The last episode was framed around Bellamy choosing to do what’s right for his people (from his perspective), with his words in the beginning of the episode directly echoing his words at the end of the episode. “I do it every day.” At the beginning of the episode, he’s on Pike’s side and that nothing has changed his mind yet. At the end of the episode, he chooses to protect Miller and Harper from Pike. So, what changes?
Bellamy doesn’t actually undergo any type of character arc in this episode. He doesn’t change. The situation around him changes. Pike becomes more of a dictator, ordering spying on his own people, but Bellamy willingly participates in this. The other characters have doubts, like Monty and Miller’s boyfriend, but Bellamy doesn’t seem to have any moral reservations. When Bellamy arrests Sinclair, Kane tells him that Sinclair will be next to die. Bellamy replies, “Of course not.” And he chooses not to join Kane in his coup. This is actually rather consistent for Pike. In an earlier episode, when they were secretly going to ambush the Grounders outside the camp, Pike orders his people to stand down, saying “We don’t fight our own.” So really, this episode isn’t about Bellamy’s redemption, but about Pike’s descent into dictatorship. He finally crosses the line, from Bellamy’s perspective, when he orders the execution of Kane. Pike says he hopes the execution will make it clear where people’s allegiances need to lie. It does make it crystal clear for Bellamy, but it puts him on the other side now. He chooses to not turn in Miller and Harper, people he committed genocide for to save them on Mt. Weather, because he knows that Pike may order their execution too. That’s Bellamy’s moral compass and that’s what changes for him.
Kane’s choice is too easy, especially when I loved the tough moral choices before on this show. I wish Kane could’ve struggled more with overthrowing a democratically-elected leader. But Kane tells Pike that he’s become a dictator, and the show’s point of view supports Kane’s conclusions. No moral qualms for treason. Kane even says “No matter how I look at it… I am [making the right decision].” While Kane initially doesn’t want to do this, saying that’s not who we are to Octavia when she leaves and to Harper when she wants to shock-lash Pike’s fascist ass, the internal struggle disappears rather quickly once internal spying and informing begins. It all seems rather pre-ordained. Kane does indicate that Pike was different, asking “What happened to you, Charles?” and talking about how he was like on the Ark. Unfortunately, we only see Pike post-Ice Nation. We don’t see what informed this change or how he was like before the change. So, Pike’s character lacks a lot of nuance that it could’ve had — nuance that could’ve made Kane’s choice harder, or nuance that could’ve been a slower and more tragic descent into dictatorship. When Pike says that he would turn himself in if he thought it would help his people, I thought to myself that it could’ve been cool to have a Pike redemption instead of a Bellamy redemption. We’ll see how it plays out, though.
Bellamy’s actions at the beginning, shooting those messengers, seemed kind of harsh and out of nowhere on first watch, but it made sense to me after I watched it again. They were causing unrest. He knew they weren’t going to leave. To preserve the peace and to preserve Pike, he killed them. Otherwise, there could’ve been more internal fighting (like there was with Finn).
I was super happy that Sinclair is okay so far. Being part of a coup didn’t work out so well on BSG.
Alie has been programmed to not override free will and consent. Great. But Jaha doesn’t have the same programming. Uh oh. I kind of figured all along that free will wasn’t gone and this confirms it. Monty was great in this episode and so was Raven. I’m excited to see where this storyline goes next.
As much as I’ve complained about this whole storyline with Bellamy and Pike, I actually really enjoyed this episode. It was so much fun! The cat and mouse game was intense and thrilling. It’s only when I write about it afterward and get super-analytical that I notice these things, but the show’s still a blast.
Forgot to post about Monty’s mom saying that if something helps you survive, then it’s right. It’s a morality informed by her time trying to survive in Ice Nation territory. It’s directly contrasted against Clarke’s morality, which says that there’s more to life than just survival. Lexa, on her deathbed in the previous episode, finally agrees with Clarke, having previously viewed love as weakness, something she was taught by Titus (and something confirmed by what happened to Costia).