TV Show Review

TV Review: THE 100: Season 1, Episode 4: Murphy’s Law [CW]

Bob Morley Marie Avgeropoulos Eliza Taylor The 100 Murphy's Law

The CW‘sThe 100 Murphy’s Law TV Show Review. The 100: Season 1, Episode 4: ‘Murphy’s Law’ picked up sometime after the discovery of Wells’ body – the assumption being that he was killed by indigenous Grounders. Fear and loathing was the order of the day, as the camp rallied to fortify itself, while Clarke (Eliza Taylor) redirected her guilt, over having hated Wells for what was essentially an act of martyrdom, to hatred of the cause of his sacrifice. Apparently Wells took the blame for Clarke’s mother having ratted out her father, so now Clarke wanted the real culprit to suffer. She had her monitor bracelet removed. This was not just to spite her mother, and certainly not in any way that would vindicate Bellamy (Bob Morley), but to provide Monty (Christopher Larkin) with a working bracelet, from which he could salvage a communicator. So, no, Clarke wasn’t being a total reactionary, over Wells’ death. That came later.

Her action did have the desired affect, however. Ark councilor Abby Griffin (Paige Turco), despite the notion of deliberate bracelet removal having been presented to her, couldn’t shake the dread of her daughter now being counted among the exile dead. She kicked her plan, to re-establish contact with the exiles, into high gear.

After successfully bluffing Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) away from her pet project with Raven (Lindsey Morgan), Abby took a calculated risk, involving the Ark’s black market kingpin, that ended in her being ratted out to Kane. Since time flows differently on the Ark, Abby used her five remaining minutes of freedom on a long goodbye, and still managed to meet her would-be captors half way. Not to accuse Kane & co. of being slow – clearly the Ark has high-end coffee/ donut shops on the route they took, and floating key rivals feels so much better with a caffinated sugar rush, behind it.

Once Raven overcame the inherent quality control issues, that comes with black market trading, she launched herself Earthwards. Frankly, I don’t know what will please Clarke more, news of her mother’s impending demise, or the fact that it will be delivered by Finn’s long-distance GF.

Octavia’s (Marie Avgeropoulos) efforts to rehabilitate Jasper (Devon Bostick) led to the discovery of the murder weapon, which just happened to belong to Bellamy’s chief sadist, Murphy (Richard Harmon). Murphy’s public history with Wells, his intention to euthanize Jasper, and his overall bully behavior, did him no favors. When Clarke defied Bellamy (and common sense) to publicly call Murphy out, the whole camp came down on him. Poor, passionate Clarke rushed out to demand a reforendum of law, and a lynching broke out.

I’m not sure whether we were meant to feel sorry for her, having given her follow exiles too much credit, as a society, or if the intention was to make her seem less than perfect a protagonist, for exactly the same reason. Either way, it was a pretty bone-headed move, on her part (and shame on her for making Bellamy the more reasonable of the two).

The real culprit was Charlotte (Izabela Vidovic), a thirteen year old in a toddler’s body, that was only acting on misinterpreted advice (bless her heart). To her credit, she publicly owned up to the murder, securing Murphy’s release; but not before Bellamy set Murphy swinging from a noose, by popular demand. If Murphy thought his condemnation was bad, the crowd having no appetite for turning on Charlotte hit him particularly hard.

What Murphy failed to take into account, and no one thought to make clear to him, was that the double standard came from nobody liking the monkey boy. Well, even the most hated person in class can rally support, if belligerent enough. It also helps if that support just wants to see people get hurt. With Bellamy momentarily going timid, over the matter, his ‘security detail’ signed on to Murphy’s lynching posse; setting off after Charlotte, now under the protection of Clarke and Finn (Thomas McDonell). To that end, we were introduced to Finn’s bachelor pad: an unused fallout shelter.

If we were meant to assume that Charlotte’s early admission of guilt was the first step, to a drastic redemption effort, then I guess the rest came easy. Clearly absolved by cast & script, alike, as a confused, impressionable child, deserving better than vigilantism (you have to be “this tall” to qualify for summary acts of violence), Charlotte ditching her rescuers, so no one else got hurt, was the next logical step. Kinda sucked for Bellamy, since getting to her first meant having to carry her off, even as she screamed for Murphy to come put her out of everyone’s misery. Endearing.

If Bellamy’s idea was to save Charlotte from martyring herself, and the script was intending to pull a shocking twist from the effort, then bringing her to a cliff (and then turning away, to focus on the pursuers) really defeated the purpose.

For all the talk of accountability, ‘Murphy’s Law’ just kept the irresponsible behavior coming. Letting Charlotte go was followed up with a banishment. Even without the benefit of multi-media entertainment (or history class, for that matter), some consideration should have been made for the condemned’s return (perhaps with an army of strange new friends). Simply assuming/ hoping that banishment equals indirect death sentence was a cop-out. The mutineers getting back into the fold spoke both of Bellamy’s need for blind followers, and just how blind those followers really are (really, they’ve just been falling in line with who ever’s been the loudest and angriest). Finn and Clarke… well that happened.

Of course Finn and Clarke went all out. He was trashing a very valuable refuge, and she was still hurting over Wells being removed from their triangle, and the subsequent fallout. Well, incoming. Raven’s on her way to form a new triangle; so Farke(?) had to happen, in order to guarantee tension upon her arrival.

I’ll keep this simple. I didn’t buy Charlotte as an impressionable child worth protecting, and ultimately redeemed by self-sacrifice, brought on by a late understanding of her impulsive action. She was an exile; this made her neither a child, nor innocent. I didn’t buy Clarke’s turn as a knee-jerk reactionary, having to make up for Wells’ death (even if he was a better friend than she deserved), then having to make up for Murphy’s lynching, then making up for Charlotte’s death with devil-may-care sex (which she may well have to make up for, later). I never liked Finn, since he’d been after Clarke from day 1, in spite of leaving Raven under the impression that they were still an item; so I don’t buy him as Clarke’s heroic dark horse love interest (sorry, Farkers).

As much as I hate over simplified characters, inexplicable 180s, in the name of character complexity just makes for an empty silhouette of a character. Not being able to trust the creative team’s research, into matters like science, is one thing (as is predictably convoluted writing); that’s where suspension of disbelief comes in. Not being able to trust in the development/ evolutionary process of a show’s characters, however, is more of a deal breaker.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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