Wednesday, December 10, 2014

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke Negotiates with Lexa While Abby Tries to Heal Lincoln in 'Long Into an Abyss'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 2.07 "Long Into an Abyss"

Abby is determined to find a way to protect her people from a coming attack by the Grounders. A worried Bellamy and Octavia reveal a dangerous secret to Clarke, leading her to come up with a bold new plan to stop the Grounders' attack. Jasper and Monty question the motives of their new friends, while Dr. Tsing conducts a deadly experiment.

The Sky People and the Grounders have been at war ever since the 100 kids came down to Earth on the drop ship. They are two civilizations both trying to survive and to protect their people. They see the other civilization as a threat to their way of life. The war between them came to a head in the first season finale. And then, an even more deadly and vicious faction of people were introduced in the Mountain Men. They have the technology to do almost anything. And yet, they can't leave their home inside the mountain without protective suits. Both the Sky People and the Grounders have been taken prisoner by the Mountain Men. That's the one thing they share in common. But the war between them has largely kept them from realizing the bigger issues at play in this world.

And now, the war is coming to a head yet again. Commander Lexa has released Jaha back to the camp to issue a final warning: leave or perish. If they leave, they will all continue to survive in this world. But they will also be abandoning any kind of rescue mission for the kids trapped at Mount Weather. Jaha claims that they'll be able to come back and save them. But Clarke knows better than that. It's interesting how Jaha returns to the camp and starts trying to run things the same way he did on the Ark. He is the newest to this world. Everyone else has experienced things that make them better equipped to deal with the weight of this decision.

The entire episode is framed around the potential rehabilitation of Lincoln. The Mountain Men pumped him full of drugs to turn him into a lethal Reaper. It's a mirror image of the first time we met Lincoln last season. He is chained up in the drop ship once again. But this time it's out of love and trying to save his life instead of torturing him for information. Clarke and Bellamy see a friend who needs their help. And yet, he also presents a way for Clarke and the rest of her people to leverage something against the Grounders. She believes that she can save Lincoln. Up until now, the Grounders had to be content that as soon as one of their own was turned into a Reaper all hope was lost. And now, the possibility of a cure is a very viable piece of information.

The only problem is that Clarke has no clue if she and her mother can save Lincoln. Clarke has to head into the Grounder camp with this proposal that is essentially a bluff. It's a terrific scene too. Clarke is fighting for the survival of all of her people. Indra finally wants some justice for the slaying of hundreds of their people. Lexa has a more level-head - an important quality to have as a leader. She is willing to hear out Clarke's truce. She is always wary but keeps an open mind that the two societies could be beneficial to each other. All of their issues have only gotten worse since the massacres at both the drop ship and the Grounder village. Payback needs to come. It's eerie that Clarke is asking for this union while also leading Lexa to the site where hundreds of her people were killed.

For a brief moment too, it seems that all hope is lost for Clarke, Abby and Lincoln. The women leaders are trying their hardest to bring about unity. The men are in the background with their weapons ready to act if need be. I love the gender politics of this show - especially since the only society ruled by a man also happens to be the evil one (although President Wallace is becoming a more nuanced character). The women are being active and complex. They are the ones making all of the tough decisions in the heat of the moment. Abby could use her weapon to attack Lexa and ensure that this war goes on but instead offers it up in one last ditch effort to save Lincoln. And thankfully, it works.

For the first time, there seems like there can be actual peace between the Sky People and the Grounders. Except for the fact that Lexa needs one more thing: Finn to die. The show hasn't done a whole lot with the repercussions of him opening fire on a bunch of innocent Grounders. His monologue about Lincoln not being able to come back from this is so blatantly about himself. If he offered himself up as some kind of grand sacrifice to ensure the safety of the rest of his people in next week's midseason finale, that would be extremely satisfying. And yet, I keep getting the feeling that the show will try everything they can to keep him a part of this universe. But all of that is for the next episode. Right now, it's another vastly interesting complication that Clarke will have to deal with. And that is extremely wonderful to watch.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Long Into an Abyss" was written by James Thorpe and directed by Antonio Negret.
  • Jaha was elected Chancellor on the Ark. Him using that fact to try and get the people and the guards to do as he says was a very powerful moment. He and Abby have shared many scenes together. When they are opposed to one another as they are here, it becomes one of their most engaging moments yet.
  • The kids inside Mount Weather have decided to put their criminal statuses to good use to try and understand the world around them before making any bigger plans. That is very smart of them and they actually make an effective team too.
  • But then comes the tragic conclusion to the scenes in Mount Weather as Dr. Tsing takes the female lookout to harvest her bone marrow. Her screams were terrifying.
  • Another very effective moment was the cold open in which a girl from Mount Weather was released out into the wild to see if she can live out there and the painful realization that the radiation still effects her.
  • It was so devastating for Octavia after seeing what Lincoln became that his recovering now is perhaps the first time I've really honestly cared about their relationship.