This The 100 review contains spoilers
The 100: Season 3, Episode 6
Is it better to die fighting for one’s home or to die of starvation? Is banishment a fitting sentence, or is death by 49 cuts the more just punishment? Or, to put it more bluntly: vengeance or peace, life or death? And let’s not forget another important choice — the red pill or the blue pill?
In Jasper’s case, he picks the red pill. In The Matrix, the red pill was what opened Neo’s eyes to another reality. In the case of The 100, the pill is a silicone-based chip that, once ingested, offers a reality free from physical or mental pain. Which makes Jasper the perfect candidate for Jaha’s growing cult of City of Light acolytes. Raven’s sudden happiness and freedom from chronic pain is all the convincing he needs to buy into whatever the former chancellor is selling. This decision is an easy one to believe, after watching Jasper grapple with some pretty big demons all season long. Why wouldn’t he want the key to the City of Light? Why wouldn’t he his problems to vanish in the blink of an eye?
The writers also built a strong case for Raven’s buy-in to Jaha’s talk of a pain-free life. Normally strong-willed and fiercely independent, her chronic pain has left her weakened physically and emotionally. Of course she’d be interested in a magical cure. Abby is interested, too, but for different reasons. As a woman of science, she is both wary and skeptical of Raven’s sudden recovery.
In season two, I was practically predisposed to dislike anything Abby said or did. She was constantly at odds with those around her, whether it was Kane or Jaha or her daughter (especially Clarke). She made questionable choices, thinking more with her heart than her head. But that was then, this is now. Abby’s more measured in her thinking and in her actions. Stepping away from her leadership role has allowed her to see what’s really going on around Arkadia — and it’s not great. Pike is now in power, Bellamy has committed atrocious acts of violence, and innocent Grounders have been slaughtered by the hundreds.
But to Abby, right now, the most immediate threat to the camp’s survival isn’t Pike or an impending war with Lexa, it’s whatever snake oil Jaha is peddling to Jasper and everyone else. It’s a telling moment when Jaha can’t remember his own son’s name. And why would he? Wells’ death is a painful memory for him, and the chip he’s ingested has basically wiped away any trace of that psychic pain.
As for Clarke, she’s tasked with a difficult moral choice when Emerson, the last survivor of President Wallace’s regime, is unexpectedly brought before her. Will she spare his life but banish him forever to the wilderness, or kill him by way of the dreaded 49 cuts? If you’ll recall, Raven got a taste of this last season, and it’s definitely not a pleasant way to die. Death doesn’t scare Emerson, though. He sees it as an end to his own pain, while Clarke will be left to suffer the cruel fate of a continued, troubled existence.
But what’s at stake here is not just the fate of one man. Indeed, Clarke’s desire for vengeance flies in the face of Lexa’s noble gesture in standing down from her own need for revenge against Arkadia. Clarke insists killing Emerson is not the same thing, that she’s seeking justice for the sins of one man. This isn’t just denial on her part, it’s hypocrisy. Clarke finally comes to understand this and sides with Lexa’s desire for peace. Wanheda ultimately pardons Emerson, damning him with a chilling “May you live forever.”
Some closing thoughts:
Clarke drawing again is not just an interesting throwback to season one, it’s also a reflection of her present frame of mind. The so-called commander of death can indulge her creative side a bit now that she has some semblance of stability. A nice character moment, even if it immediately made me think of Jack and Rose in Titanic.
Every person of power seems to have an advisor who has their own hidden agenda. That Titus has secrets is really no surprise given his shady behavior throughout this current season. And like most people who stand in the shadow of those who wield the real power, Titus is a man festering with equal parts resentment and fear. Resentment, toward a leader who he no longer has faith in, and fear that Lexa’s perceived weakness will destroy her people. And, as we learn at the very end of the episode, he’s been torturing Murphy for information about Clarke and Arkadia. I will be very disappointed if Titus doesn’t meet a painful end this season. Blood must have blood, and all that.
As we’ve been told since day one, the Ark was comprised of 12 stations. But as we learned in “Bitter Harvest,” there was a 13th station. This is a nice reveal that feels like less of a cheat and more like something else the writers have been building up to since last season. All along, I thought Polis referred to Annapolis. What we learn in this episode, though, is that Polis is The 100’s Kragle. In other words, Polis is short for the name of the 13th station, Polaris.