In Episode 3 “False Gods,” Raven is forced to take action when a problem surfaces from within, while tensions become violate in Sanctum, threatening peace among the people.
S7E3 Review (Spoilers)
Moral quandaries abound on tonight’s episode.
As I’ve mentioned in my recap, one of the big themes throughout the series has been redemption. Can someone “evil” redeem his/herself? Is it possible to balance out horrible past deeds with noble present ones? Maybe, maybe not, but you’ll die either way if The 100 has anything to say about it!
We’re back on Sanctum for this storyline. Two plots emerge: One involves the tensions surrounding Russell Prime’s impending death sentence, the other is a The 100 standard: threat of nuclear meltdown! Yep, that old chestnut again.
We’ll deal with the nuclear storyline first, as it’s deceptively simple. The reactor’s cooling rods got fucked up somehow, and they need to be repaired before the core overheats and everyone dies. Raven’s confident, if they handle the problem quickly, no one has to get hurt, maybe a few days of vomiting, but that’s it. She needs one crew to fix the leaking pipes and another to go into the core and fix the busted rods. Anyone with welding skills can fix the pipes, but the rods require a Nightblood (since they are resistant to radiation poisoning). Naturally, Clarke volunteers but that’s out because the other plot needs her (you’ll see), so Murphy and Emori (Luisa d’Oliveira) are up.
Murphy is our resident survivalist: regardless of what society deems “right” or “wrong,” he’s going to survive above all. He gets a lot of shit for this attitude throughout the series, even earning himself the nickname of cockroach, which is very apt in this case. Raven understands that all of his motives revolve around what situation benefits him the most and sends Emori in to fix the rod, knowing Murphy won’t let her fail. It’s interesting to note that in a series replete with horrible people and decisions, infidelity has only really come up once. For all Murphy’s “me-first” prioritization, he’s surprisingly loyal when he wants to be (though one could argue that’s also in the interest of self-preservation).
Emori is another character I didn’t get to cover in my series recap, she is Murphy’s girlfriend. They met in Season Two, when Murphy was off on Jaha’s spiritual journey towards the “City of Light.” While that may not have worked out, meeting Emori did. She’s turned out to be the best thing that’s happened to Murphy in the whole series. She becomes his moral compass and often times the only person that can reason with him when he’s got a crazy idea in mind.
This time though, it’s Raven who has the crazy idea (well, not so much crazy as just dangerous). She initially tries to recruit members of Wonkru to help, but, since there’s drama going on over there, she settles for the prison miners (not an easy choice for her given their volatile history). They have a leading pair, Hatch (Chad Rook) and Nikki (Alaina Huffman). Hatch seems like a reasonable fellow (so you know he’s fucked), while Nikki is more of a Lady Macbeth type. She’s tired of the prison miners being treated like second class citizens (they’ve served their time after all! So, what if they tried to destroy the only habitable planet when they realized they were losing?) and refuses to join her husband in helping Raven. This works out for her in so much as she doesn’t die.
Our redemptive theme comes into play when Murphy and Emori realize the miners are doomed. They are both horrified, but Raven pulls a Clarke and makes the best out of her bad situation. Yes, it sucks, but, while they are already doing the repairs, they might as well finish the job before they die. Murphy gets trapped in the room with them (batting a thousand, Raven!) and has a conversation with miner Macbeth. He explains that he went to jail for robbing banks, not such a bad crime all in all, except that his trigger-happy Lady decided homicide was an option. Hatch clearly feels bad about it, going so far as to say that kind of thing can never be redeemed, which I think goes a long way to making Murphy feel better when they all die around him. Phew! Thank the Commander, Murphy doesn’t have to feel guilty!
Anyway, the second plot point centers around Russell’s execution and the discovery that the Commander is no longer a thing.
Russell, as we know, is now the Dark Commander, and I’ve been eager to see what he’ll do to save himself from the pyre (his idea). Gotta say, his work around is pretty clever. He gets one of his followers to call him a false god (hi title!) and try to shoot him. The assassination attempt fails, but Clarke and Indra realize they can’t kill him because he’ll become a martyr. Meanwhile, Gaia gives up the ghost that the Flame had to be destroyed because the Dark Commander had taken over Madi. Apparently, the crew, from which Sheidheda originates, isn’t pleased their Commander was ousted, and they leave Wonkru. Ouch. The loss of people means less forces to keep the peace.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I think the decision Raven makes to sacrifice the miners is especially weighted, considering she was at one point captured and tortured by them. Is she doing what’s best for Sanctum or getting some much-desired revenge? A little of column A, a little of column B. When she traps Murphy in with the dying miners, it’s a calculated strategy since Murphy wanted to tell them they were going to die, and Raven didn’t trust they would finish the job if they knew. When Murphy is trapped (metaphorical gun to his head), he doesn’t reveal their fate to them. When everything is over, he does seem to revel just a little in Raven’s entrance to the “world of grey”.
This episode was definitely food for thought – which is funny to me because the nuclear plotline brings it out all the real juicy moral stakes, and, if you think about it, the heavier consequences. Sure, Sheidheda staged his execution and shows an aptitude for manipulating blind followers that will most certainly go south quickly, but, with Wonkru breaking up and now the miners set to revolt, Sanctum is well and truly fucked!