In “Watch The Thrones”, The 100 draws some lines and connections that I’m not sure preceding evidence could uphold. Clarke finds herself inexplicably in the middle of a coup-from-nowhere which turns into a deathmatch via champion a la The Mountain vs. Prince Oberyn in Game of Thrones. The comparisons to HBO’s masterful political drama don’t stop there as characters all across the land engage in questionable tactics which enrage the viewer because of everyone’s lack of communication. The biggest difference in season three of The 100 as opposed to the previous two is we’re dealing with very many brand new characters and resulting events in which we don’t have the gravity to process their effects taking place in this world. The story, by necessity, is getting bigger but we’re thrown so abruptly into lives and events of people with whom we have no connection, it’s hard to believe anything that happens as being true consequence. In Game of Thrones, the story slows slightly for us to catch up with their newbies whereas in The 100, the breakneck pace just chugs right along.
So, Lexa chooses herself as champion to fight against Ice Queen Nia’s champion and exiled son, Roan. This ignites that can’t-die, won’t-die fight in Clarke to not let this fight take place. Clarke is the perfect representation of manifest destiny on this show. If she doesn’t like what’s happening, she swears to change it. The problem here is that her inconsistencies when choosing sides should undoubtedly come back to bite her. It isn’t as if she’s dominated by some moral code she’s sworn to uphold. The closest she comes to this is defending her people and who is to even say who her people even are anymore? She’s alienated most of Skaikru and seems to only have grounds with her mother, Kane, Octavia and Bellamy. On the positive side, she doesn’t let antiquity and bygone ceremony rule her life and will fight against any process she deems unfair.
When she goes to Roan to speak her case against the battle occurring, he hatches his own plan to stop it. Unfortunately, it is also kicked in the teeth as Clarke tries to poison Nia in a blood oath. One of “Watch The Thrones” many shortcomings is given light here as if we’re really to believe Roan thought this plan would work. This is, after all, his own mother he has plotted to kill and despite his banishment at her hands, we have to believe there is a history at play here that wouldn’t let this plan end so simply. Still, the fact that Roan wanted Clarke to do this hopefully means we’ll see some aftermath on his psyche, especially after how the deathmatch ends.
Can we give a round of applause for the deathmatch, by the way? Early in its life I’ve resorted to the “great for a CW show” defense when talking about The 100. I’ve since given that up because it is a great show regardless of network but let me bring that line to the forefront one more time: On a network with such putrid fight choreography and eye for action (Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash, I’m looking at you), this battle stood above many regardless of network or medium. Lexa’s sword/spear/fist fight against Roan was short but it packed all the punches and emotional beats as the best of them, including those seen on Game of Thrones. The fight told its own story swiftly and brutally as Lexa found her way to victory. Instead of actually going through with killing Roan, she sends a spear Nia’s way and kills her instead. Now, I have a bone to pick with knowing the entire time we wouldn’t see one of the combatants die, but it does give Roan some interesting grounds to tread henceforth. He has just ascended to King of the Ice Nation after having been banished by his mother. Surely, he’ll have his own bone to pick with the nature by which he has reached this point and hopefully the show will address this adequately.
On the other side of the forest, Pike is beating his war drum incessantly. Bellamy, feeling guilty for the death of the Farm Stationers and his R.I.P. Ex Gf (I don’t know her name and I won’t look it up. Ever.) starts to see the light of Pike’s anti-Grounder platform. Should it be concerning that a Chancellor election looms? You betcha. Pike has his stance which is more than acceptable but Bellamy should absolutely know better. In fact, everything about his character’s previous actions would tell us that he’s making the wrong move in aligning himself with Pike and the plot devices known as Pike’s supporters.
Here’s the thing: I want this show to give me characters who do dumb things that piss me off. With that want also comes the responsibility of earning those moments. In order to earn moments we need insight as to what a character wants and why. With a show now in its third season and when dealing with a top three character, we understandably need something greater than a cursory reason as to why someone acts the way they do. With Bellamy, I don’t buy for a single second he would align with Pike. We never knew R.I.P. Ex Gf well enough to believe Bellamy’s alliance with Pike is the result of a vengeance-guilt complex. If anything, Bellamy knows that the actions of one Grounder doesn’t represent the whole. He learned this lesson with Lincoln in the first season. Bellamy is past this point. I get that Bellamy is looking for a father-figure but it honestly feels like we’ve gotten past that point as he’s made so many mature choices on his own that he might take a greater shove for him to follow another strong male so blindly.
I must give kudos to Bob Morley as he continues to portray Bellamy. Even if I don’t believe his character’s motives and choices, Morley has changed his entire demeanor and cadence when delivering his performance that it’s clear he’s giving it his all. I would completely believe defenders of Bellamy’s actions because the performance is so rich. It’s only the writing that fails him here.
Seemingly more arbitrarily, Pike is elected the new Chancellor of Skaikru (does Pike even acknowledge that term? ::Act IV as Chancellor, eliminate Sky-Crew::).
Looking back at previous seasons of a show and expecting more of the same is an absolutely insane thing to ask. It’s also a stupid one. I don’t think I’m asking for that, though. I do believe that early interactions between characters and their decisions were treated with greater nuance and deftness of hand that truly surprised and worked on many thematic levels. “Watch The Thrones” felt like a definite step back in regard to the spines of our main characters and the tropes the show decides to tackle. Before tonight, The 100 felt distinctly its own thing. Now, I’m not sure it’s more than Game of Thrones-lite. All this said, it’ll take more than one episode that still happens to be jam-packed with detail (those Nightbloods are interesting as hell) and inciting incidents to derail me and, at the very least, The 100 continues to move at a ridiculous pace.
Also, Jasper does more moping, Monty cements himself as an interesting character and Jaha, Murphy and Finn (literally!) are lost to the ether. I didn’t mind.
“Anger IS our policy!” – Pike
Check out Monkey Fighting Robots’ reviews of previous episodes of ‘The 100’ here: