Man okay well.
That sure did happen?
Look, for various reasons, I had pretty low expectations for this episode, and I’m still kind of like, yikes that was rough. Maybe this is just me? I don’t know, I’m tired and I don’t want to write like three thousand words screaming about Clarke’s arc, so here’s a list of things.
- Clarke electroshocked Madi.
- She and Kane somehow didn’t realize that McCreary was going to be a giant asshole, I’m not really sure how. This seemed like a gimme?
- Related, I hadn’t realized until this episode how much the stakes suffered when Diyoza lost power, but they really wanted a big bad for the finale, so here we are with a dude who is totally unreasonable and unwilling to compromise, oh boy.
- Clarke spends a bunch of time telling people she has to protect Madi but nothing she’s doing seems to do Madi any good?
- Including electroshocking her!!
- Wonkru is in disarray and everyone hates Octavia which is legit but they’re also all starving to death with no plan.
- (Which, again, Octavia’s fault!)
- But maybe come up with something else to do other than bleeding out in a ditch?
- Also there are 300 of them now because these writers only know three numbers.
- The level of discomfort I felt with Clarke’s daughter recapping Lexa’s love for her from Lexa’s POV is difficult to truly articulate but it was deep and visceral.
- Also any time you’re using a character who has been dead for six years as a major player in an argument, you’re not really doing anyone’s character development any favors.
- “Take a shot every time someone repeats a line from a previous episode” would have made a great drinking game for this season in general and this episode especially.
- “My brother, my responsibility” did get my wife good, though.
- Given all the dialogue recycling, I’m going to guess that “removing the flame” becomes a plot point in the finale and the new phrase Madi chose is a cute callback, which she probably regretted doing as soon as she realized how much everyone kept on saying the same five things. Someone’s going to trigger that by accident.
- How great was it that Kane resolved the question of whether or not Abby betrayed him? Love when issues are raised in one episode and resolved in the next without anyone doing anything other than getting a little bit mauled by an (unrelated) cannibal.
- I assume Vinson’s dead, and I for one will miss him. He brought great weirdo hustle.
- Raven seemed weirdly dismissive of Clarke being a terrible mother, especially since she ALSO got shocked earlier this season by a mother figure.
- In general, the tone of the Clarke/Raven encounter felt like a mess.
- Madi also really cared way too little about Clarke electroshocking her, possibly because she’s now a weird hive mind.
- Also Madi’s whole motivation is now based around “her people” whom she’s never met but values because she’s now a weird hive mind, that’s not great either.
- Not as bad as Clarke’s whole deal though.
- I like how Shaw knows he won’t be able to hold out if Raven gets tortured but Raven doesn’t even know his first name. This is a recurring theme with Raven’s love interests.
- McCreary’s first name is Paxton though, that’s a thing.
- His whole thing where he’s just keeping Diyoza alive to save the baby was SUPER GROSS.
- My wife asked if that kid at the beginning was Ethan, then Octavia called him Ethan, and then he immediately got killed and I laughed for like five minutes straight.
- My cat was yowling in the other room for most of the episode and honestly it was a big mood.
All right, here’s at least a little word vomit. There were things that worked for me here! Most of the Bellamy/Octavia/Gaia/Indra stuff was solid, and Murphy with the gun was such an amazing runner. The last five minutes were great, honestly, but even as it was happening I turned to my wife and said that the episode didn’t deserve them. Then we walked to CVS to process our emotions and bought really expensive con tickets so we can hang out with Christopher Larkin, because Monty is the best one, so that’s where I’m at.
But seriously y’all, I’m at a loss for this one. It felt as if all of Clarke’s bad characterization was leading to that conversation with her, Echo, and Madi (as McCreary’s dudes just–hung out wondering wtf this had to do with anything??? Seriously what were those dudes doing), and while that scene was good, I don’t feel like it came close to justifying all they went through to get there. The most coherent reading seems to be that Clarke too fell victim to the sunk cost fallacy and decided that if she’d already let Bellamy die, she had to continue letting everyone else die with single-minded zeal, which is a bad attitude to take about anything, let alone “your friends’ lives.” If my best friend died and I felt somehow both responsible and semi-justified about it, I like to believe I still wouldn’t double-down on making sure I was responsible for all my other friends dying.
Plus, Clarke being willing to betray all her friends to someone who has no reason to keep Madi alive and has proved to be wildly unstable and sadistic is just incoherent. Again, there was the feeling of this happening at this point because it couldn’t happen sooner, and until it could happen, Clarke had to just get worse and worse. But if you want Clarke’s whole deal to be putting Madi first at the expense of everything else, you need to make me feel that Clarke is making choices that are actually doing something to protect her, and, oh yeah, not electroshocking her. Which I know I’m going hard on, but it has the same problem Abby electroshocking Raven had earlier in the season, where it lands as an awful, personal betrayal and moral event horizon, and then the follow-up just isn’t there, even slightly. There’s no plot impact, aside from Raven having to get the collar off Madi, and it in no way figures into Madi and Clarke’s argument or their tearful goodbye. The point seems to be “look how far Clarke will go,” but if she’s going that far with neither coherent motivation nor clear consequence, what purpose does pushing here there serve?
Anyway! It looks like team rocket is blasting off again in the finale, so let’s all get psyched for an episode of everyone working together against McCreary maybe? Which could have happened way earlier if everyone just chilled for like five minutes. Okay, not even everyone. Mostly Octavia, and then later Clarke.
This review was mostly stray observations, so I’m not adding any more. I will try to be back to real paragraphs next week, but seriously, this one just made me tired. I hope it worked better for others than it did for me! I’m basically a pillar of salt right now, I realize.