So who exactly is in charge? Or maybe the question is, who should be?
The obvious answer is Clarke. She is the rudder guiding everyone in a direction. She makes the big choices, and will most likely determine what will happen in the upcoming battle. If she moves towards a less bloody solution, it will probably shake up that way. If she chooses to 'kill them all', unfortunately that is probably what will happen. That's an awful lot to put on the shoulders of a seventeen year old, no matter how natural a leader she is. But maybe Kane is right when he said, "The grounders trust Clarke. Maybe we should too."
The fact that Clarke is so important makes the way Abby treats her a little infuriating. I can see the reasons, she is the Chancellor, and her mother. So there has to be a bit of a strange disconnect. How can she view her daughter as a commander, as someone who could potentially give her orders? Yet she has recognized that Clarke is important, and in charge of the alliance with the Grounders. To me, Abby constantly pushing Clarke down and questioning her choices shows she isn't the best person to be in charge. That she cannot separate her position from her role as Clarke's parent.
Kane on the other hand seems to be a constant voice of reason. He is no longer power hungry, he genuinely seems to want the best for his people. If that means following Clarke, I bet he will. That makes him a good advisor, and possibly a better leader than Abby. Which is such a shift for me, because at the beginning of the season I wanted her to become Chancellor.
Not that Clarke is infallible. She has put all her hopes and plans onto Bellamy, who very nearly failed in his mission. If it wasn't for Maya, he would've just faded away. Which brings me to the Mountain Men. Jasper really showed some courage and leadership confronting President Wallace like that. In a somewhat surprising move, President Wallace took a stand, and held onto his last shred of humanity by refusing to bleed the 47. Of course Cage took the opportunity to take over, letting his own ambition and the 'needs' of his people justify his monstrous agenda.
But are the majority of the Mountain Men evil? These people have been bleeding the Grounders by the hundreds for decades to keep themselves alive. They are vampires, used to taking what they want. Yet not all of them are monsters. The most obvious example is Maya, who is as complicit in the bleeding of the Grounders as former President Wallace is, but she has been betrayed by her own people and sees that their ways are evil. Does that make her choices good? She is a young woman in love, siding with the man she loves. But if that were it, would she have been so proactive in Bellamy's rescue?
So okay, Maya is basically a good guy now, and perhaps Wallace has realized too late that his actions have been wrong. That doesn't solve the biggest problem. How many of the Mountain Men are actually evil? The security forces are obviously bad and complicit in the torture, mutilation, and brainwashing of Grounders. Lovejoy's death is also totally unambiguous. It was Bellamy or Lovejoy, and honestly who are we supposed to root for? Yet I love how they painted even that rather black and white situation in shades of grey. Meeting Lovejoy's son gave Bellamy and us a real sense of the stakes here.
When I take a step back, the Mountain Men are doing monstrous things, but the same can be said for the Sky people and the Grounders. The Grounders tried to kill a bunch of teenagers. Kane and Jaha executed hundreds for relatively minor crimes. It is basically a messy, bloody and horrible cluster-bomb of three forces headed for an equally messy, bloody and horrible disaster, and there are a lot of innocents in danger of becoming collateral damage.
So they clean the Grounders when they are brought in for harvest, but then leave them to rot in their own filth in cages? Or do they hose... never mind, I don't want to know.
Indra continues to be an interesting character. She is both clearly unhappy with the alliance, yet very loyal to her commander's orders. No matter how things play out over the rest of the season, I hope we get to see more of her.
What happened to poor Lincoln?
Harper is not doing well. With that much invasive bone marrow harvesting, I doubt she will survive much longer.
This was a strong episode, with a lot of political maneuvering, heroics, and some very ambiguous themes. Which is why this show has gotten so damned good.
4 out of 4 Leaders vying for power.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.