by Mark Greig
This was a difficult episode for me to watch. Not because it was bad. Okay, it was bad, but not unwatchably bad. No, the reason I had such difficulty watching this episode was because of the directors excessive, and I mean EXCESSIVE, use of lens flare during the flashback scenes. Seriously, what was with all the lens flares? There was one every two seconds. Even J.J. Abrams isn't that bad.
After Finn (more on him later), the Blake siblings are probably my least favourite characters and this episode, which gave us their backstory, didn't do anything to alter that. While 'His Sister's Keeper' did give us more insight into these characters, it failed to make either of them more likeable or sympathetic to me. At least, it failed to do that to their modern day incarnations. I did feel sorry for flashback Octavia, mainly because she was nothing like present day Octavia. This Octavia, a young girl clearly traumatised from having lived her entire life in one small room with no windows and being forced under the floor whenever someone came knocking, is so different from the Octavia we know that they are almost completely different people. What happened between when she was arrested and the day she was sent to earth with everyone else to turn her into the shallow popular girl character we met in the pilot? More importantly, who re-styled her hair? Does the ark prison have a hair stylist on staff? It would explain why all these prisoners came to Earth with such perfectly styled hair.
The character I ended up feeling the most sorry for was their mother, Aurora. who had to prostitute herself to keep herself and her daughter safe from the Ark’s sleazy guardsmen (one of whom was the Pegasus’ chief rapist, Lt Throne, which just made this whole scene extra icky). And if that wasn't bad enough, she gets the indignity of dying off screen. After all she's suffered poor Aurora doesn't even get to have an emotional goodbye scene with her children. And all so Octavia could go to some lame masquerade ball.
The present day storyline didn’t do much to compliment the flashback story. There wasn't actually much of a present day story. Octavia was taken prisoner by a Grounder (probably to be his new dance partner) and Bellamy, Finn, Jasper and some red shirts went looking for her, but spent the entire episode being picked off one by one by other Grounders. While this was going on, Clarke took Raven to Finn's love shack which is also doubling as the apocalypse version of RadioShack. That's less a story and more a case of people doing random shit in the woods.
Away from the Blake family drama, poor Clarke and Raven were becoming trapped in love triangle hell with Finn, a cruel fate neither of these amazing ladies deserve. Love triangles are one of my pet peeves. Especially love triangles that create conflict between two women over a man who just isn't worth it. Girls, you’re got a great potential friendship going on here, don’t let Finn’s wandering libido ruin it.
I really hated seeing Clarke apologising for Finn and making excuses for him. She has nothing to apologise for, save for having poor taste in men. Finn is the one at fault here, not her. He's the one who should be apologising. First to Raven for cheating on her with Clarke and then to Clarke for not telling her - or anyone else - that he had a girlfriend (he clearly decided that it doesn't count as cheating if you're not in the same gravitational field). But he's not doing that. Instead he's making house with Raven while telling Clarke that "we started something". Ugh, is it bad that I hope he doesn't survive?
Hmmm, reading all of that back, this review comes across as very angry and bitter. Let's end things on a more positive note with a bit of Eliza Taylor being Eliza Taylor:
Notes and Quotes
--So Kane's lackey is the one who got Bellamy to shoot the Chancellor. Was it on Kane's orders or does he have his own agenda?
--Bellamy named Octavia after the sister of the emperor Augustus, whose real name was Gaius Octavius. He actually had two sisters named Octavia. All three were named after their father, Gaius Octavius. That guy clearly wasn't all that imaginative when it came to baby names.
--No Ark story this episode, save for the flashbacks.
Raven: "Do you love him?"
Clarke: "I hardly know him."
Two out of four lame masquerade balls.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.