Every week when I do one of these reviews for The 100, I always manage to find something new to marvel about and “Many Happy Returns” is no exception. This week, some key characters had to face brutal moral tests and character defining moments, all in situations where the answer was impossible either way. Their decisions had consequences for sure. Each situation sucked you in as a viewer as well, again proving this show’s strengths when it comes to character building. Just like the previous weeks, the action moved at a brisk pace while weaving together four stories perfectly. Given the number of people, arcs, and all the scenarios that could possibly happen, there is no predictability in what transpires ever week. The instincts of this writing team are dead on and this is easily the best sci-fi show on television right now (but people aren’t watching either!).
TPTB aren’t afraid to go there with the catch 22s. How many weeks have I been saying that one of the “red shirts” would be dead soon? Well, they went there, but in a scenario that’s was both exciting and gut wrenching from the word go. Bellamy, Finn, Murphy, red shirt #1 and red shirt #2 (sorry, I just didn’t learn their names), all find one of the ark crash sites. The crash scene was so stunning the way it was staged, with bodies and parts of spaceship littered everywhere, a somber reminder that the dream of reaching earth didn’t end well for many. But there is one still alive, and she’s hanging on the edge of the cliff. Finn and Bellamy spend too much time debating that they don’t have time for this. Bellamy clearly wants to help, but his desperation to get the others back is as large as Finn’s. His choice is taken away though when red shirt #1 doesn’t hesitate to try and save her (we find out her name is Mel), making him the most level headed guy out there, and the one who’s managed to keep his morals in tact. Of course that moral ground does him no favors when the rope snaps (the others weren’t watching it), and down the cliff he goes. Goodbye red shirt #1, we hardly knew you.
This is where it’s very, very clear that Finn has gone off the deep end. He’s very anxious to get moving. He’s ready to leave this girl on the cliff. But Bellamy can’t do that after red shirt #2 is ready to go down that cliff next. That’s when rationality finally hits Bellamy, they’re trying to go after people they don’t know are alive, and this woman is very much alive. Geez, you couldn’t have come up with that five minutes earlier Bellamy? And that is why Bellamy cannot lead without Clarke. He’s not very good at making the right decision at a critical time. He still has some growing to do in the right choice department, and his hesitation ended up costing the life of one of his team. Luckily Murphy is on board with the saving Mel plan, and he and the others dig through the wreckage to create a new rope.
In a fit of ill timing, as they are trying to pull Bellamy and Mel up the cliff, the Grounders attack! They are all sitting ducks trying to hold onto a falling apart rope while arrows fly at them (kudos to Murphy for being strong enough to hang on to both ends when the rope breaks in a spot), and redshirt #2 gets a poison arrow to the leg. And that’s when something strangely satisfying comes from this so far tragic scenario. The yellow fog horn sounds and the Grounders scatter. Bellamy and Meg make it to the top, and then the horn blower emerges from the bushes. Octavia! A brother and sister reunion! I’m weepy.
Now Bellamy has his priorities back in order. He’s taking red shirt #2 back to the camp. Finn is ready to go on a hellbent rescue mission all by himself. So, Murphy volunteers to go with him. Murphy isn’t about to go back to being a prisoner. Bellamy gives him a gun. Considering Murphy is the one actually not acting like a psycho right now, I’m thinking he actually made the right choice, but everything Bellamy does seems to come back to bite him. He’s trusted Murphy before and gotten burned. Will this be another case? Octavia looked at Bellamy like he was nuts but no matter, they’re going back to join the others and next week will be some happy reunions in the camp.
In the other catch 22 department, we have Jaha. His story was a bit slow this week, but it didn’t matter because visually the desert shots were stunning (great cinematography) and his connection with this family of Grounders told a very heartwarming story. This family lives alone in isolation in the Dead Zone because their young boy, Zoran, was born deformed. The rule is they are to kill the ones born mutants, and these parents couldn’t do that. Zoran’s mother talked about finding refuge in the “City of Light” and now I so must see this place. Jaha bonds with the boy and it’s a chance for him to reflect on how much he misses Wells and the tough choices he made that failed him and his people. This is where The 100 has the most perfect actor for this role, selling a whole heartbreaking story by just staring at one chess piece.
The really slow part of the story fell on Raven, back on technical duty after her permanent leg damage. She’s reunited with her old boss/friend, and it’s clear that she doesn’t accept help from others so easily. She’s used to doing it all on her own and her new situation changes all that. Once she gets over her stubborn streak with wearing a leg brace her boss made her, it’s then she can solve the problem of getting a beacon to work. The one they want to put up so the other Ark survivors can find them. The one that makes anyone find them, so hot headed security chief shoots it down. Bitch, way to ruin another beautiful moment. Sorry, but Kane needs to come back so he can kick the living crap out of her. She’s another of those on the edge types that is bound to get innocents killed because of her paranoia. Do you think she’s Murphy’s mother? Anyway, it’s good to see Raven use her techie smarts again and this is where she truly belongs. It’s the most content we’ve seen her since her first scene.
Clarke of course found the opportunity to take out Anya with a tranquilizer dart and now Anya was her prisoner. Then they got to the old drop ship camp only for Clarke to find Abby’s message to her smudged and unreadable. That’s when Anya decided to attack and both of them had a really intense, UFC caliber smackdown fight. The fight choreography was just spectacular, and so nerve wracking. In the end Clarke bested Anya, who lay wounded on the ground, suddenly commending Clarke on her fighting skills. NOW she wins her respect. That was just in time for Clarke to see the beacon. See, Raven’s efforts weren’t wasted!
It still didn’t turn out well for Anya though, and that sucks. She was fun to watch and I really liked her character. They found the camp Jaha and Clarke was finally able to appeal to Anya that an alliance between their people and the Mountain Men would be best. With the Grounders know how of the land and the Sky People’s technology, they have a fighting chance. Anya agrees to speak to her elders and heads off…just to be shot and killed by one of Kane’s overzealous guards. They knock out Clarke too, because she caked in mud and wearing grounder gear. They think they’ve captured a Grounder. Morons, wait until you realize who you have.
So yes, it’s really sad to lose Anya and there’s the show oscillating between dark and light. Clarke is obviously going to have to talk some sense into her people about what’s happening, but with hotheads like Kane’s security chief in charge, that’s bound to fall on deaf ears. Will this end up being a test of Abby’s leadership? I hope so, because the previews show Kane in a very bad position next week. I’m also hoping we’ll get that Bellamy and Clarke reunion, just in time for them to take off and rescue the others from Mount Weather.
Okay, I’m ready for more. Keep it coming show! You’re doing a great job so far this season. What did you think of “Many Happy Returns?”