In the fifth episode of the third season ofÂ The 100, Pike and Bellamy escalate beyond reason, Octavia is amazing, and everything is frustrating. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ The 100.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of ableism.
Well, that episode gave me a lot to talk about.
Itâ€™s not a new sensation to be frustrated by this show, and often, that was a way to feel entertained, too. Iâ€™ve enjoyedÂ The 100Â because it was inherently about the difficult moral decisions that these characters face, and Pike is certainly not the first character to make stubborn and absurd decisions. Indeed, season one isÂ fullÂ of them, though mostly from the point of view of the teenagers. (Which I feel says a lot about how all the adults are now acting on the show. WHOMP WHOMP.) I wantÂ The 100Â to continue to be challenging, to make me feel like Iâ€™m watching unique conundrums that bring out the best in a cast of layered, complicated characters.
For that very reason, I find Pike to be frustrating in a different way. We still have virtually no understanding of who Pike is outside of his militaristic struggle. He is here and in the story to serve one purpose: to push the Sky Crew towards war. I have no idea what his personality is like when heâ€™s not a war hawk. I donâ€™t know what personal stake he has in this conflict aside from some unexplained thirst for violence. Letâ€™s say that he wants revenge for the people who died from the Farm Station; thatâ€™s a basic but understandable character motivation. However, all those events happened before he ever appeared onscreen. We did not see him or Montyâ€™s mother react to them; we did not see them become who they are because of it. We are just asked to accept them as they are, and it feels very weird for a show that is so full of characters who have two full seasons worth of development and growth.
Pike sounds like a fool. He makes bad decisions that are short-sighted and enraging. He listens to no one else, and the people who surround him are like an echo-chamber, ready to repeat his mantras and his philosophy. He does not come across as many characters in season two did, where they had to make painful, difficult decisions, but we understoodÂ whyÂ they were rushing headlong into mistakes. They had emotional motivations that felt plain as day.
Pike? Not so much. When he talks, he sounds like a writer is sticking words in his mouth, and itâ€™s the same complaint I have for Jaha. I donâ€™t see him as a character so much as I see him as something the writers needed to push the plot where they wanted it to go, and thatâ€™s frustrating in a way thatâ€™sÂ notÂ entertaining.
Iâ€™ll give another example.
Thereâ€™s been a distinct lack of religion and/or faith in this show, aside from cultural traditions of the Grounders. I think itâ€™s perfectly reasonableÂ andÂ interesting for the show to introduce that. Even the timing feels right! After all the horror and the trauma that these people have been through, it makes sense that someone would explore a means for spiritual satisfaction. So I donâ€™t have an issue with a new element being introduced to the show.
The problem, however, is that Jaha is written as being deliberately vague in a way that actually hinders his goal. He claims to have found the City of Light, and as far as the viewer can tell, heÂ didÂ find it. Alie took him there, weâ€™ve seen what it looks like, and weâ€™ve seen how it can apparently resurrect anyone who has died, but only if theyâ€™ve ingested one of those tablet things. I think you can guess whatâ€™s going on here from these clues, but the problem I see is that if this place is as great as Jaha says it is,Â why the hell does he not just tell them all what it is?Â Is it a digital paradise? If Alie is an artificial intelligence, and sheâ€™s making these people the same, isÂ thatÂ why heâ€™s being vague?
All I can see in Jahaâ€™s plotline is a character known for being straightforward and pragmatic being the exact opposite for no apparent reason. In that sense, he feelsÂ written. It feels like the writers are saving some big reveal about the City of Light for later, so in order to delay that, they keep Jaha being as unspecific about his â€œfaithâ€ as possible. It doesnâ€™t feel natural in the universe, especially when so much of this show has avoided the whole â€œmiscommunication / lack of talking as a conflictâ€ trope more than most shows.
But I need to know whatâ€™s going on for another reason: Raven. Did this show just magically heal her leg? Just upfront, itâ€™s one of my least favorite story tropes for someone who is disabled, and I canâ€™t tell if that chip isÂ trickingÂ her into thinking she is better or if it really happened. But Ravenâ€™s struggle with her disability was just ended in a matter of seconds, and it has the same affect as Jahaâ€™s faith: it does not feel natural within the universe. Consequences and ramifications areÂ The 100â€™s bread and butter, and now, Raven has none of them. What role does she play without this struggle? At the same time, I recognize that Ravenâ€™s plot had becomeÂ nothingÂ but her disability, so thereâ€™s a part of me eager to see the show give her something else. Iâ€™ll have to see.
Thereâ€™s a point during his conversation with Clarke â€“ which wasÂ brilliantlyÂ acted, I might add! â€“ where I began to see Bellamyâ€™s justification for his actions. Itâ€™s unfortunate that something like this didnâ€™t happenÂ beforeÂ he aligned himself with Pike, as I still couldnâ€™t see how Ginaâ€™s death was the one thing to push him towards being a mass murderer. It didnâ€™t help that â€œHakeldamaâ€ opens with such a horrific and disturbing scene. Pikeâ€™s actions are utterly unjustifiable now, and it really doesnâ€™t matter to me that Bellamy sparedÂ oneÂ Grounder. (Iâ€™M SO GLAD INDRA IS NOT DEAD I LOVE HER SO MUCH.) He and Pikeâ€™s team snuck up on the sleeping Grounder army â€“ sent to protect Arkadia!!! â€“ and slaughtered them, includingÂ every wounded person.
How can someone redeem themselves after that? So thatâ€™s why I was so frustrated with Bellamy up to the scene with Clarke. I couldnâ€™t understand someone making such a sweeping change in their morality. And yet, there was a moment where the show finally had Bellamy explaining himself in an honest manner. He opens up to Clarke about his distrust of the people who abandoned him and his friends in Mount Weather, forcing them to make the decision that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.Â ThatÂ I understand.Â ThatÂ is something that makes utter sense for someone like Bellamy, who thrives on loyalty. So, he has issues with Lexaâ€™s betrayal, fine. He hates that the Ice Queen and the Ice Nation bombed Mount Weather. Also an EXTREMELY valid point. But the writers jump from this to Bellamy slaughtering innocent, sleeping people, locking up all the Grounders who are getting medical care, arresting Lincoln, and then handing Clarke over to Pike.
Itâ€™s a stretch. A huge stretch. And I just donâ€™t get it.
I still feel very weird about the whole white savior vibe I get from Clarke, despite that I understand that like Octavia, she is an intermediary. Sheâ€™s stuck between worlds, and someone has to talk with the Sky Crew and the Grounders. Plus, thereâ€™s obviously a strong emotional connection between Lexa and Clarke, and Clarke is the main character, soâ€¦
Hereâ€™s the thing. Clarke suggesting peace instead of blood is a bold choice all on its own, and Iâ€™m not sure how thatâ€™s going to work with the world that the writers have built. The main conflict I see is Pike. Even if the Grounders concede to Pikeâ€™s hilariously absurd demand of a 15km boundary (NINE MILES IN EVERY DIRECTION, ARE YOU KIDDING ME), there is a 0% chance of that working. Pike has been written as an imperialist. He landed on ground that was not his, claimed it for himself, and is now violently taking and stealing it. (The fact that this was given to a black character makes me feel things. LORD.) I see no peace happening as long as Pike and his army is still operating. Pike will take and take until he has everything.
So whatâ€™s the solution? Alie? Another election? Hell, that canâ€™t work because we already know that Arkadia has voted against their own interests. (I do wish that were explored more as well, since it would be a compelling story to tell,Â andÂ it would help us understand how a group that was so desperate for peace at the end of season 2 would suddenly reverse their stance.) If Clarke canâ€™t change her peopleâ€™s minds, who can?
I did not hate this episode, for the record, even if it sounds super negative. It was entertaining, and OCTAVIA WAS EVERYTHING. Oh my god, even if some of this seasonâ€™s story frustrates me, itâ€™s so great seeing her in action. Itâ€™s possible that all of this will come together and make more sense as the show goes on, but this is how it made me feelÂ now.
The video for â€œHakeldamaâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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