Back in the Covert Affairs days, we had a running joke that every episode the writers/cast/crew hyped up like crazy ahead of time was almost guaranteed to be shitty. And conversely, the ones you barely heard much about stood a better chance of being enjoyable. The 100 has fallen into this trap before: ep 3.04 is the one that comes to mind; it was super hyped up and the Lexa/Roan fight was awesome, but they must’ve put all their energy towards that one element, because in every other aspect it was one of the worst eps of the series. Other than 3.04 though, this show had a pretty good track record last season of hyping up the right episodes from what I recall. I unfortunately can’t comment on seasons 1 or 2 because I didn’t watch those live.
But hey guess what? The past two eps of The 100 have fallen perfectly into that frustrating Covert pattern. Last week, the writers, some cast, and even several prominent 100 bloggers/reviewers hyped the shit out of ep 4.06 to the point where you basically expected it to breathe life back into your broken soul and solve world hunger. And then the ep was … not bad, but absolutely not great either. It was iffy. It was a bumpy ride. At 80/100, it was the lowest grade I’ve given to an ep so far this season. And then tonight’s ep, which we barely heard a peep about ahead of time (o.k. we did hear a few things but none of them involved “This is my favorite ep of the season!”), end up being far better. It had its issues too, but for the most part it flowed much smoother, felt like a much more confident undertaking, and its key moments all had the punch you wanted out of them.
I suppose it’s fitting – The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” played prominently through one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite eps (2.10) of Covert Affairs, and it was the title of tonight’s 100. OMG!! And I just realized that the Covert ep was totally centered around radiation poisoning! Whoa. That is so weird. I just joked to a friend the other day that the entirety of my knowledge of how radiation poisoning works is from that exact ep of Covert. Spooky.
O.k. let’s talk about tonight’s Hundy. First off, Emori- Uhh, daaaaayyyyuuummmnn girl!! JEEZ-us. That was … fucking … cold. That was ruthless. That was … wow. And here I spent the entire episode thinking Clarke was the one losing what’s left of her morals. Little did I know Emori was manipulating her every step of the way.
Let’s get into the details of each storyline.
Bellamy & Kane
We’ll talk Bellamy & Kane first because I actually found his storyline to be the only problematic one tonight, though it did at least end well, which is why I’m being fairly forgiving of it. I’m glad they’ve put a lot of focus on Bell atoning for his sins this season because what they made him do last season was irredeemable. I blame the writers for the stupidity of that storyline and I try to forget his character did those horrible things, otherwise I’d hate him as much as Octavia does. And no one wants that. <curls into fetal position> <rocks back and forth> it’s the writers’ fault it’s the writers’ fault it’s the writers’ fault it’s the ….
Wait so what was I gonna say? Oh right. I was gonna say that while I’m glad Bellamy is doing everything he can to be the best person he can be this season, I can’t stand the abstract moral quandaries the writers love to throw him into. You know the ones – they always involve characters we don’t know or give a shit about (I see you Riley), popping up out of nowhere, to put Bell to a test. And in tonight’s version of this, the characters literally did not even have faces!! Just when you thought the show couldn’t get any more half-ass about it, they upped the ante. “Oh you thought Riley was random?? Try this muffled disembodied voice on a shitty walkie talkie speaker!!”
And what an asshole this guy was too!! This nameless faceless mumble-voice had quite the attitude and felt that he was entitled to have Bellamy’s life sacrificed just for him (and his son?). Yes o.k. fine, I know he did have a name, but I don’t remember that shit. Why would I? I could barely understand what the dude was even saying most of the time. He was just a selfish muffled nobody berating Bellamy for not literally killing himself. Was it Mark? Mumbler Mark.
“You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.” – Kane
When I first saw the ep description that Bellamy was gonna go out and try to save someone, I was really nervous it was going to be Octavia. Why? Because of the exact quote above. He had no idea where O was, she was too far out there in the woods, and it would have been completely pointless. O is a big girl who has shown time and time again that she’s not going to make any choices but the ones she wants. Luckily it turned out that even Bell is not crazy enough to try to do this. He was also, thank GOD, sane enough to listen to reason when Kane told him that if he tried to get out of that stuck-in-the-mud truck to get to Mumbler Mark on foot, that all he’d be doing is upping the body count to 3 instead of 2.
The reason I was able to get past this manufactured walkie talkie drama was because at the very least it gave us a nice scene of Kane giving Bellamy advice and a pep talk at the end of it. Even though Bell wasn’t looking for O in this storyline, he made it clear during this closing heart-to-heart with Kane that he was figuratively trying to save her. He was trying to save anyone else he could in place of her … and failing there too. His sister, his responsibility. “When my mom passed out, she was there she was in my hands, so helpless. And now, what is she … is she even alive?” Poor Bell. Octavia is a grown-ass woman now though … damaged AF yes, but she gets by fine on her own. Bell needs to stop assuming that he needs to be the one to protect her at this point.
Kane: “Your mother would be proud of the man you’ve become. I know I am.”
Bellamy: “You floated my mother, dude.”
Ouch. I may have added the “dude” in there, but this just reminds us that Kane has plenty of sins he still works to atone for also.
Octavia and Ilian
Here’s the thing about Octavia – I came to a realization tonight that she reminds me a lot of Deb from Dexter. Deb was very damaged and had a frantic, chaotic energy about her that tended to make me uncomfortable very regularly. She was also the sister of the male protagonist. Sound familiar? The 100 is more of an ensemble show of course, but Dexter and Bellamy fill very similar roles in their respective sibling relationships. It’s interesting though because Deb somehow managed to still be one of my favorite characters on Dexter (until they ruined her in the late seasons, but I’m not counting that because the entire show was a pile of shit by then). Octavia, on the other hand, spent most of the first couple seasons as one of my least favorite characters. The thing is though, O has shown enough potential at several points starting in late season 2 that I now go through these cycles of starting to really like her until she goes off the rails again. I used to be able to just brush off her ridiculousness because I didn’t care about her anyway, but now that she’s making progress as a character, I’m now noticing these things a lot more.
And no episode has showcased this more perfectly than tonight’s ep. We wanted O to work through her issues, and I’m glad she made some progress here, but man if her frantic wild energy didn’t weird me out in the process. The scene in the cave where Ilian tries to get her to open up and then she jumps up and yells at him and tries to run out of the cave … it again veered a couple times slightly towards cheesy territory similar to last week’s climactic scene, though to be fair this was only partly because of Octavia. Ilian’s lines were also a bit overly earnest, while the sad violins were maybe a bit overdone. But O played a role in it too – the way she stood out there arms outstretched like a crazed maniac … it was like, Octavia LOLWTF are you doing, but also, I mean, yes. I do get it. But also, come on.
Oddly this scene actually came together for me during its most frantic moments, i.e. when Ilian was pulling O back from the mouth of the cave, wrestling her to the ground, right before she forced herself on the poor boy just so she could “feel something else.” I think the reason it started to work for me at this point is mainly because it involved O finally admitting that she isn’t a coldblooded killer, but rather is doing whatever she can to cope with all that has happened in the past couple seasons. Killing bad guys makes her feel something other than the sad emptiness of Lincoln’s loss. Her failure to fully accomplish her goal in saving Arkadia put her back in that bad place again, so she first tries to stop those feelings entirely by killing herself, and then tries for the next available option to feel something else, which is to violate the pure-hearted Ilian with hot sexy times. I read an interview with Marie in TV Guide early in the season that made it easy to guess these two were going to hook up, but I did not expect this to be how it would happen.
I was glad O went back to get Ilian to take him home in the end, partly because it involved her regaining some level of humanity, and partly because Ilian is a major cutie. I feel like a child molester for saying that but it’s just a fact. OMG a Google search claims the actor is 28!! Whew, guilt: gone. #NoRegrets One thing I did find odd though was the fact that Octavia dropped her little knife thingies and didn’t bring them with her. Even if she has decided to turn over a new leaf of peace and love, shouldn’t she bring those for protection on her travels? It seems like a dumb move. And then the S4 trailer makes it clear that she still has more stabbing and ass-kicking ahead of her, so I can’t imagine she’s very committed to this new peaceful way of life. We’ll see.
Speaking of the S4 trailer, I think we’re at the point where we’ve seen nearly all of it in the episodes now. Those scenes of Octavia walking with a new gang and stabbing again are some of the only scenes left that we haven’t seen yet. Actually wait, I can still think of a few others. But still, it’s not many overall. And the preview for 4.08 indicates that the wrapped bodies scene and the scene of the guy being tested with radiation (who we now have been introduced to) will be in that ep. Interesting.
Clarke, Murphy, Emori, and Abby
The other reason this episode rose above last week’s is that it took us on a very unique turn – one we almost never see on this show. The funny thing is that the rare times we ever do veer into scenes involving fancy houses or shelters, Murphy is always, without fail, the one who gets to be in them. Why is that? And if you told me we’d ever see a scene on The 100 of Murphy cooking dinner and feeding Clarke a taste on a wooden spoon, I’d have told you to go float yourself with that crazy talk. But tonight, it happened. This was a lot of fun.
The scene where Clarke walks into the fancy bedroom and later lays on the fluffy pristine bed had a major “Katniss in the Capitol” feel to it, right? That’s another thing we never get to see on this show, at least not for anyone but Murphy. Oh and this was the first time a character on this show has gotten to experience a real, actual shower on screen, I think? Obviously they would’ve had semi-decent showers when they were in space and in Mount Weather, but we never saw them. And they have (err, had) the make-shift showers at Arkadia, but those are nothing compared to the fancy shower Clarke got to experience tonight.
I gotta say though, I was a little disappointed that the first time this happened, it was during the longest stretch of time we’ve ever had on this show where most of these characters have remained shockingly clean and unscathed (Octavia is an outlier, she has not been so lucky). Wouldn’t it have been way more satisfying if this had happened during one of the many times (most of the time, really) that these characters are walking around filthy dirty? I tend to find this show a little boring when everyone’s too clean and without so much as a scratch on them, but it didn’t stop this storyline from being super entertaining tonight.
In terms of Abby and Clarke’s dilemma, I have to say I was surprised that Clarke was so willing to just jump right into “O.k. yeah cool sounds good let’s find someone and burn them up!” She literally did not even have one second’s pause! And how the heck are they gonna use Luna’s bone marrow for everyone? Doesn’t that put them back into the exact same position as the Mount Weather people? Maybe the plan is that the more nightbloods they make, the more bone marrow they add to the supply so it doesn’t have to be all Luna? And how the hell does Clarke not immediately see this parallel to Cage Wallace and friends in Mount Weather?? How is she not disturbed by it?
Don’t get me wrong, this is a totally reasonable progression for Clarke and Skaikru in general, as they get more and more desperate. And Clarke’s journey in making impossible and many times immoral decisions for her people (and now for all of humanity) was bound to lead her to something like this eventually. I just wish they could have at least given like half a second of acknowledgement to the Mount Weather parallel there. Then again would that have been too heavy-handed? Like the Lincoln thing last week? I dunno. Maybe. Hmm but I do want some kind of indication that Clarke is seeing it. Tonight she seemed completely blind to it. Maybe next week? The ep is called “God Complex” after all.
And now back to Emori. Jesus. I mean, of course it was convenient as hell to have this guy breaking into the fancy house trying to steal stuff, and then have it turn out that he just so happened to have done something unspeakable to Emori and her brother as kids. It was like, hmmm it sure would be nice if we had a human life we could sacrifice, guilt-free … OH look! It’s just been handed to us on a silver platter! Looks scrumptious, I’ll take one, please. I was willing to forgive the apparent contrivance mainly because I’m just as desperate as these guys for a solution at this point, and also because it would stop Emori from doing something stupid out of fear.
As it turns out, though, Emori already was making moves out of fear, they just weren’t stupid ones. They were devious, shrewd, manipulative and cold as ice. Turns out Team Clarke haven’t been served up a perfect solution on a silver platter after all, they just don’t know it yet. But it’s too late anyway: by the time they find out, if they ever do find out, they will have to deal with whatever has already been done (either the guy dies, or he gets held captive and tortured but survives). Neither of those options are great.
Side note I love that Roan is absent for this entire episode and just waltzes in right at the end for the climactic scene. That is rare for a TV show like this; usually if the character doesn’t show up in the first 15 mins of the ep, it means they didn’t fit into the budget this week. “Raven’s sleeping off her seizure aftereffects,” “Monty and Jaha are in sector 5,” and “Luna is taking a nap” basically always translate to “They’re off this week.” I thought that was also what “Roan is unloading the fuel with the others” meant, but I was wrong.
One more side note: I noticed Mr. Scavenger Guy deny knowing Emori once on first watch of the ep, but now on second watch I can see him denying it multiple times, and she keeps hitting and kicking him to silence him before he says too much. Funny the things your brain kinda skips over when you start to form what you think is the right storyline in your head.
One last side note: There is absolutely no way in radiated hell Clarke and them would have ever even considered choosing Emori as the sacrificial lamb. But I can totally see why Emori would be paranoid and convince herself otherwise. She doesn’t know these people that well and she hasn’t been treated well by other humans in the past.
In any event, this storyline was the strongest one of the ep, and the final scene of the team strapping Mr. Scavenger Guy into his torture/maybe-death chamber was great. They all looked pretty ashamed of it, but at least they could comfort themselves with the fact that he deserved to die anyway. Err … wait … D’OH!!
An unusually long list of other thoughts before I rate the ep:
- The line between “totally fucked from black rain” and “skin as smooth as a baby” seems fuzzy, and the idea that the people helping the guy in who was stuck in the rain wouldn’t also get burns on them is weird. They were touching him a bunch and he was covered in radioactive water. I guess the rain did soak through the dude’s t-shirt? It’s still kinda funny though because there seems to be no in-between in terms of “totally fucked” and “totally fine”. Bellamy barely had anything to rinse himself off in the Rover but he was somehow fine. And Helios!! His head and neck were totally exposed.
- Octavia apparently got Echo’s sword shoved through her torso way higher up than I had thought. Aren’t there more vital organs way up there? A lung or something? Maybe those are even higher up.
- O and Ilian weren’t the only ones showing off their abs tonight; we got hot shirtless Bellamy for the first time this season and also how ’bout those abs on Harper! Impressive.
- Remember last week when I pointed out how odd it is that the show has used no songs (other than Tree Adams’ score) in like the past 4 eps straight? I must’ve been reverse-psychic or something because we got 2 songs tonight – One playing on the stereo in the fancy house while Murphy cooked and another at the end with a montage of the final scene of each storyline. I’m a sucker for a good music montage as long as it’s not overdone, like it always was on stupid Sons of Anarchy. I haven’t listened to My Morning Jacket in years … Oh I see on Tunefind it’s actually Jim James solo. It was a good song choice for the final scenes.
- Clarke and Abby reunion hug, d’aww.
- The Kabby scene in this ep was really good too. Abby wanted Kane to tell her what she was doing was o.k., but he couldn’t do that. “We need to survive. Then we can all find our humanity again.” That reminds me, this is another trailer scene we haven’t seen yet, of Abby saying this, repeating what Kane said here.
- “Who you want to be … doesn’t always win.” Another great Kane quote tonight.
- Interesting to have an ep that featured Harper but no Monty or Jasper or Miller.
- Speaking of, where the hell is Miller?? We haven’t seen him since ep 4!
- And where the hell is Indra?? I’m bummed she’s been absent for so long.
- Emori may have made up stories tonight, but exactly is her history on that island?
- We’re now officially more than halfway through the season. Sigh. It always goes fast, but it’s quicker than usual this year because we only get 13 eps.
My rating for ep 4.07: 88/100
I really liked this ep. The only thing keeping the grade from being in the 90’s is the Bellamy storyline, and maybe the fact that it was a bit of a transitional episode rather than one of the ones with huge events in it. Definitely one of the best eps of the season so far though in terms of quality and uniqueness. See ya next week with “God Complex”.