Roan has only been the king for nine days and people are already trying to kill him.
The 100 Season 4 Episode 2 found several of our characters dealing with the harsh realities of being a leader – Clarke, Bellamy, and Roan all had to make tough, if not virtually impossible, choices.
This was a stronger installment than The 100 Season 4 Premiere, largely thanks to how well-balanced the action was between Arkadia and Polis.
The show occasionally struggles with making the Sky People drama and the larger grounder political drama equally compelling. But the two plots worked in tandem to great effect during "Heavy Lies the Crown."
Let's start with the Polis portions, which were more self-contained and less sprawling.
The hour opened by introducing us to a brand new character named Ilian. The young grounder (of the Trishanakru clan) seems poised to become an important figure.
Like most (nay, all) characters on The 100, Ilian's backstory is tragic. But his tragedy is linked directly to the Sky People. As we saw in the pre-credits scene, nine days prior to the present, Ilian was chipped and killed his family under ALIE's influence.
Clearly, he's dealing with a boatload of guilt and grief. It was no great shock that he vowed revenge on Skaikru. His motivations are clear and, really, ALIE's reign of technological terror can be traced back to the Sky People – specifically, Jaha.
Ilian. Avenge me.Ilian's mother
Ilian linked up with a total asshat named Rafael, the newly-appointed commander of Trishanakru. As Octavia correctly pointed out, Rafael preyed on Ilian's anger and his tragedy to garner support for his idea to challenge King Roan to a fight to the death.
In theory, it was meant to displace an apparently-corrupted king, but truthfully, Rafael was just power-hungry. Obviously, he wasn't going to survive very long – and, sure enough, he didn't.
In the end, Octavia steered fully into her burgeoning career as an assassin and took it upon herself to kill Rafael super stealthily. That knife to the neck trick was neat. I guess she stabbed him in such a precise position that killed him instantly without leaving a trace of blood, or any immediately detectable wound.
Long live the king.Octavia
Clearly, the grounders don't do primitive autopsies when somebody dies unexpectedly, which is... odd.
But back to Octavia. This character arc is really intriguing. I know that her actions over the past season have been divisive (particularly since Lincoln's death on The 100 Season 3 Episode 9).
Personally, I love the way her story is going. She needs to reach her darkest point before she can turn it around. As badass as she's being, the show is telegraphing that her behavior is negative by pointedly showing other characters worriedly reacting to her.
On the premiere, Clarke and Abby were perturbed to see her kill Roan's guards and healer rather than just incapacitate them. This time around, in the ambassador assembly, Kane seemed to know exactly what Octavia had done and looked super uncomfortable with it.
Kane, for his part, dealt with some good and bad in this hour.
The good: Kane and Abby had sex! Super sexy sex!
You are a terrible influence.Abby [to Kane]
God, I love this pair. They have phenomenal chemistry, and I always love it when a series that's technically a "teen show" allows its adults to have well-developed storylines and relationships.
That Kabby's relationship has become official in this way just made their eventual separation – YET AGAIN – all the more bittersweet.
Much as it's getting annoying to have literally zero happy couples on this show, Abby leaving for Arkadia makes sense. She needs to be with Clarke, and like Roan said, if she can't help him, what's she even doing in Polis?
The bad: Kane completely bombed his negotiation with rogue ambassador Rafael. Not that I think Rafael could have been reasoned with. Luckily for Kane (and for Roan, who was far too weak to fight but insisted on doing so to save face with his people), Octavia handled the situation in her unnerving violent manner.
The burgeoning rebellion of Trishanakru was (apparently) resolved in this installment, but a bigger problem arose. Roan told Echo the truth about why he is helping Skaikru, but she doesn't believe it's true. Echo, it seems, is headed to Arkadia to find "proof" that Clarke is lying about the end of the world.
The fear here is that she'll somehow find something that makes it appear Clarke is lying – which would cause Roan to turn on Clarke. My fingers (hell, all my appendages) are crossed because that would be beyond lame and predictable.
Echo: Why accept this challenge at all? You're a king, make your own rules.
Roan: I told you. I won't be that kind of king.
For what it's worth, despite Echo's needling, Roan is still dedicated to being a good and righteous ruler who's fair to all. So that's something.
The Arkadia situation was a lot more complicated, and it's just getting worse and worse.
Raven explained to the group that the nuclear meltdown couldn't be stopped. The best bet, she said, was to find shelter so their people could ride the radiation out.
Monty came up with a great idea – to repair Alpha station (aka, Arkadia) to make it habitable for their 500 Sky People. But they needed a hydrogenerator – which was back at Farm Station in Ice Nation territory – to provide the water to make that possible.
All we have to do is patch up the ship. We're standing in our viable solution.Monty
Seems simple enough, right? Yeah, no.
Bellamy, Monty, Harper, Bryan, and Miller set off to retrieve the machine. Well, they did find it. But they also found – you guessed it! – yet another time-sensitive moral quandary.
Will this show ever run out of time-sensitive moral quandaries? Doubtful.
Bellamy's group found the surviving Farm Station folks, who hadn't been killed by Ice Nation warriors, being kept as slaves. The slaves were also being moved the next day, so it was a now-or-never situation to save them.
And the only way the group could save the 25 slaves was to detonate the hydrogenerator, using it as a bomb to take out the surrounding warriors. Except doing so would leave their 500 Sky People back at Arkadia without the necessary device to survive in the ark.
I'm gonna go ahead and say that, objectively, Bellamy (and Harper and Bryan, who also voted in favor of blowing up the machine) made the wrong call here.
It was rightly pointed out that the Sky People could make an attempt at diplomacy, having Roan command Ice Nation to release their people. I'm not convinced that Ice Nation moving the slaves would have necessarily meant diplomacy wouldn't work. That was still a viable option.
Instead, Bellamy cast the deciding vote against Monty and Miller's recommendation to leave the 25 slaves behind in favor of securing the means to make the ark livable during the oncoming nuclear apocalypse. They blew up the machine and saved the 25 slaves – for now, anyway – who were brought home to Arkadia.
To me, this seems like an overcorrection on Bellamy's part to make up for the 300 grounders he indescriminately participated in slaughtering at Pike's side on The 100 Season 3. Clearly, Bellamy took Kane's words of wisdom to heart last week.
Kane: You turn the page. You turn the page and you don't look back. You do better today than you did yesterday. You understand? Before you know it, we'll deserve to survive.
Bellamy: I hope so.
Also, Bellamy's decision is more understandable if you consider how much faith he has in Clarke and Raven. Based on their history, it makes sense that he would truly believe that they'd all find a way to save everyone, somehow.
This season's most interesting development by far is the growing friction between Raven and Clarke. I hope this gets a lot of airtime, because they're both strong, intelligent women and seeing this kind of moral conflict between them is super intriguing.
Raven: Nice speech.
Clarke: Sometimes hope is more important than truth.
Raven [sarcastically]: Your dad would be so proud.
Raven is of the mindset that they should level with their people, recruiting them all to help brainstorm ways to save everybody. A classic "two (or 500) heads are better than one" situation.
Clarke, on the other hand, has made tough decisions in the past. She's also a pessimist, on some level, or at least more pessimistic than Raven is optimistic. Clarke believes that people would freak out and descend into chaos if they knew the truth.
So, who's right? We don't know yet, and we might never, given that Clarke told only a version of the truth to their people. As far as they now know, everybody can be saved and it's just a matter of them trying hard enough to fix the ark.
If we stick together, I give you my word. We won't just survive. We'll thrive.Clarke
Of course, we know that's a blatant lie, as do the core group members. Clarke has no way of ensuring the survival (let alone the thriving) of her people. But how will they take it when the truth is revealed, if Clarke and her group aren't able to come up with a sustainable, large scale solution?
- It's official: I can't stand Jasper anymore. #SorryNotSorry
- Kane acknowledging Abby's dead husband Jake as an important part of her past was a nice small moment.
- No Murphy and no Emori. Wonder what those crazy kids are up to?
- Now that Bryan and Miller are on the outs over the hydrogenerator situation, I'm more sure than ever that he will, unfortunately, die. And it will wreck Miller that they'd been fighting. I'm already sad about it.
- Monty is the best and most unproblematic character on this show. (Harper and Raven are also right up there, too.) Monty's decision to release the slaves to kill the Ice Nation chief who killed his father felt perfectly in character.
- The single greatest moment was the conversation between Jaha and Clarke. Jaha is one of the show's best developed (and most complex) characters. He's fully aware of how heavy the crown lies. He has come a long way, and I'm loving his redemption arc this season.
Clarke: You locked me up. You floated my father.
Jaha: And now you understand why. No leader starts out wanting to lie or imprison or execute their people. The decisions you face just whittle you down, piece by piece.
Clarke: So what do I do?
Jaha: I'll tell you what I told your mother after the culling – we make the best decisions that we can with the information that we have. Then hope that there's a forgiving god.
What did you think of "Heavy Lies the Crown"? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below – and remember that you can watch The 100 online here at TV Fanatic any time to catch up on what you've missed!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.