Since this review is hella late, sorry, attending a wedding (not my own, thankfully) and processing my feels in a timely fashion just don’t mix well, clearly. So let’s just cut the chit chat and dive right into the madness. And there was an abundance of that during this episode, I’m tellin’ ya! This week’s installment was written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson, and no, I’m totally not crushing on them and their mad writing skills, because that would be totally weird– right? Right. Total professional, here. Onward. “Join or Die” is the sisters first piece of produced TV! So congrats to them, they totally nailed it. Literally. Poor Kane. More on that later… and just a quick note, if you’re squeamish and the sight of blood pooling in the streets of a once moderately cheery Polis, while screams of those who won’t succumb to ALIE’s reign echoes in the background, then this episode might not be for you. I personally am a fan of gore and horror in general so this was definitely one of my favorites of The 100 yet. I know, I’m a sick, sick, and twisted soul. Oh well.
Bloody hell, or as I like to call it… Polis
As I said, the streets of Polis are drenched in the blood of people who dare to defy ALIE and her devoted followers. Or enforcers, if you will. With Jaha, Jackson and Ontari at the helm in the Grounder capital, there’s really no chance of Kane, or Pike making out of this situation alive… or without ingesting the City of Light pill, right? Perhaps.
Kane and Pike, accompanied by those remaining grounders tasked with capturing the cut-throat Chancellor in Arkadia, arrive in Polis and man, does Kane looked rattled. This is so not the Polis he has come to know (and dare I say love), a place he once stood in all bushy-eyed and gungho to embrace under Lexa’s rule. Pike knows nothing different from what he’s seen from the grounders in the past, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that this would be what he was walking into, chained and bound, he makes a snarky ass comment about how naive Kane is to think that the new Commander would be merciful to his plea for peace. And he’s not wrong. Please hold, did I just agree with Pike? I need a moment. There’s actually a few times during this episode that I do side with Pike, which is unheard of considering his lack of character development this whole damn season. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Polis is now full of grounders who have taken the key, damn you Ontari! Why weren’t you strong enough to resist, and become a great leader? Damn you! Much to Kane’s surprise, Jackson and Jaha step out, along with the new Commander and offer the newcomers the key in order to survive. Jaha pleads with Kane to take the chip, after Pike publicly (and loudly) refuses. He even goes as far as to threaten Ontari’s life and then gets taken down by his own men from Farm Station. Pike seemed super perplexed that his own group would betray him like that. But according to the messiah over here, there aren’t any stations in the City of Light. Okay, Jaha, the white dye from your chin patch is going to your head. It’s not hard to figure out from the people strewn up in public that those refusing Jaha’s new world order are being crucified in the streets for their defiance, it seems people don’t just scold and send you to the corner anymore… a pity. The irony is that after all this time, Alie seems to share the grounders mantra of “blood must have blood.” Red dress… makes sense. Hmm? Both Pike and Kane stand their ground and say hell no to the mind-altering nano tech. Bag over their heads, party of two.
I find it oddly satisfying and disturbing that ALIE is so bothered by the fact that everyone isn’t following suit. She doesn’t seem to comprehend that people have their own thoughts and their ideals might not align with hers. Well, get used to it sister– because there’s no way you’re getting Clarke and the Adventure Squad on your deranged, tech-loving side. *as I sit here in a corner rocking back and forth hoping I’m right for once*
With Pike in the cell with the other captured, they seem to have something a bit more special for Kane in mind. They haul him off and Abby states she would like to take a crack at him… alone. Oh damn, is Kabby about to get hot and heavy? Unfortunately… not so much.
Pike becomes slightly more human
It may be 12 episodes too late, but I’m glad that we finally got some insight into Pike and what fuels his complete and utter insanity. If it weren’t for Michael Beach being such a damn good actor, I’m pretty sure I would have burned that character alive, with my prayers. What a damn tool. I mean, does anyone just come out of their mother’s womb being a total and complete asshole? Don’t answer that. Of course they do! Babies are tiny little terrors: crying and demanding everyone’s time and attention, rat bastards. Haha! Kidding. But not really… But, back on track, Charles Pike. I actually didn’t completely despise him during this episode, and I think that the Benson sisters did a great job of making this villain a bit more human. It was no easy task, I tell ya. But they managed to not only humanize this ruthless leader, but made me root for him for a hot second, or two.
We’re treated to a flashback, one that I’m pretty sure was the best addition they could have written into this episode. It’s completely insane to think that over the course of these three seasons, that only six months have gone by. Six months. What even? In the flashback, we travel onto the Ark (before it was dying and the delinquents were sent down to death) and we see a clean group of juveniles being shuffled into a class with none other than Charles Pike. Oh, yeah. Pike’s a teacher. That might have been mentioned in 302, “Where is Wanheda: Part 2” but man, I forget about it. Which is most likely why neither myself, or anyone who watches this show has been able to connect with this character. We never saw his evolution, what made him tick and why he was all about surviving and the expense of the grounders.
It was strange to see the roles reversed a little, Kane being the “bad guy” up on the Ark trying to take the power from Jaha and Pike being the sensible one. Charles Pike, the sensible one. Never thought I would be writing that one down for the history books. But nonetheless, Pike seems to be the only logical one on the damn space station. When he’s brought in to teach the delinquents wilderness skills in order to survive on Earth, he immediately questions ‘why?’ Why now? Is it safe? They must know something! I got a chuckled at the fact that Clarke is in solitary, along with Wells, and they were all like “nah, they’ll be fine– plummeting to their deaths and encountering God knows what on the ground.” Sound leading, guys. Super sound. Sure, Pike tells Jaha, Abby and Kane that Clarke “paid attention the first time” in class, but it still just made me giggle. Clarke is a BAMF, even behind the walls of solitary confinement. You go, girl! But in all reality, they knew that if Clarke was in the class with the rest of the group, she would do what her dad set out to and tell them all that the Ark was dying. A detail Pike eventually found out about.
The groups are divided and we see Murphy (he’s a dick by the way), Harper, Jasper (with his long locks and goggles), Monroe (She’s alive, sobs), Fox, Miller and Octavia (yes, she’s all timid and adorable) and how the heck is this only 6 months ago. They look like newborn fawns finding their footing for the first time. So clean. Oh, so, clean.
Since the kids are rule breakers after all and really not taking this class seriously, Pike gets frustrated that no one is paying attention to him as he’s trying to save their lives, RUDE, and since Kane and Jaha won’t let him tell the kids that they’re being sent down to the ground, he takes it upon himself to beat the shit out of Murphy. Poor Murphy. It must be in Richard Harmon’s contract to either be tied up, chained up, or being beaten in some way shape or form. I totally saw what his intentions were, to get these little shits to stand up for one another, to band together and rise above the unbeatable odds… but did he really need to be so harsh about it? I had mixed feelings. But ultimately he did get the job done. I really liked how they paralleled Pike and Murphy in the cell in Polis and then them six months ago on the Ark. The irony that John Murphy survived is unmatched and it was a beautiful moment of triumph for the otherwise unlucky sky boy.
Whomever’s idea it was to use a new version of “Radioactive” from the pilot as the music we see when an unconscious Clarke rolls up on her gurney and Bellamy (after he just shot Jaha) is boarding the shuttle to Earth, is a freakin’ genius. It may have been cliche in the premiere… but for this episode it totally worked and the audience then realizes how full-circle things have come.
The Adventure Squad is at it again
An extremely important aspect that’s happening within this episode, is that not only is (half of) the Adventure Squad at it again, but they’re on the hunt for Luna. With limited time and a ticking time bomb back in Polis, they need to haul ass to save their friends and loved ones. Clarke, Octavia, Bellamy and Jasper have always had a great dynamic going on, and “Join or Die’s” episode wasn’t any different.
Did anyone ever stop to think that perhaps Luna didn’t want to be found? I mean, the Boat People seem to be stealthy, they’re not going to just sit around and wait to be found. Considering their leader fled Polis after her conclave with Lexa. The group follows Lincoln’s map, where’s a gif of Ricky Whittle’s face photoshopped onto Dora the Explorer’s bag when you need it? When they roll up on water and an altar-like arranged set of rocks, Octavia loses her shit… just a little bit. Will they ever find Luna? Odds aren’t looking that great. The best part of this whole journey has got to be when everyone’s taking a break from trying to find Luna and they’re all around the fire about to sing kumbaya, and restless Jasper throws a plant into the fire and poof! Green flames. Nature, say what? Is this just a post radiation thing… or will this work if I find these magical shrubberies? Your guess is as good as mine. After all that, if finally clicked that that’s the way to signal Luna. Ding, ding ding! Pretty clever, but I’m not too sure if they would have figured that out in real life.
Blake Siblings still on the rocks
I’m not going to touch upon this too much, because my position on this matter hasn’t changed drastically since we last spoke about the lingering resentment between Bellamy and his sister Octavia. They’re still having major issues, and ones that stem from the death of Lincoln. It’s still too soon to go in depth about him… but, Octavia continued to blame her big bro for the death of her loved one. And I mean, she’s not wrong. He did have a pretty big hand in it all and when he tried to absolve his sins for having blood on his hands, he reverts to blaming everyone but himself. I’m sorry, but Bellamy Blake needs to take responsibility for the things that he’s done. Not blaming Clarke for leaving, or saying that Lincoln would still be alive if Octavia had just trusted him. I’m sorry, but no. Maybe you shouldn’t have given her a reason not to trust you and maybe things would have turned out differently, eh? I’m sure Octavia will eventually come around, but a part of me doesn’t want her to. I don’t think Bellamy has repented for any of his asinine actions and it’s unfair for him to just all of a sudden be the great brother, and hero everyone is begging for him to be.
What Bellarke hug?
The highly-anticipated hug between Bellamy and Clarke… much like freight train headed towards another freight train, we knew it was coming and some, more than others were excited (or should I say over-excited) that these two would find themselves in each other’s arms again. But I hate to burst your bubble, it was just a hug guys. Yes, it was an understanding that they need each other, but I don’t think at this point it’s in the way that you Bellarker’s want. Keep in mind that Clarke just lost the love of her life, she is on a wild goose chase trying to secure Lexa’s legacy and I’m pretty sure the last thing on her mind is dealing with another relationship that will undoubtedly end in bloodshed. Considering their current circumstances, no one is safe and to get involved period, no matter how much time has or hasn’t passed would be completely out of character for all involved. I see the friendship. I acknowledge the friendship. But I do not agree with the fact that Bellamy keeps blaming his mistakes on Clarke leaving. I’m sorry, but the last time I checked you were an adult, Bellamy and you can make your own decisions (to ya know, not kill 300 people for no reason) and not need a babysitter by your side 24/7. It was a nice moment between the two, platonically of course, before the Boat people totally swam up on their asses and captured them good. Worst lookouts ever.
Indra ain’t messing around
Back in the holding cell of Polis, we have Indra ready to f-ck Pike up for massacring her army. Girl legit has her shackle stake from the wall and is just slicing and dicing the new leader of the sky crew. I was delighted to see Indra here, where has she been? I don’t like it when there are unexplained absences for the characters. I know there are scheduling issues and all that jazz, but a little mention here or there would have sufficed. It’s nice to see she’s not still lurking in the shadows, but perhaps embracing them and getting her revenge on the monster who took her village from her.
Who had any doubts that Indra would say NOPE to the City of Light? Good, none of you should have any doubts. She knows what’s up, and I was so ready for her to bestow 300 glorious cuts on Pike, but Murphy saves the day. Unlikely hero, right? Richard Harmon is my kindred spirit and I just want to watch him all dar e’er day! This moment was the moment that I was like hot damn, the student surpassed the teacher. Murphy convinces Indra that instead of getting revenge, they need to figure out a way to make sure that all of their people live. And that was a trade Indra was more than willing to make. Her people come first. Despite her really, I mean really, really, really, wanting to maim to shit outta Pike. The best line of the night, without a doubt, was when Pike tries to take credit for Murphy saving his ass, and Murphy goes… “Go float yourself, Everything I learned, I learned on the ground.” You tell ‘em! Pike had every cut coming to him, and then some.
Passion of the Kabby
I was hoping for a little kinky Kabby during “Join or Die,” but just based off the title and the nature of the episode, I quickly accepted that I would not be getting sexy times on screen. Kane is taking into a room, where Abby bursts in all flustered and beaten, asking her all the things about Clarke. OK, I’ll bite– totally plausible, that is her daughter after all, why wouldn’t she be looking for and concerned about her? But then, clearly her charms aren’t working on Kane and ALIE urges her to do better. Abby immediately takes initiative and starts to kiss Kane, guiding him to the bed and pushing him down on it in one quick swoop. I sat on my sister’s couch, shouting at the TV that there’s no way in hell that Kane wouldn’t see right through that bullshit. When Kane realizes that Abby took the key, I’m pretty sure at least 17 puppies died in the world. It was the worst! and she starts starts kissing Kane and pushes him on the bed, which is the most unlike Abby thing to do, and Kane realizes this is not the woman he has feelings for, something is not right… well, she’s chipped Kaney boy. Love sucks. Doesn’t it? Because trying for about 10 seconds to get Kane to crack is putting a damper on their timeline, Abby tells the grounders to hang Kane on the cross and I’m sitting here wondering if I’m watching The CW’s The 100 or Passion of the Christ. Are people going to start singing? Or is this not the live musical I missed a few months back? Let’s just say that Jaha nailing Kane to that cross was painful to watch. After he continues to refuse to give in to Jaha’s demands, ultimately he takes the City of Light pill. In the end, no threats of pain, or torture to himself matter, but the moment Jaha goes to shoot a meditating Abby– all bets are off. He does what he’s told, takes the pill and bye bye pain. Noooooo! The fact that he’s joined the COL crew makes me 10x more worried for his safety. Will we ever find relief in this mad world?? Ever…
After three seasons of the elusive Luna, we finally get to meet the leader of the Boat People. I’m sure there’s a more technical and tribal term for them, but I’m gonna go with BP for now. After the water grounders tie up Bellamy and Clarke and then approach Octavia and Jasper, Octavia tells the intruders that she came for Lincoln. They plead for safe passage, knowing that it’ll hopefully lead to Luna. But in order for them to go to this super secret hideout they all have to take a vial of something or another. Yeah, they have no clue what’s in there. But, alas, they’re at a road block and we see Octavia down the “shot,” followed by Jasper and then both Clarke and Bellamy. Sure, they took it together, but just because you do some drugs together doesn’t mean you’re bonded for life, or anything. Ha.
The sleeping beauties wake up and they’re in a shipping container. Things are getting super strange and I’m so ready to see this big, badass boat with hundreds of grounders on it, with Luna at the helm. But, it’s not a boat at all, it’s an oil rig! And it’s totally badass!
Clarke still has the flame, because I mean, we all were thinking it– what if the Boat people are chipped and they’re after ALIE 2.0 just like the rest of the grounders. But, luckily they’re safe and sound in Clarke’s bosom. Luna appears, and hot damn, she’s beautiful! She’s fierce with this presence about her. I really dig it. I mean, it’s not Lexa’s twin, but this is good too. Clarke immediately gets to the point and tells Luna about Lincoln’s death and that Luna is the next, and only one in line to be the Commander. Luna is all like “nah, I’m good, but thanks for the offer” and Clarke just looks defeated. They’re in the middle of the ocean, if things go sour, how does one get back? An important thing to note is that Luna didn’t do anything terrible when she left the conclave, it was quite the opposite, she wasn’t as bad as Titus made her out to be. Sure, I get it… she walked about from her birthright. But it’s current times and there’s no need for such barbaric thought processes, she wanted the violence to stop, and that’s something that’s super hard to break, in terms of traditions. Did I mention they’re an oil rig in the middle of the ocean? Crazy!
- I mean, what did Clarke expect. That Luna would turn around and let her cut her neck in order for an Artificial Intelligence to control her every thought and need and want. We’re too smart to be like this, guys.
- Would you leave your shiny big oil rig to fight an army of AI enhanced people as well as have an unknown implanted in your brain stem? Yea! Me too!
- I really want to believe that Clarke and her gang can save the day, but when it comes down to it I think Clarke is going to be alone– with the weight of the world on your shoulder and that’s just how it has to be.
- These were the best flashbacks of the whole damn series! Kane goes from worst to best, Pike goes from best to worst, and everything is yin and yang and up and down and left and right… and, pass me the vodka.
- When does Finn get to come back? We have two-headed deers, green fire, acid sap, and much more and you’re telling me that they can’t bring someone from the dead. Knock knock. Leave a message. Beeep! Boo!
- Need. Slowed. Down. Version. Of. Radioactive. Now.
- Only 3 more episodes… I might die. Oh hell, everyone else might die. No one is safe, no one is safe, no one is safe. *rocks back and forth furiously*
- How about some more episodes written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson? Sold… to myself.
Former tech nerd and Producer at a literary publicity firm. A college grad with a B.S. in Journalism, who loves covering the Entertainment world. In my spare time, I enjoy watching and reviewing my favorite T.V. shows, staying textually active on social media, as well as interviewing some of my favorite talents in the industry.