Uhh … wow. Considering how much I’ve wanted to murder Jasper all season, I sure did find myself a blubbering mess when he actually died tonight. I was not expecting that. I mean, I guess I’m not sure what I expected, but I was so sick of him dragging everyone else down for the past 11 episodes, on top of several stretches of season 3, that I was just ready to move on. So I didn’t necessarily consider all the history it would dredge up when it actually did happen. Well o.k. I should be careful how I word this so as not to be entirely insensitive, as I know the kid was depressed. My point is just that I still think the writers could have handled/treated him better. I know I’ve talked mad shit about him this season but the entire reason I’m angry is that Jasper was once a great and vital character on this show. Thus it feels like he should’ve been treated better on his way out. Anyway I’ll talk more about that in a sec. There was a lot happening in this ep, as always, and overall I think it was actually quite a good episode, but I also think some stories were fleshed out better than others. I’ll get into that too.
Jasper & Monty: A Bromance for the Ages
Wow. Again, wow. I mean first off, look. In the category of Character Deaths You Can See Coming 100 Miles Away, Jasper was the Lincoln of season 4. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knew it was coming. If you paid any attention at all to social media, you would’ve seen stuff like Devon making a point of changing his profile pic temporarily back to Jasper today and tweeting a wistful yet ominous-sounding message to fans. You would have noticed that the season 4 DVD/BluRay of the show, the description of which was released a few weeks ago, has a special feature called “Jasper’s Journey”. They wouldn’t single out Jasper just for shits & giggles. You would’ve also known that the writers had intended to kill Jasper by suicide in the season 3 finale, but changed their minds because coupled with everything else, it was too dark. You would’ve also seen speculation that the title of tonight’s episode referred to Jasper. I think it’s from … OH it’s from the pilot episode when he swings over the river before getting speared!
But even if you set all that aside … even if you came to this show late and binged all the seasons at once, without looking at its social media, with no outside influence, you probably still would have suspected this was coming down the line. And you’d probably have seen it even before the most recent episodes focused on Jasper literally announcing his intent to die in the radiation wave. I said in my season 4 premiere review that it seemed like the writers were intentionally making Jasper useless this season so that we wouldn’t feel too bad when he died. But to that I ask: Why?? Why do we have to render him completely irrelevant before killing him off? Wouldn’t it be more effective had he been more engaged this season, so it would feel like more of a loss when he did die?
My armchair diagnosis of The Jasper Problem is that his character was never meant to live past the pilot episode. His survival of that, that last-minute decision to keep him onboard, was a fluke, in a sense. And ever since then, it seems that he’s been somewhat in a Final Destination situation. Fate, i.e. the writers, kept wanting to circle back around to taking him back. What kills me though, is that they somehow managed to spend seasons 1 and 2 fleshing him out into a really great character – one who was as important and necessary a member of the Delinquent Kru as Clarke & Bell & everyone else. He played a role no one else could play: The funny entertaining lovable friend who was all heart. It was like, the writers made the decision to fully incorporate him into the mix, ran with that for 2 full seasons, and then somehow their original plan for him started calling their name again, nagging them to put him back on the path to his original destiny.
So they decided to have Jasper to commit suicide in the S3 finale. But then! They changed their minds again last-minute. Problem with that is, it would be kinda weird for him to then commit suicide straight out of the gate in S4, and the writers like to save these sorts of dramatic moments for sweeps anyway. So this resulted in this awkward situation where they had to figure out what to do with him for an entire extra season before getting back to suicide. The answer, it turns out, was nothing. They put him in this weird purgatory where he just hung around heckling everyone else who was trying to actually save humanity. Which is unfortunate.
And again, I do get what they were going for – If The 100 were real life, everything these characters have been through would certainly result in clinical depression for some of them. Depression storylines are hard to pull off because it usually does involve the depressed character not doing much. This was definitely a thing in season 2 of You’re the Worst, and I have a friend who actually started to hate that show because of it (FWIW I still love it). It’s hard enough to pull off on a half hour comedy, but it’s even harder on a show like The 100 that is so centered around action and adventure. So yeah, I get it writers, I just think there could have been ways to incorporate Jasper into the action a teeny bit more this season.
In any event, this was one of the saddest and most well-done death scenes I’ve ever seen. What I loved so much about it was how straight-up they were with putting the Jasper and Monty bromance on full display. I mean this was like no holds barred love-of-your-life-dying-in-your-arms level shit. It was devastating. And Devon and Christopher were both superb in their performances. These two became very close friends while filming this show from what I understand; based on tweets I’ve seen, their onscreen bestie-ship existed offscreen too. So I can totally see where it might not be very difficult to get their emotions going in filming what would have been one of their last scenes together for this show. And that’s not to downplay their fantastic performances at all, it’s just to say that it makes the scene all the more sob-inducing.
Hats off to Henry Ian Cusick too, who did a great job directing this episode, including this scene, which was beautifully staged and beautifully shot. And beautifully scored by Tree Adams! One of the most heartwrenching scenes I’ve ever seen and yet they somehow managed to get me to laugh halfway through with Jasper’s reaction to Monty sticking his fingers in Jasper’s mouth. Sniffle. I’m really sad about all this.
p.s. Just an additional note that before I put the screenshot of the death scene in this blog post, I ran across a similar screenshot on Twitter and literally just looking at that one screenshot made me burst into tears again. And I don’t just mean like my eyes teared up and I dabbed them with kleenex, I mean like I full-on tears streaming down my face. Just from a screenshot! I swear I am one of the least emotional people you’ll meet too, but the last couple eps of this show have really broken me up somehow.
Raven, Becca, and …. Sinclair!?
YAY Sinclair!! This was another very well-done storyline in this episode. And I have to hand it to the writers that I honestly had absolutely no clue where this was gonna go before this ep started. Other than feeling 99% sure they won’t kill off Raven this season, I’ve had no idea how she’ll survive. Well, the one thing I was picturing in my head was that she might find a way to get that spaceship up into space and back down again to manufacture the nightblood, but I wasn’t sure if that would even help her brain issue at all. It sounds like it may not have, anyway.
But never in my wildest imagination did I picture what happened tonight. Whether the medical science of it made any sense whatsoever I have no clue, especially because they said rebooting a computer would wipe out its residual data, which doesn’t make sense to me unless … ohh I just realized they said residual code. O.k. I think that makes more sense. But setting that aside, it was a pretty inventive way to get Raven to fix her brain problem all by herself (technically) in dramatic fashion. And how awesome was it to get Sinclair back for an episode!! D’aww. This was another storyline that made me tear up in this ep. I did not expect this at all.
I’m glad that in the end, Raven chose life. It never made any sense for her to give up; that’s not the Raven we know. Her heart shocks, the initial lack of being able to gain a proper rhythm, flatlining, and eventual recovery had me screaming at my TV in fear and stress. Whew. Now how the hell does she get over to the bunker? The description for next week’s ep says Clarke leads a group to save “a friend”. I can only imagine that has to be Raven. It better be. Hopefully Monty and Harper make it to the bunker on their own in the Rover.
Oh, and also, this still leaves us with the strange situation that the space ship has no current prospects of getting launched. Remember what I said last week? What the hell scenario could they end up in at this point that would result in it getting launched?? And who the hell would be in it? I guess Raven is the only one who knows how to fly it. But there’s nowhere for the thing to go and no one can live for 5 years in that tiny little tin can. Hrrmmm.
Octavia, Indra, Echo, and The Blakes
Octavia continued to be a badass in this ep, displaying leadership skills that Clarke only wishes she had right now. She spent this entire episode working to smooth over Clarke’s massive fuck-up, and she handled it like a damn pro, succeeding with flying colors. Maybe Clarke’s reign as de facto leader of Skaikru is over. There’s a new boss lady in town, guys. And if you cross her the wrong way, she’ll murder you. Violently.
Speaking of which, O does not fuck around guys, and she basically solved the Echo problem Roan left hanging last week. Well, I think she did, anyway. She unfortunately let Echo live too, but essentially sentenced her to death in bouncing her from the bunker VIP list. Is this the last we’ll see of her? I honestly don’t know. She’s only got another few hours to fuck shit up, but I’m pretty sure she could succeed in that if she really puts her mind to it. We’ll see.
And then, finally, we got a proper Blake siblings reunion and reconciliation. Last week was a good start, but these two weren’t exactly warm and fuzzy at that point. There was no hug, and Bellamy couldn’t bring himself to tell his sis he loved her. Tonight was another story, as Bell came through to save Octavia despite being imprisoned, chained up, beaten and nearly shot to death by the evil dastardly Clarke. He overcame all odds to save his sissy. And he finally got to tell her he loves her – a statement that was met with a slightly awkward silence on Octavia’s part. Lol. Come on, give the girl some time. It ain’t easy to get that far into forgiving a person when he kinda sorta helped get your boyfriend killed.
Oh and p.s. how effing hilarious was the last scene where O says, “Skaikru gets 100 beds, same as everyone else. Bellamy gets one of them. The rest is up to you.” And then it cuts to Bellamy just standing there like, “Yeah. Err, hi guys, that’s me. My sister says I get a bed.”
p.p.s. Also this line from O, after Jaha says, “You call this justice?” O: “I call this making things right, thanks to my brother!” Well o.k., let’s not get too carried away here sister, because face it – If it hadn’t have been you specifically on the other side of that door with the rest of them, Bellamy’s reaction to waking up and realizing Clarke & Jaha placed him in the bunker would’ve been more along the lines of, “O.k. cool. Sounds good guys. When’s dinner?” There’s no way in hell he would’ve been bloodying his wrists and facing down a gun to get through that door for Indra, or Gaia, or Azgeda Warrior #2. (I’m conveniently not including Kane in this hypothetical scenario. Heh.)
The 100 Has a Clarke Problem Right Now
Now for the stuff I wasn’t so thrilled about in this ep. This show has a Clarke problem right now that’s been going on for the past couple/few episodes. The problem with how they’ve handled Clarke lately is that the writers are trying to have their cake and eat it too – They want to explore how Clarke’s approach to leadership can send her down a bad path, but they don’t have the time to devote to actually exploring this in any depth whatsoever. As we saw in this ep – there were just too many storylines going on to fit everything in. So they had Clarke do this terrible horrible thing right at the end of last week’s ep, and then they devoted almost no time to the aftermath of that tonight. The ep only spent a minute or two on Clarke’s motivations for what she did, and it completely cut out any focus whatsoever on her path to realizing she’d made a mistake, or her mental processing of any of it. We got nada in those departments. I mean, o.k. we did get a good long shot of her “Oh shhhhiiiiiiittttt” face as Octavia’s voice came over the radio. So, a little more than nada, but not much.
It was just: “I had to do this, oh fuck – Octavia won now I’m fucked, but it’s too late now we have to stick with the plan, shit Bellamy is not gonna go along with the plan so I have to stop him, o.k. I can’t stop him, o.k. shoot I give up.” I will say that I was relieved that we at the very least got the one quick scene where Clarke explained her reasoning behind all of this, which was that she was obsessing on conundrums such as, who the hell can run the hydroponic farm or the water recycler and like provide real medical care/expertise and do all these things that require skillsets only Skaikru has. And it was a good look into how Clarke could get herself into a predicament like this, by attempting to solve problems and answer questions that are completely valid and important, and that basically no one else is thinking about. She constantly feels like she has to bear the weight of this responsibility because no one else fully steps up to that plate.
So, that was nice. But it was also the entirety of what we got out of Clarke in this ep, other than her looking pained and perplexed, and trying to keep Bellamy in check. And if you’re gonna take such an important character and send her on a dark and dangerous path like this, you need to do more than show her going through the motions, throwing out one quick bit of explanation on her reasoning, and then everybody just moving on. That’s not enough.
Even in the climactic scene with Clarke pulling the gun on Bellamy to stop him from opening the hatch, we got nothing out of her other than the one line about doing what she has to do like always. That’s something, but it’s barely a crumb. And when she realizes that a) she’s never gonna shoot Bellamy and b) what he’s trying to do is inevitable and c) that she’s probably wrong about all this anyway, the camera/focus/story moves away from her the second she drops her gun down. Like, that’s it. Story over. Bellamy goes to rescue Octavia and all the others, lets them in, and we move straight onto the planning for accommodating all the clans. And the a, b, and c that I listed above in terms of what Clarke is realizing in that moment, even that we’re not entirely sure of because none of it is even articulated at all. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to spell everything out for the audience, but you should also at least give us a little window into what’s going on in the character’s head.
If Clarke’s storylines continue to be this weak in the last two eps of the season I’m gonna be extremely pissed.
Guys, I gotta say … I don’t … I mean this is the first episode of this show I’ve ever watched that has made me seriously start to think that the writers never had any intention of making Bellarke happen this season. Or maybe ever, at this point. Even last week, when I ranted that there was no way in hell Bellarke could possibly happen after what Clarke did, I still had a glimmer of hope that these two would argue out their issues in this ep like they did in ep 3.05 “Hakeldama”, back when Bellamy was the one going crazy. I hoped that once they hashed this shit out, and Clarke came to the realization that she was wrong, we could move through it and things could still move towards a Bellarke romance moment before the season ended.
But that … didn’t happen. It was more like, this weird situation where Bellamy doesn’t seem to blame Clarke for any godawful thing she does, because he always just assumes her intentions are good. All he cares about in this ep is getting out of those damn doors to rescue Octavia. And if Clarke lets him do that, then … what? Everything’s fine? We just move on? No harm no foul? That doesn’t add up for me. And if, as the writing collective on this show, you had any intention of getting these characters together in ep 12 or 13, why the hell would you make one of them do something terrible to the other one just 1-2 eps prior?? The answer is that you wouldn’t. I don’t think. So the only conclusion I can come to at this point is that we were all crazy to think that after four fucking seasons of teasing us with Bellarke, we might finally get a hold of that carrot that has been dangled a few inches ahead of us this entire time. Silly us!
And honestly, there’s only so long you can stretch something like this out before it’s too long. Before it starts to die. And before it stretches the limits of believability on how long these two would go without making out or boning even just a little bit. Just for a sec. Just the tip. Something. Maybe the problem is that the writers are timing this on The 100 story timeline rather than the actual timeline we’re watching it on. At some point, I don’t care how slowly time is moving on the show, you have to consider that to the audience it doesn’t matter. As the audience watches it, it feels like the 3 or 4 years or however long its actually been since season 1 premiered. I think maybe this show did their first two seasons close together or something so maybe 3+ years. That is a long-ass time to drag this out with seemingly no prospects of any payoff any time soon.
Anyway. I dunno. Part of the reason I’m pessimistic about it is that I’ve had a paranoia ever since The Lexa Debacle last season that when Lexa died, the Bellarke ship might have died with her. The reason I say that is, well first off, it’s always been obvious via interviews and such that Jason’s plan from the beginning was for Bellarke to be a thing, but to also be a slow burn. In the meantime, we got Lexa in seasons 2 and 3, and when Lexa was killed off, it became very obvious very quickly that Jason & team had bitten off way, waayy more than they could chew there. Like, they suddenly found themselves in this extremely precarious situation where Clarke’s next love interest could cause even more backlash. Because if you kill off the same-sex love interest/lesbian character, and then put Clarke with the cute boy character after that, at least without enough time passing or other relationships in between, it winds up looking bad. Like the same-sex relationship gets murdered to make way for the male/female one. Originally I used the word “hetero” here but that’s not right because Clarke is still bi even if she’s in a m/f relationship.
I’m not sure if the writers even stress about optics nearly as much as I have, but I would think they must at least somewhat, after all the bad press they got last season. Oh and that also brings me to another reason why Bellarke is not looking so good right now: Niylah. It’s been unclear this season whether Clarke views Niylah as a friend with benefits, or if there is more to it. The scene with these two tonight was more about Clarke talking through her reasoning and getting some emotional comfort in the meantime, but it also felt very girlfriendy. Like, clearly their relationship is pretty intimate and close. So how the hell would it look if Clarke makes out with Bellamy just 1-2 eps later?? It’s … I just don’t see how this works. I can’t envision a path to Bellarke anymore. At least not in season 4. Hmm. What a bizarre thing this show has done with this ship. Color me confounded.
Oh and one last thing to mention here: I saw a tweet that pointed out a very particular parallel between “Hakeldama” and tonight’s ep: Bellamy (tried to) lock Clarke up “for her own good” in that ep, and Clarke locked Bellamy up “for his own good” tonight. I would think this might be intentional on the writers’ part, but man, this ep was NO Hakeldama when it comes to Bellarke. There’s no comparison. Sigh. I don’t get it man. What are these guys doing?
Final thoughts before I rate the ep:
- Niylah really deserves better than what she’s getting from Clarke and others on this show. Does anyone ever listen to Niylah’s problems and help her work through her issues??
- It made me feel slightly better to know that Jaha and Clarke at least made some sort of attempt to nab Octavia and Kane the same way they nabbed Bellamy before shutting the bunker. The idea that they’d only snag Bellamy was part of what made it feel so extra twisted last week.
- I knew Harper’s little foray into the suicide cult life wouldn’t stick. It never made sense to begin with, but it gave Monty a reason to stay back at the Ark so the writers could give him and Jasper a proper goodbye.
- It was fun to see Abby and Bell working as a team, even if it was against Clarke.
- O: “Skaikru stole the bunker, they’re not my people anymore.” Christ, here we are again. Fuck me in the face with a baseball bat.
- Jaha has clearly proven himself to be incapable of not screwing everything up for everyone by the end of each season. Maybe it’ll be a relief to not have him as a regular cast member next season.
- So now we’re back to the goddamn list of 100 again!? Uggh, this is all we need.
- Did they mumble Raven’s name right at the end of the ep there?? It sounded like they said “What about Raven?” “Of course we go for Raven.” Did I imagine that? They better go get her next week.
My rating for ep 4.11: 90/100
This was basically a great ep for everyone but Clarke. The Clarke storyline is what’s bringing my rating down to 90 instead of like 95 or something. Now one last rant before I end my review:
The producers or the network or whoever is in charge of making the episode promos for this show have done kind of a terrible job this season. They’ve tried so hard to avoid spoiling key plot points that the previews for some of these eps don’t even give you anything that interesting to look forward to. They did fine with the preview for 4.11, but 4.12 is a great example of the promo focusing almost entirely on the storyline no one cares about. I mean, we care a little bit in that we want to know the outcome of who winds up in the bunker, but that’s basically it. With an episode description that includes “Clarke leads a group to save a friend” (who better damn well be Raven), who the hell cares about watching the politics and infighting in the bunker!? Look at the promotional photos for the ep!! This would be like promoting the penultimate season 1 ep “We Are Grounders Part 1” by only showing what’s going on in the Ark. That’s not what gets people excited for the ep! Throw us an effing bone, guys. The way this episode is being promoted does give me any confidence that this ep will deliver anything on the storylines we all actually care about.
I’ve got HIGH expectations for next week, guys, and I’m already feeling like you’re gonna fuck it up. Don’t fuck it up. Please. You’re gonna fuck it up, aren’t you??