In the fourth episode of the third season ofÂ The 100, everything is great except when itâ€™s not. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ The 100.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of alcoholism, grief.
Seriously, when this show is on fire, itâ€™s otherworldly. But when thereâ€™s a misstep? BOY, IS IT EVER A MISTAKE.
Michael Beach is a fantastic actor, and I donâ€™t think it was a mistake by any means to cast him. He commands attention every time heâ€™s on screen, which makes the choice to have him play a charismatic leader sensible. But the writing for his character feels so out of place with the rest of the episode, and Iâ€™m concerned that the show is writing him as the angry black man andâ€¦ well, not a whole lot more. Angerâ€™s always been a part ofÂ The 100, and I donâ€™t want to deny that while talking about this. So why even address it in the context of this character? Why should his need for revenge feel so out of sync?
The problem is that Pike is written as a one-dimensional character. We know virtually nothing about his past; we see no other side of him other than his stubborn need for revenge and violence. Actually, â€œstubbornâ€ isnâ€™t even a good enough word to describe him. Heâ€™s justÂ foolish. Pike would make a lot more sense if heâ€™d not just been introduced, if he had some depth, if he didnâ€™t feel like a creation of the writers to push the plot in a frustrating direction. You know whatÂ wouldÂ be interesting? Pike and the Farm Station realizing they have no support from the hundreds of Arkadia citizens whoÂ knowÂ that the Grounders arenâ€™t going to attack them. Pike and the Farm Station struggling to assimilate into a new society that left violence behind them.
Instead, the show decides to wrapÂ BellamyÂ into this nonsense? Yâ€™all, itâ€™s not often that I get to claim that writing is out-of-character for someone, but thereâ€™s not a single justification I can think of for Bellamyâ€™s behavior in this episode. It makes no sense to me. You know whoÂ couldÂ have gotten this story? MONTYâ€™S MOTHER. Thereâ€™s a character who has no history with the Grounders aside from brutality, who could have been manipulated by Pike, who would have struggled with her need for revenge for her husbandâ€™s death, WHO COULD EASILY BE SEEN AS SOMEONE WHO WOULD COMMIT TREASON AGAINST THE ARKADIA LEADERSHIP. She is right there!!! USE HER INSTEAD OF STICKING HER IN THE BACKGROUND.
Bellamy knows many of the Grounders. Bellamy knows Indra. BELLAMY KNOWS THAT THE PROTECTION FORCE IS GENUINELY THERE TO PROTECT ARKADIA. How does he suddenly forget that or become convinced that Pike is correct? There is no universe where Bellamy magically â€œforgetsâ€ that there are clans or that thereâ€™s a huge difference between the Grounders in general and the Ice Nation. Am I supposed to believe that many of the Arkadia citizens also changed their opinion of Kane overnight? Why do all these people fall in line with Pike so readily?
Hereâ€™s the deal: it feels painfully artificial. It does not feel like a genuine turn of events. I REALLY DONâ€™T LIKE IT.
Thus, letâ€™s move into the stories that ARE great within â€œWatch the Thrones.â€ Jasperâ€™s continued descent is uncomfortable and visceral, but it doesnâ€™t suffer from the problems with the Pike storyline. WeÂ sawÂ how attached he was to Maya, but I think the writers are instead dealing with the unbearable reality of what tore Jasper and Monty apart. In short, Jasper canâ€™t see Clarke, Bellamy, or Monty as anything other than murderers. And why should he? Itâ€™s not like these three characters arenâ€™t aware of the horrible thing they did to save their people. But being aware of what happened at Mount Weather isnâ€™t enough for Jasper. He views these people â€“ especially Monty â€“ in a different light. So not only did he lose the woman he loved, he lost his friends. HisÂ bestÂ friend. His grief is so much deeper than I realized, and IT BREAKS MY HEART.
Watch the Throne
LOOK HOW EXCITING AND TWISTED AND THRILLING THIS PLOT IS. I love that we are shown how capable, cunning, and determined people create chaos when they interact. No one in this plot was written like a stubborn fool. (Which irks me only because all four of these characters â€“ Lexa, Clarke, Roan, and Nia â€“ are white. WHOMP WHOMP.) Each of them is viciously smart here, and thatâ€™s what makes the showdown so entertaining. Initially, Queen Nia has the advantage; she allows herself to get caught so she can make a spectacle of Lexa, which inspires that vote of no confidence. Then, she forces Lexa into the fight for the throne, knowing that Lexa would probably volunteer herself instead of picking a fighter.
Yet even the peripheral characters do smart things here! Clarke tries to compel Roan to kill his mother and ascend to the throne, which he rejects, despite that he has anÂ emotionalÂ motivation to do so. He doesnâ€™t do something foolish! Instead, he urges CLARKE to kill Queen Nia, which she nearly does. And perhaps Clarkeâ€™s assassination attempt was a bit foolish, but in terms of strategy, it was a good move. The Queen wants chaos and she wants war, so taking her out would solve a lot of problems.
Yet itâ€™s Lexa who has control of the situation. Itâ€™s entirely possible that sheÂ knewÂ she could use the fight as a chance to catch Queen Nia in a vulnerable position. Lexa is a fan of long cons, so Iâ€™m hoping that her pledge of fealty to Clarke from earlier isnâ€™t part of one. BUT GODDAMN, how great was her fight with Roan? I did not expect her to murder Queen Nia FOR A SECOND. That kind of twist, though, is not just entertaining; it reveals so much of Lexaâ€™s character and how she plots to maintain control.
Itâ€™s just unfortunate that Pike and his folks might just ruin everything for everyone.
The video for â€œWatch the Thronesâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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