I have a confession: The people from the Farm Station are my least favorite group on this show. And that’s really saying something, since last season, we watched an entire society drain Grounders of their blood so it could keep itself alive.
In the short time since he’s been voted Chancellor, Pike has made a lot of decisions. This week, we watch as he kicks off a plan to make the Sky People entirely sustainable. He lays out the groundwork necessary to start growing crops, pointing on a map to the arable land that his team found. Monty, who’s in the meeting, hesitates. “There’s a village here,” he says. “What about the people that live there?” It’s a valid question, but it comes with an obvious answer. Pike actually murdered 300 warriors while they slept. Do you think he’s going to think twice about a village of Grounders?
Kane, Miller, and Octavia listen in during the meeting. Kane and Octavia have been corresponding via the radio he handed her before she left Arkadia. Miller’s been assisting Kane with spy tasks, like planting bugs in Pike’s office. As soon as they hear the news, they spring into action. Miller liberates a horse for Octavia, and she heads to warn the Grounders.
She shows up at the village, her hands raised, repeating that she means no harm. She nonetheless gets her face kicked while trying to warn that the village might be attacked. She then bonds with the Grounder child she saved earlier in the episode. Though the Grounders seem to listen to her warning at first, it’s a trap. They tie her up, surrounding her with piles of logs from trees that ooze poisonous sap. When Pike’s crew shows up, she manages to spring free, and yells out a warning. The villagers have lit poisonous fire with noxious smoke that can kill. Most of the group survives, but Monroe isn’t so lucky. And worse, the land is ruined by the smoke.
Pike calls Bellamy into his office and tells him that they probably have a traitor among them. Bellamy’s tasked with finding out who it is. The plot doesn’t establish anything new, but it does drill home just how far Pike is willing to go. Although both Monty and Bellamy take the time to disagree with Pike, he’s clear about his mandate — they’ll kill whoever stands in their way. I felt like most of this was obvious after last week’s massacre, but now the stakes are raised even higher. Land that could have been used for farming has been ravaged. Octavia has inadvertently killed someone, and the Grounders in Sector 4 will almost certainly be out for blood.
Meanwhile in Polis, Clarke has a decision to make. The new Ice King has sent her a present: Emerson, the lone remaining survivor of Mount Weather. Clarke’s immediate reaction is to have him killed, a position that oddly puts her on the same side as Lexa’s adviser, Titus. Lexa explains that Emerson’s fate is up to Clarke. She’ll have until sundown to decide.
The story line is an interesting parallel to what’s happening with the Sky People and with Lexa’s new peaceful approach. On the one hand, Emerson was directly responsible for killing 49 people at the latest attack on Mount Weather. On the other, Clarke has just advised Lexa to not retaliate after 300 warriors were massacred by the Sky People. If Clarke chooses to have Emerson killed, she’ll undercut her own advice, and ultimately, she realizes this. Instead of killing Emerson, Clarke decides to have him banished. This proves to be unpopular; the others at Polis start rumbling in disapproval, Titus nearly loses his mind. Lexa hushes them. “The crimes at Mount Weather cannot be answered by one man,” she says. “Violence does not answer violence.”
Clarke’s decision and Lexa’s implicit support gives us another view of Grounder tolerance. For the last two seasons, we’ve seen the Trikru, Lexa, and many of the other Grounder characters evolve far beyond simple depictions of ruthless warriors. Years of history and compromise shape their decisions and traditions. It’s one thing for the Commander to choose peace over war after a massacre like the one Pike carried out. It’s another thing entirely for Lexa to publicly approve of Clarke’s leniency toward Emerson. It certainly shows more consideration and empathy than Pike has been capable of. It’s an unnerving moment: Are these really the villains that Pike has been harping on about?
While all of this happens, Abby’s on a mission to figure out exactly what’s happening with Jaha’s miracle pill. She’s suspicious of Raven’s pain-free leg. Though she clears Raven for work, she also decides to do more tests. How exactly is this chip (or pill, or whatever it is) working?
It is working, and it’s clearly done a number on Raven, who actually smiles in this episode. She’s tasked with finding code for A.L.I.E. 2.0. Though Raven initially asks why A.L.I.E. needs a new version, A.L.I.E. and Jaha dismiss her questions. She breaks A.L.I.E. into the mainframe, allowing the AI to sneak in to find latent code that her developer hid in space.
At this point, I’m really on the fence about the City of Light story line. I love Raven and want her to be onscreen much more often, but I don’t want her to be faux-agreeable. I certainly don’t want her to play any part in destroying the rest of the world, and that’s where this arc seems to be headed.
The one piece of good news? Jasper doesn’t take the chip. Abby reaches him just in time, telling him that she’ll approve of the whole thing as soon as she knows more. When Jaha questions this approach, Abby gently reminds him that it’s for the best. Would he let his own son take something that she hasn’t checked out? This leads to the creepiest bit of the episode: When Wells is mentioned, Jaha’s face is as blank as stone. He doesn’t recognize the name. Abby pauses, and an unseen A.L.I.E. reminds Jaha who Wells is. Though Jaha recovers, he makes the mistake of telling Abby that it’s been a while since he’s thought about his son. It’s effective storytelling, for sure: Nothing could have convinced me (or Abby) faster that this City of Light business is bad news.
Thankfully, Raven and A.L.I.E. don’t find the code, but we do learn that whatever A.L.I.E. wants to find was on the 13th station — the one that never joined the Ark. The scene cuts away, and we see Murphy being held by Titus, a pod from that station lying beside him.
- I really loved that the writers took time to explain the “science” behind the City of Light chips. Did it make sense? Not really, but I appreciate that there’s a pseudo-science reason for the wacky visions and pain-free existence that Jaha peddles as salvation.
- We haven’t seen Clarke draw in a long while, and I’m glad that the writers brought that character detail back, too. It’s a great way for us to see her totally relaxed, as well as gentle reminder of her growing feelings towards Lexa. I was insanely touched when Lexa saw the drawing of herself sleeping, and Clarke had to reluctantly explain that it wasn’t finished yet.