Note: if you are coming here from Twitter/Reddit/et al., please keep in mind: this review/analysis is MY interpretation of the episode and speculation about future events. Like Jon Snow, I know nothing, save that I love this show and love picking it apart. If you don’t agree with how I read a scene or a character, please feel free to leave a comment and we’ll have a nice polite chat over a dram of scotch. Now serving: Aberlour 12 Non Chill-Filtered. Thanks for stopping by, y’all, and keep watching this fantastic fucking show.
Last week I gave “Watch The Thrones” a very mixed, contentious review. I felt the Arkadia plot line moved too quickly and took great liberties with character evolution.
This week was different. I don’t know how they made last week up to me, but they somehow kinda did? There are still some problems, but “Hakeldama” had my emotions ping-ponging back and forth in the best way possible
Before I get into the review, I feel I should draw on my literature degree (snooty snoot snoot) and give you a poem that I feel fits this episode perfectly and perhaps it hints at things to come this season, because massacring 300 people is going to spiral way out of control and peace will be nigh impossible to achieve. I don’t care what Lexa says or Clarke hopes, jus drein, jus daun. Blood must have blood.
The Second Coming – by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I’ll try to inject a little humor in this review, as I always do, but man, this was a heavy episode that demands a bit more of a serious, introspective critique. Let’s get into it!
Yes, “Hakeldama” Means Something Really Horrific and We Get Something Really Horrific Because This Is The Show That Serves Up Really Horrific On The Reg
I think it’s important to mention the title of this episode and its origins – “Hakeldama” means “field of blood” in Aramaic and is the place of Judas Iscariot’s death. These writers don’t play, y’all.
We open the episode with Clarke and Lexa, on their way to Arkadia with the body of Queen Nia. Clarke will return a hero! The Ice Queen is dead! Skaikru is avenged! The coalition is alive and well! Maybe Skaikru will throw a parade in their honor and have a little feast to celebrate being the 13th clan! This is going to be great, you guys!
Or maybe they’ll come upon a field full of 300 dead soldiers and be utterly horrified. Yep, that’s more like it.
Holy crap, guys. We knew this scene was coming, but some of us held out hope that something else had happened, that Pike and Bellamy and Farm Station had not just killed a bunch of people sent to protect them.
Nope. That’s exactly what happened.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
We never get to see the massacre. And I’m glad we didn’t. I think it’s a genius play here to put the audience in the same position as the majority of people in Arkadia. We only know what we’re told by witnesses (Indra) or through dialog (Pike and Bellamy), but here’s still a question as to how it actually went down.
Let me be clear on my perspective of the massacre: it was the ultimate act of cowardice. Pike et al. killed the Grounders at night while they were sleeping. This explains how ten could kill 300 with no injuries, which Abby was quick to notice.
We’re also told Bellamy asked to spare Indra’s life, which gives Clarke that spark of hope that Bellamy can be reached, can be reasoned with, and still has compassion. Clarke has no idea what’s in store for her when she finally gets to see him.
No one is really asking questions or thinking aloud about what Pike did out there in that field to eliminate the Grounder “threat,” save for Octavia, who saw the aftermath and was devastated. The people who elected Pike didn’t see those bodies. They know, but they don’t know know. They suffer the same willful ignorance that the Mountain Men did, knowing full well what their leaders were doing, but if it meant survival, they looked the other way and didn’t think too hard. Remember, no one was innocent.
We live in a reality where our leaders ostensibly shield us from the dangers of the world and do unconscionable things under the guise of protecting us, our freedom, our country, our way of life. Torture, CIA black sites, wars fought half a world away, secrets bought and sold with blood. We walk around, sipping our lattes, going about our days, blissful in our own willful ignorance about what it takes to be safe and sleep nice and secure in our beds at night. We know there are unspeakable dealings going on all the time to foment power, gain influence, and maintain control in each nation of the world. This is the structure of reality, and most of us hardly ever think about what it takes to make the world function every day. I’m reminded of this iconic scene from “A Few Good Men”:
Pike believes what Colonel Jessup believes…that he is the soldier who will do whatever it takes, be the “necessary evil,” to protect Arkadia. They want him on that wall, they need him on that wall. Who else will do it if not him?
How far the Arkadians are willing to let Pike go remains to be seen. He’s now interning – INTERNING FOR FUCK’S SAKE – Grounders, including Lincoln and a couple who are gravely ill. If that doesn’t turn your stomach, I don’t know what else will. This country has a ugly history with internment camps and our political environment today has seen crazy talk about just this very thing. I don’t know if the writers meant for the show to reflect current society back at us so accurately, but holy shit, it’s terrifying.
This is truly the darkest timeline.
Sidenote: what is up with the sick Grounders? They came into Arkadia sick, not injured, and don’t seem to be doing well. Is there a bigger threat that’s being set up here, or are sick Grounders merely a device to be used to show the inhumanity of internment? I think something hinky is going on. Is this sickness Chekhov’s gun?
In this ugliness of massacres and internment, let’s look at a few bright spots:
Octavia stepped up huge this episode. Back is the badass that we love, calling out Bellamy, not keeping her voice down about 300 dead Grounders, escaping from Arkadia to get a message to Indra, taking down a guard, and helping Clarke escape…this is Action Star Octavia, who is so much better than pouty “I have no people” Octavia. When Kane sent her on a mission, Octavia looked thrilled and I think fell a little in love with our beardy sexy Kane in that moment. Welcome to the club, Octavia. Kane is life.
And Miller. Miller is bae, plain and simple. I’m 44 years old and I’m not sure if I’m using the term “bae” correctly, but I’m going with it at this point. He smuggled medicine to lockup to help out a sick Grounder, despite his boyfriend being from Farm Station and likely on Pike’s side. I wonder how that will play out as the season goes along. Miller seems to be a Good Guy, and we’re sorely lacking Good Guys in Arkadia right now.
Bellamy And Clarke – Some Tea, Some Shade, ALL THE FEELS
Octavia sneaks Clarke into Arkadia to find out what’s going on, and who better to talk to than Bellamy to get this all sorted? They can figure out how to fix this! Clarke and Bellamy back together! Yay! Best friends forever, right?!
Oh man, I was not prepared for how this conversation played out. Good god, it was so good, though. Eliza Taylor and Bob Morley kill this scene. The acting this season…just, holy shit, the acting is next level this year.
Let’s acknowledge right now that some of the bombs Bellamy drops are hard truths Clarke needs to hear and other bombs are truths that Bellamy believes in, but aren’t necessarily true about Clarke or their situation. He’s harsh on Clarke but also a bit myopic and entrenched in his own pain.
Here’s the deal. Those of us who were up in arms over Bellamy’s decision to side with Pike and become a Grounder murderer didn’t understand his motivation, aside from a fridged girlfriend who we got all of 2 minutes to get to know. The show simply hasn’t spent enough time with him to give us an insight into his psyche until now.
We have been given the benefit of a lot of exposition about Clarke’s mental and emotional damage throughout this season. She is the main character, after all. We watched her shut down and not handle her PTSD over Mount Weather at all. We see how she deals with Roan and Niylah and see how she lashes out in anger and resentment towards Lexa. She’s broken by what she’s done and we understand why she went away to be alone, but we never get to see what she left in her wake.
And what’s left in her wake is Bellamy, who lights into Clarke about her choices and how he feels. We FINALLY get why he’s heading in this dark direction. Clarke left him to deal with his own PTSD by himself, and he’s resentful as hell.
Clarke literally rides in on her
white black horse at the top of the episode as the conquering hero with the Ice Queen’s body in tow. But Clarke hasn’t been around her people for months, though, has she? She doesn’t know what’s been happening and how all her actions and sacrifices in Polis have been squandered by Pike. Octavia calls Clarke out on this earlier in the episode when Clarke doesn’t believe the turn of events in Arkadia.
“What do you know, Clarke? You haven’t been here.” – Octavia
The Blakes are not sugar-coating anything for Clarke this episode, and they both have deep rifts with Clarke that she isn’t exactly navigating too well. But, again, she simply doesn’t know where she stands with these guys anymore, and she makes assumptions that are incorrect. You can’t just walk back into a shit storm after being gone for months and expect to save the day.
So basically Bellamy is all like:
They have a frank conversation that that sends Clarke reeling.
Clarke: “Please tell me that going to war is not what you want.”
Bellamy: “We’ve been at war since we landed. At least Pike understands that.”
Clarke: “Pike is the problem. This isn’t who you are.”
Bellamy: “You’re wrong. This is who I’ve always been. And I let you and Octavia and Kane convince me that we could trust these people when they have shown over and over who they are, and I won’t let anyone else die for that mistake.”
Clarke: “Bellamy, I need you and we don’t have much time.”
Bellamy: “You need me?”
Clarke: “Yes, I do. I need the guy that wouldn’t let me pull that lever in Mount Weather by myself.”
Bellamy: “You left me. You left everyone!”
Bellamy: “Enough, Clarke, you are not in charge here. And that’s a good thing because people die when you’re in charge. You were willing to let a bomb drop on my sister, then you made a deal with Lexa, who left us in Mount Weather to die and forced us to kill everyone who helped us. People who trusted me!”
Clarke: “I…” (chokes up)
Honestly, Clarke needed to see this side of Bellamy, because up until now, she’s been focused on herself or helping Skaikru from afar, but she hasn’t been deep in the emotional morass of Arkadia. Bellamy, left to his own devices, has drawn his own conclusions about the world they live in and Clarke isn’t there to balance him out, to remind him of the guy he can be. Because Bellamy believes he’s been like this all along.
What if he’s right? What if his moments of altruism and heroism are anachronistic to who he is? Do we believe that? I don’t, but I do believe HE believes that, at least for now. He’s so deep into his own pain and guilt, and giving into his anger, that it’s easier to believe himself to be a monster than just a damaged human being who needs help.
When Clarke apologizes, she reveals that she had faith in Bellamy, that she thought she was leaving Arkadia and their friends in good hands.
Clarke: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for leaving. But I knew I could because they had you.”
Clarke left a fragmented Bellamy behind, and likely didn’t realize he wasn’t capable of being there for his people because he needed his person, Clarke, to help him heal. She apologizes to Bellamy because she didn’t know this would happen to him when she left. He’s simply not as strong as she is when it comes down to it, and he’ll give in to the darker emotions because they’re easier to slip into in the end.
This may seem like I’m passing judgment on Bellamy, but I really feel he’s not as equipped to handle the burdens of tough emotions and decisions like Clarke. She can shut down, push things deep, to keep from feeling them, and Bellamy seems to have emotions running constantly so close to the surface that he may burst at any moment. They are different people and honestly do balance each other out, but that sort of co-dependency isn’t good for people who eventually need to make their way in the world as single entities.
Clarke’s apology falls on deaf ears and Bellamy does the unthinkable. He handcuffs Clarke to the table so he can take her to Pike. Another betrayal in Clarke’s life…this is becoming a disturbing trend.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that Octavia is awesome? Well, she awesomely saves the day and helps Clarke escape and they both head back to Lexa. So crisis averted, for now. I’m not sure what Pike would do with Clarke if Bellamy turned her over, but did Bellamy honestly think she’d be safe? Can we put it past Pike to not kill someone like Clarke who is seen by him as a traitor to Skaikru? And perhaps, more importantly, a threat to his leadership?
Blood Must Not Have Blood…Wait, What?
Say what now? Lexa is going to let the slaughter of 300 of her warriors – with no provocation – go unavenged?
I’m having a hard time swallowing this pill (see what I did there?). I understand that Lexa is a progressive Commander, and that peace has to start somewhere, but this act of mercy (stupidity?) is going to get Lexa killed. I don’t know if Lexa will actually die, but given prior commitments by Alycia Debnam-Cary to Fear the Walking Dead, it certainly feels like the writers are trying to ease us into accepting her death this season. She talks about her death all the damn time, like hello, buzzkill! Or it’s a mis-direct and she’ll survive. FUCK. The writers are mind-fucking us, I guarantee it. Either way, not responding with force to Skaikru is very dangerous.
It’s hard to tell if this is Lexa making her own decision. The Grounders would have a hard time against Skaikru, given their fortification and superior fire power, and even Indra acknowledges that there would be many deaths on both sides. Note Indra mentions they’d be hard pressed to defeat Skaikru unless they had their own guns. Foreshadowing? Does another clan use guns? I thought all Grounders shunned them. Food for thought.
But back to Lexa. I think she had all day to consider her course of action while Clarke was in Arkadia, but it’s unclear if she had given peace any serious thought until Clarke comes back and pleads for it. Clarke gives Lexa an out, saying retribution is deserved. But she also says that peace needs to start with one person, so why can’t it be Lexa?
Simple, Clarke. Blood must have blood, and in this case, it is so deserved that I was disappointed in Lexa’s decision to not retaliate. Clarke has certainly had an impact on Lexa, and it’s painfully obvious that Lexa is in deep waters with Clarke, and her affections are going to get her killed. If love is weakness, Lexa keeps getting weaker and weaker when she’s in Clarke’s orbit, and her people will turn on her in a flash. She’s already survived one coup attempt, and is by no means safe politically at all.
When Lexa decides that peace is the way and Indra strongly questions her decision, we see a side of Lexa, a dangerously naive side, that will come back to bite her: her people are her subjects and they will obey her. She’s a dictator in this moment, not a leader, and mistakes her Commander position for true power. No Lexa, true power may rise up and have you at the end of a blade if you go down this road.
I believe we’ll see a new Commander this season, or perhaps two (Heda Clarke anyone?). Ontari will be sitting on the Commander’s throne when all is said and done, covered in Nightblood children’s blood, and that no one will oppose her ascension, with Lexa either dead or on the run. When we were first discussing this possibility on Reddit, I believed that no one would follow a Commander who forced her way onto the throne through spilling blood, but now, with Lexa showing great weakness, Ontari becoming Commander by any means necessary seems way more plausible.
Raven Enters The City of Light
If you are a fan of the show who was completely out on the City of Light story line because of Jaha, join the legions of fans who felt the same way.
But if you are a fan of the show and didn’t immediately push all your chips into the middle of the table after Raven swallowed the City of Light pill, then you simply don’t have a soul. Because CHOO CHOO mother fucker, people are jumping on the CoL hype train now that Raven is on board.
Lindsey Morgan slayed her scenes tonight. SLAYED. At the beginning of the episode, I didn’t want Raven anywhere near the City of Light. This place is going to be bad news for humankind. By the end of the episode, I had come a full 180 degrees and was completely enthralled. Not only did Raven drink the CoLaid (a moniker Reditkru has come up with, those Smarty McSmartersons!), but I’m drinking the CoLaid as well.
Raven is in a lot pain, and she can’t hide it anymore. Let’s run down Raven’s list of injuries:
- Gets shot by Murphy and slowly loses the use of her legs because the bullet is near her spine
- Goes under the knife – without anesthesia – to remove the bullet
- Wakes up to find out her left leg is paralyzed
- Gets blown up at Mount Weather, which causes her chronic pain in her hip
- Gets her GOOD leg drilled into for bone marrow by the Mountain Men
- Gets blown up AGAIN at Mount Weather when the Ice Nation assassin attacks
All in all, not a good string of luck for our beloved Raven. #stophurtingRavenReyes2016
Abby takes her off of work detail, which is a huge slap in the face to Raven. Raven is great at what she does, she’s always picked first, she’s extremely resourceful, and has saved Skaikru more times than we can count. But when she confronts Abby after being benched, Abby has some hard truths to share. Her leg is never going to heal. Now, they have to focus on pain management.
What is Raven supposed to do if she can’t work? Abby tells her, “you can still be useful.”
Seriously, for someone as driven as Raven, “useful” might as well mean “dead.” She doesn’t want to be useful, she wants to be vital. She wants to be in the thick of things, going out on patrol, fixing things around camp, and being a kick ass a mechanic.
“You can still be useful.” That just hurts.
Jaha and A.L.I.E. see her pain and determine that if she’s the first domino to fall and take the City of Light pill, then plenty of other dominos will fall behind her. If people see her pain disappear, then it’s proof that Jaha does bring salvation through the City of Light.
Except that this is Raven, and Raven thinks that Jaha is full of crap. Yes Raven! That’s our girl!
Except that this is Raven, in constant pain and no longer a vital member of … anything.
And when Jaha offers her the pill and says “what do you have to lose?” we all know: pretty much nothing at this point.
The episode closes with Raven, crying and in tremendous pain, giving in and swallowing the pill. She gets up, starts to hobble along as usual, but we see her gait slowly get smoother, and a wave of realization comes across her face…the pain is fading. She bends over to examine her leg. When she looks back up, she’s face-to-face with A.L.I.E.
“Time to get back to work, Raven.” – A.L.I.E.
Holy. Shit. It took a minute and a half of time and a wordless performance from Lindsey Morgan to get us all on the City of Light hype train because she’s a goddamn national treasure. There’s a reason Raven is a fan favorite, and we have Lindsey to thank for giving us a character we care for so deeply.
The devil in the red dress and six inch heels knows she needs someone to recruit others into the City of Light, but realizes that Jaha comes off as a bit crazy as her sole spokesperson. So, she rightly susses out that Raven’s no nonsense style will serve her better. She essentially preys on Raven and her pain, seeing in her a much better vessel for her message. Make no mistake, A.L.I.E. is a predator and has had 97 years to plan her City of Light. All she needs to do now is fill it with people, and Raven will play a huge part in that.
But Raven is also the one who routinely sees through people’s bullshit and saves the day. Will she see the City of Light for what it is? To be fair, right now, we don’t know exactly what it is and what A.L.I.E.’s end game is, but if you think it’s all unicorns and rainbows, then you haven’t been paying close attention to this show at all.
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
- My ship, Slarke (soap + Clarke) is still going strong, but now I’m feeling like she needs a little hot oil treatment for that hair. Can we get some deep conditioning up in here?
- Murphy and Emori are out on wacky bandit adventures! Yes, I love this.
- Was Otan acting fully in control of himself when protecting the backpack with A.L.I.E. in it or was someone controlling him just a wee bit?
- Indra is my everything. You shoot Indra, you bring down the fire of a thousand suns upon you!
- Notice how Clarke is involved in a lot of confrontations what involve “I’m sorry” and “I need you”? This show never fails to draw parallels between all of its characters and I really love these little call backs to themes of earlier conversations.
- Abby is becoming the bull shit detector! I have always liked Abby, but she’s had a couple very human failures that make fans sour on her a bit. I think season 3 is her season to shine.
- Murphy is going to come face-to-face with Titus next episode and I’m tingly just thinking about it.
- Clarke is going to come face-to-face with Emerson next episode and I’m more than tingly just thinking about it! TEAM EMERSON! Why do we love this rat bastard so much? Will Clarke show the last Mountain Man mercy?
- Pretty much every episode from here on out is a countdown to Lexa getting shanked by one of her people. Gah.
“No Way Out”: 8 out of 10 blood-dimmed tides
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:
- 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.
If you’re a fan of the show, join us on Reddit for deep discussions, wacky shenanigans, Trigedasleng lessons, and our weekly Breadheda-watch. Bread drein, bread daun.
Two weeks now without Breadheda. Why have you forsaken us?