Wednesday, June 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'The 100' - The Tensions at Sanctum Continue to Escalate as Raven Makes a Brutal Decision in 'False Gods'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 7.03 "False Gods"

As Raven faces an unexpected threat, Clarke must keep the peace among opposing factions in Sanctum.

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 next episode of The CW's The 100.

"False Gods" was written by Kim Shumway and directed by Tim Scanlan

This episode faces the daunting task of having to maintain a strong sense of urgency and tension even while dealing with plot beats that the audience knows won't exactly occur. Raven faces a potential nuclear meltdown. That is a threat these characters have faced before. That doesn't lesson the urgency of it all. It means the audience is aware of just how dangerous this can be and how well-prepared the characters should be. But it's mostly a story that introduces complexity to Raven's character arc to dictate just how far she is willing to go and who she is loyal to at this moment in time. That is still significant. However, it runs the risk of not entirely tracking with everything she has gone through across the series. She has voiced her opposition to the life-or-death decisions that Clarke and others have made. And yet, she willfully lies to people about the risk of this radiation exposure because she views it as the only way that this civilization can survive. The repairs can only be made under these specific circumstances. No one was willing to volunteer for the job. Wonkru is divided once more. Gaia has faith that the loss of a commander won't fracture this community forever. She has seen evidence of the various tribes coming together in order to survive. But she faces the brunt of that decision. She destroyed the flame and people antagonize her for it. As such, the word of the leaders no longer carry the same weight that they did before. Previously, they had faith that the voice of the commanders would guide them through whatever obstacles they faced. And now, that connection to their ancestry is lost for good. They can only count on their own. That doesn't include Clarke, Gaia and Indra. That means Raven ropes in some of the Eligius IV prisoners because she views them as people still earning that trust in this society. The audience sees clearly that they are voicing concerns about what is being asked of them. The one who genuinely believes in the best of what is dictating this society is the one who ultimately dies though. That will only fan the flames of this conflict again. It means Clarke is once more in a position where she believes that fighting is all that humanity ever knows how to do. They have the freedom to exist and make their own choices. However, they are the last of the human race. Miraculous things have occurred. And yet, they may be fated to end every world that they inhabit. Clarke's life has been filled with so much death. She is finding her way anew without her mother. Clarke and Gaia can rely on each other. They cherish that understanding and respect. But there are still so many conflicts brewing. It's unclear just how the show will manage all of these stories in a way that is ultimately cohesive. Everything happening on Sanctum has basically nothing to do with the Anomaly and the threat coming from that end of the universe. Meanwhile, Sheidheda continues to find ways to manipulate Russell Prime's followers into sowing more chaos in this society. The narrative demands the audience take that threat seriously. He has to come across as convincing and persuasive. It's something that only works because of the character work done with Russell Prime last season. His followers remain devoted to him. As such, they are now tools used to bring about destruction. That is very rudimentary though. It's a fairly basic motivation for a character who exists as a core antagonist in the final season. It's a little underwhelming while the series embraces themes and conflicts it has dealt with many times previously. The character work remains fascinating. However, the burden of it can be tiresome. Plus, Jordan remains incredible naive. That is his basic plot function at this point. He is used by others in order to deliver messages. He believes he offers a message of a better world because that's what his parents wanted for their friends. That is constantly weighing on Clarke's mind as well. But she has had the lived experiences to know just how difficult these choices for survival can be. Meanwhile, Jordan just hangs on the fringes of the narrative believing he offers something of importance when he is fairly insignificant. It's difficult because the show wants him to be included. It's just more engaging to watch as Emori races to fix the nuclear reactor before it melts down. It's visceral to see Raven attacked even though she fells defeated because of the horror of her recent actions. These character beats work well for the overall tension. They just work more individually than creating a cohesive whole that informs and complicates the rest of the world and the choices being made.