REVIEW | The 100 - Episode 3.06 - "Bitter Harvest"
The last we saw of her, she was standing - pain free, eyes bright with hope - in an alley way, faced with a beautiful woman in a red dress. The person who had just released her from the torment of an injury that would never heal. The presence who had seemingly restored peace to her soul. The program named ALIE, who now freely roams the conscious mind of Raven Reyes with a manifestation and power as real as any person of flesh and blood standing before her very eyes.
Tasked with a covert mission to give ALIE access to the Ark's mainframe, this week's instalment of The 100 - entitled "Bitter Harvest" - sees a reinvented Raven infiltrate the servers of the great ship, with a mind to provide her saviour with a mysterious piece of missing code. Coding that just happens to be a backup of all the programming that makes ALIE what she is; plus, it would seem, a few very significant extras. But despite Raven's loyalty, Jaha makes it clear that his greater plan is to stay the secret course set by ALIE. A path not of war but rather, one suspects, annihilation.
But all does not go to plan when a startling fact about the early history of the Ark is revealed in the process. And make no mistake: it is a revelation that has the power to send the plans of everyone - ALIE included - into utter freefall and, potentially, a chaos beyond calculation.
Elsewhere, Clarke finds herself face to face with both a villain she had long since put to one side, and a potential new enemy closer to home. One threatens to come between her and Lexa in their quest to establish peace between their peoples; the other is a stark reminder of the night she earned the title of Wanheda. At which point, Clarke must ask herself the same question she asked Lexa: will blood have blood again so soon? Or are the terms only valid - as Lexa points out - if a Grounder is the one doing the bleeding?
Things in Arkadia, of course, are no better.
His dark heart set on claiming the nearby arable farmland for Skikru - and with Bellamy still firmly at his side - Pike determines to move forward with his plans to neutralise the unsuspecting Grounder village situated right in the middle of the territory he wants. And he is more than willing to kill every last man, woman and child if they resist. It's left, then, up to the underground resistance of Kane, Miller and Octavia to at least try and thwart the attack somehow, before it's too late. That is, unless the very people Octavia tries to warn don't take her head for being Skikru first.
Strong bonds, sworn oaths and the metal of which humans are made will be tested like never before, as a change greater than any they have ever known looms darkly overhead. So with all that in mind, let's dive in and take a look shall we?
Of all the characters who have been introduced this season - despite her not necessarily being a main one - the person who surprisingly has angered me most is Hannah: Monty's mother. To you that might seem odd. I mean, she's not exactly ALIE is she. Or Bellamy, who seems to be pissing off everyone at the moment. Hannah, after all, is not blithely, systematically planning to wipe humankind off the face of the earth.
But she is - as we discovered in this episode - willing to shoot a child in the back just to cover up the atrocity she knows full well she is committing with Pike. She is willing to murder innocent people in their droves, in order to steal something that does not belong to her - or any member of Skikru, for that matter. She is willing to hunt and slaughter a frightened kid, just so his people will have no forewarning of the death that will come for the rest of them in the night.
Unlike Pike, though – whose hateful, pious demeanour never changes – Hannah’s face always seems to have an air of confusion about it, like she has an angel hollering in one ear and a devil whispering into the other. I thought a lot about how she seemed to sway between decisions, before finally concluding that they should find the boy and shoot him where he stood – incidentally, the same way they killed his parents only days ago, along with 297 of their fellow fighters. Indeed, these are the actions of hateful, disgusting, cowardly creatures: the kind who hide behind a loaded gun and operate on nothing more than a base, pack level mentality. And Monty’s mother - of all people - is front and centre in all of that. She endorses every move. And now that Monty is in the thick of it at her side, I wonder what goes through his mind when he sees her behave like that. I wonder if he ever makes the mental comparison between the person she has become, and someone like Dr Tsing. I wonder if he makes the correlation that ultimately, they are two heads of the same monster – both consumed with taking, at any cost, that which doesn’t belong to them. I ask myself if it makes his blood run as cold as mine does at the thought.
Because in the same breath as she would protect Monty from harm without a second thought, she would just as quickly put a bullet in the back of another mother’s child and leave his body to rot, simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this, Hannah is symptomatic of a really significant point that I think the writers are trying to make this season. About how, regardless of what has happened to you in the past – traumatic or otherwise - it does not change the fact that who you are and what you do in any given moment is a choice that you alone make and you alone are responsible for.
Which means in the case of Farm Station, that I don’t think they get to parade the memories of the dead children in the snow around as an excuse for their actions anymore. Because for all intents and purposes, as of right now, the Farm station residents are no different to the Azgeda soldiers who slaughtered their young ones. They are just as evil, just as heartless, just as guilty. That said, I still question Farm Station’s story about what happened the day they landed; that tale of death and woe is shadier to me now than a serial killer’s basement at midnight. There’s more to it than we know, I think.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
One of the things that I found most intriguing in the fallout of this episode was the response of viewers when they found out about Emerson, and learned exactly what he lost in the Mountain when Clarke killed his people. First up, I will be the first to admit that I have always hated this character. Not in the sense of his being badly written; but more in the sense that he was always clearly a willing participant in Cage’s bloodthirsty endeavours. In this, I was and continue to be appalled by him. Disgusted by what he stood for. He might have been forced to be there, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t want to be there too.
In which case, much like the people from Farm Station, Emerson lost the right to throw the death of his children in Clarke’s face the minute he became a willing and engaged participant in wantonly killing and draining the children of others: as though they were nothing more than pieces of meat waiting to be strung up on a slaughter room hook. Was the marrow transplant essential to his ability to exist safely outside the mountain without succumbing to the radiation? Of course it was. Did that make it right when he stole the blood and bone out of another human being to achieve that end? No. Nothing ever would or ever could justify the atrocities he helped Cage to commit. And not just in the marrow harvesting either. For example, he knew all about Cage creating the Reapers and did nothing to stop it.
I mean if he was so concerned about his own children, would he have not at least been abhorred to kill someone else’s, for any reason? Would this not stir some compassion? Because seriously: don’t tell me it was simply love for his kids and wanting them to survive that made him do the things he did when they were in Mount Weather. He willingly partook in the evil that happened there. He’s basically the post-apocalyptic version of a Nazi concentration camp guard. He knew what he was doing, and he doesn’t get to be absolved just because he had a family at home. He doesn’t get to wave around the number of his own people who died along the way, when I imagine he probably lost count years ago of all the Grounders who’ve died at his hand, or in the very least died to keep him alive.
And as far as his hatred of Clarke, remember that when she killed all those people – including Emerson’s children – she had been forced into a no win situation. She is still responsible for what she did – still responsible for every death she caused that night – but ultimately we know and Emerson knows that Clarke did what she did because if she hadn’t, her people would have died. Perished with drill bit holes peppering their flesh and their screams still echoing in the halls as they were massacred. But Emerson? He was in no such position. He had choice after choice after choice to not be a monster, but he chose to be one anyway. At times, he even seemed to relish it.
As such, I sit here writing this with little to no sympathy for his plight, or his feelings. I’m glad Clarke banished him. I’m glad Lexa told him that he would have to live with his ghosts for the rest of his days, and I am glad Clarke’s last words to him were ‘I hope you live forever’. Because so do I. I did not want him to be put to death, because I think in doing that, he would have been getting exactly what he wanted. It seems he does not want to live another day in a world where Clarke Griffin is not dead. But that luxury had been denied him now. He will eke out his days in suffering for every innocent Grounder life he stole or helped steal without a scrap of remorse. And in this, I have no pity for him whatsoever.
That said, as much as I despise the character, I cannot praise Toby Levins enough for his performance as Emerson this week, because it was abundantly powerful. I don’t imagine it’s easy having to delve into that part of yourself in order to draw out a character like this: one so full of conflict and hate and dark intentions. But he did, and in turn I believed every second of his time on screen. And by all reports, he is a lovely human being, which makes the performance he delivered in this episode doubly amazing. For my part though, I cannot help but wonder whether exile is simply a means by which Emerson will one day return to this narrative. When, I don’t know. What I do know is that as much as I loathe him, it would be gripping if he eventually came back to be a spanner in the works. Because he has the power to do wreak a lot of havoc. And this is The 100, after all. Havoc is par for the course.
THE WAY WE WERE
While I have really enjoyed this season so far – hard as it’s been to emotionally digest at times – I have still really struggled watching Bellamy and Octavia’s relationship getting torn further and further apart: mostly because he is behaving like an idiot and less than the man he is capable of being. Watching her face as she listens in, and hears Bellamy agree to Pike’s command to take the village by force, you felt this kind of pit form in your stomach for the family that is coming apart at the seams here. It’s weird because in moments like this – which seem to be becoming ever more frequent these days – I think back to those flashback episodes when we got that glimpse into the promise that Bellamy made his mother about Octavia. My sister, he said. My responsibility. I thought, too, about the moment he helped Clarke push the lever just as much to save Octavia from being executed in the Mountain mess hall as he did to help save his people. Again. My sister, he said. My responsibility.
But with the introduction of Pike – and the fact that it’s pretty clear Octavia is working against his new regime – it’s scary to think that Bellamy is very, very close to picking a side that will either cause him to protect her, or him to hunt her. The absolute protective nature he had for her originally is being twisted and compromised utterly by a man with a black belt in emotional manipulation. Indeed, it’s heartbreaking to think that everything they have been through has come to this.
You know, it’s weird. Before the massacre, I think a lot of us had this unsaid mental list of lines that we thought – even on his worst day – Bellamy Blake would not cross, because to do so would not be characteristic of the Bellamy we knew. The Bellamy we cared about. And then boom: he goes and helps murder an entire peace keeping force in their sleep. And just like that, all those lines we’d drafted dissolve faster than ice cubes in a bonfire. What happened next is madness. He felt guilty, so he saves Indra. Then he handcuffs Clarke and tries to take her to Pike. Then he tries (albeit briefly) to convince Pike that flying in the face of Lexa’s decision to not take blood for blood, is a bad idea. This guy is quite literally all over the shop.
Which means that right now, we need to not waste time asking ourselves who Bellamy might choose to save or fight for, when push comes to shove. Instead, perhaps we should be asking ourselves who will save Bellamy from himself? Because, man alive, he is in it up to his neck now.
Since their first meeting, a troubling disquiet has been brewing steadily between Clarke and Titus, in regards to the respective positions of counsel they hold in Lexa’s life. Given that Clarke is now firmly at Lexa’s right hand, and that her input has been given a certain weight of authority when it comes to Lexa’s decision making process, it was an understandable turn of events that Titus should come to resent Wanheda in some way. On a growing number of occasions, Titus is finding his advice is being rejected in favour of Clarke’s suggestions; not something he is taking well. And understandably so, too: given his long history at the Commander’s side. As such, they now find themselves at a crossroads, and it appears neither is able to move in the other’s direction. For while Clarke’s advice to Lexa about refraining from retaliation against the Skikru has its merits, Titus is also right in noting that it’s a decision that will not sit well with the people. A collective people, mind you, whose ambassadors have already abandoned Lexa once before when they voted in line with the Ice Queen. In this, Lexa’s rule is already skating on thin ice; as someone who seems to care so much about Lexa, you can understand why he is trying to act in a way that will protect her rule – not to mention her life – from what could be a potentially fatal political move. Yet just as he will not budge, neither will Clarke.
Now to be sure, most of Clarke’s growth this week centred on her coming to grips with Emerson, and the fact that she had to decide whether she would demand his blood for the blood of her people; enacting the exact opposite of what she told Lexa was the wisest thing to do after the butchery on the mountain side. In which case, I think it’s important here to really focus in on Titus. Because aside from his strained connection with Lexa, through him we made a startling discovery about the connection between the Ark, Polis and the City of Light.
The revelation that Lexa’s tower in Polis is no tower at all, but rather seems to be the remains of the previously-secret, thought-to-have-been-destroyed 13th Ark ship – known as Polaris – was a truly stunning twist that added a wealth of magnificent intrigue to this story, taking it to a whole other place entirely. My inner conspiracy theorist loved it. I loved that the symbol for the ship is the same symbol for the City of Light, and on the pill that Jaha has been handing out. And I especially got a kick out of the fact that even ALIE was in shock that there was a 13th ship. Moreover, that that’s where her missing code is stored.
But that wasn’t the most interesting part for me. Because when John Murphy appeared in those last moments, being tortured by Titus for information about the pill he has, we have to remember that the guys who captured Murphy said they had been hunting him. And it was the symbol on the pill that ultimately stayed their hands from killing our favourite anarchist. So what I want to know is did they hunt him down on behalf of Titus? And even if they didn’t, why was John given to Titus of all people? How did John Murphy end up in that chamber getting the crap beat out of him by Lexa’s right hand man?
Either way, this whole last scene suggests that Titus knows a lot more about the City of Light than he has been letting on. In which case, how much does he know? Does he know about what Jaha is doing? Does he know what the pill is? Does he have even an inkling about the existence of ALIE? What part does that symbol play in their history? Their mythology? And, perhaps most intriguing of all, how much of this has he told Lexa? Because for my part, I think if Lexa knew about the City of Light – and even vaguely what it represented – then I think her focus would be looking in a whole other direction.
Which begs the question. Is he the ally Lexa thinks he is? Or has he been playing a much, much bigger game this entire time?
VIVE LA RESISTANCE
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am ridiculously enamoured with how fantastic Kane’s storyline is this season. Even more so now that he’s working so closely with Octavia to subvert the horrendous objectives of Pike and his council; truly, they make a fantastic team. Likewise I am so glad that Miller has also been brought into this fold. He’s always been a character that I wanted to see better utilised – especially since season two – and now that he’s in the thick of it (as well part of this lovely story arc with Bryan) I feel like we’re really starting to get the payoff for our interest.
But in regards to Kane and Octavia, it really feels like their characters are about to go to the next level of the people they are meant to be. Firstly, Kane. When I think of him, I think a lot about Unity Day back on the Ark: the day his mother was murdered by the suicide bomber all the way back in season one. In hindsight, I think the Kane we first met, died that day in that room. And right then and there, the beginnings of the man we know now were planted. Of any character, Kane for me is the one that never ceases to stop growing; never ceases to stop evolving in the right direction. It doesn’t mean he’s always right or gets it right, but he acts for the good: even when it may put him in harm’s way.
In a lot of ways, though, it was a natural occurrence that even the man who believed the impossible – that peace could be achieved with the Grounders – was going to have moments of doubt. Especially after Pike ruined Arkadia’s best chance to become a part of what is a thriving community of commerce and trade in Polis. But I loved the fact that in this moment – as he sat berating himself for unwittingly paving the way for Pike to become Chancellor – he also had Abby to remind him of the fact that while this particular chance was gone, their overall hope for peace was not lost. Plus she reminded him with a kiss. Reminded him of the fact that kind and beautiful moments could still happen in the midst of all their dealing with. Seriously. Smooth work, Mama Griffin.
As for Octavia, again she proved that she is a force to be reckoned with. As much as I love the other characters in this story, by far and away Octavia is my favourite player on this brutal stage. I love her tenacity, her courage. Most of all, I love her determination to not be defined by what others think of her. I love that she and she alone has decided who she will be. That she is staying the course she has set for herself, out of respect for how hard she’s had to fight to stake the ruling claim on her own life. I’m also ecstatic to see that just because Lincoln is in a horrible situation – imprisoned with his people like dogs in a pound – Octavia has not curled up into a ball and gone all “woe is me”. She is actively pursuing the solution for the greater problem at hand, and in this, shows an abundance of maturity that other characters can frankly only dream of: including her big brother.
Where other characters are hanging back and waiting for their enemy to make their first move, Octavia is riding boldly out into no-man’s land, then into enemy territory, in the hopes that she can avert a war. Not just for the Skikru, but also for the Grounders: a people she continues to care for and act in support of, even though so often they shun her. It is, quite literally, the exact mirror image of what Lincoln is going through, as he seeks acceptance by Skikru people. Just as Lincoln took a rock to the head (Gillmer, you are such a bastard) but pressed no charges, Octavia has her lights punched out and her guts kicked in, yet she does not waver in her declaration that she wants see this village of people who hate her, survive. In that that parallel exists, I’m as interested to see how it plays out now between her and the Grounders and Lincoln with Skikru, as I am to find out how Octavia and Bellamy might rescue their bond before it’s too late. Either way, a whole lotta people are going to get over a whole lotta acceptance issues.
It’s also worth noting here, for the record, that Marie Avgeropoulos is a deadset superstar. It’s been a long time since I have seen a role so perfectly fit an actor, because with Octavia, it truly does. It’s the role she was born for. And lady, you are spectacular in it.
SWEET POISONS AND BITTER PILLS
I wrote a few weeks ago about the importance of the community that Raven represents in her role within the greater 100 narrative. Her disability is painful and permanent, yes, but to date it has been a gutsy, honest portrayal of what millions of people deal with every day. Which meant that watching her take the turn she did last week was a hard, sad thing to process. Because for all ALIE's promises to people like Raven, we know that ALIE is loyal to no-one but herself, and is built to use whatever means or people necessary in order to achieve her endgame. It's not hard for us to see that in giving in to her pain, Raven has now become a willing, pliant, oblivious pawn in a game that has deadly repercussions for the entire world. Indeed, so swept up is she in the state of bliss ALIE's pill has provided her, Raven - the quick thinking, indefatigable, independent girl we have known to date - follows orders now without having any real idea of the devastation she is helping ALIE to be capable of.
As I sat there and watched her parts of this episode, I thought a lot about everything Raven has been through. The agony she has endured physically and emotionally. Indeed, this extraordinary, brilliant, lionhearted woman has been to hell and back a dozen times over, and because we care about her, we want her to get relief. After all, does she not deserve to find peace of some kind and an end to her suffering? Of course she does. Nobody deserves what she had had to overcome. But as an audience, we'd be idiots to think that all of the horror she has known has not somehow made her stronger.
Indeed, hating what's happened to Raven doesn't change the fact that all of these terrible experiences - just like all of the good ones - have played a huge part in shaping Raven into the incredible human being she is. Experiences including losing Finn the way she did; and to be sure, he is a massively important part of her story to bring up here. Because do you think that she would be willing to give up every good memory she has of him - every beautiful moment they shared - just to get rid of the emotional scars left by how he died? For my part, I think she loved Finn till his last breath. I think if she'd known the erasure that would happen with ALIE’s pill, she might have thought twice about what she was doing; the idea of forgetting he ever existed would be abhorrent to her if she was in her right mind.
But she's not, is she. The Raven we love is contained and unconscious in the back of her own brain, while the Raven we see now is nothing more than a pretty human puppet with a painted-on smile, dancing on a set of strings being manipulated by an evil no-one else but other puppets can see. Worse, she has no idea what she has truly given up and ALIE intends to keep it that way; she knows the effect that Raven's change will continue to have on others, and she knows the constancy of that change is going to be key in undercutting any resistance to her plans. ALIE is very much in the driver’s seat.
What saddens me though, is when I think about Raven forgetting Finn the same way Jaha is forgetting Wells. In the process of giving his mind over to ALIE, he lost the ability to properly recall Wells - his only child, who died so horrifically and who was such a core motivation for his fighting to get down to earth when the Ark was dying - in his discussion with Abby. ALIE even had to jog his memory. But it was not because it was the right thing to remember Wells. Instead, ALIE simply did what was necessary to throw this human threat off her digital scent, by helping Jaha to appear more believable in conversation. And for all intents and purposes, it seems like a perfect façade. A perfect arrangement. And yet. Without Wells to motivate him, Jaha's corpse would be light years away by now. And ALIE would not have her warhead.
Then in terms of Raven, we had to sit back and watch ALIE silently, seamlessly begin to bleach away one of the great, soul changing parts of her life. You see just how quickly ALIE has taken hold in this regard when Raven barely reacts to Jasper telling her that he stole Finn's ashes. She doesn't bat an eyelid at something that should have made her furious. And to me that is such a devastating thing to see. Because whether you liked Finn or not, it must never be forgotten that she loved him enough to risk her life to save him, just like Jaha risked his life to be reunited with Wells. That loyalty, that love: they are powerful parts of both these people. Yet with one, tiny blue disc, ALIE seems to have erased the strength of it all from these two desperate figures before either even knew there was something missing.
Indeed there could arguably be no greater advantage than for an adversary to be able to strip such motivation from their foe. And combine ALIE’s motives with the fact that she’s a flawless strategist, you come to realise the fact that in her, you’ve encountered an enemy who seems to have every conceivable ace up her sleeve, and a mind to play them all as mercilessly and perfectly as possible. But then love – not to mention that hungry, deep seated sense of survival we all have – pushes us to do extraordinary things, doesn’t it. Their effects can be quantified, measured, or explained by logic: also known as the three, great boundaries of ALIE’s coding. Where she is limited, we have something that drives us to fight and keep going, even when all hope seems lost.
In this, then, you must perhaps ask yourself: is ALIE really so strong as to be able to obliterate such a driving force from a human soul, completely? My answer is no. I don’t care how perfect her plans are. How many weapons she has ready to launch. Because in the end, any purpose that underestimates the ability of the human spirit to overcome, is doomed to fail. If that seems implausible, ask yourself how humanity survived ALIE’s first attempt. How are they still here? After all. Not everybody had the luxury of a Mount Weather when the bombs first dropped, did they.
For my part I was equally devastated to see Jackson fall prey to ALIE's promises in this episode. So often I reserve my thoughts about this character for my 'Final Thoughts and Questions', but this week I couldn't do that. To do so would underplay the key point in the greater story that his transformation underlines. Here’s how I look at it. When you look at a character like Raven, her life before and after having taken ALIE's pill are polar opposites. The distinction between who she was before – a person who was angry, broken, sad, and in constant pain - and the serene, smiling girl who stands before us now without a care in the world, is as jarring as any moment of violence. Cruel as any torture. Because we know the truth.
Jackson, though, was different. From a storytelling perspective, I am of course hugely interested to know what drove him to the point where he felt like he needed that pill. I mean, Jaha and Raven I get: they were desperate and the pill seemed like a logical means to end their pain. But Jackson? He has always been a point of hope - particularly in relation to Abby - and, more than that, has been a steady, unjaded point of conscience, even when the chips were down. When everyone else around him was been falling prey to one vice or worry or another, Jackson remained dependable; he had a steadfastness and integrity to him that almost always saw him speak reason into conflict, even when the truth of what he had to say was hard.
In some ways, that's what made the difference between real Jackson and the manipulated one, so slight to the eye. His hope, courage and warmth have always been visible, so it was harder to pick that something was off when he told Abby that Raven was clear to go back to work. But whatever Jackson's motivations were for saying yes to Jaha's offer, one thing is clear: Jackson is key to disrupting Abby's mission to find out what the pills are really doing to people, and as with Raven, ALIE has him right where she wants him.
In the five episodes to date, by the time the credits rolled we were left each time with a heap of brutal questions about pretty much everyone and everything. We got frustrated about the ethical and emotional unravelling of Bellamy; were swept up in the evolutions and revolutions of the person Clarke has become; became even more fiercely proud of the identity Octavia has established for herself, yet saddened by the fact that it seems to perpetually leave her stuck between a rock and a hard place. And yet these are only three out of a plethora of characters we have come to value. So, to be sure, it is both right and understandable that we invest ourselves in the individual fates of these people. Without them, there is no soul to this tale. Nothing for us to connect to.
But then here's the thing. This episode - penned by the inimitable Kira Snyder - was a brilliant reminder of the fact that the world of The 100 extends so far beyond what we know, and beyond the immediate lives and concerns - even the life or death ones - of these characters. In becoming enthralled with their individual fates, we often forget that there is this entire, vast, overarching saga playing out in the universe overhead. An epic of misguided hope, treachery and terror that stretches all the way from the stars, down to the actions of a single human body and the neurons being manipulated within it.
What I loved about Snyder's script, then, was the way she intricately wove all of that together, braiding the gritty human detail of the events playing out on the ground, with the vast, fierce and panoptic mythology that ties Grounder to Skikru. She's done so by revealing a connection so big, so profound, that even their hatred and mistrust of each other - on its greatest, most violent day - cannot break it. Indeed, the whole Polis/Polaris twist was next-level glorious and took the story to another place. I absolutely did not see the Station 13 revelation coming at all, (I mean maybe you did, but personally I yelled 'WHAT' a number of times in that final moment when you see the word on the doorframe, while Murphy gets the living daylights whipped out of him by Titus in the background).
Technically speaking, it was a script defined by some meaty, character defining dialogue too. All in all, I loved what the writer accomplished with this episode, and I cannot begin to say how pumped I am for where this story is now headed.
Back with his ever punchy style, too, this week was director Dean White, whose vision greatly complimented Kira Snyder's script. White has been a part of so many game changing episodes of The 100. The season two finale and both parts of the season one finale, just to name a couple. Many of these episodes have, of course, been action based. Now, make no mistake: they were hugely important to execute well. To have staying power, The 100 needed to demonstrate early on that it had the capacity to be the kind of gripping, blunt force television that would leave us as the audience - and, one imagines, the network - in no doubt that it meant business, when it came to accurately portraying a world ravaged by war and the after effects of human damage.
But this week, White had to almost take the opposite approach to his direction style to date. At least that's how it seemed to me. So many of the game changing revelations that came out this week were revealed in singular moments of discussion between characters - not battle scenes - so the attention to human detail needed to be front and centre, and there needed to be a certain quiet to those interactions in order to achieve the required gravitas. In short, if Bitter Harvest was to be successful, we needed to feel that penny drop each time some new piece of big information was revealed, and White did a fantastic job of helping to make that happen. I think he's back for a few more episodes this season, too, which is awesome. I can't wait to see what he does next.
As we look forward to episode seven though, honestly I dread the moment when all these people realise that their greatest enemy in the world was never a man with a spear, or a woman with a gun, or even a computer program that has the power, means and intention to dominate all life as she sees fit. I dread the moment they realise they can’t go back and undo the damage cause by their stupidity and arrogance.
Because really, in this story – much like in life, I think – it is abundantly clear that the greatest enemy of humanity is the humanity within, in all its curious beauty, brutality and greed. Indeed, just as humans kill other humans on the ground, a human too created ALIE. We destroy one thing to create another, and create something to destroy something else. The great pradox though, is this. It’s this self-same humanity that people must fight to retain if their reality is to conquer ALIE’s deadly artificiality. The question, though, is how many more must die before Grounders and Skikru alike learn that lesson. And will anyone we love be among the casualties?
FINAL THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS
If you're wondering where the comments section is, you should probably read this post.
The HELL is going on with that flammable tree sap.
The HELLA HELL is going on with the acid fog it made.
RIP MONROE. I’d say you were too pure for this world but you joined Pike’s squad, soooo….y’know. LATERZ.
Angry villagers. Still a thing, apparently.
The whole “interned not imprisoned” line is getting super old, Pike. Jackass. HATECHU.
Roan was mentioned this week. PLEASE LET IT BE A SIGN THAT HE’S COMING BACK. For reals, Rothenberg, my McGowanlessness is, like, super killing me right now.
That said, Azgeda’s new king totally sucks at gift giving. Seriously bro, would it have killed you to send some flowers and chocolates along with the raging super soldier in a box? For real it was the crappiest singing telegram ever.
Jasper is so taking that pill.
On the upside, maybe it will help him to block out any memory of that truly awful painting.
No really blowing it up was the only good deed Nia ever did.
Actually I take that back. The first good deed was the deed that made Roan. KNOWHATIMEAN.
Hey it’s 1:00am. Don’t judge me.
Is it just me or did that whole scene where Jaha was handing out the pills look like the creepiest communion service ever.