The 100: Season 03, Episode 08, “Terms and Conditions”

A lot of things come full circle this episode. Food and water are running low in Arcadia, just as oxygen was on the Ark. The Chancellor is making awful decisions and being undermined, only here it’s Kane doing the undermining. The Grounders are insisting someone be brought to justice for his crimes or they will attack, just as they demanded Finn be put to death or they would act.

Pike uses Finn’s death as though it validates his actions, but Finn actually proves the opposite of the point Pike is trying to make. Finn slaughtered a village and was turned over to face trial, now Pike has slaughtered one (with plans for more), but refuses to face the consequences. Pike claims he can’t trust the grounders to leave Arkadia alone, even when their past actions proved they would do just that: when Finn was executed for his actions, it secured the safety of everyone. The firmness of his rhetoric and posturing are overpowering the fallacy of his actual words and actions. Sound familiar?

“If something helps you survive, it’s always the right thing. Pike taught me that.” Hannah declares. Except, this show has proven what is necessary is not always right, it’s merely necessary. Not only that, Pike is the one actively creating situations to make his atrocities seem necessary; he’s pushing war, he has refused to negotiate, his senseless slaughter broke the treaty already forged with the other 12 clans. He clearly wants blood, not survival, and he’s using the war he created as a shield and excuse for all of his crimes. He keeps repeating “we didn’t start this war” as if repetition will make it true. It’s the citizens’ lack of standing up to him, pointing out his hypocrisy and lies, which enabled him to get this far, and now his momentum seems unstoppable.

Cue Trump comparisons, again. As such, none of Pike’s lieutenants can claim they didn’t know. It’d be like like President Trump declaring we’re going to put all Muslims in camps and kill their families, and Chris Christie being like “oh wait a second! I didn’t sign up for this!” Yes, you explicitly signed up for this.

the 100 3.08 pike kane

Pike’s actions make sense for a power-hungry, racist, virulent despot. It makes sense Hannah would follow him, blinded by grief and rage and who may well have been a xenophobe before we met her. It makes sense Bryan, a character we’ve never met before, may be swept up in the fervor and attempting to figure out where he stands. It makes sense he has a lot of followers among the citizens. What does not make sense, is Bellamy.

When the writers have Bellamy say ‘I choose which side is best for my people every day’ at the beginning and end of the episode, I don’t think they want it to mean “I change sides depending on what is most expedient for the plot.” Too bad it means exactly that.

Bellamy started the series as someone wholly consumed with his own agenda, which boiled down to saving his own skin and keeping his sister safe even when it meant being a ruthless authoritarian bully. He was 21, thrust suddenly into a terrifying situation, with no resources and really terrible role models. He committed torture, condoned atrocities, and had a hand in many deaths, directly an indirectly. Over the course of two seasons he’s legitimately learned and grown from his mistakes. He was a friend to the grounders, even fighting alongside some of them and risking himself to free others in Mt Weather. He carried the weight of his past sins, as everyone on this show does, but he was on a better path . . . until the plot necessitated him killing 300 presumably sleeping grounder allies.

This is not the same sort of ethical lose/lose situation at Mount Weather, a real dilemma. After his past sins and atonement, this is not something Bellamy could come back from. Why use Bellamy, then. I’ve discussed why their giving him a girlfriend to fridge her doesn’t work. Why not develop another character, or use a character who had reason to hate the grounders but hadn’t yet had a redemption arc? Maybe economy of characters, maybe lazy writing, maybe the fact this whole plot was sped up so quickly there wasn’t much space to develop. A more cynical view is they used Bellamy because – just as with the method of Lexa’s death – they wanted maximum shock value. In both cases, they got it, but in both cases it comes with poor writing, and at the cost of character development and audience trust. They wanted it to have more narrative weight, so they wanted a ‘main’ character, so they picked Bellamy. They purchased that at a high cost and are now asking to return it, soiled and torn.

This episode pushes how cool and detached and villainous they can make Bellamy, then whips out their about-face redemption card, again.

One redemption arc, great. I was 100% on board with the Bellamy we saw here at the beginning of Season 3: trying to be a good leader, attempting to put his life back together and grappling with the guilt and burden he bore for both wrongdoings, and for having to make necessary but awful choices. Two major redemption arcs, however, is one too many. You can’t keep yo-yo-ing your characters. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. This second redemption arc can’t be trusted, because we realize it only need last until it’s expedient for the writers to make Bellamy the bad guy again. Because drama.

What is the catalyst for Bellamy’s decision here? Pike executing Kane for treason. Bellamy, you are not a dumb character. You are not a character who has been away for Pike’s rise to power. You have seen all his ploys and rhetoric, up close and personal, from the get-go. After all you’ve seen, YOU DO NOT GET TO BE SURPRISED AT THIS. We’re supposed to believe that this is not only the final straw which makes Bellamy about-face yet again, but we’re supposed to believe Pike’s decision blindsides Bellamy. Bellamy, who grew up on the ark. Bellamy, who has seen Pike’s ruthelessness all along. Bellamy, who handed Pike his gun even while thinking Pike might use it to shoot Sinclair.

That was a calculated move on Pike’s part, a “have you drunk the KoolAid” moment. Pike could have used a dozen things to smash that bug. He just wanted to see how Bellamy’s loyalties went. In having Bellamy hand the gun over, as with many actions the past few episodes, the writers are having Bellamy dig his grave deeper and deeper, only so they can have his resurrection be that much more triumphant. But they’ve had him dig way too far, and it’s just not believeable. He slaughtered 300 people with no remorse. He can’t suddenly be redeemed because Kane is charged with treason, which he commits, which he never would have had to commit if Bellamy hadn’t helped install Pike in the first place.

Monty, too, balks at the weirdest things. He accepted interning the grounders and marching on a village of farmers, but raises objections to spying on people. Still, he does it, listening in on his friends for Pike. Bryan at least has the decency to vocally doubt he’s doing the right thing after he turns on his boyfriend and seals it with a kiss. (Yes, their only kiss so far comes loaded with betrayal, practically screaming ‘Judas Iscariot.’)

The 100 3.08 Raven and Jasper

Pike, of course, is not alone in turning brother against brother. Jaha uses Raven to manipulate Jasper to get at what Monty may know. Cracking Monty’s code hinges on both boys thinking of their time starwatching together from the Ark, because of course.

Along other romantic lines, Jasper pushes Raven to see if she can remember the good stuff about Finn, or if she’s only forgotten his death. It makes sense Raven must have forgotten Finn entirely to have eliminated the pain of his loss. It’s a stunning revelation to her, and one that leads to an abrupt scene where she pushes the tech in a drawer and runs, as though ALIE can’t get Jaha to retrieve it later. It’s a bit sudden, I wonder if there was a little more to that scene which got cut for time, but we’ll surely see the ramifications of it later.

Lincoln grabbing and punching Sinclair is obviously a ploy, but it’s more fun with the audience sees a ploy coming and the tension is over whether it will work or not, just like Pike’s move with the bug. Both are good war strategy; I assume they still read Sun Tzu in 100 years. 

The show goes into a short break having ratcheted up tensions in both the Grounders conclave and Arkadia (with Octavia and Indra somewhere in between). Both stories have a lot of great material, but both have been at points rushed and underdeveloped, moved along via unbelievable events and character choices. Too many shortcuts is very, very bad. Let’s hope the second half of the season ends does better at doing its story and characters justice.

The 100 -- "Terms and Conditions" -- Image HU308a_0172 -- Pictured (L-R): Bob Morley as Bellamy and Ricky Whittle as Lincoln -- Credit: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Stray Observations

– Ah, the good ol’ chess playing scene.

– Where the hell is Abby while all this is going down?

– You do not get that far and then NOT drive straight at Bellamy! In a game of chicken versus a tank, Bellamy will move. Jesus, Kane, you’re a terrible insurrectionist.

– ALIE flat-out tells Jaha that she’s controlling his mind and manipulating him. And he’s like “Oh yeah, cool.” Exactly how many of those wafers has he eaten?

– I’m glad they keep bringing up Finn. Too many shows would just kill him and never mention him again. Death has consequences, and the pain lasts, and at least this show is consistent with that.

– As annoyed as I am with how much they’re jerking Bellamy’s character around, Bob Morley is working hard to make it stick. Hell, I’m impressed he can keep track what side Bellamy is on from scene to scene.

– Orphan Black premieres in April, soon after this show comes back. I’m not sure how it will work reviewing both shows on my own time. If anyone knows of an outlet that would actually pay me money to do so, hook a sister up?

5 Responses to “The 100: Season 03, Episode 08, “Terms and Conditions””
  1. Good review, and great points about the weird inconsistencies and lazy writing. Really disappointing, given just how much they had previously been getting right (and still getting decently right, with Raven at least).

    I’d also like to point out that this super male-heavy episode (it doesn’t even pass the low bar Bechdel test) is the most shit-showiest of the bunch. BRING BACK THE WOMEN.

    Quick note re: remembering Finn and using his death as a point of reference for current events. Also glad they’re doing that – though it brings up the point of Lexa seemingly never mentioning Anya after S2. Anya, who was her mentor and taught her how to fight. It’s almost like the writers created the Titus character solely to be the dude who ends up killing Lexa and knowing about the chip. Because he’s never mentioned in S2, nor is he around while Lexa’s out on the campaign and at much higher risk of death (APE-MANDER). So yeah, I’m glad they’re remembering Finn, but once again it seems to highlight some weird and easily avoidable inconsistencies elsewhere.

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks much.

      I thought the struggle of wits, ideology, and methods between Kane and Pike was really interesting at its core, especially since it shows Kane’s evolution since S1. Unfortunately, it was undermined by shoehorning Bellamy into everything, first to show just how close he was to Pike so they could sell us that he really had turned and had embraced his role as jackbooted second-in-command, then to convince us Kane’s fate got to him. After ignoring the fate of Lincoln, the pleas of Octavia, and Clarke, after slaughtering 300 grounders, after handing over his gun to presumably be used on Sinclair, he is wholly swayed by that one thing which he had to have seen coming miles away? It was too much. This episode should have focused on Pike and Kane, it shouldn’t have been about Bellamy; but of course it had to be, because of where they took him before and how they need to redeem him. And to make the whole episode run, they simply ignored Abby, who’s not only been involved with the resistance but just recently kissed Kane, and now is wholly absent not just from his plot but when he’s arrested? If they didn’t have Turco they could have at least added some lines about Abby being in a medical emergency surgery; they didn’t even seem to care that much.

      Side note: It was pointed out to me Harper (the original ‘why can’t we just shock-baton him in the ass?’ girl) is going to be developed a bit more as a character in the next episode or so, which I look forward to.

      Huh. Yes. I remember reading an interview with Rothenberg (which of course I can’t put my finger on now) which talked about them cementing the idea of the way the spirit was passed from Commander to Commander during this season (either the writer’s room powwow planning out this season, or as the specific episodes were being written, I don’t remember which). So it seems once they decided that, they needed to have a Flamekeeper, and thus Titus was created, and (presumably) thus he wasn’t around, or mentioned, in S2. It doesn’t quite solve for why they’ve not mentioned Anya since, though, since she and Titus occupied different enough roles, I don’t think it’d take away from him or bring any more attention to his sudden materialization. Maybe they feel new viewers will get lost with all the references to old characters, but they do use Wells, as well as Finn. Maybe, as with the treatment of Abby this episode, they just don’t care so much. Maybe it just gets lost in the shuffle of a pretty big ensemble, if it’s not considered ‘necessary’ to the living characters. Either way, it’s a shame.

  2. Alex August says:

    Kane seems to be terrible at most everything he does. He wasn’t particularly crafty about taking control over the Ark when it was in space and had a habit of causing problems after being in charge of the Ark on the ground. His brightest moments appeared to have happened during the break between Seasons 2 and 3. Since then he unilaterally decided joining the clans and not saying anything to the people he was supposed to be leading was a great idea,held elections right after a lunatic shows up swearing to commit genocide, let said lunatic gain power without hardly a word against him, decided it would work out if he didn’t tell his new allies they will be attacked, decided later on to save a dozen people that wouldn’t need saving if their soldiers weren’t dead and during all that puts a terrible listening device in terrible location. Then he goes balls to the wall to grab Pike and save the Arkers only to decide not to finish the plan. Good job Kane!

    It surprises me, but I continue to enjoy the Jaha and City of Light nonsense more as each week goes by. A bit rushed, like everything else this season, but the chip that makes tasty chips, the AI learning from people who wiping out anything negative, the resistance of free will resurfacing if someone feels strongly enough about rejecting the tiny robot in a red dress mucking around with their brain. This might be the plot line that actually has the most satisfying conclusion as the grounder stuff has gone to shit and the Pike stuff is just getting worse as he tries to beat Murphy’s record for getting saved by the writers for the purpose of annoying people.

    We get a Nathan and Bryan kiss that reminds me so much of the first one between Lauren and Bo on Lost Girl. Yes its great that we finally get to see this romance have a show of affection on screen, but as the audience we know there was a motivation that wasn’t purely romantic. Also seems unbalanced as Bellamy’s girlfriend, who existed for about five seconds, didn’t need any sort of ulterior motive for a kiss good bye to be shown.

    Overall though, following up on the lack of Abbey once again, is that it bothers me that the show has a sudden number male characters replacing the women in charge. Kane gets to be Chancellor, or acting Chancellor, or Abbey doesn’t want to be the boss any more Chancellor, for about 30 seconds before Pike takes over. Roan is now King of new Ice Clan. Last week Titus was suddenly upgraded some guy that hangs around the capital all day yelling at people about traditions to the man behind the power of the Commander, attempted killer of pesky girlfriends and someone that Lexa owed everything she was to. I was also a bothered when they introduced the idea of a male Commander by showing that some of the Nightbloods, including the favored recruit, were boys. Seasons 1 and 2 seemed to certainly suggest the grounders followed a matriarchal structure and although the sex of every Commander wasn’t addressed in the show I don’t remember any mention from Lexa about a male commander. Its not just Lexa either though – Anya, Anya’s second who died, Luna of the Boat People (who still hasn’t shown up), Indra,and even the Ice Queen who favored her own second compared to her son, is now either dead, removed from command or just never brought up again.

    It just seems like the loss of the lesbian relationship on the show isn’t the only loss fans will be dealing with as the show goes on unless something in the writers room drastically changes again because as it stands now there are no central female characters in a position of real influence. Clarke is sidelined not only with grief from Lexa’s death, but the loss of Lexa’s control over the other clans. Abbey gave up being Chancellor to Kane who lost it faster than a $20 in a Vegas slot machine and has had no real part in the resistance against Pike or presence on screen. Octavia has been treated as scum, and threatened with death, by grounders and Arkers alike rather than regarded as a valuable member of a community. Indra is now hanging out with Octavia for a lack of better options thanks to Bellamy.

    The only three women we have left at this point are an AI program that would really like to take another crack at the whole ending the world thing, the AI’s recruited Mechanic who is probably heading into a massive tail spin that removes her from a central role as every bad thing that has ever happened to her comes flooding back (plus Jasper was showing signs of being on the mend so he could be her replacement in a battle against the City of Light) and Harper that is getting slightly more lines than nameless security guards.

    The show was built around the premise that strong, powerful, women can be leaders of men and keep the world together, and improved greatly as that developed, now seems intent on getting as far away from that as possible.

    • Melanie says:

      Kane seems to be tragically destined to fail at everything he attempts, from assassinations to sacrificing himself.

      The Miller/Bryan stuff feels pretty forced. The only kiss on the lips has an ulterior motive, even when they’ve had reason and time to do it a few other times. As an interracial, gay pairing, it begs a lot of questions. Of course the easy answer is ‘they’re neither of them main characters’ and while that doesn’t feel completely satisfactory, there’s not much concrete to go on. Le sigh.

      I hadn’t realized exactly how far the women in leadership – for good (Lexa) bad (Nia), or in between (Abby) – have been swapped out for men. Holy shit. Basically all of them are dead (and replaced with men), deposed (and replaced with men), or in limbo. Indra is injured and it’s unsure where she’ll end up under a new Commander; Clarke is still *a* leader, but not really in leadership; Abby is not only back to being a medical director and not even as high-up as she was when the series started, but was non-existent this episode.

      Now, if I thought the show was intentionally making a point about toxic masculinity, that destroying or dragging down all women in power and replacing with men who have bought into a patriarchal culture is going to lead to massive problems and war, that could at least be interesting (so long as it was temporary: #bringbackthewomen.) I’m assuming we will see Aden as the next commander, and I think he will show evidence that Lexa as his Commander has helped teach him better, wiser ways. But I’m assuming Titus, as well as many in the counsel, aren’t going to be happy with that, and I don’t really trust the message of Aden’s ascension is going to be clear enough.

      It certainly does seem the show is intentionally distancing itself from one of the things it made its name on.

      Also, you mention ALIE in your list of women we saw in this episode. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and while I have been referring to ALIE as she/her, and I think that’s a natural assumption to make (especially since she’s obviously borrowed from BSG and the Sixes were always referred to as women), I’m going to take the position ALIE is not a woman. ALIE’s an AI. Yes she presents as the image of a woman, and was created by a woman (at least, a woman was the main creator, so far as we see in flashbacks men were involved to some extent as well), but I think ALIE is, in fact, genderless. I’m going to make a concentrated effort in my reviews from now on to use genderless nouns, or assign ze to ALIE, or some such. Which actually makes it more depressing, in that this episode has only Raven and Harper, and Harper seems to have been one of the main underground fighters and impetuses towards Kane’s plot, but gets no credit for it.

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  1. […] making Bellamy’s characterization jump through hoops to further the plot – again, and again  – is bad, but this episode finally calls it out via Kane. I had the following in my […]

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