Sunday, May 1, 2016

The 100 3x13 Recap: "Join or Die" (The Unbearable City of Light) [Contributor: Laura Schinner]

"Join or Die" 
Original Airdate: April 28, 2016

As this season of The 100 draws to an end, the focus has centralized on the unbearable City of Light. From the start, this magical place free of pain has caused me so much pain as a viewer, as it’s taken away agency from so many favorite characters and left them as mindless drones who are willing to do anything to bring others to their crusade. They took it a step further in this week’s episode, forcing Abby to use her growing relationship with Kane to bring him to their side. Right now the only hope of this terrible storyline coming to an end lies with Clarke and the others, as they attempted to find Luna in this episode to convince her to become the next leader and — by accepting the artificial intelligence — destroy Alie.

One highlight of this episode came from the format, as they brought back flashbacks and effectively connected the characters’ time on the ark to their present situations. I hadn’t realized how much I missed these flashbacks until they returned, and now I’m hoping we get more of them before the end of the season. In this week’s flashbacks, we saw a different version of Pike — one who was tasked with the job of teaching the 100 kids (who would be sent to the ground) about Earth skills so that they’d be prepared. Without the knowledge that they’d actually be going to the ground, the 100 weren’t very receptive of the lessons, leaving Pike with the challenge of figuring out how to get through to them. He used Murphy to do so, going so far as to actually attack the boy to prove that on the ground, no one could ever give up and that they’d have to work together.

In present day, this lesson proved to be useful, as Pike was brought to the Grounders after being given to them by Bellamy. But, as we saw in last week’s episode, many of the Grounders are now under the influence of the City of Light. As a result, Pike and Kane — who had come along — were left to Jaha. For Pike, this meant joining Murphy, Indra, and others who refused to enter the City of Light in a prison. Upon seeing the man who destroyed her entire village and killed hundreds of her people, Indra’s first instinct was to finally get her revenge. However, it was Murphy — who clearly is not Pike’s biggest fan — who topped Indra from ending his life. He reminded her that in order to stop Jaha and the City of Light, they would all need to work together, and Pike’s strength would go a long way in helping them accomplish that. Despite his disdain for the man, Murphy did demonstrate that the lesson Pike taught him all those years ago was one worth learning, as they’ll be working together now to bring down the City of Light.

Meanwhile, Jaha also had to figure out what to do with Kane and quickly realized he could use the man’s connection with Abby to force him to reveal where Clarke and the rest of the 100 were hiding out. Kane wouldn’t go down so easily however, and once he realized that Abby was under the influence of the City of Light, he stood strong in his refusal to do what they wanted. In the end, it wasn’t his own torture but instead Jaha threatening Abby’s life that forced Kane’s hand and made him finally give in to their demands. As another beloved character fell to the City of Light in yet another despicable way, this plotline continues to be more and more unbearable. Our only hope is that it will be over after this season, and we’ll get our characters back — damaged, but hopefully themselves again.

Of course, the main hope for ending this pain is determined by Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, and Jasper finding Luna and convincing her to take the AI and become the next leader. This group had a lot to figure out in this episode amongst themselves as well though, as Octavia is still unable to forgive Bellamy for his betrayal (and his part in Lincoln’s death). Distraught, Bellamy had to take a moment to himself and Clarke used this as an opportunity to reconnect with him.

In a scene between the two that I would have easily loved a few seasons ago, I now found myself not caring as much as Bellamy and Clarke had a heart-to-heart about Clarke leaving and the need to forgive themselves for that they’ve done. This is a conversation we’ve seen between them before, of course. Only now with everything Bellamy has done, it’s harder for me as an audience member to forgive him. His hand was in no way forced to turn against the Grounders, but he did it anyway, making this different from any other difficult decision he or Clarke had made in the past. Because of his actions earlier in the season, I’m finding it very hard to care about Bellamy, and with that comes less enthusiasm about Bellarke. While the bond between the two is still strong and it’s clear they once again need each other, perhaps the relationship will grow into something I can love again. But right now, too much has happened for me to be as invested as I have been in the past.

With all of this happening, the group did manage to make their way to Luna, who is apparently living on a ship in the middle of the ocean and has pledged to never kill again. When Clarke confronted her with the knowledge they have and offered her the ability to become the next leader, though, she refused. Surely by the end of the season, the group will be able to convince her to change her mind. Because she is desperately needed in order to put an end to Alie and the City of Light for good so that The 100 can move onto better things next season.


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