Whoa. Anyone still breathing after that? I’ve said in reviews before how much I commend this show for not being afraid to go too dark, even when it goes far. While “Human Trials” was a jaw dropping hour of television, that darkness went more into “worst nightmare” territory. I’m left rather unsettled by it, but I’m certain that was the point.
I recall this time in season one there was far more teen drama, kind of like apocalypse high school (standard CW fare), and I’m thrilled all that has been notably abandoned this season. The experiences on the ground have hardened these kids and they’re forced to make grown up decisions with real consequences. The growing pains are proving to be rather excruciating. I suspect that’s why this week’s installment is called “Human Trials,” because key characters are facing something very real and no one is coming out of this unscathed.
How does Finn possibly recover from this? He massacred innocent grounders, defenseless elderly men, women, and even children, justifying that he was doing all that to save Clarke. Something has clearly snapped inside the boy and when John Murphy is suddenly the moral one, something is very, very wrong. He’s lost his ability to tell right from wrong, his entire psyche mired in fear and paranoia rather than rationality. He’s the soldier that couldn’t take the harshness of war and is now fallen into a traumatic mental state that has ended in tragic circumstances. It’s clear from Clarke’s reaction that she’s going to reject him and condemn him for his act, as will others, so what’s that going to do to Finn? That failure among his friends to truly grasp his psychosis could hasten his demise. I don’t exactly see any good mental institutions at camp Jaha.
There’s no bouncing back for Finn from this. Everything will haunt him for all his days, and it can only succeed in driving him further into insanity. Finn is now number one on my list of most likely to put a bullet in his brain, that is if the grounders don’t kill him first. There will be extreme consequences for his actions. Firing that gun and taking those lives gave him a death sentence in a way, but we’re not sure the method just yet. Will he be turned over to the Grounders as a peace offering, that is if he doesn’t end his own life first? Will he be imprisoned by his own people? While the deaths of the grounders is super tragic, the demise of Finn, a character we’ve grown to love, is even more so. His current mental state, especially in these times of war, is a fate worse than death.
No doubt Bellamy will feel the sting of what happened. He already was feeling extreme guilt when he talked to Clarke by the fire. He saw the warning signs, how much war had changed Finn, but he also didn’t want to think about the worst possible outcome. So he gave Finn the gun because he thought he could trust him. His human trial is the harsh lesson that situations aren’t what they seem on the surface, like assuming it was the grounders that caused the disappearance of the 48. He needs to think things through. He was willing to live up to his responsibility and go find Finn, and it’s so nice to see how much he’s matured since last season. He’s willing to make things right. It really helps that he and Clarke are together again too. They both have grown together throughout these awful circumstances and have become each other’s rock. Maybe there will be a time for that romance to blossom (yes, my inner fan girl squealed over Clarke’s tight hug when she first saw Bellamy), but right now they need each other to survive.
Then there’s Abby, who’s doing quite a good job as Chancellor. For one, people are actually listening to her (the adults anyway), and accepting her decisions. Her struggles are clearly with parenting. Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia, with help from Raven, did run off on her watch and defy orders, but Bellamy had a point, she was willing to give them weapons when they were going after Clarke. Why should Finn be different? Abby’s problem is that she’s also a mother that doesn’t want to lose her child again, and that’s a very human reaction. I cheered that Raven was the one that set the record very straight for Abby; Clarke stopped being a kid the day she sent her down to earth to die. It’s a harsh reality for a mother and these adults will be learning soon enough that these kids aren’t the babies they were when they came down to earth. Protecting them is no longer an option.
Then there’s trials going on at Mount Weather, but these are a very different kind. This is where I think president Dante Wallace is not a mastermind after all. I think he’s a good earnest man that’s being snowed by some very unscrupulous people. We met this week the head scientist or doctor of some kind, and he’s all about experimenting. His motives though seem to be for fun and he’s got no concern for human life. He’s trying something weird on Lincoln and that’s turning him into a monster of some kind. I have no idea what that’s about, but he’s obviously some kind of Dr. Frankenstein. Lincoln’s fate is a definite TBC.
Then we have his assistant, who clearly knows what’s going on, and she’s more excited about the science than the actual humanity of the situation. She was able to trick Jasper into performing something her and her boss always wanted to do, the human blood transplant, just person to person in the same room and not the Grounders hanging in a secret place. They’ve convinced Wallace that they should be concerned with their own and start using the 47 for their purposes, just like they did with Jasper. Suddenly I’m wondering if Wallace even knows what they’ve been doing with the Grounders. I fashion Wallace to be very much like Jaha, a guy that has to make tough decisions for the good of his people, even if it’s not always right, but at the same time he might not have all the facts. I think he’s has taken a liking to the 47 and believes he’s keeping them safe. I’m hoping he’ll find out the truth before its too late. I would love to see Wallace and Jaha in a room together talking shop. That would just be ideal.
Speaking of Jaha, there’s yet another story and that’s Kane’s trial. Turns out he’s the one most self actualized and it’s inspiring. He’s willing to risk death or imprisonment to show he’s the better man in hopes it sets the right example for the Grounders. He also ordered his men home, because if anyone is going to die it will be him. This is the new and better Kane, embracing his mother’s ways of peace and spirituality, no doubt the principles in which he was raised but abandoned at one point. He even planted a Bonsai tree in the ground, clearly honoring his mother. He put down his weapons and released the Grounder, and was captured. Still, was there not a payoff to his actions? He was thrown in the pit along with another prisoner. I screamed when I saw it was Jaha! “We meet again.” It was Kane’s stunned reaction that got me all weepy. Finally a break for him. Those two have a lot of catching up to do.
Overall, another stunning hour. Each trial these characters face are either bringing them closer or pushing them away farther from their humanity. I was especially touched by Octavia who chose to help the fallen Grounder boy in the village rather than stick with her people. Even a character like Murphy is facing his choices in a compelling way and that’s way better storytelling than the petty bickering they had him doing with everyone last season. He isn’t too far gone, seeing how wrong the situation was in the village. I hope he’ll learn from this as well and will emerge the better person. There’s still so much heart in a lot of these characters, and the heart is going to make the difference in their fight for survival. Plus it gives us hope as a viewer when left with such a hopeless situation.
See you all in two weeks. Enjoy your Thanksgiving break!