My weeks used to revolve around New Comic Book Day, especially because I work at a comic book store, but now everything circles around Thursday nights. That’s because The 100 has been killing it every week. Co-creator Jason Rothenburg said last week that the last two episodes were just the climb up to the top of the rollercoaster. This week was just the first drop and man, what a drop it was.
MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
“You can’t run away from who you are”
“Ye Who Enter Here” opens with Clarke and Lexa. Just like we had to wait a week from the last cliffhanger, Clarke forced Lexa to wait until the Commander couldn’t be ignored any longer. Lexa tells Clarke that there will be a summit to reinitiate a truce between the Sky People and the Grounders but that’s not all that she has planned. Lexa wants Clarke’s people to join her coalition and the only way to secure that union is to have the Legendary Wanheda bow down before her.
Eliza Taylor and Alycia Debnam-Carey are both sensational actors in their own right but they are seriously phenomenal when they have scenes together. Given everything that has happened to and between these two characters, Eliza and Alycia play the depth of Clarke and Lexa’s emotions flawlessly. Clarke is still deeply hurt by Lexa’s betrayal and wary of any kind of mercy or kindness directed her way. Lexa’s a bit more difficult to read but Alycia absolutely nails the subtleties that give Lexa away. The Grounders certainly see it and point it out to her throughout this episode.
Needless to say, Clarke is less than receptive to Lexa’s plan, even going so far as to tell the Commander to “float herself.” There’s an amazing back and forth going on in this scene between these two leaders. They were both forced into power at such a young age but Clarke was able to run away after her first war. Lexa was never afforded such a luxury. Clarke is able to be bitter and to hate herself and others but Lexa can’t. Or at least she was never able to show it. The Ice Queen had her significant other, Costia, tortured and killed, and Lexa still allowed the Ice Nation to join the coalition. Her duty to her people always came first. Here, you can see just how much Lexa feels and reacts to Clarke’s hatred but she still manages to get down to business because that’s what a leader does. It’s also interesting to see how much Lexa allows Clarke to get away with. She spits on her, refuses to see her, and she threatened to kill her. If it were any other person in the world, they’d be dead. Evidence: the very next scene.
Clarke’s not the only one suspicious of Lexa’s acceptance of the Skaikru (Sky People). When Lexa hosts a meeting between the 12 clans, the Ice Nation ambassador refuses to bow. His mistake.
Kane and Abby are the chosen delegates for Lexa’s summit and on their journey they discuss the consequences of opening up Mt. Weather and who should actually be leader. Kane doesn’t agree with Abby’s decision to place the Farm Station survivors at the mountain because it could endanger their attempts at peace with the Grounders. Abby admits that she isn’t the kind of leader that Arkadia needs to negotiate and ensure a long-term peace. I love their relationship as leaders and comrades. I don’t know if they’re actually a couple or not but I would love their relationship either way.
I think they make a great parallel to Clarke and Bellamy, who have also showed that they could be co-leaders effectively. What makes the comparison more apt is the fact that each pairing of co-leaders has one person who isn’t meant to lead alone. Kane and Clarke can clearly negotiate and lead by themselves at this point, while Abby and Bellamy are more secondary council types. Abby has the heart of a doctor and will always think about the smaller picture because she deals more with immediate threats and fixes. Bellamy is much more of a general/squad leader type. He prioritizes “his” people over all others and that kind of loyalty is admirable but not suited for the big picture, political leadership role that Clarke almost effortlessly assumes.
Speaking of Bellamy, he’s grumpy because he’s stuck at Mt. Weather doing a supply run instead of being with Kane, Abby, and Clarke at the summit. But hey, at least he has Gina with him! Octavia and Raven tag along, giving us some great scenes between the four of them. Gina and Raven’s friendship was a pleasant surprise and brought some much needed lightness to the intensity of the episode. Honestly, any scene that has Raven smiling makes me feel light… while also making me fear for her future in this episode.
Understandably, the crew are disturbed to see that a large part of Farm Station has already made themselves comfortable in the dining area of Mt. Weather. Considering that’s where all the Mountain Men died, I’d be disturbed too. Bellamy moves past the initial disturbance pretty quickly. I think that’s partly because that’s his character. He once said to Clarke: “Who we are and who we need to be to survive are two very different things.” I’m pretty sure that’s his motto for being able to deal with everything that’s happened. His easy camaraderie with Pike also makes it easier to be there. It’s clear that Bellamy respects Pike and that, along with the fragile relationship he has with Kane, could mean something bad for the peace between the Sky People and the Grounders.
Octavia and Bellamy’s scene outside Mt. Weather was great. Octavia’s initially shaken by the new Arkers’ cavalier attitude while taking residence in a place full of so much death and that leads to some realizations. When Bellamy goes to talk to her, she voices what she’s been thinking these past few episodes: she doesn’t belong with at Arkadia. She doesn’t belong with the Sky People. There aren’t many quiet moments in the show and between Bellamy’s lousy attitude towards the Grounders and Octavia’s inability to fit in with anybody but Grounders, you just know something will occur to shake this strong bond between siblings. A part of me is sad that because their love and loyalty to each other has been such a driving force for both of their characters’ journeys but I’m more excited to see what’s to come for them.
Their quiet moment is interrupted when Echo, the Ice Nation grounder who saved Bellamy back in the Mt. Weather Grounder cages, comes in and warns them that the summit is a trap and Clarke and the others are in danger. Pike is immediately suspicious but Bellamy vouches because of what he and Echo went through at the mountain. While Bellamy, Pike, and Octavia go off to be heroes, Raven, Sinclair, and Gina stay behind to see if they can access the Mountain Men’s missile system to give them some much needed backup and defense.
Raven and Sinclair get some nice moments here. It’s been established that they have a strong work relationship. Sinclair cleared Raven to be a Zero-G mechanic even though she has a heart defect that could’ve affected her time out in space. In this episode, Raven tells a story about saving Sinclair’s life and it’s apparent that she holds him up as the person who can validate her skills as a mechanic and, by extension, as a person. She’s been so broken by the events that happened in the past two seasons and she’s barely hanging on by a thread. Being a skilled and valued mechanic is all that she has left. Being unable to crack the code to get the missiles ends up being the straw that breaks her down. Sinclair is able to break through to the root of her fear and anger. What if she’s too broken to save? Having this breakdown happen so quickly kind of gives me hope. For me, this is Raven’s rock bottom moment and from here she’ll only rise up to the challenge. (#ProtectRavenReyes2K16)
Clarke at Polis
Back at Polis, it looks like prisoners and “guests” have the same scheduled outside time. Prince Roan and Clarke get to talking and she finds out that he has set the stage for her to assassinate Lexa. It’s a tempting offer, given all that rage that’s been stewing for the last couple of months but even as he lays out the plan, you could still see the uncertainty brewing in Clarke’s eyes.
Meanwhile, Lexa is training the Nightbloods, a group of young warriors that are groomed to take the Commander’s place one day. This scene introduces so much with so little. You see a whole new side of Lexa as a proud mama bear, teaching someone who just might be her successor when she dies. Titus reveals that while he’s watched over four commanders before her, Lexa has been the one to accomplish so much. What caught my attention in this scene was when Lexa mentions “our agenda.” There are a lot of theories out there but once I heard that line, I immediately thought that this is where the Grounder and ALIE storylines will intertwine. Is their agenda just to unite the clans? Or is there a reason why they need the clans to be united? I guess we’ll have to find out later!
I love these two scenes because both Clarke and Lexa are presented with the idea of killing the other in order to do what’s best for their positions as leaders of their people. For Clarke, there’s also a chance for revenge. Still, as angry as she is, will killing Lexa heal her pain? Of course not. Clarke learned that lesson last season after the missile destroyed TonDC. Lexa helped her deal with the pain and the guilt and taught her how to forge ahead as a leader. But Clarke has a lot of anger left in her. Lexa on the other hand, really can’t afford to grant mercy because that’s not her people’s way. It adds so much to her already multi-faceted character that even though she understands the risk, she still insists that Clarke is special. I especially love the way Lexa’s face gives away so much in these intimate scenes. Her eyes soften and her voice wavers and it’s so different from the Commander who kicked a man off her balcony at the beginning of the episode.
All of these factors lead to their next scene together where Clarke tries, and fails, to kill Lexa with the knife that Prince Roan snuck into her room. I can’t stress enough just how electrifying these two characters are when they have scenes together and we were blessed to have more four really important ones in this episode. This one in particular truly blew me away. Clarke doesn’t have to say anything to communicate the torrent of emotions and thoughts that are going through her mind. This time she’s the one that gets to say so much without having to breathe a word of dialogue. Her hands are shaking and her chin quivers as she holds the knife to Lexa’s throat. Her eyes are wide and searching Lexa’s for some kind of answer to unasked questions. And after Lexa’s wide-eyed, surprised reaction at Clarke’s attack, she mutters an apology that shatters Clarke’s already fragile resolve. Clarke knows just who she is and after months of running away, she finds a way to push past the hurt and the anger and the guilt because she knows that her people need her. She knows she needs Lexa just as much as Lexa needs her. This is such a beautiful scene for the both of them and it’s even more proof that Eliza Taylor and Alycia Debnam Carey are at the top of their game in this episode.
Take a Bow
Before they commence with the summit, Clarke reunites with Abby and Kane in order to fill them in on the change in plans. Just like everything else in this episode, this scene offers so many layers and depths to the characters, their relationships, their history, and the changing circumstances now. The first thing I noticed about Clarke and Abby’s reunion was Clarke’s inability to hug her mother. She’s barely able to take comfort in her mother’s arms before she gets back to business. That kind of little detail made me feel so bad for Clarke because I interpreted it as another manifestation of her self-loathing. Kane’s easy acceptance of being inducted into Lexa’s coalition plus the way that Abby turns to him for council also give more insight to both the characters and their strong relationship with each other.
Clarke also gives a heavy-handed tidbit when she says, “This is our Unity Day, Mom. You can be the 13th station or you can be the 13th clan.” Lines like that make me so happy because the writers aren’t force-feeding us the show’s mythology. They’re leaving breadcrumbs. Giving us clues. There’s a chance that we could find out what ever happened to the 13th station but we don’t need to know anything more than the fact that it was wiped out. This is a show that moves forward at a rapid pace but lines like this ground it in the show’s own history without letting it stray away from that forward motion. Suffice to say, Abby knows which of the two she’d rather be and Clarke is given the go-ahead to act.
The ceremony itself is incredible. We finally get hear the Grounder Anthem and Clarke’s entrance just slays. The scene switches between the summit, Bellamy and company’s breaking and entering, and the Ice Nation assassin as he finishes preparations for his attack. The summit goes well until Bellamy, Pike, and Octavia burst in, weapons at the ready. The fact that they brought weapons past the capital’s boundary, breaks the Grounders’ sacred laws and everybody is confused by the entrance. Everything falls apart pretty quickly after that when we find out that the assassin that Bellamy, Pike, and Octavia are chasing was really at Mt. Weather all along and they were just tricked by Echo. What initially starts with an act that’s supposed to grant the Sky People security, ends with a whole lot of death, uncertainty, and a war.
I don’t want to brush over the Mt. Weather scene because that was an amazing reveal. The assassin taking out Gina and setting the self-destruct sequence was heartbreaking. We barely got to know Gina but she made such an impact. She wasn’t just Bellamy’s girlfriend. She was also Raven’s good friend and confidante. In her last moments, she crawled to warn Raven and Sinclair and because of that, they caught the assassin and they escaped Mt. Weather’s destruction. RIP Gina.
Back at the Grounder capital, Bellamy gets the news from Raven that they were tricked and that the mountain was destroyed, taking Gina and the 36 Farm Station survivors with it. This is a moment that really breaks Bellamy. Even after all the growth he had, even after he learns to be a better person, he still loses and I think he’ll put that all on himself because he insisted that they could trust Echo. I’m simultaneously excited and worried about what this means for Bellamy in the upcoming episodes. We already see the divide between him and Clarke because she chooses to stay behind with Lexa as an ambassador for the Sky People.
This moment really seals my belief in Bellamy as a protector rather than a leader. Both Abby and Kane accept Clarke’s decision pretty easily. To be fair, he doesn’t know that their people just submitted to be under Lexa’s rule. Still, you can tell that Bellamy is already thinking of Grounders like Pike does and that line of thinking will certainly not help the peace that Clarke and Lexa are working to achieve. The look that he gives Clarke when she doesn’t go with them is cutting. It’ll be interesting to see how his relationships with Clarke and Octavia play out if he continues down this path.
Take a Vow
After Lexa’s emergency meeting following the Ice Nation delegates’ arrest, Clarke and Lexa get a moment to themselves. Titus leaves Lexa, only hoping that she knows what she’s doing, siding with and supporting Wanheda and the Sky People. Clarke’s primary reason for staying is because she still doesn’t trust Lexa and when she says as much to her, Lexa surprises Clarke, (AND ALL OF US), by bowing to her and swearing fealty to Clarke. This last “Clexa” scene floored me. Here was the Commander of the Grounders, bowing in front of Clarke and vowing to never betray her again. Woah. This whole episode is littered with the different dimensions to Lexa’s character. We got to see Lexa as the Commander, as a politician, and as a teacher but here, we just see Lexa. This Lexa needs Clarke, not Wanheda, the Mountain Slayer. Seeing this Lexa changes everything.
Echo, Emerson, and the Ice Queen
The last scene reveals remaining ambassadors of 12 clans conspiring with Queen Nia as Echo reports that everything is going to plan. How did the Ice Nation know about the self-destruct codes? Emerson, the last of the Mountain Men, is working with the Queen to kill Lexa and Clarke. The fact that 10 out of the 12 clan ambassadors are there with the Ice Nation queen does not bode well for Lexa and her coalition. What a way to end an episode!
Verdict: This episode is one of the best episodes of the 100 out so far. I’ve always believed this show was on par with cable shows like Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead and this episode proves it. There was so much to pull from this episode and analyze and I didn’t even get to talk about it all. I bow down to episode writer Kim Shumway for penning such a masterpiece episode and to the rest of the cast and crew for bringing it to life. I swear fealty to this show and all who are involved in making it one of the best shows on television right now.