Well, that was intense. To say the least!
The 100 Season 3 Episode 3 threw several fantastic twists at us, all the while upping the stakes and complicating the already-complicated relationships between all the major characters.
This show is truly spectacular at balancing character development, genuine shocks, and consistently moving the plot along. Rarely does an episode feel baggy, or wasteful. Every minute of screen time has at least one use (if not three) in the larger arc of the show. This show is so damn good, guys.
Okay, enough gushing. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
I made a quip about Lexa's splendid throne being very Game of Thrones-y in our photo preview above and it seems like that wasn't an accidental visual echo in the slightest.
Whereas in past seasons there was little to no nuance or distinction presented among the Grounders (we got Trikru, and that was basically it), The 100 Season 3 is so far all about introducing the complexities of the coalition's politics. It's fantastic and makes this show so much more interesting.
Remember when I noted that The 100 Season 3 Episode 2 was a spectacular episode for Bellarke fans (that reunion scene!) and a big kick in the pants for Clexa supporters? Ever one to flip the script on its viewers, "Ye Who Enter Here" went ahead and pulled a complete 180 on us there.
The Clarke/Lexa relationship went through a tremendous amount of smoothing-over in the course of a mere hour of screen time. It's important to note two things, though.
For one, Lexa mentioned that she'd respected Clarke's wishes not to see her for one week. So time actually passed: Clarke's resolve held for one week. For another, tensions (and stakes) were really high and demanded that old wounds be ignored for the time being.
Sure, Clarke's quick (ish) willingness to bow to Lexa, encouraging the other Grounder delegates to do the same, may have seemed sudden, especially after nearly killing her with Roan's knife hours earlier.
But all things considered, I do find it believable. If nothing else, Clarke is deeply pragmatic when it comes down to the wire.
Clarke certainly hasn't forgiven and forgotten, though. She simply realized who the bigger enemy was – Queen Nia, the ruler of Ice Nation. And guess what? Our girl was right, and she made the right call in staying behind at Polis (sorry, Bellamy). Nia is the greater threat at the moment, and needs to be dealt with accordingly.
Clarke and Lexa's chats certainly seemed to help Clarke cool down. Lexa tried to get Clarke to understand where she was coming from when she abandoned Clarke and the Sky People at Mount Weather, and also accused Clarke of using her as a proxy of hate so Clarke could avoid feeling anger at herself for her actions.
Lexa: You're angry, Clarke. But I know you. What you've done haunts you. And it's easier to hate me than to hate yourself.
Clarke: Oh, I can do both.
Here's the thing, though: Lexa made the wrong decision. That's why her power has been weakened. She turned tail and ran when she made that truce and left Clarke at Mount Weather to do what needed to be done.
We'll never know if it would have come down to the same scenario (radiate everyone to save their people), but with Lexa and her Grounder army, there at least would have been a chance to take down only the dangerous Mountain Men in order to complete their rescue. Not, you know, Clarke's do-or-die decision on mass genocide.
So as much as Lexa is insistent that she did what needed to be done, and what Clarke herself would have done, Clarke can't quite accept that. Because Clarke is smarter than Lexa, and Lexa's move was a stupid one. Now, she's scrambling to retain her power. She needs Clarke's help.
Lexa has this realization (about Clarke being smarter and more powerful than her). In the opening minutes, during the meeting with the Ice Nation delegate that she eventually tosses out the window of the Polis tower, Titus, Lexa's advisor, snarled that "the Commander bows to no one."
Except, guess what? In the closing moments of "Ye Who Enter Here," Lexa did just that. She bowed down to Clarke, an acknowledgment that Clarke holds the power, here, and that Lexa is reliant on Clarke's help.
This is the most vulnerable we've seen Lexa, ever (even moreso than the moment she kissed Clarke, I'd say). It's also a super intimate moment between the two.
Clarke elevates herself. She's special.Lexa
It sets up a really intriguing change to the dynamic of the Clarke/Lexa relationship, this power shift. I'm excited to see how it develops during Clarke's stay at Polis.
Especially since Titus was just encouraging Lexa to kill Clarke, and Roan was urging Clarke to kill Lexa. Both obviously decided against those suggestions, but the seeds have been planted...
Another power shift occurred, albeit a more overt one. Abby has been dealing with people telling her she's a lousy commander for ages now. Finally, she's doing something about it: she's (rightly) realized that Kane has a flare for mediation and peace-talks. She also realized that this is a critical skill during a time of chaos and civil war, and that she's not nearly as talented with it as Kane is.
She's too busy being a kick-ass doctor and what-not. They decided to put it to a vote, which is a cool idea – except this isn't going to be a closed election, right? They are practically begging for some other interloper to throw their hat into the ring. That's kinda just how TV elections go (see: Arrow).
It was a clever red herring to have Abby's decision to open up Mount Weather seem like the incident that would incite civil war.
Thanks to Echo's duplicitous actions and a surprise appearance by Ice Nation ally CARL FREAKIN' EMERSON, Mount Weather (and the Farm Station survivors who had moved in) are no longer. Ice Nation and Queen Nia are making their move, intending to usurp Lexa's power and dismantle the coalition.
I had a feeling that something strange was going on with Echo. She was a little shifty. The plan to draw protection away from Mount Weather in order for the assassin to make his move was very crafty.
The fact that the assassin's attack succeeded, and those people in Mount Weather died so horribly, just underscores that this show is like very few on TV. This is not a happy-heroics show, where good people triumph over bad and save the day. This group hardly ever saves the day (at least not without sacrificing something significant in exchange).
Raven, for instance, is a hero – she saved Sinclair, which was an excellent moment to follow up Sinclair's pep talk encouraging Raven to get the surgery on her leg. Raven also ran back in to try to save everyone in Mount Weather before the missiles self-destructed. But she was too late.
Another great red herring? Gina. Here we were thinking that she'd be some kind of threat (major or minor) to the eventual Bellarke romance that many viewers see as inevitable. I'd also hypothesized that she would selflessly break up with Bellamy after seeing how much he cared for Clarke.
Gina: Don't do anything stupidly heroic.
Bellamy: Garden-variety heroic. You got it.
Lucky for Gina, she died without having to deal with any of that heartbreak and drama! (I'm joking, she died horribly and it was awful.)
Seeing that assassin stab her was shocking, but I still held out hope she'd live. That cut to her lifeless eyes as Raven desperately tried to radio through the disarming codes was an absolute punch to the gut.
The attack on Farm Station at Mount Weather was tragic for many reasons. Not least of which was that hot-headed Pike was proven right. He's clearly biased against any and all Grounders; even unequivocal allies, like Indra. He was immediately suspicious of Echo, and unfortunately, his suspicions were proven correct.
That, paired with Bellamy's loss of Gina and Clarke electing to stay behind at Polis to be sure Lexa keeps her word, is clearly going to push Bellamy into a firmly anti-Grounder frame of mind.
We've already seen Bellamy beg Clarke to return to Arkadia to "their people." Bellamy is in no way comfortable with Skaikru being absorbed into the clans' coalition, becoming one people.
More tensions brewing. I'm really hoping that this doesn't torch all the progress that Bellamy and Clarke have made in their relationship. It will almost certainly drive an insurmountable wedge between Octavia and Bellamy, despite all of Bellamy's reassurances that O. always has a place with him.
Octavia noted that Bellamy didn't have to kill the Grounder guards when they were trying to stop the attack at Polis. Bellamy calmly stated that he did – after shooting a look at Pike. These moments are significant, pointing to Bellamy's character arc this season.
- A lot of people were absent in "Ye Who Enter Here." Lincoln, Jasper, Monty, Monty's mom, Jaha, Murphy, any of the ancillary City of Light storyline folks. This was for the best, because a lot happened here and including those extra characters and subplots really would have diluted the focus. The City of Light and Jasper's meltdown are obviously less critical than the impending Grounder civil war. (Also, less exciting. And I say this as someone who actually enjoys the City of Light storyline!)
- Kane and Indra, BFFs forever! Indra's big smile when she spotted Kane at the capital made me smile.
- Octavia is headed back under Indra's wing and my fingers and all other spare appendages are crossed that this snaps Octavia out of her whiny teenager "Nobody gets me" attitude.
- Abby insisted that Kane get the "honor" of the mark of leadership at Polis, but really she was probably more like, "Hmm, I'd prefer not to get burned so you can take this one, buddy."
- What is Roan's deal? It seems now that he was a plant by his mother, the Ice Queen, sent to get close enough to kill Lexa? If that's the case, what was his whole "man without a clan" speech in "Wanheda: Part Two" about? Was it just a bunch of baloney?
- Lexa training with the Nightbloods was a really interesting small moment. The Grounders' warrior culture is intriguing and I want to know more about it.
- Clarke's entrance at the Summit, head-to-toe in formal Grounderwear, was epic. The woman singing the Grounder song was a fantastic, evocative touch.
Were you shocked by the success of the Mount Weather Attack Redux? Did you expect Gina was not long for this world? Catch up on any episodes you've missed – watch The 100 online here at TV Fanatic!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.