The premise of “The Calm” is a weak one. Perhaps not the premise but so much how the real meat of the episode is reached. The camp’s food stores (which we’ve never seen before) are destroyed in a fire which forces them to go out hunting despite the looming Grounder threat. It serves its purpose, propelling the episode forward into a face-off between Anya and Clarke with Finn’s life hanging in the balance, but the urgency seems manufactured at a point in the season where it doesn’t really need to be. There’s enough drama without forcing them into the woods since we’re at the end of the season, after the 100 and the Grounders have declared war on one another and after the Ark has been crippled so badly that it’s likely to fall out of the sky at any given moment.
Or maybe I’m just bitter because the bulk of the conflict on Earth revolved around Finn’s maybe murder at the hands of the Grounders if Clarke can’t save the life of one of their dying. I can’t say I care much about Finn or his livelihood though I understand why Clarke does (as misguided her affections seem to me). Finn is annoying, but I understand why Raven wants to keep him around. He’s her best friend, despite the circumstances surrounding their relationship at this point. Their scene together isn’t actually all that terrible. Raven’s pain is clear throughout as is Finn’s try-hard approach to mending their relationship fails incredibly despite her attempts at being casual later. It’s an approach Raven takes to the remainder of the episode, trying to focus on things other than hers and Finn’s tainted relationship and Finn’s feelings for Clarke, but she’s clearly unhappy.
It’s hard to point out a moment in time where Raven’s been happy since she landed. She was thrilled to reunite with Finn, and we know how that ended up. Since then there’s been nothing but a continuous mad dash to save their lives while being witness to Clarke and Finn’s love story. There’s something deeply resonant about Raven’s story, having to see someone she loves being in love with someone else. The 100 is an extreme show with extreme circumstances, and there’s not a lot that can be totally related to for us average people in their war with the Grounders and their fight for survival, but there’s a lot of heart in Raven’s side of things. She throws herself into survival because she doesn’t have any other choice, but she’s devastated enough to try to drown her sorrows in Bellamy’s pants, and despite how hot they are together, Raven departs his tent in much of the same despair as when she arrived. And it only gets worse when she learns about the unknown fates of Clarke and Finn.
With Anya and company, Clarke sees the harsh reality of their actions in the last episode, seeing a young girl dying because of their bomb. This girl is Anya’s second, who rides into battle with her, and she’s even younger than Clarke. Knowing that her death is due to their bomb is an uncomfortable reality Clarke has to deal with, quite directly when Anya demands that she save the girl’s life. Despite Clarke’s best efforts, the girl dies, and Finn is taken away. Anya’s grief is a relatively small point in the episode, but it is certainly there and is a sharp reminder that the 100 aren’t the only ones who have people they love. It’s never confirmed but perhaps that’s why Anya bargains with Finn’s life, knowing the threat of harm coming to him is enough to motivate her.
The Ark probably has the best things going on in this episode (purely because Finn is uninvolved and I don’t have to pretend to care about the possibility of his death). Kane’s sojourn through the dying Ark to reunite with Abby and Jaha gives him in particular a heroic edge he’s been lacking all season. They’ve all done some bad things, and though Abby’s recent stories have been about helping save the Ark and the people on it, there’s still that complicated black spot hanging over her that is her husband’s execution. Kane’s prior aggression and ease with killing hundreds of people aboard the Ark wasn’t earning him any fans, and Jaha’s the Chancellor, the one through which all these morally questionable decisions runs. But now that all of those bad deeds (done in the name of survival) have come back to haunt then and threaten that survival, they all hunker down.
Kane, Jaha and Abby have become quite the trio in recent episodes, and Kane’s push to reunite them is both suspenseful and sweet. A lot of the personal relationships on the Ark have been tainted by the obvious issues present in how they do things up there. They’ve been in conflict so much, with Kane’s own contrary opinions, with Jaha being their boss, etc, but they have a nice dynamic when things get hard. Kane and Jaha have had the biggest turnarounds, Jaha now willing to sacrifice himself to see Kane and the others to safety and Kane refusing to go without him. And when Kane finds Abby, tossed from the Exodus ship with a few lucky others, their reunion is a nice one especially considering their contentious relationship in the early episodes. The three of them are a prime example of the kind of great things that can come in times of crises, people pulling together to get through.
It’s true of everyone. The nature of their conflict could easily see them all collapsing around one another and accomplishing nothing, but it does the opposite. There are a few bad apples, of course (like Murphy) who are only going to hold everyone back, but for the most part these people are capable of working together when forced and doing whatever’s necessary to save their own lives. Clarke brutally kills the Grounder holding her captive to make her escape once she learns that an attack is imminent, and her steady gaze and “ssshh” is the kind of ruthlessness we haven’t seen from Clarke until now. And it’s all in the name of returning to camp and saving everyone. But of course she doesn’t make it there.
- Monty is so underused. He’s so great in his scenes with Raven, holding out hope for them to make contact with the Ark again. He’s also way more fun than Jasper, and perhaps smarter. He finds out there’s a suspicious signal sounding, one that likely caused the navigation on the Exodus ship to go haywire and led it to crash. Then he disappeared completely which is scary because I don’t want anything bad to happen to Monty. And I hope his people made it on the Ark.
- But what is this magical birth control these kids are using?
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