The CW’s The 100, Terms & Conditions TV Show Review. The 100: Season 3, Episode 8: ‘Terms & Conditions’ finally brought the socio-political battle – between Kane & Pike (Henry Ian Cusick, Michael Beach), for the lives (and soul) of Arkadia – to direct, open confrontation. To anyone who thought the turn long overdue, and certain characters in need of some reckoning, well….
The Grounder blockade would have certainly led to the kind of unrest that could serve as a back-burn, to Pike’s wildfire; but Kane didn’t want Arkadia to degrade to that point. The blockade did, however, motivate both sides to take decisive action, and unfortunately, that stage was set by another impulsive action from Bellamy (Bob Morley). When subtlety was no longer needed, it was Kane that formulated the better long-term strategy; but Kane forgot to factor in that, for 80s action heroes like Bellamy, you don’t need a smart monkey wrench to wreck some mastermind’s best laid plans, just a stubbornly lunky one. Best not to try to engage them, before hand.
It took Pike’s people an awful long time to sweep his office, in order to find a sting opportunity; but jumping on the first possible conspirator that moved was bad counter-intelligence. Despite Kane’s precautions, he was still meeting with the others. Assuming he was being watched wouldn’t be the same as knowing it; and any contact would’ve at least put the other members of his ring under suspicion. Pike’s Police State was kind of on the amateur side; but the up-side to that were some encouraging signs of limits to what that State was capable of.
Pike used fear & loathing to become a democratically elected dictator: check; he placed security above liberty, and regards potential genocide as a means of survival-come-prosperity: check; a with-us-or-against-us posture: check; absolutist conviction to back all that up: check; but there have been signs of both Bellamy & Hannah being to his right, on certain matters; and with his initial handling of their first treason collar, he may have drawn the line at justifying torture, as a way to ‘keep Arkadia safe.’ At least from Pike’s perspective, that was one more reason he & Kane were at an impasse, regarding moral high ground. I’m sure Pike knew he had become a dictator; but only with the acknowledgement that it makes it easier to do what’s necessary – something a recent U.S. President once remarked (and that one actually took the torture option).
None of this mattered to Alie & Jaha (Erica Cerra, Isaiah Washington), of course, as their efforts expanded to getting Jasper (Devon Bostick) back to some of his old weasely mischief – a not entirely reckless plan, so long as City of Light resident, Raven (Lindsey Morgan), did the handling. That was the reasoning, anyway, since, for some reason, fictional A.I.s just never seem to get a full grasp on Humanity. Jasper turned out to be a mixed blessing, as his primary motivation may have inadvertently led Raven to one of the limits to blind faith. Ignorance is only bliss so long as you stay ignorant. Raven is about as science minded as they come, in Arkadia – ignorance never seemed to be her thing.
Raven demonstrated the power of critical thought – something someone of her caliber should have more than enough of to avoid the pitfalls of blind faith. The fact that it took Jasper, trying to vet the effects of a possible wonder drug, to get her back to that place, was kind of disappointing. Still, it demonstrated that there may be some deliberate focus to Jasper’s picking at scabs. He knows exactly what he wants, and knows exactly what he doesn’t – he’s just been a dick about it, to anyone who doesn’t help him get to where he wants to be. Somehow, I get the feeling he was left disappointed, over Raven’s miracle cure turning out to be a half-measure.
Of course, Alie was left a little taken aback, by this demonstration of Human will; but Jaha might have an app for that. Human will, on the other hand, has a tricky habit of whitelisting trusted members of given circles.
Monty (Christopher Larkin) has given his mom more leeway than I would’ve expected; but I suppose blood’s thicker than brains, in this case. Their mutual trust did fly in the face of Pike’s assertion that no relationship should be taken at face value, however; but the real test of that principle came from Miller’s (Jarod Joseph) corner of the conflict. Both Miller & Harper (Chelsey Reist) have been brought forward in the cast, out of all this (I can’t help but think of Harper as having filled Monroe’s slot); but it was Miller’s relationship with Piker Bryan (Jonathan Whitesell) that bore out the Chancellor’s warning. Monty still showed signs of moral conflict; but has chosen to be the dutiful son. That explained how he got to the episode’s conflict of conscience moment; but Bellamy never takes the reasoned path voluntarily.
So, just to get this straight… somehow it completely failed to occur to Bellamy what the consequence to his actions would be, regarding Kane. If this was meant to be a reality check moment – to set Bellamy back on redemption road – then I’m already casting a vote to not renew his hero status. Bellamy has demonstrated, from episode one, that he is a reactionary. Reactionaries make perfect soldiers – another area where blind faith is necessary – and the trait has made his kind invaluable to Pike’s; but the show’s short-term memory problem would have us forget just how many times his impulse issues has left him in need of redemption, and, more importantly, the fact that it always takes some outside force to give him a push in the right direction. That used to be ‘friends’ like Clarke, and ‘enemies’ like Kane – which would constitute the only justification for Kane even bothering to try reasoning with him. I believe it will be his longest serving source of external motivation, however, who will be the one to finally get through to him – and it will not be pleasant.
‘Terms & Conditions’ was meant to be frustrating – another tease, to make some future payoff that much sweeter – but you can only frustrate for so long, before a lasting frustration sets in. The plot needs to a certain convolution, just as characters need complexity; but when certain formulas remain in place, it gets harder to regard some of these complex convolutions as anything but stunts. Kane has conveniently forgotten his turn as a dictator, just as Bellamy keeps swinging from one end of the moral spectrum to the other. With those examples in mind, I keep wondering whether the problem is the show having a short-term memory, or the showrunners counting on viewers having one.
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