It's surprising that an episode almost entirely void of Clarke would turn out to be one of my favorites of the season, but "Fallen" advances the plot and raises the emotional stakes in terrific ways. I truly enjoyed every moment of it.
For most of this season, Bellamy's decisions have been confusing and disturbing. The character that I watched in season one and season two was remarkably complex; when he made ruthless decisions, or allowed his humanity to get the better of him, it was still understandable. I don't really get his anti-Grounder, pro-Pike agenda — and to be honest, I'm not sure I understand what happened there. This week, however, I felt like I knew who Bellamy was again.
This return to form begins with the beautiful sequence in the episode's opening scene: Bellamy is chained up, watching as people return to the cave. The range of expressions on his face are perfect, from the stunned relief that Octavia had survived to the slow realization that Lincoln hadn't. The fact that Octavia's angry, grief-filled attack on Bellamy lasts so long also helps to sell the scene. It's a rare slow moment, and though there's no conversation about the hurt and anger between the Blake siblings, the sheer physicality of Bob Morley and Marie Avgeropoulos conveys those emotions well. The 100 often uses action in place of dialogue to round off emotion and character development, and this scene is more powerful than most.
Everything that happens with the group afterward falls together in an entirely organic way, too. It makes sense that Kane would question Monty's plea for safe harbor, and I really like that Monty is still in the dark about being a pawn in Pike's larger plan. It's fascinating to see Bellamy react so quickly and solidly to Pike's order to shoot Octavia in the leg — and how about the determined way he convinced Pike he was on their side? That his plan rids the Sky People of Pike, removes the Grounder blockage, and gets Kane back to Polis is just icing on the cake.
Before the group decides to head back to Arkadia, there's another slow moment towards the end of the episode, when Kane asks Bellamy if he saved everyone just for Octavia or because it was the right thing to do. I've been pleading for these kinds of reflective scene for a large part of this season, and I love how the writers introduced such layered reasons for Bellamy's actions without fully resolving his motivations. It's an impressive turn, and I hope we see more like it in coming episodes.
In Polis, meanwhile, Ontari is struggling with her decision to fake it as commander. She's helped by Murphy, who says he'll play fake Flame Keeper. It's a smart move for Murphy, who realizes that the safest option is to make himself vital to the new commander. The two of them are an unusual pair, to be sure, but work weirdly well together. Murphy manages to keep a cool head and get Ontari out of a few scrambles, and her character is fleshed out in dialogue between the two of them. Ontari explains that she was ripped from her family and treated to Queen Nia's brand of special cruelty for years — if anything, she deserves the role of commander. Murphy seems to empathize with this story, coaching her on how to get past the technicalities of ascension.
In Arkadia, however, the absence of both Pike and Kane means that it's a perfect time for A.L.I.E. and Jaha to advance to the next stage of their City of Light plan. Raven, still shaken from her horrifying realization that A.L.I.E. stole her memories, tries to get rid of her personal A.I. by exposing herself to sensory overload. As she waits for Abby to show up, Raven concocts a solution to get rid of A.L.I.E. for good. The plan hinges on the bracelets that the Delinquents wore when they first hit the ground, so Abby deploys Jasper to get them. Unfortunately, Jaha finds him first and destroys the remainder of the bracelets.
As punishment for Raven's show of strength, A.L.I.E. gives back some of her most painful memories. The clips are tinted in an orange haze and Lindsey Morgan banshee-screams her way through Raven's returning trauma. It all seemed overwrought at first, but then Finn's face appeared — a painful reminder of how cruelly and swiftly he was killed. Can you even imagine what Raven was going through? She succumbs to the pain, allowing A.L.I.E. back into her system. Instead of being shadowed by the lady in red, though, Raven wakes up as A.L.I.E. The serene look of satisfaction on her face is killer.
Jackson, who's taken the City of Light chip without Abby's knowledge, sedates her. When Abby wakes up, she's bound to a chair and forced to take the chip. Jaha and A.L.I.E. realize she won't bend easily, so A.L.I.E. slits Raven's wrists, then just stands there, calmly bleeding out. Abby's faced with a difficult decision: Take the chip and save Raven, or do nothing at all? She chooses the chip.
"Fallen" ends with Jasper realizing what has happened. He sedates Raven, steals a rover, and makes a break for it. Immediately after gunning through the corrugated steel gate, though, his headlights illuminate a pale-faced human. It's Clarke, returned to Arkadia to find Lincoln. The next moments are jumbled: Clarke realizes that Lincoln is dead, jumps into the rover with Jasper, and as the vehicle pulls away, we see that the Arkadia horde is led by her mother.
- Ontari's grotesque eyeball move was a little too Game of Thrones for my liking. The dark humor right afterwards, however — when Murphy reminds her to practice restraint and she responds that she didn't kill the man — well, that really works as a moment of levity. I've desperately missed the humor and camaraderie that Jasper and Monty brought to the table. Can Murphy and Ontari bring some of that back? Even if the humor comes in much darker form, I'll take it.
- What was up with that moment between a naked Ontari and a chained-up Murphy? It was so out of place in this show, I nearly laughed out loud. On the other hand, Richard Harmon managed to play that scene convincingly enough that I soon found myself wondering if it was part of a larger character-driven plot about Ontari.
- Octavia doesn't have much dialogue in this episode, but she sure manages to say a lot. There's so much anger and hostility in Avgeropoulos's body language, and I loved the feline way Octavia kills a soldier at the end of the episode. She triumphantly looks at her brother, as if to remind him that blood must have blood.