Wednesday, May 20, 2020

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke Bottles Her Emotions While Determining the Fate of Russell Prime in 'From the Ashes'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 7.01 "From the Ashes"

Clarke and her friends attempt to rebuild Sanctum as a new threat rises in the woods.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of The CW's The 100.

"From the Ashes" was written by Jason Rothenberg and directed by Ed Fraiman

It's difficult to build and maintain a lasting civilization. Across seven seasons now, the main characters have found that it is much easier to destroy one. They do so even with the added pressure of feeling like the last remnants of humanity. Each season introduces some new concept that proves that their understanding of the known world is still expanding. The sixth season leaned hard into the science fiction elements. It introduced a new planet with its own set of rules as well as body snatching villains. In fighting against that, Clarke lost her mother. Abby was killed. And now, Clarke is essentially bottling all of those emotions up. She would much rather take charge of leading this world through a new order. She wants to stand proudly as the palace of Sanctum burns down. She proclaims that there are no more kings, queens or primes. This is the revolution that has now come for this society. It's not going to be easy. There are so many conflicting groups that want to attack each other. Clarke and her friends see the potential for all of them to be allies. They can coexist together while a new Sanctum is constructed elsewhere. And yet, there are still numerous mysteries on this planet. Clarke rallies the crowd with the declaration that they are the survivors of humanity. Meanwhile, Echo and Gabriel are off in the woods fighting against some invisible foe that has mysteriously taken Bellamy. That entire subplot just wants to be a cryptic tease for what is now possible in this reality. Diyoza's daughter Hope came out of the Anomaly fully grown to kill Octavia. Her body just vanished into thin air. And now, Bellamy is taken. Echo and Gabriel believe that the Anomaly is being controlled somehow. They hold hands with Hope as they go into the great unknown. It's an effective image but one not exactly built up with a firm understanding that this is necessary. It's assumed that is where Bellamy is taken. Hope is told she has to trust him. She has no memory of her life before coming through the Anomaly though. She is similar to Octavia in that way. The enemies may have the technology to tell who is friend or foe. That accounts for this discrepancy. It means this world hasn't been invaded yet by this threat because of that specific complication. It becoming present now though ensures that the future will grown even more destructive while also suggesting that there are even more worlds to explore. There is no telling what is on the other side of this Anomaly. It may force these characters to confront who they are and what they have done. But that may be difficult after a lifetime of simply fighting to stay alive. That has long been the core concept for the emotional growth these characters have experienced. And now, the show presents a reality in which Clarke and her friends are living in a modern house with a dog. It's a strange and almost unsettling image because the show has done such an effective job creating new worlds entirely. It's a vision of what life used to be. It's an image that was cast aside after the Primes decided to prop up their religious statures as gods. Their reign has come to an end. JR Bourne may be a series regular this season but he will no longer be playing Russell Lightbourne. Instead, his body is taken over by Sheidheda. That is an effective tease. One that ensures something monstrous continues to lurk around these characters. But it's also a character potentially plagued by the past. That face may only remind the world of what they choose to believe in. Some see Russell as their savior and god. Clarke sees him as the man who took away her mother. She lets out that rage here. She condemns him to death. That's unlikely to happen though. When it doesn't, that will only spark the tensions within this struggling civilization once more. It's already teetering on the edge of collapse surrounded by a planet just waiting to strike with its mysteries. Hopefully, the show can tell a compelling story this year without getting too caught up in the sci-fi demands of the narrative. It can grow insanely complicated. The characters are still fairly straightforward. They deserve resolution at the end of these arduous journeys. That just may not necessarily be peace and the ability to live as leaders over the future of humanity.