The 100 is always known for jumping right into things, and this week was no different. The episode starts out with the Queen Nia of Ice Nation surrendering herself into Lexa's custody - admitting her part in the destruction of Mt. Weather. Just before any justice can be served, she calls for a vote against Lexa (who states this is a coup) Nia challenges Lexa to a death match to decide her fate, and Nia asks that her son Roan represent her. Nothing says love like throwing your kid into a death match, right? Lexa is the "commander" however and says that she won't allow anyone to take her place.
At Arkadia, Pike is quickly becoming too comfortable voicing his opinion, and pushes for a swift attack against grounders. Kane and Abby acknowledge that Ice Nation was the real threat, temporarily dismissing him to re-strategize. Bellamy finds Kane, and expressed remorse for losing 49 of their people to the attack on Mt. Weather recently. Kane tries to remind Bellamy that he was hoping to save lives, but Bellamy takes on responsibility for their deaths and isn't in the best head space. Tension is high at Arkadia, with Jasper and Monty leaving the camp for a Mt. Weather memorial, and Octavia trying to mediate animosity between the sky people/grounders that spells out trouble on the horizon.
Lexa is next seen introducing Clarke to her youngest and most promising apprentice - Aden. And even though it's spelled differently than mine, I'll just imagine this character was inspired by me... But anyways, Clarke is informed that if Lexa were to die, Aden will become the next commander. Clarke isn't wanting to leave her trust in the hands of a child, but Lexa doesn't fear the battle with Roan - at all. In preparation for battle, Roan doesn't seem to happy with his mothers decision to select him. She says that if he can defeat Lexa, she will lift his previous banishment - what a sweet offer from dear old mom! Clarke takes matters into her own hands, approaching him and suggesting he kill his mother to become king with their support. Roan says that he couldn't do it because it could turn his people against him, but he isn't opposed to helping Clarke make it happen!
The Mt. Weather memorial is disturbed when Pike begins to rile up their people with the fear that an army of grounders are in close proximity. Abby and Kane are aware, having heard that Indra and Lexa are apart of the decision o protect their new allies, but Pike doesn't see it that way, sparking a riot that almost gets Lincoln seriously injured. And we're listening to new guy Pike WHY?! Lincoln finds his way out of the facility and shows signs that he's growing agitated by the direction Arkadia is heading (thanks Pike) and you know that things are sure to get worse before (or if) they get better. Lincoln makes the decision to temporarily distance himself to prevent future issues, but this decision only proves Octavia's concerns are legitimate. Elsewhere, Jasper leads Monty in a different direction, to the drop ship that exploded and killed masses. Monty realizes that they are standing around the ashes of many - but Jasper has passed out in a drunken stouper.
Clarke approaches Nia to say she's willing to change her vote, in return for protection of her people. When Clarke makes a blood oath, an ally of Nia's strikes Clarke and smells the poison she had prepared to kill the queen. Nia decides to spare Clarke, and does the same blood oath with her savior - dripping the blood across Clarke's face - telling her to inform Lexa she has found a successor as well. Completely unsanitary, but adds a great level of shock value when you walk into a room! The blood has a black, ink-like appearance, and Lexa subtlety hints that it has to do with "nightbloods" or the children seen training with Lexa. Clarke makes me last ditch effort to dissuade Lexa from fighting, but the horn sounds and Lexa says her (temporary) goodbyes to her friend/lover/enemy. At this same moment in time, Pike sits with Bellamy in Arkadia and begins to persuade Bellamy to his way of thinking - constantly discussing his idea to attack grounders while they have the element of surprise. Bellamy seems to be playing with the notion (and I don't quite get it) but if he chooses to aid this madman all hell will break loose.
After much anticipation, Lexa arrives to the battle arena where she will face Roan in a battle to the death, and Clarke decides to go support her after all. The fight begins, and it may just be the most elaborately choreographed fight sequence in the shows three years. The climactic battle includes hand to hand combat, sword fighting, and even a spear gets in the mix, as a suspenseful and well-executed scene. When Lexa gains the upper hand and has the opportunity to kill her foe, Nia yells to her son that if he dies - he dies a coward. Lexa makes the pivotal decision to launch the blade at the queen instead, killing her in front of a crowd and making Roan the new king of his land. The 2-3 minute scene is the most memorable contribution to the episode and deserves major credit for the overall successful moment.
Things at Arkadia seem to be going a dark direction, with Bellamy guiding Pike and other rebellious soldiers to collect guns and attack the grounder army that is defending them. Lincoln is the only person who tries to stop things from escalating, and moments later the camp alarm sounds as Abby, Octavia and Kane have Pike's people imprisoned. Pike calls out Kane for committing them to the Commander's clans, and Bellamy (with other idiotic characters) start chanting "Pike" to express their support of the power hungry aggressor. When Jasper wakes up to a campfire started by Monty, he jumps right back into his animosity and questions Monty's morality for easily dismissing the downfall of Mt. Weather. Monty gives him an ultimatum to fall apart alone, or pull his s*** together and Jasper decides to take the lonely road. After Monty leaves, Jasper accidentally spills the ashes of his former friends (which he previously mentioned jokingly) and sobbed to himself - distraught, alone, and succumbing to a dark side of grief.
In the closing moments of The 100, Kane frees Pike after being voted in as a chancellor (big mistake.) In his first three actions as leader, Pike frees those imprisoned, revokes the mark of the 13th clan, and leaves to continue his quest to annihilate grounders. Why anyone would vote for Pike is beyond me, but Arkadia will soon learn that it will most likely contribute to their downfall. My only hope is that Octavia, Lincoln, Abby, Kane, Raven, and the others who oppose this new leader can escape unharmed... Good luck with your new boss Bellamy!
Overall Grade: 8.8/10
The episode contained one of the best fight sequences of The 100, and filmed it with a visually stunning approach that made it a perfect moment. Lexa's evolution has been an interesting one thus far, and she's surpassed Clarke in terms of overall likability/badass potential. I was slightly surprised to see people (especially Bellamy) join Pike so quickly, and it seemed like a drastic transition for his character - although season 1 Bellamy clearly had some issues, so perhaps this isn't so far off after all. His decision was rushed, but those criticizing should refer back to early Bellamy, and Clarke season 2. Despite Octavia and Lincoln's minimal presence for a large portion of the episode, they continued to remind me that they are very important moral representatives of the series.
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
-Lincoln and Octavia are the most idealistic characters of The 100, I hope her warnings don't result in a foreshadowed demise of her grounder companion.
-Lexa really shines in the fourth episode, showing her qualities as a leader, friend, ally, warrior, and potential partner. Yes, she's done her fair share of betrayal in the past, but I'm currently enjoying the progression of the Lexa storyline.
-The fight scene used slow motion techniques at the best intervals, with sporadic choreography that kept people guessing who would come out on top.
-I hate Pike, and am growing to despise any character who radically supports the man who thrives on conflict. Even Bellamy is drinking the kool-aid?! I'm not okay with this.
-Nights blood has an uber concerning veil shrouding the mystery of Lexa, Nia's successor, and anyone who could potentially become the next commander.