Another week, another fight for power on the Ground. This week, Pike continues his quest to Conquer The World in typical “Big Bad” style, Bellamy follows his orders blindly, Kane and Abby have somehow ended up the only sane ones in Arkadia, and Lexa actually fights Clarke back a little bit.
I feel like I have to give a disclaimer for this recap as there are several things I have issues with in this season, but there are two major players: Pike and everything he stands for and this new Bellamy 3.0.We can discuss Bellamy in the comments to avoid spoiling you for a kind of major plot hole/"twist" at the end of the episode but Pike.
So, at the risk of bring on some criticism: I can actually kind of understand where Pike is coming from. Unlike the kids, he wasn’t dropped on the Earth and eventually befriended by a Grounder who, in turn, brought some understanding of the ground and the rules they now have to abide by. He and the rest of Farm Station were dropped in the middle of hostile Grounder territory and had to watch their children die in front of them, had to adapt without any idea.
However, Pike was the Earth Skills teacher back on the Ark and landed with Farm Station. So, yes, they have the downside of making enemies with Ice Nation, but they also had the working knowledge of how to grow their own crops to provide sustenance, as well as the station’s expert on Earth matters in their hands. Maybe they’ve stopped teaching of the colonization of America in 100 years in favor of more useful knowledge, but this is history repeating itself in a very obvious way. Pike has a Christopher Columbus Complex, which means he feels that now that they’re here on this land, they have a right to it. He’s willing to massacre innocent soldiers sent to protect them, wipe out a nearby village so they have room to grow crops, and even have his army kill a child to protect their secret. It’s frustrating because you want to feel bad for him but he makes it so hard. They’re an interesting group of villains because you understand where they’re coming from and know he must be not only angry but hurt, too, but you can’t pity him because he’s letting that cloud his judgment and you know his hubris is going to be what becomes his downfall.
And now, onto your regularly scheduled recap.
What Happens in Polis...
In Polis, Clarke is finally relaxing on the Ground again, sketching Lexa before the Commander wakes fitfully from a nightmare. She’s convinced she just received a sign that her people will revolt and war is imminent. Clarke tries to reassure her that she made a good choice, that her legacy will be peace. They’re interrupted by Titus delivering a gift from King Roan for Clarke: Carl Emerson, the man from the mountain who gave the Ice Nation the self destruct codes. He escapes the box and tries to attack her but Lexa’s guards pull him off her in time.
After he’s been dragged to detainment, Lexa asks Clarke what she wants as justice. When Clarke demands his life, she asks why she’s okay with letting the shed of blood not be retaliated when it’s her people but isn’t willing to stick to her efforts for peace when it’s to receive justice for the death of the Sky People. She gives Clarke an ultimatum: either he is banished from the coalition’s lands forever or he dies from 49 cuts from Clarke’s own hands.
Still unsure of what she wants to do, she has a moment alone with a chained Emerson. She asks him if he’s satisfied with the body count he left behind in Mount Weather and he reminds her of her own body count there. He lists off the hundreds of people Clarke murdered, achieving his goal of making her uncomfortable. However, she’s not willing to let this slide. “If you want mercy, you’re going to have to beg for it,” she spits at him. He laughs, reminding her he never wanted mercy, he just wanted revenge.
Titus uses this dilemma to encourage Clarke to think of what this will mean for the other clans. Noticing how she was inclined to want justice for the death of her people, he reminded her that his people have been living with the “blood must have blood” mantra for many years more than Clarke has. She stands firm, reminding him that despite her desire for peace, she would not help him do anything that would cause pain for her people.
In the end, the ambassadors from the clans gather around to watch the execution of Emerson. Lexa gets as far as handing Clarke the sword to use before Clarke makes the last minute decision to spare Emerson’s life. Lexa announces that Emerson’s punishment is permanent banishment from the land but the pain of having to live with the ghosts of those he has lost and being haunted with the knowledge he is the last of his kind.
Arkadia: City of Light
Abby is examining Raven, unclear on how the pain subsided so quickly and with no current side effects. Raven is on cloud nine, happy to finally be cleared for work, despite her leg still not working. Abby’s still weary of the City of Light concept but lets it slide for the moment.
She decides to keep an eye on Jaha regardless, cautioning a pained Jasper against taking the chip (pill?) before she can run appropriate tests on it. He’s less than thrilled with Abby’s order but agrees with it anyway.
Raven, eternally grateful to Alie and Jaha for taking away her pain, is convinced to plug Alie into the mainframe to search for her upgraded functionality. Even though Raven tries to question it, Jaha gives her an excuse that Raven takes and sets off to hunt down a way to get Alie into the mainframe. After she’s gone, Alie questions Jaha’s reasoning for lying before he explains he didn’t quite think Raven would be so willing to help if she knew Alie was the one responsible for the destruction of the Earth in the first place.
Jasper, ever on the hunt for anything to kill his pain, stalks Raven down to the mainframe and questions her. She gets him to meet up with Jaha who explains that all he has to do is take the chip and his pain will be gone. Before he can do so, Abby interrupts, taking the chip from him. She sends Jasper off and questions Jaha about the scientific properties of the chip. Turns out, it attaches itself to the brain stem and stops the pain receptors from firing correctly, reducing pain.
Still, Abby wants to run tests. “Would you give these to Wells without running tests first?” (Oh, Wells. You deserved better, you really did.) When Jaha can’t remember who Wells is until Alie prompts him, Abby takes all the chips from him, determined more than ever to put a stop to the City of Light madness. Jackson, Abby’s assistant and fellow City of Light devotee, promises to keep an eye on Abby as she’s not aware he’s taken the chip as well.
Arkadia: City of Darkness
The other former Chancellor of the Ark, Kane, is keeping a close eye on Pike. He’s getting updates from Octavia, who is following Pike’s soldiers outside the gates of Arkadia. She’s watching as they gather water and soil samples from the surrounding area, unsure of their plan. She’s trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible, a feat made impossible when a Grounder child stumbles on to the scene and Pike’s people try to kill him.
While Octavia manages to quickly grab the child and save him from Pike’s army, Kane and Miller are running interference on the inside of the gates. They break into the Council Room and plant a bug so they can hear what Pike & Co. are discussing when they’re in there. As a result, Kane, Miller, and Octavia listen in as Pike announces to his crew they’re going to execute a Grounder village so they can take over the land. Turns out, the Ark will starve within the year if they don’t manage to start growing crops and the soil in Sector Four is the best.
They decide to set off for the Grounder village as Octavia runs off to warn them, despite Miller’s insistence she talk to Bellamy first. As predicted, the Grounders don’t take to Octavia too kindly until Gabriel shows up and saves her, explaining she saved him first.
Still, the Grounders set a trap, hoping to take out the Skaikru soldiers coming to kill them. They use Octavia as bait but are distracted as they watch the people roll in, allowing Octavia to escape. She tries to warn Bellamy of the impending attack but the Grounders are too fast, setting fire to the acid covered ropes, creating the acid fog the Mountain Men had also used to disarm their enemies. The army pulls back but not fast enough to avoid a couple casualties; Monroe falls victim to the acid fog much like Atom in season one and Bellamy and Monty have to watch her suffocate, no Clarke present to make the mercy kill.
Back in camp, Pike is discussing Octavia with Bellamy. She’s made her alliance clear and has a mole inside the camp that is giving her inside information. In what is arguably the most out of character thing this season (and that’s saying a lot), Bellamy offers little argument and turns against his sister at Pike’s request. In fact, he wants Bellamy to find out exactly who is supplying her with information and how, with evidence.
The Real Unity Day Story
Remember Unity Day? Not only a fantastic episode in season one of this series but the Ark’s own day to celebrate the twelve stations coming together to create one big, harmonious colony. Or, well, that’s what history wants you to believe.
As Alie and Raven realize there is no record of Alie in the system’s mainframe, Jaha reveals that there was a thirteenth station named Polaris. Turns out, they were never exactly interested in joining the Ark and were conveniently left out of the Unity Day story because it didn’t make for a happy story. Unfortunately, not even Jaha is aware of what happened to them, leaving them at a dead end.
Except, surprise! Remember those Grounders that thwarted Murphy’s attempts at playing dead to rob them only to turn around and kidnap him after finding the chip for the City of Light? Well, that thirteenth clan landed right back on Earth and who should be their leader other than Lexa’s right hand man, Titus? I’ll admit, I never saw that one coming and I am interested to see it play out. Imagine the Grounders’ reaction when they realize they’ve actually been interacting with Skaikru all along?
Honestly, the only thing I can say was that this episode was actually mildly emotionally draining. Having to deal with Pike actually gets my blood boiling, which is good because it means the writers are doing their job of making an actively hated villain but is also bad because of no reason other than he is incredibly infuriating. Plus, there was a large hole in the shape of Lincoln. Seriously, bring back Lincoln. I needed his calming presence on the screen this week.
What are your thoughts? Did you see the Polaris twist coming?
The 100 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.