The 100: Rubicon review

The 100 covers a lot of ground as it continues to up the stakes for every faction’s survivors.

Tonight’s episode of The 100, “Rubicon,” set out to accomplish a great many things. But as is sometimes the case with this show, its reach exceeds its grasp. That’s not to say “Rubicon” didn’t have some pretty standout moments, because it did. What did work, worked very well, but not every important moment squarely hit the mark.

Spoilers ahead for episode 12, “Rubicon.”

I really love Dante Wallace. His calm demeanor belies a steely strength that informs his every action. Since the coup, he has been quarantined, though not without the basic amenities. His son Cage may be conducting unethical experiments on Grounders, but Dante is still his father. Though they don’t see eye to eye on the best way to move forward, they still want the same thing for their people—to finally regain the surface. Not for martial law, not for nefarious purposes, but simply because it is their birthright. But Dante does not want this to happen if it means losing their souls in the process, something Cage doesn’t seem to grapple with. The perceived rightness of his convictions is enough to justify murdering innocents. He likewise uses the same rationale to justify launching a missile to take out the leaders of the 12 clans who have convened in Tondc. With the Grounders out of the way, and with the irradiated marrow of the outsiders coursing through Mount Weather’s people, there’s really nothing left to stop Cage’s plan. He even injects his father with the transplanted marrow, to ensure Dante can be at his side to revel at his son’s success. This is a particularly powerful moment in the episode. Blood is thicker than water—especially if that blood is from an unwanted transfusion.

I like Raven, too. She’s still missing Finn, and her resentment toward Clarke has not faded with time. (It’s hard to tell exactly how much time has passed since Finn died, but my guess is only a week or two.) Just as Clarke is still unable to forgive her mother’s betrayal of her father, it may be a while before Raven can understand Clarke’s actions, much less forgive her for them. In the meantime, Raven’s bitter feelings are causing friction between her and Clarke, who is now more a leader than a friend. Raven has never been hesitant to speak her mind to anyone, and Clarke is no exception. Raven approaches her with a “who died and made you queen” kind of attitude that provides a necessary balance to the seeming deference Clarke encounters from a lot of people in the camp, Kane included. That Kane takes Clarke seriously is not to suggest weakness on his part. Rather, it demonstrates his ability to see the bigger picture, and her role in it. The same goes for Raven. She may be sullen, but she’s still supportive of Bellamy’s mission inside Mount Weather, and she’s not about to jeopardize his safety over her personal beef with Clarke.

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Murphy was also interesting tonight. He continues to hide his emotional wounds behind a wall of sarcasm, but it’s there nonetheless. Some viewers feel his transition to a more sympathetic role was a bit disingenuous, but I think Richard Harmon manages to convey a certain vulnerability that takes Murphy beyond the more one-dimensional antagonist he was in season one. In their quest for the City of Light, he and Jaha encounter a girl in the Dead Zone named Emori. Jaha is quick to offer her aid, and Murphy seems happy for the chance to bond with another outcast. In Emori’s case, she is a mutant, cast out for being a stain on her family’s bloodline. Murphy is undeterred by her perceived deformity, which I think says a lot about the evolution of his character. Even when it turns out Emori has led them into a trap that deprives their party of their supplies, Murphy and Jaha’s faith remains unshaken. With a bit of whispered guidance from Emori, their journey to the Promised Land continues.

Octavia showed a lot of strength tonight, too—specifically when she is reunited with Lincoln, only to discover he is wallowing in his addiction. Like Clarke, Octavia is becoming hardened, and coarse as her training as Indra’s second continues. She has truly embraced the Grounder code—and any sign of weakness is simply not an option, even for the man she still loves. She decides to knock some sense into Lincoln, in this case literally, with the butt of her machete. Not only does it seem to do the trick, their being in the woods appears to have saved them from the aforementioned missile launched by Mount Weather.

Now, about that missile. The buildup to its launch should have had me on the edge of my seat, but it didn’t. Something about this part of “Rubicon” lacked a certain urgency for me, despite the fact that knowing about its launch placed Clarke in a real moral bind. Lexa, ever the assured one, understands that to evacuate Tondc would send a message to Mount Weather that they have a spy in their midst. Revealing this would jeopardize Bellamy’s plan, and an awful lot is already riding on his shoulders. So with the missile inbound, Clarke does what she believes is right—namely, to let the 12 clans’ representatives perish in the blast.

Which brings us to Abby, the acting chancellor, who calls Clarke out for what she feels is a morally bankrupt decision. Maybe she’s right, maybe she’s not. In the world of The 100, morality tends to exist in a vast gray area, at least for people like Clarke and Bellamy. But for Abby, the world is still very much black and white, and she believes what Clarke has done has crossed the line (hence the title of tonight’s episode). Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but I will say that as much as I like Paige Turco, Abby has really been grating on me in season 2. Which leads me to believe that perhaps she may not survive into season 3.

One closing thought:

I for one was glad to see Dr. Tsing get her comeuppance. One could argue that she exists in the same moral gray area as Clarke, but Clarke has never acted unethically. (I know, it’s a very thin line.)

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3.5 out of 5