The 100 continues its fourth season with chaos and conflict, but what else would we expect from the high-stakes series? Now let's dive straight in to this week's episode, "Heavy Lies the Crown," that introduces the difficulties of accepting leadership in the midst of relentless danger.
"Heavy Lies the Crown" Recap
The episode begins with a flashback, nine days prior to present day, where we see a young Grounder under ALIE's influence as he prepares to kill the rest of his family to prove a point in her name. Just before he can finish himself off, ALIE is summoned away to stop Clarke from destroying the City of Light (unsuccessfully, of course). It follows Ilian (the young man) back to Polis, where he is next seen listening in as an ambassador plans to fight King Roan and overtake the throne. Luckily for him, Octavia overhears, and she and Kane warn him, but, even though he isn't willing to back down to recover from his wounds, he gives them a chance to at least try another solution.
In preparation, he and Echo try sparring, but he isn't able to best her in battle. Echo questions Roan as to why he is so willing to forgive Skaikru, so he explains they are going to try and help keep them all alive. Her next idea? Becoming a spy and infiltrating Skaikru. Now that Octavia and Kane have decided to stop the ambassador from battling Roan, he and Ilian aren't keen on the concept and are ready end Roan -- and Skaikru. Octavia challenges the ambassador one-on-one, but he declines and acts as if she couldn't take him. Octavia (being the badass she is) takes the blade and stabs him through the ear -- yes, the ear. She's a brute savage, and I'm all for it. Octavia covers up the evidence that she was behind the crime, muttering "long live the king." More like long live the queen!
The other ambassadors come in the next day to inform Roan of his demise, and it seems like nobody is fooled by Octavia -- as Ilian asks if he will meet his end next. Instead, she offers her condolences, and it seems like they have a mutual agreement to let bygones be bygones (at least in the world of The 100). Life at Arkadia isn't exactly in the greatest place; with Jasper becoming someone so ready for death, I can't help but feel it's actually inevitable in a bittersweet situation. Raven continues to look for alternatives, hoping there's another Mt. Weather on the horizon, but the others stop her from telling anyone (which she compares to Clarke's father). Raven is a bit aggressive with her words and actions, but, in all honesty, there's a major point she has about who they are quickly becoming.
It's then that they discover that Alpha station may be an obvious solution -- it managed to survive temperatures at extremes and radiation from space, so Raven begins preparation to salvage it as long as they can obtain a very special component. Bellamy, Miller, Monty and Brian form a small unit to find this important hydro-generator that's in ship remnants of Farm Station, now in Ice Nation. The mission doesn't go as planned when they are taken as prisoners eventually, but Azgeda warriors reluctantly agree when they know they have a deal with Roan. Things get complicated, as they see one of their own being held captive with others and discover their chance of saving them is narrowed down to that small window of opportunity.
It comes down to a split decision as to if they should take the hydro-generator and leave people or use it as a weapon against the Ice Nation soldiers and free the people who were turned into slaves. Bellamy makes the executive decision to save the captive individuals and essentially detonate their live-saving equipment that wipes out nearly all of the Azgeda warriors. Before they can separately kill their leader, Monty learns that his father's death was at his hands -- and Monty lets the former prisoners finish the job instead of making another tough call.
Back at Arkadia, Raven convinces a small pool of people to help maintain the ship she wants to repair (under a guise because of Clarke), and she is practically forced to accept Jaha's help also at the request of Clarke. I truly feel like Raven's feelings and perceptions are actually the most level-headed and fair after what betrayals and life-threatening choices have hurt them. When Bellamy finds his way back to Arkadia without what they needed, he makes it known he doesn't want to be a part of anyone else dying, so Clarke naturally guilts him for sealing everyone else's fate (which she has no room to judge).
Clarke's next step consists of her owning up to telling her people the truth (after Jasper accused her of hiding their fate and acting like the former council who banished them to Earth). Clarke tries to share her knowledge but backpedals and acts like they will all survive if the ship is repaired. Clarke made a bold choice to hide something that will certainly come back to make her pay, but, as usual, she doesn't seem to take others' views into consideration. Is Clarke trying to save them? Absolutely. However lying to the people they are making help them can't be acceptable for too long if she wants to hold on to any trust with those she swears to protect.
Overall Grade: 8/10
For the second week in a row, The 100 has earned a solid '8' for using a build-up of leadership tension in Arkadia, Polis/Azgeda and the ramifications of failed leadership. Making each choice have a trickle effect for others has been a strong suit for The 100 and the coping (or lack of) mechanisms are a crucial sign that everyone has come so far from the people they were in the beginning -- which can be good or bad, but perfect for storytelling.
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
- Let's take a minute to appreciate the romance that is Abby and Kane.
- Part of me wants to feel for Clarke, but, as usual, I feel like I would be tempted to challenge her choices as now forcing herself into a role that she shouldn't necessarily be responsible for after the events of the past three seasons.
- I understand Jasper's views on the six month expiration date, but he either needs to be a part of the solution or possibly remove himself entirely from Arkadia because it doesn't look like he'll ever find any semblance of happiness with people he seems to despise.