Spoilers through season 3, episode 11: “Nevermore”
When The 100 season 3 first aired I didn’t care one bit for the ALIE plot. Jaha and Murphy’s journey to the City of Light bored me to tears and for the first few episodes, I was only interested in Bellamy’s descent, Pike’s rise to power, and everything with Lexa. Who could blame me? We all complained about how awful and out of the place the City of Light story line seemed. Then Raven took the pill and suddenly everything changed: ALIE’s plot had one of the good ones. She had one of OUR 100 in her grasp and that plot turned into something much more than the crazy musings of a pill peddling old man.
Raven has been broken in every way possible and still she manages to be one of the strongest characters on the show. Finn was sent to the ground because of her (in her mind), she lost Finn both romantically and then physically, she lost the use of her legs and suffers through excruciating pain daily, she’s watched loved ones die, and through all of this, she’s forced to watch from the sidelines because physically can’t go out and do a damn thing to help. Despite her suffering, there’s this expectation for Raven to “be alright.” Jasper is allowed to be drunk and in mourning for months, but Raven is given no such solace. Unable to throw herself into a work she loves for fear of her injuring herself more, Raven is treated like a glass doll, so of course when Jaha approaches her with a way to heal that pain, Raven takes the CoLaid.
For eleven episodes we’ve watched the delinquents drift further apart, drift away from the characters we once knew and each of them dealt with the pain in their own way: Raven took to the City of Light, Jasper drank, Monty lived in a house of denial, Bellamy holed into himself and followed Pike, Octavia grew angrier and more distant, and Clarke ran away from her problems. In this darkness, it is only when this group comes back together to save Raven do they start to heal. Raven is the catalyst for them putting aside their differences, for them forgiving one another’s sins of the past.
And boy are they going to have to be in a forgiving mood with Raven after she was controlled by ALIE. Not only did she bite a chunk out of Clarke’s arms and then seemingly enjoy the metallic taste of blood, but she tried to kill herself on several occasions, taking down the rest of the group with her. However, it was Raven/ALIE’s words that did the most damage. Armed with Raven’s memories and ALIE’s candor, it was almost as if the writers read our darkest thoughts about the characters on the show. “Jasper is too whiny.” “Clarke thinks she’s a god.” “Bellamy is a coward and a murderer.” Raven controlled by ALIE (pretending to be Raven) voices all of those frustrated emotions toward her friends and despite the truth of it, it affects them exactly how ALIE wanted, leading to them rushing to not be caught by her goons.
It’s here that we should really take the time to appreciate Lindsey Morgan’s acting ability. She hasn’t been given as much time to shine, especially when compared to some of the other leads, but after the latest two episodes, “Fallen” and “Nevermore” she has burst onto stage with something to prove. Morgan is a torrential force to be reckoned with, flitting between volatile Raven and calm, creepy ALIE at the drop of a hat. It’s eerie how she’s mastered the slight tilt of her head, the widening of her eyes to so perfectly match ALIE’s odd behavior, but Lindsey Morgan does it so well I actually thought she was possessed. Even the screams as Raven was tied to the bed were haunting, guttural and terrifying.
By the end of the episode, thanks to Raven’s original ingenious idea and some quick thinking on the part of Sinclair and Clarke, Raven is saved from ALIE’s control. Clarke and Bellamy may be the “leaders” of the 100 but it’s Raven who consistently finds ways to keep them together, whether through her drop ship plans in season 1, her ability to take out Mount Weather in season 2, or by shedding light on ALIE’s true nature in season 3, Raven is at the heart of their success. She keeps each of the delinquents grounded by letting them know how she feels about a situation, never letting egos rise too high, and certainly holding them accountable for their actions. By no means is Raven perfect, but much like Bellamy, there isn’t anything someone can to Raven that she hasn’t already said to herself.
With the title of this episode, you may think that Raven’s actions embody the creature of the same name in Poe’s poem, “Nevermore,” but that role actually goes to ALIE:
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
Darkness is upon the 100 and ALIE, having lost AI 2.0, is angrier than ever. With all of Arkadia under her control it seems like she might have her sights set on the Grounder population next and that is a frightening prospect for our lovable and fallible delinquents. But hey, they’re back together and that’s something we should all celebrate.
The 100 airs Thursdays on The CW at 9pm EST.