The CW’s The 100 The 48 TV Show Review from NYCC 2014. The 100: Season 2, Episode 1: ‘The 48,’ unfolded under the assumption that audiences had already seen the relevant episodes of season one. If ‘The 48’ was any indication, season two will not be stopping for new viewers. Just as well – the second season premiere needed that momentum to cover a lot of new ground. I had noted that the season one finale may have left the series well beyond its original premise (anyone got a head count? Is it 48? Do new arrivals count?); this suggesting that said premise may have been dispensable, for the sake of a much grander mythology. The season two premiere seemed to be glancing in that direction.
In the immediate aftermath of ‘We are Grounders,’ Bellamy (Bob Morley) set off with a pair of the Exiles’ youngest. Their group eventually came upon one of the few Grounder survivors, with a pair of Exile prisoners in tow – reduced to one, as a matter of efficiency. Bellamy sat his charges down, and prepped them for a daring plan they clearly weren’t up for; but Bellamy couldn’t afford to take that into account.
When last we saw Clarke (Eliza Taylor), she was locked in a high security facility, across from another cell that contained Monty (Christopher Larkin). After a season of being sidetracked from their very first mission, locating the government facility at Mt. Weather, it seemed the Men of the Mountain found them.
Waking, in ‘The 48,’ to find Monty’s cell empty, and being cleaned by a scary hazmat suit (with a person it it), Clarke went about breaking out of her not so secure cell, and subduing the person in the suit. Maya (Eve Harlow), the person in the suit, was a young woman that may have been Clarke’s age, and all too willing to comply – i.e. terrified of a homicidal Clarke, now bloody from the escape. Maya did take Clarke to find the other Exiles, but Clarke was completely unprepared for what awaited her: a picture of post-apocalyptic communal dining worthy of Norman Rockwell.
Of course, no dinner party is likely to respond well to an armed, wild-eyed intruder, covered in blood; but in Clarke’s case, it was also the matter of her breaking a standing quarantine. Clarke would eventually be talked down by none other than POTUS Dante Wallace (Raymond J Barry); but the real call for calm would come from Monty & Jasper (Devon Bostick). They’ve been having a time and a half (mostly involving desserts), and were ready to trade in their hatchets for forks.
As amusing as it was to see Clarke treated like Patient Zero, suddenly springing up amongst the good folk of a post-Zombie Apocalypse safe zone, a different scenario came to mind, as the Mt. Weather thread progressed. A question of whether mankind is better off living by the laws of civilization, or Darwinian laws of natural selection.
Back at what remained of the Exile garrison, the reincarnation of Christopher Nolan‘s Bane got careless, then dead, unwittingly bringing together a very at-odds couple, as a result. Raven (Lindsey Morgan) & Murphy (Richard Harmon) were the respective hero & villain of the Exiles’ last stand. Never mind the perspective difference – part of Murphy’s betrayal involved shooting Raven; so Raven’s unsuccessful effort, to return the favor, was as understandable to Murphy, as I suspect it was to most viewers. Death bed confession & reconciliation does happen; so this opening effort, to possibly redeem Murphy, was also understandable. To Raven’s credit, however, she found his dying sentiments no more warranted pity, as her own eminent death warranted her being more forgiving. Besides, “I didn’t want to die alone,” as Murphy’s professed reason for the sit down that Raven couldn’t walk away from, didn’t strike me as particularly endearing.
At Mt. Weather, Clarke had to come to grips with a serious problem: domestication. We are expected to accept that Clarke, the original champion of civil law among the Exiles, had gone feral, after dealing with the natives, and was now inherently suspicious of Mt. Weather’s order. PTSD can do that, so I’ll bite. Trauma induced suspicions cut both ways, however, as Maya (with more talk-down help from Jasper) was able to head off another escape attempt by Clarke – this one threatening the facility, itself. That is, if Dante’s story is to be believed. Call it a stretch, but Dante might be a nod to Mephistopheles – with Clarke finally giving in to the joys of dessert being a bite into the Apple of Eden.
The Mountain Men society had clearly descended from bunker survivors of the cataclysm. Dante’s account of their history since – particularly their dealings with the Grounders – and their intentions for the Exiles, remains lip service, for the moment. The issue of orbital radiation levels affecting the survivors on the Ark was finally addressed, and played into Dante’s story. Here’s to hoping that other season one loose ends, like Anya, are dealt with, at some point.
One problem I’ve always had with The 100 was the contemporary sensibilities of the Exiles. Way too much impractical fashion, given the circumstance. It seems that matter may have been among those addressed between seasons, as Feral Clarke seemed to regard Dante’s presented formal wear as an entirely foreign concept. I’m beginning to wonder if the new Clarke was actually a new person.
She even looked different. I don’t know whether Eliza Taylor has had work done, has been working out, or became a mother, between seasons – because it really doesn’t matter – but the perceived difference just left me feeling like I wasn’t watching the immediate aftermath of last season’s finale.
The third thread of the episode followed scar-crossed lovers Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) & Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), after an arrow through her leg forced Lincoln to take Octavia off the battlefield, relatively early on. Upon discovering that there was poison to that injury, Lincoln had to decide whether to turn himself over to his former tribesmen (and a gruesome ritual killing), in order to give Octavia a fighting chance.
After winding up the kids with a warrior’s mantra, Bellamy set his plan into motion. They might as well have been chanting “we are Red Shirts.” While the operation went as expected, it did not go as Bellamy planned. The Grounder had two prisoners again. Maybe it’s been too long, since the last time I’ve seen any of these characters, or maybe I just found a few of them cut from the same casting director’s spread sheet, but I didn’t actually recognize Finn (Thomas McDonell) as the surviving prisoner. Then again, after Bellamy’s charge went Pickett, there wasn’t a whole lot to distinguish his bloody face from Finn’s. I guess I owe the props & make-up people a Coke.
The Ark’s Skyfallen, last seen only just emerging from their crash site, had apparently torn themselves free, from that gorgeous lakefront scenery, in time to serve as the cavalry. Good thing, too; Bellamy’s kids were just about to earn those red shirts. Raven & Murphy also benefited from the arrival of the Skyfallen; and while Bellamy had more than a little agita to work through, with Murphy, Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) intervened as another agent of civil law. If domestication means Murphy gets redeemed, I’m voting Darwin.
It was nice to see the Ark’s security detail act as more than just the ration police, and Kane’s personal goon squad. Considering that Mt. Weather has its own tactical assets, it looks like the Grounders & Reapers will be muscled out of the picture. Of course, arrogance & stupid mistakes can level a playing field. I see a leveling of the playing field, at some point. In any case, it was also nice to see Kane take to his new role as Chancellor; but I half expected him to sneeze at being addressed as such; not just because of his apprehensive expression, but….
Former Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington) had sacrificed himself, to a slow death in orbit, in order to facilitate the skyfall. I hate long goodbyes. There has been some old wisdom said, about the revolutions of birth & death, and The 100 may have taken some of those literally.
At this point, I’ve been given a few reasons to keep watching The 100 (whether there are 100, 48, or whatever); I suppose finding out how the show makes sense of this ending counts as one more.
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