This The 100 review contains spoilers.
The 100: Season 3, Episode 14
It’s been difficult watching The 100’s slow fall from grace this season. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, much of this stems from the problematic City of Light storyline. Not only has Alie turned most of Arkadia and Polis’s populace into mind-controlled drones, she’s also single-handedly ruining what was once one of television’s best sci-fi dramas. This season we’ve witnessed a major character assassination — namely Jaha’s unlikely transformation from spiritual leader to two-dimensional villain. And that’s not even the most egregious thing about this season. In “Red Sky at Morning,” Clarke attempts something so wrongheaded that it made me second-guess everything about her character — and that’s not a good thing. But more on that that in a bit.
In addition to Clarke’s shenanigans aboard Luna’s oil rig, we had Raven trying to hack into Alie via the Arkadia mainframe. Early on in the season I didn’t much mind the passing similarities between Alie’s City of Light and The Matrix films. But now, seeing Raven huddled before a bank of monitors streaming lines of code, the similarities to The Matrix are now to the point of distraction. When Raven looks at the code, she doesn’t see strings of numbers, she sees the actual City of Light. This is pretty much how the operators view the Matrix—they don’t see rows of code, they see past it and into the virtual world.
Sure, these scenes generated a bit of excitement — after all, Raven has major beef with Alie after being possessed by her back in “Nevermore,” in which the red-dressed A.I. tortured the former zero G mechanic for nearly the entire episode. So, yes, by all means, let Raven have her revenge — she’s certainly earned it. But here’s where things get a bit silly. Just as Raven zeroes in on Alie’s kill switch, Alie responds by throwing a specific line of code in the way. And by line of code, I mean Monty’s mother.
Hannah directly addresses her son from within the City of Light, but this only reminded me of Carol Anne’s disembodied voice emanating from the television in 1982’s Poltergeist. I realize this was meant to be a poignant, heartfelt moment, but as I said, this struck me as silly. Monty’s decision to delete her code — thereby killing his mother for a second time — is important to his character, but it doesn’t really serve the larger storyline. Doubling down on Monty’s misery seems too easy to me, and for that reason alone I could say I didn’t like this episode.
Which brings us back to Clarke. Clarke, and her noble ideas of right and wrong. In my review of last week’s “Join or Die,” just because Clarke believes something is right doesn’t automatically make it so. This is taken to an extreme in “Red Sky” when Clarke thinks she can force Luna to take the Flame without her consent. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but doesn’t no mean no? Luna rejected Clarke’s plan to become the next commander, thereby dismissing the Flame, too.
That Clarke would go against another person’s wishes simply because she has her own agenda smacks mightily of colonial entitlement. Clarke knows nothing of Luna’s customs and doesn’t care to understand them. There’s a world to save, damn it, and Luna is the only person who can save it. I get that Clarke is desperate enough to try anything, but Octavia is the voice of reason when she reminds Clarke that “even Alie gives people a choice.” Yikes.
Needless to say, the plan doesn’t work, and the City of Light scourge reaches the oil rig. Luna is forced to make a tough choice—and she wisely sticks to her guns. Which leads me to believe that she may not be the last Nightblood in the land.
Some closing thoughts:
Indra, Pike, and Murphy make for some strange bedfellows. Out of this entire episode, they were the most level-headed. Too bad we didn’t get more of them, but at least they live to fight another day.
Not only did The 100 double down on Monty’s misery, it did the same with Jasper, who, as we know, has spent the entire season trying to get over Maya. In “Red Sky” he meets a lovely girl named Shay. I thought, great, Jasper can finally move on and actually find some happiness (maybe not Monty and Harper-type happiness, but happiness nonetheless). But no. The 100 giveth, and The 100 taketh away. What this will do to Jasper is anyone’s guess, but it probably won’t be good.