Bellamy walks through the woods with Echo, attempting to prevent another war. At one point along the way he asks her, “Don’t you get sick of it?” He’s referring to the seemingly endless conflict between factions. It’s conflict that has not slowed down, despite the oncoming radiation that threatens to wipe out the planet. And maybe this episode’s grand spectacle — the destruction of Arkadia — is a statement about how inhibitive and trivial these conflicts are in the grand scheme of things. After all, the latest stand-off between the Ice Nation and Skaikru happens for control of the ship… Oh well.
My real problem with this episode –and much of season 4 so far — is how contrived and silly the plotting has been to get us to this point. Roan’s decision to attack feels rushed. All of a sudden, he becomes paranoid that Clarke has her own secret agenda. For a ruler who has been fairly pragmatic in the past, taking up arms so quickly is out of character. Then we have Octavia, who last week survived a stab from a sword and a massive drop off a cliff (I mean, that water looked pretty shallow). I can overlook this one though, as it allowed for Bob Morley to show off some impressive acting. From the pure devastation he experienced last week, to the more subtle moment of hope when he realized Octavia might be still alive, he’s proven to be a very dynamic actor.
There’s also the matter of Raven’s seizure (stroke?). We learn that part of A.L.I.E. is still inside her brain, along with Becca’s knowledge of a hidden ship. This conveniently allows Raven to find a solution to the Nightblood problem AND a means to carry out the solution at the same time. Really? But we are apparently going to space once again, so not all is bad. The consequences of using this new ability could also prove deadly, which raises the stakes for both Raven and Abby on their mission.
Finally, we have Riley. When the camera cut to his empty post, I almost yelled out “Damnit Riley!” Until recently, Riley was held captive and tortured by the Ice Nation. So when he finally has a rifle aimed at the King, he’s not exactly willing to stand down. Eventually he goes rogue, putting the entire negotiation of peace at risk. This begs a question: Why was Riley even a part of this mission? The show does at least acknowledge this in an exchange between Kane and Monty. Marcus asks, “Riley? He shouldn’t even be here.” Monty responds, “That seems to be the consensus.”
Now despite all of these problems with the show’s writing, there is still a lot of potential going forward. With the salvation of Arkadia out of the picture, Skaikru and the Ice Nation can possibly stop intimidating each other and get down to this ‘end of the world’ business. Raven and Abby are both hallucinating, which makes this the perfect time for a road (sky?) trip. Clarke no longer has to worry about her list, and can now spend more time focusing on the next impossible moral decision that is sure to be thrown her way.