THE 100 Recap: No One Challenges The Commander

the 100

I honestly feel like a broken record when it comes to THE 100. Every week I think they can’t possibly get any better than this, and every single week they prove me wrong. Tonight’s “Watch the Thrones” was the strongest episode of the season so far, and – dare I say it – one of the very best of the series to date, and here is the reason why.

I have always been on the fence when it comes to Lexa. Ever since she first showed up in season 2, I wasn’t really sure if I actually liked or trusted her.

When she betrayed Clarke and the people from the Ark in the season 2 finale, I admit she was not on my favorite characters list. But that has changed with what we have just witnessed tonight. The fact that she is trustworthy or not is not even in question here, not really. Tonight, Alycia Debnam-Carey has made me see just what a complex, dynamic and strong character Lexa really is, and it all came down to her brilliant performance. I don’t even think brilliant or fantastic or outstanding do it justice, to be honest. The way she carries herself, with such grace and strength, and the way she addresses everyone leaves no doubt that Lexa is the rightful Heda of the Twelve Clans, and that is all due to this young Australian actress’ talent.

It all starts when the Ice Queen is brought before the Commander for judgement for her crimes against the Sky People. Clarke, as an Ambassador for her people, demands justice. But everything is turned on its head when the Ice Queen says that what they really should be judging is Lexa’s ability to lead. She calls for a vote of no confidence and several members of the coalition move against Lexa, which is basically a coup d’etat.

That leaves Lexa with two options: one, she sentences them all to death for staging a coup – but that would make each of the clans  turn against her and an all out war between the thirteen clans would be inevitable; or two, she could allow the Ice Queen to issue the challenge. Being the competent Heda that she is (despite what other clans might think), she chooses the latter.

But the Ice Queen is no fool. She challenges Lexa to a duel, but then chooses her son to fight in her place. The Commander won’t back down, though, and says she will fight. Titus and Clarke try to talk her out of it, but she has decided. Nothing is changing her mind, and, as she tells Clarke, if today is the day that her spirit will choose a successor, then so be it.

She introduces Clarke to Aiden, who is the most promising of the nightbloods, and the one will succeed her as Heda in the event of her death. Except Aiden is a child no older than 12 and Clarke is obviously not comforted by that fact. So, in an effort to stop the challenge, she approaches the Roan, the Ice Nation Prince, and tells him he should be King. While he says he can’t kill his mother himself (because the Ice Nation would never take him back like this), he can help Clarke do it.

Now, THE 100 has always been a show with strong characters; but most importantly, it has always been a show about strong women and a study about morals, and what is right and wrong, and how that can change in dire circumstances. Nothing is black and white in this dystopian future. The Clarke Griffin we see today is a far cry from that young girl we met when those one hundred teenagers first arrived on Earth. Although not a lot of time has passed since then, Clarke has grown and evolved into such a strong, mature and independent woman, who is more than capable of leading her people. Tonight, when she calmly faces the Ice Queen and tries to deceive her, we see that brilliant, fearless leader she has become.

It all goes to hell, though, because the young female guard figures out her plan, and immediately immobilizes her. The Ice Queen is obviously not pleased and soaks Clarke in her guard’s nightblood. It serves as a message to Lexa that she has a possible successor from the Ice Nation to the Commander position.

Clarke tells the Commander what happened and we quickly learn that the nightbloods are usually brought in to be trained, so they can be a possible candidate to the title of Heda of the Twelve (now Thirteen) Clans.

It is truly fascinating how the storytelling on this show manages to balance the action with lessons about the Grounders’ history and politics and this was no different. The Grounders seem to have established a kind of medieval model of government that resembles what we saw in the Middle Ages, but mixed with a spiritualist belief system – hence the fact that the Commander’s spirit chooses its successor.

So, with Clarke’s plan failing, the duel must take place. Even though I had been warming up to Lexa through the half of the episode, it was right here, in this moment, that she won me over. She shows herself as a fierce warrior and more than deserving of the Heda title that was bestowed upon her.

The duel against the Prince is beautifully coreographed and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat, not even aware that I was holding my breath. When he has her pinned down and she escapes, and then the positions are reversed, I was actually cheering very loudly for her. And then – I think I stopped breathing for a moment, because suddenly she was throwing the spear she had taken from Roan at the Ice Queen and that sorry excuse of a human being falls on the throne dead and oh my sweet baby Jesus, that was so freaking awesome.

So the Queen is dead, Roan is now the King of the Ice Nation and can be a powerful ally to Lexa. Clarke seems to be well on her way to forgiving the Commander, as that last scene showed us. And you know what, I am now on board with their relationship (romantic or otherwise) because the chemistry between Eliza Taylor and Alycia Debnam-Carey is out of this world.

Meanwhile, back at Arkadia, Pike incites a rebellion and gets Bellamy on his side. They decide to go attack the Grounder army that is guarding the camp and Bellamy is the one who provides the guns. I get that he is grieving because a lot of people died when he should have been there to protect them, but he is just being an idiot right now. I hope he can eventually see the light and come back to the right side, but it seems like we are going to see Bellamy reverting to a close version of his season 1 self.

So for now, he is on board with Pike’s cause and helps him lead a group to go and kill the Grounder army. They get caught, however, because Lincoln won’t let them out of camp and it gives Marcus Kane time to come out and see the whole treason going on. Pike and his minions get thrown in jail, but the rebel leader manages to turn half the camp in his favor and decides to run for Chancellor. When the ellection runs, Pike wins and the first item on his agenda is to attack the Grounder army. Idiot.

This guy has no idea what the hell he is doing and the war he is about to start.

Also, Jasper is still deep into his grief and Monty has had enough. While I feel bad for the guy, this subplot was completely overshadowed by Lexa’s awesomeness. Can we talk about her again?

A new episode of THE 100 airs on February 18 at 9/8C on The CW.

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