In the sixteenth and final episode of the third season ofÂ The 100, Clarke brings the fight to Alie. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ The 100.
Trigger Warning: For blood/gore, consent.
Thereâ€™s no denying that while Iâ€™ve been largely entertained byÂ The 100, my thoughts on it have changed. Itâ€™s not that the show was never flawed, and I hope Iâ€™ve explained that in reviews for the past two seasons. Instead,Â The 100Â was a show where I could lookÂ beyondÂ the flaws because everything else they were doing was so invigorating and exciting. I did that with season three, but many of the writing choices have felt confusing, bewildering, or downright enraging. â€œPerverse Instantiation, Part IIâ€ reminds me ofÂ The 100â€™s strengths and weaknesses of this season as a whole. Itâ€™s exciting and tense; it relies on shoving other characters into the background in frustrating ways; it can give us intense emotional catharsis, or it irritates me with a lack of insight into certain characters.
I have no idea how thereâ€™s going to be a season 4.
But letâ€™s talk about the events that lead to that, because I think the show has written themselves into an incredibly difficult place. Thatâ€™s not a bad thing; I like challenging stories, andÂ The 100Â has certainly been ambitious over the course of three seasons. But the trauma of the events of season three hangs overÂ everything, and I donâ€™t know how theyâ€™ll move beyond it. At the start of the finale, with a â€œhealedâ€ Abby helping her daughter with a bizarre blood transfusion, â€œPerverse Instantiationâ€ felt like the end of the world. I wasnâ€™t surprised by Clarke being the person to enter the City of Light to fight Alie; the show posits Clarke asÂ theÂ main character anyway. But I was more interested in logistics and execution. What would theÂ wholeÂ City of Light look like? How would Clarke deal with Alie knowing she was there immediately upon entering? How would she get to the Citadel?
Iâ€™m happy to say that I was satisfied with the look of the city and the way that Ravenâ€™s hacking was folded into the action. I understood the importance of the Flame, first as a shield to prevent others from seeing her, and then as a method for her to access information she otherwise would not have had. That included the signs that led her to the Citadel, as well as the appearance of Lexa. (DONâ€™T TOUCH ME, Iâ€™M STILL RAW.) The writers even found a way to represent Clarkeâ€™s physical state in the Throne Room. All of this contributed to a sense of terror that felt real. If Ontariâ€™s heart could not be kept pumping â€“ even when Murphy had to do it manually â€“ then Clarkeâ€™s body would reject the flame. If any of Alieâ€™s chipped humans got to her, she would die.
So she has help. Ravenâ€™s hacking has a very real effect on her journey, which includes her creating a door directly to the Citadel when Clarke needed it most. But the Flame also provided her with Lexa. Her appearance is bittersweet. I was instantly reminded of the chemistry between these two characters and how meaningful their relationship was toÂ The 100. And then I felt sad because I knew it was gone, that this version of Lexa was just a glimpse, and that if Clarke was going to save everything, sheâ€™d have to definitively sacrifice Lexa, too.
And thatâ€™s not even remotely the only thing going on. OCTAVIA, Yâ€™ALL. Was it foolish of her to ignore the plan in order to go after Pike? Of course. I saw that as the whole point. Octaviaâ€™s need for blood was so intense that she let it cloud her judgment. Is it as bad as what Bellamy did? Not at all, and I donâ€™t think the show was trying to say it was. But I appreciated that Bellamy had insight into what his sister might have felt, and so he did his best to implore her to set aside her anger so that everyone could survive.
About that survival, thoughâ€¦ I have no idea how theyâ€™re going to do it. I needed to know why Alie had done such horrible things, and I finally got the answer, just prior to Clarke â€œsavingâ€ the world. But in doing so, I am shownÂ whyÂ Alie was so desperate: in six monthsâ€™ time, the world will be uninhabitable due to the degradation of the worldâ€™s nuclear power plants. Her methods were hostile and violent and horrible because Alie assumed that the ends justified the means. That was what Alie 2.0 was for: to give her programming a moral context to workÂ withÂ humanity instead of against it.
I do not suspect that Alie is lying. I think sheâ€™s telling the truth. Alie never reallyÂ lied, did she? She obscured the truth at times, but can she construct actual falsehoods? Is that in her programming? Regardless, Clarkeâ€™s decision to hit the killswitch still works within the morality of the show because free will â€“ and all the messy implications of that â€“ are vital to human existence. Without that, Clarke canâ€™t imagine living.
That scene where she flips the switch is so painful, though. You can see all the trauma and hurt rush back into these people as soon as their chips no longer work. LOOK AT KANEâ€™S FACE, MY HEART IS BREAKING ALL OVER AGAIN. The same goes for Jasper, who experienced peace and happinessÂ willingly. He is distraught upon returning to normal. But if thereâ€™s hope for the future, it is in friendship. Companionship. Community. Swearing to others that together, anything can be conquered. In a way, it felt like a callback to the first season, didnâ€™t it?
Yet I still canâ€™t imagine a future. What of Jaha??? That man unrepentantly sought a destruction future and seemed overjoyed to torture others. Yet thereâ€™s not any real chance here to even address him post-Alie, and it feels super weird. He was the other major antagonist, and his story fizzles out in â€œPerverse Instantiation.â€ There are no nightbloods left, so how can the Grounders have a Commander anymore? Will their religion change because its origin has been exposed? Will everyone return to their own communities? WHAT ABOUT THE NUCLEAR THREAT? How do they find and stop the spread of radiation??? CAN THEY???
And what story is there for Octavia, who rejects Pikeâ€™s gesture of reconciliation by STABBING HIM IN THE STOMACH. While a Pike plot might have been interesting, I think Octaviaâ€™s story is a lot more compelling. Will we see Indra again, or will she only be mentioned by another character? (Whose writing decision was it to punish Indra for saving Kaneâ€™s life by CRUCIFYING HER????) What about a future for Bellamy or Raven or Abby or Miller or Bryan or Harper?
I donâ€™t know how much feedback ever reached the writers room for this show, but in a lot of ways, this season has felt like a learning opportunity. I am still incensed by Lexa, so much so that I feel tired justÂ thinkingÂ about the reasons this show did her wrong. (And Sinclair. And Pike. And Jaha. And Hannah. And many others.) I want this show to be a lot more respectful with its non-white characters, and Iâ€™d really like it if there more fulfilling storylines forÂ everyone.
Weâ€™ll have to see. Iâ€™ll come back toÂ The 100Â after season 4 airs. Until then, Iâ€™ll be moving on to a show calledÂ Terriers,Â which I know nothing about. Thanks for following along, friends!
The video for â€œPerverse Instantiation, Part IIâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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