Wow, that was a lot.
First off, an apology: last week, I made fun of Bellamy for not having good plans, and this week he came up with a solid plan that will probably not end well, but at least started well. Which is progress, and I’m proud of him.
But that’s the end of the episode; we have a lot of ground to cover before then, if I can remember what ground that was. A lot happened this week, y’all. I’m overwhelmed.
Let’s start off, as is traditional, in Shallow Valley, which is rough this week. Abby’s storyline is one that hasn’t been entirely working for me, and this week doubled down on all of that. It’s giving her more to do, which I like, and Paige Turco is knocking it out of the park, but I’m just not enthused about addiction, at base, as Abby’s story. And it doesn’t help that we’re eight episodes in and she’s basically had no real growth or change; the biggest thing has been Kane telling her to choose between him and the pills, but I didn’t get the sense that Abby did anything this week that she wouldn’t have done last week, so it felt like that was more about him than her. And this is a tough thing to criticize, when it comes to fiction, because addiction is a real thing, and real people suffer and don’t have neat arcs about it, but within the fiction, I’m not convinced it was the best call, nor am I convinced the show is going to land this one.
Because other things happen with Abby this week, but it’s hard for those to not feel overshadowed by her shocking Raven. It’s not the first time Abby has attacked Raven–that would be the time she just straight-up slapped her in season two–and that doesn’t help, because suddenly what felt like a poorly thought out one off becomes a pattern. And I do think in this case, it’s meant to be a huge, awful thing, but it’s so huge and awful that I’m not sure Abby can come back from it for me, and it’s unclear if that’s what the writers intended for it to be.
(This honestly happens a lot on this show, and I’m not sure there’s ever been a case where the protagonist was actually meant to be irredeemable. Most of these seem to live or die by how much you like the character and how much you’re willing to go along with what the show is selling.)
Anyway, Abby gets to this moment because she’s figured out a way to cure the black lung that’s killing the Eligius crew. She needs sound waves to do it, but hers aren’t powerful enough, so she needs someone to rig one of the guns to do it, and Raven is the only one they’ve got.
Raven, of course, is perturbed that she’s been here for five days (I always appreciate the show telling me how long has passed, because it’s generally at least a third of what I would have expected) and hasn’t seen Abby, given that Kane is around. Abby is shifty, but eventually agrees when Raven suggests that Diyoza is threatening her. But the truth comes out when Raven finishes the device and finds Abby passed out with her pills. We haven’t heard about Raven’s mom in a while, but we knew she was an alcoholic, and Raven knows the signs of addiction. The whole mini-arc is heartbreaking, going from Raven and Abby’s mutual happiness to see each other to Raven getting shocked for trying to destroy the machine because she doesn’t want to enable Abby, but I’m having trouble feeling like I can stay with the show on this path. We’ll see.
Luckily, everything else in this episode pretty much works like gangbusters for me. Poor Raven can’t catch a fucking break, which starts with Echo deciding they need to kill Shaw and Raven telling her jfc no, goes into the Abby thing, and ends with Raven agreeing that they need to kill Shaw, but in a nice way.
As with a lot of pairings on The 100, I don’t feel as if they’ve entirely done the work to support Raven and Shaw’s alliance/mutual worry, but for whatever reason “I don’t actively want you to die” means “I want to bang you” like 90% of the time (and the other 10% you’re related), so they do seem to be building to something there. The scenes between them are nice and well done, and the shading they’ve done with Shaw’s character is great. Raven telling Echo (and most of the Raven/Echo interactions, as small as they were) to kill him painlessly was a good touch too, and I really thought it might happen until Murphy and Emori showed up to fuck shit up.
Murphy and Emori have been doing solid C-plot work this season, and this episode is no exception. Murphy tries to exchange McCreary for Raven, but Diyoza is like lol no keep him, which feels like the only way one of Murphy’s blackmail plans could pan out. Way to take the guy no one wants.
But McCreary now knows no one wants him, though, and decides to make a deal with Murphy. Emori isn’t here for this for reasons that aren’t explained, but seem to just be convenience and not some sort of plot hole. Anyway, McCreary’s plan seems to be to put them in fake collars so Emori can use her collar removal skills to bust Raven out, and he seems pissed enough at Diyoza that he’ll really follow through, assuming she doesn’t see right through him. Given the look they exchanged, I’m thinking that’s unlikely.
My wife (we upgraded on Saturday) thinks this episode marks the shift from Diyoza as Big Bad to McCreary, and it does have that feel. Kane and Diyoza have been getting some good scenes, and now that surrender/peace feels like an option, she’s making plans for a better future for herself and her daughter. A future that doesn’t have McCreary in it, and doesn’t involve curing him, because, let’s be real, he’s not really adding to the group dynamic.
So that’s gonna be awkward, but probably not the most awkward, because we’ve still got Wonkru to deal with. And they’ve got a lot going on.
First up, Monty, because he’s breaking my heart and I want to bundle him up and make him hot chocolate. He’s still trying to make the bunker work with his algae, but no one is having it. His scene with Cooper is particularly poignant to me, because you see Monty arguing for the life he came to love in space, one where you can grow plants and have enough, even if it’s not perfect, and Cooper sees how it could work, but the bunker was so bad, she and the others could never stay in it. Monty can be happy in a little life in a way no one else can be, except for maybe Harper.
But instead, there’s murder, as always. Bellamy isn’t down for murdering his sister, but he acknowledges that something must be done. He and Clarke bring in season MVP Indra and get her in on a plan to kill the worms, and Cooper while they’re at it. The idea is to make it look like an accident–they knock her out and cut a hole in her suit, letting the worms take her–and let Indra discover her. Then they can pretend to surrender and instead fight when they reach the valley (because Indra’s obviously not down with just surrendering).
Monty’s involved because Bellamy chloroforms Cooper in the middle of their conversation (rude), and then Clarke makes him pick the lock so they can put her in the worm room. Monty is, again, breaking my heart with how much he hates this, and he and Harper have a nice scene after where they agree to stay in the bunker when everyone else leaves. It feels like that can’t work out, but it’s a sweet dream.
Speaking of things not working out, the plan goes off without a hitch (in spite of Indra’s comically bad acting; I love her), but the problem is that none of them knew the real plan, which was to use the worm eggs, not the worms themselves. So Cooper is dead (from gross worms), the plan is still in motion, and Octavia knows Bellamy and Clarke were behind this, and probably Indra too.
But she’s not full Blodreina yet; she blames Clarke, and Clarke alone, and Clarke lets her, because otherwise she and Bellamy are both going down. She makes him promise to take care of Madi, and then she’s dragged off for execution, and Bellamy is left alone.
This is when I was expecting some misguided noble dumbassery from Bellamy. An attempt to convince his sister that Clarke was just covering for him, another appeal to her better angels. But Bellamy has had a hard episode, because in every scene he’s in, he’s been hearing that his sister is the problem. That they’re doing all this stuff because he won’t do the thing that really needs to be done, which is what Clarke said last episode: they have to take Octavia out.
I’ve already seen criticism saying that Bellamy would never do that to his sister, and my fellow shippers making it about Octavia arresting Clarke, and I think both of those reads do a pretty big disservice to how well the episode (and the season) builds to this decision. We’ve seen Octavia running hot and cold–or, rather, running between “I don’t actively want you dead” and “I will kill you if you cross me”–but Bellamy hasn’t really believed she’d hurt him, and this episode bears it out, for both Bellamy and Indra. Octavia might cut them out of her plans, but when push comes to shove, Clarke is the one who gets punished, and Bellamy is the one who’s allowed to be alone with the queen.
And that’s when he drugs her. Again, I think the show has done the work it needs to here, from Bellamy admitting to Monty that he would have taken out anyone but Octavia long ago, to Clarke admitting that she’s thinking with her heart and Bellamy realizing he needs to think with his head. It’s a massive shift for Bellamy, and the reprise of “my sister, my responsibility” used to put her into a coma because someone’s got to do it is a lot, but it feels earned to me.
And while it is probably Bellamy’s best plan ever and I respect that, I’m not really sure where he thinks this is going. Octavia is supposed to be unconscious until they get to the valley, but he was alone with her and now she’s in a coma, so, like, they’re gonna figure out you did this, bro. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still proud of you, and I think this was a good idea, but we got Chekov’s “if you do anything bad, you and Clarke are going in the pit” this week, and I can’t help wondering if this is how you get thrown in the pit. If it wasn’t a TV show, this might be where Clarke and Bellamy finally decide it’s time for them to sacrifice themselves for the good of the group, but they’re protagonists, so I’m thinking no.
Probably Indra’s just going to save you. She is, as I said, the real MVP.
- Speaking of real MVP Indra, I thought I couldn’t love her any more and then she busted out “folly!” Seriously, everyone involved in plotting against Octavia is so bad at subterfuge, it’s kind of amazing.
- RIP Cooper, we hardly knew you.
- Related, do you think they got a bunch of prop worms in the bargain bin in some weird store and were just like, let’s structure a plot around these?
- We got some tantalizing glimpses of Miller this week, but not enough. I’m hoping between his promotion and Cooper’s death, he’s rising up in the Wonkru ranks, but also hope that Bellamy’s line shaming him is going to make him switch sides.
- Also Indra calls him Nathan??? This is my new favorite thing. Indra is going to die this season just because I love her so much. I have doomed her with my enthusiasm.
- Look, ship it, don’t ship it, I don’t care, but you owe it to yourself (and to Bob Morley) to enjoy the truly hilarious face journey Bellamy went on as he decided whether or not he had time to argue with his sister about his love life before drugging her.
- Another week off next week (the momentum this season is really screwy), but it’s the last one before the finale! Also the show moves to 8 pm from here on out so it can be the lead-in to The Outpost, which looks kind of terrible and I’ll probably watch every episode.