Absolutely Speechless Thoughts about 407
So like, aside from the Octavia stuff, this episode was cooking on all cylinders for me, and god, did it land some gut punches.
I’m gonna get the Octavia stuff out of the way first because…yeah. I’ll buy what they’re selling (she’s hit rock bottom and longing for something– anything– to make her feel again) but I’m not happy about it. Her conversation with
Murderous Elf Prince was well acted but really heavy handed, and the shift from suicidal to Ready to Bone was a little bit abrupt. But I’ve struggled with her arc this season and if this means she’s turning over a new leaf and we get some forward progress…sure, okay. Also, this show’s insistence on what makes a murderer and what doesn’t is shaky at best and I wish they’d stop using that phrasing because it bugs.
The Science Island stuff really worked though, from Clarke’s lovely reunion with Abby to Emori’s delightfully in-character twist at the end. I am INCREDIBLY CONFUSED how the mansion survived the first death wave not just intact, but pristine but I guess I can chalk that up to some Becca Invention of Future-Plot-Related Convenience because the initial scenes of Murphy cooking and Clarke taking a goddamn break with a well deserved shower and almost nap were on fire. I wish we could have had Raven in there, giving Murphy increasingly unhelpful hints as he cooks just like he did for her in the flight simulator, but I do like that she was also taking a goddamn nap because literally everyone on this show deserves a nap and a cuddle.
The very convenient red shirt breaking in was puzzling, but it paved the way for Emori to steal the fucking show, so as my darling Moses in Attack the Block would say: allow it. She really tore shit up, first with that brutal fight and then with her spitting out her whole horrible history and what I really liked about it was contrasting it to Clarke, who has darkness but in a very different way. I have a lot of feelings about how Emori honed in on how Clarke was clearly loved and cherished as a child, because that is a fundamental to her characterization in a lot of ways. It sets her apart from other characters, like Murphy and Bellamy and Raven, and it’s a sort of invisible privilege that she doesn’t always recognize. (Privilege isn’t quite the right word there, because “being loved by your parents” should be a baseline human experience, but it isn’t and it’s a sort of emotional advantage that Clarke has that other characters don’t). And having Murphy be totally fucking into Emori’s ruthlessness was a delightful surprise that still felt earned and in character.
Anyway, the red shirt solution was clearly an appealing option for Clarke, but I really, really liked that Abby was still all “this is fucking terrible of us.” I appreciated the wisdom that Abby is bringing to the table there, because Clarke is just like “oh thank god this guy is worthless we can kill him nbd” and Abby’s like “…yeah, but we’re still killing him.” (Or if he lives, they’re still torturing him.) It’s an organic difference of opinion built around age and experience and I just love how it’s playing out. It’s also highlighting how Clarke is unable to see the trees because of the forest, and that indicates some interesting moments for her in the future when they inevitably turn into Mount Weather: Bone Marrow Boogaloo.
Sidenote: real glad Zach McGowan was able to pick up a paycheck for this episode. Good to see you boo, and I hope next ep we get Roan like, poking at fancy tech stuff in curiosity while Raven impatiently slaps his hand away. I also totally forgot that Miller was on the island so when Clarke said Roan was unloading the fuel “with the others” I had this great mental image of him and Luna doing it by themselves, because they’re both ripped but he’s crossfit and she’s yoga and man now I want to write a fic with them as dueling personal fitness trainers.
The Arkadia scenes worked well for me too, although the “every other character who isn’t contracted for this ep is magically elsewhere” dialogue felt a little clumsy because how fucking big is Arkadia then? But whatever, it gave Harper her own storyline that was heartbreaking and human, and well done, show.
But what I really want to talk about is Beard Dad and Bellamy having it out over a radio. First of all, I’m really glad both Ian and Bob got some solid material for their highlight reels because they both acted the shit out of those scenes with just radios to play towards. But everything was gut wrenching and in character, because Kane was parenting the shit out of everyone and nobody was having it, not even his Favorite Son Slash Trainee Dad.
People have already said it already, but thank all that is holy for a Bellamy story that did not revolve around the massacre, but who he is as a person. And who he is as a person is someone who will save the person in front of him every goddamn time, no matter the risk. But lately, he’s been fading because he keeps trying to protect people and no matter what, they’re leaving him or dying and he’s utterly powerless against the oncoming radiation. Bellamy telling those men that he wasn’t coming was agonizing to watch, and it reminded me of Bellamy finding Atom in the woods– he’s helpless and all he can do is listen to them die. He can’t even give them mercy like Clarke did for Atom. It’s a stark moment, and we feel every last bit of despair that Bellamy has been fighting for weeks.
And man, poor Kane. He was dadding Bellamy as best he could, but Kane has put his season one self so firmly in the past he forgot that not everyone has. Bellamy bringing up Kane’s role in his mother’s death complicates their relationship in a really challenging way, because so much of who Bellamy is now is because he lost her. He’s been carrying that guilt and anger around on his own for years, and you could tell it hurt him just a little to unload it on Kane, as deserved as it might be. (It’s also a very on-brand moment for the Blake Siblings, and let’s have a moment of reflection to thank the new writers who managed to nail this in one fucking episode). I am really interested to see where Bellamy is next episode, because “not wanting to be saved” is a really bleak place for him, but it’s also a place he’s been headed for this whole season and I cannot wait to see that arc come to fruition.
Next week: Bellamy and Jasper go on a very depressing looking road trip, and Jaha goes Full Cult!