Monday, July 15, 2024

Heavy Lies the Manpain and Other Repetitions

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The 100 Season 4 Episode 2 Review, “Heavy Lies the Crown”

Welcome back to The 100, the show where the worldbuilding makes no sense and previous seasons and characterizations don’t matter. Last week was obnoxious but not as bad as it could have been. Elizabeth and I were even kind of hopeful that maybe we’d get something decent this season. I’m far less hopeful after tonight.

So grab your blood pressure meds because I’m about to dish out some salt.

What Happened

9 days earlier, a radioactive butterfly leads us to a woman partially crucified, while one of her sons kills the other to try and get her to take the chip. Before he can kill himself too, ALIE is destroyed and the son “wakes up’ to what he’s done. His mom dies in his arm and asks him to avenge her (uh, okay lady, your son was the one that killed you, but whatevs). Now Ilian has reasons to want Skaikru dead. That’s right, another manpain arc. Because now that Bellamy is over his, we need something to fill the void.

Next stop Polis for some Kabby sex, which is totes an appropriate time for Kane to bring up her dead husband after he sees The Necklace of Extreme Emotional Significance. It’s ‘foreshadowing’ though, so remember that necklace they never mentioned before as having meaning for her husband that she helped get killed. Kane also feels the need to warn Abby because she is incapable of knowing how delicate a political situation it is in Polis without that reminder.

Meanwhile, outside, Ilian is plotting treason in an open market (at night) with his fellow Trishanakru member. They want to challenge Roan to single combat because they blame Skaikru for the chipping but the coalition protects Skaikru. Since they are making zero effort to hide this treasonous conversation in public, Octavia overhears.

Echo welcomes Roan into his throne room (that he hasn’t been in at all for the past 9 days??) and challenges him on ruling like Lexa did. His mom would be so disappointed in him. But not his granddad Theo, he doesn’t matter any more. Plus he might lose the people’s loyalty (about that loyalty… footage not found).

Kane and Octavia interrupt Echo’s newest harangue against her king to warn Roan against Trishanakru. Kane was supes worried about this clan and had warned Roan…off-screen sometime in the 9 days that passed on the show? (I’ll get to the timeline, don’t worry.) Kane offers to talk with Rafael, the ambassador of Trishanakru, so that Roan doesn’t have to fight him. Octavia thinks Roan would lose single combat since Lexa kicked his butt when he wasn’t hurt. And wait, didn’t Abby say Roan needed her when she was in bed with Kane? So why are Kane and Octavia the ones to go to the throne room, where is Abby? Maybe she got lost.

In Arkadia, the Delinquents have been working for 2 days to find a solution to the end of the world. Raven wants to tell people so they can crowd source a solution, but Bellamy wants to keep it secret until they have a ‘viable solution’. Raven also recommends finding a bunker like Mt. Weather. Monty recommends fixing up Alpha station to go back into space (CALLED IT), and Raven says it will take a month to fix the totally crashed ship (with what supplies? Where will they get the materials?). Clarke seems to have no opinion other than what most of the team decides. I guess she needs a break from thinking for a while.

Ooh! Bryan and Miller are back! Bellamy wants to take them back to Farm Station to get a hydrogenerator for the ship to make water so that 500 people can survive. But uh oh, trouble in paradise for the only canonically queer couple left, as they bicker over Pike’s leadership and decisions. Outside, Jasper is taking a shower M*A*S*H* style and wasting all the drinking water. He’s pretty happy because he’s an extreme nihilist now and can’t wait for the world to kill him so he doesn’t have to. But he reminds Monty to get the weed from Farm Station that they had no reason to be growing in space. With that, Harper, Monty, Bellamy, Miller and Bryan are off to Farm Station. Bellamy is taking the Magical McGuffin Azgeda Hall Pass that Clarke explains to him again as if he wasn’t the one Echo handed it to last time.

Azgeda has moved into Farm Station. Bryan wants to kill them, but Bellamy has taken to heart the new page thing because he opposes it. Ice Nation scouts find them and take them captive to take to their chief (wait, what is Azgeda’s clan structure again?). Too bad the Hall Pass worked about as well as we thought and got Bellamy punched in the face. One Grounder wants to kill them because Roan is not her king, but Chief Dude is more reasonable and wants them to take what they need and go.

At Arkadia, Raven directs some people to fix the ship and is mad that she doesn’t have more volunteers. She’s having doubts about being in charge for some reason, but Clarke believes in her. Jaha, who is also now magically in Arkadia and has new skills (he was an engineer before being chancellor?). He offers to help, but Raven doesn’t want it for justifiable reasons (remember the graphic self harm? Yeah, she does, too). Jaha seems pretty chill about his “sins” that he’s “living with” and will help any way he can, even sorting scrap. Bellamy and Co. discover the Grounders were keeping slaves in Farm Station, and of course he notices the one Skaikru among them and fixes his attention on him.

In Polis, Echo and Roan train while Abby watches. She says he needs more time to heal, which is true because Echo kicks his butt. Handily. She offers to fight for him (which Abby agrees is a good idea), but Roan is a Man and he must Fight His Own Battles. Echo keeps shoving Nia in his face to motivate him and wants to get rid of Skaikru by telling him making decisions like this will lose people’s faith in him. Roan tells Echo he’s protecting Skaikru because of the new “priemfaiya” (nuclear apocalypse), and she says it’s a lie. Roan tells her she can prove Skaikru wrong after she helps him train to fight.

Rafael of Trishanakru is once again plotting his challenge of Roan in broad daylight. Kane comes to ask them to stand down. Ilian blames Skaikru for murdering his family. Octavia seems pretty happy helping Kane by intimidating Ilian, but neither Kane’s words nor Octavia’s threats sway them.

Clarke is frustrated with planning the rescue. She hears music outside only to find people drinking and playing around instead of working, including Jasper. Jasper wants Clarke to tell everyone the truth but she’s worried about panic. Jasper tells Clarke she’s acting just like the council on the Ark, but doesn’t tell everyone ‘the truth’ himself so…he obviously doesn’t care that much. Mostly it just makes Clarke feel bad.

At Farm Station, Harper wants to tell the king about the slaves, Bellamy wants to try diplomacy. Conveniently Unfortunately, a slave slips them a note that they’re being moved the next day so they have to free them now. Bryan and Harper want to blow the hydrogenerator to free the slaves; Monty and Miller want to take it to Raven so they can save humanity. Bellamy is the deciding vote, and he decides to blow up their chance at making enough water for 500 people because he thinks Raven can come up with another solution in the coming months. Even with everything else she needs to do. Once the generator blows, Bryan tells Monty to kill the Grounder chief because he killed Monty’s dad. Monty chooses to break the slaves chains instead because he’s a good person and knows revenge is not empowerment. The slaves kill the Grounder chief anyway.

Jaha asks Clarke why they’re really fixing Alpha Station (which makes me wonder why everyone else hasn’t asked that same question). When she looks pained, he says the name of the episode like it’s a piece of magical insight. Clarke is mad at him for imprisoning her and killing her dad, so Jaha gets a monologue about how hard it is to be a ruler. Because Clarke doesn’t know about tough decisions and needs Jaha to mansplain it to her so she can feel bad.

Kane and Abby are alone in Roan’s throne room at night. For reasons. Kane is upset about the lack of diplomacy, and Abby about not being able to help Roan. He tells her to go back to Arkadia and be with Clarke, and notices she’s not wearing The Necklace of Extreme Emotional Significance! They make out a little more.

I genuinely want good things for Kabby. They’re adorable and seem to have a healthy relationship.

Octavia goes to challenge Rafael to single combat, and then kills him when he refuses. The next day, Roan calls the council of ambassadors. He’s ready to fight, but Echo comes in to tell him Rafael dead. Ilian knows it was Octavia, but she’s ice cold and even says she’s sorry for his loss.

Back at Arkadia, Bryan feels bad and wants reassurance, but Miller can’t give it to him because he was opposed to the bomb in the first place. Bryan walks away mad. The Skaikru slave Riley has a touching homecoming, and we know he’s important because both Bellamy and Clarke identify him by name despite never being mentioned before now. Raven is justifiably upset that they didn’t get the hydrogenerator. Bellamy admits he made a call and has to live with it because he doesn’t want to lose any more innocent lives. Raven says no more than 100 people can survive in Alpha Station without the generator.

Clarke makes the decision to tell everyone the truth, which, good for her. Thanks for not dragging this secret out. She promises to save everyone (well, all the Arkadians anyway) and asks for volunteers. She says they won’t just survive, but thrive (I see that Lexa reference). So… not the whole truth, which upsets Raven. Clarke says hope is more important than truth.


Let’s take it from the top, shall we? The nonsense starts right away with Ilian’s backstory. I’m just going to ignore the ridiculousness of introducing a brand spanking new Grounder clan to hate on Skaikru this season because they’ll probably all die by the end of the season anyway. Trikru is now majorly diminished, and Floukru kind of was too (is anyone going to go tell them the world is ending?). This show really likes to kill off large groups of indigenous peoples.

Anyway, Ilian threatening to kill himself makes no sense. It’s a hollow threat and the mother should know this. What good would him killing himself do? She’d still be partially crucified and now with no way of taking the chip because everyone else in the vicinity is dead. Ilian killing himself destroys ALIE’s chance of making a convert of her. Plus, I’m still annoyed that this is even a reasonable measure to ‘convert’ people to your cause. Killing people is a weird way to save humanity, ALIE, but whatever. You did cause a nuclear apocalypse to solve the problem of overpopulation. Maybe overreaction was a flaw in her programming.

And with that, we get a fridged woman and manpain within the first 4 minutes of the episode.

Also, what even is the timeline? We know that Ilian killed his family “9 days earlier.” It’s a jarring way to start the episode. Following the “previously on” introduction, such a title card implies that it was 9 days prior to what they just showed. But the segment includes ALIE’s destruction, so…We know Roan wasn’t dead 9 days, so why not just start with that scene, which was on the same day as last week’s episode (the day of ALIE’s fall), and then put a “9 days later” on the following scene. That would make way more sense.

As if that weren’t convoluted enough, the first Arkadia scene Raven says they’ve been working for 2 days for a solution to saving humanity. We can reasonably assume that they Clarke and Bellamy wouldn’t have sat on their butts once they got there, so that means it took a week to get to Arkadia. But…it took like, hours last season?

Okay, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt here and try to work this out. Clarke had a horse at one point and the Delinquents a jeep. So let’s go with the distance/time a horse can cover the ground. Given constraints I found here, a horse could cover 15 miles a day traveling for 10 hours in the terrain around Polis/Arkadia. Clarke took an afternoon, but let’s be generous and give her a day. That makes Arkadia and Polis roughly 15 miles apart from what has been established on the show thus far. It would not take Clarke and Bellamy a week to walk 15 miles. They could do that in a day. It would suck, but they could do it. I’ve done 13 miles in a day.

So, either Arkadia and Polis are much farther apart and S2’s travel time was bs. Or they’re much closer and this week’s travel time was bs. Either way, the writing staff either forgot or doesn’t care. And this is all assuming that it takes a short amount of time to get from wherever Ilian was at the beginning of the episode to Polis. Otherwise it’s been even longer than 9 days and they just didn’t tell us. But then the 9 days earlier wouldn’t make sense. What even is geography? And travel time? Why am I putting more thought and work into this than they did?

Moving on, why all the mentions of Roan losing the loyalty/faith of his people? Echo said last week that no one believed in him. Some of the Grounders at Farm Station didn’t and rightly pointed out that Roan has been in exile for 3 years. Azgeda must be super committed to it’s hereditary monarchy to let him stay in power when no one likes him already, and he’s ruling in the way that got Lexa killed. What you wanna bet he won’t get a bullet to the stomach as a thank you like she did.

But, when you think about it, they haven’t actually shown any other Grounders in Polis being unhappy with his leadership. Other than Trishanakru and that one lady in Farm Station, no one has objected. With how many Grounders were willing to openly talk about their dissatisfaction with Lexa’s choices, you’d think we’d see more rumblings. Maybe the whole “no one likes you” is just Echo trying to manipulate Roan. That would be interesting, actually, so it’s probably not true. With this show, the statements of fact are usually fact, however poorly they’re backed up with the rest of what’s on our screens.

Speaking of facts not in evidence, how did Echo know that the Rafael the Trishanakru ambassador’s heart stopped? Like, is that the default explanation for forty-year-old men in good health who die unexpectedly? Couldn’t they just have said he was found dead? There is zero reason for them to label it that specifically, especially when they don’t have the technology to know. How did they know he didn’t choke or have a seizure or a sudden fit of narcolepsy and drown in his own drool? Saying his heart stopped is inexplicably specific for the circumstance.

There’s no way in hell he didn’t bleed a little bit even after Octavia wiped off the blood in his ear. But even if he didn’t, why bother making it look like a natural death at all? I can understand not wanting to start a witch hunt for murder, but why not make it look like suicide? And if you’re going to make it look natural, why leave the weapon behind on the table in his hand? It’s a cool scene, don’t get me wrong, and she’s cold as ice while doing so, which is chilling. I don’t mind this as much as I mind the “his heart stopped” explanation. She’s basically the only cool thing about this show so far.

I was actually hoping to like the slave subplot, since it seemed intriguing in the promo last week. It’s a good idea in theory; it could have been really good if given room to breathe rather than wrapped up in an episode. As it stands, it falls apart on closer examination.

Take Riley. Leaving aside that this is the first we’ve heard of him, we have to assume he’s Farm Station because everyone thought he was dead. But why would Azgeda take a Skaikru member as a slave instead of killing them? The whole history of Farm Station/Azgeda has been a one sided slaughter. Suddenly taking a single member of Skaikru as a slave is…weird. Or should I say plot convenient?

But that raises the question of who the others slaves are. Azgeda wouldn’t imprison their own people, so that only leaves Skaikru or another Grounder clan. But Skaikru makes not sense because of the whole Azgeda killed all of them thing, but even if Azgeda decided to take 24 Skaikru captive, why does no one else know their names? The Ark was a small station, at least one of the other Delinquents would have recognized at least one of the others if they were Skaikru. And if they’re other Grounders, what nation? Would this not be a violation of Lexa’s coalition for Azgeda to be taking slaves from other clans? You’re telling me not one Grounder would have escaped to tell her that Azgeda was taking slaves?

I honestly can’t even honeypot this. And of course the writers could only make Bellamy care about another Skaikru member, and not, you know, the other freaking enslaved people, because who cares about Grounders amirite?

I just can’t even with how they’re writing Bellamy this season. Bobby Morley is doing an admirable job trying to make it seem like Bellamy is conflicted and burdened, but the emotions on his face do not match the dialogue. He doesn’t want to kill Grounders, but then he does because one Skaikru person is enslaved. Which, fine, maybe he has remorse and really does want to make up for what he did by preventing more innocents now. He tends toward choosing to accomplish small, immediate goals instead of thinking of the big picture. Fine. But, by doing so he jeopardized the mission to save the entire human race. What. Even. He’s literally willing to prevent some people from surviving a nuclear apocalypse because he feels bad for Riley.

If it were just this one action, I might be able to argue “tough choices” and “heavy lies the crown” (*SIGH*), but Bellamy has evinced a consistent pattern of prioritizing Skaikru lives over the lives of any and all Grounders. Let’s not forget he killed 300 Grounders sent to protect him because manpain and bigotry. He only went with Clarke to Floukru because he thought it would save Skaikru from ALIE. He doesn’t give a crap about Grounders and this is just one more example. Because it was clearly framed as about Riley. He even tells Clarke specifically that she should feel bad for wanting the hydrogenerator (which would save hundreds, some of which would be Grounders) instead of Riley to be safe. One named Skaikru is worth hundreds of unnamed Grounders. It’s just who Bellamy is now.

Then again, why should it be? This is a false dilemma anyway. So what if the slaves were getting moved? Bellamy could have taken the hydrogenerator and left one of the Delinquents to spy on Azgeda to see where they were moving the slaves and keep an eye on them. In the meantime, he and Clarke could have sent word to Abby and Kane to tell Roan. No way that keeping slaves is kosher with the coalition (as I said above). The writers had another, perfectly viable option without shoehorning in another “tough decision” that Bellamy has to justify to Clarke. But then we wouldn’t have the added drama of no hydrogenerator, so, further hole digging for Bellamy it is!

And honestly don’t even get me started on fixing the ship. As much as Elizabeth and I called it, so it’s unsurprising, it’s nonsense. Where would they get any supplies to fix it? No way even cannibalizing what remains of the stations they found would have exactly the right supplies to perfectly fix up a station as large as Alpha Station. Especially not one that literally crash landed into the Earth. Large piece of it are not even right side up. It’s literally on it’s side. How are they going to right it? How are they going to fix the ring? And then propulsion. How will they fuel this to get into orbit on the scant resources available? They don’t have any fuel left that we know of, otherwise it would have blown on impact. Knowing the writers, there’s a secret cache somewhere. Even if that makes no sense.

[NB: I have been informed that they’re bunkering Alpha Station, not sending it to space, which makes more sense. I may have missed a beat of dialogue; this show is so mumbly so I very well may have. Or, they may not have explained it fully and I was too focused on something else to connect the dots. I actually give them props for a creative solution. I like the idea actually, though I still wonder where they’re getting all these supplies to fix it. But at least they don’t have to make it space worthy.]

Whatever, let’s take one final minute to think about the fact that KANE AND ABBY HAD SEX IN CLARKE’S BED. Maybe there are only two beds in the Polis tower? I guess at least it wasn’t the bed where the Clexa sex happened. Or is a mom having sex in her daughter’s former bed weirder? I don’t even know anymore. Maybe the props department were just lazy and wanted to reuse the prop and hoped no one would notice.

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I will give them props for showing us some middle aged loving, not even Game of Thrones did that. We so rarely get to see middle aged characters show physical affection on a show geared toward teenagers, much less have sex. I mean, that’s like thinking of your parents having sex and that’s just weird. We got about as much time with it as Monty/Harper got last week, too, which is impressive. Though I think maybe a bit less half naked man, but still. Kudos to you, The 100. I sincerely appreciate it. Kabby deserves it.

This is supposedly an episode about the complexities of leadership, because we haven’t beaten that dead horse enough in the past two seasons. I might be more compelled by these “complex motivations” if they didn’t feel like more of the same things we’ve gotten before: make Clarke feel bad for making decisions few others are willing to make, Bellamy prioritizing Skaikru over Grounders, Grounders hate Skaikru for reasons and want them dead, Grounder political leader is pressured to kill them, but prefers the bigger picture, Kane is a diplomat, Abby can’t decide between her daughter and politics. This isn’t even the first time Clarke has been compared to the adults/council on the ark so even that insult falls flat. It’s just more of the same over and over and over again.

So where does that leave me? Maybe this is all going over my head because it is such a complex show. We know that because “there are no good guys” and “anyone can die”, two marks of a Brave™ and Complex™ show. Maybe I’m just not invested enough or have suspended my disbelief enough to see the logic here.

Or maybe it really is this stupid.


Bits & Bobs

  • Lexa count: 4
  • The Flame count: 0
  • They have a thing for half naked men this season. The Count so far: 3
  • They have a new jeep, apparently. This one had an open backseat rather than the closed one of last season.
  • Can we not have Raven and Clarke fighting? Or have the only canon queer ship be bickering all of a sudden?
  • Monty and Raven deserve better.
  • Is Riley going to be Clarke’s new love interest? I’m still cheering for Niylah.
  • Monty and Harper holding hands for comfort while facing Farm Station was cute
  • Bellamy can speak Trigedasleng now. When? How? We wasn’t around many Grounders last season and when he was, the last thing he’d be thinking about was to learn their language.
  • So now single combat is “Azgeda way”? Not, like, the Grounder way? Or the Polis way? Whatever.
  • I appreciate Raven’s snark to Bellamy: “You’re not the only one who has to live with your call, as usual”. She’s not wrong.
  • Awww, Bellamy is hugging Grounder kids. That makes up for dooming so many of them to death without the hydrogenerator.
  • This episode was almost 2 full minutes longer than last week.
  • There was no break between the end of the episode and the promo for next week, that was weird.
  • So next week we find out they only have 2 months left. it’s more realistic but apparently even Raven with her ‘upgraded brain’ (*SIGH*) was wrong. Jaha recommends a bunker, like Raven had already mentioned (called it).

Working Theories

Come on, I can’t be the only one doing this. Come join me!

Could be Cool: Murphy and Emori track down her old Nomadic people and find a way to save them completely separately.

Wouldn’t Surprise Me: Jaha gets sick of being yelled at and starts his own commune in a bunker with all the other self-righteous people.

Total Crack: Abby gets pregnant (what is it with me and pregnancy crack theories? IDK)

Tune in next week for “The Four Horsemen” (Get it. The four horsemen of the apocalypse. So subtle.)

Featured Image Courtesy of The CW

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