We’ve hit episode 8 of The 100 and for a show that grabbed me from the first scene, it keeps getting better and better. Yes, The 100 has still has too many elements of a soapy teen drama, but it’s proving to be of better caliber than standard CW fare. This week especially, when we got to see the inner psyches of the two lead characters on the ground through a cliched premise that came off perfectly anyway, I realized that it’s all about the storytelling and that’s what sets The 100 apart.
From the Pilot, everything has been put into the story to bring out the heart. Let me explain the concept of “heart.” It’s something that Supernatural did extremely well in its first five seasons (not so much it’s recent four). In order to connect with any drama, we have to care about the characters. That’s not an easy sell in network television with so many shows out there. You have to deeply feel the pain, the anguish, the joy the character is experiencing in that particular scene. You have to care about happens to that character, and hurt when they do. It’s all in the details.
Yes, the plot twists are often predictable and contrived in The 100. But what makes them work is you’re connected with the character, who is seeing this for the first time. Of course people being stoned on something and having to face their inner demons has been a plot done many times before. But it’s required when you’re still getting to know characters and what makes them tick. It’s required when these teenagers have real horrors and fears in their lives.
The stories on the ground so far have been focused on Bellamy and Clarke forging their leadership roles, so it’s only natural that we got to look under that curtain for them both. Bellamy’s dark and gloomy vision of Chancellor Jaha, confronting him for shooting him, as well as was being plagued by the visions of the 320 people he indirectly harmed by destroying the radio, shows the kind of place he’s in right now. Bellamy’s story follows quite a different path from Clarke’s. His demons are guilt and confronting his fears. Makes sense from what we learned about him with his flashback from a few weeks ago. His obstacle to being a great leader so far has been because he’s given into fear, something his little sister has already learned. Confronting fear is exactly what got him exonerated though, by coming clean with the Chancellor (as well as a show of faith from Clarke) and hopefully he learns from this lesson.
Clarke’s vision with her father, which was a bit more ethereal, showed how much she’s struggling with making peace with her mother, and it was emotionally powerful as well. It showed the deep bond she shared with her dad, especially for emotional support. While Clarke is very good at uplifting others (most of the time, we still remember Charlotte), she’s not so good with herself. It’s the prime example of how “show, don’t tell” that makes storytelling exceptional. It helps that Eliza Taylor is such a strong actress too and nailed the scene so well. I’m also glad that Jasper and Monte’s visions provided more comic relief than anything, because comic relief means a show doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Who didn’t call the ex-Chancellor as the person behind the attack on Jaha? As soon as she was introduced as an old adversary taking Abby’s place on the council in episode 1.07 (sorry I missed the review on that one) we knew it was her. But still, I enjoyed the way it all came to be. How Shumway’s scheme was exposed by Bellamy, who decided he wasn’t running away anymore thanks to his epiphany and earned some much needed character redemption by coming clean with Jaha.
Then we have Octavia. It makes sense she’d connect with the grounder, who we now know to be Lincoln. He seems to communicate just fine. Human connection is something she hasn’t had much of her life, so she doesn’t see him as a monster like the others. That’s probably why Lincoln may have taken that sponge bath of hers the wrong way. But yeah, that kiss that Lincoln gave Octavia after she freed him. Whoa. That’s way more than a “thank you” peck on the cheek. Octavia kissed back, so things just got interesting.
I’m more impressed with Finn, the victim of Lincoln’s brutal stabbing, saw him in Octavia’s disguise leaving and let him go. Which brings us to the greatest character mystery yet. If anyone is more due a backstory right now, it’s Finn. He’s still an enigma to of us. Out of all the kids on the ground, he seems to be the most intuitive about people. Did he let Lincoln go because he thought that having him the camp was wrong? That his gesture would earn some protection for his group? Or did he do it because he knew that Lincoln didn’t mean to harm any of them? We still don’t know enough about Finn to know what drives his actions. He also comes across as a pacifist, but won’t walk away from a fight or adventure. He seems like a slacker, keeping the bomb shelter a secret so he could use it as his private lair, but he also seems to care deeply about everyone there. The more I see he and Raven together, the more the whole thing feels off. Maybe he got himself imprisoned so he could get away from her? Something isn’t right between these two.
I’m intrigued that Finn was so urgent in his warning to Blake about Bellamy. Why can’t Bellamy be trusted? Didn’t he just earn his redemption? Is Finn seeing something more about Bellamy that the others aren’t seeing, or is he just getting jealous that Clark and Bellamy are getting too close? That’s all a TBD, and maybe I’m seeing something more than what’s there, but I found his plea very interesting. Again, when you grow to care about these characters, you take more notice in their actions, which may or may not be important later on.
Oh, and those doing the body count, one more can be added to the list, so I think that makes 11 dead now. Farewell dumb kid who took the assignment to kill Bellamy from Shumway a bit too easily. We all knew from the second that happened how it was going to end.
While other CW shows are wrapping up this week and next, we have four more episodes of The 100 to take in, not the mention that the show will be back next season (congrats on the pickup!). As we learned from the prior episode, it’s not yet known that The Ark is like the Titanic, more people than ships to transport them to the ground. No doubt that’s going to intensify the story as people start coming to the ground. Who lives and who dies? What will happen when the so called “lawful” citizens of the Ark come to live among these criminals? In the meantime, do you think guns are a good idea when the ranks among the 100 are splintered? Yeah, there’s a lot of ways this can go.