Everyone is the hero of their own story.
This isn't a novel concept, but it is a theme at large, particularly on The 100 Season 3 Episode 6. "Bitter Harvest" was, for the most part, a rather slow episode – lots of deliberating, discussing, and planning – save, of course, the huge reveal at the very end.
This twist is a game changer. Also, I have a lot of thoughts on this entire episode, so prepare yourselves for a mega-sized review.
I'm talking, of course, about Jaha's explanation to Raven and ALIE when they were unable to track down the ALIE 2.0 upgrade engineered by her physically identical creator, Becca. Namely, that there was once a thirteenth space station, and the other twelve blew it straight out of the sky (or something... details about this are still unclear).
Regardless, much like Lexa's thirteenth clan, it didn't last very long. Oh, symmetry!
So much for that cutesy story told on Unity Day, where two of the stations waved as they floated past one another and spontaneously decided to join up. Guess that was a crock of bull.
This all took place in an immaculately edited sequence. Jaha's explanation was intercut with the visual of Titus brutalizing a bound Murphy, in an attempt to get information out of him about ALIE's chip, which Murphy had on him when captured by the Grounders.
When Jaha announced that the thirteenth station's name was Polaris, we simultaneously saw a remnant of a space station. Written on it, the word Polaris (with the A and R smudged off). So Polaris = Polis.
The reveal scene was perfectly done. This information raises so many questions. Of course, the assumption until now has been that the Grounders are descended from those people who were left behind on Earth during the ALIE-sponsored nuclear apocalypse. Now, that hypothesis is called into doubt.
It's still possible that certain Grounders are descended from those left behind, but it's equally possible that some (or all) are descended from that thirteenth space station.
Did anyone survive Polaris getting blow out of the sky? Why was it blown out of the sky? Did ALIE 2.0 and/or Becca (who we can now assume was on Polaris) have anything to do with that station's destruction?
I would hazard a 'yes' to questions one and three, but as for the specifics of the 'why,' we'll just have to wait and see. I'm eager to see how this plays out because it was certainly unexpected (for this viewer, at leatst).
What is Titus' deal? "Bitter Harvest" has skyrocketed this mysterious man to the top of my most intriguing characters list. His exact motives are unclear, what he knows is unclear, and his allegiances are unclear. This makes him a particularly unique character. Unlike most others, we have no clue where his loyalties lie.
He certainly made a good show of being all about protecting Lexa's life. His speech to Clarke, in which he begged her to join forces with him and convince Lexa to retaliate against the Sky People, seemed genuine.
It also seemed incredibly dumb. Why on earth would he think that Clarke would choose the destruction of her people (the people she's had to do awful, haunting things to protect)? Even if it meant saving Lexa. That is not the Clarke we know. Then again, Titus doesn't really know her all that well.
Heda can speak for herself. Enough, Titus.Lexa
Speaking of things Titus doesn't know all that well: he clearly doesn't have a very good understanding of the Clarke/Lexa partnership (personal, political, etc.).
Prior to Clarke entering the throne room to discuss Emerson's fate with Lexa, you could distinctly hear Titus say that Lexa is being influence by Clarke and that she is too personally involved.
If there was ever any question of that, the idea that Lexa isn't thinking clearly is totally disproven by that fantastic speech she gave after Clarke chose to spare Emerson.
Silence! The crimes of the Mountain cannot be answered by one man. Wanheda knows this. Her actions show us a promise for a new future. A world in which violence does not always answer violence. A world in which our children can flourish. Without the shadow of death. This prisoner is banished from my land. He will live but he will live with the ghosts of those he has lost. Haunted until the end of his days by the knowledge that he is the last of his kind.Lexa
In the same way that Bellamy's speech to Clarke during their confrontation in "Hakeldama" made his murky point of view in supporting Pike startlingly clear, Lexa's speech to her people was that same type of moment for her.
Her decision to hear Clarke out and not retaliate by eradicating the Sky People sure seemed like an about face, but this speech made her motives and her rationale 100% transparent.
She clearly and passionately laid out her vision for the future of her people, and it was an inspiring moment.
That nod of understanding between Clarke and Lexa after the speech was barely perceptible but also great. Those two really enjoy their subtle nods, huh?
The speech and the nods also nicely solidified Clarke's earlier opening scene reassurance to a nervous Lexa:
Your legacy will be peace.Clarke [to Lexa]
Of course, it still remains to be seen whether Lexa's speech effectively convinced her people that it is wise to be merciful in certain situations (such as this one). Titus was clearly having none of it, and who knows how many other dissenting Tituses there are out there.
Is Titus really looking out for Lexa's best interests, or does he have another reason for demanding that blood must always and without fail have blood?
The return of Emerson was a literalization of Clarke's past coming back to haunt her. She ran from her actions at Mount Weather for months and, without meaning to, Roan thrust it all back in her face by sending over Emerson. (Clearly, though, Roan's gesture was a peaceful one.)
Returning to the theme of everyone being the hero of their own story, we got a lot of that with the last Mountain Man. He was essentially rabid with anger and grief, and he snarled at Clarke that she killed his two kids (among everyone else).
In Emerson's (now kinda crazy) eyes, he was well within his right to seek vengeance on Clarke and the other Sky People who killed his family and left him completely alone in the world. He wanted to cause Clarke as much pain as she caused him.
We will obviously see Emerson again, probably when we least expect it and probably far down the road. For now, he's been banished, cast out to live on his own with only the ghosts of his irradiated family to haunt him. Yikes. As if he wasn't already completely nuts, that'll really do a number on him.
So, that was the news in Polis (aka, Polaris, kinda, maybe). Back in and around Arkadia, things were equally complicated and dangerous and tense.
Two storylines are running parallel at Arkadia. There is Pike's idiotic scheme to build a self-sustaining, protected "city" and there is Jaha's ALIE project. We now know that both overlap with the Grounders/Polis.
Pike continued to be a dumb, short-sighted idiot of a ruler. His plan, as far as we've heard, was to clear the Grounders out so they can farm corn and soy beans and things, and to erect a wall.
Does he not realize that there are thousands of Grounders? The Sky People are vastly outnumbered.
What kind of magic wall is he planning to build that will keep out armies upon armies of Grounders? Or is he just planning on sending out teams of ten untrained men and women to take out one Grounder village at a time? Great plan, Chancellor Pike... His idiocy also cost Monroe her life.
The most interesting things about Pike, the only thing that makes him even a little bit complex, is that despite it all, he is still the type of leader who demands proof before dealing with Kane as a traitor. He is, for whatever reason, not comfortable with simply locking Kane up and tossing away the key or, worse, killing him.
The biggest tragedy of this entire Pike mess is what it's done to Octavia. She was caught between two worlds before, and now she is an enemy of both. In attempting to prevent further bloodshed, she made an enemy of Semet and his people and was labeled a traitor by the Sky People. She has nowhere to turn, and now she's been captured by Semet.
Octavia is consistently one of the (if not the most) morally straightforward and innocent characters. Her only goal, throughout the past three seasons, has been to save lives. No political machinations, no "for the greater good." Just preventing death.
If anything were to happen to Octavia, it would be the ultimate cruel and ironic tragedy.
Meanwhile, Kane finally voiced his guilt about "allowing" Pike to take charge. We still don't really have an answer for why Kane went along with the transfer of power so easily, but at least he feels really bad about it?
Abby kissing Kane was long in the making. These two have come so far, and their relationship has grown so organically since the beginning. As with many of the other romantic pairs, there isn't really any spare time for romance, but Abby's cheek kiss (which she called "hope") was a lovely, small moment with the promise of lovelier, bigger moments in the future.
Finally, the ALIE project. Oh, Raven. Poor, sweet Raven.
That image of tears of happiness streaming down Raven's face as she got back to engineering work was beautiful and heartbreaking – because we know her pain-free existence is only a construct of ALIE's manipulation. Lindsey Morgan has been bringing her all to this storyline and she just gets better from week to week.
"Bitter Harvest" finally gave us an inside view of the partnership between ALIE and Jaha. ALIE whispers in Jaha's ear and Jaha regurgitates whatever she tells him, essentially. Sure, Jaha still has some semblance of free thought, but not much.
Most alarmingly, Jaha did not recognize his dead son's name when Abby mentioned Wells. BIG RED FLAG. Abby was already suspicious of Jaha and his magic pain-eliminating chips, but the Wells slip up was what finally got her to put her foot down and tell Jaha that she was shutting him down pending further investigation.
Abby is, as always, a total rockstar. Pike is far too useless and distracted to put Jaha in his place, so it's up to Abby. Unfortunately, Jackson drank the Kool-Aid and is now Team ALIE, which makes me fear for Abby's safety.
- What was up with that awkward bro-hug between Miller and his boyfriend? I was expecting to see a kiss, seeing as Bryan was headed off into a dangerous battle and people tend to kiss their significant other when it is perhaps the last time they'll ever see one another, no? The lack of a kiss was distracting.
- Bellamy made a vague attempt to stand up to Pike, as did Monty. Pike threw the "Do you want all of us to die of starvation??" card in Bellamy's face and Bellamy backed down in a hurry. C'mon, Bellamy, go find your backbone and stop being such a follower.
- Why is Monty going along with Pike?! I get that his mother is doing it, but couldn't he have respectfully opted to sit out? This is somehow much more horrifying and unbelievable than Bellamy going along with Pike.
- What happened to Emori? I really hope she rescues her damsel in distress, Murphy, before Titus whips him to death.
- Polis is a birthday candle. It is seriously identical to a birthday candle. Hilarious.
- We obviously can't leave off without mentioning that scene – Clarke painting Lexa like one of her French girls. They are both too busy being benevolent wise leaders for romancing (unfortunately), but this was such an unexpectedly tender moment. It's a little confusing why Clarke was in the room while Lexa was napping (were they talking strategy all night and Lexa just sort of nodded off...?), but never mind that. Great moment. Also, SPOOKY moment when Lexa mentioned the past Commander's nightmare. That sounded like all kinds of foreshadowing.
If you made it all the way to the end of this review, I salute you. Now, what did you think of "Bitter Harvest"? Let's discuss! Remember that you can watch The 100 online here at TV Fanatic if you've missed any episodes.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.