Do you enjoy a nice afternoon thunderstorm? I like to fall asleep to the sound of the raindrops or curl up with a good book or OH MY GOD THE RAIN BURNS WHY DOES IT BURN HOLY SHIT RUN OH MY GOD IT’S BURNING MY SHIT OFF I’M DYING HELP STOP IT I’M DYING FOR REALS!!!
Guys, radioactive black rain is here and…
This episode was written by new series duo of Terri Hughes Burton and Ron Milbauer. In addition, “Gimme Shelter” was directed by permanent series hype machine and supervising producer Tim Scanlan. What did all these talented people produce? Quite possibly the most confusing episode of Barefoot Contessa on record.
While I really didn’t learn how to cook anything from this episode, and I find that a bit of a disappointment, I enjoyed the episode a GREAT deal. To me, the season seems to be hitting that sweet spot. Visually, it was gritty and dingy at times, and then clean and modern, which is a jarring juxtaposition in a show that tends to only do gritty and dingy, so my eye orbs loved it. It also was full of those character moments that I tend to love most about the show, with new character interactions to really dig into and old dynamics that kinda break my heart when they tear apart. FUCKING TIGHT RHYMES! YOU DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR ME SLAYING SHIT LYRICALLY, BUT I’M DOIN’ IT ANYWAY!
Let’s get into it!
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
So, the REAL danger of the coming radiation is here in the form of black rain. Sure, Luna and her rig kru made the bad decision to order the fish and mostly died because of it, but consuming over-fished tilapia is avoidable. Rain is not.
When the black rain hits, people turn into stupid panicky animals and…uh…panic. Even our little lovely Harper, she of the AMAZING ABS, finds herself in a rather un-heroic moment where she shrugs off someone needing help and leaves him to romp around in a puddle. How fun! If the puddle wasn’t burning his skin off, that is. Not a great moment for Harper, which is fine…not everyone is going to be at their best in a panic.
Shirtlessness is obviously written into Bob Morley’s contract. At least we also get some shirtless Kane and Harper to marvel at as well…I don’t know how all these guys have time to hit the gym while also trying desperately to not die.
“I must save everyone” Bellamy decides he needs to take off after a father and his son who are stranded outside of Arkadia’s walls doing…I don’t know, I didn’t pay enough attention to know what they were doing. But the net/net of the whole situation is that Bellamy ultimately fails, and not only does he fail, he utterly loses hope and in an angry moment, tells Kane that “you’re not my dad!” when Kane tries to talk Bellamy through the situation, bringing up that his mother, Aurora, would have been proud of the man Bellamy became. Bellamy’s like “fuck you Kane, you floated my mom, so keep her name out your damn mouth, buh bye.”
And hearts fell everywhere. At least mine did. I love Bellamy and Kane.
Look, Kane’s “mentoring” of Bellamy has come across to some as lecturing at times, but that’s what young people often read an older person’s attempts at passing wisdom on to their successors, you ungrateful whelps. Kane sat on that radio the whole time, helping Bellamy the best he could, gravely worried about his welfare, and basically BEING THERE for him. In the end, Bellamy, upon his return to Arkadia, echoed Kane’s words regarding Octavia back at him: “you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.” Bellamy’s done…he doesn’t need Kane’s concern anymore.
Where does this leave Bellamy? He looked hollowed at the end of the episode, but how does this experience change how he tackles the upcoming problems facing Arkadia? I can’t believe that he’s given up on the thought that he CAN save people, but he may be somehow less confident in his ability to be the guy that can get the job done? I wonder if he’ll be more like season 3 Clarke…just emotionally spent and numb. It makes for an interesting development in what has always been a very passionate and emotionally-driven character.
But at the same time, it feels like a bit of a de-evolution of Bellamy. Like…is he not moving forward now developmentally? I want Bellamy to get over the guilt of his actions in season 3, but does he need to hit rock bottom to do so? Maybe ? That’s not a bad idea. Wait, did I just talk myself into thinking that this IS a good way to go, and that it mirrors Octavia’s journey to rock bottom as well? BLAKE PARALLELS, Y’ALL! You guys, I just had that epiphany in the space of this one paragraph.
As for Kane, he can’t help trying to be a dad, so when Bellamy told him to kick rocks, Kane turns his dadding skills to Harper. He tells her something that she definitely needs to hear after the dude that went puddle-diving dies: “who you want to be doesn’t always win.” Kane LITERALLY cannot go one second without finding another kid to adopt as his own, even though he’s likely either responsible for putting them in detention on the Ark or floating one or both of their parents. So yeah, interesting surrogate dad dynamic.
I think Kane is telling himself a hard truth as well…no matter who he’s become, his past aboard the Ark and the things he’s done while in a leadership role will always be a part of him. And there might come a time that is better self doesn’t always win out, and I think that scares the bejesus out of him. Kane has been consistently trying to move forward, to leave past mistakes behind and just become a better man by DOING better. Bellamy’s “you floated my mother” is a harsh reminder that looking forward doesn’t mean the hell hounds of the past aren’t firmly sinking their sharp teeth into your butt.
Kane’s mentoring of Bellamy has all slanted towards the “put your past behind you” theme, but maybe that’s not how Bellamy needs to move forward. One person’s process doesn’t always fit someone else, and Bellamy perhaps is done with Kane’s brand of encouragement. Those words ring hollow to Bellamy now. He’s reached the limit of his ability to choke down failure anymore and we’ll see how these two move forward from here – both as individuals and their dynamic together.
I’m going to need a loooooooong Kane-Bellamy hug at some point in the rest of the season. I can’t take them being estranged from one another. I CAN’T.
Ah, That Old Tropy Chestnut: “Make Me Feel Something Else” Cave Sex
Sigh, y’all. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to Octavia and Ilian having some sexy times, but does it have to be the same “I feel like shit, make me feel good for a split second” sex? We’ve been there, done that with Clarke TWICE now with Finn and Niylah (I’m going to put Finn in this bucket…sorry Flarke fans, the -3 of you that still exist in the universe, floating out there like some long-forgotten fart).
But goddammit, why does half-naked wrestling when trying to prevent one person from walking out into black rain always turn into poorly-lit cave sex? But fine, Octavia and Ilian, take your cheaply-earned congratulations gif:
Now get your perfect bodies out of my face.
I guess the sex was there as a sort of turning point for Octavia, where she’s now willing to connect with another human being on more than a physical or murdery level, if her taking Ilian back to his farm is any indication of a softening of her character. What is her goal now? What are her concerns? Will she eventually find her way back to Bellamy and the delinquents after all is said and done? They ARE her family, no matter what she says. So is Indra. And Kane. Just because you feel lost doesn’t mean there aren’t people desperately trying to find their way to you. I don’t know if we’re ever going to get that “Octavia returns home and FEELS she’s home” moment, and I don’t know if we need it to make her character journey complete, I just know that I kinda need it so I don’t cry.
As viewers, we need to recognize that the emotional closure we would like to see or NEED to see doesn’t determine what’s right for a character creatively. We like neatly tied up bows on our narratives to make us feel better and to alleviate anxiety. But not all stories need to have the happy endings we desire. When I write that, my mind immediately goes to Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” which is a song that lyrically doesn’t seem to put anything in its right place (to me at least…YMMV). There is a greatness in unresolved dramatic tension, even if it leaves us uneasy.
Man, I kinda went a little stream of consciousness right there…but if I’m being honest, my mind is about three degrees away from a Radiohead lyric at any give time.
I hope we get more of Ilian in the sense that we see something about him other than his guilt over killing his family or his hatred of technology. He needs a personality outside of what he provides to the plot to be truly an interesting addition to the show, so let’s see where this jaunt with Octavia takes us.
This episode may be our Blakes Bottoming Out and turning a corner, although if I’m really evaluating their matching rock bottoms (that does not sound right), I think Bellamy is lagging a bit behind Octavia on that rebound back into forward momentum. I have to say, I’m more intrigued at this moment about Bellamy’s helplessness and seeming acceptance of it than I am about where Octavia is going next ONLY BECAUSE I didn’t expect this of Bellamy at all. I’m also very cautious of this development because Bellamy is a hard character to write well, so him literally getting stuck in his forward road to redemption could go horribly wrong.
No presh, writers.
Oh. My. God. Just had another thought. What if OCTAVIA is the one that gets Bellamy to turn a corner out of his “I can’t save anyone” funk? Like, Bellamy has always been the strong one. “My sister, my responsibility” and all that, but what if she picks him up off the ground, dusts him off, and they both find a new way to move forward together? Now THAT would be some fucking character development.
And they share a big group hug with Kane, who breaks down crying. MY HEART…STOP…I CAN’T…
Goddammit, enough with the feels…let’s talk about dangerous and ethically-questionable medical experimentation!
Primum Non Nocere
That’s Latin for “first, do no harm.” The Hippocratic Oath. I’m dazzling you with my formidable intelligence (read as: ability to Google). Doctors take it very seriously. So on this show, let’s throw that right the fuck out the window! With Arkadia and space no longer viable solutions, Abby has found yet another alternative: Luna’s bone marrow.
SOUND FAMILIAR, ANYONE?! Sweet baby Jesus, we in Mount Weather territory here.
The additional kicker here is that in order to find out if Luna’s bone marrow will work to create nightbloods, a guinea pig needs to be injected with her marrow goop, then exposed to enough radiation to explode a person’s cells.
You’ll notice that neither Abby nor Clarke shrink from this course of action. They know their choice isn’t whether or not they follow this course of action…they both already know they have no other alternatives. It just comes down to WHO to subject to cell explosions and maybe certain death. Dark Clarke rears her head in this situation because she knows there’s no other choice with only ten (TEN!) days before the radiation “death wave” is upon them. Abby seems to show a bit of humanity near the end of the episode when Fake Baylis is injected with the serum, but AIN’T NO ONE GOT TIME FOR YOUR MORAL QUANDARIES, ABBY!
Emori overhears this whole conversation at the beginning of the episode and is like “I’m going in the radioactive murder chamber, aren’t I?” If Fake Baylis didn’t stumble upon our dinner party, I would have liked to hear the answer to that question. I mean, besides red shirt Arkadian, who else is there? As much as Clarke’s all on the “everyone is my people” train, wouldn’t she naturally favor Skaikru? Choosing someone to potentially sacrifice would have been where the rubber truly meets the road for Clarke. In this case, we got a bit of a easy out to what could have been a really interesting situation. Alas and alack, we won’t get to see what COULD have transpired.
I’m still having a bit of a difficult time with the failed false finishes that the show has used to create urgency. I’m not treading new waters here, I think a lot of people have reached this place: there’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to raising stakes that makes the Arkadia and space fails feel like a lot of wasted time now that we’re halfway into the season. Look, I get that the stakes are high. That’s the show. There’s a reason there’s a cap on raises in no limit hold ’em poker…it confines all decision-making into a neat box and doesn’t allow players to string each other along.
Fun poker fact: speaking of stringing others along, unless Teddy KGB (Malkovich for the 3 of you who have never seen Rounders) announced his bet/raise, he’s string betting here by going back to his stack and that’s an illegal move. I may or may not know these because I’m a degenerate gambler…care to take a bet on whether I am or not?
I also didn’t need the raising of urgency to create moral quandaries. Moral quandaries are at the center of this show…I EXPECT them and I don’t need a retread of the hemming and hawing over tough decisions that typified season 2 to feel their impact. The push/pull of these heart-rending decisions is effective when used sparingly, and therefore don’t need a ton of build-up. I think one thing the show lacks is awareness of the idea that “less is more.” If everything is critical, then nothing is. I guess I’m fine with corner the show has painted itself into, but it needs to stop feeling the pressure to double-down to out-do itself at every turn. These big moments are so deafening that they’re just noise now…let the small moments roar.
This Is A Really Confusing Episode of Barefoot Contessa, Guys
Emori takes Clarke back to the mansion, where Murphy is busy getting his gourmand on, but Ina Garten is no where to be seen. Color me confused. Where’s Ina? I guess she’s busy in town, bringing her florist and his “life partner” a quick lunch of gruyere and baby spinach quiche, roasted root vegetables wrapped in gold leaf, an aspic of braised veal and ostentation, finished with a summer berry trifle for dessert.
Ina’s absence leaves us with Murphy, Emori, and Clarke in a completely incomprehensible and visually dysmorphic mansion
in the Hamptons on Becca’s island. They are surrounded by clean, modern fixtures, like a refrigerator, and a stove, and a blender, and a knife block. A fucking knife block, y’all. Seeing these dirty, bedraggled kids in this ultra clean and modern setting just makes me think…Ina is NOT going to be happy with the mess they’re making. Why did she leave? Couldn’t her florist have waited another day for lunch? This is just kinda downright rude of Ina just leaving guests to fend for themselves. She at least better be bringing fresh cut flowers back.
What the fuck am I saying? OF COURSE Ina’s going to bring fresh cut flowers back. That bitch is all over fresh cut flowers to dress a table with to complement a meal.
I learned NOTHING about the Barefoot Contessa recipe that Murphy was cooking. What are the ingredients? On a scale of PRETENTIOUS to POMPOUS, how uppity is this meal he’s making? Is there gazpacho or creme fraiche involved? WILL JEFFREY LIKE IT?! How hot will my shame burn when I try to make this meal, only to fail miserably and be forced to eat a freezer-burnt Hot Pocket and stale Cheez Balls like a goddamn savage? This was a wholly useless episode of Barefoot Contessa and I’d like to register my disappointment with whomever takes complaints about shows that are no longer on air.
Pop yo’ collars, bitches! Ina is gansta.
You have to admit, it’s so strange seeing this mansion in the same world as muddy, dingy Arkadia and the poorly-lit sex cave. It’s a wonderful new setting that I’d love to see them all spend more time in, but it’s likely that all the blood and broken glass will send Ina Garten into a rage. Knowing her fragile temperament, they had to flee like thieves in the night, Clarke’s dirty finger streaks still on that lovely ivory high-end 1000-count Egyptian cotton bedding.
That’s okay, Ina has staff to handle such things. They’ll clean up the mess that Clarke, Emori, and Murphy left behind, tears silently streaming down their faces as they mouth “help me.”
I Told Y’all That Emori Was Sketch!
Standing ovation for Emori this episode. Luisa D’Oliveira gave us a wonderful performance that filled in some critical backstory and was largely…a con. Guys, I told y’all that I didn’t trust Emori when they first landed on the island when she didn’t disclose what else was on the island that could hurt them.
Emori realized, perhaps correctly, that she was on the short list to be the person they’d stick with a needle then shove in the radioactive tanning bed. And when Fake Baylis broke into the mansion looking for food, she saw a chance to play Clarke and set Fake Balyis up to be the guinea pig for Abby and Clarke.
HEEL TURN, HEEL TURN, HEEL TURN! BAW GAWD KING, THAT MAN HAD A FAMILY!
Did y’all fall for it? Because I did. I was convinced that was really Baylis and was glad Emori got a chance to exact some measure of revenge. I do not doubt that her backstory is completely true. Murphy was aware of some of it, and Baylis seems to be a piece of garbage who used Emori and her brother as slaves, torturing and abusing them, knowing they had nowhere to turn because of their mutations.
I mean, we kinda got a feeling that Emori had a tough go of it from what we’ve learned of her previously, but her conversation with Clarke cemented it…girl’s been through some shit. Clarke can’t really understand, Murphy can’t really understand…no one but her dead brother knows how much she’s endured, and for that I salute her as a survivor and a tough-ass bitch.
What I have to wonder is if she can live with her decisions to put another innocent person at risk with her lie, or if Murphy will have second thoughts about the type of person she seems capable of being. In my S4 predictions post a couple weeks back, I suspected that Murphy will land on the wrong side of a moral decision…now I wonder if he’ll make a decision to be on the RIGHT side of things that will cost him Emori.
Hey, Season 1-me, would you believe it if I told you that Season 4-me would be seriously worried for Murphy’s fate/soul? No? Well, BELIEVE IT, I AM WORRIED.
Can I just keep heaping praise on the show this season for the weird and wonderful mixes of characters they keep throwing at us? Last week, we got the odd trio of Raven, Luna, and Murphy. This week, we get Clarke, Murphy, and Emori. These character mess-arounds are like mana from heaven (whatever the fuck that is) and I love it. These new interactions can help tease out new aspects of our beloved characters or reinforce some of their most notable traits.
This Week In FanDUMB – TOO MUCH NOISE AND IT HURTS
Cards on the table, I’m STRUGGLING with my desire to write these reviews. It’s not just the crappy fandom, the ship wars, the vitriol. For me, I’m suffering from over-saturation. Plus, I don’t know if I’m adding anything net new to a seemingly endless cyclical discussion about a show that is all about cyclical themes and narratives.
Thing is, once I start actually writing, I start to have fun because I’m entirely in my own head. I’m doing my own problem-solving and there’s no fandom NOISE to deal with. The thing I like about writing is that it’s a lone pursuit…I can’t depend on anyone else but myself to create ideas to put down on paper/screen. And I like that self-sufficiency, which allows me to sink or swim on my own.
Thanks to those who have voiced your encouragement. I wish I could blame this personal strum und drang on the pain pills I was taking after my surgery, but I stopped taking those after every single media outlet published some sort of article last week saying “Just looking at an opioid pill creates lifelong addiction, this means you, JENNIFER.”
- My ship, Slarke (soap + Clarke) is now CANON. That’s gotta sting, huh, Bellarkers?
- Slarke is endgame.
- Becho is endgame.
- Can Clarke get ONE GODDAMN MINUTE of rest?
- Clarke, THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!
- How is EVERYTHING in that house in immaculate condition? Did you see that pool? NOT A LEAF IN IT. Where did all the food come from? Is there an H.E.B. we didn’t know about? Pick me up some of That Green Sauce and some Whataburger Spicy Ketchup the next time you hit the store up, Murphy. That Green Sauce is The Truth.
- Wait, you don’t have an H.E.B. in your neck of the woods? Your life sucks. You don’t have this to put into your mouth hole:
- I could really do with an emotional, ugly cry out of Murphy…it would probably break me, but I feel something like this is coming from him.
- I am wrong for being more concerned for Helios’s welfare than Octavia and Ilian? Show writers, you have gold here with Helios, so I don’t see why he’s relegated to just being a horse.
- I think I found the model for the Kane body pillow CW is making for me (that they don’t know they’re making for me, shut up)
- WHERE INDRA AT?
- WHERE GAIA AT?
- Anyone else love how other characters are just out of reach, like in another room? Raven and Luna were “resting”…I don’t need every character in every episode because I know we wouldn’t get enough good character work, but I just find it hilarious.
- The pressure to include a rasslin’ gif in each review is TOO DAMN HIGH!
- If you enjoyed this review, could you do me a favor and share / retweet / like it on twitter? I hate to ask this because I hate asking anyone to do anything for me, but I’d really appreciate it.
- Hey people who like sounds entering your ear holes! I have a Spotify playlist, which is music from and inspired by The 100. You can find it right here and marvel at my musical tastes. I keep it up to date with anything featured on the show or in promos. I’m thorough like that.
- Thanks for sticking around and reading this review! If you’d like your earballs tickled with a The 100 podcast I cohost, please check out maywegeekagain.podbean.com.
“Gimme Shelter”: 9 out of 10 Chelsey Reist abs, goddamn girl you look fly!
There are some The 100 reviewers/recaps/writers 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:
- Erin Brown – unfairly beautiful writing. Like seriously, stop being so good.
- McKenzie Morrell – recapping her damn face off and great interviews with the cast!
- Toni_watches – piss your goddamn pants funny photo recaps.
- Selina Wilken – a mix of passionate fandom and truly professional journalism.
- Jo Garfein – Hosts The Dropship podcast and has some great fandom charity auctions
If you’re a fan of the show, join us on Reddit for deep discussions, wacky shenanigans, Trigedasleng lessons, and clan flair! It’s the least toxic place you can find right now for The 100 fandom. Mods got that shit on lockdown.