The CW’s The 100, Thirteen TV Show Review. The 100: Season 3, Episode 7: ‘Thirteen’ was a bridge episode, disguised as character build/ break episode, since the two elements didn’t gel as neatly as they may have been intended to.
As either might apply, it was a pretty lean & simple undertaking. Titus’ (Neil Sandilands) interrogation of Murphy (Richard Harmon) set up a flashback to the last days of Polaris, just before & after Alie’s breakout party. It turns out that Alie’s visual inspiration, Becca (Erica Cerra), didn’t object to her A.I. all that thoroughly – in fact she was determined to double down on the whole cyber overlord concept. Never mind talk of Alie hacking nuke codes, and getting to bunkers – when Roger R. Cross shows up, to tell you how bad things are, they’re pretty damned bad. Having a front seat (and a direct line to) the end of the World (as we know it) is even worse; but somehow, Becca managed to take sacrificing others for her work a step further.
When a genocidal A.I.’s co-creator passionately defends doubling down, leaving her to her lab is not a smart move – especially when her double down measure sounds less like an A.I. embracing Humanity than controlling it. In any case, Becca’s burden wouldn’t become the Ark’s problem so much as a legacy for Human cockroaches.
That legacy has been saying encouraging things to Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), about her favorite ear worm, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), to the chagrin of pretty much everyone else. This set up started to come to a head when Titus tried to jump-start the Blood Must Have Blood policy with a little show-and-tell – one with lead Trikru survivor, Semet (Zak Santiago), hauling in a captive Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) to testify to Skaikru’s warmongering. When that didn’t go as planned, Semet was put to rest, but the matter wasn’t.
This ep was Sandilands’ shining moment, to date; and his place, as mentor to generations of Commanders, came with demonstrations of his physical skills, as well (so great that Lexa’s bodyguards didn’t so much as flinch, when the show-and-tell went sideways).
The situation didn’t allow for any new bonding, between Octavia & Clarke, so Octavia was free to reconnect with Indra (Adina Porter). I’ll admit to expecting something impressive coming out of that team – if only because of the walk-off strut.
The rest of the episode (flashbacks aside) was a long goodbye, with ‘happy endings’ at the beginning. We all know that’s not how these things work; so a bad end was clearly in the cards.
The thing is, once a second A.I. was announced the writing was pretty much on the wall (kudos for demonstrating Murphy’s ability to read just that, BTW). I was hoping, however, that the Planet of the Apes reveal (Zaius’ to Thade, from Tim Burton’s thoroughly misunderstood & somewhat underappreciated version) wouldn’t come with the same follow through; but it did, and it seems an opportunity, to throw any number of wildcards into the political mix, was squandered.
In other words: Lexa, Clarke, and Titus all got off easy – further indicating that the present crisis was resolved in service to the backstory, and vice-versa.
It also means that a not-so-subtle shift may have just taken place, regarding the relevance of Alie’s quest to the season’s (if not series) overall arc. There was a reason I’ve been referring to her as the Red Priestess. The various squabbling, between the various krus, may amount to the same level of distraction as that between the Great Houses of GoT. For all I know (read: hope), Alie & Becca’s combined legacy could amount to a song of Fire & Ice – with this episode doing a good job of demonstrating just how the showrunners plan on letting the short game distract us from the long game.
I imagine quite a few viewers were left more invested in the events of the ‘present,’ than in those of the ‘past;’ so I guess the showrunners deserve credit for sacrificing a key player to pull it off. I just wish they hadn’t presented it as such an anti-climax – given the lengths of the set-up, up to this point – and floated so much potent material in the process.
Maybe it’s just the detachment talking (of all the characters present, for the somber proceedings, I guess I identified with Murphy the most), but given the disparity to the narrative, giving each element its own due might have been a better course to take. That is to say, maybe the show should play to its sci-fi/ mythology and melodrama fans at separate venues. There was more to Becca’s story (and likely will be – since there were others in her survivor’s circle, and a really dick move would hardly be the place to leave her legacy anchored to), and Clexa amounted to a sentimental way to pass the time, before the inevitable reveal.
This is still Clarke’s story (more or less, at the moment), and even events as monumental as Becca’s bloodline beginnings all come down to her perspective. In this case, however, having two momentous moments sharing the same screen time seemed more like an exercise in tethering than expansion. The good news, on the other hand, is that there is now one less clear & present distraction to the overall arc, as it unfolds. Let’s see how long before they find another, and from where.
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