The CW’s The 100 Survival of the Fittest TV Show Review. The 100: Season 2, Episode 10: ‘Survival of the Fittest,’ almost seemed like a rejoinder, to comments about the shadow of Nietzsche, over the show; but I’ll give them more credit than that. Overall, it was that necessary step, in putting everyone on the same foot, for when the storming of the gates moment comes; but beyond that, it was an exercise in certain characters getting over themselves, before having to step up, when it counts.
After trust issues, come understanding. When, for the sake of her own tenuous coalition, Lexa (Alycia Debnam Carey) deferred to doubts, over Clarke’s (Eliza Clarke) planning, Clarke took to wandering the woods, to vent. This, after a direct threat (over her conduct of last season’s last stand, at the drop ship).
While the Grounder Commander hosted Clarke, Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) was receiving a contingent of Grounders, under Indra (Adina Porter), at the garrison (I’ve been resisting the urge to dub it “Sky Mall”). Indra still wore her contempt on her… well, everywhere; but the now free Jaha (Isaiah Washington) had more than his own fair share of doubts. It likely came as no surprise, to either party, when Murphy (Richard Harmon) was goaded into starting a fist fight.
Now, about that impulse control thing, that pops up from time to time: I don’t recall Finn & Murphy being on such good enough terms that Murphy would be so easily provoked. I could chalk it up to Murphy taking any excuse, to vent some permanent rage at the Grounders, but it did leave an opening for Jaha.
That hiccup aside, the rest of the Grounders’ day in was ostensibly about training, but was really an opportunity to observe a bit more about Grounder culture, under more controlled conditions. To that end, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) provided much of the narration; but as we’re talking Grounders, it was mostly by action, and done more for Octavia’s benefit than the garrison’s. A point not lost on Kane, who may have seen as much of a conflict of interest, with Octavia’s ice-breaker moment, as an insider opportunity.
Between the title, and the Grounders’ practical brutality, the real question of fitness, brought up by the episode, was that of the spirit. Both Kane & Octavia recognized the Nietzchien maxim (“What does not kill you, makes you stronger”) to the Grounders’ methods, and Octavia’s insistence, on being fit to train with the Grounders, amounted to Octavia being “jumped in” to a place at Indra’s side. Whether or not Octavia knew this going in, I’m not sure; but however obvious the outcome was, I give the show credit for not making it easy for her. Not to sound petty, or anything, but Octavia needed more scars, to match that burgeoning spirit.
Clarke already had her fair share, and fewer people now question her field prowess for it; but her own impulse control moment added a few more, courtesy of the attempted payback she should have seen coming. That, however, would not be the test of Clarke’s spirit. Intervention, by Lexa, set the stage for Clarke’s own horizon bonding moment; but not before a key background player, from each side, was sacrificed as part of the set up. A pity, in the case of Clarke’s body guard, since the character was only just starting to step out of the background, becoming more than just a voice of authoritarianism.
The real test – I call him “Man-eater Joe Young” – was kind of a stretch. Zoo or not, Joe would not have likely survived, up to now, without a sizeable mutant population to be birthed from. Even if he were just another Mt.Weather security measure, the fact that the Grounders seemed to know about him should have warranted more secure villages (Joe seemed to pretty much roam at will) – the kind Finn & Murphy couldn’t just sneak into and hold hostage. Animal wildlife has been under represented on The 100 (whatever happened to that man-eating eel, from the pilot), so Joe was more of a convenient plot device, than part of the landscape. Not only did he allow Lexa to re-evaluate Clarke’s ideals (helping Clarke clear up the misconception about love, she latched on to, last episode), and allowed for more contrasting of cultures (after a soulful explanation, of Grounder succession, Lexa asks Clarke: “How are your leaders chosen?” Joe interrupts, “Don’t answer that – you’ll sound stupid!” but we only hear a roar), he also provided Clarke with a burst of inspiration, concerning a Mt. Weather fact that should have been fairly obvious. If only Lincoln & Bellamy (Ricky Whittle, Bob Morely) knew this, before being sent off to Clarke’s original scheme.
Mostly overshadowed, by the trials of Octavia & Clarke, was the Lincoln-Bellamy expedition’s own test. Only, the test seemed to be more about Lincoln on the wagon, for the moment. As the best plans go to waste, there was a moment of panic, as their commitment to carry own diverged; but when both avenues were blocked, they both took one for the team. Lincoln offered himself up to his own worst nightmare, while Bellamy’s trial may only be beginning; but there may be even more harrowing journeys to come.
Jaha still wants to be Moses, you see. By having Murphy lead him to his son’s unmarked grave, while everything else was going down, he turned what could have been a surprise murder twist, into a surprise recruitment power play twist. Arrangements had been made for his supporters to meet them, for that exodus to his promised city, and Jaha had seen enough in common, between Murphy & himself, to want him along. I suppose if there is to be any real redemption, for either of these two, it won’t be among the familiar cast & settings. While I appreciate the series not waiting to get past Mt. Weather, before delving into colonial expansion, I am mindful that Moses did lead the Hebrews to commit genocide, at their destination of Canaan. Just thought I’d put that out there….
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