Saturday, May 18, 2024

The 100 Review: Season 3, Episode 14, “Red Sky at Morning”

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“Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”

—Old saying, loosely adapted from Matthew 16:2-3

Lots happened tonight and toward the end, it jumped around from arc to arc, so forgive me if the recap is a bit unclear at points. I’m doing my best 🙂 There is much salt (some sugar, too, but mostly salt). You have been forewarned.

Also, trigger warnings for brutal torture.

The Floukru storyline (the name for Luna’s people) with Team Delinquent take up the bulk of the plot and is the most distinct from the others, so I’ll start there.  On the rig, Team Delinquent continues to try and convince Luna to take the key—Clarke with begging, Bellamy with threats, Octavia with underhanded jibes at her peacemaking ways—but Luna refuses them all. In the background, a young Grounder named Shay is telling a story of how she survived on the open ocean without resorting to violence like its some kind of Violence Anonymous. Jasper asks her about it, and they get flirty.

Bellamy and Octavia are ready to give up and leave, but Clarke proposes forcing the chip into Luna like she did with Emerson. Octavia retorts that even ALIE gives people a choice (right, torturing loved ones until you cave is a real choice, more on that later). But, they don’t have a better idea so it’s time to execute Plan Force a Chip on a Person Who Advocates Non-Violence, you know, for the good of the world.

Clarke finds Luna teaching children how to detangle nets (remember the blonde girl, she shows up later). Luna brings up Titus and Lexa and from a single look is able to glean Clarke’s relationship with Lexa, something no one else in Clarke’s life has even bothered to ask her about.

Luna: “You cared for her.”

Clarke: “Yes. Lexa was special.”


Clarke explains Lexa’s desire for peace, thinking it will convince Luna to help her. When that fails, she tries to forcibly implant 2.0. Luna executes a neat-o flip move and puts Clarke on her back. She explains that she didn’t leave Polis because she was a coward and thought she would lose, she left because she thought she would win, and also because she was forced to kill her brother in the trials (and would have faced Lexa next). She keeps 2.0 and promises to give it back to Clarke when she sends her off.

When Luna takes Team Delinquent to the shipping container (minus Jasper, who is conveniently with his new gf), she hands over 2.0 to Clarke, but OH NOES! ALIE shows up from nowhere, takes Luna and 2.0 hostage, and shoves the Blakes and Clarke into the container. Elsewhere, Jasper and his gf Shay are bonding when they stumble across some chipped zombies. He recognizes the zoned out looks on their faces and sends Shay to save the others. She is shot with an arrow while he is taken hostage.

This is what “choice” looks like.

Then, since we didn’t get enough torture the past few episodes, Luna gets waterboarded for almost a full minute on screen as Jasper watches. But waterboarding isn’t cutting it, so ALIE has one of Luna’s people feed a key to Luna’s bf (husband?), whereupon he frees her from the waterboarding, only to try and drown her instead. When that doesn’t work, they bring in the little blonde girl from earlier and threaten to torture her until Luna swallows a key, you know, because ALIE is all about giving people a ‘choice’.

In the shipping container, Bellamy thinks that ALIE’s drone followed them from Niylah’s (WHUT), and Clarke realizes that if Luna swallows the key and then gets 2.0, ALIE will know everything. Eventually, Shay unlocks the container after crawling across the rig with an arrow in her shoulder like a badass, but then dies two seconds later, proving that Jasper has almost as bad a record with his love interests as Clarke does. They race to save Luna, but they’re too late, she’s already killed all the other Grounders to save the little girl from torture and is mourning her dead bf. It’s a moving scene, actually. Nadia Hilker has one hell of a grief wail.

Luna overcomes her grief in 0.2 seconds and organizes a burial ritual for her fallen friends. She seems to have changed her mind about taking 2.0. Clarke apologizes for everything (again), pointing out how much they need Luna. Luna won’t let the people she loves die at her hand ever again, and they all drink a toast to those who have died.

Luna: “You believe that to stop an enemy who will stop at nothing, you must stop at nothing. How is that different from blood must have blood.”

Surprise! The toast had a knockout drug (seems to be her method of choice). Everyone in the room but Luna faints and Team Delinquent wake up back on land at the weird rock formation. Clarke checks on Lexa 2.0, who is safe, and dramatic music plays. Everyone then looks to Clarke.

(Don’t worry, Clarke, they’ll blame you later for whatever you decide to do. Source.)

In Polis, the prisoners plot escape. Pike and Murphy want to run, but Indra wants to stay and kill Jaha because he’s in charge. Murphy counters that he’s being controlled and a lightbulb goes off. Before he can expound on his idea, guards come by to offer more keys and notice that Pike has been tortured by someone who is not them. Indra proves that she’s still a skilled warrior by killing the guards and freeing everyone, but then turns on Murphy to get more intel on Jaha. Murphy mentions the backpack and oh joy! Indra saw them move it into Polis when she was captured off-screen. Indra, Murphy, and Pike decide to head for the backpack (which they magically know is in the sanctuary), while the rest of the prisoners head for the tunnels out of Polis.

In the City of Light, ALIE has a heart-to-heart with the fallen jailer and now magically knows that Murphy and Co. are going for the backpack (How?), so she tells Emori that she needs her help with Murphy, because why send a team of guards to move or protect the pack when you can use the woman in a relationship with Murphy to manipulate him? Again.

When Skaikru shows up to destroy the pack, Emori warns Murphy that it’s a nuclear fuel cell, so if he destroys it, he will irradiate Polis. He decides not to smash the pack, but rather destroy it “carefully” by avoiding the fuel cell.

More of Raven being super smart and super awesome, yes please.

In Arkadia, Raven has been tirelessly hacking ALIE’s code to find a way to destroy her. She’s some kind of super hacker now who can not only picture the CoL when she looks at the lines of code, she can distinguish the minds as well. She wants to use Becca’s master password to get into ALIE’s mainframe, but Monty reminds her that if she does that, ALIE will know she’s hacking. They need to stick to plan Get Luna to Take the Chip (poor Monty, he doesn’t know that plan isn’t going well).

Harper comes to give Monty a break, and they talk about their concern for Raven. Harper wants to do more than worry about the next attack, though; she wants to do Monty. After they do the sexy sex and have a moment of happiness, one of them dies Raven interrupts them, snarks, “Finally,” and tells them to get dressed because she’s found a super secret stash of ALIE information, a “citadel”, that she wants to hack into using Becca’s password. Monty says it’s too much for her since she’s not an AI and tells her to sleep. Instead, she keeps mapping and he joins her for company (it was super sweet, tbh, he’s a puppy).

While he’s sleeping, though Raven does exactly what you expect and uses Becca’s master password to hack ALIE’s mainframe. Monty wakes up just as she runs into trouble. “Someone” is in the way, she says, just as Hannah Green’s voice comes out of the monitor. Unbeknownst to them ALIE had recognized the hack. Worried about it, she asked Jaha who was behind it. She mysteriously knows Sinclair is dead, so Jaha assumed it was Monty (why did neither think of Raven? You know, the woman ALIE was so worried about losing because she knew too much?), thus sending Hannah.

Raven hands over control of the keyboard to Monty so he and his mom can have a heart-to-heart. Hannah wants him to join her in the CoL so he won’t hurt anymore. Monty asks Raven what would happen if they delete the code standing in the way of the citadel (i.e., his mom) and she says Hannah would be gone forever. Monty apologizes, then deletes his mom. Raven hacks into the citadel while Monty grieves, and discovers ALIE’s kill switch. Before she can activate it, ALIE deletes herself from the Ark. Monty gets mad that it didn’t work, blaming Raven for it being all for nothing, as she apologizes for something that really isn’t her fault (is she Clarke now?).

Seriously, this is not a small wire. How did no one see this??

All that’s left of ALIE now, is in the backpack that Murphy has in Polis. ALIE tells Emori to keep pushing for more time as Murphy hesitates to destroy the pack, as she needs time to ‘migrate.’ Emori tells Murphy that if he destroys the CoL, all the minds in it will be destroyed (foreshadowing, peeps), and he can’t bring himself to destroy her. Pike, however, doesn’t mind doing the deed and he destroys the blue thing that isn’t the power cell. Too bad that was all for nothing too as ALIE had migrated herself to what is left of the Ark in space via the Polaris escape pod.

So, that was the episode. Luna has been built up so much in the past few episodes, so I’ll start with her. I actually like her as a character. She’s basically Lexa 2.0 (but notably hetero), so there’s a lot to find compelling. She’s committed to peace, but clearly a badass fighter and good with kids. She is firm, committed to her principles, and not afraid of verbal confrontation. Really, she’s Lexa 2.0. Her not taking the flame really isn’t a surprise given how much they’ve built up the “she has to take it or we’ll all die” thing, but I did enjoy the scene where she tricked Clarke and Co. into believing she’d changed her mind. Overall, it kind of feels like this side plot to find her was just filler between Clarke leaving Polis and the final showdown. Literally nothing came of it but more guilt for Team Delinquent over people dying, but still, it was a nice change of pace and I like Luna.

She, as a character, is pretty cool, but the dialogue surrounding her coming from the writer’s room is troubling. They tweeted a lot about her during the show, and several of the comments hyping her character came at the expense of Lexa’s character. Now, before those of you who comment on my reviews about my bias towards Lexa get upset, just look at the content of these tweets:

This is a flat out lie, actually. We’ve met characters who weren’t at war, we had plenty at the opening of this season when, you know, there was a peace treaty between Skaikru and the Coalition. Literally all the characters weren’t at war when this season opened. Now, if they mean never met a character who advocated nonviolence, that still isn’t true, because Lexa and Clarke started “jus no drein jus daun” as a way to broker peace. Lincoln also advocated a peaceful coexistence between Grounders and Skaikru. I think what they were going for was that we’ve never met a character who isn’t at war when they’ve been introduced. Which, fine, yes that’s true, but the actual tweet leaves that ambiguous, which seems to undercut the entirety of the peace arc in the first half of this season.

Then we have

First off, Lexa also had a close relationship with Aden and the rest of the natblida in Polis that seems to have included hands-on training and interaction at the very least with Aden. If the only grounds for “egalitarian society” is “leader interacts with children” this is false.

If they’re pitting her against the rest of Grounder culture, this one scene isn’t the best basis for comparison. Lexa did what no commander had done before and united the 12 Grounder clans into a peaceful coalition with representative that could depose her if they all agreed (see “Watch the Thrones”). This may not be a representative democracy, but it’s more egalitarian (and peace driven) than the Grounders had been prior to Lexa.

I’m really not trying to wax on and on about Lexa. I am just comparing the writing that they gave us in the first half of this season—Lexa is an enlightened leader who is willing to negotiate, unites warring factions, gives them a say in government, and personally interacts with the natblida children—with the tweets they gave us tonight that seem to prop Luna up as a new, special kind of character that we’ve never seen before. She’s not. She’s Lexa 2.0.

How is this substantially different from Lexa’s choice to pursue “jus no drein jus daun”? Luna and Lexa are actually interesting foils for each other in this regard. Luna chose nonviolence and, when forced to act in violence, it solidified her stance to stay out of the fight. Lexa had previously upheld her culture’s “jus drein jus daun” policy of retributive violence, but when confronted with an opportunity to exercise it and destroy the people of the woman she loved, she went back on that and chose instead to advocate for peace. Luna chose nonviolence from the beginning and Lexa chose to not pursue aggressive tactics with Skaikru after a period of character growth.

The narrative, however, could not be more different in how it handles these women’s choices regarding nonviolence. When Luna does it, she is praised by the narrative and the writers for upholding her beliefs. When Lexa chose nonviolence, she was punished by the narrative, and it led to her death at the hands of a friend who felt betrayed by her “abandoning” her people’s ways. Luna abandoned the ways of her people and was labeled a coward, but the narrative praises this. Lexa abandoned the ways of her people and was labeled weak, and the narrative upheld this judgment. Lexa died for her choice of nonviolence; Luna lived and was lauded. Thematically, they’ve flip-flopped back to nonviolence and mercy being better, just like the first half of this season, because what even is thematic consistency anyway?

Alright moving on. I want to briefly touch on Clarke’s choice to force Luna to take 2.0. I can see some arguing that this is a character reversal for her, and that was my gut reaction. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized: this is exactly what Clarke would do. I cannot in all honesty say that the woman who irradiated Mt. Weather would not force 2.0 on someone for what she believed to be the greater good. It doesn’t fit with her character arc from the first half of this season, where she seemed to be learning to respect other people’s decisions when they differed from hers, but we could chalk that up to her not being in a position of extreme duress. I’m just glad that Luna got the upper hand against her so I didn’t have to sit with Clarke using violence to force 2.0 on a woman who had chosen nonviolence. Lexa would not have approved.

Lexa is totally judging your choices rn, Clarke.

What doesn’t make sense about this scene is Octavia’s remark that at least ALIE gives people a choice. Um, earth to Octavia, ALIE has literally used crucifixion, torture, graphic self harm, threatening to hurt loved ones and innocents, imprisonment and now waterboarding and drowning as means to get people to “choose” to swallow the key. I get that she hasn’t seen ALIE do these things, but the audience has. A negative comparison between Clarke and a vicious AI who forced Raven to slit her own wrists and bleed out as Abby watched insults our intelligence. Besides, why would you even want to make that comparison? It makes no sense.

You know what also doesn’t make sense? Most of the plot surrounding ALIE this episode. First off, ALIE’s got major telepathy going on. She knows that the Grounders are escaping and going for the backpack. How? The only chipped people in the room were dead when they made this plan, and if one did survive, it was so poorly explained as to be the same as not showing it.

Second, she mysteriously knows that Sinclair is dead. Now, this I actually think might be foreshadowing of some kind, hinting that someone who was around in “Demons” is secretly chipped. I’m partial to Harper. Would Monty kill his mom/help Raven if he were chipped? I don’t think so. Also, on the rig ALIE kept saying that they needed Jasper, so it probably isn’t him. It being Harper makes sense of the sex with Monty (to subtly distract him from helping Raven), but…like we need another female antagonist who uses sex to try to control a man. We already had Ontari and Abby, do we really need to add Harper to this list?

On the other hand, when Jaha and ALIE are discussing her being hacked, ALIE doesn’t know it’s Raven! Jaha mentions it could be Sinclair or Monty (which is when ALIE says Sinclair is dead), but Harper knows it’s Raven, therefore ALIE would know its Raven. If ALIE knows it’s Raven, why would she send Hannah Green to stop Monty?


Then we come to the final showdown with the backpack. Why did no one notice that the backpack was hooked up to the pod? You’d think they’d notice a bunch of wires coming out of the backpack that was so conveniently placed in the middle of the room just for them to find while Emori talks to herself. (RED. FLAGS.) Why did they even decide to destroy it in Polis anyway and not run away with it where ALIE couldn’t get to them? Oh, right, because either one of those things would ruin the chance for ALIE to use the pod to get to the Ark.

Speaking of which, if Polaris (the 13the station) was never connected with the rest of the Ark (it was blown up before it could be), how in the hell did ALIE transmit herself to the ARK, IN SPACE, from the Polaris pod???? I don’t…I give up.

This is where ALIE is???????

More than anything, I want to understand how ALIE got to Floukru. Last episode established that they were out to sea. They’d had no contact with Polis or anyone chipped from Arkadia. So, where did the chips come from? Bellamy says that the drone from Niylah’s must have followed them and we’re supposed to buy this because this is the only explanation offered. But…it literally makes no sense because he shot down that drone and used the power supply to power the wristband that freed Raven.

Even IF (and that’s a big if), ALIE decided to send a new drone (how many does she have anyway?), you’re telling me that a drone found them at Arkadia and then followed them to the coast and then across the ocean some distance without anyone noticing or hearing it? Drones aren’t silent; they would hear if it got close enough. Furthermore, even IF there was another drone that followed them that no one noticed, where did the chips come from and why would Floukru swallow them? Do drones have secret chip caches on board that they fly around and shoot into unsuspecting but plot convenient people’s mouths? That’s the only explanation I’ve been able to think of.

I’ve already taken up way too much space with this review, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Murphy’s decision not to irradiate Polis. It’s worth talking about his decision vs. Clarke’s and Bellamy’s decision to irradiate Mt. Weather (or the dropship explosion, etc), so take it to the comments, people! Perhaps I’ll put this in my season wrap up after the show’s over. The more I think about it, the more intrigued I am, as I am with his characterization. He’s grown on me over this season, which is nice. I used to hate him.

Finally, the torture. I don’t have much to say other than that it was again, graphic, and again, tone deaf. Do they really think that brutally torturing a teenage girl for several minutes is ‘cinematic’? We get it, you’re so Brave™ for torturing a teenage girl when your audience is mostly teenage girls. Good job. You’re so much like Game of Thrones, which delights in punishing its audience, too. You both even like threatening little girls with violence. Way to go. Now can you stop? Also, don’t tweet about it being exciting. I get what you’re going for, but it’s still gross af.


Anyway, tune in next week for Clarke asking Roan for help and Bellamy getting jealous!


Random Thoughts

  • I don’t particularly see a strong connection to the episode title. I guess it means “a storm is building” and they’re on the ocean for part of it so…still not as strong a connection as other titles.
  • Bellamy has a new haircut. Maybe Floukru didn’t like his long hair and snipped it while he was knocked out.
  • How is Raven able to read the CoL the way she does? Was this set up? It’s cool, don’t get me wrong, I like savant hacker Raven, but I want to know how this works.
  • Mad props for Luna acting her bf’s death, though I have to say she got almost as much verbalized grief for her lover as Clarke did, and we knew about them for all of an episode.
  • Is Indra no longer hurt? She pulled some sweet moves on those guards for someone who had her arm in a sling not too long ago. Maybe it healed offscreen, like her getting captured.
  • We got a break from Bellamy blaming Clarke, but instead we got Monty blaming Raven. At least it’s different?
  • A bit more of “ladies don’t get to feel for very long” with Luna. They have stuff to do, don’t have time for feelings like grief over the death of a loved one.
  • If Harper is the mole, I’ll actually be mad at her and Monty having sex because the “use sex to distract men” is such a tired trope. I’m so done with it. 3x this season if its true.
  • Yet again, the first thing Clarke does when she wakes up is check on Lexa 2.0
  • I’m glad Monty was happy for a moment, and that they’ve stopped the desexualization of an east Asian man, which is pretty common on TV.
  • Monty Green is a sad puppy and I want to wrap him in blankets and feed him ice cream.
  • Also, screw Monty having to kill his mom twice. Protect him!
  • I don’t buy Luna’s “I would have kicked Lexa’s butt” thing because Lexa has a strong sense of fate and told Clarke that they were both born to lead their people.

Images Courtesy of The CW.

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