There are so many lives in danger after the events of The 100 Season 3 Episode 15.
Even worse, Ontari is (apparently) brain-dead – meaning there is no known way to access ALIE's kill code in the flame. Dire circumstances, is what I'm saying. DIRE.
This was a ridiculously exciting, action-packed installment and a near-perfect lead in to the second part of the finale. All of the action is set to reach a head both in Polis and Arkadia on The 100 Season 3 Episode 16.
Think back to earlier this season, when there were several distinct groups each dealing with different conflicts in different ways. The various factions in Arkadia (those for Pike and those against him). The political drama in Polis. Various Jaha-centric creepiness.
This season was by no means without its flaws. But the writers did a particularly good job of condensing all of those smaller conflicts and bringing them to this point; all other relatively "petty" squabbles are pushed aside in favor of a unified stand against ALIE.
Would anyone have believed that Indra and Octavia would stand with Pike and not immediately kill him? Yet, the decision to work with Pike and not allow Octavia to slaughter him right then and there was perfectly believable and in character.
Octavia [about Lincoln]: He was my home.
Indra [pointing to Octavia's heart]: Your home is here.
Indra is not bloodthirsty; she is wise. Octavia is grief-stricken; she isn't stupid. Pike was useful to the cause and therefore he needed to be spared. For now, anyway.
The list of people whose lives actively hang in the balance as of the end of the first part of the finale:
- Roan, shot by chipped Kane
- Kane and Indra, taken down in the explosion to seal the entrance to the elevator shaft
- Harper, knocked out and held hostage by chipped Jasper
- Jaha, shot by Bellamy
I've left off those individuals whose fates were essentially confirmed, like Abby (alive, cut down by Murphy in the nick of time), Pike (shot by chipped Kane but ultimately alive enough to shimmy up an elevator shaft), and Ontari (declared brain-dead by Dr. Clarke).
Anyone in that list is fair game and equally likely to be dead by the time the season wraps. The only character I could comfortably spare would be Jaha, personally.
Though after all of the havoc he's wrought this season at ALIE's side, I would have expected a less anticlimactic, sudden death – so I'm thinking Bellamy (who was very emphatic with his whole "non-lethal force" stance – a point that I loved) only wounded Jaha and didn't actually kill him.
Most of the action of "Perverse Instantiation - Part One" took place in Polis.
Picking up right where The 100 Season 3 Episode 14 left off, Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, and Jasper wound up on the shore, wondering what Plan B was after Luna's refusal of the flame.
Clarke, as expected, wanted to find another Nightblood at all costs, while Bellamy thought it was most important to return to Arkadia to protect their people and Octavia was flatly against them "leading" ALIE to any other Grounder villages.
Clearly, Octavia was dealing with immense guilt for the pain Luna and her people experienced because ALIE followed Clarke's group to the rig.
Octavia: No, Clarke. If ALIE can find us on Luna's rig, then she can find us anywhere. I won't help you destroy another innocent Grounder village.
Clarke: If we don't find a Nightblood, there won't be any Grounder villages. Or a home for us to go back to.
That's Clarke; ever the harsh realist. She may come off as abrasive to her fellow allies, but her perspective has saved them time and again. I don't find it strange that Clarke's allies often turn against her; her way of thinking is tough to swallow, but ultimately necessary. An uncomfortable reality.
This idea tied in nicely to what later happened in the throne room, with Abby, which I'll get to in a bit.
Once Clarke was found by Roan, she (being a clever gal) quickly formulated a new back-up plan: Use Roan to get to Ontari, because at least Ontari was a Nightblood that she knew exactly where to find.
Though Ontari was chipped, they'd successfully unchipped someone before (Raven). It was a risky plan, but the best one at the time.
Roan agreed to this rather easily, both because his main goal was to have an Ice Nation Commander and because, though he didn't experience ALIE firsthand, he took Clarke's word for it that the ALIE threat was dangerous.
It was a little too convenient that Roan so easily believed everything Clarke and Bellamy said about ALIE, but I'll let it slide since Roan is enigmatic and primarily just wanted Ontari to be Commander.
Unfortunately, this good plan fell to pieces because Jasper was chipped ever since he was strung up and forced to watch Luna's torture on the oil rig. With her connection to Jasper, ALIE was able to dismantle the Clarke/Roan plan easily and threaten Raven's plan as well.
Roan was shot by chipped Kane when they arrived at Polis, while Bellamy, Octavia, Miller, and Bryan were captured by ALIE's soldiers.
Murphy's entrance was a fantastic, badass moment, as he, Indra, and Pike took out the soldiers that were preparing to bring Bellamy to Abby, Jaha, and Clarke in the throne room – the idea there being that, while physical torture wouldn't work on Clarke, threatening a loved one would.
Because, yeah, Bellamy is a loved one for Clarke. Again, not necessarily romantically (on her side), but that love is definitely there. At the very least, she trusts him explicitly and completely with her life. Here, Clarke even said it:
Bellamy: C'mon, Clarke. You're really willing to trust that guy with your life?
Clarke: No. But you'll be covering us the entire time. And I trust you.
Returning to the idea of Clarke as the leader the group (and their world) requires, we have what happened in the throne room.
There are many heroes and leaders on this show and this season, and we've watched several of them fall to ALIE in the name of love.
Abby took the chip to save Raven. Kane took the chip to save Abby. Each of them was fully capable of withstanding physical torture and death, but drew the line at allowing a loved one to perish.
Clarke set herself apart from everyone in that throne room scene. More than any other character, she understood the importance of sacrifice for the greater good. The only character even close to her in that regard is Monty, who killed his own mother (twice!).
And we've known this about her all along. She did it with Finn, after all. In a sense, she was prepared to do it with Lexa, leaving behind a life with the woman she loved in order to return to Arkadia and fix what Pike had broken.
The fact that Clarke was prepared to watch her own mother die in front of her in order to stand against ALIE is astounding and what makes Clarke such an interesting, complicated character. It's what sets her apart from everyone else.
It's what makes her the protagonist of the show, even when she's inexplicably absent for episodes at a time.
I also adored the fact that ALIE was straight up wrong. She was sure Clarke would break, as all the others had. ALIE may not be a human, but she understands how to expertly manipulate love. She clearly has no idea what she's up against in Clarke.
In the end, it was fine. Well, not fine; but Abby didn't actually die. Not that this fact made it all any less horrifying and painful to watch.
Seeing chipped Abby cut her own daughter and seeing Clarke's pain as she watched Abby struggle in the noose were equally disturbing and power moments. As usual, bravo, Eliza Taylor.
So, going into the finale: Ontari is effectively dead (or at least useless). According to the finale promo, Clarke is headed to the City of Light to defeat ALIE from within. How's she doing that, taking the key without becoming an ALIE follower? No idea. If I had to guess, it will have to do with Ontari's Nightblood (plenty of it there) and the flame.
There was less action, more talk over in Arkadia.
Only Harper, Monty, Raven, and Jasper remained behind, as Raven worked on her plan to re-access ALIE's code by rebuilding her computer with Monty's help.
Jasper was acting very suspiciously calm and asking so many questions that the reveal he was chipped wasn't actually too surprising. Plus, ALIE knew that Sinclair was dead at non-chipped Carl Emerson, meaning someone at Arkadia had to have been chipped.
Monty: I'm glad you're back, brother.
Jasper: Me too.
I hated that the above moment happened while Jasper was chipped and manipulating Monty.
This exchange was a long time coming, and I'd have preferred it (for his character arc) if it had been saved for a real conversation. That's actually one of my two legitimate complaints about this installment.
A positive: Raven's arc has easily been the most unproblematic this season. She's gone from so down and depressed that she willingly took the chip, to one of the most powerful, confident, and strong characters.
Going into the finale, she is completely assured of her ability to hack into ALIE's code and find the killswitch herself, without the flame. No small feat. I loved everything about Raven's comeback arc this season, and the way she's regained her confidence was perfection. Plus, now that Ontari is brain-dead, Raven really is essentially their only hope.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Monty will be willing to sacrifice Harper for the greater good. Chipped Jasper offered to spare Harper in exchange for Monty and Raven destroying the computer (and thereby eliminating any chance for Raven to hack ALIE and destroy the AI herself).
Monty sacrificed his mother, but it very nearly destroyed him. Who knows whether he can see it happen again? Raven didn't look so sure.
Finally, Jasper. Oh, Jasper. It's no great shock that he took the chip, and his speech to Monty put it in clear context.
You've got it wrong. I wasn't tortured. I mean, yeah, I was punched a couple of times, but that's not why I took the key. You should've seen Luna's rig, Monty. It was peaceful. Safe. People were happy. There was this girl there, Shay. When I was talking to her, I realized for the first time since Mount Weather, I wasn't thinking about Maya. It was beautiful there, and we destroyed it.Jasper
And there we have it – my second complaint.
Confirmed: Shay only existed as a character to further Jasper's arc, to push him to accept the chip. Jasper was already vulnerable (because of Maya, who at least was a real character and died for a larger reason), and Shay's death was merely the straw that broke the camel's back.
This is a textbook example of fridging, you guys. It's lazy storytelling. But Jasper being chipped was integral to the plot, and this was the easiest/quickest way to do it. Still sucks, though.
- It first seemed that Pike's gunshot wound was very bad (repeated lingering camera shots on his bleeding abdomen and he looked peaked) but he was somehow able to continue cranking that wheel and climbed way up that elevator shaft to the top of the tower with the others? And he looked fine in the promo for "Perverse Instantiation - Part Two"! Color me shocked.
- I am forgetting when Clarke and the others learned that Ontari was chipped. I'm sure it happened, but I'm just spacing out. Does someone recall how she knows this?
- A small, lovely moment: Bryan and Miller discussing their future in the tunnels, Miller assuring his boyfriend that they'd live in a farm, growing corn and raising chickens. As soon as he said that, I became certain one of them would die immediately because this show is a destroyer of souls. Luckily, that didn't happen yet, though Bryan had a close call with that gunshot wound.
- I feel strongly that Roan isn't dead. He doesn't seem like someone they'd allow to die off-screen. Off-screen deaths of important characters are not really a thing on this show.
- The themes of love and power/weakness are incredibly woven this season, particularly in the relationship between Lexa/Clarke and each of the others who took the chip to save a loved one. Clearly, love will conquer all in the end (pardon the cliche).
- Badass elevator fight scene with Murphy and Bellamy was badass, and I love seeing those two working together.
- Devon Bostick was creepy as all get out as chipped Jasper, especially as he taunted Monty and Raven by reciting the names and causes of death of their dead.
- I honestly have no idea whether Pike, already wounded, will sacrifice himself, or if they're going all the way with a redemption arc. At this point, I'm putting my trust in the show and am OK with either option, a huge turnaround from my stance only a few episodes ago.
- Two "Indra is the greatest" moments this week: comforting Octavia when Octavia broke down and said Lincoln was her home (SO MANY TEARS) and rushing back to save chipped Kane from the explosion. Indra/Kane is an awesome bromance, and I loved seeing the return of it.
What did you think of "Perverse Instantiation - Part One"? Are you as excited/anxious/terrified as me for the finale? Chime in with your thoughts by leaving us a comment below and watch The 100 online right here at TV Fanatic before next week's second part of the finale, The 100 Season 3 Episode 16!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.