The CW‘s The 100 Day Trip TV Show Review. The 100: Season 1, Episode 8: ‘Day Trip’ took the series into something of a redemption phase for the usual suspects; the resident bad actors – both on the ground, and on the Ark – being confronted by their past decisions, and even worse actors.
For Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley), this meant dealing with the fallout from his failed assassination attempt on Ark Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington). With communications established between the Exiles and the Ark, Bellamy’s past efforts, to have the Exiles written off by the Ark, were now moot, and a reckoning with Jaha inevitable. On top of that, his relationship with sister Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) had been strained over his over protectiveness, and specifically over the torture of the Grounder captive (Ricky Whittle) she has developed an attachment to. Things would get worse when measures to cover tracks were taken, by the real architect of the assassination, and Bellamy’s course of action would play right into them. One failed assassin deserved another.
The Assassination would also serve as a final, stark realization for Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), regarding his adversarial role aboard the Ark. He considered his draconian approach to managing the Ark as desperate times calling for desperate measures; but after the unnecessary (in hindsight) culling of hundreds of volunteers, and now having to confront the legacy of his hawkishness, in the form of a treasonous plot, Kane lost his appetite for power. Unfortunately, his recline may have paved the way for someone worse to take over the Chancellorship.
For Octavia, the days of the (literally) sheltered wild-child, acting out against the overbearing brother, had been supplanted by the fixation on Grounder captive, Lincoln. After showing up Bellamy and others, by extracting some life saving information from Lincoln (with a play too obvious to justify an hour-long running time, so no one else thought of it), Octavia now has a cause to her rebellion against her brother.
For Finn (Thomas McDonell), being stabbed by Lincoln was a pricey out to his lady juggling problem; but with Octavia keeping Lincoln from being harmed, on his account, and Raven (Lindsey Morgan) in full denial mode, just happy that he had survived, he began thinking of making amends.
Redemption was not reserved for just the bad actors. Resident rabble-rousing do-gooder, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), had been on something of a tear, lately. Her simmering rage, over the betrayal of her executed father, Jake (Chris Browning), was originally aimed at childhood friend, Wells. Learning that he had been shielding her from the truth, however – that her mother, Abby (Paige Turco), was the culprit – just before his murder, had left her at a full boil. Throw in the ‘complications’ over comforter Finn, and Clarke really needed a break from civil affairs.
With news that a nearby bunker could help the Exiles survive their first Winter, Clarke feeling anti-social, Bellamy dreading the eventual arrival of Jaha, and the hallucinogenic properties of a tasty new morsel yet unknown, the stage was set for a Clarke/ Bellamy road trip, and a potentially fatal dose of catharsis.
I am glad that the intrigues aboard the Ark has not only been kept a part of the series narrative, but has evolved (I’m still missing Kelly Hu, though). The 100 has gotten past both the Bellamy and Kane power plays, and has opened up to a new round of threats & schemers. All good, but the execution could still use some work.
While I look forward to the Grounders adding a third dimension to the series, the star-crossed lovers angle, between Octavia and Lincoln, risks overplay from the get-go (consider The CW’s recent cancellation of a series built on – and even named after – said angle).
– Did I mention that Lincoln speaks? English. He speaks English; but more than that – he speaks it with an American accent. So, now I have no choice: I have to address the fact that everyone does. I had previously made some allowance that The 100 is geared to a contemporary young American audience, and clearly expects a suspension of disbelief from anyone paying too close attention. Well even if Lincoln turns out to be from a previous Exile effort (i.e., not a native at all – just a resolution theory, not a spoiler), the fact remains that the multi-national founders of the Ark had apparently defaulted to English. This is plausible; despite the sheer size of the Spanish & Chinese speaking population, English is the common tongue of our time. There hasn’t been any effort to represent anything other than an American presence – at either location – however; but maybe we’ve only been privy to a very small slice of the population’s make-up. Even if this amounted to a rather dismissive approach to putting the show together, I guess it would be unfair of me to expect the kind of care that went into, say, Elysium, in terms of cast & character multi-nationalism.
In any case, the Bellamy & Clarke expedition yielded survival tools of a different kind. Guns have been brought to the Great Land Grab. I couldn’t help but wonder just how many of the Ark’s component stations were militarized. There are guns on the Ark, and Bellamy was proficient enough with a 20th century assault rifle to give Clarke pointers. By the time the hallucinogens kicked in, however, Bellamy’s would-be assassin bringing a knife to a gun fight didn’t seem like a handicap.
As Bellamy wrestled with an imagined tough-love confrontation with Jaha (and other faces of his guilt), Clarke was being talked into biting the bullet, regarding her mother, by her dad. Unfortunately, their altered state made it so that their combined efforts barely got the better of Bellamy’s lone assailant; although his end came a lot quicker (and neater) than the means would likely justify.
Back at camp, Finn’s condition, Raven’s preoccupation with him, and Octavia’s preoccupation with Lincoln, all added up to them being the only people not tripping balls. It also presented the perfect opportunity for Octavia to spring Lincoln, and Finn to give him a no hard feelings pass, on the way out.
If the now lucid Exiles were freaked about the ramifications of Lincoln’s escape, the arrival & distribution of military grade guns, by the newly recommitted Bellamy, and more hawkish Clarke, went a long ways to ease their minds. As long as they stick to Clarke’s provision, that they not use them like toys, and hand them over to the grown-ups, when they land, things will be fine. They will. Really.
In the end, Finn and Octavia felt better, for their acts of noble disobedience; Clarke opened a dialogue with her mom; Bellamy (with Clarke’s support) managed to leverage his part of the Ark conspiracy into a full pardon from Jaha. A not entirely nice, or neat closing to various sub-plots; but to The 100‘s credit, the way has been cleared for a number of new possible directions – both on the ground, and in orbit – the show can go in. If the series can keep the Teen Beat conventions, and suspension of disbelief requirements to a minimum, major sub-plot turnover can only help.
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