With an episode title like “Human Trials,” you just knew things were going to get dark tonight. Forget about even trying to mourn Anya in this episode—instead, there’s fear-conditioning torture and village massacring to keep up with.
This episode could have borrowed from last week by titling itself “Many Happy Reunions.” There were five of them—unless you count the reunion of Murphy and his soul, which is firmly back in place now—and all were understated yet perfectly written. Just when you think this show can’t get any better, it flips its requisite CW love triangle on its head by making one of the love interests a mass murderer. (Yes, I know about TVD, but this is not a bloodthirsty vampire we’re talking about.)
Let’s get into it…
When we last saw her, a very bloody-muddy Clarke was being hauled to Camp Jaha by her own people, who thought she was a Grounder. Guards drag her into camp. She can barely hold her head up, but Major Byrne is still pounding her with questions: “How many of you are there?” However, it doesn’t take Abby long to recognize her own daughter, and she shuts down the interrogation: “She’s not a prisoner—she’s my daughter.” It’s a great credit to Paige Turco and Eliza Taylor’s performances that they can simply say “Clarke,” “Mom” and give all of us goose bumps.
Even knowing Clarke is own of their own, Major Buzzkill is still all about the questions. (I would say something about Byrne getting the long end of a Grounder spear, but I said the same thing last season with Murphy and look where we are now…) It’s frustrating that Byrne won’t let them have their mother-daughter moment, because this is truly epic. Clarke has been thinking since episode 9 of last season that her mother exploded on her way to Earth. Now, not only is Clarke grasping that her mother is alive—she’s also found out Bellamy and Finn are okay, too.
To celebrate, Clarke takes a 10-hour nap—likely the most she’s slept since her cell in the Sky Box. But of course she wakes up and berates herself for sleeping so long. She wants to get out and do what she does best: Save her people. But as she’s displaying Clarke 2.0 to her mother, Byrne Notice comes in to tell Abby about movement in the woods. It’s not Grounders… it’s BELLAMY. And here’s the moment everyone has been waiting for.
That hug, tho. Oh boy. Clarke runs at him, and it takes Bellamy a second to register what’s happening: that Clarke is alive and she’s already at Camp Jaha. Octavia gets the follow-up hug. (And let’s not forget the Raven/Clarke reunion. If you’re counting reunions, we’re up to three.)
Season 1 showed these kids making some epically stupid decisions in the beginning. But they learned, grew, and matured quickly. The “kids” that the Ark dropped down to Earth are now the experts on the ground. But for the past four episodes, the adults have denied and ignored this. As chancellor, Abby should know better, because that wisdom and maturity is so apparent in her now-grown-up daughter. Yet here she is, having a council meeting with Sinclair, Byrne, and other random adult survivors to decide everyone’s future. Clarke, Bellamy, Raven, and Octavia—you know, the people actually providing them the information they need—are not included. The decision is made to send a team after Kane, but not Finn and Murphy. #Adults: They never understand.
But just like life, Clarke finds a way. Raven gets Wick (sadly not seen) to shut down the fence, and Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia are able to escape to find their friends. (And I must have Jurassic Park on the brain, because I was half-expecting this to happen.)
When Abby finds out, she is rightly furious. She just got her daughter back, and Clarke’s already gone again. Abby knows that Raven was involved, and she takes out her frustration via a SLAP TO THE FACE. Raven and Abby have developed their own surrogate mother/daughter relationship, so that slap cut deep—for both of them. Abby just can’t stand to lose Clarke again, and she hasn’t yet come to terms with the fact her daughter isn’t who she knew on the Ark.
Abby: “She thinks that because of what she’s been through, she’s changed, but she’s still just a kid.”
Raven: “You’re wrong, Abby. She stopped being a kid the day you sent her down here to die.”
And this has been Truth Talks with Raven.
NEXT: Reunion #4 and an ill-timed Reunion #5