Sunday, June 5, 2016

The 100 Season Three Finale Reaction: "Perverse Instantiation, Part Two" (3x16)

Season three is finally over, and at the very least I can say it was a wild ride from start to finish. This season had more downs than ups, and the main redeeming factor was the introduction of Roan (Zach McGowan, Black Sails). In fact, Roan single-handedly kept me from rage-quitting the show at least six times--but I'll talk about that later. For now, let's look at the big events of the season finale.


For the first time all season, I felt like they got Clarke right in this episode. I was concerned when I saw the promo for the episode--it looked for all the world like the show was pulling a Deus Ex Machina and magically giving Clarke the ability to enter the City of Light without joining the hivemind. Instead they gave us a good old-fashioned transfusion and not without cost--Clarke nearly died (again) attempting to save everyone (again). But what really set her apart in this episode was how well her strength mingled with her vulnerability. For the first time in sixteen episodes, she wasn't 'Wanheda,' she was a frightened seventeen-year-old girl trying desperately to save whoever she could. She acted her age, but she behaved above and beyond the call of duty and made the right decision in the end, no matter how hard it was. That's the Clarke I know, love, and missed all season.


We all knew Lexa would show up in the City of Light, but I have to say--I cheered. Pretty loudly, in fact. It was an extremely good move on the writers' part to bring back a much-loved character for a proper good-bye. Her sloppy, blink-and-you'll-miss-it death scene in the middle of the season was poorly executed, but her return in this episode--and, consequently, her farewell--felt much more satisfying, if bittersweet. 


In this episode, Bellamy finally owned up to the horrible things he'd done earlier in the season. I hadn't been that proud of him since season two ended. Bellamy has a habit of trying to shrug things off and pretend like he's unaffected, when everyone knows he isn't--but in this episode, he stared his wrongdoings in the face, owned up to them like the man he is, and proceeded to do the right thing. Not only that, but we actually got some touching camaraderie between him and Clarke! As she's getting her transfusion from Ontari, she grimaces in pain. Bellamy squeezes her hand and wryly says, "Try doing it hanging upside down," hailing back to his torture in Mount Weather. It showed so much personal growth on his part that I legit teared up.


Oh, Murphy. Can't live with him, can't live without him. The thing Murphy has consistently brought to the show (besides enough snark for three people) is a very human element. Where other characters have Hero complexes, Murphy has reluctance. Where other characters charge right in and do what has to be done, Murphy goes, "Ew, do we have to?" This was hilariously illustrated in this episode when Abby, in order to keep the transfusion moving through Clarke, cuts open Ontari's chest and orders Murphy to manually squeeze the girl's heart. His priceless reaction was one of shock, horror, and utter disgust, but he does it--because no matter how much he complains or denies it, Murphy has a decent heart underneath all the sarcasm and grime. Still, I feel like the showrunners keep him around simply for his wild card status--t'd be nice to see him have a solid role.


Since Lincoln's death, Octavia's character development has taken a slippery slide downward toward antagonism. She's become bitter, sullen, and harder than before, and all these culminated in her sudden murder of Pike after the fighting ceased. Granted, she promised she would get revenge for Lincoln, but even Indra had realized Pike was an important ally. We may see Octavia as more of an antagonist than a protagonist next season, which will definitely be an interesting element.


Oh, ALIE. Artificially intelligent mastermind extraordinaire, ALIE's Big Reveal to Clarke even left me shocked--her desire to assimilate the human race into her programming wasn't simply selfish tyranny but a misguided attempt to save humanity from the coming apocalypse. That's right, there's another coming apocalypse. All the nuclear facilities still operating are melting down due to lack of upkeep, and within six months, the earth will be uninhabitable. Again. Yikes.


Yeah, remember Roan, the King who was shot by zombie Kane and dragged off-screen last episode? Apparently nobody does. Fortunately, Zach McGowan has reportedly signed on for season four, which means we'll be seeing more of him. I knew he wasn't dead. Psh. It would take more than a bullet to kill him. He's probably off cursing his rotten luck somewhere while digging the bullet out of his chest with his teeth or something.


Interspersed with all the horribleness, this season had some definite highlights. The biggest highlight was Roan. He's one of those minor characters who walks onto the screen and takes over everything with sheer charisma, but beyond that, he brought a very grounded, adult presence to the show. He reminded us that the main characters were only teenagers trying to do their best, and he reminded us that sometimes the adults on the show have huge problems and decisions to make too. Between his adulting, his badassery, his snark, his intelligence, and his gruff but good heart, Roan stole the show for me. I also loved the almost mystical aspect of this season, what with Wanheda and the Flame. It almost felt like a medieval fantasy show a few times, and that's always a good thing. I also appreciate the fact that what conversations we DID get between Clarke and Bellamy were important, and they hashed out the anger and resentment lingering from the events of season two.


I have to hand it to Jason Rothenpill--er, Rothenburg--and Kim Shumway. I've never seen anyone take a spectacular show and ruin it so deftly before. It would have been impressive, had I not been in the throes of pain and anger most of the season. There were many times I felt like they were attempting to mimic Game of Thrones with their 'let's kill off this person just because!' and 'Let's chuck in unnecessary kinky sex!' moves. They tried to mature the show in all the wrong ways--because honestly, maturity has a lot more to do with responsibility, morals, and ethics than it does with sex, hopelessness, and betrayal. I feel like they finally started to regain their balance with the last few episodes, but it took enormous uproar from fans over Lexa and Lincoln's deaths to shake some sense into them. I'm also confused about Luna, who felt like a very brief, disappointing plot device. It will make more sense if she returns next season, but I don't trust the showrunners to make sensible decisions. I'm also disappointed that we never saw the Ice Nation--I figured with Roan (the literal King of the Ice Nation) being such an important character that we'd at least get a glimpse of his kingdom, but nope. 


• More Roan. But you all knew that.

• I want to finally see Azgeda. I want to have a huge, scary nation become a main player in the season. There's so much untapped potential in the idea, it would be an enormous shame to waste it again by just randomly mentioning the fact Azgeda exists. It deserves more than a passing 'Oh, btw, they're scary.' Let's actually see them. 

• More Luna. She may have only been in one episode, but she was awesome, and I'd like to see her return as a more important character.

 • More Clarke/Bellamy interactions. I'd be happy to ship Clarke/Roan next season (let's face it, I already did that THIS season) because I feel like Clarke and Bellamy need to rebuild their friendship before we can get #Bellarke. They've been apart most of the season, and I really want to see them work back up to that intensely close partnership they had in seasons one and two before the showrunners try to move forward with their relationship.

• Mutants. You know, that one mutant we saw that one time in season one? WHERE DID HE GO? WHY WAS HE THERE? We all saw him, showrunners. Come on. Bring him back.

• More radiated animals. I mean, come on--we had one ridiculous giant gorilla in season two, and we haven't had any more weird mutated animals since then? Get with it.

 • Clarke being her age. She was spectacular in the season three finale, and I want to see that Clarke continue into season four. The young, scared, and vulnerable girl with lionhearted resolve and enormous courage. I want less of Clarke jumping into bed with whatever hot chick she sees and more of Clarke doing important things, like saving the world.



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