Review: ‘The 100’ Ep 4.02: “Heavy Lies the Crown”

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Oh my.  Well now we’ve really gotten ourselves into a pickle, haven’t we?  I mean, putting its characters into pickles is basically the entire point of The 100, but this episode kinda ratcheted that up a bit by taking a pickle and then fucking it with another pickle, while lying in a bed of pickles.  Let’s talk about it.

I’m not gonna do a “Good Stuff”/”Bad Stuff” structure to this one because there wasn’t anything in this ep that I hated; rather it was just a few things that were annoying and/or problematic.  And obviously plenty of stuff I enjoyed as well.  So I’ll just go section by section and talk through it.

Bellamy & Team’s Farm Station Adventure

We’ll start with the Adventure Squad storyline first, because I think it was the one that caused some controversy per what I saw on Twitter Wednesday night.  Bellamy seems to be damned if he does and damned if he don’t these days, amiright?  I mean, you murder several hundred people, you save a couple dozen people, everyone’s gonna be pissed at you either way so why even bother?  Maybe it’s time to just start flipping a coin.  I try not to read other reviews before I write mine because I don’t want to be influenced, but for the past 2 weeks I keep reading Eric Goldman’s IGN review the night the episode airs, because my curiosity gets the better of me.  I skimmed his ep 2 review this time, but I saw that he definitely had a problem with Bellamy’s decision to save the Farm Station peeps in this ep.  He found it to be illogical because their lives were not in immediate danger, and Skaikru could have easily gone to Roan to try to negotiate their release.  I agree with Eric that this is the decision Bellamy should have made, but my reasons for finding the storyline problematic were not due to this aspect of the story.

From my perspective, I don’t think you can really blame anyone for deciding to save 25 people in a moment like this, even if it’s not the logical decision.  When lives are at stake, logic isn’t the only factor at play.  The issue I had with this storyline was really in its existence to begin with, kind of.  I think part of the problem is that when any TV show gets several seasons in, it tends to be a lot easier to see its formula playing out and the storytelling strings being pulled to make it happen.  And because the Farm Station people – like the people who were killed in Mount Weather at the beginning of season 3 – were people we didn’t know, it ended up feeling more like an annoying hurdle in the story rather than a heart-wrenching dilemma.  Like sure, the Delinquents were all thrilled to see their old buddy Riley, who apparently must’ve been like, the star quarterback and the prom king back on the Ark.  But to us, Riley was just some poor random schmuck in need of a shower and a haircut.  It would have had more impact on us if it somehow could’ve been someone we knew from season 1.  So for me this storyline was like, “Ohhhkay, fine, they have to do this I guess…” rather than being like “OMG noooo what are they gonna do?!”  And of course the latter is always what the writers are going for.

If there was merit to be found in this storyline, for me it was in the hilarious perfection of Clarke (and Raven) sending the Adventure Squad out on a mission to save humanity, and them returning to deliver Clarke (and Raven) a gigantic flaming turd instead.  It’s like, not only have we not given y’alls the sustainable water solution we were supposed to, now you’ve got 25 more lives you have to save- withOUT that hydrogenerator, because we blew it the fuck up.  So really it’s more like, here’s 25 more people you have to feel guilty about dying from radiation because you can’t save them.  You’re welcome, Ladies.  Bellamy’s Adventure Squad, at your service.

Edit: My cousin just watched the ep and texted me: “I’m confused … they couldn’t have freed these prisoners without using a big ol’ bomb to blow up just 2 people?”  Lol this is another great question.  To be fair, I think it was more like 3 or 4 people?

The scene where Bryan gives Monty “the kill” of the Ice Nation dude who killed Monty’s dad was pretty decent, but again didn’t have quite the impact it could have because we didn’t know Monty’s dad and we didn’t know this dude either.  So it was more like, a nice gesture, and an interesting moment for Monty, but that was pretty much the extent of it.

Ilian

the-100_402_3Well here’s someone to fill our angsty teen quota!  This kid is kind of a cutie, despite his high potential to murder everyone around him.  He could have easily suffered the same fate with the audience as the Farm Station people because we don’t know him yet either, but I thought the ep did a considerably better job setting up this storyline and convincing us to care.  The scene with Ilian’s family was well-acted, and because it tied into all the craziness we saw the City of Light zombies doing last season, I think this scene and story set-up were able to make a bigger impact.  It actually makes me realize that I think another issue with the Farm Station set-up is that the slave characters didn’t even barely have any speaking lines other than everyone’s bestie, Riley.  By contrast, giving us a hot minute or two to watch Ilian’s family interact with each other (beyond just, “Oh hey old buddy!”) was helpful in making us give a crap about them.

The one quibble I have with this opening scene, though: I loved A.L.I.E.’s return via this flashback, but why the hell did they insist on green-screening her into this scene rather than having her physically stand next to Ilian while filming??  Was that on purpose to make her look like a hologram and then have her disappear, or what happened there?  It just looked so green-screen-fakey that it put me off.

Anyway Ilian seems like an interesting character, so I look forward to seeing what they do with him.

Roan and Echo

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Echo: “If I may, why do you insist on ruling as Lexa did, when it’s not what’s best for our people?  At least tell me there’s a reason…”  Roan’s potential answer to this question was interrupted in a very pointed way when Kane and Octavia walked in, so I’m curious if this is something the writers actually intend to answer for us at some point, or if it was just a throwaway line in this episode.

From Echo’s perspective, I get why Roan trusting Skaikru about the nuclear meltdown seems insane, because he really has no proof that it’s true.  He’s going entirely on Clarke’s word, and while we the audience know that this is the right choice, Roan has no way of knowing this.  Clarke has been a trustworthy ally to him thus far, but people betray other people all the time.  We know even just from the end of this ep that Clarke has the capacity to manipulate people into doing what she needs them to by twisting the story in her favor.  So Roan might have to prove Clarke’s trustworthiness to Echo.

OH and I almost forgot, is it just me or did Roan quote a key Clinton/Kaine campaign slogan at least once in this episode??  “We are stronger together.”

stronger_togetherThat probably was not an accident, right?  Especially because Pike was so clearly meant to be the Trump of the series last season.  Sadly, I’m pretty sure ep 4.02 would have been filmed before the election.  I find it so depressing to go back to things that were said and filmed and written in those couple months leading into the election, when people were still pretty sure that everything was gonna turn out fine.  In the real life version of The 100, Octavia never killed Pike, and Pike was never taken out of power over Skaikru.  In the real world, Clarke lost, and Roan lost, and Pike has complete control over everything.  And you thought The 100 was dark.  Try living in the real world why don’tcha.

Kabby

Bow chicka.  Nice to see these two get a little happiness before things totally go to shit this season.  In a sense it seemed like Abby was making a bigger deal out of the Jake necklace/ring than she should, because there’s nothing wrong with her keeping a memento of him.  The awkward part of it is probably the fact that Kane was kinda partly responsible for getting Jake floated.  Right?  Am I remembering that correctly?  Well, you know.  Life on the Ark was pretty intense.  Thank god we don’t have to worry about that anymore … until a couple months from now when we have to choose who will live or die before we shove everyone back into the Ark to escape the radiation, so they can all be cooped up again for another however many years together.  Whee!!  How will you float people then??  Oh I guess you could still just shove them outside to get radiated.  That’ll be cute.

The Ark as a Radiation Shelter

That reminds me!  I almost forgot to call this out, but the other thing that annoyed me about this episode was that it took The Delinquents so long to come to the most ridiculously obvious conclusion staring them right in the face – That The Ark was their most viable shelter from the radiation.  Duh!!  I mean it’s the literally the very first thing I thought of after the finale last season, when I was thinking of how they might survive a nuclear meltdown.  The fact that they had to have a big old brainstorming sesh for two full days before Monty finally was like, “OMG, by Jove I think I’ve got it!!”  !?  Come ON, kiddies.  Pull your heads out of your asses!

Octavia

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Roan: “The clans will never accept a leader who hides behind the law, or another warrior’s blade.”

Octavia: “You’ll lose.  Lexa kicked your ass, without a bullethole in your chest.”

As problematic as Octavia can be when she’s in FBB-mode, one of her best qualities has always been the zero bullshit-tolerance nature of her personality.  Try to put up any kind of front, and she will slice through it like she slices through people’s necks with her swords.  When she’s completely out of FBB mode and on a mission to accomplish something, that’s when this quality is most effective.  In this case, she knew that Roan trying to fight while injured was a terrible idea that was bound to fail, so she called him on his bullshit and took matters into her own hands when she saw that he wasn’t listening to her.  She did the right thing in this episode, no matter how ruthless it was.  That dude who tried to overthrow Roan was a total dick, he had it coming anyway.  Something tells me that very few people are gonna be all that broken up about his untimely demise.

I have no doubt that Octavia’s murderous journey is about to get pretty dicey in the next few eps, but in these first two eps, she’s been on the money.  Oh I should note too: While we unfortunately did not get any Indra in this ep, I always enjoy Octavia and Kane as a team too, which has been a bit of a thing since season 2.  It’s kind of interesting because Indra and Kane also have developed a nice friendship as the series has gone on as well.  These 3 are all well-suited to working together.

Miller and Bryan

My goodness, Bryan was in a very pissy mood right from the get-go in this ep, wasn’t he?  It’s making me want to go back and rewatch the S3 finale to see exactly where we left off with him … I mean I do remember he was injured while invading Polis but that’s about it.  One thing we found out here is that he seems to be a true MAGA (Make Arkadia Great Again) believer, and thus he’s pissed that Pike is dead.  I find it a bit baffling that he’s a true Pike devotee but yet winds up being pissed at Miller in the end because he feels Miller is the heartless one, in voting against saving the Farm Station slaves.  I guess it must be because for MAGA-diehards, the only people who matter are their own.  A “Skaikru First” policy, huh?  So it’s o.k. to murder Grounders for the good of Skaikru, but it’s not o.k. to leave Skaikru behind in a life-threatening situation.  I guess it makes sense in the same twisted way white people are rationalizing Muslim bans and wall-building in Trump’s America.

And in general I certainly get why Bryan feels like he “just can’t” with Miller after they voted on opposite sides of the “To Save or Not to Save” (the Farm Station slaves) debate.  Personally I think Miller was right, but that’s just me.  No one really knows the “right” answer here.  We’ll see where these two go from here, but Bryan’s MAGA-ness is kinda annoying me.

Jasper

the-100_402_5Hahaha god that stupid “Mondays” song … I’m old as dirt compared to most people who watch this show, but this song is too ancient even for me.  I wanted to murder it at first, along with Jasper, but then I ended up kinda loving the scene where he taunts Clarke about the fact that she’s being forced to turn into Jaha Jr.  One of the main points of this show has always been to force the kids to understand the impossible dilemmas their parents were always having to deal with in space, and to realize that maybe they weren’t just morally corrupt old geezers after all.  But the dilemma this season is going to wind up being literally exactly what they faced in space.  By design, of course.

OH but take a look at Jasper’s chest in the shower scene … notice anything?  I am incredibly anal retentive about continuity and attention to detail in my TV shows, so I was happy to see that the make-up crew had not forgotten Jasper’s spear to the chest from the pilot.  TV shows are terrible with this stuff far more often than they ever do it correctly, so bravo to The 100 for getting this detail right.  Even if the Delinquents get their faces slashed all to hell constantly (Clarke and Octavia season 2, Bellamy basically every season) without a hint of scars whatsoever LOL.  Face stuff is a pain in the ass though, I get it.  We can’t all be Tyrion Lannister.  Then again what about the Ice Nation peeps!

EDIT: OMG so it turns out that the “I Don’t Like Mondays” song is more than just a cheesy song about not liking Mondays!!  Now it suddenly makes sense why they used it … yikes!

Clarke and Jaha

HAHA first off, Jaha’s excuse for seeking out the City of Light and bringing A.L.I.E. back to turn the entire human race into a zombie murder cult last season was, “Yes, those are my sins.  Now I have to live with them.”  And Clarke is basically like “Ohhhh k see Raven!?  Doesn’t it make sense now?  He said sorry so you’re cool now right?  We can totally trust him.”  And Raven’s like, “O.k. fine, you make a compelling case there, Jaha!  How can I say no now??”

Another thing that made me chuckle in this ep was Clarke’s super on-the-nose line before having a mini meltdown trying to figure out how to save everyone: “It’s too many people!”  Haha it threw me off and unfortunately kinda ruined the scene for me, which I had been expecting to be a heavy-hitting scene based on the promo.  I’d rather Clarke just have said nothing at all, or even just something like, “This isn’t gonna work.”  The “too many people” line was just too dopey-sounding.  It’s like if you make a movie telling the harrowing tale of hurricane Katrina, and the hero’s line in the climactic scene is, “It’s too much water!!”

I do have stuff to say about Clarke and Jaha, but I just realized that I mostly already addressed it in the Jasper section and the Princess Mechanic section.  What I will say for now though is that I didn’t until just this very moment think about Clarke’s connection to Jaha being more than just Jaha as the big mean ol’ Chancellor on the Ark.  Remember Wells, Clarke’s actual childhood bestie?  Sometimes I forget that poor kid ever existed, and it pisses me off because I still don’t think they should have killed him so early in the series.  Check out the very end of my season 3 review for more thoughts on that.  But right about now I’m starting to wish it was Jasper who had been offed way back when (as he actually was meant to be in the pilot).

Hmm.  It would be nice if Clarke and Jaha working together this season prompted some sort of Wells flashback scene or something.  I doubt it’ll happen, but it would be nice.

Princess Mechanic

the-100_402_9I get Raven’s logic on wanting to tell everyone what’s going on because of the potential for crowd-sourcing a solution, and on the Ark it turns out to have ultimately been the right solution.  But on the ground, with all the various Grounder clans, none of whom know much about science, and many of whom hate Skaikru and want them dead already, it’ll just make matters worse.

I also get why Raven was mad at Clarke for straight-up lying to the Arkadia people about what is going on once she did decide to clue them in, but again I think what Clarke did was the smart thing to do.  It was probably the only thing to do.  Raven, though, was not so impressed.  But per usual, it’s a hell of a lot easier to sit back and heckle Clarke for her decisions than it is to actually put your own ass on the line and make them yourself.  I won’t be surprised if Raven gets a taste of this medicine at some point this season, now that she’s in more of a leadership role.

Clarke and Bellamy

“We save who we can save today.”  Thank god.  After Raven accused Clarke of being a … well, just like Jaha and the morally corrupt old geezers on the Ark, I wasn’t sure how Bellamy was going to react to what Clarke had just done.  So I was relieved when he stuck by her.  I said this last week, I’ll say it again this week, and I’ll certainly say it again next week too – I hope these two continue to stick by each other this season.  The show is better when they do.

My review for ep 4.02: 83/100

It was, you know, a pretty good ep, with some issues.  I hope we can get at least a couple/few really kick-ass eps this season, but we’re not quite there yet.

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