This The 100 review contains spoilers.
The 100 Season 4 Episode 4
“A Lie Guarded” stepped up the tension, made me scared for my favorite warrior woman, and brought back some great elements from Season 1 and Season 3 in a stronger way than any other episode has so far this season.
This is the most brutal we’ve seen Clarke be to her own people, and in doing so she’s recreating the circumstances of her father’s death and her own imprisonment that put the events of the show in motion in the first place. I can’t help but wonder whose origin story she’s creating right now, who may have been radicalized when they head Monty read Clarke’s list over the radio. The echoes of Season 1 have come in many forms, and sometimes it just feels like the writers would very much like everyone to forget last season’s controversy or how poorly written much of it was. But this episode actually used the parallels between Season 1 and the current season as a way to push Clarke and Arkadia’s story forward, which will ultimately always be stronger than the momentary delight we get from seeing Easter eggs or similarities like black rain or a radioactive butterfly.
Clarke’s storyline had the added bonus of finally giving Jaha a narrative purpose (however small) and tying in last season. While there was a lot that was a mess, not everyone can pull a Community and cry “gas leak.” Clarke’s behavior was clearly called out as “Jaha-lite,” but it should also remind us all of a more recent Arkadian authoritarian: Pike. I hope one of her friends will throw this in her face in short order. Other than being fun to watch, it would take a serious case of amnesia for everyone to forget about their former Chancellor’s behavior, which most of them either vehemently supported or opposed, and for which many lost their lives.
A hodge-podge group lead by Abby heading back to ALIE’s island feels very much like a Jurassic Park sequel. Are we so sure this is a good idea? Ostensibly it’s so the coder and the genetic coder can figure out how to make everyone a nightblood and save the world, but in the short term we kill off Nyko, see some evidence that Murphy and Emori aren’t being 100% honest with each other, and finally get to see some of that footage from the Season 4 trailer. I’m totally here for Murphy’s redemption arc (everyone else on this show gets one, why not him?) and his immediately helping Raven when the drone started shooting was great. I also loved that Luna got into Raven’s head about the ethics of using one person’s blood to save everyone else, with serious echoes of Mount Weather. How are the 100 not more sensitive to literally being harnessed for one’s biological material?
The Polis storyline has also picked up. The chase scene, in particular, finally gave us some real tension. For the first time, it truly started to feel like something substantial and irreversible would go wrong for our favorites, who I hesitate to call heroes. Up until this episode, Season 4 has seen the death of some red shirts and a lot of pearl clutching about an impending nuclear apocalypse that still somehow seems less threatening than everything else they’ve faced.
Only on The 100 can radiation poisoning, acid rain, and nuclear winter seem like they’re not that big of a deal, or at least not very pressing.
But with Roan’s declaration of war, Skaikru and Trikru could be caught defenseless and slaughtered (more reminders of Pike and his boy Bellamy here…) so Octavia has a real purpose beyond spiraling and murder. The fight between O and Echo was great, and I found myself cursing because these are two women who do not yield, and I’m not willing to lose the story potential or badass quotient from either at this point. Luckily (you saw the spoiler alert at the top, right?) we won’t have to. Still, the writers at least had me googling to see if I somehow missed the latest news surrounding Marie Avgeropoulas’s status on the show (I hadn’t, phew). They certainly played her death the only way that both Bellamy and the audience would believe it: “She wouldn’t be taken alive.”
I’m absolutely glad we’re not losing Octavia, but the writers have some serious ‘splaining to do about how she survived. For now, I love that O said, “take me home,” and for once knew exactly where that was, something she’s struggled with her entire life as a perennial outsider, whether under the floorboards or in a post-Lincoln world.
Did you think Octavia was done for? How does Bob Marley’s crying compare to James van der Beek’s?
A few stray thoughts and great moments:
Jasper apparently gets his pranks from the same playbook as the twins in the Parent Trap.
Someone called Kane “Chancellor.” Is that legit? When was the election? Or is it in the bylaws that in the event of decapitation, the old chancellor gets the pin back? (Remember the pin?)
Kane and Abby have surprisingly good reception for post-apocalyptic radios from space, especially over what was a long distance in Season 3.
Octavia, with possibly the show’s motto: “Everyone’s guilty of something.”
“What’s with the, ‘we’re all gonna die,’ face? I mean…” Poor Monty, trying to hold it all together.
I was definitely waiting for Jaha to conspiratorially assure Clarke that the lottery would be rigged.
“When Jaha is looking reasonable, it’s time to reassess.” Jasper is leaning into sardonic amusement hard, and while it’s disconcerting in-world, I am loving it. We get all the humor, with the edge of someone who’s seen things.