Mark Watches ‘The 100’: S03E04 – Watch the Thrones

In the fourth episode of the third season of The 100, everything is great except when it’s not. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The 100.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of alcoholism, grief.

Seriously, when this show is on fire, it’s otherworldly. But when there’s a misstep? BOY, IS IT EVER A MISTAKE.

Chancellor Pike

Michael Beach is a fantastic actor, and I don’t think it was a mistake by any means to cast him. He commands attention every time he’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 I’m concerned that the show is writing him as the angry black man and… well, not a whole lot more. Anger’s always been a part of The 100, and I don’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, “stubborn” isn’t even a good enough word to describe him. He’s just foolish. Pike would make a lot more sense if he’d not just been introduced, if he had some depth, if he didn’t feel like a creation of the writers to push the plot in a frustrating direction. You know what would be interesting? Pike and the Farm Station realizing they have no support from the hundreds of Arkadia citizens who know that the Grounders aren’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 wrap Bellamy into this nonsense? Y’all, it’s not often that I get to claim that writing is out-of-character for someone, but there’s not a single justification I can think of for Bellamy’s behavior in this episode. It makes no sense to me. You know who could have gotten this story? MONTY’S MOTHER. There’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 husband’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 “forgets” that there are clans or that there’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?

Here’s the deal: it feels painfully artificial. It does not feel like a genuine turn of events. I REALLY DON’T LIKE IT.


Thus, let’s move into the stories that ARE great within “Watch the Thrones.” Jasper’s continued descent is uncomfortable and visceral, but it doesn’t suffer from the problems with the Pike storyline. We saw 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 can’t see Clarke, Bellamy, or Monty as anything other than murderers. And why should he? It’s not like these three characters aren’t aware of the horrible thing they did to save their people. But being aware of what happened at Mount Weather isn’t enough for Jasper. He views these people – especially Monty – in a different light. So not only did he lose the woman he loved, he lost his friends. His best 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 – Lexa, Clarke, Roan, and Nia – are white. WHOMP WHOMP.) Each of them is viciously smart here, and that’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 an emotional motivation to do so. He doesn’t do something foolish! Instead, he urges CLARKE to kill Queen Nia, which she nearly does. And perhaps Clarke’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 it’s Lexa who has control of the situation. It’s entirely possible that she knew she could use the fight as a chance to catch Queen Nia in a vulnerable position. Lexa is a fan of long cons, so I’m hoping that her pledge of fealty to Clarke from earlier isn’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 Lexa’s character and how she plots to maintain control.

It’s just unfortunate that Pike and his folks might just ruin everything for everyone.

The video for “Watch the Thrones” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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