Monday, April 18, 2016

The 100 3x11 Recap: "Nevermore" (Character Study) [Contributor: Laura Schinner]

Original Airdate: April 14, 2016

This week’s episode of The 100 was all about looking for the absolute worst in each of the main characters who were first sent down on the arc, just in case we didn’t already dislike them all for things they had done. Of course, the whole point of the episode was to point out once again that maybe there are no good guys in this post apocalyptic world, which would be an interesting revelation if it hadn’t been the exact same thing they concluded at the end of last season. Despite pointing out all of the flaws of every single character in this episode, the show still tries to make us have empathy for and connect with them, making us believe that everything they have done has been for the good of saving their people. In a lot of the cases, this actually works and even when characters are at their worst, we still feel for them. Other times, it’s not so successful. So let’s take a look at each character’s big flaw and how successful the show has been in still making them redeemable.

Obviously, the main character all along has been Clarke, stepping up as the leader from the start and making the tough decisions for everyone. As we’ve been told time and time again, every single move she has made has been for the good of her own people. Raven pointed out that this included things like letting Finn die and killing hundreds of innocent Mountain Men. In the eyes of a character like Jasper, who had to watch Maya die because of Clarke’s decision, she is absolutely not redeemable. But for the audience to connect with the main character, they would have failed majorly if they hadn’t made her redeemable in our eyes. Showing her struggle with decisions and watching her thought process along the way has done that for Clarke, helping us to understand that while she has done horrible things, at her core she has done them for good reasons.

Next we’ve got a character like Bellamy, who also took on somewhat of a leadership role since the beginning. At the start, he was very damaged, memories of the terrible way in which he tortured Lincoln still a reminder of who he was at the start. But slowly, they built this character up and let us see who he was. A brother who cares deeply about his sister, a man who, like Clarke, is only doing what he thinks is best. But Bellamy has always chosen the violent path more than anyone else and when things get hard for him, he lashes out. Following Pike completely destroyed every bit of character redemption and progress we had seen for Bellamy over the seasons, reverting him back to someone very unlikeable. Clearly, for Octavia, what he did to the Grounders and the role he played in Lincoln’s death, is something that can never be forgiven. As an audience, it’s difficult to know what to do with Bellamy right now. There’s a lot of anger still present from his betrayal of everything he had learned up until this point. They’re obviously trying to make us feel some empathy for him right now, though, showing that he was just hurt and confused. The jury’s still out on whether this will work or not, but for some, it’s fair to say that he’ll never be able to return to the character he once was.

As Raven so aptly pointed out under the influence of Alie, Jasper’s biggest flaw has always been his selfishness. Even on the arc, he would steal medicine from those who needed it, for his own purposes. He also stepped up over the seasons, showing that he could be strong but still at every opportunity, letting his true colors show. With the death of Maya, he became so consumed in his own anger and pain that he failed to realize how much he was hurting those around him. He refused to focus on helping his people, instead wallowing in his own guilt and doing nothing to try to confront his feelings, other than drinking them away. This season, he’s really become one of the most intolerable characters and it’s in large part because of that selfishness. He’s spent the whole season pointing fingers and placing blame and has done nothing to actually help the situation. While he might be finally starting to turn a new page, it’s going to take a lot to make Jasper likeable in the eyes of the audience, and it’ll be interesting to see if they manage to do this.

Monty never had the pleasure of having a heart to heart with Raven in this episode, but instead was doing the one thing that he may never forgiven himself for, even if we as an audience completely understand why he did it. As a character, Monty has always been somewhat of a follower, most of his life being spent going along with Jasper. This season, with the arrival of his mother, he went along with her, helping Pike for a short amount of time. He finally took agency for himself and started making his own decisions by going against Pike and running away, knowing he was on the wrong side, something Bellamy still may not have fully realized. By killing his mother to save Octavia, Monty made the biggest decision of his life so far, one that needed to be made in the moment. But knowing now that there was a way to get rid of the AI, Monty is going to struggle with ever being able to forgive himself for that decision.

Finally, we have Octavia, who also never had a chat with Raven in this episode. Instead, she herself struggled internally with who she is and where she belongs. Octavia has been struggling with this her whole life and it’s something we’ve seen a lot of on the show. She was never really a Sky Person, having to be hid away her whole life. Once on the ground, she connected with the Grounders but many of them never fully accepted her either. After Bellamy’s betrayal, she’s being forced to decide if she wants to even stay with this group of Sky People whom she first came to the ground with. The thing is, Octavia is genuinely a good person. In fact, if there is a single character on this show who has always acted as the good guy, it’s been Octavia. She doesn’t look at what group people belong to when making decisions, she simply wants to help people because she is able to have empathy and care about anyone. Faced with people she’s grown to care about once again in a dangerous situation, she simply couldn’t walk away because that’s not who she is as a person. She isn’t selfish like Jasper, a follower like Monty, or concerned with only one group of people like Clarke and Bellamy. If she sees injustice or people in need, she will try to help, no questions asked.

By placing Raven under the control of Alie, who was willing to do anything to make these characters falter, we were able to take a look at the worst parts of them in this episode. Ultimately, they were all able to come together and save Raven, despite their anger at each other and their own guilt.

A character-driven episode that took a look at the core group from the beginning of the series was probably a good idea for the show at this point. Still, like some of the characters, the show has quite a way to go to redeem itself after this season. With two episodes left, we’ll see what they can accomplish as they wrap up one of the darkest and frustrating seasons of the show so far.


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