Both Queen Nia and Pike are playing for power this week
Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW
S3 E4
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Queen Nia is ruthless — she blew up Mount Weather without a second thought because she thought it was what was best for her people. And it turns out this was just a small part of her “Lexa Takedown” plan.

Both Lexa’s camp and Pike’s Farm Station camp are wanting Nia to pay for her sins. You would think the Arkers, who generally have been more… shall we say civilized, would handle this in a rational way, but you would be wrong. Let’s look at the plans of attack individually:

It’s a party at Polis…

Lexa draws the ambassadors — now including Clarke from the 13th clan — together to bring punishment for the accused. Nia enters the room in chains while shooting daggers out of her eyes at Clarke. When asked what she has to say, Wanheda says Skaikru demands justice.

But Nia isn’t about to go down without a fight; she calls for a vote of no confidence, which is only one of two ways a commander can be removed. (The other is death.) Most of the other ambassadors stand and say “Commander no longer” in Trigedasleng as their vote — the only one not to is Clarke. It’s not unanimous, but the Ice Queen doesn’t recognize Skaikru anyway.

Lexa knows what Ice Queen really wants: “If you think me unfit to command, issue the challenge and let’s get on with it,” the Commander says. And you know Nia is up for the challenge! Titus tells them both to pick their champions. Nia picks her son, Roan. Lexa says she will fight for herself because she’s the best boss bitch around.

The next we see her, she’s training the Nightbloods — these are the kids who would rise up and succeed her if she were to die in the face-off. Lexa introduces Clarke to Aden, who she says is the most promising Nightblood; she wants to show Clarke that the Sky People have nothing to worry about even if she doesn’t win the challenge. Aden tells Clarke, “If I become Heda, I pledge my loyalty to the 13th clan,” and I might have gotten goosebumps. (Don’t lie: You did, too.)

When Aden leaves the room, Clarke tries to talk Lexa out of the fight. She doesn’t think Lexa stands a chance against Roan. Clarke says her concern, the reason she needs Lexa to win, is purely about her people, but we all know different.

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Meanwhile, Queen Nia is trying to convince Roan why it’s good he goes into the challenge: “What’s good for Azgeda is good for you.” It’s much more believable that Nia’s concern is purely about her people. She may be a badass queen, but she’s a garbage mother. (You can read about actress Brenda Strong’s thoughts on Queen Nia’s relationship with Roan here.)

When Nia walks away, Clarke is lurking in the shadows to talk with him next. She says she wants him to be king, to take out his own mother. He’s all “no way will I kill my mother …. but I’ll help you do it.”

NEXT: Greatest mother-son relationship ever… except for maybe the Bates

So the next we see Wanheda, she’s entering the Ice Queen’s quarters. Clarke tells her she’ll change her vote of no confidence if the Ice Queen can guarantee she and Skaikru will be safe. Nia is oddly and quickly on board with this plan. She’s ready to bind their deal with blood.

But when Clarke wipes the blade on her sleeve, Nia’s attendant, Ontari, gets suspicious and knocks her down onto the table. Clarke had poison on her sleeve, which would have then poisoned the Ice Queen. Sneaky, sneaky Clarke! As retaliation, Nia slices open Ontari’s hand (what did Ontari do!?) and drips her black — black — blood onto Clarke’s face.

It turns out that “Nightbloods,” are children found to have black blood. The original commander had black blood, so they believe any child with this trait could be a future commander. They are supposed to be brought to Polis to train, like Aden and the other young warriors, but Nia has been keeping some for herself. The tar-black streaks on Clarke’s face are a message to Lexa: Ice Nation could control the next commander.

The only way for Lexa to end this is to win. She and Roan show up to duel each other. (How funny would it have been if this had taken place on a dusty, abandoned street?) Titus explains the only rule, “Someone must die today.”

Clarke was really concerned that Roan would kill Lexa, but as Lexa said, “You have never seen me fight.” And boy was she right — Lexa dominates against Roan, who certainly doesn’t make that easy. It’s a beautifully orchestrated fight with equal opponents; one minute Roan is about to spear Lexa and the next she has the drop on him. As Lexa stands above Roan with a spear in hand, Nia shouts from the sidelines, “If you die, you don’t die a prince. You die a coward.” Mom of the year, amirite?

Poor Roan doesn’t even seem fazed by his mother’s cruelness. “Get it over with it,” he tells Lexa. So she firms her grip on the spear and hurls it… at the Ice Queen. “The queen is dead. Long live the king.”

With the challenge over, Lexa and Clarke have time to clean up and change into … Grounder nightgowns? Don’t get me wrong — they both look gorgeous — but those outfits made me laugh out loud. Anyway, Lexa comes to Clarke’s room to thank her for showing up. As Clarke re-bandages Lexa’s hand, they share a geniune moment, which they haven’t done since … probably you know when.

Whether you’re a shipper or not, it’s nice to see these moments where the tough warriors we know can still be soft. But with what’s coming for them, it seems these lighter times will come fewer and far between.

Meanwhile at Arkadia…

Abby is holding a meeting to regroup after the Mount Weather attack. Pike wants to know when they are going to strike back. When Abby says they’re not going to, Pike says they have to because Grounders only understand one thing: strength. Kane tries to explain that they were collateral damage in the Ice Nation’s war with Lexa, but Pike won’t hear it. “We need to hit them now,” he says. “We need to hit them hard. Leave no survivors.”

“I’ll take it under advisement,” a calm Abby says. But after everyone leaves the room, she tells Kane that Pike will be his problem tomorrow, after the election. Also Kane’s problem: sad Bellamy. He comes in and hands in his Ark Guard jacket. He’s resigning his post because he thinks the attack is his fault. Kane tries to tell him it wasn’t his fault, but Bellamy just tears up and won’t listen.

Bellamy is clearly struggling with losing his girlfriend Gina — as to be expected — and it doesn’t help when things turn ugly at the memorial: Farm Station people come in during the middle of it to tell Pike that Indra’s “army” is waiting outside the gates. Kane and Abby say it’s a peacekeeping force, but Pike is really good at rousing a riot.

Lincoln is peacefully watching the memorial from a distance, but when the crowd gets angry about Grounder revenge, a Farmer throws a rock at his head. Soon they’re all fighting each other, but Abby yells at them all to stop, that this isn’t how they operate. Pike yells back, “Anger is our policy.” And unfortunately, this policy is starting to resonate with more than just the Farmers.

NEXT: Bellamy, you’re breaking our hearts

Over shots at the makeshift bar, Pike talks to Bellamy about the Mount Weather deaths. He tells him that it’s because they trusted a Grounder — “never again.” Bellamy nods his head (as I scream “no, Bellamy!” at my TV). Pike says that the 300 soldiers would be no match to just 10 men with automatic riles… and Pike just so happens to have 10 men. Pike asks Bellamy to get the guns for his guys.

The next thing you know Pike, Bellamy, and the other Farmers are heading toward the doors of Arkadia, where Lincoln, Monroe, and Harper are standing guard. All it takes is for Bellamy to say he’s always had the people’s best interest in mind for the two women to step away, leaving only Lincoln. Pike tells him that to prove he’s “one of us,” he has to let them pass, but Lincoln won’t do it.

Luckily the alarms sound, and Abby, Octavia, and Kane come out to stop this insanity. Abby says to take all the Farmers to lockup, but before they go, Pike has to incite another riot. Seriously, why is he so good at this? I thought he was just a teacher on the Ark?

He makes Kane show his mark of the commanders to the public, as if it’s a mark of shame. When Kane reveals his arm and explains that this makes them the 13th clan, Pike yells, “No, it’s what farmers used to do to their livestock.” And then Monty’s mom adds, “Right before the slaughter house!” Ugh, lady. I was excited to see you for Monty’s sake, but now you need to go away.

Then one of Pike’s sheep says the Farm Station leader should be on the election ballot the next day. Abby yells at the guards to lead them away, but before they go Bellamy starts chanting, “Pike.” And then they all chant it. BELLAMY. Who are you?

The next scene at Arkadia is Kane going into the holding cell saying, “Congratulations, Mr. Chancellor” to Pike. Noooo.

Pike says his first action as chancellor is to pardon himself and the others. His second action is to reject the brand that makes them the 13th clan. His third is to “finish what we started.” Noooooooooooo.

As they leave the holding cell, Kane tells Bellamy, “It’s not too late to choose the right side.” And Bellamy looks at him, says, “I already have,” and walks out. NOOOOOOOOOO.


  • Can someone with medical knowledge explain if black blood is possible? Or are we writing this off as another thing that changed because of radiation?
  • Lexa tells Clarke that Ontari won’t be back until the conclave after Lexa’s death. Two things: I feel like Ontari might not go away that easy, and we might need to be worried that Lexa talks about her death this much. Thoughts?
  • How much did you want to hug Lincoln after he got hit by that rock? Also, why was he quoting a Chumbawamba song?
  • Jasper escaped Arkadia, and Monty followed. They ended up back at the Dropship (aww, memories), where Jasper passed out because he’s a drunk now. Then Monty rooted through his bag and found that Jasper had brought along Finn’s ashes. Monty tries to tell him this spiraling is not good for anyone, but Jasper just pushes him away even more and then falls into Finn’s ashes. Guys, can we get them some couples counseling ASAP?
  • One of the guards called Octavia “one of them,” when she was helping Nyko bring sick Grounders into Arkadia. Maybe she and Lincoln, plus the other Arkers who haven’t lost their marbles just need to go live with Trikru?
  • There was a lot going on this episode, and I probably couldn’t have handled more, but seriously where are Jaha and Murphy? And Raven?
  • What do we think of Miller’s boyfriend, Bryan?

I’m sure I’ll think of 100 more questions in the next few hours and so will you. Let’s talk about them below or on Twitter @realdalener.

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