Thursday, January 21, 2016

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke is Being Hunted While Bellamy & Kane Try to Keep the Peace in 'Wanheda: Part One'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 3.01 "Wanheda: Part One"

Three months have passed since the tragedy at Mount Weather and our heroes learn that a bounty has been put on Clarke's head. Unbeknownst to Clarke, a team led by Bellamy and Kane journeys deep into Grounder territory to save her. Meanwhile, Murphy finds his way to the mansion and discovers a very different Jaha on a very different mission.

The 100 returns for its third season by embracing some change. Three months have passed since the destruction of Mount Weather in the second season finale. That means three months of the people from the Ark building a civilization, three months of peace with the grounders, and three months of Clarke living outside the walls of Camp Jaha (now renamed Arkadia). Much of this episode focuses on how the civilization has developed for Abby and Kane. They are the trusted leaders of a community that is actually thriving. The people haven't lived in constant fear like they did when the Ark first came to Earth and the grounder army swarmed the camp. People are starting to accept this as a time of peace. Many people are even looking ahead to the next generation. This community is thriving. But there is darkness still in this world. Three months isn't enough time to create lasting peace. In fact, it's not long in this first episode back until bullets start flying and people are killed. It does so while introducing a new narrative thread that could be very interesting moving forward.

Bellamy and his friends have a new tool in their disposal: a vehicle able to move across the rugged terrain. It's a fantastic change of pace from the first two seasons. The Ark community is much more organized than they were before. Bellamy is a trusted advisor to the two leaders of the community - as is Lincoln as he continues searching for a place to belong. They are scouting the land for any more survivors from the Ark. Several stations are still unaccounted for. They don't know where in this world they landed and even if anyone is still alive. This scouting mission takes a nasty turn once Bellamy, Jasper, Raven, Octavia, Miller and Monty run into a couple of warriors from the Ice Nation. That's a new addition to this season. A new community of grounders who may have a different agenda than Lexa. The show quickly puts them into a complicated conflict with the protagonists that highlights just how much this world - and these characters - have changed.

Jasper is in a very dark place. He is still in a dangerous spiral following Maya's death. Three months later, he is still getting drunk every single night and being reckless when he goes out into the field. The rest of the team that goes out to Section 7 is very mindful of the peace between the two civilizations. They don't want anything to upset that balance and start another war. They want to be living together with peace and no judgment based on where a person came from. It's still a very precarious situation though. One that Jasper compromises solely to get a tracking beacon from the FARM station of the Ark. He actually smiles while a blade is against his throat. He's even hurt too. But all he cares about is once again wallowing in his grief. The Ark community has started to move some of Mount Weather's resources into their camp. It's these items of luxury that hold so much personal value to Jasper. He lost so much last season. He's still not ready to move on which is causing him to act out in some truly violent and heartbreaking ways that has everyone concerned.

Moreover, the information that the group gets from these Ice Nation soldiers doesn't even amount to them finding more of their people. So this fight will have started over nothing. Of course, the Ice Nation has a much more nefarious plan as well. Their Queen has put a bounty out on Clarke. She has become known throughout the land as Wanheda - or the ruler of death. The grounders believe that if they kill someone they then receive their powers. As the most powerful and feared person in this world, that puts such a huge target on Clarke as she's trying to move past what she did at Mount Weather. Some of the grounders are very appreciative of what Clarke did. She stopped the reaping and made sure that many people would no longer be taken for the cruel experiments at the mountain. Clarke finds comfort and protection by one of them - Nyla. And yet, Clarke only enjoys Nyla's companionship (and body) for a little bit. She is still so haunted by what happened at Mount Weather. She has become a very skilled warrior and survivor. She has a new look and is much more lethal to the animals around her. But she still closes herself off from the rest of the world. Nyla pushes for more information about Mount Weather. But it's still too dark and tragic for Clarke to talk about. She is still racked with guilt. There isn't enough room on her back for all the people she has killed. That has scarred her in a really devastating way.

But Clarke's reputation is forcing everyone into action. Bounty hunters visit Nyla's trading post in search of Clarke. Even though it seems like they listen to Nyla's lie about where Clarke has gone, one still emerges to take her once Clarke decides to leave. It's a big cliffhanger for the end of the episode. Clarke can no longer run from her identity. She is being forced to accept it. Now, all this person has to do is actually get her back to his leader. That may be difficult considering Bellamy, Kane, Monty and Indra are fast approaching. They have the right instinct to check the trading post for Clarke. Indra is working alongside them in order to keep the peace between the two communities. And yet, they too fall into a trap at the end of the episode. They are blocked by two fallen trees that have deliberately been cut down. It forces them in a corner against an unknown adversary - which should make the start of the next episode very intense.

Elsewhere, things have also embraced radical change with Jaha's pursuit of the City of Light. He has fully become entranced by the story that Alie is selling. He is a changed person now. He meditates and is a full partner to whatever Alie has in store for this world now that she has a nuclear device. Murphy is not having any of it. They trapped him in that bunker for three months. That was a powerful opening to the new season. It showed just how desperate and damaged Murphy became after all of those months of isolation. He did learn a little more about Alie. She was the one who ended the world and her creators felt sick about it once it happened. She believes there was too many people in the world. So she changed that. And now, she has promised the City of Light. A reality that Jaha has experienced but Murphy continues to assert that Jaha is as crazy as he has ever been. Perhaps even more now. But nevertheless, this group is making their way back home. It should be interesting to see how this storyline intersects with all the other elements at play this season. It's drastically different than anything else the show is doing. That kind of change can go any number of ways. Hopefully, it's good.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Wanheda: Part One" was written by Jason Rothenberg and directed by Dean White.
  • That's really Shawn Mendes who pops up for a moment near the end of the episode just to play a song on the piano. It's a nice song too. In fact, this hour has a couple really great musical moments. Of course, things abruptly end once Jasper decides to crash the party.
  • Speaking of which, that jam session as Bellamy's unit drives off into danger is a lot of fun. It's that kind of moment that shows just how far these characters have come since they first landed on Earth.
  • Lincoln has been offering fighting classes to many of the citizens of Arkadia. Plus, Abby really values his opinion on the world. It's a different perspective and one that should be valued. And yet, this society is also trying to bring Lincoln in closer by giving him one of the guard jackets. It's a symbol that really rubs Octavia the wrong way. 
  • Murphy largely gets on the boat with Jaha and Alie in the end because he wants to get back to a society of people not because he's actually a believer in what they have in store for this world.
  • Raven's leg injury is starting to cause her more pain than before. It's only noticeable to Abby so far. But that's going to lead to complications sometime in the future.
  • Abby is starting to realize that she is stretching herself too thin by being both the chancellor and the doctor. That probably means she's going to step down as leader of Arkadia sometime this season, right?