The 100 continues its decline with “Fallen”, an episode that was frustrating and triggering and all around difficult to watch.
Warning for so many triggers I’ve lost count: self-harm, torture, sexual assault, domestic abuse.
I’m not sure which scene was harder to sit through – Alie forcing Raven to witness a torture montage of every bad and painful thing that’s happened to her since she landed on the ground, Alie forcing Raven to nearly commit suicide in order to coerce Abby into joining their cult (are we noticing a theme, here?), Octavia taking out her anger and grief on Bellamy’s face, or Murphy being basically sexually assaulted by Ontari. Everything about “Fallen” was just one giant “nope”, which might have been marginally okay if I thought the storyline had moved forward, but I honestly don’t think it did.
Let’s start in Polis, where Ontari begins the episode with tenuous control. Since Titus took his own life last week, she doesn’t have a Flamekeeper or anyone to guide her in ascending to power – and it seems that the ambassadors are aware of that. When she wants to fall back on her old standby of violence, Murphy – chained to the wall with a collar around his neck – manages to buy her some time and tries to convince her to be a little more diplomatic in dealing with everyone. Murphy, for all the issues his character has, is quite adept at surviving, and considering all the crap he’s been through and the position in which he currently finds himself, I don’t think anyone can fault him for switching sides.
Ontari is a character who, like Pike, I suspect we’re supposed to feel sorry for, but I just don’t think they do a very good job of getting that across. Her reveal to Murphy – that she was stolen from her parents and taken to the Ice Queen, only to deal with her cruelty for years – seems like it was meant as an excuse for her behavior. But it doesn’t excuse anything. I honestly don’t see myself doing anything other than strongly disliking her. Her resistance to anything other than violence emphasized that she will be neither rational nor logical. Her repeated insistences that she “won the conclave”, when in fact she slew all the other combatants as they slept, only served to highlight how immature she is.
Their final scene, where she “seduces” him while he is once again chained to the wall, is the final nail in her coffin – and maybe even in this show’s. I think, given the fact that it’s Murphy, we’re supposed to view him “giving in” as him consenting to sleep with her, but I feel that it’s obvious from his behavior that he knows he has to do this to stay alive, and that is not consent at all.
“Fallen” continues season 3’s odd habit of following an unclear timeline. The episode starts with our intrepid rebels arriving in the cave, so it’s clearly only been a few hours at most since Lincoln’s execution. Yet the only person in Arkadia who seems at all conflicted or upset about his death is Monty. (Side note: Am I supposed to care about Monty’s mother? Because, spoiler alert, I don’t.) Clarke only makes it back to Arkadia at the very end of the episode, which means that Indra – who left after hearing the bell signalling a new commander – and Roan – who has allegedly gone after Clarke – are still probably wandering in the woods somewhere.
Something else that season 3 has been doing that is emphasized in “Fallen” is allowing seemingly important plot details to happen offscreen. When last we saw Raven, she was struggling with the knowledge that Alie had robbed her of her memories; now we see that she has been pushing herself to the brink in order to keep Alie out of her head. How long has it been? We have no idea. Is this something she discussed with anyone? Did Abby know? Did Jasper?
Was it really necessary to show a torture montage of everything awful that’s happened to Raven (and it’s been a lot)? Not only that, but Alie possessing Raven and slicing her arms was done to hurt Abby, not Raven. Raven has quite literally lost her agency and is on the verge of killing herself and it’s done for someone else’s pain, not her own. And if that weren’t enough, her attempts to free herself from Alie failed utterly and it may end up being Jasper who swoops in and saves her, and that bothers me.
The City of Light subplot continues to bore me to tears. I can only hope that we’re leading somewhere, because at the moment it’s just plodding along and making me angry. What is the purpose? What is Alie trying to do? I know she wanted to use Raven to try and find her version 2.0 that Clarke is carrying, but to what end? Why was it so important to convert everyone in Arkadia? And after seeing that Alie can literally take control of someone, do we think that Jaha is being controlled, or is he doing this of his own free will? And if so, why?
Finally, we come to our rebels and the fractured Blake family. As I mentioned before, Octavia uses Bellamy as a punching bag to deal with her grief over Lincoln’s death, which he accepts; because this is Bellamy, who blames himself for everything, so naturally he feels at fault for what happened to Lincoln. He doesn’t even flinch when she goes to town on his face, but her stone-cold delivery of, “You’re dead to me,” clearly guts him. I’ve been very angry at Bellamy all season because he seems to have lost his mind, but I think that Bellamy thinks that he was doing what was best for his people. Now he knows that wasn’t true, and he has to deal with the consequences. Bellamy’s moral compass has always been other people; everything he has done has been either to spare the people he loves pain or as penance for something else he did. Kane confronts him with this after they turn Pike over to the Grounders – “Did you do that for your sister, or because it was the right thing to do?”
And yes, let’s talk about Pike. Let’s talk about how he’s a total hypocrite, willing to let Monty and Octavia go because of Hannah and Bellamy, but viciously executing Lincoln for virtually no reason. Let’s talk about how this probably isn’t the end of his story. Let’s also talk about how, now that Ontari is in charge, she may actually like Pike and bring him into her fold (as far as I know, none of the Grounder force that Pike massacred was from Ice Nation), because that’s something I thought about and now is making me ill.
This review got a little bit away from me there, but I just had so many feelings after watching “Fallen”, and I don’t think any of them were good. I was such a massive fan of The 100, but it is treading on very, very thin ice at the moment, and I don’t know if there is any way to fix it.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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