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The 100 - Perverse Instantiation - Part One - Review: Spectacular Darkness

The first instalment of the Season 3 finale of The CW's The 100 got off to a spectacularly dark start last night. With Luna out of the picture in a shocking turn of events last week, the hour chronicled Clarke's continued pursuit for a new Commander, with Bellamy and Octavia in tow. The directing and cinematography were beautifully executed for "Perverse Instantiation – Part One" by Ed Fraiman, with Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyre putting together a great script.

The stakes were high very early in the piece. Tired of debating their next move with Jasper, Bellamy and Octavia, Clarke took some time out in the woods near the rover, but that was rudely interrupted by Roan, who would go on to play a big part in this hour. Before reintroducing himself, Roan killed another ALIE-controlled intruder. How that intruder came to be there in the first place wasn't a question I asked myself at the time, but it became much more important further down the track.

You have a real gratitude problem, you know that?

As was the way early in the season when Roan captured Clarke as a way to further his own agenda, Roan sought to obtain the flame. He would have succeeded if Bellamy hadn't shown up on cue and held Roan at gunpoint, displaying much better gun handling technique than Clarke did, who was disarmed mere seconds after presenting her own gun. Bellamy made the first of his many sensible calls in the episode and shot Roan in the arm before knocking him out cold.

With Roan in tow the group returned to Arkadia where Raven, Monty and Harper remained. Raven failed to shut down ALIE herself in last week's episode, but even if she did wait for the deactivation code that was the expected outcome from the expedition to Luna's offshore dwelling, it wouldn't have achieved anything because they came back empty handed anyway.

A quick committee meeting followed, with the core mission remaining the same: get the information off the flame and use it to deactivate ALIE. Roan bought into the new plan to infiltrate Polis, capture Ontari, remove the 1.0 chip, and replace it with the 2.0 chip Clarke was carrying.

This was a daring plan that had a slim to nil chance of working, and that's exactly what ended up happening. Right before Roan was due to enter Polis solo, Clarke had a change of heart and opted to go with him, using her privileged knowledge of the special passphrase to seal the deal. A remarkably level-headed Bellamy yet again questioned Clarke's decision, but Clarke put him at ease of sorts with an impressive statement of trust:

Come on Clarke, are you really willing to trust that guy with your life?
No, but you'll be covering us the entire time. And I trust you.

Polis has always been a rather dark environment, but the creative team took that to new heights - or depths - with some fantastic, gritty storytelling taking place in the Grounder city. The plan was for Roan to lure Ontari out from the tower while Bellamy and Octavia waited in the shadows for a window to deploy gas canisters. Somehow, ALIE knew what was about to happen, so Jaha emerged from the tower, and moments later everyone was taken prisoner.

How ALIE was able to preempt the group's actions was soon made clear. Back in Arkadia, Jasper suddenly took a dark turn as ALIE began controlling his actions. While he and Monty were searching Arkadia's stores for a motherboard and RAM requested by Raven, Jasper thrust a screwdriver into his friend's abdomen. Monty was able to scramble back to Raven's lab and secure the doors, but Jasper taunted the pair relentlessly from outside, and badly injured Monty's new belle, Harper, when she returned from guard duty.

Jasper has been the subject of repeated attempts by ALIE and others to take the chip, and he has been vulnerable all season since Maya died in Mount Weather. The fact that he did succumb took me completely by surprise. Jasper's season - and time on the ground - continues to worsen. Maybe it's time to consider whether he's now deteriorated beyond the point of no return.

ALIE's not killing me. You are.

Thanks to Jasper's undercover work for ALIE, Clarke, Roan, Bellamy and Octavia were thrown into turmoil, and ALIE's true power and ethical boundaries were stretched even further in one of the series' darkest moments to date. Clarke was singled out and bound to a pole in the council chamber where a possessed Abby let rip. Paige Turco and Eliza Taylor were outstanding throughout the hour, but their strongest moments came courtesy of this scene. To force Clarke to reveal the ALIE 2.0 passphrase, Abby first drove a scalpel into her daughter's chest not once, but twice, then made herself a noose and hanged herself. Clarke remained steadfast despite the tragedy unfolding in front of her as she made a decision not indifferent to the one Monty had to make a month or so ago.

Though Clarke was in strife, help was at hand from Murphy, along with Indra and Pike. The trio and some of the other prisoners eliminated the guards who were holding Bellamy and Octavia. Despite his critical actions, Murphy wasn't overly thrilled to see Bellamy - the guy who strung him up as punishment and who had a share in his banishment from the camp in Season 1. He's also not one to gloat, but I'm sure he won't hesitate in cashing in on the IOU he now has.

Clarke is in trouble.
Clarke's always in trouble.

Murphy is always to the point, but he's not been much more accurate with that response to Bellamy's statement. Despite his disapproval, Murphy rose to the challenge and accompanied Bellamy to the top floor of the tower on the elevator, which was being guarded and powered by Pike, Octavia, Indra and others down below. Some great action scenes and stunt work accompanied the ascent, with Murphy and Bellamy running into savage offense on the way up, while the trio down below fought valiantly to hold the lower passages and keep the elevator moving. Pike took a bullet to the torso during the conflict, and Indra and Octavia debated why the guy was still alive. Pike knew he was a marked man, so he knew his actions would determine his fate after the fact.

Bellamy and Murphy eventually reached the top of the tower, but they were moments too late. Jaha, who was also present while Abby hanged herself, gave Ontari a seemingly fatal blow to the head, rendering her mind useless to Clarke's plan.

Damage to her brain is substantial, but she's still alive.

A second blow he was lining up to finish the job was stymied by Bellamy via a gunshot, but Clarke confirmed Ontari was brain-dead. The news was more positive from the other side of the room where Murphy managed to cut Abby from her noose. She was still breathing, but some damage will surely have been done.

That was where Part One of the finale wrapped. It was a fantastic Part One all round. The steady story progression combined with many intense and unexpected moments kept me on the edge of my seat. There were some excellent performances both in front of and behind the camera too. While I heavily questioned the purpose of the City of Light storyline in my season premiere review, it's turned into an ideal vehicle to push the boundaries of what's possible with real - albeit possessed - characters, further than before. The creative team have been able to introduce a plethora of new, organic challenges for the lead characters without them feeling as if they are too much of an unnecessary burden. Lastly, the City of Light allows the story, and the series, to get much, much darker - spectacularly darker in the case of this episode. It's been a worthwhile gamble by the creative team, but things will surely change again in next week's Part Two instalment.

There's plenty of loose ends to tidy up. Monty is wounded, though it doesn't appear to be as serious as first thought. Harper is also down for the count, and Roan took a bullet courtesy of Kane when things went awry in Polis. His status is also unknown. Add Pike to the casualty list too, as well as Ontari, Jaha and Abby. Pike, Indra and Octavia are also ascending to the top of the tower via the ladder in the elevator shaft, and Raven managed to re-establish a connection to ALIE's code, though the kill switch remains elusive.

There's tons more to come next week, and I'm very excited to see how Season 3 of The 100 closes out. As always, thanks so much for reading! The comments section below is open for you to leave your thoughts and theories. Things are going to get interesting so make sure you tell us what you think will happen. You can check out the Part Two episode press release here, and promo here.

About the Author - Jimmy Ryan
Jimmy Ryan lives in New Zealand, and works in the IT industry. He is an avid follower of drama television and has a keen interest for television ratings and statistics. Some of his favorite shows right now are Person of Interest, Scandal, House of Cards, Orphan Black, Mr. Robot, Suits, The 100, How To Get Away With Murder, Elementary and Castle. You can visit his television ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com or follow him on Twitter, @SeriesMonitor.
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