Episode Review: The 100: Red Sky Morning
What remains of the original 100 have either taken the key and now live in the City of Light or are attempting to destroy Alie, the artificial intelligence bent on chipping all of humanity. Clarke’s group is on a mission to find Luna, the last night blood, who is able to take the flame and become the next commander, giving her access to another artificial intelligence: Alie two, which will allow her to destroy Alie one.
The episode opens with crucifixion imagery, which reinforces the division between those who fight back and those who fight for Alie. Why is the crucifixion imagery important? It attributes characteristics to characters the viewer has spent the first half of the season learning to rally against. It’s a quick and dirty way to get the viewer to overlook, for now, the horrors that Pike committed and empathize with his humanity.
The next scene shows the City of Light, juxtaposing the dungeon, which is full of wounded heroes who refuse to submit to Alie, with a clean and orderly virtual reality. Despite the appeal of the City of Light, the red and grey color scheme suggests that not all is as it seems. There is too much uniformity, too much silence, which asks the viewer to consider the following: can you have identity without individuality? With that question in mind, the scene shifts to Clarke who hasn’t even begun to understand the true cost of what’s at stake.
In Clarke’s attempt to lure Luna to take the flame, she underestimates the strength of Luna’s conviction to uphold her principles. Luna believes there is another way to live that doesn’t include fighting and death. She believes that the morality of survival depends on peace. Clarke, however, believes in survival no matter the cost, even if that cost is freewill. Because Luna refuses to take the flame, Clarke plans to force her. Octavia, unsettled by Clarke’s decision, points out that Alie gives people a choice. The subtext: what does it mean to be human when an artificial intelligence has more humanity than the 100?
Clarke’s beliefs have been shown to be problematic in the past (she committed genocide to save her people). She doesn’t seem to be learning from her mistakes. Her need to affect change immediately prevents her from seeing the far reaching consequences of her actions.
When it turns out that Alie has been on the oil rig all along (several men have been chipped), the chipped attack Clarke and take Luna hostage. Luna is tortured (waterboarded) and offered a choice: take the key or die. This asks the viewer to consider: what is choice? Earlier in the episode, Clarke tells Luna that “When the choice is fight or die, there is no choice.” Luna is put in a situation where she has to consider Clarke’s ideology and set aside her belief in peace for the greater good. Luna doesn’t disappoint. She fights back and wins, killing those she loves in the process. This is the horror of choice.
When Clarke finds Luna and discovers what happened, she feels vindicated. Clarke says, “Alie won’t stop until she has everyone.” In other words, Luna can’t hide from her duty to become the next commander. Luna does just that. She drugs Clarke and company and leaves them on the shore with no way of knowing where the oil rig is or how to contact Luna again.
This episode is about conflicting ideologies and how those ideologies serve those who believe in them. So far, Clarke’s beliefs are letting her down and her ability to make the right choice is questioned. Luna says it best: “You believe [that in order] to stop an enemy, who will stop at nothing, you must stop at nothing. How is that different than blood must have blood?”
Can the 100 fight for their survival and keep their humanity? I guess we’ll find out.
By Erica Spriggs