs right down and follows orders. Not cute, sweetie. Not cute. Grow a pair, please, and maybe keep an eye out for your brain, because it clearly fell out of your head somewhere on the Ark in ep 3.04.
Jaha, A.L.I.E., Raven, and Jasper: The Sci Fi Saviors
Last week I pointed out the irony of the fact that my historically least-favorite storyline on this show suddenly felt like my only hope for its future. Based on the way 3.05 ended + the preview for 3.06, I kinda expected the City of Light “drugs are fun” craze to overtake 3.06 completely, and in a sense I was hoping it would, if only to throw Pike off his stupid game plan. Unfortunately that turned out not to be the case this week, as the CoL happy pill crazy didn’t permeate outside a subset of the peeps at Arkadia. Bummer.
But all was not lost, as this storyline is proving to be far more fun and intriguing to me than I thought it would. Last week I talked about the fact that daring/risky storylines like this generally prove to be either amazing or complete show-ruiners, and the latter seems to be the case far more often than not. So I’ve worried this entire season that the City of Light storyline would wind up fucking up the entire series. And it certainly still could, especially next week, which seems to be possibly the most pivotal ep of the season based on the way people in-the-know are talking about it. But for now, I’m quite enjoying it. After all, look what it’s doing for us:
- Both Raven and Jasper have been at least temporarily freed from their all-consuming physical and mental pain. Well I guess Jasper isn’t 100% there yet, but he has hope, suddenly. This is nice to watch, even if we know it won’t last.
- Season 1 had the Ark, season 2 had Mount Weather, but season 3 thus far has been mostly focused on ground life up till now, which has made me worry that it may make The 100 wind up just looking like a wannabe Game of Thrones to people unfamiliar with the show. This City of Light storyline will make it clear to all that the sci fi is still in full effect.
- It gave us another great “GASP!!” moment when Jaha was asked about Wells and literally was like, “Wait, Wells, the name sounds familiar … was he the guy we hung out with at that Ark office party we had last July?” What the fuuuuuck, Jaha. What the fuuuuuck, A.L.I.E.??
I can’t wait to see what happens next week with this thing. Let’s hope it ain’t a show-ruiner.
My rating for ep 3.06: 85/100
See y’alls next week.