Annie Lindenberg ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Up to this point this season of The 100 has been relatively on and off, and “Bitter Harvest” is just another episode adding to an ambiguous season. With elements of the good the show has been in the past, “Bitter Harvest” was somewhat enjoyable, but it felt overall too convoluted with its myriad of storylines and filler moments.
The episode opens in Polis where Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) are resting in a room, Lexa asleep as Clarke draws her. Their lull breaks by the entrance of a present from King Roan of the Ice Nation and just what is this gift? Welcome back Carl Emerson (Toby Levins), Mount Weather Security Detail, the last of the Mountain Men. The scene snaps to the woods where Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) is keeping an eye on some of Pike’s (Michael Beach) people who are taking soil and water samples, begging the question: what exactly is Pike up to? A Grounder child enters the scene, and Pike’s people rush after him in hopes of murdering him; luckily, Octavia jumps in at the last minute to save his life, but the severity of whatever Pike is doing hits as we realize he’s willing to kill children for his mission.
Next Raven (Lindsey Morgan) and Abby (Paige Turco) are back together again, this time, Abby checking over Raven’s leg which had magically healed in the previous episode from Jaha’s (Isaiah Washington) magical “key” to the City of Light. Abby is left naturally skeptical, even as Raven assures her not to worry. Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and Miller (Jarod Joseph) stand in front of Pike’s office as they plan to place a recording device somewhere within. Right before they plan to enter, Bellamy (Bob Morley) and Pike can be heard approaching and Kane leaves to distract the two while Miller sneaks inside.
Elsewhere in Arkadia, Jaha is back in action and distributing the pill for the City of Light again as Jasper (Devon Bostick) and Abby watch on. Jasper’s interest is clearly piqued, but Abby persuades him to hold back until she has investigated further. Cutting back to Pike’s office, Pike is preaching to some of his elite crew, of which Monty (Christopher Larkin) and Monroe (Katie Stuart) have joined. The shocking truth of Pike’s intentions are finally revealed as we find out he wants to eliminate a whole Grounder village for the sake of some farming soil, and though Bellamy questions his actions briefly, we see just how much he has been hardened this season as he finally declares they have to do what must be done.
Back at Polis, Emerson’s fate has been placed in Clarke’s hands: banishment or 49 cuts by her hand to put him to death. Clarke’s desire for vengeance seems to weigh heavily on her, but the answer is still left in the air as the scene shifts back to Octavia. While Octavia is sharpening her sword in a cave, Miller appears with a horse for her, and after a quick discussion about Bellamy in which the clear divide between the Blake siblings is evident, Octavia goes to warn a village for the sake of avoiding a practically guaranteed war. Having Miller so much on the screen is a nice relief, and Jarod Joseph provides a nice complement to a lot of our more familiar characters; hopefully we can see more of him moving forward.
Raven is euphoric in her painless state, so much so that when Jaha and Alie (Erica Cerra) come to ask her to find code for them, she’s elated to help. After Raven’s exit, it is revealed the code they are searching for ended the world, but the dramatic reveal doesn’t feel that startling since, well, it’s hard to care. The whole Alie and Jaha plot doesn’t seem that interesting, and compared to the rather polar conflict regarding Pike and the Grounders as well as the silent rebellion building in response, this story seemed rather jarring and disconnected with the rest of the season. The episodes where Jaha and the City of Life are vacant are becoming more and more of a relief, and having the pair back in action seems to drain energy away from the characters that liven the screen much more.
The attack on the Grounder village has finally come as Bellamy prepares to leave, before doing so having another discussion with Kane. Kane attempts to persuade them not to fight, but it’s already too late for Bellamy who is set on his mission. Monty walks past, and we can see he is clearly affected, questioning their actions altogether. Miller and his boyfriend, Bryan (Jonathan Whitesell), have a quick moment together before he leaves as a part of Pike’s crew, but the moment feels altogether awkward. For a show claiming to be so supportive of their LGBT characters, it feels like it missed something when it comes to their goodbye; the scene feels incredibly uncomfortable for the couple not to kiss before separating, the two appearing more like brothers or friends than anything else.
Shifting to the Grounder village, Octavia gallops in while yelling a warning of the impending attack. The people are not happy to see one of the Sky People after the massacre that occurred because of Pike, and the idea of Octavia’s misplacement in society is, yet again, referenced. Never fully accepted by either Sky or Ground, Octavia continues to prove her strength all on her own. Luckily the child she saved earlier this episode comes back to support her, and the people finally begin to listen to her claims.
Meanwhile, Abby is talking to Jackson (Sachin Sahel) about Raven’s miraculous recovery and how hard she finds it to believe. So in a well-timed moment, Jackson talks about having hope while Kane simultaneously walks through the door. After Jackson leaves, the two begin to discuss the chaos around them. Kane is clearly stressed out, and he puts the weight of all of these problems on himself. Abby makes a point about the 100 not being kids anymore (it’s about damn time), and follows the moment with a quick kiss on Kane’s cheek she refers to as a little bit of “hope.” The connection the two of them have has definitely shifted since Season One, and whatever this connection is, it has evolved organically so that the two feel completely natural together on screen.
Back at Grounder camp, Octavia is being nice to the child she saved earlier and lets him pet her horse. She, in turn, gets knocked out as she notices the Grounders are setting up traps instead of leaving peacefully as she had believed. Shifting back to Raven as she works to find the code, Jasper appears and finally owns up to spreading Finn’s ashes. Jasper is altogether confused by Raven’s ease of acceptance, even more, interested in the drug once he has realized how effective it has been in relieving her pain.
Emerson is all tied up now, Clarke discussing the actions of Mount Weather with him. The friction between the two crackles on screen, the scene feeling heat-packed. Clarke tells Emerson if he hopes for mercy, he better ask for it. Emerson wants no such thing, the only thing he wants is for Clarke to feel the pain of what she has done for the rest of her life. Next, Clarke is one on one with Titus (Neil Sandilands), who desperately wants her to change Lexa’s mind regarding the blood must not have blood sentiment she has stuck to; Clarke refuses. The scene, in general, feels entirely unnecessary, making the episode feel even more cluttered than it already had.
After lusting after the pill to the City of Light the whole episode, Jasper finally has his chance for it as he sits across from Jaha. Except just as he has it in his hands, Abby is there, pulling it from him to run some studies. Abby attempts to persuade Jaha by mentioning Wells, but in a startling turn of events, Jaha doesn’t remember who Wells is. Alie hastily reminds him he is his son, but not fast enough to convince Abby, who confiscates all of the Jaha’s supply. The scene ends with the reveal that Jackson has also taken the pill, making our suspicion of just who is under the pill’s spell that much stronger.
As Pike, Bellamy, and crew enter the Grounder camp, Octavia tries to warn them it’s all a trap, but the message doesn’t come fast enough. The Grounders shoot fire arrows which ignite a poisonous gas, and though most of everyone gets out safe and sound, Monroe is stuck within the fumes. Monty jumps back to save her, but he is too late as he pulls her out. The realization hits that there must be traitors within Arkadia if Octavia was able to warn the Grounders, who right after hit her off her horse.
Emerson is all tied up in Polis, and after Lexa enters, she makes a speech about the vengeance that will be given. However, Clarke refuses the knife at the last moment, helping promote Lexa’s idea of blood must not have blood. Lexa gives a big speech about how their people can change and ends with saying how Emerson will be forced to live out his days in banishment. Clarke, in a very characteristic salty moment, tells Emerson she hopes he lives forever in his solitude.
Pike and Bellamy are discussing the problem that is Octavia, again, and agree they know who the informant is. The only problem? Right now they have no proof, and Pike tells Bellamy he needs evidence of Kane’s actions before they can move forward. Murphy is suddenly back, tied to a chair by his captors, and it brings the episode to a pinnacle of clutter. As Murphy is getting questioned and attacked, the scene is intercut with Jaha, Raven, and Alie as they discuss the 13th station where they gather the code they are looking for must be. Their conversation continues as the camera pans away from Murphy being beat up to reveal part of the hull of a ship with one word on it: Polaris, the very same ship the other three were just discussing.
Overall, this episode was attempting too much. There was so much going on the stories rarely got time to breathe, instead feeling mashed together or forced. While there were certainly some good character moments and some moments of the plot shifting forward, the episode altogether seemed more like a setup for whatever is to come than actually utilizing the story to its fullest.