Now come the hard decisions
Television shows frequently have short-term memories. Characters die and no one ever speaks about them again. Characters endure huge, life-shattering revelations and move on a couple episodes later as if nothing happened. All too often shows push the reset button on characters’ emotions without looking back.
The 100 is not a show like that. And that’s a good thing. We see the loss and pain play out long term in characters. Clarke is still mourning Lexa, who died half a season ago; Jasper is still mourning Maya, who died two seasons ago; and Abby still mourns Jake, who died before the show even started. Bellamy is grappling with the Pike-related decisions he made on the ground while Jaha is still dealing with the culling choices he made on the Ark. We even hear minor characters’ names, like Sinclair, from time to time.
Although the characters on this show have evolved so much since we first met them (I barely recognize the Octavia we met in the pilot), they’ve not outgrown their past — which is rare on network TV. They experience their pain in a way that feels real.
All that is to say there were a lot of callbacks this episode: Clarke’s dad, Monty’s dad, the culling, Mount Weather, ALIE, and THE BLUE BUTTERFLY. “Heavy Lies the Crown” begins with a camera tracking one of these little guys as it lands near a woman on a farm. The woman is tied to a fence, where she’s being tortured by her son, Ilian. He’s already killed his father, and ALIE (oh, yes, it’s a flashback) instructs him to do his brother next, which he does. Ilian is about to slit his own throat just to get his mother to take the chip, but ALIE is called away by Clarke — Ilian awakens to realize what he’s done, but he’s too late to save his mom. She tells him to avenge her, and she dies. And that is our introduction to Chai Romruen, yet another Australian playing an American on this show.
We next see Ilian at Polis, where he’s listening to the ambassador of Trishanakru complain about Roan being Skaikru’s puppet. In order to wrest power from him, the ambassador plans to challenge the king. Octavia happens to overhear this (I’m loving this hooded warrior-esque look she has going on in season 4) and takes the news to Kane. The two of them inform Roan, who says he’ll fight the ambassador. Octavia wants him to pick someone to fight in his place since he’s injured, but he says he’ll appear too weak… which he is.
Echo tries to spar with him in preparation, and she keeps getting the draw on him. Echo doesn’t understand why he’s willing to do all this just to keep Skaikru in the coalition.
“What deal is worth losing the faith of your people?” she asks.
“A chance to survive the end of the world,” he retorts.
Roan tells Echo all about the return of praimfaya and how Clarke is willing to help save them. Echo thinks it’s a lie (she’s not exactly wrong), so he tells her she can go to Arkadia to do what she does best: spy.
Since his practice fighting wasn’t going so well, Roan has allowed Kane and Octavia the chance to talk to Raphael, the Trishanakru ambassador. When Kane says, “Skaikru is not your enemy,” Ilian laughs. Kane says he’s sorry for Ilian’s loss but tries to explain that Skaikru was affected by the City of Light just the same. Octavia tells Ilian that Raphael is only challenging Roan because he’s vulnerable right now. But it doesn’t matter — Raphael still wants to fight: “The time of Skaikru is over.”
That night Octavia decides to have a little one-on-one talk with Raphael. She asks him to challenge her since his problem is with Skaikru. He calls her a little girl and then tells her, “You’re not worth my blade.” So Octavia shows him what this “little girl” can do: She grabs his knife, stabs him in the ear, and wipes the blood to remove all traces. “Long live the king,” she says to his dead body. I don’t know who season 1 Octavia was, but this girl eats blue butterflies for breakfast.
When the ambassadors come in the next day, Echo tells Roan that Raphael has died. But O’s sneaky assassin trick isn’t fooling anyone (the smirk on her face doesn’t help). Ilian asks if she’s going to kill him, too, but she plays dumb. Then she puts her hand on his shoulder and tells him, in Trigedasleng, she’s sorry about his family. I think we may have just witnessed the world’s weirdest meet-cute.
NEXT: Rebuilding the Ark