Now come the hard decisions

By Dalene Rovenstine
February 08, 2017 at 10:01 PM EST
Bettina Strauss/The CW
S4 E2
B
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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

Things are going about as poorly at Arkadia. Raven has run scenarios for days, but the only “solution” she can find is for them to find a place to weather the radiation for five years. She thinks they need to tell the Grounders about the situation in case they know of another Mount Weather-type place. Bellamy says this could cause the coalition to fall (because everyone would be out for themselves), and Raven points out that Clarke’s dad died because he wanted to give people a choice just like this one. It’s a harsh reality to throw in Clarke’s face… but yeah, it’s true.

While they’re arguing about what to do, Monty figures out the best plan is under their feet: “We’re standing in our viable solution.” Alpha station survived in space through elevated radiation levels and extreme temperatures, both things that it will need to endure in a radiation-riddled Earth. So Raven sets to work on restoring the Alpha station to its former glory, but there’s one important item they don’t have: a hydro-generator.

The problem is somewhat solvable since they know where a hydro-generator is, but that is the other problem: It’s on the Farm Station in Ice Nation. Bellamy rounds up Brian, Miller, Monty, and Harper to go with him to retrieve it. They get to Ice Nation easily, but when they survey the ship from a nearby cliff, they realize it’s inhabited. And before they have the chance to decide how they’ll approach, Azgeda warriors have arrows drawn on them.

Bellamy tries to tell the lead warrior that he’s been sent by King Roan; he even shows her the medallion, but the woman punches him in the face and leads them all before her chief. Bellamy explains that they’re all part of the coalition now — the chief doesn’t like it, but he tells them they can quickly get the machine for the king.

When they get to the part of the ship with the hydro-generator, the Arkers find that Azgeda is holding slaves inside. As they walk through the room, Brian spots Riley, one of their own whom they thought dead. He tries to go to him, but the chief says they can only take the machine.

While they dismantle the device, Bellamy says they can come back with reinforcements to rescue the slaves. As soon as he’s said that, a woman drops a note that says they’re all being moved the next day. “It’s now or never,” Brian says.

For some reason, the only way they can think to get out of this situation is by blowing up the hydro-generator. They would be safe inside this part of the ship since it was built to withstand the generator exploding. I’m not an expert at hostage situations, but I feel like there are quite a few other ways this could go down. Bellamy breaks a 2-2 vote, so they decide to blow their only source of water for the next five years. Okay, sure.

They blow the generator, which kills the Ice Nation warriors outside the hold. The chief’s still inside, and Brian says that’s who killed Monty’s father. Monty grabs an ax, swings, and releases the chains holding all the slaves. Then they descend on the chief and kill him. It’s very Handmaid’s Tale.

Things aren’t quite as dire back at Arkadia. Raven tells people that she needs help getting the ship ready “for winter,” so she gets five volunteers and Jaha. As a former engineer, he quickly realizes that Clarke’s not telling the truth. If anyone understands keeping a secret, it’s Jaha. He gives her advice he gave Abby after the culling, “We make the best decisions that we can with the information that we have. Then hope that there’s a forgiving god.”

It’s not bad advice, but not everyone would agree with it… including Jasper. He’s partying with people while playing music on the rover. (Sidenote: Jasper is listening to “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats. The opening lyrics of the song are: The silicon chip inside her head / Gets switched to overload. Coincidence??) She asks him to contribute and to get everyone else to do the same, but he says people need to be able to choose how to spend their last six months. Clarke counters that she wants to have solutions to give them before she informs everyone. “That’s spoken like the Council who sent 100 kids to die on the ground,” he responds.

But once Bellamy returns with a truck full of people and no hydro-generator, Clarke decides to call a general meeting and tell everyone the truth… kind of. She informs them about the nuclear reactors, but she tells them that everyone will survive on this ship. It has to be just a matter of time before they realize she’s lying just like Jaha did when they were in the sky. And with Echo’s imminent arrival, I can only imagine that realization is going to come out sooner rather than later.

Do you think Clarke is making the right call? Do you think she should be the only one deciding this? Maybe it’s time to revive the Council? Or maybe they should all just make like Jasper and enjoy their last days…

 100 (or just 6) extras:
• Is Echo ever going to realize the Ice Queen was kind of a bad lady?
• Brian and Miller were already on the rocks since they can’t see eye to eye on Pike, but now that they’ve had a big disagreement on the little matter of saving people’s lives, I’m even more worried.
• Jasper is wasting what clean drinking water is left by taking long showers … with a shower cap on. Monty is worried about him, but Jasper assures him he’s not going to harm himself anymore. I appreciate that their fun banter is slowly returning, but I’m still concerned about Jasper’s mental state.
• Humble Jaha may be my favorite Jaha.
• After Abby and Kane hook up (it’s about time!), she hesitates when putting back on her necklace, which holds Jake’s wedding ring. Kane puts it on for her and says, “Jake’s a part of who you are.” Aww.
• Later, Abby decides she needs to go back to Arkadia to help with preparations there and Kane sees she isn’t wearing the necklace any more. He’s her person now. Double aww.

After a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people who have been living in space return to Earth—and quickly learn they’re not alone.
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  • 03/19/14
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