The 100 “Thirteen” begins on Ascension day, loops back around to the first Unity day, and ends with one shocking grounder ritual. Titus (Neil Sanilands) continues to pursue his political war against Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Clarke’s (Eliza Taylor) “Blood must not have blood” law. Meanwhile in the Polis underground, Titus wages a religious battle against John Murphy (Richard Harmon), who gives the grounder priest a very enlightening Skaikru history lesson. The Polis faith and Polaris history collide together in an episode as The 100 writers connect major plot points together at the sacrifice of a beloved character.
“One day you and I will owe nothing more to our people,” says Clarke before giving Lexa a bittersweet farewell kiss that leads to goodbye sex. The episode begins with Semet from Trikru bringing Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) to Polis for execution; in light of the recent Skaikru attack on his village. Lexa instead declares that the twelves armies will form a buffer zone around Arkadia to contain Skaikru until they can overthrow Chancellor Pike on their own terms. To uphold the buffer zone Lexa also places a kill order on any Skiakru member whose found outside zone. This upsets all parties involved and forces Clarke to choose between the grounders and her own people yet again. A lecture from Octavia makes the correct choice very obvious, “If you don’t come back with me then you’re not the person I thought you were.” Before this episode I never really understood the conflict between love and duty in the #Clexa relationship. The writers really strike this theme hard in “Thirteen,” making the context surrounding Lexa’s death that much more heartbreaking. After a fleeting moment of peace and happiness together, Clarke returns to her room with Titus holding a gun. He may have wanted to murder Clarke, but ultimately kills his very own commander. Well I called that back in my “Hakeldama” (3×5) review. We even knew Lexa’s death was coming even before the third season began, after Alycia Debnam-Carey got cast in Fear the Walking Dead. I am actually shocked that it took the writers seven episodes to kill off the grounder commander. Really the writers needed the extra time to build up both Titus and his faith in the commander’s “sacred symbol,” to really add some punch to this inevitable character death.
“All I see is a man who would say anything not to die,” states Titus after Murphy attempts to escape his torture chamber, “That may be true but Polaris, that’s part of our story too.” I really appreciate how to writers continue to use John Murphy as a linchpin for this overarching A.L.I.E. plot line even though he’s an unbeliever. Ark history is fact. Therefore, Murphy plays a very different messenger role with Titus, in comparison to his confrontation with Jaha in “Wanheda Part 2.” Now I just really want Titus and Jaha to interact with one another in an upcoming episode; two prophets from opposing clans. The religious subtext in “the city of light” overarching story is so rich that it retains the element of surprise and intrigue that fell short in #Clexa’s predictable fate. “This woman fell out of the sky, just like us,” argues Murphy as he points out the Skaikru historical context behind Titus’ religious drawings in his temple. All this blasphemy angers Titus to knock Murphy out and attempt to frame him for Clarke’s murder… and we know how that plan works out. After Lexa’s death Titus begins to prepare for a sacred commander ritual that frightens both Clarke, “We must complete the ritual to pass on the commander’s spirit.” Well again all those viewer conspiracy theories are correct and there is a connection between A.L.I.E., the commander, and the night bloods. The upgrade that A.L.I.E. and Jaha were searching for in “Bitter Harvest,” is the spirit of the commander that gets passed on during the new Heda’s Ascension day ceremony. Now that Lexa has fallen, everything is in order for Onteri’s return to claim this powerful grounder position; remember she’s the Azgeda Night Blood from “Watch the Thrones.”
Before we begin to speculate about future grounder commander let’s rewind back to learn about the original commander, Becca (Erica Cerra). “Twenty-seven nukes have been launched from China, no one knows why, but they’re headed for the United States,” reports Polaris Commander (Roger R Cross) to the scientific researchers aboard his space station. This opening scene to the flashback story line is perfect as Becca, A.L.I.E.’s creator, is visually depicted as a god-like character from her isolating Polaris space station perspective. I haven been waiting to learn more about Becca ever since that brief glimpse we got back in “Wanheda Part 1” (3×1). “The people on the ark deserve to know what we’re working on before we bring it on board today is unity day,” argues research assistant Peri Gordon (Yasmine Aker). I love the mirroring between Arkadia being the unwilling thirteenth clan and Polaris being the infamous thirteenth station; it really is an unlucky number for The 100. The problem is… if the Ark knew about A.L.I.E. then allowing Polaris to bring the upgrade onboard would not be an option; and destroying her work is not an option for Becca. Instead she locks her comrades in a containment cell and proceeds with her own mission to save the human race. We see her dress in the Polaris Commander’s space suit, grab her biometric A.L.I.E. II samples, and take an escape pod to Earth; before the Ark blasts the Polaris space station from the sky. “I’m here to help,” says Becca after crash landing on present day Polis to inject others with her artificial intelligence cure, thus creating the grounder Night Blood myth. Director, Dean White, does an excellent job during the final flashback sequence, bringing Titus’ religious drawings to life. Many viewers were quick to point out how A.L.I.E. means “a lie;” hopefully they all notice how in “Thirteen” Becca is depicted as the first “Heda“; a false God.
In midst of Lexa’s death and discovering the true “spirit of the commander” origin story, The 100 writers also setup the next episode’s return to Arkadia. While in Polis, Octavia ventures to find her old Trikru mentor, Indra (Adina Porter). Interesting that the writers interwove together three stories about fallen female leaders between Lexa, Becca, and Indra. “I’ll fight my own brother if I have to, but I can’t do it alone,” pleads Octavia after discovering just how far Indra has fallen since “Hakeldama.” Not only does this line help motivate Indra to get back up, but it foreshadows the looming Blake sibling face-off that has been teased since the season three trailer. Really, in “Terms and Conditions” (3×8) I fully expect Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) to get killed in the Arkadia uprising crossfire. Clarke’s return to Arkadia has been delayed yet again after Titus locks both her and Murphy in the commander’s chamber at the end of the episode. This possible pairing intrigues me as we head into the next half of the season. Clarke chose to banish herself from Skaikru after Mount Weather, while Murphy’s banishment took place all the way back in “Murphy’s law” (1×4). Both have refused to return to their own people throughout this season, now they’re stuck together in Polis to attend a very brutal grounder Ascension day, “May her spirit [the Commander] choose wisely.”
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