I think we're supposed to feel sympathy (or at least empathy) for Pike after the events of The 100 Season 3 Episode 13 but it's a case of "too little, too late." For me, at least.
I also truly thought that, given the heavy focus on him via the flashback sequences, we would see Pike die by the end of this installment. But nope. Foiled again!
It's not like Pike is long for this world anyway, after those cuts Indra inflicted on him during "Join or Die," right? All I could think during that scene was "Ouch" and "Yeesh, he's gonna get such bad blood poisoning."
Can you imagine Pike suffering such a lame, completely unheroic death? A wasting away, and not a death in battle? Now that I've thought of this, I kind of really want it to go this way.
You killed 300 of my people. Now you'll take 300 cuts by my hand.Indra [to Pike]
The narrative is split many ways. In one thread, we have Abby, Jaha, and ALIE attempting to sway Kane to their side in Polis, which has fallen to ALIE. In another, also in Polis, we have Indra, Murphy, and Pike held prisoner along with other Grounders who resisted taking the chip.
Elsewhere, Clarke, Jasper, Bellamy, and Octavia search for Luna by following Lincoln's shockingly accurate map of Grounderland. On top of all that, we have the flashback sequence to the time on the Ark, shortly before the delinquents were sent to the ground, when they got a crash course in earth survival from Pike.
Easily the most upsetting part of "Join or Die" was Kane's dilemma.
Kane has very quickly been cemented as one of the most tragic (still alive) characters on the show. Betrayed by Bellamy, for whom he felt a fatherly/mentor sort of kinship, betrayed by his old friend Pike, sentenced to death, separated from the woman he loves...this dude's been through a lot recently.
Once Pike was given up to the Grounder army by Bellamy, Kane made the split second decision to accompany the Grounders and their prisoner back to Polis, in an attempt to smooth things over and ingratiate the Sky People to the new Commander.
This made perfect sense. From Kane's first visit to Polis back near the beginning of The 100 Season 3, it was abundantly clear that Kane's top priority was peaceful coexistence – unity.
Unfortunately for Kane, the Polis he returned to in this installment was altogether changed. Both Jaha and Abby, now under ALIE's influence, took Kane's desire for unity and distorted it for their own purposes – because, after all, being mindless, hive-minded drones is unifying in a sick sort of way.
This is unity. Like you always wanted.Jaha [to Kane]
ALIE was aware that they needed to recruit Kane, and Abby's decision to go see him, under the guise of being uninfected, was a clever one.
Fortunately, Kane saw right through Abby's ruse. She practically jumped on top of him, trying to seduce Clarke's location out of him, because ALIE was impatient.
Obviously, that was very un-Abbylike behavior. Distracting herself with sex when she's worried about her daughter? Definitely not something she would ever do. It's a miracle they even spared a split second for that first kiss back when Abby stayed behind on The 100 Season 3 Episode 9.
When Abby's attempt to recruit Kane failed, he wound up strung up to a cross, hands and feet nailed to it, Jesus-style. They were going seriously hard with that sacrificial savior imagery.
In a twist that was not really a twist at all, Jaha turned the tables on Kane – knowing Kane would willingly sacrifice himself (because that's just the kind of guy Kane is), he turned his gun on ALIE-drone Abby instead. As expected, Kane's love for Abby overrode his need to keep Clarke and the others protected from ALIE. He took the chip.
When Abby first took the chip, I held out hope that perhaps she'd tricked them and had hidden it under her tongue or something. I'm not even going to entertain that notion now. We should assume that all the Sky People adults are now either infected, imprisoned, or dead. Yikes.
The Pike-centric portion of the narrative was split between his present-day dilemma (locked up with the Grounders and Murphy after refusing the City of Light key) and his flashbacks to his time on the Ark.
Pike: Listen, the answer to my question: The key to surviving on the ground and on the Ark is to keep fighting at all costs, against all odds. The minute you give up, you're dead.
As I mentioned in my intro, the point of the flashbacks is all too obvious – we're supposed to realize that Pike is certainly not all bad because, after all, he really, really cared about these kids surviving on the ground and even tried to bargain with Jaha to go down to the ground with them, so that he could protect them.
I'll give them that. At some point, Pike was a good guy. Back then, on the Ark. However, I'm nervous that giving us these flashbacks and pairing them with Murphy all-too-easily convincing Indra to spare Pike's life (for now) in the present means that they'll somehow try to redeem Pike.
I would not buy that at all. Pike's gotta go. There's no redeeming him at this point. His actions were too hotheaded, too severe, too cruel. I don't want him to stick around. If they try to force a redemption down our throats, I can't imagine they'd do it successfully.
It's a shame, too, because Michael Beach is a really wonderful actor and has done a great job with the material he's been given. Those flashback scenes were incredible. You truly feel Pike's desperation to get through to the kids and make them understand the significance of what he's teaching.
Alas, Pike is, unfortunately, an ill-conceived character. Perhaps if he hadn't just now been introduced, we could have bought his gradual turn towards "the dark side."
As it stands, we've only seen Pike in two modes: desperate to save the kids on the Ark Pike and Grounder-slaughtering racist Pike. We didn't see any of the middling journey, and it's not enough to take it on faith that Pike had a gradual, semi-rational turn to this behavior.
The balance of this installment was spent with Bellamy, Octavia, Clarke, and Jasper as they searched for Luna, to convince her to accept the chip/flame and become the next Commander of the Grounders. This plot had a few really great moments and a few head-shaking ones.
A weaker aspect of this plotline (and "Join or Die" as a whole) was the focus on Bellamy in relation to Lincoln's death. It's unclear why Octavia's grief over Lincoln and her anger at Bellamy can't be two separate things.
Bellamy: C'mon, O. How long?
Octavia: I don't know. I can't even look at you. Because every time I do, I see Pike putting that gun to Lincoln's head. I hear the gunshot. I see him fall.
The show is conflating the two in a way that doesn't quite make sense and somehow takes away from Lincoln's death being a tragedy in its own right. His death is awful, regardless of whether it was Bellamy's fault or not!
I do love the fact that Lincoln's memory lives on in the sense that it is his journal the group was following to find Luna, and that invoking Lincoln's name with the Boat People Grounders is what convinces them to bring the group to Luna. That's Lincoln, being helpful even in death.
On the bright side, Octavia dissing Bellamy and refusing to forgive him so easily gave us a really fantastic Bellamy/Clarke scene.
Let me guess. You came here to fix things. Wanheda, the peacemaker.Bellamy
Regardless of whether you're "shipping" Bellamy and Clarke, wanting them to get together romantically, it's impossible to deny that the two have a deep bond and a unique connection.
It was perfectly fitting that Clarke, of all people, was most willing to forgive Bellamy without a second thought and reassure him that she, too, has things that she struggles to forgive herself for. Bellamy's redemption arc is far from over, but that moment with Clarke was definitely needed, both for Bellamy as a character and for contextualizing Bellamy's mindset for the audience.
I was so angry at you for leaving. I don't want to feel that way anymore.Bellamy [to Clarke]
Excuse me, I'll just be over here sobbing at this line. Heart-breaking. Bob Morley's delivery was perfect. Actually, his and Eliza Taylor's performances during this entire scene were great. They have such strong chemistry.
Of course, their really intense hug (Bellamy and Clarke just love their emotional hugs – seriously, these two have more passionate hugs than most TV couples have passionate kisses!) was interrupted by Grounders that literally rise from the depths of the water. How cool was that?!
Luckily, these Grounders knew Lincoln and take the group to Luna. Luna and her people live on a built structure, in the middle of the ocean, which, again, is really cool. I love when The 100 world-builds and adds new clans. How did they build that thing? I'm guessing it's a remnant of infrastructure on pre-apocalypse Earth.
Unfortunately, when Clarke leveled with Luna, Luna turned her down and refused to take the flame without a moment's thought. Her refusal made sense, given the pacifist tendencies she voiced. And it would have been way too easy if Luna had agreed just like that – no drama, no tension.
This can go one of two ways, now: either Clarke will convince Luna to take the flame by explaining the ALIE situation, or they'll somehow implant the chip in a third-party. I assume it will be the latter.
- This week, Monty and Raven were absent, which is fine – except for that extremely ham-handed moment when flashback-Pike explained to flashback-Jasper that he and flashback-Monty needed to be separated in the Earth Skills class. Obviously, they were providing a thin excuse for why Monty didn't appear in the flashback, when really it was just because Christopher Larkin, his portrayer, wasn't slated for an appearance in the present timeline.
- Ontari barely appeared in this installment. It's clear that she's firmly the secondary antagonist to ALIE's primary, if that wasn't already obvious.
- I really hope that Murphy has an active role in ALIE's defeat. He's really grown on me to become one of my favorite characters and as someone who was involved in the ALIE plot since the very beginning, it would make sense for him to be heavily involved in her takedown.
- That cover of "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons was fantastically used in this episode. The cover was by Koda.
- Was I the only one who thought "Oh my god, Merida from Brave is the last Natblida!!" when Luna walked in, shrouded in shadows? Anybody? Just me, then?
- Seeing everyone all clean on the Ark in flashbacks is always so jarring. Particularly Octavia.
- Seriously, how badass was Indra pulling that secret knife out of the wall? She is way too cool.
What did you think of "Join or Die"? Chime in and let us know your thoughts by commenting below. You can also catch up on any episodes of The 100 that you've missed – watch The 100 online, right here at TV Fanatic!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.