Mark Watches ‘The 100’: S03E15 – Perverse Instantiation, Part I

In the fifteenth and penultimate episode of the third season of The 100, well, everything is a mess now, isn’t it? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch The 100.

Trigger Warning: For mention of suicide.

Holy shit, this episode is relentless.


Goddamn it, I get Jasper’s reasoning. I do! It’s heartbreaking, but thinking back on “Red Sky at Morning,” I can see how his choice was foreshadowed. He saw another life there on Luna’s rig. Shay reminded him of Maya in a roundabout way, though not necessarily at the time. The peace he experienced, even for a brief moment, was so infectious that he decided to chase it more permanently by taking one of Alie’s chips.

I get the sense that the writers wanted us to go into the finale feeling hopeless, and this is one of the methods they used for that. Perhaps the payoff will be immense, but I’m also wondering how the show will ever move beyond this. On the one hand, many of these characters are very explicit about the fact that the people chipped by Alie can be saved once the killswitch is hit. I don’t imagine that Monty will necessarily hold it over Jasper for stabbing him. But in Jasper’s case, he knew what the chip did. He knew the threat that they all faced, and he knew how important it was to stop Alie. And yet? He still took a chip. He still betrayed his friends for a selfish reason. One I understand, I should note, but not one I think absolves him of the ramifications of what he’s done.

But if we really wanna talk about hopelessness, let me turn my attention to Polis.

The Flame

I do love impossible quests. It’s so rewarding and satisfying to watch a group of underdogs fight against ridiculous odds to accomplish something. The addition of Roan to this plan made the story a million times more interesting. I HAD NOT EVEN CONSIDERED THAT HE HAD THE SAME GOAL AS CLARKE. Gods, could you imagine that story for season four? Ontari as the Commander, trying to decide whether to reward Clarke for her help or still take out her people. So there’s promise and potential here, which is why it’s so tragic and upsetting when everything falls apart. (GODDAMN IT, JASPER.) This was such a good plan that hinged on secrecy, so Jasper’s betrayal sends them all into a trap instead of a rescue mission or a heist. And y’all know how much I love heists.

Amidst the thrill and the terror, there’s still a lot of great character development and emotional power, and I appreciate that the writers found a balance between them. Clarke’s need to save everyone is openly discussed, especially as it relates to the way she can actually put others at risk. (In this example, going village-to-village might get those people destroyed/chipped by Alie faster.) When Octavia discovers that Pike is an “ally,” I NEARLY EXPLODED. There is a 0% chance that the writers will ignore that in the next episode because… seriously, I don’t think Octavia can wait much longer and delay the inevitable. These two are going to confront each other because IT IS DESTINY. There’s even a neat little exchange between Murphy and Bellamy about why they’re trying to stop Alie, which sort of sheds light on why Murphy hesitated in the last episode. (It still doesn’t feel like enough.)

And then there’s Alie. I think the first real clue to her endgame comes from Jasper, who claims that he knows why Alie’s mission is important: the world is not survivable. It seems like such a strange statement to make because Alie’s own actions have made the world less survivable. How many people has she killed? Let’s put aside her original act of nuking the world. Since she’s been activated, she has relieved the pain of countless people by cutting off the part of the brain that sends pain messages. She has excised memories. And she has, through Jaha and many of the people she’s controlled, caused untold misery. Suffering. Death. Destruction. She wants people to feel at peace in the City of Light, and yet she increasingly has listened to Jaha’s claims that she should do anything to get what she wants.

Why? Why is her behavior at odds with her stated mission? I suspect she has something else in store. What if she plans to destroy the entire world, but keep everyone in the City of Light? What if that is her solution to human suffering??? No physical bodies, just souls and minds uploading to her server, living in perpetual bliss in a digital matrix? THAT’S TOTALLY IT, ISN’T IT?

I’m probably wrong. The thing is, there has to be something there. The things Alie has done are absolutely heinous. Here, she compels Abby to hang herself in front of her own daughter in order to get the Flame’s password. Like… jesus christ, this season is so unbearably disturbing at times, and I feel like the audience needs to know why Alie has been so willing to cause so much pain. Is it because she’s so certain everyone will eventually take the chips and they can forget how Alie made them suffer?

Perhaps. Even Ontari was sacrificed for this plan, leaving Alie’s opponents with literally nothing to access the Citadel and stop her. Is Kane dead? Indra? (If Indra is dead, I’ll be furious.) What of Miller and Bryan and Harper? Can Raven actually help destroy Alie, or will it be left to Clarke in the end?

I’m scared.

The video for “Perverse Instantiation, Part I” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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