Wednesday, October 22, 2014

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke Adjusts to Her New Surroundings at Mount Weather & Lincoln Tries to Save Octavia in 'The 48'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 2.01 "The 48"

Clarke is frantically trying to make sense of her bizarre surroundings, while the fate of Bellamy, Finn and Raven is still unknown. Lincoln and Octavia's daring plan is thwarted and an enemy returns. Abby, Kane and the survivors of the Ark must face physical and moral dilemmas in their dangerous and beautiful new world. Meanwhile, Jaha makes a heroic decision.

The evolution of the core characters on The 100 was one of the strongest assets of the show during its first season. Every single one of them was introduced as annoying one-note tropes. And yet, by placing all of them in compromising positions where difficult decisions had to be made, they became compelling. Sure, some work better than others. Clarke and Bellamy as leaders with opposing views worked incredibly well in the final few episodes of the first season. Kane and Abby are a great pairing of the adult leaders. The Octavia-Lincoln romance was so much better than the awkward love triangle going on between Clarke, Finn and Raven. The characters who still need some major work include Finn, Jasper and Monty. And yet, the plotting of The 100 continues to be wonderful.

"The 48" opens the moment after the first season ended. Clarke, Monty and Jasper have been captured by the people at Mount Weather. They soon realize that these people and this society are pretty darn good. They are not trying to kill them. They are offering them fresh clothes, a nice bed and amazing food. 48 of them have been captured. Clarke knows that there are more of her people out there. Ever since she arrived on the ground, she has been fighting for survival. After doing that for so long, it's hard for her to be trusting of President Dante Wallace. This new setting just feels too good to be true. Casting Raymond J. Barry already makes me distrustful of Dante. He also claims there were no other survivors which we know to be false. And yet, this is a world where the rest of the taken survivors have grown used to. They don't have to be afraid of being attacked anymore. They can just enjoy life and have fun again. Clarke isn't allowed that luxury simply because she knows there's much more she is capable of doing. She is a leader. She needs to see things with her own eyes. She'll hold out hope that Bellamy, Finn, Raven, her mom and everyone who came down on the Ark is still alive until she can see otherwise. So she'll obey what Dante and his people want for now. But she will always be looking for a way out of Mount Weather.

It's a very interesting decision that "The 48" lets everyone whose lives were in peril in the season finale survive. Bellamy and Finn were outside when the blast went off. They are alive. Sure, they are still fighting against Grounders who are understandably pissed because 300 of them have just died. But the two of them are now safely with Kane and Abby. Finn and Bellamy were asked to be leaders when they first came down to Earth. Now, the adults are here alongside them and they have the idea of bringing a sense of law and order to this new world. The 100 had to make their own rules to survive in this world. The adults are still operating differently. Bellamy gets arrested for beating up Murphy. It's understandable to us why he would do so. Murphy did a ton of bad things last season. And yet, Kane doesn't know that. He is in charge and he needs to exert his authority. However, he's doing that while still being largely in the dark to how the world on the ground operates.

Elsewhere, Lincoln and Octavia's attempts to leave this world for a potentially better one are thwarted because she has been poisoned. He will do whatever it takes to save her. It's immediate stakes that make us care about these two as a couple. If he doesn't act quickly, she will die. That's a story beat I can strongly get behind. Even more so knowing that he has to take her back to his village in order to get the cure for her. They are still a major part of this world. It's actually a very admirable quality about the show right now. It's expanding its world in interesting ways. Not everyone is at the same location anymore. They are spread out throughout this world. How one character's decisions in one place will effect someone in another will be pretty compelling moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The 48" was written by Jason Rothenberg and directed by Dean White.
  • Also, Jaha continues to be an important part of this story. He appears in the final few minutes of the premiere. I was fine with his valiant sacrifice at the end of the first season as a final resting place for that character. However, things are growing more complicated for him on the remaining part of the Ark in space as he hears the cries of a baby up there with him.
  • Seriously, what is with the guy with the severely deformed face? That was just odd.
  • It could be potentially very dangerous for the people from the Ark because Abby left that message for Clarke on the drop ship. If anyone enters the site, they will know exactly where their new camp is.
  • I respect that Clarke is the only strong authority figure trapped inside Mount Weather. That isolates her even more so. If Raven or Bellamy were also there, she would have an ally and someone to talk to who would agree with her. As is, she is fending all for herself. Jasper and Monty are willing to accept their new surroundings like it's no big deal. Clarke is all alone it feels like.