Wednesday, November 19, 2014

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke Reunites with Bellamy & Abby While Lincoln Gets Tortured Again in 'Human Trials'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 2.05 "Human Trials"

Kane leads a mission to make peace with the Grounders. Jasper agrees to participate in a risky experiment. Lincoln enters a world of pain. President Dante Wallace issues a warning. Finn's search for Clarke takes a violent turn.

"Human Trials" offers updates on pretty much every story happening on The 100 right now. More importantly, the show is doing some great things in terms of power and the struggle to maintain it across several characters and locations. The kids have been on the ground the longest for the Sky people. And yet, their opinions are frequently cast aside so the adults can make the final decisions. Clarke, Bellamy and company aren't just going to sit around and obey while their friends are out there in danger. It's fantastic seeing some key reunions in this episode - all surrounding Clarke as she gets hugs from Abby, Raven, Bellamy and Octavia and each one is very rewarding. But the show won't let them rest in the familiarity. There's an urgency that informs decision-making. These people need to act. Everyone needs to be off doing something and that has always been very entertaining to watch.

The biggest thing that happens in "Human Trials" is just how desperate and crazy Finn gets while searching for Clarke. He has fallen in love with this girl and she was taken from him. Crazy, unstable Finn is much more watchable than rational, romantic Finn. He is scary. When Murphy is the voice of reason, you just know that something is off. Does this sudden twist in Finn's personality make a whole lot of sense? Not exactly. His love for Clarke wasn't as all consuming of his personality as this arc would have us believe. And yet, it's a storytelling device that I found simultaneously brutal to watch and vastly compelling to watch. He has had this major shift. Clarke is informed about it but then gets to see him at his most monstrous firsthand. When he can't find his friends at the Grounder camp, Finn starts unloading his automatic weapon with that crazy twinkle in his eye. He needs answers. He finally gets his reunion in the end. But he gets her back just as she loses all faith in him. How is Finn redeemable after this? He has taken a dark turn and the show would be best to remember that at all times in the next few episodes.

Also brutal this week was the experimentation on Lincoln. Up until this point, Lincoln has been seen as a non-loyal Grounder and a love interest for Octavia. This story puts him in such a different role. He is the victim. He is brutally being pumped full of drugs which he quickly becomes dependent on. It's astonishing just how easily the Mountain Men can alter his body and thought process. He is tied to the chair and fighting for his life. And in the end, he's willing to fight another man just like him in order to get the one thing he didn't want injected into his body in the first place. This is going to be a devastating story - especially once he reunites with Octavia. What kind of a man will he become once the Mountain Men have finished their job?

And then, there are the rest of the kids at Mount Weather. With Clarke no longer there, there's a lack of urgency. That's largely because I have never seen Jasper or Monty as capable of being anything more than comic relief. They are thrown into more visible leadership roles within that sector of this community. Jasper is the one with whom President Wallace now communicates. He learns that Clarke has escaped and is faced with a choice: Continue to live with the comforts here or go out looking for her in the hopes of bringing her back. It's a decision he struggles with. And yet, when Maya is exposed to radiation, he is willing to undergo an experimental treatment in order to safe her life. What is so special about Maya? His friendship with Clarke is way more meaningful than his potential romance with Maya. We've seen his dynamic with Clarke firsthand. Maya is just the cute girl who presents him with a much better life. It's also the show recycling the Romeo and Juliet type love story they did with Octavia and Lincoln. It's just not as effective because there's nothing interesting about either Jasper or Maya. At least Monty is suspicious about the Mountain Men now. But this location desperately needs a character I actually care about. Wallace intrigues me and Lincoln could be very dangerous in the future. We'll just have to wait and see.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Human Trials" was written by Charlie Craig and directed by Ed Fraiman.
  • Kane's attempts to make peace with the Grounders has led to him being thrown into a pit - which also is home to the recently captured Jaha. Another reunion but one we don't get to see much of. At least it's further proof that the adults really don't know how to operate in this world yet.
  • However, Kane also kept his promise to his dying mother to plant the tree from the Ark once they got back on the ground. It's very symbolic. The Sky people's religion was Earth and now that they are here it is so different than what they expected.
  • It's nice to know that the leadership faces at Mount Weather don't all agree on what they should do with the Sky people. But they also got confirmation that they can heal radiation burns much more effectively than Grounders.
  • This line from Raven to Abby was so good: "She stopped being a kid the day you sent her down here to die."