Damn, The 100, back at it again with the soul-crushing fan-favorite character deaths.
The 100 Season 3 Episode 9 was a bloody, tense, wonderful one. The show built up excellent momentum with The 100 Season 3 Episode 8, right before the mini-hiatus, and "Stealing Fire" continued to build on it.
Whereas The 100 Season 3 Episode 7 was focused entirely on Polis, and The 100 Season 3 Episode 8 entirely on Arkadia (Game of Thrones-style, if you will), "Stealing Fire" switched back to our expected format. We got to see a bit of everybody (well, mostly everybody).
While there was a lot of action in this installment, and a lot of switching back and forth between the two concurrently running stories, the parallels between the two were strong enough that it didn't feel crammed or rushed. Each individual scene felt like a good length, too, neither too long or too short.
Both stories hold about equal interest, though personally I was more anxious to return to Arkadia. Now that Lexa is gone (ugh, sob) and Clarke is en route back, I'm less invested in Polis than before.
While the events in Polis are extremely important on a grander scale (the new Commander will determine basically single-handedly whether full-scale war between the Grounders and Sky People will erupt), the events at Arkadia are more personal. The Sky People scenes were more intense because there were actual life and death stakes, for people we've been with since the very beginning, in the moment.
Since the two plots are completely separate in this installment, I'll start with Polis.
Lexa's "funeral" was not much of a funeral at all. A bunch of Nitblida children stood around, probably morosely contemplating the fact that they all had to slaughter one another in a few hours, while Lexa's corpse was beneath a covering.
In a lovely, brief moment, Aden assured Clarke that he and the other Nightblood novitiates had all sworn an oath to Lexa that they would protect the Sky People – and that they'd all loved Lexa. That Lexa had all of the novitiates personally swear that oath to her was a great testament to both her love for Clarke and her desire for lasting peace.
I'll pause there for a quick interlude. One of the best things about The 100 is the way that they handle death. When Finn died, it meant something. It changed the landscape of the show, and it changed Clarke and Raven. When many other shows kill off a character, they're typically slowly forgotten, all but erased from the canon over time.
Not this one. Like Finn (only infinitely moreso because Lexa > Finn), Lexa's death has changed everything. Most of all, it's changed Clarke. Eliza Taylor did a remarkable job of subtly demonstrating her pain over Lexa's death throughout "Stealing Fire." Clarke's reactions were perfectly realistic.
Eliza particularly shined in a few select moments: in reaction to Aden's pronouncement that they'd all loved Lexa; riding away from Polis towards Arkadia and seeing the smoke indicating that Lexa's body was burned; and the ever-so-slight break in her voice when she asked Titus whether Lexa was really in the chip. She can't let her go; she won't.
Clarke was clearly actively grieving the woman she loved while simultaneously not letting it stop her from preventing Ontari's rise. Both because she knew Ontari would secure the death of Clarke and her people and, as Clarke mentioned, Ontari as Commander was not what Lexa would have wanted.
Clarke: There's another Nitblida, isn't there?
Titus: Yes. She fled. A coward and a traitor to the blood. Lexa refused to let me hunt her down. She's unworthy of the flame.
Clarke: More unworthy than Ontari?
Lexa didn't want war. She wanted peace, and for that, she died. It was awful, and not handled well (as has been acknowledged and addressed), but there it is. It happened. Despite the way Lexa was removed, her vision will go on, through Clarke. It's not a substitute for having the actual Lexa still alive and still on our screens, but it's something.
Despite being an objectively cruel and awful person (cutting off the heads off children is SO NOT COOL), Ontari is... actually pretty badass. She's definitely not someone you root for, but she's a pretty great villain so far. Enigmatic, ruthless, fully in control and commanding. The way she moved seamlessly into the Commandership, bossing Roan around, was kind of amazing.
Ontari: Announce my ascension.
Roan: You don't have the flame, Ontari.
Ontari: Don't talk to me as if I'm a fool, Roan. No one knows that.
That said, I don't expect that Roan will remain her lackey for very long. I was disappointed to see that he held up his debt to Lexa only long enough to get Clarke and Murphy to the tunnels out of Polis, only to then turn heel and back Ontari. However, he was clearly displeased with the fact that his new "Commander" is a big fat liar.
Since Titus sent Clarke off to find Luna and bestow the flame of the Commander unto her, Ontari was left flameless. She's a false leader, now, but only a select few know it. I'd previously gotten the sense that Roan was more honorable than that, and he did look super reluctant to go along with her lie (and also, more generally, annoyed that she was being so bitchy to him). Odds are Roan will switch allegiances at some point. I have a sense.
Speaking of people who know Ontari's flame-lacking secret: Murphy's in on it, too. And he's sticking around Polis for now.
I was not expecting this turn for Murphy, but it's a pretty cool one. Murphy has been a complex character ever since he returned from exile and began to change from the one-note villain he was during The 100 Season 1. I wouldn't quite classify him as an antihero (yet, at least), but he's getting there.
When Lexa died, I questioned why Murphy was present. It's clear now that he's going to have a key role to play in Ontari's leadership. While the two were alone, as Ontari cleansed in preparation for her ascension, he told her that he thought what she did was smart. He later agreed to keep her secret, because he wanted to keep his head.
Is Murphy playing Ontari? Is he pretending to be more his former selfish, self-serving self, or has Murphy really not grown as much as it appeared he had?
I also got the sense that Ontari was eyeing him in a kind of sexual way (she took a looooong pause after she got out of that bath and gave him a look). That'll be an interesting development, if they go there.
Someone who won't be able to tell Ontari's secret? Titus. I won't say he's been completely redeemed for what he did in killing Lexa, but his actions and final sacrifice in "Stealing Fire" were pretty clearly meant to represent a redemption of sorts.
Your duty is to the flame now... fleimkepa.Titus [to Clarke]
He helped Clarke escape with the flame and named her the next fleimkepa ("Flamekeeper"), his successor, in a super cool yet brief "initiation" scene, of sorts. He knew that remaining behind would insure his death, and he effectively committed suicide. He bled to death in Ontari's purification bath, throat self-cut with Roan's blade, which was basically the most apropos death ever. Good job, show – you had me feeling pity and sadness for Titus!
Meanwhile, Clarke is en route back to Arkadia to deliver the flame to Luna... and she's not going to love what she finds there. It's also possibly an issue that Lincoln may be the only one who knew where to find Luna.
First and foremost, Lincoln died. It was awful. AWFUL. Both in the sense that it was utterly tragic, and because it felt contrived.
Lincoln needed to die because Ricky Whittle, his portrayer, is off to star in a new series, American Gods. Unfortunately, Lincoln was woefully underutilized this season, hardly seen, and he died at the hand of the absolute worst character the show has ever conceived. Seriously. Pike is so much worse than Cage Wallace, the runner-up worst character ever.
Lincoln was a badass warrior, a strong and unfailingly good man, and he, like Lexa, deserved a warrior's death instead of, you know, a single gunshot. A single, senseless gunshot, both times.
Obviously, Lexa's was worse because her death was totally accidental and without reason, but Lincoln's demise was also pretty bad. He didn't even get a grand goodbye scene, though his final moments with Octavia (telling her he loved her and sending her off, unconscious, and then saying "May we meet again" aloud in the moments before he died) were lovely.
Notably, as heartbreaking as it was to see Octavia witness Lincoln's death firsthand, her reaction was also incredibly striking.
You could see her turn to steel, her grief giving way and something hardening in her. Octavia has had an amazing arc thus far, going from the girl hidden beneath the floor on the Ark to a powerful, commanding Grounder warrior. Lincoln's death will change her in a prominent way. Hate that he's dead, but interested to see where they will take Octavia after this.
On a happier note, Monty finally came to his senses and stood up to his mother by purposely misdirecting Pike and his men so that they wouldn't find the escaped prisoners. Thank goodness. Monty seemed like the least likely candidate to go along with Pike's asinine ruling, and it was really disconcerting to see. I still don't buy that he ever would have gone along with it, but at least that's over now.
On an even happier note, Kane and Abby had their long overdue kiss and it was epic.
Paige Turco (Abby) and Henry Ian Cusick (Kane) have electric chemistry. Even when they were foes, back at the very beginning of the series, there was something absolutely riveting about watching the two with one another.
Abby: I can't do this again.
Kane: Don't make this any harder than it already is.
The pair of "Kabby" scenes were two of the highlights of this installment. Abby visiting Kane while he was imprisoned and breaking down as she referred to her husband Jake's earlier death; later, Abby choosing to remain behind to help their people out of the Pike-induced darkness (echoing Kane's earlier words to her), leading to Kane kissing her.
The scenes were perfection. Perfectly written, perfectly acted. They even appeared at precisely the right moments in the narrative, for maximum romantic tension. The Kane and Abby relationship has been built to incredibly well.
Kane: May we meet again.
Abby: We will.
Oh, I hope so. I really, really do.
- It absolutely made sense for everyone to refuse to trust Bellamy or let him help but, unfortunately, he was right – he may have been able to stop Pike more effectively by being nearest to him.
- On that note, Pike needs to be assassinated. There is, at this point, no more fitting fate for this man. He's gotta go. Hopefully by Octavia's hand.
- Octavia pretending to hug Bellamy, only to knock him out, was upsetting but also pretty brilliant/ruthless of her.
- Similarly, the escape plan at Arkadia was smart. Girl's got brains.
- The Bryan/Miller scene was excellent. There is not enough screen time to give every character as much as they deserve, but this was a short, intense, important moment that nicely set the stage for Bryan later choosing Miller over Pike. I cheered. Go Bryan! Go Briller!
- Kane and Abby almost kissed in their first scene, while he was still a prisoner, but he stopped her because kissing her would have made his death too difficult. These two are clearly the best surviving couple on the show. Also, there are basically no currently-together couples left on this show by now, so they sorta win by default.
- The song played over Lincoln's execution scene was gorgeous. The musical stylings of this series are consistently fantastic.
- On The 100 Season 3 Episode 10: City of Light drama with Jasper, Raven, ALIE, Jaha, and Abby!
What did you think of "Stealing Fire"? Are you heartbroken over Lincoln's departure? If you want to relive the pain, you can watch The 100 online right here at TV Fanatic!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.