The 100: Stealing Fire Review

Death rears its head yet again on a very dark episode of The 100.

This The 100 review contains spoilers. 

The 100 Season 3 Episode 9

The 100 is the kind of show that seldom shies away from dark and disturbing material. We saw this early on in season one, in “Contents Under Pressure,” in which Lincoln is tortured for information on the Grounders. After that, The 100 never looked back, fully embracing the ugliness of fluid, subjective morality. The show has always acknowledged that people can change, very often for the better, with Kane being a prime example of an antagonist turned good. The same goes for Murphy, who was once one of the most despised characters in the first season.

Clarke, however, has always been on a trajectory that maintained her purity of heart even if she was responsible for the deaths of innocents, like in season two’s “Rubicon.” But in each instance, one could argue that Clarke’s choices were borne out of a desire to uphold the survival of the many, that the idea of the greater good must ultimately prevail. So it’s no surprise that Clarke has been able to forge important alliances with the likes of Anya and later Lexa. Each commander recognized Clarke’s warrior spirit, a quality prized by the Grounder culture.

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Likewise, it’s no surprise that Lexa would continue to look out for Clarke from beyond the grave. We find this out from Aden, who reveals that he and the other officiates swore to Lexa to protect Clarke and her people. This warm feeling doesn’t last long however, as Ontari of the Ice Nation sweeps in to make a challenge for the all-important flame. To claim rights to the A.I. is not enough, though—one must prove themselves in the conclave—a competition that rewards the strongest and most ruthless. The belief is that Lexa’s spirit will ultimately pick the rightful heir to the flame, but Ontari cuts right to the quick—literally. Aden, Lexa’s hope for the future, has been slaughtered in his sleep. Indeed, all of the child officiates have been murdered.

I have to admit, I was surprised by this dark turn of events. Sure, The 100 is rife with atrocities—a murdered village of innocent Grounders here, President Dante and his fellow Mountain Men murdered there—but still, this is pretty dark stuff. But it also sends a very clear message throughout the capitol that Ontari of Ice Nation will be the next commander.

What this also told me was that The 100 is pushing the envelope for what can and cannot be shown on network television. True, we don’t really see Aden’s severed head, and yet we know exactly what’s going on in this scene. And no, I don’t need to see a decapitated head—no one needs to see that. But if you watch closely enough, you can catch a glimpse of it. You can hear it hitting the ground with a wet, heavy thud, too. As someone who watches shows like The Walking Dead, I am far from squeamish. What I’m trying to say here is The 100 has a knack for pressing buttons and pushing boundaries, and this scene in the throne room is no exception.

Before I move on to Arkadia, it’s important to note that Titus, the sole flame keeper, sacrifices his life rather than transfer the A.I. to Ontari. Titus was an interesting character—he was conflicted but loyal to Lexa and to their people, even if that same loyalty is what got Lexa killed. Now, Clarke is on a mission to find the mysterious Luna, who Titus believed to be the flame’s rightful heir.

And now, Arkadia. Kane, Lincoln, and Sinclair are due to be executed for treason. I didn’t expect this storyline to be wrapped up in this episode. And yet it concluded with a bang that not only broke Octavia’s heart, but viewers’ hearts around the world. Yes, we knew Lincoln was all but dead when Ricky Whittle signed on to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods TV show. Still, Lincoln’s death was a necessary one to The 100. We need to know Pike means business, that he is still a man to be feared—and that can’t happen without more innocent blood being spilled.

And, again, just like the throne room scene, I was surprised by the display of blood splatter after Pike pulled the trigger. Yes, we see part of this scene from Octavia’s standpoint, but the trail of blood that followed Lincoln to the ground was surprising. Again, this is not gratuitous gore, but it is still nonetheless unsettling to see. Lincoln was a good man who, like Titus, sacrificed himself for the greater good of his own people.

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All of this being said, the episode had its share of curious moments: Why wouldn’t Titus witness the conclave firsthand? Instead, he’s surprised to find out a winner has been declared. As flame keeper, I assumed someone like Titus would be present every step of the way if an ascension were in the offing.

Another curious moment—why would Murphy be tasked by Titus to perform Ontari’s purification ceremony? Feel free to set the record straight on either of these points in the comments if I missed something.

Some closing thoughts:

We’ve heard Lincoln talk about Luna before. She’s the same person who lives beyond the sea, granting asylum to those needing shelter.

It was good to see Bellamy finally come to his senses by helping Kane and Sinclair escape the camp. But we all knew he would do the right thing eventually—right?

Kane and Abby finally share a kiss in what was one of the episode’s most heartfelt moments. May we meet again, indeed; I hope these two will cross paths again.

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3.5 out of 5