This week’s roundtable discussion regarding The 100’s latest episode, “Watch the Thrones,” includes opinions and commentary by Talk Nerdy With Us writers Erica Schaaf, McKenzie Morrell, Jenni Bradley, and a few brief remarks from Nicola Choi when she was able to join in.
IGN and Variety, as well as many viewers, have been speaking up today about their concerns regarding last night’s episode. Are you surprised by the negativity in regards to the episode? What kind of a reaction did you have and what kind of a reaction did you anticipate from the fans?
McKenzie Morrell: I was a little surprised to see that bigger outlets were voicing their issues with the episode, but I can’t say that I completely disagree with them. I think that since we’re going full speed ahead now that things are bound to fall through the cracks and notable plot holes will come to the forefront. I had a high-energy, ‘holy shit this is great,’ reaction to the episode and I expected the fans to feel similarly. I think that they still felt that– there’s just that idea that maybe we should be picking things apart a little more now that things are getting down to the wire.
Erica Schaaf: I know when I first saw it, I was all excited and hyped, but watching it this time and seeing the criticisms, I could completely understand where they were coming from and it made me take another look and kind of go, ‘Hmm…this could have been developed better.’ Honestly, the biggest thing that thought made me wish was for a slightly longer season. Even 2-4 more episodes could have shored up some of the plot holes.
McKenzie Morrell: Yes, even though the order that they got is pretty big for this show (I couldn’t imagine having to write a 24 episode season and not go a little insane) but an even 20 eps would have done just nicely. That way we could have seen more of the Ice Queen/Lexa interaction, the coup being drawn out a little more and Bellamy’s knee-jerk reaction to newcomer Pike. We needed more investment, not to say I’m not whole-heartedly already invested but re: Gina, Ice Queen, Pike, it could have used some more marinating!
Erica Schaaf: And the election! I know they said on Twitter that they’d considered an election episode. I don’t think a full episode was needed, but more build-up could have definitely improved audience reaction to the outcome, given the understanding of how and why it happened.
McKenzie Morrell: Yeah, like were the Sky people really wavering that much? Did they really not see the benefit in becoming the 13th clan? Is Pike a better alternative to Abby or Kane… questions left unanswered, but could have been great to explore.
Erica Schaaf: Well, and things that left me going, “Huh?” were things like, “Why didn’t Kane and Abby tell the Arkers about becoming the 13th clan and what that meant?” and “Why didn’t they let everyone know about the army being put together for their protection?” I mean, the fastest way to have a panic is to NOT tell people what’s going on.
McKenzie Morrell: I mean things happened pretty quickly. There might not have been time to sit down and tell them that– considering Mt. Weather just went up in flames. Memorial happening… people were surely on edge.
Jenni Bradley: I’m extremely disappointed in the election. I expected it to be drawn out more, not over in the span of a minute. I understand the reason for making Pike chancellor is to create another antagonist, but it felt rushed.
Erica Schaaf: I did feel like a lot was rushed. One thing that really disappointed me overall was what was written for Clarke’s character. It felt…pointless? I wasn’t expecting to feel like the main was being sidelined but that’s exactly how I felt.
Jenni Bradley: And maybe if more Arkadians had been given the chance to walk around and explore Polis, they might have seen the benefits to becoming the 13th tribe. But instead, only the top dogs were allowed to go. So is it any wonder that the majority went with Pike? Also, what was the point of Clarke changing Lexa’s bandage? It had obviously been attended to and looked clean, so it seems the only reason was for there to be a sexually charged moment.
Erica Schaaf: Exactly. The time used for that scene could have gone to SOMETHING that would have given us a view of the election or Kane and Abby’s reaction to everything. What were your thoughts, though, about Clarke’s interaction with Roan, her second failed attempt at being an assassin, her rapid change of heart toward Lexa? I think that could have used to have been developed more as well…
Jenni Bradley: At this point Clarke has waffled so much on Lexa that I’m beginning to get whiplash. I’m still mostly undecided on Roan.
McKenzie Morrell: Ha. Reading your responses in regards to Lexa’s bandage changing is comical.
Jenni Bradley: Clarke should definitely leave the assassin-ing to the professionals, since she either chickens out or is too obvious.
McKenzie Morrell: I agree that there was no need to change the dressing, the new one looked dirtier than before– but I guess it offered a moment for them to “bond” or find some common ground and talk about forgiving people who make bad choices.
Erica Schaaf: Did they talk about that?
McKenzie Morrell: She asked her how she moves forward after being betrayed by her ambassadors… we see where that was going.
Erica Schaaf: I didn’t see that as forgiving people who make bad choices. I saw that as there still being a pretty huge threat to Lexa out there. I mean, Nia was only one person. The other clans could easily band together and take Lexa out.
McKenzie Morrell: I don’t think the clans are that predictable. Not to mention Nia seemed to be the one antagonizing. Not to say that Ontari doesn’t still have her own agenda being under the Ice Queen’s guidance for so long. But as for another coup by the clans– doubtful.
Jenni Bradley: The death of the Ice Queen and rise of the Ice King was a twist I didn’t see coming. I find this show is moderately predictable but this was unexpected. Unless it was talked about previously and I just completely missed it.
McKenzie Morrell: There was a moment when Clarke told Roan she wanted him to become the King. Watching it now after seeing the screeners, I’m like, ‘Damn, it was there all along. Was this planned? Did he know Lexa was going to kill Nia?’
Erica Schaaf: I did think that was possible. Yeah.
McKenzie Morrell: Just to add to that forgiveness plot before we move on, I think it mirrored Clarke’s own struggle with Lexa. Like, how is she supposed to forgive and move forward and work with her after she did such an awful thing. And Lexa’s response of ‘hey, people do what they think is right at the time, it doesn’t make them bad people… just bad choices.’
Jenni Bradley: Was Nia supposed to be hardcore? Because I found her extremely dull.
Erica Schaaf: Really? I wanted to see more of her. I thought she was gone too soon.
McKenzie Morrell: She could have used some more screen time, so that we really get into those layers.
Jenni Bradley: Well I also find Roan dull, so maybe it’s just me.
Erica Schaaf: I really like Roan. He’s subtle. And watchful.
McKenzie Morrell: I dig Roan. I’m looking forward to seeing where his newfound title takes him. And what it means for Lexa…
Erica Schaaf: Definitely.
Jenni Bradley: I feel like Lexa making him King will be her undoing. Not that he would try to usurp her as Uber Commander, but that her followers will see it as continued weakness.
Erica Schaaf: Really? How?
McKenzie Morrell: She skewered the Ice Queen… I don’t think anyone saw that as weakness. Roan is just someone who actually will work with the coalition, vs. try to unravel it. Anyone who really cares about their people and their clans coming together will see that.
Jenni Bradley: Her many ambassadors have already been questioning her, including Titus. The coronation could be setting up for another, larger coup.
McKenzie Morrell: Eh. Not sure I think that’s where this story is going… but, everyone is entitled to speculate where things are heading.
Erica Schaaf: I don’t know. It may not come as another coup attempt. I think it may come as Ontari going in as an assassin. And I’m betting she’d be far more effective at killing people on an individual level than Clarke. What did you think of the scene at the Dropship with Monty and Jasper?
McKenzie Morrell: PAINFUL. It was like watching Rachel and Ross break up for good. These two have been through so much, and to see it come to a peak, was just earth-shattering. Mad props to Christopher Larkin and Devon Bostick, they really wowed me.
Jenni Bradley: JASPER! My little broken man! As someone who has been dealing with depression (but not necessarily tragic lost loves), I can understand what he’s going through. I just hope Monty doesn’t give up on him while Jasper tried to push him away.
McKenzie Morrell: JONTY will rise.
Erica Schaaf: I loved the scene and their acting. They both blew me away. What I had a hard time understanding was the reason for Finn’s ashes to have been involved…
McKenzie Morrell: Oh please let me explain this!
Jenni Bradley: Was it just Finn’s? I assumed it was everyone’s. Maybe not ALL of the ashes, but a bit from everyone who has died.
Erica Schaaf: Remember when Abby tried to give Clarke his ashes? That’s what I ended up thinking it was. So just his as far as I know. I originally thought they were Maya’s somehow.
McKenzie Morrell: I saw it as Jasper took Finn’s ashes to get back at Clarke. Wanheda took the love of his life, and he would do the same. Clearly Abby was saving them for her for when she returned, how heartbroken would she have been if she came back to find out Jasper dumped him somewhere and she didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. Monty had that reaction because he knew what that would mean to Clarke. That’s how I saw it anyways.
Jenni Bradley: Based on Monty’s reaction, I first assumed they were Maya’s. But after Finn’s name was mentioned I thought it was everyone. Nice to see the different interpretations!
McKenzie Morrell: Super interesting to hear different interpretations
Erica Schaaf: It just feels like it’s been so long since Finn’s death and Clarke is clearly appearing to have moved on and doesn’t seem to be thinking of Finn at all. I had much more of a heartfelt reaction to Monty mentioning Raven’s response to Jasper stealing the ashes.
McKenzie Morrell: Eh. I don’t think that Clarke has completely moved on. I think that’s the first thing that really haunted her since her time on the ground. Yeah, maybe a little bit of both then. Who knows!
Erica Schaaf: I’ve seen a lot of people saying a number of different things as to the reason WHY Bellamy decided to follow Pike. Things from him being out of character to the writers trying to put him on a level playing field with Lexa as far as decisions to allow people to die are concerned to the possibility that he’s supposed to parallel Clarke’s decisions last season (except that there wasn’t the buildup to allow the emotional impact and that he wasn’t really forced into the decision he’s making). What do you think of all that? And how do you see it?
Jenni Bradley: I find it very out of character. If anything, he should’ve fought against Pike. They started the season with him trying everything in his power to find and save Clarke, so why would he jeopardize it by allowing a Grounder-phobe to gain power? The end result would be Pike destroying Polis and possibly killing Clarke, even if it was accidental.
McKenzie Morrell: I see it as the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg we really didn’t get to see in its magnitude. But an Iceberg nonetheless. It wasn’t just about Gina’s death (who we barely knew) or the Farm Station people (who we barely knew) but it was more about Bellamy’s internal battle and him feeling like he failed. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to save everyone, and when he can’t that’s when everything comes flooding him. Siding with Pike has given him a different outlet and one that he can control and perhaps get some justice for everything and everyone he’s lost on the ground. I don’t think it was out of character at all– he’s an evolution of his former self and the idea that he’s trying to get on a level playing field with Lexa is kind of outrageous. Sure, let’s murder 300 people so I can win the girl. No. I think Pike is definitely on a mission to destroy all the grounders and the truce that’s been forged with Lexa’s coalition, and I hope for Bellamy’s sake he gets back on the right damn side.
Erica Schaaf: That idea wasn’t from an in character perspective, it was stated by some as from the writers’ perspective, in regards to evening the playing field.
McKenzie Morrell: Even so, I don’t think that’s a smart place to come from.
Erica Schaaf: For me, I did have to wonder if it was an intentional decision to have Monty not there to try to reason with Bellamy when he was making that decision. I mean, we saw the two of them really being there for each other in the first two episodes, supporting each other. And yet in this critical moment, Monty was gone.
McKenzie Morrell: Yeah, I mean, perhaps he could have talked him out of it.
Jenni Bradley: And now that makes me think there’s a conspiracy. Jasper was so adamant that Monty go with him. Maybe because he knew which way Bellamy would fall without him? Jasper has more reason than anyone to hate the Grounders. I could see him doing whatever necessary to break the alliance.
Erica Schaaf: Mmm…I don’t know that there’s a conspiracy…but that’s an interesting thought.
McKenzie Morrell: Agreed, Erica.
Erica Schaaf: What was the high point of this week’s episode for you?
McKenzie Morrell: Hmmm… high point. Let me think.
Jenni Bradley: It’s sad, but the high point was no scenes with Jaha.
Erica Schaaf: (LOL)
McKenzie Morrell: Unfortunately we might see him again next week
Erica Schaaf: I kind of like that Jaha feels a bit like the bad guy right now.
McKenzie Morrell: I’m not sure he’s the bad guy, I would say Pike is…but Jaha is just batshit… making decisions for people without their consent.
Erica Schaaf: “Maybe there are no bad guys.” (laughs)
Jenni Bradley: Jaha is major crazy town.
Erica Schaaf: He definitely was without enough oxygen for far too long.
Jenni Bradley: Ok maybe not. The high point? Monty and Jasper at the drop ship.
McKenzie Morrell: High point was finally getting to see Lexa assert her authority in a physical manner. And I’m not talking about CLEXA. ha. We’ve never seen her fight before, everyone was just always taking orders from her– so it’s nice to see she actually can hold her own.
Nicola Choi: Probably the excellent choreography in the fight scene, Nia’s death (!!!), and Clarke trying to poison her. But yeah, Lexa being a commander in her own right was great. Her line about not letting anyone fight for her because she’s the commander was awesome. Hi guys, by the way, I’m a bit busy at the moment but wanted to join in.
Erica Schaaf: I think the high point for me was the choreography of the fight. I’m not sure how realistic it was that Lexa won when we’d seen what Clarke saw from Roan’s fighting skills, but it was definitely a seriously sexy scene just from an aesthetically pleasing point of view.
Nicola Choi: Regarding the realistic-ness of the fight – Lexa’s style was Kali, I think, confirmed by Aaron Ginsburg. It’s a Filipino martial art that is very intricate. You train in hand to hand combat as well as multiple weapons. Lexa’s speed and agility won her the fight as did Roan’s cockiness – he was too slow in killing Lexa. He raised his spear when he should have just shoved it in her throat. Most of Kali is about anticipation and quick recovery. Asian martial arts is a good choice for Lexa because of her size (Did you ever see Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon?). Like when Roan presses down on her with the blade, she puts her free hand on the other end of her own. This allows her to manipulate the angle of Roan’s weapon and thus turn a defensive block into an attack – hence decking him in the face.
Erica Schaaf: Interesting. The only martial art I really know anything about is Taekwondo.
Nicola Choi: Yeah, because styles like Wing Chun or Wu Shu fighting (that involve Weaponry) benefit the smaller, agile person. It’s all about exploiting weakness and anticipation, patience, confidence, economy of movement, etc.
Erica Schaaf: That’s seriously cool. Have you guys seen the promotional pictures for next week?
Jenni Bradley: Nope. This is one of those shows that I intentionally stay spoiler free. Every new episode is completely new.
McKenzie Morrell: I just looked at them… but, if we wanna stay spoiler free then I won’t comment.
Erica Schaaf: Nicola, did you see the promotional photos for next week? I’d really like to talk about those. Maybe we can blindfold Jenni. (laughs)
Jenni Bradley: Nah, go for it. I’ll plug my ears.
Nicola Choi: Haha I did!
Erica Schaaf: Soooo…next week…Clarke’s in Arkadia!!! We have Abby/Clarke scenes!!! I’m squealing right now!
McKenzie Morrell: So is Jaha… Alie… and Pike? Also… I think Clarke and Abby are at the drop ship, not Arkadia… seeing as Pike has taken that over, it’ll be hard for them to talk about what’s going on.
Erica Schaaf: Are they? I don’t care! They’re together. I’ll take it!
McKenzie Morrell: I don’t know! Or maybe they’re in some secret wing. Don’t quote me on that. hahaha
Erica Schaaf: Jaha, ALIE, and Pike together scares the crap out of me.
McKenzie Morrell: Maybe Pike sees her, too. Maybe they got him already! And this is some master ALIE plan to drive a wedge between grounders and sky people. dun dun dun
Erica Schaaf: I’m kinda wondering if ALIE makes that whole field of people dying able to happen.
McKenzie Morrell: Hmmmm…. things to ponder for the next week..