Thursday, January 28, 2016

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke is Taken Prisoner as Everyone Attempts to Save Her From the Ice Nation in 'Wanheda: Part Two'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 3.02 "Wanheda: Part Two"

Bellamy and Kane risk life and limb to rescue Clarke. In an attempt to avoid worrying about her daughter, Abby focuses on whether to open Mount Weather as a medical facility. Murphy plots to betray his former Chancellor.

The 100 is really ramping up the tension and danger from the Ice Nation in these first two episodes of the new season. They are the threat that has emerged in the wake of the destruction of Mount Weather. Peace was only able to exist for three months. And now, everyone is out hunting Clarke. If she falls into the wrong hands, a war could break out amongst the grounder community. It makes for a very precarious start to the season. The Ice Nation is being built up as a very formidable opponent. Their army is vast as well. The sheer scope of this episode is impressive as it shows just how strong the Ice Nation forces really are. Kane and his group as well as Clarke and her kidnapper, Roan, have to seek shelter in order to avoid detection from this massive army. That's very impressive and establishes just how menacing this new threat is that will force all of the plots of the season together. The Ice Nation is responsible for injuring Nyko. The Ice Nation is the entity seeking to end this peace. The Ice Nation is relentlessly pursuing the power of Wanheda. It's a very tense start to the season. But one that also does a whole lot of damage to the main characters as well - as the leaders of the Ice Nation remain in secrecy.

Roan comes from the Ice Nation. He has Clarke prisoner. And yet, he is actively avoiding people from his own community. He's in hiding just as much as Clarke is. She is able to sense that right away. She does not go quietly. She is fighting for her freedom every step of the way. She is in survival mode. She has had to fend for herself for the past three months. She's become even more of a skilled and ruthless warrior. Her decisions from the past still haunt her. It has given her this reputation that she does not want because it is disrupting her ability to actually live a simple life atoning for the people she has killed in order to save her own. She is not allowed that. She is a target in these first two episodes. That forces her into contact with some people she never wanted to see again. But those connections are still so strong. When Bellamy shows up to rescue her but unknowingly gets attacked by Roan, Clarke promises to stop fighting as long as he lets Bellamy live. That shows just how strong that connection still is. Bellamy was willing to risk everything just to rescue Clarke. He got so close but she slipped away because of how skilled a warrior Roan is.

And yet, Roan wasn't taking Clarke to the Queen of the Ice Nation. Instead, he was taking her to Lexa. Clarke still feels so much anger towards Lexa. She betrayed her trust in the moment she needed it the most. Lexa was just doing what she thought was best for her people. She's doing the same now by securing Clarke so that no one else can take her. She's trying to save Clarke from the dangers of the world. Clarke would rather spit in Lexa's face and hold on to the pain and hostility of the past. Killing everyone at Mount Weather has really changed Clarke a lot. She's not handling those emotions all that well. She's lashing out in the hopes of surviving - but far away from seeing the people she saved on an everyday basis. She didn't want to get caught up in this mess. But outside factors have forced her into it. Roan happens to be the son of the Queen of the Ice Nation. He was in exile. Lexa promised to let him return home if he brought her Clarke. That arrangement could have gone any number of ways considering Roan's mother is the reason why this war is brewing right now. Roan easily could have betrayed Lexa. But he didn't. He gave her the one thing she wanted the most in the name of protecting this world from a meaningless war. So even though Lexa doesn't honor their deal in the end, it still establishes Roan as someone who may not be as loyal as he initially seems to his clan of grounders.

Meanwhile, the trap that Bellamy, Kane, Monty and Indra fell into at the end of the season opener offers a very familial twist. They are not trapped by enemies who wish them harm. Instead, they find the remaining survivors of the Ark's farm station - including Monty's own mother. It's a very emotional reunion. It also features the most emotional story for Monty yet as his mom shares the tragic details about his father's death while he tells their new friends about the horrible things they've had to do to survive in this world at Mount Weather. It's a big reunion. But it's also one that sets up a potential troubling development as well. These survivors from the Ark are being led by a guy named Pike. He was a teacher in Earth survival on the Ark. So, it's easy to understand how they've survived as long as they have while in the heart of the Ice Nation. But Pike also shows up with the mentality that all grounders are the same. They are a common threat to all of them. He trusts Kane but he doesn't want to embrace Indra as an ally. It's certainly understandable why he holds this opinion. Much like the kids when they first landed, they had to constantly fight the grounders just to stay alive. But the show has somewhat evolved past that whole "every grounder is the same" mentality. It may not amount to much. Pike's expertise quickly becomes necessary in the field as the group has to hide from the Ice Nation army. But it's a development that could go any number of ways in the future.

It also comes at a time when Abby is trying to create a new symbol of hope in this world. Arkadia is a place where the Sky crew is safe to live. It has become a home for Lincoln as way. And yet, the leadership worries about just how stable this peace really is. They don't want to mess it all up just because they want to use the wonderful resources at Mount Weather. In this episode, Abby is forced to make an unscheduled trip to the facility just in order to save Nyko's life. He is injured in an attack by the Ice Nation. But he's also comfortable going to Abby to get the help that will actually keep him alive. That's a kind of expertise that only she can give. That's becoming her reputation in this world. She is the doctor who is capable of saving lives. Mount Weather is riddled with bad memories over what the mountain men used the facility for. It was a dark place in this world that only caused pain. It's very difficult to be in that place again - especially for Jasper who lost so much there. Everyone has the noble dream of being able to turn this place into a symbol of hope. But with a war ramping up, that seems like a very daunting mission.

And lastly, this episode provides the very first glimpse at the City of Light. It's a virtual reality that Alie has created that has eliminated all of the pain and suffering of the world. It's a very hopeful message for Jaha. It has provided so much meaning and healing to him. He wanted it to be this great place for the rest of his people to call home. And now, he has realized that it is so much more than that. He wants to spread it with everyone he comes in contact with. But there are plenty of nefarious things afoot in this story as well. People being allowed to see the City of Light completely changes them as people. Jaha still holds onto his personality and free will. When he welcomes Emori's friend though, he becomes nothing more than an obedient servant to Alie. This world is taking away more than just pain. Murphy and Emori see that and move to get as far away from Jaha as possible. It's still not quite clear how this story is going to intersect with the dangers of the rest of the show. And yet, it's a completely different kind of storytelling that is exciting to watch. Death doesn't exist in the City of Light either. That's a huge development. The show is just going for it. It may not work out in the end. But the show's at least going for it. That's to be applauded.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Wanheda: Part Two" was written by Aaron Ginsburg & Wade McIntyre and directed by Mairzee Almas.
  • Indra probably didn't know that Lexa had hired Roan to find Clarke and bring her back to her, right? If she did, why would she then also recruit Murphy, Kane and Monty to find Clarke as well? Unless she wasn't confident that Roan could get the job done or be trusted.
  • That first scene with Lexa this season is so great. It's brief but a powerful way to start the season. She's very much in leadership mode. Her actions still make Clarke angry. But she's doing them to protect her entire coalition. Plus, she now lives in a place that towers over the rest of the landscape. That's cool.
  • Jasper does confront some of his fears by returning to Mount Weather. He once again looks at Maya's favorite painting - though now it carries a much different context. Octavia does support him during this emotional time. But is that enough to get him to pull out of his wallowing and destructive behavior?
  • The show casually introduces a new blood type. That's why Abby has to take Nyko to the mountain. It's a special type that can only accept the exact same thing. It largely just plays as a way to get these characters back at Mount Weather.
  • Niylah is comfortable telling Bellamy what happened to Clarke largely because they are both Sky crew. Not because Bellamy saves her life when a bounty hunter is torturing her for the same information. Also, how bad was that bounty hunter if he couldn't find Roan's tracks that Monty immediately finds?