Season Four. Episode Seven. Mark it down. Memorize the episode title: Gimme Shelter. Immediately following the last second of the episode my brain went a little haywire. “That. Was. Awesome!” it said. It’s a thought I haven’t had after an episode of The 100 for a long time now, perhaps since last season’s finale.
Then it settled in a little more, the tight story-line, the character development, every moment propelling the plot of the episode and the season forward in either a small or large way. Terri Hughes Burton and Ron Milbauer deserve a tremendous round of applause for putting together such a fantastic episode.
The episodes before this felt like an exercise in stagnation, of the plot, of the character’s arcs and of the show itself. Like a holding pattern where the audience was being dragged along on mission after mission doomed to failure and lost hope. Was it the case of the show recognizing that most of its audience doesn’t watch week-to-week and instead just writing for the binge watch? Who knows, but this episode didn’t fall into that trap. Here are some highlights:
A lot of people think that Bellamy’s been on a redemption arc, but I disagree. Bellamy’s defining character trait since he accepted responsibility for The 100 was doing what was best for his people. Sometimes *cough*Pike*cough* he’s been wrong about what’s best, but he’s always followed his own moral compass unless he’s had a guiding force beside him (*cough*Clarke,Kane,Pike*cough*). Bellamy’s arc isn’t redemption. Bellamy’s arc has been about becoming a man who decides for himself what’s right and what’s wrong and this episode was a huge step forward for him.
He wasn’t able to get to the people trapped by the black rain and he had a small crisis while sitting in the rover waiting for the storm to stop, but at the moment when he said to Kane, “You floated my mother.” was key. Kane is still his Chancellor. Kane is still someone he respects and will follow. Kane is also someone whose mistakes he doesn’t want to repeat. He’s there now and there’s no turning back. Bellamy Blake is the leader the show has hinted he’d become since the beginning. He and Clarke are separated for who knows how long. Kane is now his equal. Bellamy is A Leader and I can’t wait to see him in action.
Emori’s ruthlessness…is awesome and terrible.
What can we say about Emori? Pretending to know the grounder that broke into that mansion in order to survive is amazing. Emori is a survivor and she’ll do whatever she has to do to make sure that she makes it through whatever situation is put in front of her. It also reinforces what she doesn’t know about the people she’s surrounded by. Abby, Clarke, Bellamy, Kane, any number of the Sky People would have volunteered to go before her.
I’m not sure if the show is setting up her as someone who’ll ultimately betray everyone to ensure her survival or her to learn about the people she’s with as people who won’t sacrifice her because of her deformity, but either way, it’s going to be extremely interesting. Murphy’s reaction is equally as awesome. As a viewer, you know that Murphy knows his people won’t sacrifice Emori. Hell, he was probably headed to Clarke to talk about Emori’s fear at the moment they discovered the break-in, but he can’t help but admire her ingenuity and cunning. It’s as brilliant as it is dangerous.
Kane’s Everyone’s Dad
There’s a difference between being a leader who fights to protect his or her people (like Clarke and Bellamy and Abby, hell even Jaha) and literally fighting tooth and nail to parent every single person under your care. Kane falls into the latter category. I know it started as a bit of a fandom joke, possibly intertwined with theory that he was either Bellamy or Octavia’s biological father (a theory since shot down by the powers that be, although they admitted that they considered it), but Kane well and truly has embraced his role as “Dad.”
It was more and more apparent during Season Three while he was trying to guide Bellamy through his descent into the darkness and this season it seems as if he’s totally embraced that role. Is he trying to make up for the kind of man he was before he came down to the ground? Probably, but Kane’s redemption arc has been masterfully painted over the last two seasons and I think it came full circle this episode as he was trying to help Bellamy deal with the simple fact that you can’t save everyone all the time even with the echoes of Bellamy’s words in his head that Kane was, in fact, responsible for floating Bellamy’s mother.
Octavia and Ilian
Okay, so I don’t ship these two, not even a little bit. Am I going to argue with two attractive people working out their anger and grief with some sexy times on my TV screen? Nope. I don’t think this is a relationship that’s meant to last, but who knows, there have been far stranger beginnings to TV-ships before. I think my hesitancy here is that as a viewer I’m still as much in mourning for Lincoln as Octavia is and I’m not sure I want to see her find love again, however, that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t or can’t.
The world is ending, as far as they know and at the risk of sounding like Jasper, if you’re going to die, why not enjoy the last few moments you have on Earth? This is especially true for someone who isn’t integral in the business of saving said world What would Octavia or Ilian be able to do in the face of nuclear destruction beyond hope that Abby and Raven manage to make nightblood? I’m interested to see where this relationship goes and I’d be on board for almost any path as long as it was as well done as their scenes were in this episode.
Let’s Talk About Harper
Part of me is half terrified that Harper is getting focus and attention because they’re about to kill her off, but even knowing that, I was so psyched to see her get her own subplot this week. Harper as a character is a testament to the show’s awesome ability to develop secondary characters to a point where they either have to make them series regulars or kill them off to inflict maximum pain without killing a lead and I’m so happy that Harper has turned out to be the former, at least for now. This episode, a basic human reaction of pulling away from hands seemingly holding you back from escaping radioactive rain turns into a beautifully played out subplot. Harper is going to factor in a lot in the remaining episodes of the season and it’s going to be awesome.
Murphy Can Cook
Before I go, can we just talk about Murphy making risotto and having Clarke taste it? What is this moment? This brief escape into every modern AU we’ve ever craved from this show? I NEED MORE OF THEM. This tiny beat made me desperate to get to a point on The 100 where these people can just LIVE for more than a moment at a time.
The 100 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on the CW.