TV Review: The 100 (3×08) “Terms and Conditions”

The CW Network

The CW Network

“I do that every day.”

Goodness gracious Bellamy Blake, way to give a girl whiplash.

After last weeks immersion in the politics of Polis and emotional upheaval of Lexa’s death (more on that in a second) this week we return to the campground of Arcadia where their situation has turned sour. Meeting two grounders at the gate, Bellamy and Pike learn that a blockade has been put up-Lexa’s move last week-and that they’ll relent only if Pike is handed over to them. The grounder asks Bellamy to think of what’s best for his people, to which he responds “I do that every day” before quickly shooting them both dead.

This action puts the pressure on the new chancellor, as they quickly realize the immediate threat of the blockade: food shortages. The tense situation results in a cat and mouse spy game where everyone is pitted against people who used to be their friends. Monty is put on surveillance duty and Miller’s boyfriend places a bug in his jacket, all Miller, Harper and Kane listen in to Pike’s meetings. Sinclair is recruited to get a message to Lincoln who is in lock up still, while Kane does everything in his might to stop Pike from waging a war that will undoubtedly result in the deaths of their people. Kane’s end game tactic thought is ill thought out as Lincoln and Sinclair stage a riot in lock up, distracting Bellamy ad co., as Kane attacks Pike and tries to drive him out of Arcadia and into the hands of the grounders. Monty catches wind of this and sends Bellamy after him, saving Pike but resulting in Kane being captured and sentenced to death for treason, as an example to their people.

This, fellow fans, is where Bellamy ultimately draws the line of what he is willing to do. He confronts Pike about how they can not be killing their own people now but gains no ground and makes the final decision when Hannah comes around asking her son and Bellamy if they know who was working with Kane, and Bellamy tells her no, covering fro Harper and Miller.

Hannah repeats the sentiment from the start, about how it really is easy to do what you have to to protect your people and Bellamy, in a similar steely resolve, says:

“I do that every day.”

But this time the meaning is so much different and so much more emotionally potent.

This is the Bellamy fans have been waiting for this season.

Elsewhere, Jasper and Raven team up to help Alie find the other A.I. as Raven begins to loose her memories, most pointedly, Finn. This forces her into realizing the setbacks of the City of Light and she fights back against Alie’s influence in a wonderfully empowering moment for the character.

The show doesn’t return until March 31st and it’s difficult not to think that this was all stage setting for the upcoming episode. There were some positives but also a lot that stuck out in an uneven season.

The breakneck speed that the show is turning out character (non) development and storylines is near ludicrous, limiting it’s ability to be effective. While that pace helps us finally begin to see the reset of Bellamy and, to an extent, Monty’s storylines, it’s no less frustrating to see the writers barrel through plot lines that ideally would be given time to breathe. It means that character motives are sacrificed and personality traits thrown under the bus in order to service the larger story. This is seen most glaringly in Pike and Bellamy. Pike could have been a fascinating character and the actor is doing what he can but Pike is drawn as little more than a bullheaded, trigger happy, bully. Given time maybe we’d be able to understand his trauma when he first arrived to earth-not his actions mind you-but the terror that lead him to his present day cagey prejudice is far from fleshed out enough to depict him as anything more than a gun touting cartoon villain.

Bellamy has been even more aggravating because the show has even begun to forget season one Bellamy who was still largely a dick. I don’t for one second believe that he’d care about following orders from Pike because he’s the chancellor. It majorly throws out the whole “whatever the hell we want” version of the character in order to further this bizarre narrative since season two of Bellamy being a follower, a foot soldier to other leaders (Clarke, now Pike). Yes, I believe he’s changed since stepping off the drop ship, but not to such an extent where authoritative rule is the only way.

“I do that every day” Bellamy is much more in line with what we know.

Also troubling is the way the show has placed three prominent people of color in roles of the antagonists who scheme to wipe out a group of people, especially with Kane, Octavia and Clarke being the voices of reason. In light of last weeks ill befitting killing off of a widely popular and prominent lesbian character (in a lazy bit writing that’s rightfully angered fans) it’s tough not to notice some of the greater discrepancies.

Despite ALL of this, there were moments I enjoyed as well, making the episode good rather than just tolerable.

Kane continues to receive some excellent character work, his desperation in keeping the peace and especially the means he’ll go through to do it being a far cry from season one. The whole plan he tries to execute is wonderfully structured with mounting tension up until the moment Bellamy pulls a gun on him at the gates. The inclusion of Miller and Harper only adds to the scene and I hope to see more of the later in the upcoming episodes.

It also needs to be said what an asset Bob Morley is to the show, giving Bellamy all the nuance that the script lacks to make him a shaded character that we still are able to root for after all the screw ups and misplaced loyalty.

But it’s Raven and Jasper who carry the most intriguing plot-the two characters being depicted as the most damaged coming together to solve a problem both ending at a crossroads.

Not the best episode of The 100 has done this season but a hopeful installment that seems to pave the way to better storytelling.

7/10

She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at TheMarySue.com . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: allyson@theyoungfolks.com.