The CW’s The 100, Bitter Harvest TV Show Review. The 100: Season 3, Episode 6: ‘Bitter Harvest’ suggested a reaping of some sour seeds sown; but seemed like more of a forecast. It better be, since what actually came of the episode, itself, was pretty frustrating – the kind that could pay off big, down the road, or get a lot of money-back-guarantees called in.
To start things off, an artistically tender Clexa moment got a reality check, from both Lexa’s (Alycia Debnam-Carey) predecessors (when even dead monarchs start warning you, about the new girl messing with the drapes – take the hint), and a loose end – boxed & delivered courtesy of Roan – dropped at her & Clarke’s (Eliza Taylor) feet. As some may have noticed, from the not quite spoiler free trailer to the ep, the jackass-in-the-box was Emerson (Toby Levins); and he would’ve been the happiest person on Earth, for having set eyes on Clarke again, if the show were set on Bizarro World.
This would turn out to be a test, for Clarke. Not of her resolve, but of her post-Wanheda “Blood must not have blood” conviction, and what – or whom – she was willing to put up, as collateral, for it. The twin matters of Grounder justice (Dealing with Emerson, and responding to the latest Skaikru massacre of Grounders) took Titus (Neil Sandilands) from a cautionary counterbalance to Clarke, to being at complete odds with her.
Clarke’s resolution, to the cross-purpose agendas presented to her, should have been a model of idealist consistency; but, instead, came across as more of her imposing such ideals on others. In Emerson’s case, she was sure to make her ruling a punishment – complete with the kind of curse you wouldn’t recognize, should an irate cook place it in your fortune cookie.
As memorable a line as it was for her to close the ‘Mountain Slayer’ chapter on, Clarke seemed to forget two things. One was that you don’t always get to decide when & where to close matters of beef; the other, that she has made a history of having her sentiments come back to haunt her. The throne of Heda may not be the only contest of succession, this season, as Emerson may find himself serving a much more lasting position than the one he lost – and some lasting peace to go with it. It’s unlikely that such an outcome would be of any comfort to Clarke.
The odd thing about watching a movie, or TV Show: you often find yourself seeing patterns to characters that no one on screen – particularly the characters in question – ever seem to see. After all the talk about people dying for her decisions & ideology – a fact not entirely lost on her, given her self-imposed exile – you’d think Clarke would have some appreciation for what she was putting Lexa up against. You don’t u-turn generations of tradition with pretty speeches & good intentions. Well, it seems the only one who can knock Clarke down a peg is Clarke – by constantly making herself agonize over the price others pay for her. By all indications, it seems Lexa has been designated a target-by-association, and will be added to Clarke’s angst wall, sooner or later.
The real question is how will the next shoe drop, and which characters will be left with bare feet. Given that she stands to betray an entire way of life, her death could come from a random source; but I don’t think the showrunners have the guts to do something as infuriating to fans as the random killing of a major character. No, it will have to have some kind of devastating ramification to it, and someone to hate over it. That said, Titus’ devotion to Lexa brings to mind the thin line between love & hate – as does Indra’s (Adina Porter); but I’m mostly mindful that, of all the bad blood Lexa has/ will amass, some of it could very well be black.
Another reaper forecast would be the one involving the great Arkadian divide-in-progress. Wounded Knee continued to be the order of the day, as Pike (Michael Beach) continued to be the embodiment of Manifest Destiny. Fortunately for Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), he had key assets in place for the makings of some kind of resistance movement. Both sides of the divide would see a promotion for regular background characters, like Miller (Jarod Joseph), Monroe (Katie Stuart), and Jackson (Sachin Sahel); but that didn’t turn out to be a good thing for everyone included.
I’d just like to take a moment, to mention that this review’s apologies come courtesy of the letter M.
For one thing, Team Pike brought Monty (Christopher Larkin) into the fold; and while having a voice of reason onboard should make for some interesting discourse – forcing the likes of Bellamy (Bob Morley) to plainly state the stakes – it sets up a reckoning with his mother, Hannah (Donna Yamamoto). A moment of apparent Hannah compassion was more fleeting than her would-be victim’s footwork. With little to show, in the way of redemptive value, Hannah has been shaping up to be something of a personal crisis for her son, down the road (sorry, Monty).
BTW, who’s Bryan (Jonathan Whitesell)? I know he means something (particularly to Miller), but, seriously, who is this guy? He was also placed at the newly sharpened tip of the Pike, with all the fanfare of a Red Shirt walking; but, alas, others were well ahead of him, on that waiting list. For a moment that seemed so long in the making, it almost seemed too soon, now (sorry, Monroe).
Team Kane, for its part, was lucky to have Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) as its field agent. Unfortunately for Bellamy, his response to Monty’s challenge left him squarely on Octavia’s sh*t list. Here was the perfect example of the episode setting up more bitter harvests than it collected. Unfortunately for Octavia, one bummer crop it did collect on was the massacre her brother participated in. Between Miller’s efforts, back at Arkadia, and her own earlier heroics (I’d point out that if tree sap scalds your skin, you probably shouldn’t turn your eyes up to the stuff – but it was nice to see mutated flora & fauna still in effect), Octavia was able to head off a follow up massacre. Tragically for Octavia, however, was the fact that no deed goes unpunished, while two good deeds in a row leaves you back on the outs with both sides.
The third half-measured reaping involved Thelonious ‘Baltar’s got Morpheus’ bag o’ pills’ Jaha (Isaiah Washington), and his take-this-all-of-you-and-eat-it tour becoming a bitter pill for Abby (Paige Turco) to swallow. While T-Monk matter-of-factly dispelled my fears, about the nature of Raven’s (Lindsey Morgan) ‘indoctrination’ into the Shining Happy People society, he & Alie (Erica Cerra) did get her in on a little trojan action – and not the good kind.
This element could have been an opportunity to put Jasper (Devon Bostick) out of our misery; but it seems the show may need his agita to beat back the Scourge of Smiles. What we did get, however, was potentially the biggest freshly sown field, yet. Up next, on the 100 brave new world tour: V-ger – no, wait: Kra-gl – ahhh, no… Pol-is – yep, Pol-is is going to be the thing to be done/ needs doing about. For the moment, however, Raven may not have silicate pathways to her brain; but whatever it is, Jackson seemed happy about it, and Jasper was left wanting it, but Abby wasn’t about to have any of it. She closed down the T-Monk Shining Time Station (sorry, ‘Monk’).
On its face, ‘Bitter Harvest’ had a lot going for it. Levins & Sandilands both gave standout performances, with Levins getting enough pathos out of Emerson to warrant a redemption arc, on a show like this; but what I think (read: hope) they have in mind for him works better. Titus, on the other hand, continues to be portrayed as a man so torn – between his sense of duty, and his sense of personal loyalty – that it has left him in visible knots. It turns out, however, that he has recently acquired an outlet for all that angst. Sorry, Murphy (Richard Harmon).
Given the title, however, I don’t think it unreasonable that I expected at least as much payoff as promise from it. What it did promise was plenty intriguing, sure; but something has to be done about this game of keep-away vibe they’ve sort of settled into. As obvious as some of these threads seem to be, it comes across almost like stalling… or worse, stretching.
Don’t get me wrong – it could still turn out to be a good kind of crazy season; I just don’t like what only feels like makeshift measuring, is all (… sorry, me).
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