The 100 returns with “Stealing Fire”, an episode that juggles three subplots, character angst, a brutal conclave, and an Arkadia execution. The Pike (Michael Beach) story line continues to follow the same paint by number beats that we have all seen before on other shows. Meanwhile in Polis, Clarke continues to find reasons not to return home. Ice nation’s reemergence through King Roan (Zach McGowan) and Ontari (Rhiannon Fish) appearances offer some intrigue for the next half of season three. Overall “Stealing Fire” continues to deliver on all of the third season promises found in the trailer; and that’s the problem this season.
“Death can be an act of unity too if we don’t break, if we don’t show fear,” states Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) to Lincoln (Ricky Whittle). Well, there’s our foreshadowing line to the closing execution scene; after all Lincoln has attempted to unite Arkadia with the grounder clans since “Wanheda Part 1.” Now we see him pay the ultimate sacrifice for his people by handing himself over to Pike to protect the grounders held in the Arkadia cell. I first theorized about this upcoming death all the way back in my The 100 Season 3 Trailer review. The real tragedy though is that Lincoln’s overall final story arc got buried beneath the Polis action and the Polaris intrigue; a result from the continued separation between Clarke and our other central characters. We would have seen more Lincoln this season if Clarke had returned home all the way back in “Ye Who Enter Here.” Instead we have seen Lincoln and Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) every few episodes, with the real story arc setup taking place within the first five episodes. Hypothetically this loss could have been a bigger pay off than the grounder sacrifice turning point for our Arkadia subplot, had the overall storyline been written more tightly together, rather than stretched out over the course of nine episodes. The writers continue to draw out the Blake sibling fallout as Octavia finally says the epic line from the trailer, “You’re the reason they need saving in the first place,” but we will have to wait one more episode for their actual fight scene. I did appreciate that small moment between the Blake siblings before Octavia goes to save Lincoln, and acknowledges that for the first time in her life she doesn’t need her big brother’s protection. The writers even include a nod to Octavia’s own journey from her life on the ark, when the escapees hide themselves in the very same place that she spent the first sixteen years of her life; a second born secret tucked away beneath the floorboard. Now on the ground Octavia is able to roam free outside of both Arkadia and the Exodus charter rules they follow. The very same laws that have led to both the death of her mother and first love, Lincoln, “May we meet again.”
The 100 writers continue to follow both Miller (Jarod Joseph) and Harper’s struggle as traitors working inside Arkadia’s camp. Miller confronts his boyfriend, Bryan (Jonathan Whitesell), after learning that he planted the bug on him; which led to Kane’s arrest. “Pike, I know he saved your life out there and you owe him… but you can’t have us both,” a relationship ultimatum that allows Bryan to stand by his man and help them rescue Kane, Lincoln, and Sinclair. The scene between Bellamy (Bob Morely), Monty (Christopher Larkin), Miller, and Harper (Chelsey Reist) at the top of the episode was great and well earned. Both Bellamy and Monty may have finally realized that they chose the wrong side at the end of “Terms and Conditions,” but the damage has already been done. Miller, Harper, and Octavia have no reason to trust them, because as Harper bluntly puts it, “Does your mommy know you’re here Monty?” Well she certainly does after Monty uses the comms to send a false report to Pike’s team, distracting them from finding the traitors in their camp. Someone who we certainly have yet to find in Arkadia is Miller’s father. Anyone else notice his sudden disappearance following the events at the Mountain? Even though I do like the inclusion of both Miller and Harper this season, The 100 writers continue to struggle with servicing all character arcs in this vast cast. For example, where was Abby (Paige Turcco) in the previous episode? Why didn’t we see her working with Kane, Miller, and Harper on overthrowing Pike? She reappears in “Stealing Fire” to deliver on a very strong character moment, “I can’t do this again.” Such a stand out scene in this muddled episode, because it references a very important plot point from season one; her husband’s execution as a traitor on the ark. #Kabby continues to pull at our heartstrings during their goodbye kiss, as Abby decides to stay behind to lead their people into the light; well I guess that answers the question about her being absent in “Terms and Conditions.” Abby still has work to do in Arkadia, so the writers needed to keep her broken allegiance to Pike kept under wraps.
Well, Clarke certainly has a reason to return home now, after Titus (Neil Sandilands) appoints her as the new Flame Keeper. I felt like the first 15 minutes in Polis served to remind the viewers about every grounder plot point up until now. Lexa’s death, Titus’ betrayal, the commander’s spirit, the Ice Queen’s death, and Roan’s debt to Lexa. The writers really should have titled this episode “Watch the Thrones” Part 2, because the entire Polis story line built off of events from 3×05; well Lexa’s death in “Thirteen” too, but that was to be expected. After all the initial exposition though, the writers effectively engage my interest with both a new mystery and a new Commander. “This abomination will never ascend,” cries Titus before sacrificing himself in an attempt to prevent Ontari from ever receiving the spirit of the Commander. In an off screen moment, that should be included in the R-rated director’s cut, Ontari kills all of the other Nightbloods during the Conclave ceremony; granted she attacked her opponents before the official ceremony could take place. Murphy (Richard Harmon) seems to respect her initiative, albeit a bit crazy, but he sees the logic behind her brutal actions. I am really looking forward to the writers developing this possible relationship between Murphy and Ontari moving forward; especially after the tease.
“Let the people know they have a new Commander, and find Wanheda. That’s an order,” Ontari commands to Roan during the closing Polis sequence. Anyone else feel like we’ve come full circle with Roan’s character, since we first meet him in “Wanheda Part 2,” as a bounty hunter sent to find Clarke? I am still questioning his allegiance to Ontari after her final command; even though he predicts early on that the next time he sees Clarke they’ll be enemies again. In a twist though, Roan is not just sent to track down Wanheda, but the “Fleimkappa.” She has been give the Commander’s spirit in a mission to find the last remaining Nightblood, Luna from Trikru. A grounder who fled from her birthright during Lexa’s own conclave ceremony; but why? “She fled like a coward and a traitor to the blood.” Clarke recognizes the name from her previous interactions with Lincoln and hopes that he’ll know where to find his old friend; too bad he’s now dead. I have a feeling that the other grounders currently being kept as prisoners in Arkadia will know where Clarke can find Luna. There’s also speculation that this mysterious character will have ties to Emori, or further tie back to “the lady in the flying machine.” Clarke’s return to Arkadia will not be in spite, as I predict it will lead to a more tightly written second half as the hunt for Luna begins… Stay tuned.
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