After everything that happened during the latest season of The 100, including the controversies, the major character deaths, and the unsympathetic “apologies” the fans received as a result, it is very difficult for me to say anything positive about the third season. I was so excited for it and I couldn’t contain my excitement after seeing the trailer for the first time, so I am struggling to put these negatives and disappointments aside.
But, after going back and rewatching the first four episodes of the season again, I realized that, in my opinion, they were by far the strongest elements of the season. They contained everything I loved about the two previous seasons: political strategies, alliances, and Clarke navigating her way between two different groups that both value her importance. (And, as an added bonus, the City of Light was a subplot.)
Since Clarke is incredibly valuable to both the Grounders and the Sky People and is often the middleman and negotiator between them, I was curious to see how she would be reunited with the people she left behind and the woman who left her behind. Not only were her reunions with Bellamy and Lexa heartfelt and intense, but they also spoke volumes about how important Clarke is in this world.
We can’t lose Clarke. We can’t lose her. (Bellamy Blake, 3×02)
War is brewing, Clarke. I need you. (Lexa, 3×02)
While all of the characters have their role to play, Clarke is necessary for peace on both sides. Her ability to be cunning, manipulative, but still loyal to her people sets her apart from all of the other leaders on the show. She always strives to protect both groups and it was nice to see her importance recognized by Bellamy and Lexa.
I also loved the concept of Wanheda and the journey Clarke would have to go on to heal after the inevitable decisions she made at Mount Weather. Unfortunately, her self-healing was cut short and was replaced by Clarke continuously apologizing to everyone countless times after being blamed for everything that has happened to the Sky People. But briefly seeing her on her own in the first episode was a great contrast to the version of Clarke we saw in seasons one and two.
It was hard to go back and watch the earlier episodes knowing what would happen to the characters, especially Lexa’s horrible, shock value death.
The first four episodes of the season really showcased a different Lexa than we saw in season two. Her reunion with Clarke, despite Clarke spitting in her face and holding a knife to her throat, showed how soft and gentle Lexa truly was. We heard her genuinely apologize to Clarke for leaving her at Mount Weather and forcing her to make those tough decisions. We saw the stoic, intense Commander of the Twelve Clans as a mentor and teacher. We saw her risk her life in the epic arena battle with Roan. And we saw her genuinely smile for the first time. Knowing how her story would end, tainted these rare, beautiful moments but seeing the softer side of Lexa was definitely one of the major positives of the first few episodes in my opinion. The writers made an already complex character deeper and more tangible.
We also saw a different side of Raven that we haven’t really seen since the earliest episodes of the first season. We saw her smiling and being able to live without being tortured and hurt time after time. Though I do wish we could’ve seen more of her interactions with Gina, it was definitely refreshing to see Raven enjoying herself for once instead of constantly enduring physical and emotional pain.
Even though I’ve previously written about the numerous plot-holes and inconsistencies of season three, I thought the first four episodes were very well-written. Here are my top 6 (random number I know) moments from the first four episodes of season three (in the order in which they occurred):
- Clarke and Bellamy’s reunion in 3×02: This was one of the first moments that we saw what Clarke, her guidance, and her partnership truly means to Bellamy even after three months apart. He was so desperate to find her and even though he was injured, he didn’t want to give up on her.
- Clarke and Lexa’s confrontation about Mount Weather in 3×03: This scene was a battle of perspectives. At the end of season two, I think most of us, like Clarke, felt betrayed by Lexa’s decision at Mount Weather. But what I loved about this scene is that, as much as we were upset at her decision to abandon Clarke at Mount Weather, we can understand why Lexa did it. We are able to understand both of them: as leaders, Clarke and Lexa will always have to put the best interest of their people before their own. They are always going to have to make hard decisions.
- Clarke holding a knife to Lexa in 3×03: I think this scene is one of my favorite interactions between Clarke and Lexa, especially in contrast to Clarke’s reaction to seeing Lexa again in episode 3×02. Clarke wants to hate Lexa for betraying her but she can’t because she understands why Lexa had to do it. Neither of them are innocent; they both have blood on their hands. Not only does this scene allow us to see how much Clarke is hurting, but we also see Lexa react to how she has changed Clarke and while also coming to terms with the fact that she hurt the girl she deeply cares about. Lexa’s soft apology is heartbreaking too, as she accepts Clarke’s anger without defending herself. I can’t help but think that in this moment, Lexa believes she’s lost Clarke and any future she could have with her forever. Eliza Taylor and Alycia Debnam-Carey’s acting in this scene was so moving.
- The Mount Weather attack in 3×03: The first time I saw season three, I thought everything leading up to this scene was great, especially Echo’s role in deceiving Bellamy’s group. The way the writers misled us into thinking the threat was in Polis was a great introduction to the Ice Nation and what they were capable of. But by going back and watching it again, I was reminded of Pike and Bellamy’s horrible “anti-grounder” beliefs. Now, this scene just reminds me of the unnecessary brutality in the later episodes.
- Lexa’s swears fealty to Clarke in 3×03: I think this might be one of the most beautiful, moving scenes I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s such an important moment for Clarke and Lexa’s relationship. In the beginning of episode three, Titus tells the Ice Nation representative that the Commander doesn’t bow to anyone, but at the end, not only does Lexa bow before Clarke in private, but she also swears fealty to her. The first time I saw this scene, it gave me goosebumps. It’s a glimpse into just how Lexa values and respects Clarke and views her as an equal. It’s just so beautiful.
- Lexa and Roan’s arena battle in 3×04: I think this is the best fight scene I’ve ever seen. It was epic, well-choreographed, and shocking. Finally being able to see Lexa’s fighting skills was awesome too. (I’m going to miss her so much in season four. So. Much.)
Going back and rewatching these first four episodes made me reminisce about the potential season three had to be amazing and compelling. But everything these episodes introduced us to and promoted was erased and replaced by endless brutality, inconsistent plot-holes, and that confusing City of Light plot. I really wish the rest of the season was similar to and consistent with these four episodes because it definitely would have made it a strong, interesting season.