And we’re back.
Okay, it’s the third episode, we were already back. But we had been (mostly) playing catch-up before. The premiere gave us some action after what we saw at the end of last season, but now a ton. Now, though, we’re in it. The space kids are leaving the Ark! Eligius is exploring Eden! Clarke is torturing people!
Which is, granted, not really the best plan ever, but she’s rusty, and the important thing is that she’s out there trying new things. The “Clarke is a season one grounder” theme isn’t subtle, but subtlety is often not this show’s thing, and this one mostly works.
Doubly so because even if Clarke is a season one grounder, the Eligius crew aren’t season one delinquents. Clarke would probably run circles around herself in season one, but this is a real fighting force, and Clarke is a mother protecting her daughter now. She’s got new priorities.
Admittedly, Clarke’s “let’s kill all these people” plan doesn’t seem great from a survival standpoint, but I guess she’s still hoping her friends are going to show up, either from space or–
Okay look, I’m not going to lie, up until this point I was writing this during commercial breaks, and now the episode is over and I am dying. I am going to do my best to maintain the sarcastic, detached tone you have come to expect and save my endless yelling for tumblr where it belongs, but my fiancée and I are already just like, what if we bought the episode on Amazon and stayed up until midnight and watched it AGAIN what then
(This, for the record, is what happens when you meet your significant other through a shared ship. This is what your life becomes.)
(For another record, episodes don’t go on Amazon until three a.m. EST and we knew better than to wait for that, so we’ll just have to rewatch tonight. Actually, she’s watching RIGHT NOW, WITHOUT ME, love is dead.)
ANYWAY, what was happening? Right, Clarke’s fighting Eligius! Which, again, think this through. Maybe keep Zeke alive, he’s cute and reasonable, and he was definitely the Octavia to your Lincoln during that torture scene. At least get a gene pool going! Better safe than sorry.
But, again, she’s really only thinking of Madi, which is why she lets herself be captured in the first place. The framing of this as spacekru listening in from the Eligius ship, on the edge of their seats, thinking it’s Octavia (or, you know, any one of twelve-hundred other people who were in the bunker, but I’m not going to pretend it’s unreasonable to assume that Octavia would be on the cutting edge of getting her life threatened by space criminals) is really nicely done, and works much better for me than another scene of people running through the woods. And it gives them a reason to get down now, even if it’s not the reason they think it is.
So, yeah, let’s talk spacekru! As we saw at the end of 501, they’re heading over to loot the prison ship for precious fuel. We saw some of their dynamic before, but I’m so thrilled by everything here, with Monty and Murphy trading insults like the worst little brothers ever while Echo just tries to get them to the goddamn ship with the rocket fuel as my personal favorite. But everything about it works for me–these are seven people who have lived together for six years, and they clearly love each other, but they also clearly know each other a little too well. And, like most families, they can’t help going for each other’s soft, unprotected underbellies sometimes. Everyone knows how to hit everyone else where it hurts.
Honestly, it was all working so well for me that I was disappointed when the big hulking dude showed up to try to kill them. It didn’t really feel like drama that was particularly needed–there was plenty going on already, even if it wasn’t violent–and also “one buff dude” isn’t really much security, if you think about it. Granted, it took Bellamy, Raven, and Echo to take him down, but they had one sword (Brit, my fiancée: WHERE DID YOU GET THAT ECHO) and some piping that Bellamy ripped off a wall. Surely at least wake up five guys, in case someone has a gun.
But they didn’t, and they’ve got other stuff going on anyway. Clarke’s captured and doing her “I’m a grounder I don’t speak English” thing, but Diyoza has a radio that’s keeping her updated on her people searching for Madi, and Clarke can’t take her eyes off it. It was unclear to me what inspired Madi to try to escape, but she does have a pretty good plan–bear traps have worked for her before and they would have again, if Clarke didn’t interfere. Probably the right call, but Clarke still doesn’t really have a clear way out of this. She and Madi are outgunned, outmanned, and, even in spite of Clarke’s new “kill or be killed,” probably outruthlessed, which is obviously a real word, shut up, spellcorrect.
She pretty much needs a miracle, and she gets one. Spacekru is ready to get down to Earth, with one snag: they’ve got this cryogenically frozen army of assholes to deal with.
Murphy takes point on “maybe we should kill them now,” which is honestly pretty valid, but Bellamy comes in with a solid “as the person here who HAS killed three-hundred people at once on several occasions, let me point out that it is not great,” and no one really has a good comeback for that one. Echo proposes a compromise: they don’t have to kill them now, not if they can potentially kill them remotely later. They could be used as leverage versus the people already fighting their friends on the ground.
Raven, being Raven, says she can do that, but this time she’s wrong. They can’t pull the kill switch from the ground; it has to be in space. Someone has to stay behind. Bellamy, being Bellamy, volunteers to do whatever tech stuff needs to be done, but he seems like one of those guys who calls IT because he thinks his computer is broken and it turns out the monitor was just turned off, so Raven vetoes that. They go back and forth, but she has an ace in the hole: there’s an escape pod! She’ll just come down once they’ve figured out if they need to do another mass murder.
I haven’t talked about Murphy and Emori because my whole brain is still crying but they’ve got a good tension running throughout the episode. Murphy broke up with Emori because she was trying to learn and help, and he was basically back on his bullshit. When Emori fails with the ship, here’s there to snipe, but there’s clearly both pain and lingering affection on both sides.
So he volunteers to stay behind with Raven, and the scene where she tells him there is no escape pod is glorious. The show’s always been light on humor, but it felt like they really just gave up on any levity ever for a while there, and it’s nice to see them having a little fun again, between all the torture and the murder.
There’s also time for Bellamy to talk Emori through her insecurities and for the two of them to ACTUALLY SMILE and be happy when she nails the landing, and, again, I am so, so happy to see the new bonds here and everyone being a loving supportive crew. I live for this shit, I’m not sorry. Granted, immediately after held at gunpoint, because that is how this show works, but I’ll take it. And Bellamy really does try to talk to them first, so someone’s putting his best foot forward.
But sometimes the only solution is a murder child, so here’s Madi to save the day. I’m gonna try SO HARD to be rational and unbiased about this but I wrote fanfic about this meeting within an hour of last season’s finale so there’s only so much I can do. Madi kills like five guys in ten seconds, and also got a spear somewhere? Was she just sitting in the woods, whittling a spear? Honestly, she probably was. Her only way to get Clarke was to murder her way through everyone.
(Also, I think this might be a “writers don’t know math thing; 300-283 gives us 17 people, not including the buff guy that got killed in space. It didn’t feel like they were down to less than ten, but they might be. We’ll see.)
Anyway now that Madi has killed those guys, she can take a break, because she has allies! Clarke’s drawings were good enough she can peg Bellamy even in the dark with the new facial hair, and they roll up in the rover for the most dramatic rescue of all time, including face-obscuring back-lighting, heroic posturing, and strategic use of my new favorite recurring character, the Best Dad in the Universe mug.
So Bellamy uses his leverage within about half an hour of returning to Earth to barter for Clarke’s life and will presumably now have to give it up. Depending on how good the writers are with math, their crew is a little to very outnumbered, two of their people are in in space with a bunch of frozen criminals, and everyone else is still trapped underground with no hope of escape.
But at least Bellamy is officially the best dad in the universe.
- My best friend missed this episode, so I will share the texts I sent him after it ended:
- Steve holy fucking jesus
- IM DYING
- IM DHING SEE
- At this point Brit took my phone away from me and explained the situation.
- Seriously I have written this fanfic.
- No bunker, which wasn’t that surprising, given the lack of it on the previouslies, and I think the entire preview was bunker-focused too. I doubt we’ll be down there the whole time, but it would be kind of cool if we were in there the whole time and then right at the end of the episode the door blew open and all their friends were just there to bust them out.
- There also wasn’t any Bellamy/Echo, which struck me as a fairly weird choice? My lack of chill here makes my shipping preferences very clear, but from a storytelling perspective I’m not sure what to make of the fact that someone watching this episode in isolation could figure out that Harper and Monty are a thing, Emori and Murphy used to be a thing, and Bellamy loves all his children equally. I assume it will be back next episode, but it was jarring to have barely even a shared look here.
- I didn’t give that much attention to the Eligius crew, but they’re working for me. McCreary is pretty one-note so far, but Diyoza is great and Zeke’s a good man of reason. The brief video of them taking over was also an effective delivery vehicle for backstory.
- Per showrunner Jason Rothenberg, the mug nearly said “Captain Daddy,” but I assume he realized Bob Morley would be haunted by fans wanting to show him where they had that phrase tattooed on their bodies for the rest of his life.
- The show got renewed for a sixth season on Monday! Shout-out the soothsayer who determines the CW’s lineup.