The 100 season three is upon us like Clarke Griffin leaping mercilessly upon a panther. So, if you find that you’ve been stabbed in the heart and dragged off to the nearest Grounder trading post by our intrepid heroine, just lay back and let it happen. Clarke is going to get you processed into panther jerky and you’re powerless to stop it.
I’m discussing both parts as one whole, because really, that’s how part 1 and 2 should have been presented, but alas, network TV has other plans for us. I will also not be going strictly by the narrative timeline, but rather tackling the major story lines, with some deviation here or there.
The Jaha Goof Troop
Jaha: “Let’s go to the City of Light! No pain! No envy! No hate!”
Sane people: “Tell you what, meet you there in like 5 or 10 minutes? I just gotta do a thing…”
I don’t know about you, but I think I could live on crackers and scotch for 3 months. What I don’t know is how I would unpack the knowledge dropped on Murphy during his time locked in the lighthouse. We learn, through found video footage, that an AI named A.L.I.E. unleashed the nukes 97 years prior to the current story line that destroyed the world. A.L.I.E. is now onto another pet project, the City of Light. And this will most likely end well. And by that I mean in horror and tears.
We have been told that the City of Light (CoL) “takes away pain,” which I imagine is a good enough reason for Jaha, but why would he want to fill the CoL with people? What is his motivation? What has A.L.I.E. told him ex parte that has convinced him this is absolutely the right course of action?
We find out that not only does the CoL take away pain, it thwarts death. This is a BIG reveal. I assume that one needs to have a CoL chip in one’s body in order to stay alive in the CoL, So Gideon is the only “dead” resident that we currently know of. Assuming this, there’s no way for Jaha to get his son back in the CoL unless he’s a construct of Jaha’s mind that A.L.I.E. can manifest for him. And at this point, we haven’t seen any evidence that her tech has the ability to create constructs from human memories.
Knowing that the dead can exist in the CoL fills me with dread. Who will Jason Rothenberg and his merry band of soul-crushers kill off and pop into the CoL this season?
Sophisticated Wild-Ass Theory alert: When A.L.I.E. revealed that perma death is not applicable in the CoL, Jaha had this look on his face. Like, maybe he’s finally cluing into the CoL thing not being the fruit basket of fun he assumes it to be? Was I the only one that caught a moment of doubt on Jaha’s face?
Let’s talk A.L.I.E. for a sec. She scares the living fuck out of me. I have no idea what her motivation is. Why offer the City of Light to humanity? What’s in it for her? Remember, she nuked the world TO MAKE LIFE BETTER. What does making life better mean to an AI? Why is eliminating people the answer? Waitaminute…does she want to make life better for humanity or for herself? Jesus, so many questions about her motivations.
Does A.L.I.E. feel? Does she understand morality? Does she know that pain, hate, and envy – the things that make up the DNA of our delicious John Murphy – also give meaning to pleasure, love, and kindness? Existence without authenticity is hollow and ultimately meaningless. Murphy gets it. He’s the local cynic, he’s our voice. Will he be invested at all in stopping A.L.I.E. or just be looking out for himself, as he is wont to do?
Count me in on the City of Light and A.L.I.E. story line. It’s exciting to think of all the places it could go. It’s also terrifying because it is so different from everything else in the Hundyverse. Let’s do a little mental exercise. Envision the City of Light. Now envision Indra. City of Light. Indra. City of Light. Indra. Cognitive dissonance at all? The writers face a very challenging path forward in order to meld the two worlds convincingly without simply smooshing them together and hoping we’ll love it because we eat this shit up with a spoon.
The Continuing Adventures of the Adventure Squad!
Pike: “We’re Grounder killers, one and all! Hoorah!”
Who didn’t like the return of the Adventure Squad in part 1? A rover! A horse! A little Violent Femmes! That rover scene was a wonderful, joyous respite in a show that tends to punch you in the gut while it’s driving a hot poker into your feels. They have a bit of a run-in with Ice Nation, reunite with our favorite stoic Grounder, Indra, and learn that everyone is hunting for Wanheda – the Commander of Death – aka Clarke Griffin, slayer of the mountain and slayer of panthers and slayer of trading post ladies. HIGH FIVE, Clarke!
So this sets Clarke’s story in motion and part of the Adventure Squad goes on a Clarke hunt.
Bellamy, Monty, Kane, and Indra run into what they believe is a trap set by Grounders, but it’s a swerve because it’s Farm Station survivors in disguise! Which includes Monty’s mom. MONTY’S MOM, y’all. Did you feel the feels, because I felt all the feels. We forget that many of the 100 delinquents had family back on the Ark.
Family is a welcome dynamic to keep dipping into because the only featured parent/child relationship is that of Clarke and Abby, and that’s a complicated mess at times. As it should be, given how tremendously Clarke has evolved outside of her mother’s sphere of influence. Clarke has grown far beyond Abby’s perception of her, and Abby has struggled to keep up.
People have taken issues with Abby trying to mother Clarke and be the Chancellor and be the Arkadia doctor and doing a bad job at all three. (Looking at you, Raven, expert thrower of shade!) Abby’s fallible and not necessarily a great leader or very capable letting her daughter grow up into a mass murderer. She hasn’t grown in the ways Clarke has been forced to grow, so they’re out of step and probably will never be fully on the same page. We will see if Clarke allows Abby to mother her at all this season, or if Clarke moved past that on her three month sex panther walkabout.
We all, deep down, need our mothers at times in our lives, no matter how mature we think we are, and this dynamic will give the show an opportunity to show us if Clarke still needs that comfort. I think she does. Wanheda Clarke exists right now, but there’s a Clarke buried deep down that is crying out for someone to just give her a goddamn hug and a shoulder to cry on. And maybe make her a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of nice tomato soup.
The run-in with the Farm Station survivors introduces us to Pike, a bonafide Grounder-hater/killer who reminds me very much of the one-note politicians infesting the national stage in the upcoming US elections. Farm Station landed in Ice Nation (Azgeda) territory and they relate a terrifying story of their first bloody encounter with the Azgeda. Farm Station children, seeing snow for the first time, go outside to play and are set upon and massacred by Ice Nation warriors. Monty’s dad saved a couple of the children before dying himself.
Dude. Harsh. HARSH. What the fuck is wrong with the Ice Nation?
All this exposition about Farm Station is necessary to set up what will likely be a major philosophical difference between Pike and his militaristic Grounder-killers and Kane, who has learned that the Grounders can be friends and that a peace is possible. Now, I believe that Clarke and Skaikru (aka Sky People, aka the Arkers) will become the 13th clan in Lexa’s coalition and how Pike and company affect that remains to be seen.
Methinks they will fuck everything up. War is not only brewing between Lexa and Azgeda, but civil war is brewing in Arkadia. I have an awful feeling that Bellamy is going to get caught on the wrong side of things and he and Pike will do something truly irredeemable. I’m extrapolating from what little we’ve seen from the first two episodes plus the season 3 extended trailer. We do know that Bellamy does something to make Octavia beat the ever lovin’ crap out of him and utter the words no brother wants to hear: “You’re dead to me.”
Good lort, somethin’s gone wrong with the Blakes and three bucks to a donut, Pike is mixed up in it. My heart hurts thinking how badly this could go down between big bro and little sis.
There must be something more to the Farm Station / Pike contingent. Can we trust or believe their story about what’s happened to them since coming to earth? Pike and Monty’s mom had a whiff of sketch on them both. This show has taught is that there’s always a story behind the story behind the story. There are reasons. Deep reasons for people’s actions. I hope that’s the case with Pike and Farm Station.
Sex Panther Trading Post Shenanigans
Clarke got her panther kill on then she got her swerve on. She has zero game, tells Niylah to basically STFU, and STILL gets sex. This act accomplished two things for her character: it firmly established Clarke as bisexual, according to head show honcho Jason Rothenberg, so there was no confusion moving forward. He didn’t want the audience to think that the kiss initiated by Lexa in season 2 wasn’t just Lexa messing with Clarke’s head in order to foment trust. And two, it shows us how utterly lost Clarke is, craving to feel anything.
We revisit Niylah’s trading post in part 2 to find Niylah getting the crap kicked out of her by Roan’s bounty hunter companion, who Roan ditched when he captured Clarke. I let out an audible whimper when I saw what was happening, y’all. Niylah was kind and protected Clarke and gave us all an alternate view of Wanheda. To Niylah, Clarke is a hero who took down the mountain…the mountain that killed Niylah’s mother and thousands of other Grounders. Clarke isn’t thinking about this aspect of her actions at all, and this show loves to tease out all the angles and hold them up to the light when presenting choices and their consequences.
Niylah, may we meet you again. We like you. Stay safe, boo.
From the Bad Idea Jeans™ Department: The Mount Weather Resort and Spa
Everyone watching this show, literally everyone: “Mount Weather is a lair of horror and death.”
Abby: “Let’s make it an urgent care facility. And we’ll take all major insurance providers!”
In a sub-plot which I’m sure will become very important very soon, Abby is convinced through a series of circumstances, idealistic arguments, and some Grounder pacifist philosophy, to open up Mount Weather as some kind of medical facility. Nyko pushes for it, bless his heart, and it won’t end well.
Uh, I can’t be the only one who thinks this is a bad idea despite it being a really good idea from a medical perspective? I mean, Mount Weather has the most advanced medical tools on the planet (that we know of), so it makes sense to take advantage of those facilities. Abby can help a lot of people, Arkers and Grounders alike, but aside from Nyko and Lincoln, what other Grounders will even consider walking into the place that held their people captive and bled them out to keep the Mountain Men alive? Thousands of Grounders died here. It is an awful, awful place.
Abby is not a great decision maker, but she’s swayed by Nyko and Jackson, who are thinking from an altruistic perspective. But the re-opening of Mount Weather is going to be difficult, at best. The Grounders were already uncomfortable with the Arkers making supply runs to the facility. Opening it back up? Trouble’s brewing.
Sophisticated Wild-Ass Theory alert: Does anyone see Mount Weather eventually becoming a stronghold for those who hold the same anti-Grounder beliefs as Pike? Can the acid fog be repaired and redeployed? Are there more missiles that they can rain down on … Jesus I can’t believe I’m even thinking this … Polis?
Nothing happens on this show without reasons or repercussions. This little plot diversion may prove to be a game-changing decision down the line.
Wacky Roadtrippin’ with Clarke and Roan!
Clarke: “Surprise! Playing possum fake out, bitch! Suck river bed!”
Roan: “Surprise! Playing possum REVERSE fake out, bitch! Suck river bed!”
Clarke: “I DECLARE SHENANIGANS!”
Roan. You mysterious sexy devil, you. In limited screen time, he’s already become my new favorite character. The interplay between Roan and Clarke is fantastic after he takes her captive at the end of Part 1. Clarke pushes Roan to see that they have a lot in common in order to get some leverage with him, but he pushes back, calling her a coward for leaving her people while he was banished from his home.
Clarke, you got told. Don’t start none, won’t be none, girl.
We learn at the end of part 2 that not only is Roan from the Ice Nation, he’s also the Ice Queen’s son.
We find out that Lexa made a deal with Roan, disgraced Prince of the Ice Nation: bring Wanheda to her and she will lift his banishment. Hey, sounds like a good deal. Roan wants to get back to his people, although we’re unsure why or what it means to him. So he brings Wanheda to Lexa.
And Lexa does as Lexa do and calls take-backs on her deal. OH REALLY. THIS AGAIN?
Can we just all agree that Lexa hasn’t met a verbal contract that she can’t break? Get shit in writing, guys. Roan will be an intriguing character moving forward, and how he figures into Lexa and Clarke’s story, along with the politics swirling around the 12 clan coalition, will be a great watch.
Pure Shenanigans alert: What if Roan convinces Clarke to kill Lexa, she does, and Clarke becomes the Commander of all Grounders with Roan as her snarky, sexy sidekick … wait. That would set the world on fire, so no, that won’t happen. But a small part of me thinks it could. Who knows what’s pitched in that Hundyverse writer’s room. Crazier things can and will happen. I just needs me more Roan. And dem abs.
Sophisticated Wild-Ass Theory alert: Keep in mind I have seen no screeners, so this is just me pulling material out of my ass, but what if, WHAT IF, Lexa and Roan were meant to be a thing? What if they were supposed to marry to unite Azgeda with Trikru and Lexa was not having it…or Roan wasn’t? I’m trying to figure out what Queen Nia’s freakin’ deal is, and gone from she’s power hungry (too boring and trite) to Lexa is related to Nia (thrown out because it’s fairly established she’s Trikru…I think) to betrothal to Roan. I want to know what Nia’s motivation is. I’m so excited to see her, just so excited. And scared. Very scared. Brenda Strong is going to bah-ring it.
Bellamy and Clarke – or – Missed It By That Much
Bellarke shippers: Is it happening? OH MY GOD IT’S HAPPENING!
[…5 seconds later…]
Bellarke shippers: It’s no longer happening. The universe hates us.
In a scene that I’m sure had Bellarke shippers everywhere touching themselves inappropriately, Bellamy and Clarke laid eyes on each other for all of five seconds before Roan put a stop to that tomfoolery. Good rescue try, Bellamy! A for effort! Check the corner for Grounders next time.
Clarke begged for Bellamy’s life and Roan didn’t kill him! Roan is a thoughtful guy! I have no idea why Roan would show anyone mercy, let alone for Clarke, so what’s up with that? Her promising not to fight him anymore was kinda cute. Did you not see him take down three Ice Nation warriors like it was nothing? Why spare Bellamy? Is he trying to get leverage with Clarke because he knows Lexa’s track record on honoring verbal contracts?
I will go on record to say that I do not consider Clarke and Bellamy a romantic couple. I am not a Bellarke shipper. [God, it feels dirty writing “shipper” as I’m not a tween proto human or lonely tumblrina.] I think they are besties and have been through so much together and are connected by tragedy, sorrow, and many tough choices. Their friendship and ability to rely on each other is at many times the heartbeat of this show. Especially considering how far they have both come…Bellamy was a raging asshole for a good part of season 1.
— Does it seem like Oprah’s handing out redemption arcs to a lot of our characters over the past couple of seasons? Bellamy. Murphy. Kane. You get a redemption arc, and you get a redemption arc! The whole studio audience gets a redemption arc! —
You can interpret Bellamy and Clarke’s words and actions towards one another as deeply caring, especially from Bellamy. He was so thirsty. SO thirsty. “We can’t lose Clarke!” He did have a whiff of love desperation on him, to be sure. We will have to see how that passion develops during the season. Was it best friend love or something more?
This episode also revealed that the impulsive Bellamy, the “whatever the hell we want” Bellamy, is still alive and kicking. This does not bode well, in my opinion. Bellamy is not a great leader, and I will eventually address that in a separate, sure to be hated post, but he is all heart and very little head when it comes to making decisions. I feel choices fueled by his emotions will spill all over the story this season and cause major problems and rifts with other main characters, namely Clarke and Octavia.
The Reunion of the Century, Fight Fans!
Clexa shippers: Is it happening? OH MY GOD IT’S HAPPENING!
[…one violent, angry, spit-fueled Clarke rage-on later…]
Clexa shippers: Well then. Ahem. That was…uh…yeah.
And onto the very best moment on all of TV, Clarke is reunited with Lexa. And by “reunited,” I mean brought before Lexa, bound and hooded, and made to kneel before Zod. Roan has delivered Wanheda to Lexa and wants his two dollars. Lexa, of course, backs out of their deal because Roan’s mother is a’comin’ and she’s not going to give Roan anything until Queen Nia backs off.
Let’s talk about this reveal. We don’t know where Roan is taking Clarke until the very end. We can safely assume he’s taking her to the Ice Nation. We the audience enter the shot from Clarke’s P.O.V. under the burlap hood. Hood is taken off, Clarke acclimates to the brightness of the room, and Lexa stands up before her, literally blocking out the sun behind her.
Clarke’s eyes and expression in this scene tell you everything you need to know about how this is going to go down. Here she is, brought before the person who betrayed her and forced Clarke to do the unspeakable at Mount Weather. Lexa essentially created Wanheda by leaving Clarke to fend for her people at Mount Weather after Lexa made a deal to save the Grounders, and the Grounders alone.
While I expected the reunion to have some sparks, the sheer anger and aggressiveness of Clarke’s reaction was astonishing. Spitting in the Commander’s face. Are you kidding me? Anyone else would be left bleeding to death on the floor by Lexa. But because it’s Clarke and there’s so many tangled motivations for bringing her to Polis, and an undercurrent of deep feelings, Lexa takes it like a champ. Lexa’s eyes and micro-expressions, the hallmark of Alycia Debnam-Carey’s portrayal of Lexa, tell us all we need to know. That hurt. Like hell.
“You bitch! You wanted the Commander of Death, you got her! I’ll kill you!”
“Feral Clarke” is a term bandied about a bit by the writers and Eliza Taylor in describing Clarke’s state of mind at the beginning of the season, but seeing her in a full-on rage was a treat. “I’ll kill you.” The Commander of Death is in tha muthafuckin’ house, y’all.
Eliza Taylor killed this scene. My favorite visual was Clarke, bathed in sunlight and dirt and blood, slowly and silently charging up into a little ball of rage.
Yes! Let the hate flow through you! And the spit…that will be important as well.
This confrontation was not a let down at all, especially considering the emotional stakes after Lexa’s actions at Mount Weather. I’m sure there are people who feel Clarke’s reaction was over the top, but Clarke has been pushing her emotions way down deep for the past 3 months while on walkabout. She can barely act like a real human being when around others. She bears the responsibility for Mount Weather by herself, and feels Lexa forced her hand.
Or did she? In many ways, Clarke put herself on the path to genocide when she sent Emerson back to Mount Weather with a threat in season 2. That’s a discussion for another day, but clearly Clarke is a mine field of emotions and Lexa stepped all up in it.
These two have a short history, but one rich with nuance, subtext, and a mutual understanding of each other’s worldview. They are both their people’s leaders and spar over what leadership means and how the head and the heart impact choices made, for better or worse. Their interactions quickly became the center of the show (for me) and now that they’re back in each other’s orbit, the sparks will surely fly. Lexa needs Clarke this time, a nice juxtaposition from season 2.
Clarke is in the unique position of being Wanheda – the Commander of Death – a feared and respected mythological figure among the Grounders because she took down Mount Weather in a day. She did what Lexa couldn’t, and weakened Lexa in the process politically.
Lexa and Clarke have oceans to cross to get back to some threshold of mutual trust and respect. An alliance may happen, but it will be forced upon them by circumstance, not by good intentions.
Pure Shenanigans alert: Why couldn’t Clarke offer an alliance to Azgeda over Lexa and go full dark side? I wonder if that was ever bandied about in the writer’s room. What does a Clarke alliance with Queen Nia look like and how does it fundamentally change the world? It would turn so many things upside down and we know that although Clarke isn’t always the good guy, she’s the hero, and Ice Nation appears to kill anyone for any reason, and Clarke’s never been about that.
Clarke has power to wield with the Grounders now, more agency than she’s ever had before. She is a smart girl and will leverage her status to insure her people a seat at the table. Unfortunately, it will mean she will have to bow to Lexa and swear fealty in order to do it, but is that one sling and arrow too many for Clarke to endure? I think not. She lives and dies for her people, same as Lexa, and will do both terrible and humbling things to save them, same as Lexa. She may not like it, but she will bite the bullet if she can assure her people’s safety under Lexa’s rule. Just don’t mistake Clarke kneeling before Lexa as weakness…we know how foolish it is to underestimate Wanheda.
- #1 ship for everyone to board: #Slarke = soap + Clarke
- Emori and Murphy. More please!
- Where my Raven at in part 2? Probably off screen gettin’ blowns up. AGAIN. I think I see her getting blowns up in the episode 3 trailer. REALLY HUNDYVERSE WRITERS? LEAVE RAVEN ALONE!
- Octavia is a little problematic right now and I have to spend more time thinking through her issues with were she fits into Grounder or Arker society.
- Beardy Kane is the best Kane and this is the most perfect timeline.
- I find shippers hella frightening yet I ship? But I’m not a weird obsessive shipper who writes fanfic or tumblr screeds or photoshops my ships together in every situation, so I’m normal, right? RIGHT. I feel like “I’m not a shipper, but…” is going to the same place as “I’m not a racist, but…”
- I didn’t even touch on Jasper. Many think he’s waaaay too emo over Maya, but it’s not just Maya, but a whole shit ton of PTSD that he’s dealing with over two seasons. Maya broke him, but he was already cracking, guys. Devon’s performance as Jasper is amaze balls right now.
- Titus. He’s a shady bitch, right? Or is my Grounder-dar off? I can’t wait to dive into Grounder beliefs with this shady bitch. Does he worship A.L.I.E.?
- Please forgive any grammar errors, incomplete thoughts, or utter nonsense – I wrote this to 1. start writing more casual material again and 2. to take my mind off a particularly hard week. I will endeavor to get better as I work out of marketing writing mind into fun critical writing mind.
- All comments welcome!
Wanheda Part one: 8.0 out of 10 sex panthers
Wanheda Part two: 8.5 out of 10 spit takes
There are some The 100 bloggers you should absolutely be reading, and I offer them up for your enjoyment; I have no affiliation with any of them, save for being a fan. But not a crazy, stalkery fan, just someone who like good writing. And wondering what your hair smells like while I sit in my car watching your house:
- Jo Garfein – doing some great intellectual lifting when analyzing the show, and check out her The 100 podcast with AJ Mass, also found on Scifi Mafia at this link.
- Erin Brown – unfairly beautiful writing. Like seriously, stop being so good.
- Toni_watches – piss your goddamn pants funny photo recaps.
How have I only just found your recaps now? Get out of my brain! (If my brain was incisive and clever.) There goes the next hour down the rabbit hole of confirmation bias recap reading. Going to make a cup of double bergamot earl grey and let the shenanigans commence.
Oh girl, some of my reviews top 7000 words. Better tuck in for the afternoon. Warning: I have some controversial takes later as I work out how I want to write about the show. But welcome!