This The 100 review contains spoilers. Seriously. Big, big spoilers. You’ve been warned.
The 100 Season 3 Episode 7
The 100 has become quite adept at throwing curveballs at its viewers. Finn’s death last season was certainly a shock, pushing the story forward even as it stalled the lives of those closest to him. As you’ll recall, Finn died by Clarke’s hand in what was meant to be the ultimate act of love. In “Thirteen,” Clarke bears witness to another pivotal death. Yes, tonight, we paid our last respects to Lexa in what proved to be an emotionally complicated episode. But before we talk about Lexa’s death, we must travel back to the beginnings of mankind’s last hope for survival.Personally, I’m a fan of flashbacks, and it’s been a while since The 100 has given us a glimpse into the past. But instead of going back only a few years, we’re traveling back nearly a century to bear witness to several key events that shaped life as we now understand it on this show.
Alie is an A.I., as we already know, invented by a woman named Becca. And as we also know, Alie is responsible for launching the warheads that nearly wiped out all of humanity. Since then, all remaining survivors of the nuclear holocaust have fled to low Earth orbit in twelve space stations, with Polaris, a research facility, as the thirteenth station. It’s here that Becca continues to develop an improved version of Alie. This isn’t hubris on her part so much as it is a way to guarantee humanity’s continued survival aboard what will soon be known as the Ark. What better way to manage supplies and crucial life support systems on board thirteen space stations if not with a highly intelligent A.I.? Where Alie 1 failed, Alie 2 will succeed, or so Becca’s thinking goes. But her colleagues aren’t as optimistic about her research. When push comes to shove, Becca chooses Alie 2 over the safety of Polaris, injecting herself with Alie 2 and escaping in a lifeboat just as the station is fired upon and destroyed. It’s important for us to bear witness to actual events, given how they will be mythologized by future generations on the planet’s surface.
Which brings us to Titus. He’s secretly been torturing Murphy for information about how Skaikru came into possession of a key to the City of Light. What was once an essential part of Becca’s research as become a holy relic to Lexa’s people. Murphy knows nothing about their mythology—he only knows the fateful events of Unity Day as fact. But to Titus’s ears, Murphy’s recitation of history is blasphemy. This is an important distinction between the two cultures, between fact and mythology. That the destruction of Polaris is their shared history is impossible for Titus to comprehend.
Dealing with a heretic isn’t his most pressing problem, though. For him, Clarke’s continued presence in Polis is a threat to Lexa’s effectiveness as a commander. That blood must not have blood is not only failed diplomacy, it’s a kind of sacrilege. Rather than razing Arkadia, Lexa calls for its blockade instead, the hope being that Skaikru will deal with its poisonous new leadership.
In the end, her choosing peace over vengeance costs Lexa her life. Her last moments with Clarke are emotional and effective. Romance is always a risky proposition in even the best of times; in the post-apocalypse, opening your heart and enjoining with another is often a death sentence. This is a trope, yes, but it’s also a stark reminder that love—true love—is a dangerous need, a toxic indulgence. But as Lexa reminds Clarke with her dying breath, life is about more than just survival.
It’s here that “Thirteen” throws us another curveball, revealing that Lexa’s spirit, passed down from one commander to the next, is actually Alie 2. Which makes Becca the first commander. And I for one can’t wait to see where The 100 goes from here.
Some closing thoughts:
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, it seems unrealistic that so much of mankind’s history could be forgotten. The rise of Grounder culture and language also seems to develop in too short of a time. Yes, a nuclear holocaust would be tabula rasa for any civilization, but as evidenced by the paintings and books horded in Mount Weather, some form of written history did survive.
How did Clarke not see Lexa’s back tattoo sooner? A quibble, but they’d been intimate before. And speaking of which, their reconciliation was bittersweet but necessary. It also felt earned, which is important given how much credibility both characters were willing to sacrifice to remain in one another’s company. Eliza Taylor was great in tonight’s episode, portraying Clarke’s inner strength as both an asset and a liability. She’s good at saving other people, but she’s in desperate need of healing herself.
An important correction is in order. Last week, in my review of “Bitter Harvest,” I stated that we hadn’t known about the thirteenth station, Polaris. As some readers pointed out, I was incorrect. Polaris was discussed in the first season. Here’s to more reader input in the future—it’s always appreciated.