The 100 Season 4 Episode 1 Review, “Echoes”
Content warning: This review discusses attempted suicide as depicted on the show.
When last we left the krus, Clarke had (once again) saved the world by (once again) pulling a lever, but it didn’t really fix things because (once again) crisis looms on the horizon. Only this time it’s something new another nuclear apocalypse! Wait, wasn’t that the origin story for this entire series? Oh well. At least this time, Clarke Griffin is around to take all the blame save the day! Something different! Wait, never mind. That happens every season. Hmmmm, let’s pretend this season is a commentary on climate change. That was totes planned, right? Sure, whatever. Even though none of this makes any sense because there is no way that nuclear reactors would have survived the first nuclear apocalypse, much less 100 years with no humans to control them (except there’s a magical explanation for that! Just wait.).
Suspend your disbelief, Gretchen!
Fine, there. It’s suspended. Let’s get started.
One recap later (including the information that they have 6 months to live), cut to Octavia climbing down the outside of Polis Tower to find Indra being taken down from her cross. Indra looks pretty bad. Seriously, is she dying? Either way, she seems glad Octavia killed Pike. Meanwhile, Clarke and Bellamy waltz out the front door of Polis Tower to gaze upon the moaning, lost looking people wandering around the city. They’re trying to decide whether to tell everyone the world is ending (while surrounded by people who could overhear them…).
Bellamy thinks ALIE might be lying, but that they shouldn’t tell people regardless. He’s pretty sure they can survive either way. Clarke thanks him for helping keep her alive, but just when she’s feeling safe, all the Grounders in Polis seem to know that she shut down the City of Light (hereafter CoL). They blame her for all the people who were there being either unconscious or dead (it’s not clear who ends up in which situation, but all the Skaikru peeps are fine).
In Arkadia, Jasper apologizes to Harper, who is totes okay with him smashing her into the wall and pistol whipping her. Raven is still doing her hacker thing and making sure the people from the CoL are okay. Raven is also fine with her pain now because it reminds her she’s alive. And Jasper is really jealous that ALIE ‘upgraded’ her brain but not his even though Raven was the one who literally hosted ALIE’s ‘consciousness’ for a while. Whatever.
Everyone else magically got down from Polis Tower and the adults (Abby and Kane) are worried about the Grounders turning on them. Raven contacts Bellamy to ask how everyone is doing (Good job remembering people Raven). Surprise! Roan is alive somehow. Echo attacks Clarke and seems to be the one in charge. She doesn’t want Abby to save Roan. She lets Clarke go (for some reason) and then blames Skaikru for everything bad that’s happened because she speaks for Azgeda now (for some reason). Oh and she’s apparently one of the queensguard, and claims Polis for Azgeda. Some of the Grounders try to stand up to her but get killed.
Jaha tries to help a Grounder and gets spit on. He seems hurt by it, but like, what did you expect dude? You were the literal villain last season. Murphy tells him to float himself (again, understandable). He resigns himself to clearing up dead bodies.
Emori has to leave Polis because she’s Trikru, and we finally learn why she took the chip: Jaha promised to take her to Murphy. Murphy wants to take her to Arkadia. (Apparently this is the Grounder/Skaikru romance we’re supposed to care about this season; I actually don’t mind, they’re cute. Fingers crossed Emori doesn’t die.) She agrees to go with him. There’s definitely a way in/out of Polis Tower because Skaikru has now holed themselves up inside the temple. Kane and Abby (Kabby) gets a nice romantic beat. Clarke looks constipated? Confused? Resigned? I’m not sure.
Indra and Octavia show up to join Kabby and Clarke (why?). They all consider handing over the flame to Azgeda, but Clarke says it won’t help. Abby picks up on Clarke not telling them something and Clarke admits that the world is ending. Bellamy is still skeptical about ALIE; Clarke believes her. Clarke advises surrendering to the Grounders.
Cut to Jaha carrying a linen wrapped body he claims is Ontari to Echo, who has him beaten in thanks. In case we’d forgotten that all Grounders are inherently violent. Echo learns that Skaikru is surrendering and goes to meet with them, but will only talk to Bellamy. Jaha tells Kane that “it worked, she’s in” , and we see Octavia cutting open the linen cloth. She was the ‘dead body’! Ngl, that was actually a good con. She kills a bunch of Azgeda to let Clarke and Abby in to save Roan. It is roughly late afternoon outside, which you need to know because…
After the commercial break it’s suddenly pitch dark. Murphy/Emori are trying to sneak out of Polis. Finding out about Pike being killed must have revived her because Indra is looking none the worse for the wear and is helping Kane advise Bellamy how to talk to Echo. Kane says offer her anything to keep her occupied, Indra is more cautious. I will say it was super polite of Echo to wait literally hours to talk to Bellamy. Echo apologizes to Bellamy for betraying him by saying she was following orders, which he says won’t cut it.
According to Echo, the CoL was the only thing keeping them from fighting each other (and not, you know, their choices) because not that it’s gone, Skaikru and Azgeda simply must be at odds. Bellamy then gives her the terms: Skaikru surrenders and accepts Azgeda rule so long as Azgeda accepts Skaikru as 13th clan. They’ll even give Azgeda guns! Echo refuses them (why??? these are really reasonable terms???), but also claims “no one wants war” (??).
Back in Roan’s sickroom, Abby and Clarke finally dig out the bullet from Roan’s shoulder (it must have really been in there for it to take hours). In the name of not wanting war, Echo threatens to kill Bellamy if Skaikru doesn’t lay down their guns. Skaikru lays down their guns just as Grounders bust in to Roan’s sickroom. Echo starts to kill Clarke but Roan wakes up just in time to halt it! Whew! That was close. Good thing Clarke has all that Plot Armor to save her from dying at Echo’s hands twice in one day. Roan is supes worried about Ontari, but not so much that he lets Clarke fully explain that Jaha killed her under ALIE’s orders. He also magically forgets that Kane was under ALIE’s control when he shot him. His memory lapse allows him to be really mad at Clarke.
Meanwhile, in Arkadia: Harper/Monty sex! Raven walks in on them and tells them to meet her in engineering because they’re all gonna die (way to ruin the mood Raven). Cut to Jasper listening to sad music, looking at a painting of “The Starry Night”, and sticking a gun to his chin. Murphy knocks on the door, interrupting him, to summon him to engineering. Raven explains that all the nuclear plants in the world were specially built to withstand both a nuclear attack and last exactly 100 years (convenient). Raven also explains that Skaikru could survive yellow radiation levels (current) but they’d all die when it hits red, which is in 6 months. Also, there’s no way to stop it. Jasper laughs because now he doesn’t have to kill himself, the world is going to do it for him (like, this is really aggressive nihilism for an 18 year old).
Back in Polis, Echo offers to ride down all of Skaikru that’s not locked up and warns Roan about appearing weak for not doing so. He proves he’s not weak by pressing a red hot poker to his chest (he’s so hardcore, guys). Echo calls Roan a ‘bargaining chip’ when talking about his exile, which apparently hurt his mom to do. Good thing they established all that antagonist between Nia and Roan last season to make all the sense of this (I don’t know what’s happening). Echo then offers to help Roan rule and tells him how to do it: take out Trikru and Skaikru.
Speaking of Skaikru, they’re all in prison and Clarke is fiddling with the flame and crying. Abby asks her what’s wrong and Clarke tells her she loved Lexa. Abby says she knew (sure, why not). Echo and some Grounders take Clarke captive while Bellamy yells ineffectually. Clarke is taken to the throne room, and Roan is antagonistic for no reason. Clarke warns him another nuclear apocalypse is coming, and that Azgeda needs her help. People are shouting “jus drein, jus daun” outside. Roan says he won’t survive if he lets her live (he’s probably not wrong). She offers him the flame in exchange for her help and Skaikru’s safety. Roan takes it, and announces to everyone that he accepts Clarke’s terms and will keep the flame safe until another nightblood is old enough to become commander.
Echo delivers a cool looking amulet to Bellamy so that he can pass in Azgeda lands safely. She asks if they’ll be able to trust each other and when he says no, she looks sad? (WHY?) Kane tells Bellamy to ‘turn the page’ and move on. Clarke and Bellamy leave to go to Arkadia and help Raven save the world. In the final shot, a couple of Grounders with radiation poisoning wander through a desert in Egypt and are horrifyingly disintegrated by a wave of fire presumably from a nuclear facility melting down.
Can we not have a suicide attempt right off the bat followed by a nihilism so aggressive that a teenager is actively happy he’s going to die a horrible death? This is a show aimed at teens ffs.
With that off my chest, on to things that make me less angry. Holy offscreen developments batman! Echo was queensgaurd all along! Roan was reinstated as heir! We know why Emori was chipped! Abby knew Clarke loved Lexa all along! There were Grounders in other countries all along!
It probably seems like I’m nitpicking right off the bat, but these are some really convenient plot points that we had no idea about at the end of last season. Echo being queensguard makes zero sense. Was she Nia’s queensguard? She has to be, because that’s the only Azgeda queen on the show. Ontari wasn’t the queen, she was the commander. But if Echo was Nia’s guard, how did she end up captured by Mt. Weather in S2? Were they poaching on Ice Nation land as well as on Trikru? If not, why wasn’t she guarding Nia? Why are we only hearing about this now? Oh, right, because it gives her the authority to speak for Azgeda and ‘advise’ Roan (i.e., tell him what to do).
Roan’s backstory confused me watching this, especially when Echo called him a “bargaining chip”. I had to go online to look it up and apparently in an interview last year, Rothenberg explained that Lexa made Roan’s banishment a condition of Nia and Azgeda joining the Coalition. Good thing they took the time to explain that on the show instead of just randomly referring to information given outside of show canon.
What makes even less sense is Echo’s utter resistance to making peace with Skaikru. I get it, they’re ‘bitter enemies’ or whatever, but she has the gall to say “No one wants war.” Honey, no. No one is making you fight bb. You could make this war go away if you decided not to fight with Skaikru. It’s that simple. Echo could just not kill Skaikru. Azgeda could let it go. If Echo didn’t want war, she could have literally accepted Skaikru’s super reasonable peace terms. Skaikru was surrendering, offered to acknowledge Azgeda’s rule and give them guns, and the only stipulation was basically “let us join you and don’t kill us”. What else did Echo want? She makes it sound like antagonism between Azgeda and Skaikru is this inevitable force that only the City of Light could stop. But it isn’t? Azgeda could just…I don’t know…not fight Skaikru?
That’s not even the first instance of someone making an inexplicable choice for Plot Reasons. Bellamy’s decision not to tell everyone the world was ending may have staved off panic, but it got them all thrown in jail and almost killed. Because keeping things to himself works out so well for him and his friends. Echo decides not to kill Clarke the first time because…she didn’t want to get her jacket bloody? But then she slits that other lady’s throat so…idk.
I also can’t get over the huge time jump from late afternoon to literally pitch dark. Like, it was at least four hours in between when Echo went to parlay with Skaikru and Kane/Indra sent Bellamy back to talk to her. I guess it took them that long to decide what to say? But it also means it took that long for Abby/Clarke to dig a single bullet out of Roan’s shoulder. They must be rusty with their field surgery? Or maybe Clarke is too busy having triggering flashbacks to the day her lover died. Seriously, who decided to send Clarke in there? And it isn’t as if she was actively helping Abby for all that time. She’s just standing behind her telling her to hurry up.
At least we got to enjoy the “there’s no way down from Polis Tower, it’s all completely blocked” retcon. For real. I couldn’t stop laughing. The first shot of the episode Octavia climbing down the outside of the tower, only for Clarke and Bellamy to waltz out the front door 2 seconds later. What? Why? Why did Octavia have to climb down? Did she just think it was more badass? And speaking of Octavia, I have no idea where this ‘dark assassin turn’ is going to come from. Because right now, she looks pretty cozy with the rest of Skaikru. She seems…not all that mad at Bellamy anymore either. Maybe they had a pep talk/reconciliation off screen.
Speaking of pep talks, it looks like the show really is going full scale “Bellamy is redeemed” with Kane’s “turn the page” moment. I mean, it’s nice that Kane and Bellamy are back to having a mentor/mentee relationships (I always liked that dynamic), but I still can’t get over the aggressive erasure and minimizing of Bellamy’s actions. In an interview just last week, Rothenberg had the gall to call Bellamy’s participation in genocide a “bad decision …he’s maybe made”. What utter bullshit. Let Bellamy feel the weight of what he did, let the show acknowledge it. That’s the only acceptable thing to do after an act that heinous. It’s why Bellamy’s self righteous response to Echo’s comment that she was “just following orders” when she betrayed him fell flat. Because Bellamy did far worse and he has yet to acknowledge and truly apologize for it. Much less seek true reconciliation.
Finally, I have to say that the explanation for the nuclear reactors exploding is the most absurd case of plot contrivance I have ever seen. There just happen to be specially made reactors that just happen to have been made to withstand a nuclear apocalypse and just happen to only last 100 years? You’re telling me all the nuclear reactors in the world just happen to have been replaced with these special new reactors three years before the last nuclear apocalypse? Because that’s the only way all of them just happen to be melting down at the exact same time 97 years later. Fuck you if you think I’m going to swallow that. It’s stupid.
Why would human beings ever design a nuclear reactor like this? If it can withstand a nuclear apocalypse, why design it with only a hundred year lifespan? Why not make it last indefinitely? It just feels like one of the writers realized there was a plot hole and decided to fill it with the most specific set of details possible. Rather than, say, the most reasonable. Like maybe that these are nuclear reactors that can last indefinitely, but one of them has malfunctioned and the chain reaction is going to cause all the rest of them to explode because they all just happen to be within blast radius distance. It’s still not perfect, but it makes more sense than this.
And if there are other nuclear reactors already exploding in other parts of the world (as we saw in the end), how do they still have 6 months left? That one would be leaking enough radiation to cause problems. Especially if there are other ones in Europe and Asia exploding as well, which we saw in ALIE’s simulation. There were at least four exploding already. 6 months seems remarkably lenient for this many reactors already melting down.
I don’t know what else to say but that it’s this giant game of idiot ball, retconning, and let’s pretend this never happened and the audience has forgotten the context. Very little of this makes sense unless you’re squinting really hard or don’t care about it making sense. Then again, this is from the producer who wants to be the next D&D, so what else can we expect?
Fine, I’ll say something nice. Clarke didn’t get yelled at! The only people who blamed her were Grounders! I did appreciate Clarke getting to confess to Abby that she loved Lexa…even if Abby ‘knowing’ makes no sense. It was a touching moment. I adore my Griffin ladies. They deserve better. And Bellamy’s face was priceless. Oh! And Kabby. I like Kabby. That was sweet. Also, I’m glad to see Raven is in decent psychological health. Protect Raven Reyes 2k5ever. Roan seems pretty cool; I liked him last season and hope he stays interesting. See? I have nice things to say.
Bits & Bobs
- Saying ‘Lexa’ count: 6
- Saying ‘the flame’ count: 4
- “I want what’s best for my people, same as you” (or somesuch): 2
- Where was Miller??
- The whole “kill Wanheda to gain her power” thing is back. Yay for being back in the S3 premiere.
- The sound was really weird, and it wasn’t just my TV. Certain dialogue was crisp but sometimes it was like they were mumbling. I had to turn closed captioning on.
- Parts of the episode between commercial breaks were really short
- “Grandfather’s crown” not “mother’s crown”? Way to erase a named female character on screen with some rando we’ve never met. Roan’s grandfather’s name is Theo, apparently, and he’s a big deal because Roan mentioned him in his motivational speech to Polis.
- Raven’s knee hurts again now. I’m sad she has pain, but at least it’s more consistent.
- Lexa had a name for the nuclear apocalypse? since when?
- The name “Echoes” seems to be a reference to some visual echoes from last season: Abby re-bandaging Kane/Clarke re-bandaging Bellamy, Jaha carrying shrouded Octavia/Bellamy carrying shrouded Lincoln (does this mean Octavia is going to die?), Roan cauterizing his own wound in front of Echo/in front of Clarke, Clarke with a bag over her head led to the throne room to the leader of Polis: Lexa/Roan, the Wanheda reference. There may be more, too.
Could be Cool: Not sure yet where the dark Octavia is going to come from, but I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I’m tired of the female revenge is empowerment trope. On the other, I want her to go full Greek tragedy, ending with her killing/wounding Bellamy which leads to her seeing the error of her ways, but not before she’s doomed herself. I’m not sure Rothenberg has the chops for this, though.
Pretty Sure: If you haven’t seen yet, there are supposed ‘leaks’ out the other day that say SPOILERS
Total Crack: Octavia is secretly pregnant with Lincoln’s baby, who ends up being the next nightblood to inherit the flame.
So how about it, do you have any theories or predictions you want to share? If so, head on over to “The 100 S4 Theories” topic on the community page and start talking! All theories are welcome, whether serious or salty. Just make sure you tell us which it is 😉
See you all next week for “Heavy Lies the Crown”!
Images Courtesy of the CW
Honest Conversations and Unfortunate Insensitivity on Cloak and Dagger
Content Warning: This review discusses suicidal ideation and attempted suicide, as depicted on the show.
Last week’s episode of Cloak and Dagger ended with Tyrone and Tandy together and finally ready to discuss why exactly they have new superpowers insistent on bringing the two of them together. Both their lives have been tossed upside down, and the only consistent thing in the tragedies of both their lives is each other. Maybe it’s time to sit down and talk about it? That’s exactly what “Call/Response” did this week. Unfortunately, to mixed results.
Time to Talk
“Call/Response” continued Cloak and Dagger’s attempts at interesting episode structure by weaving together forward plot momentum in and out of the previously mentioned conversation between its heroes. This conversation lasted through the entire episode as Tandy and Tyrone hashed out what their powers are, what they do, how they experience them, and what their dreams from last week meant for each of them. These two had a lot to talk about.
For a good 90% of this conversation, I liked the direction of it. The honest and open-ended nature was refreshing. For the first time since they acquired their new powers, they held nothing back regarding what had changed, what they were going through, and how it affected them.
It moved both characters appreciatively forward. Even better, you could see how the conversation positively affected both in the scenes from the next day, when both acted on everything they discussed. Cloak and Dagger thus did a good job timing subjects of conversation with next-day action. Like you’d expect, these scenes were not exactly subtle about it, but so long as the point is made what does that matter?
Through their conversation, Tyrone and Tandy finally started acting against their instincts. They challenged their perceptions of the world. Tandy made an honest effort to learn about her mother’s boyfriend Greg and found out he was genuinely interested in her mother and trying to help. She made an effort to embrace the hope she always rejected before. Her experiences have shaped her towards cynicism in everything. Life is a giant scam where everyone uses everyone else to get ahead, and you see this in her own method of making money. For her to open her mind to the possibility of Greg proving her wrong was a significant step forward.
Tyrone faced his own challenged perceptions, naturally based around his brother’s murder and murderer. He considered Tandy’s argument about his place in the world and where his privilege truly stands, as well as the destructive path his actions led him down. The failed trip to the police station was one important step, but the truly important moment was his field trip with his father to Otis’s old Mardi Gras Indians stomping ground.
(By the way, add another cool twist on New Orleans culture to Cloak and Dagger’s credit.)
Through this trip, Tyrone found new perspective on his father and brother, as well as his own anger. His father stressed the importance of finding a channel for his anger. And he might have found his way via the suits the Mardi Gras Indians create, and the taking on of his brother’s unfinished suit. Tyrone needs this outlet and focus for his anger. He struggled with it throughout the first three episodes, even to the point of trying to shoot Detective Connors.
Even better, all this character development provided the biggest plot movement yet. Tandy’s determination to get along with Greg led to direct involvement in the Roxxon lawsuit he represented her mother in. It also led to Roxxon killing Greg for presumably getting too close. There should be no escaping the consequences of Greg’s death. Tandy’s mother will suffer. Who knows whether her determination to take the corporation down will wax or wane. Tandy herself visited the burned office to retrieve documents from Greg’s safe, so she certainly won’t let this go.
Tyrone’s plot movement was not so direct, but still meant something. He learned of his brother’s training to be a “Spy Boy” for the Redhawks, a role in Mardi Gras parades involving moving ahead of the Big Chief but was described in this episode as someone responsible for scouting the unknown to seek oncoming trouble. The unfinished suit Tyrone adopted also largely resembles the signature look of Cloak in the comics.
And of course now you also have to wonder if Roxxon will involve themselves with the Redhawks.
There was definitely a lot of good content in this episode. At this point Cloak and Dagger is close to establishing a base quality that this episode certainly matched. Unfortunately, the end of the episode left a real sour taste in my mouth. One reason due to plot, and another for some poor handling of a very sensitive subject.
Insensitivity and Stalling
You saw the content warning, so let’s dive right in. The episode-long conversation between Tandy and Tyrone breaks down at the very end, when conversations about privilege turn into insults and eventually lead to Tandy admitting to suicidal thoughts. In his anger, Tyrone tells her that if she wants to die so badly, she should just do it.
The next day, in the aftermath of Greg’s murder, Tandy restrains her hands and feet and jumps into the ocean, clearly planning on killing herself. She eventually resurfaces when her powers trigger and she cuts the ropes binding her hands.
I will say this: my final judgment will depend on how this is handled moving forward. Right now it feels like a really cheap use of suicide. There are some things you must always take care to portray responsibly when telling your story, and this did not feel like a particularly responsible way to handle Tandy’s thoughts of ending her life. I worry this was nothing more than an attempt to end the episode with high drama, and that the distasteful implications are unrecognized.
Now, we do need to see where it goes from here. If Tyrone recognizes the terribleness of what he said and apologizes for it, and there’s a genuine effort to understand the mistake he made, this can pass by without issue. And it’s not like the idea that Tandy might have suicidal thoughts came from nowhere. Considering her immense survivor’s guilt and lack of connection, I can certainly understand how thoughts of suicide enter her mind. Thing is, I don’t think you can just throw it out there, have a main character yell at her to just go ahead and kill herself, have said character try, and then move on from it. It all happened so quick and dirty that I can’t help but feel like it may have just been there for drama.
I hope it’s needless to say that using suicide just for drama is an awful idea.
Cloak and Dagger needs to follow up respectfully on Tandy’s attempt. Suicidal tendencies are a serious concern that must be handled delicately and with a purpose. And unfortunately, this is an easy fallback too many shows rely on without the proper care needed. I hope Cloak and Dagger doesn’t.
My second, lesser, and plot-related concern is the argument that led to Tyrone’s insensitive words. Namely that, to me, it came completely out of nowhere. The two of them spent the entire episode having a calm, respectful discussion. Even sensitive subjects between the two caused little drama. Then all of a sudden a piece of genuine advice blows it all up and leads to an unnatural argument over privilege. Which leads to Tandy mentioning her suicidal thoughts and Tyrone’s comment.
This development renewed my worry from last week over these two being kept apart too long. It seems clear that the real, ground-shaking forward movement on Cloak and Dagger won’t take place until Tandy and Tyrone unite. “Call/Response” spent 90% of its runtime heading in this direction. Then it all fell apart.
I certainly understand how a conversation over privilege could lead to heated tensions, especially with backgrounds like Tandy and Tyrone have. Still, this felt so artificial. It almost felt like Cloak and Dagger attempting a superficial, ham-fisted discussion of privilege without any real meat. The main goal seems to be keeping the two main characters apart. It’s the absolute worst attempt the show has made regarding the privilege debate. Scenes like Tyrone walking into the police station and looking around, only to find a sea of white faces, speak volumes more than this conversation did.
While we’re certainly not back where we were at the end of the second episode, we’re a little too close for comfort. Both characters seem like they will tackle the plot alone. And you know they will tackle it ineffectively. The whole idea (at least to me) is that they won’t truly make progress until they team up. I’m also reaching a point where I will start to distrust the moments where they appear ready to team up if this goes on for too long.
In one moment, they undid a great deal of the work the 40 minutes before hand strove hard for.
I’m all for character development, but here’s hoping Cloak and Dagger avoids this mistake in the future. And here’s hoping Tandy’s suicide ends up as more than a way to create drama feeding this mistake.
- I was delighted when Greg turned out to be a good guy. Damn shame they killed him in the same episode he turned out as such.
- Tandy’s mother is seriously tragic. I worry we’re heading in a self-harm direction with her as well.
- I also loved learning more about Tyrone’s father, Otis. He seems to harbor a lot of the same barely repressed anger that his son does. I hope we get more of him and his history with the Redhawks.
- Roxxon is still paying for the rights to the plot of ocean with the collapsed rig. This suggests to me that whatever gave Tyrone and Tandy powers still slumbers beneath the water.
- Sometimes Tandy and Tyrone have some really good banter…and then sometimes I wonder how it can be so off.
Images Courtesy of Freeform
The Expanse Wanders Among The Wreckage
The Expanse is on its penultimate week, and with an episode called “Fallen World,” showed us the aftermath of a disaster.
When the episode starts, Holden is unconscious, so Bobbie picks him up and they head towards their shuttle. However, she realizes the speed limit might have decreased after her commanding officer threw the grenade last episode, and tests it. Turns out she is right. They get out and stabilize Holden. However, many Martians and Earthers are both dead on their ship, as the quick deceleration was a massive shock.
Naomi survived, but her skiff is no longer able to move, so she abandons it and steps into space. Drummer and her first officer are both pinned by heavy machinery, and have to cooperate to get out of the situation. Anna wakes up and goes through her ship, watching the scores of dead people. Those who are bleeding severely are lost as well, since in zero gravity, there is apparently no way for the blood to drain. One would expect they’d have some sort of vacuum pumps for that, being a space-faring civilization, but whatever. Anna is horrified and offers her help, being a trained nurse.
Holden’s brain scans show frenetic activity, but he’s not waking up. A MCRN soldiers feels like Bobbie is more loyal to him than to them, and suggests she kills him, because dying might be the best fate for him right now.
Drummer and her first have now gotten to the point of sharing life stories and singing together, since they are out of viable solutions for their situation.
When Clarissa wakes up, she think she successfully killed Tilly. But as Anna is helping fix her broken arm, Tilly contacts Anna on her hand terminal. Anna goes to find her, and Tilly tells her what happened before she dies. Clarissa, meanwhile, escapes the ship just as Anna catches up with her. She is left screaming that, “she cannot escape, only beg for mercy.”
Naomi arrives at the Roci and finds Alex, mostly all right, and Amos, who was hit in the head with a heavy tool and so is less alright. Drummer’s first starts coughing blood from his punctured lungs. For some mysterious reason, Drummer decides that means she should sacrifice herself, even though from what we have heard, doing so gives him a really low chances of survival. Still, she moves the machine back onto herself, freeing him, and he calls for help.
Clarissa reaches the Roci and manages to get inside. Naomi hears the impact and goes to check what is wrong. Clarissa tries to kill her—of course she does—but Anna, who apparently followed Clarissa, saves Naomi.
Drummer’s first, after hearing about the large number of wounded they have, gives the order to spin the drum of the ship, creating artificial gravity. They are unsure it will work, but they manage successfully. The first, who is not the captain, then opens a channel to other ships around them and invites everyone to transport their wounded to their ship.
MCRN seems to have more stupid ideas about how bad it is they are being saved by the “skinners,” apparently a name for the Belters. Bobbie effectively tells him he is an idiot and goes to see Holden, who woke up, and now tells her he had a vision of the end of everything.
Overall, this was another good episode with solid pacing and clear progress forward. But there were still plenty enough things left that bother me.
First and foremost among them would be the storyline happening aboard the Martian shuttle. For one, the MCRN marine was acting completely ridiculous. The Expanse has always had trouble with depicting the less open-minded military types with any nuance, but this might be a new low. In particular, I am talking about handing Bobbie the gun to shoot Holden.
It made no sense at all in context: their orders were to bring Holden in. I don’t expect MCRN tortures their prisoners, so the argument with “might be the best for him” hardly made sense. Most of all, it felt like a test for Bobbie, but if so, it was a test of a kind I’d expect to see in Star Trek Discovery‘s Mirror Universe, not among the Martians. The Expanse show adaptation has always depicted the Martians worse than the books do, and this continues in the same vein. Bobbie is gaining the very uncomfortable overtones of being the “one good apple.”
On the other hand, Bobbie’s own role here was scarcely better, particularly her strange obsession with Holden. She is acting like they became best friends in the first half of this season, which is definitely not something I noticed. No matter how ridiculous the marine’s desire to have Holden shot was, he was perfectly right that it looked like Holden was controlling the protomolecule. We know it was because Miller was controlling it for him, but Bobbie doesn’t.
At the same time, it doesn’t follow she would immediately jump to the conclusion that Holden is a villain. He could be controlled by the protomolecule. In fact, he was, to a degree. Or, he could have simply gone insane. Once again, he had in a way. There are many possible explanations that don’t lead to wanting to have Holden executed, but which at the same time don’t lead to Bobbie insisting to her marine crew that, “Holden wouldn’t do anything wrong.”
It is doubly irritating because this is Holden of all people, everyone’s personal favorite white boy. Of course she would be all up in arms about him. Meanwhile, women of color were in danger or outright killed left and right this episode.
Speaking of which, Drummer. On one hand, when we first saw the situation she was in, I was worried it would develop into a mutual attempt at killing the other and saving themselves. I am truly, deeply grateful it didn’t. And even the idea of her sacrifice could have been a brilliant one, really, in the right circumstances. The way it played out here, however? Just after it is implied her first has a low chances of survival, without any particular indication that she is in serious trouble herself? It just feels very much like, “all right, the brown chick was the captain for a bit too long, time to give it to a white guy.”
The scene between them was acted excellently though, I have to grant them that much. Naomi was very good this episode as well, and were her Rocinante boys.
The one character who continues to be a disappointment is Anna. Her very last intervention was badass to be sure, but it’s not the kind of strength I expect from Anna. She’s not there to beat people over their heads. And until that moment, she was as insufferable as before. The most ridiculous moment was shouting after Clarissa. I understand she was meant to be upset, but it just looked stupid. Tilly repeating Anna was “very good at this,” meaning her pastoral duties, only made me roll my eyes once more. Show, don’t tell, please. At this point, such assertions about Anna are about as convincing as all the characters telling Tyrion he was clever on Game of Thrones.
The season finale next week is a double episode. At this point, I feel like it can go in many different directions, and I am all impatience to see which one it goes for.
All images courtesy of SyFy
Reverie Sows the Seeds of Doubt
Last week’s episode of Reverie ended on a cliffhanger. Mara realized that she wasn’t actually at her late sister’s house, talking to her late niece (she was actually pretty sure on that last one). This leads to an obvious question: where was Mara, really. Unfortunately for her, she was in the middle of a road, with a car on its way. Before the car runs her over, Mara is saved by a mysterious man who knows her name. Turns out Mara’s savior is Oliver Hill, who claims to be suffering from de-realization as well. Hill has been following Mara, out of supposed worry. Before Oliver was a concerned stalker, he was a founding partner of Onira-Tech. He has something to explain to her, but he needs food first.
Oliver Hill V. Onira-Tech
Reverie spends about half of the episode providing two arguments for what’s really going on. Oliver argues that Reverie 2.0 is inherently flawed. He claims that he and Mara, being the two people who have spent the most time in Reverie 2.0, will be representative of the general population. In his version, Charlie is Onira-Tech’s unthinking bodyguard who hates Oliver. The medication that Mara has been given is supposedly useless (which is not a great message, especially when paired with Mara’s previous trashing of her meds). Oliver tells Mara not to tell Onira-Tech about their conversation, but that lasts for about 3 minutes. Mara is scared and she needs answers, and she tries to test Oliver’s claims against Onira-Tech’s personnel.
On the other hand, Onira-Tech claims that Oliver Hill was unstable. Charlie claims that Oliver is dangerous. Paul shows Mara Oliver’s brain activity, explaining that he had issues before Reverie 2.0. Alexis tells Mara that her partnership with Oliver was founded in a romantic relationship. That relationship went badly, and Alexis doesn’t want to be defined by that failure, hence his erasure from the company.
By the end of the episode, Mara agrees with the latter form of events. She seems to be finally persuaded by Alexis’ detailing of her and Oliver’s romantic partnership. However, it’s not clear that the narrative agrees with Mara. Mara doesn’t know where to turn, and Reverie loves drawing tension from that. It thrives off of Mara’s (and the viewer’s) disorientation.
It’s certainly clear that Oliver has other plans, since he offers to buy a Reverie system at the end of the episode.
This episode also included a client of the week. Part of the reason the Onira-Tech team started out the episode on edge was a theft within the building. Someone stole a copy of Reverie, and modified it into a form of “Dark Reverie.” The “Dark” version doesn’t have restrictions. Our client of the week, Glenn, is using it to plan a heist. Since last week’s episode involved a bank robber, it’s likely Glenn needed the jailbroken version for the detailed specifications.
Glenn is a man with a stereotypical form of OCD. He avoids daylight, and hates the color blue. In a twist that should not surprise the viewer, Glenn doesn’t want to commit the heist for himself. He’s been watching the single mother and son across the street. The son has a rare disease, and Glenn wants to save his life with a trial drug. Despite mostly living inside, Glenn’s motivation is that he feels like part of the pair’s family. This entire plot feels like a math problem. Sick kid + adult with stereotypical OCD + moral heist = episodic plot.
Glenn offers to sell out “Dark Reverie” sellers and give his system back on one condition: help him do the heist. Mara complies, but Charlie and Monica have other ideas. Instead of letting Glenn steal the medication, they make a deal with the medicine company CEO. The heist goes through, but is spinned as a test of the company’s security system. Glenn gets the meds for the kid, and doesn’t get a felony on his record. Smiles all around.
Reverie‘s season arc plot wildly outstrips its episodic plots. This week’s episodic plot was probably the worst so far. However, the arc’s plot twists easily, without feeling gimmicky.