Mark Watches ‘The 100’: S03E13 – Join or Die

In the thirteenth episode of the third season of The 100, UPSET. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The 100.

Trigger Warning: For torture and a mention of self-harm.

Good god, this episode was hard to watch. I enjoyed a great deal of it, but holy shit THE SHOW WENT VERY FAR.

The Search for Luna

YES TO LITERALLY EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS HERE. I love that it’s awkward, I love that Bellamy and Clarke have a difficult conversation, and I am ecstatic at the potential for whatever place that is where Luna and her people live. DO THEY HAVE A CLAN NAME. IS THAT THE PLACE IN THE OPENING CREDITS. AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS PLOT AT ALL.

No. No, I am not.

So let’s start with how great it is to see these four characters together. I love ensemble casts mostly because there’s just so much shit to work with by pairing different people together to tackle various conflicts. The brilliance here is in the parallel. When Octavia justifiably lashes out at Bellamy after he touches Lincoln’s journal, that’s a raw and real moment. Octavia’s honesty is necessary for both characters. We need to know how she feels just as much as Bellamy does.

So when Clarke tries to comfort him, there’s a neat imagery in it. Both of the characters tending the signal fire have been hurt by those who have stepped away from them. So when Clarke is giving Bellamy advice, she’s also referring to what she’s done with Jasper. She has to give Jasper space to forgive her, and she has to be willing to forgive herself, too. That’s the best that Bellamy can hope for after what he did; he cannot expect his sister to just up and forgive him in an instant. She’ll be vulnerable and furious and sad for a while, and that’s the cost of his actions.

LET’S TALK ABOUT LUNA’S PEOPLE, TOO. They came out of the goddamn ocean, y’all. THEY HAVE SCUBA GEAR. They have crossbows made of metal, I believe? These little details matter because we’re already getting a portrait of what their life on the water is like. (Why were all the people who answered the signal flame so young??? Was that important or just a coincidence?) I also appreciated that they asked these people to take that drug to keep them unconscious rather than force them to take it. So, they want to keep their location a secret.

And Luna herself… well, I’ll say that I wasn’t surprised that she rejected the Flame. What little we knew of Luna at that point suggested that she had no interest in the Conclave or leading the Grounders. Why would this piece of technology convince her otherwise? Thus, I’m so eager to see if Jasper, Bellamy, Octavia, and Clarke will take a different angle to change her mind: an alliance to take down Alie.

YES, PLEASE.

Kane

I just feel so sad, y’all. I don’t know if it was the writers’ intentions here, but those glimpses of Kane in Pike’s flashbacks were a bittersweet reminder of Kane’s redemption arc and how much he’s changed as a character. HE’S SO DIFFERENT. Now, he’s a resistance fighter, someone who recognizes tyranny and oppression because he used to give it himself. His stand against Pike was brilliant and revelatory, and so I found it natural that, upon realizing what Jaha had done, he refused to kneel before him, too. It’s a natural progression for Kane, and it did not even remotely prepare me for what happened next.

On one level, I understand that Ontari had mentioned crucifying people as a form of punishment, so there’s a visual symmetry to that and what we see here. However, Alie is absolutely in charge now, and her decision to compel others to crucify Kane in order to get him to submit confuses me. Part of that is because I still don’t understand her endgame. She wants to make the world better, and yet, she and Jaha have brought so much suffering to it. SO. MUCH. SUFFERING. And the scene where Kane is crucified is unbelievably violent and horrifying and graphic. (Hey, it breaks the streak of only non-white bodies being brutalized this season, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily something to celebrate.)

It’s a heartbreaking scene, point blank, and like the moment where Alie forced Raven to slit her wrists, it felt gratuitous. Was all that necessary just to move the plot ahead? I don’t know because I don’t know what’s next for Kane, but… good god, that hurt to watch.

Resistance

Pike’s flashbacks are fascinating, both because they show us a character that’s actually sympathetic and because we can see the man he’ll become in them. The glimpse of The 100 in their original state was eerie, too. I also thought the flashbacks were there to warn us that Pike was about to die. His life would come full circle with Murphy, and Murphy would egg Indra on to kill him.

While I understand the reason why he says otherwise, I wanted to talk about how the writing for this scene undermines Indra instead of doing anything good for her. I really like Indra, but I now can’t ignore that the way she is written falls right in line with the Angry Black Woman trope. So much so that her sole role in season three is to be talked down to by white characters. Hell, for most of her appearances on the show, someone – Lexa or Octavia or Murphy – is telling her not to be impulsive or to act without thinking. Which makes little sense; this is a world of violence and quick-thinking is an asset. Yet in Indra, it’s her flaw, and all the characters around her constantly point out how short-sighted she is. When her arm was injured, Octavia was the one to get her to see the bigger picture. When she was getting revenge against Pike for his slaughter of her people, Murphy was the one to remind her that they might need Pike.

Which is a good point. I admit it. Yet how has Indra survived as long as she has, and why was she so revered by Lexa if she is such a hostile, impulsive person? It doesn’t make sense. To many Grounders, she’s one of the best warriors, yet once the show gets her around most other people, she’s making mistakes over and over again. Which is it? Is she capable or not? Does she ever get a story this season that doesn’t revolve around someone else?

JUST SOME THOUGHTS, OKAY. I don’t hate this by any means; I actually think that the story in the latter half of this season is much stronger than I expected it to be. And I’m eager to see how these people can resist being chipped!

The video for “Join or Die” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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