Octavia on her own may be one of my favorite things the show’s done thus far. The 100‘s made an effort to show her asserting her independence from Bellamy, but “My Sister’s Keeper” is the first time we’ve seen Octavia really alone. Even with the mysterious aide of her mysterious Grounder (Ricky Whittle), Octavia’s forced to rely on herself in her attempts to escape. She’s one of the most surprising characters, deviating the most from how she first appeared in the pilot. Her shallow introduction has deepened, and now she’s just as determined and brave as her brother, though far more morally “good”, and certainly capable of taking care of herself despite her sheltered upbringing. It’s a very proud moment when she crawls her way out of the dark cave where she’s been trapped (not unlike the hole where she was forced to remain in hiding on the Ark) to stumble out into the sunlight and make a run for it.
The episode belongs largely to the Blake siblings, working on making their ways back to one another. Despite thinking of one another quite abit in the midst of the episode (Octavia encouraging her Grounder friend to save Bellamy, Bellamy leading everyone into Grounder territory to rescue Octavia) they immediately go on the defensive when they’re reunited. Despite their mutual affection for one another, even Bellamy’s borderline unhealthy fixation on keeping Octavia as “safe” and sheltered as possible, they’re also the most adept at hurting one another. The last words shared between them are ones of anger, Bellamy blaming Octavia for Finn’s dire condition and Octavia turning it back around on him before it culminates in Bellamy telling his sister that his life ended with her birth.
It’s a harsh statement, even more so because Bellamy doesn’t really believe it himself, though not entirely untrue. The flashbacks we get are more than explicit in how Bellamy took on the role of Octavia’s protector through no real choice of his own, beginning with her covert birth and his frantic attempts to keep her from crying and alerting someone. His attempts at keeping Octavia safe haven’t made his life any easier, not when he shot the Chancellor to come to Earth with her and then got three hundred people aboard the Ark killed trying to save his own skin. When the camp sees the bodies being dumped into space, it’s a fairly quick moment that falls away due to more pressing concerns (there’s always something more urgent to deal), but Bellamy’s going to have to cope with knowing that kind of pain he’s caused, pain that he’s inextricably linked to his determination at keeping Octavia safe.
Octavia on the other hand has constantly had to choose between her safety and her happiness. She can’t leave her family’s tiny apartment aboard the Ark and has to descend beneath the floor to avoid detection, despite her hatred of doing so. Seeing a mini Octavia crying in the dark while a surprise search is done is illuminating for her present character, thirsting for freedom, even from the brother whose attempt at giving it to her is what got her locked up in the first place.
Octavia’s first journey outside of her home looks just like the way they arrived on Earth. The 100 were terrified but amazed, gulping down fresh air, splashing through real water. But even they could experience the Ark, despite its limited space, see the real world below, watch a beautiful sunrise, but Octavia’s life was particularly limited. Which makes her wholehearted attempt at being her own person and finding her own way especially compelling.
Her Grounder companion is surely going to represent this freedom. Though his motives are murky throughout the episode, it’s clear that he’s invested (for some reason) in Octavia’s survival. And despite him chaining her to the wall and her having to clock him really good to make her second escape, she’s still unwilling to kill him like Bellamy wants. Obviously it’s the right call, since this is the Grounder who blew his horn and saved them from certain death, but Octavia doesn’t know this when she tries to stop them.
- The Ark’s one child rule is an interesting one. It seems cruel to execute a woman for having more than one child, and I wonder what would have happened if Bellamy and/or Octavia’s father had actually been around. Would they have been executed as well? Or would it have just been their mother? And if the Ark’s so stringent on their childbearing rules, what about birth control and abortion?
- Let’s not talk about Finn’s atrocious haircut. Raven’s a fantastic girl, but a hairstylist she is not.
- It’s cute that Bellamy’s speech to Charlotte actually came from his mother. It really was his attempt at encouraging her and making her less fearful, though it didn’t end up well for anyone. Particularly Wells (RIP Wells). Speaking of, I wish we’d seen more of Bellamy and Octavia’s mother.
- The love triangle drama seems very small compared to Octavia’s arc, but it did have some advancement. It’s refreshing that Clarke and Raven, despite their equally emotional reactions, had a real conversation that didn’t end up with them vowing to hate one another forever. Though Finn being stabbed conveniently allows both Clarke and Raven to stop being mad at him for a little while while they worry about saving his life.
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