It’s taken me a long time to gather my thoughts regarding “Stealing Fire”, and even now I’m not sure how to put all of my feelings into words.
I think part of the problem is that “Stealing Fire” moved so fast – too fast, really, considering the importance of so much of what happened.
But first let’s focus on the good stuff. In my review of “Thirteen”, I talked about my love-hate relationship with Murphy and how bad ass he was in that episode – and to be honest, if anything “Stealing Fire” made me lean a little closer to the “love” end of that spectrum. I have to admit that seeing his snarky self help Clarke – even if he ended the episode by claiming that he was just out to save his own skin – was more than a little bit enjoyable. He’s funny, and maddening, and more than just the obnoxious bratty shithead that he appeared to be at first, and I’m really enjoying watching this character develop.
Another thing that, err, ‘developed’ in “Stealing Fire” was a little bit of something between Kane and Abbie! I mean, they’ve been teasing something more than friendship between these characters for a while now (and recently this pairing took third place in our The 100 shipping poll), so it was great to finally see something happen. Abbie’s line about how she “couldn’t do this again” – meaning, send someone she deeply cares about to a wrongful death – was one of the more moving moments in this episode, and when she and Kane finally got their dramatic kiss it definitely made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I just hope that Abbie’s confidence in their meeting again isn’t misplaced, considering she remained behind in Arkadia while Kane, Sinclair, Harper, Miller, and Bryan escaped, dragging a tranquilized Octavia with them.
Now that I’ve said that much, I might as well get into the most emotionally compromising death of an already emotionally compromising episode – that being Lincoln, of course. But where do I even begin? I mean, it was pretty obvious that he would be leaving the show soon, what with rumors of bullying on set and the fact that he will be playing Shadow in Starz’s adaptation of American Gods – but first of all, wow did it happen all too fast. Yeah, he died a hero, giving his life so that his people would be safe and also making sure Octavia would live as well. I guess I just hoped that they’d give Lincoln something…more…before he was killed off. Except for the riot against the guards, we haven’t seen all that much of him this season, and now he’s gone, and if you ask me his manner of death was by far the worst part about the whole situation.
Here’s the thing: I’m a middle-class white girl who was raised in a fairly privileged environment. I can never imagine what it’s like to watch a show like The 100 – a show that supposedly prides itself on its diversity – and then see an amazing character like Lincoln get murdered by a half-assed “villain” (I mean, Pike is so predictable and obnoxious that I simply can’t give him more credit than that). And to add insult to injury, by having Pike be the executioner they put themselves on that already existing, very long list of TV shows and movies that shows graphic and unnecessary violence between black men…as well as showing a peaceful POC bound and shackled, kneeling in the mud, as he is executed by a militaristic POC leader.
But that’s not all. I really thought that at the very least we wouldn’t have to see, I don’t know, EVERY DETAIL OF HIS EXECUTION. At first it was more like a spray of blood and then Octavia watching him die from a nearby hilltop. But somehow that wasn’t enough! They cut back to Lincoln again, and viewers – many of whom love this character, and for good reason – had to see it all the way through, see him lying dead on the ground, blood everywhere, a very clear bullet hole in his head. And to me it even seemed like they lingered on this shot. Am I alone in this?
I think at first I was just in shock, but let’s just say that I am 100% behind whatever Octavia may be thinking, because by the look on her face Pike better watch his back. Octavia has gotten on my nerves from time to time, but she was amazing in this episode, as she helped everyone escape (and even got in a snarky comment when Kane said it was a bit tight under the floor and she responded “Try doing it for sixteen years”). I’m totally looking forward to seeing her exact her revenge.
Okay, deep breath, quick scene change.
Meanwhile, in Polis…
I already talked about how much I liked Murphy in this episode, though his “moment” with Ontari in the end had me side-eying him a little bit. (Okay, no, a lot.) That said, I loved him having to work with Clarke. She was all business, he questioned basically everything, but in the end he also legitimately worked WITH her, and to be honest they did kind of well together. Yeah, Clarke left Polis (more on that in a moment), but I have to admit that I kind of hope we get to see her and Murphy working together again. (Please, Murphy, don’t ruin these positive feelings I’m having for you. Pretty please, even.)
Clarke, though. Wow. I really hoped that in “Stealing Fire” we would finally see her mourn Lexa’s death, and while I understand her compartmentalizing her feelings (especially when she’s lost someone she cares about), I really think this would have been the best time to show her break. Just a little bit. Especially after how horrible Lexa’s death was. (I mean really, fans are extremely angry about it, and for good reason. The Geekiary itself has talked about her death in length, from dealing with Jason Rothenberg’s “Apology” to fans to Admin Angel writing a break-up letter directed towards the show.)
But as for Clarke, well, she’s still the same old Clarke, suffocating her sorrow by focusing on what needs to happen next – in this case, Aden’s ascension.
Unfortunately, Ontari is an absolutely horrible person who killed and beheaded all of Lexa’s novitiates. Thankfully the show was tasteful enough to at least not show a child’s severed head. (Small consolation considering what happened at with Lincoln at the end of “Stealing Fire”.) In fact, Ontari basically coronated herself at the end, despite the fact that Titus passed on his Flamekeeper status/power to Clarke, who is taking the AI to a former novitiate who ran away a long time ago. And as it turns out, we’ve heard about this novitiate before – she’s Luna, who was already mentioned (by Lincoln, of all people) several times throughout the series. But at this point I’m wondering how far Clarke can really get, and how much more damage “Heda” Ontari will do in the meantime.
One thing I’m happy about is the fact that Clarke can’t use (for lack of a better term) the AI because it kills anyone who doesn’t have black blood. Of course this *is* something the writers could fiddle with – one would assume that the blood of the Skaikru people is different from that of the Grounders, after all – but I hope they don’t. I think she’s got enough on her plate as both Wanheda *and* the Flamekeeper, now. Her becoming the Commander on top of all that would be too much (and too predictable).
To be honest, the slowest parts of “Stealing Fire” featured Indra and Bellamy, both characters whom I love but who also frustrate me (probably more than they should). I think their interactions could have been kept to one short scene, or possibly occurred in another episode entirely, but I suppose the rest of “Stealing Fire” was just so much so fast and so in your face that everything with Indra and Bellamy barely even registered with me. (And maybe that was a good thing.)
What did you think of “Stealing Fire”‘s pace? How do you feel about Lincoln’s death and the circumstances surrounding it? Will Clarke *ever* break down? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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