Arakadia has fallen, Bellarke reunites, and we finally have our ragtag crew back together; only they are on the run from a very merciless A.L.I.E. (Erica Cerra). After suffering from fan backlash following the inevitable decision to kill off Lexa in “Thirteen,” show runner Jason Rothenberg and company remind The 100 viewers of the series’ roots; the Ark outcasts who were sent to Earth as an experiment to see if the ground was finally habitable. “Nevermore” re-examines each character’s own pathos and offers some stellar character moments motivating them to head into the upcoming season finale as a united front. Almost three seasons after being sent to the Earth our central characters continue to break under the constant pressures of survival. Both Bellamy (Bob Morely) and Clarke (Eliza Taylor) continue to falter under their own burdens of guilt. The following are my top five “Nevermore” moments:
“Octavia, we’re your people we were sent down together, we survive together,” explains Monty (Christopher Larkin) to Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) who wants to leave the others after they finish saving Raven’s life. Ironic, since the first episode this season it really has been Lincoln keeping Octavia from abandoning her people and living with the Trikru clan. Now she has no reason to stay, especially when he died at the hands of Skaikru. In my previous “Stealing Fire” review I talked about the writer’s disservice to Lincoln’s character - this mistake certainly cannot be said for Octavia. Scattered throughout this season there are minor nods to her Ark identity as an unlawful second born. This fact only adds more emotional weight to her line “I’m nothing.” Well you’re someone to Bellamy and the others. Octavia’s words also parallel Clarke’s identity crisis in “Wanheda Part 2” as she describes herself as not being of importance. Both characters find themselves as Skaikru outcasts due to their relationships with the grounders. “You’re one of the hundred,” says Monty, a notion that makes Octavia pause and reply, “Not anymore.” Too much blood spilled and lives lost along the way to still have allegiance to her first family on the ground. This scene takes place at the dropship as they are trying to help activate a wristband that the original hundred wore during their return to Earth. All signs indicate that - no matter how much has happened since landing on Earth, the hundred will always protect one another.
The most unexpected moment in “Nevermore” also occurred at the dropship with Octavia, Monty, and his “chipped” mother (Donna Yamamoto). She appears at the site and Monty quickly performs his own psychological intake to determine if she’s under A.L.I.E.’s influence, “What was dad’s favorite color?” During our Netflix Crew The 100 Hiatus Special my co-host Everett Harn speculates about Monty’s death this season. This scene could have easily gone in that direction, until Octavia’s interruption, and Monty’s unthinkable decision to kill his own mother; if he didn’t pull the trigger then Octavia would have died. There are so many emotions in this moment considering how in the previous episode his mom sold him out to Pike (Michael Beach). Really in that moment he knew that his mom would always be part of farm station, she chose her people over him. Now she has joined the City of Light, and Monty must choose his people over her. This gunshot simultaneously will send Monty down a dark, guilt-ridden path, motivate Octavia to stay, and showcases the A.L.I.E.’s unrelenting villainy.
“I was going to save everyone,” yells Jasper (Devon Bostick) after Clarke attempts to apologize for killing Maya during the Mount Weather genocide, “I wish you could have.” This exchange ends on a real, significant ideological point of difference between these former allies - he still believes that there was a third option to save everyone at Mount Weather; Clarke knows that there was only one way to save her people. Jasper continues to blame Clarke, Bellamy, and Monty for Maya’s death, but he also harbors his own burden of guilt for not being able to save anyone at Mount Weather. I appreciate the writer’s inclusion of the tension between Bellamy and Jasper in this same episode. Jasper is quick to call out Bellamy for his own hypocrisy about staying in control of your own grief. Then when Raven’s situation turns dire, Jasper steals the commander’s flame and threatens to destroy the chip, “It’s Lexa!” Clarke yells. He hesitates and decides not to destroy A.L.I.E. 2.0, a decision that continues to flesh out differences between the guilt-ridden heroine and the unsuccessful hero. In this episode they were both forced to come face to face with the physical embodiment of their own guilt. Now that complete forgiveness is off the table, at least both characters were able to find some sort of closure from the events at Mount Weather.
#2. Mind Games
Now a round of applause for Lindsey Morgan’s performance as an A.L.I.E. possessed Raven Reyes. She spends the majority of the episode tied up in bed, spontaneously trying to kill herself by any means necessary, or slithering like a snake into the minds of our heroes. Raven serves as an excellent avatar to expose A.L.I.E.’s horrific true nature. There is no pain in the City of Light, so she is able to easily pop her shoulder out of the socket in an attempt to discover their location. Then Clarke threatens to destroy A.L.I.E. 2.0 if Raven kills herself, thus forcing a new game to be played. A.L.I.E. gathers intel about her captors from those she controls in the City of Light, and uses the group’s past wrongs to exploit their own insecurities. A.L.I.E. plays a strong game, but ultimately loses her “most prized toy” as Clarke cuts into Raven to bleed out the remaining nightblood. Raven returns to a constant state of pain, but more importantly is able to reveal A.L.I.E’s plan to the others. The very plan that she caught onto back in “Bitter Harvest,” she needs the upgrade to survive. All of A.L.I.E.’s actions are calculated decisions of survival, so how different is that from Monty’s decision to kill his mom? Or Clarke’s decision to kill Maya? Or Bellamy’s decision to slaughter a grounder clan? I suppose the basic instinct to survival is part of A.L.I.E.’s own programming as much as it’s embedded in our own.
#1. Bellarke Feels
“The good little knight by your queen’s side,” well that line may come from a very sinister place, but it really hits you in the #Bellarke feels. Initially Raven’s integration focuses on the leftover guilt following more recent events, but then quickly boils down to decisions made on the Ark. This technique allows a more resounding echo from season one to be heard. “Then there’s dear old dad… his blood is on your hands too,” yells Raven at Clarke during their one on one scene. Before Clarke was Wanheda, she was an Ark princess who inadvertently got her father sentenced to death. A decision she’s been running away from ever since and one that brought her to the ground in the first place. The writers strike a similar chord in a later scene between Raven and Bellamy, “Of course that’s nothing to killing your own mom, you just had to take little sister to her first dance.” Bellamy has made some irrational decisions this season, but he’s still that boy on the Ark wanting to join the guard and protect others; but he always protects his sister first. Even before Mount Weather, these characters understood the burdens of guilt placed on a child, whose actions led to deadly consequences for those they love the most. There’s a gravitas to both the action and emotional repercussions when Bellamy and Clarke are working together to protect Skaikru. They are able to save Raven and remove her from A.L.I.E.’s influence in “Nevermore”, but these heroic actions do not makeup for past wrongs. The writers even include in a Bellakre exchange - an echo to the definitive season two moment when Abby informs Clarke that there are no good guys. The reunion between Bellamy and Clarke stirs up a familiarity from seasons past, with these two leading the charge and protecting their people at all costs… together.
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