In the best episode of The 100 since ‘Ye Who Enter Here’, ‘Nevermore’ collects most of its characters into one deliciously claustrophobic situation and tightens the noose around each of their throats.
It isn’t coincidence that the two episodes mentioned above are two of the best of the season; both being a course correction against an overreaching and over-plotted series of episodes that roots the show back within the confines of the characters we care for. They were both written by Kim Shumway. Shumway has proven to exhibit a taste for what makes each character tick. She goes to the well of who these people are at that very moment and simply follows them to the next logical place. A master of tension and surprise, Shumway is able to…
SPOILERS NOW OK???
… make us feel bad for a killing that we wished would come all along in Monty’s mom. This isn’t easy stuff and I’m happy Shumway made another appearance at the exact right point in a season that has been too sprawling and piecemeal.
The entirety of ‘Nevermore’ revolves around Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, Jasper, Monty, Sinclair and the welcomely returned Niylah exorcising the demon A.L.I.E. from Raven (get it… ‘Nevermore’??? Raven??? I love it.). This directness of point gives the show a ticking clock and, against common sense, more room to breathe. We aren’t beholden to the wide open world of moving twenty characters into place so that they can arbitrarily interact with one another, forcing an execution or something. When Clarke and company take Raven to a corner of Niylah’s hut because A.L.I.E. can’t be allowed to gather her surroundings so she can relay info to the initiated at Arkadia, it opens up a playground of emotions for which our characters can come to terms (or not) with their previous actions.
Lindsey Morgan does excellent work here as Raven, going between extreme distress and swift manipulation a la The Exorcist. She turns each character against the other and against Raven herself as A.L.I.E. pulls out every stop so she can recover the 2.0 version of her AI from Clarke. Each raw nerve is exposed from Jasper’s still-mourning of Maya, Clarke’s remorse for the Mt. Weather genocide and Bellamy’s jealousy due to lack of credit for the Mt. Weather genocide.
‘Nevermore’ returned to the series important and surprising moments that truly shape the course for things to come. When Monty is forced to kill his mom (although he probably could’ve tried to tackle her off of Octavia first– plus, Octavia should’ve never been overpowered by Monty’s mom, A.L.I.E-controlled or not), the direction by Ed Fraiman clearly shows us that it is necessary while also pushing Monty to an emotional breaking point. It’s simply and clearly compelling filmmaking. As I said before, Monty’s mom has never been an interesting character and was a person that I wanted gone due to sheer boredom. Shumway and Fraiman made it all work.
In another interesting turn of character, ‘Nevermore’ sets up a showdown between Clarke and Jasper over the Maya’s death at Mt. Weather where Jasper can immediately return the favor for Clarke’s actions. Jasper has the chance to destroy A.L.I.E. 2.0 for good but stops when Clarke tells him that Lexa is still inside the program. This seems initially like a weak character beat because Jasper so easily surmounts his anger so that Clarke wouldn’t have to feel the same loss. Like the entire deftly crafted, hope-restoring, tense and tasty episode preceding it, this feeling gives way to a truer, more complex event when Jasper says:
“I couldn’t do what you did.”
He isn’t over it and it makes complete sense. How about we let Kim Shumway write each episode from now on? ‘Nevermore’ is The 100 at its finest.
Check out my reviews of previous episodes of ‘The 100’ here: