Review: ‘The 100’ Ep 4.08: “God Complex”

Err, remember last week when I said there was absolutely no way in radiated hell Clarke and them would have ever even considered choosing Emori as the sacrificial lamb?  Yeah … about that …

Man.  This has got to be the most uncomfortable ep of The 100 I’ve ever watched.  Right?  Hmm.  Then again, there was ep 3.04, where Bellamy decided to become a mass murderer.  And ep 2.12, where Clarke let Ton DC get blown up.  The overwhelming feeling I had in 3.04 was more anger than anything though, because the story had been told so poorly.  So tonight’s ep probably most closely aligns with “Rubicon”, ep 2.12, particularly because there was a also a parallel theme of Clarke turning to an allied Grounder leader for advice, and getting influenced in a bad direction.  Up until tonight, Clarke’s choice to let Ton DC blow up is the only thing she’s done that I can’t … I don’t want to say I can’t forgive her because she saw the error of her ways pretty quickly … but I definitely was extremely disappointed in her at the time and I still feel like there’s no justification for the decision that I’ll ever be satisfied with.

The difference with “Rubicon” is that its predicament didn’t even arise until really far into that ep.  Tonight, it came up almost immediately and we had to then suffer through basically the entire hour wondering if Clarke would really do this atrocious thing.  I was terrified that we were gonna wind up in another Bellamy situation (i.e. I might have to beat the shit out of Clarke and tell her she’s dead to me).  This is a tough one for me because while Clarke did finally do the right thing in the end this time, I find it very hard to believe she would’ve let it go so long before getting to that point.

This isn’t a situation like 3.04 where it was poorly set up or poorly written, at least not leading up to this.  I think there was plenty of set-up to get the characters to this point, I just still don’t think Clarke would let it go that far.  Or maybe I just want her to be a better person because she’s my protagonist.  But it was hard to watch her be insufficiently moved by Murphy’s desperate tearful pleas for mercy.  On the bright side, we later found out that she actually was moved by Murphy’s plea, she just didn’t make that apparent until the big climactic moment.  And therein lies the problem: If Clarke does the right thing right away, you have no episode.  The ep is called “God Complex” after all.  It’s one of those irksome TV things where you have to kinda take it with a grain of salt.

Still, I just … aggh, man.  I’m trying to put myself in the position of actually only having 10 days left to live.  I suppose it’d be a lot easier to justify nearly anything in that sitch.  And there’s a couple considerations here that I only thought of later:

1) Because we know Emori and tend to root for her, it’s easy to forget that she literally has just murdered an innocent man in cold blood to save her own ass.  An ass that, mind you, I’m still certain did not need saving … until she murdered a man.  She really created this predicament for herself, needlessly.  Given this situation, one can understand why Roan, who really does not know Emori from the man in the moon, could very easily come to the decision to use her as the next guinea pig.  All he’s seeing when he looks at Emori is a person who just murdered a dude and thus is not deserving of a ton of mercy right now.  Now, do I think Clarke should be looking at this in such an impersonal black-and-white manner?  No.  Clarke knows Emori far better and regardless of the horrible thing Emori has just done, I still can’t see Clarke making the decision to just go all “eye-for-an-eye” on her ass here.

2) Is it possible that Clarke decided pretty early on in the ep that she may fall on the sword (needle) at the last minute, because she knew Abby would never let her do it if she told her ahead of time?  That actually seems plausible to me, and even probable, as I can’t imagine Clarke weighing her options without at least seriously considering the option to sacrifice herself.  It’s what any good leader would do and I think most of us would agree that Clarke is a good leader, and that she at least attempts to be as selfless as possible.  She’s not always great at it, granted, but she does always at least try.  But damn it was a hell of a gamble to wait and see if Abby would shove that needle into Emori’s arm without chickening out.  If Abby hadn’t chickened out, would Clarke have stopped her?  Hrrm.

Well, in any event, Clarke finally got around to doing the right thing, which means: Nightblood.  I was so hoping that we wouldn’t have to turn everyone into nightbloods just because I find the black blood so damn gross/creepy.  And now it turns out that we probably won’t have to do that, but Clarke did it anyway.  And there’s another aspect to that which bums me out a little – I kind of prefer the situation where Clarke is a great leader, but she’s also just an ordinary person.  She doesn’t have some fancy nightblood or flame in her neck or anything like that.  But now, I can only assume that she will “ascend” at some point before this series ends.  I dunno why TV writers always feel the need to go extra like this … it’s like Chuck with The Intersect 2.0 (which I didn’t mind at the time but the show got really ridiculous with all the versions of it after a while), and Sydney Bristow with the whole Rambaldi “chosen one” shit; I don’t even remember what the hell happened there because the series got stupid convoluted from season 3 onwards.

So, oh well.  This is one of those things that I knew was probably inevitable, but I still held out hope that we could maybe avoid it.  That never works out well for me.  I’m pretty sure that in every TV show I’ve ever watched, there has always been some factor like this which I hoped wouldn’t happen but knew it would.  And “the thing”, whatever it is, always, always eventually happens.  The writers can never resist the temptation.

Let’s talk through some of the other details of the ep:

Jasper, Bellamy, and Arkadia’s End of the World Party

This episode was a major heavy hitter when it comes to great emotional character moments.  If you can make me feel even 5 seconds of empathy for Jasper in season 4, then you’ve already pulled off some kind of miracle.  And he started off as obnoxious as humanly possible at the beginning of the ep too.  Especially because it seemed like he was walking out into the woods for no reason whatsoever, other than pure boredom.  I was really just glad to see he had an actual reason for his ridiculous behavior this time – to get some magic beans for the party.

Jasper: “Open your eyes!  The clock is ticking and it has been since we landed on this terrible … beautiful planet!”

Bellamy: “What the hell does that mean??”

Jasper: “It means we are living on borrowed time, all of us.”

Bellamy: “So if you know that, why are you throwing it away??”

Jasper: “I’m not.  You are.”

The boy has a point.  Though I was a little thrown off by his argument that Bellamy should stop wasting time blaming himself for all his sins, considering the massive grudge Jasper held against Clarke all last season for what she did at Mount Weather.  It was kind of hypocritical that he never placed the same level of blame on Bellamy.  Still though, the scene was heartwrenching enough for me to get past that.  There were some great season 1 callbacks here too, from the magic beans, to the Earth Day 2052 t-shirt, to Jasper telling Bellamy that they should spend their last days doing “Whatever the hell we want.”  A classic Bellamy line from season 1.  Back before Clarke got to him and made him all responsible and shit.

And speaking of Bellamy, ouch – yet another blow (no pun intended, I think?) to the Bellarke lovers out there hahah.  Well, Clarke had her fun in ep 4.06, so even if we’re putting our outlook in full shipper mode (i.e. that Bellarke is MFEO and certainly must finally come to fruition before the world ends lulz), it’s only fair that Bellamy should get to have some fun too.  I think it’s been obvious at least since the season 2 finale that Bellamy loves Clarke, but of course that doesn’t mean the relationship just automatically comes to fruition from that.  Especially not in TV Land where they like to torture the audience as long as possible.  We’ve had Ginas and Niylahs and Lexas in between all this.  And now, we’ve only got 10 days to live and Clarke is nowhere to be found.  And even if she was at Arkadia, Bellamy has no idea if she feels the same (spoiler: she does, she just shows it in her annoyingly sensible Clarke ways).  So how else is Bell supposed to live it up?  Bring on the random ho at the party.

A Few More Thoughts on the Becca’s Lab Storyline

Things went very bad, very quickly from the very first scene of this ep.  This was some dark shit even for The 100.  When it comes to the human trials “God Complex” took us through, I guess it was good to see that at least Raven and Luna have some human decency.  Sort of.  Probably Luna more so, because she actually tried to fight off Roan to avoid giving more bone marrow.  I’m honestly shocked she didn’t put up more of a fight with the first poor schmuck they put in there to test the first time though.  I suppose the belief that he was a sadistic child abuser/murderer/whatever was enough to convince even Luna.

“Luna you can’t.  Not with that hip.”  Wait – what hip??  Am I the only one who has no idea why Luna was limping here?  When did she hurt her leg?  I have zero recollection of this.  Did a bullet from one of the drones hit her a few eps back?  I don’t recall her limping at all last we saw her, when she did the hippie chants with Raven to calm her down and played therapist to Murphy.  Or … wait.  Is it from taking the bone marrow??  This is confusing.  O.k. yeah I do see Abby taking it from her hip here.  I guess that’s it?

As for Raven, she pointed out the Mount Weather parallels to shame Clarke, and then again later to shame Abby, but from that point forward the extent of her protest was to just stand there giving everyone the stinkeye during each step they took towards the point of no return.  Not exactly an overwhelming protest.

As much as this ep pained me from the Clarke angle, Clarke’s H2H with Roan was a good scene.  Roan did perfectly describe what makes Clarke a good leader – when things get difficult, Clarke doesn’t back down.  She doesn’t flinch.  She powers through it, even when it gets ugly.  And boy, does it get ugly.  And Roan did make a good case for the way leaders have to approach impossible situations, even if it’s not always ethical.  I still don’t agree on the Emori angle, but he at least described that POV well.  The scene showed that Clarke had not yet made a decision there to sacrifice herself, but I have to imagine it was one of the main options going through her head at that point.

And speaking of heavy-hitting emotional scenes, this was a great Murphy ep.  First off, the scene of Emori trying to convince Murphy to fake like he’s with Clarke was sad and sweet and fucked up.  And then Murphy begging Clarke not to go through with the test on Emori was a veritable Murphy tour de force.  And watching this scene right now, for the second time, a good case can be made for this being the moment where Clarke gets the idea to sacrifice herself.  When Murphy says, “You know it’s too bad you weren’t a real nightblood because then you coulda been commander, imagine how many people you coulda killed then!!” you can kinda see a lightbulb go on in Clarke’s eyes.  And then she says, “Emori will be fine.”  Hmm.

Jaha, Monty, Indra & Gaia’s Goonies Adventure

This storyline was part Goonies, part The Fifth Element, and all Jaha.  It’s interesting the way Jaha’s insanity did nothing but fuck stuff up in seasons 2 and 3, as you would expect it to, but finally in season 4 it’s starting to pay off.  I guess if you constantly run around looking for crazy paths to salvation, you might get a hit eventually.  And it looks like Jaha may have finally gotten his hit in season 4, although the fact that we’ve found this bunker in ep 4.08 and we still have 5 eps left of the season means that there will certainly be more snags along the way.

“How do we open it?”  “Like every other lock Mr. Green, with the key!”  Jaha’s overconfidence coupled with the major fail here was really funny.

Indra was on the warpath tonight, literally, and it seemed stupid and reckless to me.  I get why she was so pissed, but it felt like all she was doing here was burning bridges and causing more trouble by killing Ice Nation peeps left and right.  But again … the whole 10 days left to live thing … and she was clear that she doesn’t trust any alliances anymore with everyone fighting to survive praimfiya.  I suppose she feels it’s safer to kill off as many Azgeda as she can rather than to have to deal with them when everyone’s fighting for a spot in the bunker (depending on how big it is and whether it even exists, which we did not know yet at that point in the ep).

On the bright side, Gaia turned out to actually be helpful this time.  When we first met her, and she insisted on taking the flame, I was afraid she’d be one of those characters who would do nothing all season but cause trouble.  So I’m relieved to see that she came through here.

A few final thoughts before my rating:

  • No Octavia in this ep and oddly she’s not in the promo for the next ep either.  I figure they wouldn’t keep her away for 2 eps in a row though, right?  Especially because I think O is the only character other than Clarke and Bellamy who are usually in every episode.  The only other exception to that was once for each of them last season.
  • Harper’s losing her shit.  Is she gonna wind up part of the DNR club next week?  I hope not, for Monty’s sake.  “I’ll be here if you get back.”  Sheesh!!
  • I was glad Miller was back in this ep, but he didn’t exactly get a ton of lines.  Better than nothing I guess.
  • I’m not sure if it medically makes any sense what they are doing with Luna’s bone marrow and transferring the nightblood-producing capabilities to other people.  How is it that all it takes is a shot in the arm after they had to take bone marrow from Luna?  I have zero medical expertise so it’s probably just me being dumb.
  • I was really pissed that they ended the ep without giving us a full view into the bunker.

My rating of ep 4.08: 89/100

Hmm I’m struggling with my rating on this one.  I’m tempted to put it in the 90’s, as it was a very well-done ep, but Clarke taking so long to come to the conclusion to sacrifice herself is still irking me.  Let’s see, when the season is over I’m gonna come back and revisit my ratings for each of these eps, because sometimes I change my mind after I have the full perspective of the season.  I don’t think the rest of the season will change my view of Clarke’s storyline in this ep, but who knows what else could change in my POV.  Now we just have another 500 weeks to wait for ep 4.09.  Uggh.  I purposely waited on finishing this review for that reason.  At the time I’m publishing this, we now have a little less than 3 weeks to go.

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