Screen / The 100

The 100 returns with “The 48” and new people in charge

Considering how intense The 100 was in its final episodes (all of which I just recently watched, so it’s all fresh), the second season premiere “The 48” is surprisingly muted. After all the explosions and the death, the premiere picks up where its predecessors left off, but it’s picking up with the aftermath of the Grounders’ clash with the 100.

And everything’s disturbingly quiet.

The Grounders killed in the attack are you know, dead, and we can assume that the 300 who died were a large number of their warriors. And considering the arrival of the others from the Ark, they’re probably not eager to take them on just yet. And there’s the fact that forty-eight of the surviving hundred have been whisked away to Mount Weather.

“The 48” opens there, with Clarke in her white room. She escapes, terrified after seeing Monty’s room emptied, and she holds a shard of glass to a girl’s throat until she takes her where she wants to go. That Clarke looks both demented and dangerous during this moment is proof of how far she’s come since we first met her. She’s singleminded in her pursuit of answers, despite scaring the bejeezus out of this poor girl who’s certain Clarke is at least going to contaminate her, if not kill her outright.

This girl, Maya (Eve Harlow), leads Clarke to a dining room full of people. It’s such a bizarre sight, even more bizarre than the white room and the sterile hallways on a show that’s become so identifiable by its leafy greens and campsite browns. These happy people soon scatter when they notice Clarke, hosting a nasty cut on her arm and a disturbed/baffled look. When things die down, Clarke meets President Dante Wallace, a saccharine man who is undoubtedly not what he seems (Raymond J. Barry) who confirms that forty-eight of the 100 have been brought here. Even though he gifts her with clean clothes, shoes and jewelry, none of it feels quite right to Clarke.

Perhaps she remembers how she was brought there (since no one else does), hit with knockout gas and dragged there. And now she’s told that she can’t leave which is, of course, for her own protection. Clarke’s still in leadership mode, and she’s naturally skeptical of these people, especially when there are others (including Finn, Raven and Bellamy) whose conditions are unknown. She’s not buying into what Dante’s selling, despite it featuring tasty and regular meals and a warm bed where they’re not being hunted by Grounders. This reluctance is chalked up to Clarke just needing to adjust to safety, to learning that she doesn’t need to fight for anything anymore as everything’s taken care of.

But it’s not taken care of. There are more questions than answers, and Clarke seems to be the only one interested in asking those questions. To be fair, everyone that really matter is on the outside, and the only ally Clarke has is Jasper. Monty’s there, too, but The 100 doesn’t care to do anything with Monty that would mean not doing annoying things with Jasper, who now has a girl that he likes (Maya) so he’s going to be completely useless from here on out. Clarke’s leadership role has shifted inside Mount Weather, where her drive to escape conflicts with everyone else’s to just sit. Clarke used to be he leader, with all these kids working under her and turning to her for guidance. Now they don’t listen to her and have no reason to. They’re safe now, and Clarke’s contrary opinion almost makes her villainous.

Clarke’s the danger that the people of Mount Weather now fear, erratic and unpredictable. Maya pulls a gun on her when Clarke threatens to use the hatch that would presumably lead her outside, and she’s arrested for it while Jasper looks on. By the episode’s end, she’s at least pretending to go along with what Wallace wants from her, while still planning an escape. Mount Weather is too good to be true, she says, and she’s likely right. Coming from the Ark, where the Council made all its rules (but especially the bad ones) in the name of protecting its people, blindly following anyone seems like a bad idea.

If the others were there, perhaps it would be a different story. Clarke’s driven by the need to find out what happened to them, even after Dante assures her that they’ve found no indications of other survivors. Haunted by her decision to close the door to the dropship and abandon their remaining people to their fates. Now she’s desperate to know just what those fates were. But Mount Weather is an attractive option for her. She’s pleased with the food despite herself, and it is nice to be able to sleep and not be afraid of an impending danger. But there are lingering doubts about Mount Weather, beneath its Norman Rockwell-esqe aesthetic, and it makes the untamed wilderness and uncertainty outside seem like a better option.

But tell that to everyone else.

Raven’s still in the dropship, Finn’s being dragged back to the commander by Tristan (miraculously still alive), and Bellamy’s trying to rescue him.  Bellamy’s attempts at convincing the two others to join him in rescuing Finn is hilariously bad. He does his best, truly. He gives them a somewhat inspiring “We’re warriors” speech, but it doesn’t have the desired effect after watching dozens of your friends die. Taking on the leader of the group that slaughtered them, even when he’s outnumbered, isn’t an attractive prospect so of course Bellamy ends up going alone and getting his butt kicked.

Then the people from the Ark make their presence known. Kane’s reappearance sums up everything that’s great and awful about the grownups coming down to join these delinquent kids. Kane shoots and kills Tristan before he can slice said kids to pieces, and then (in the most ridiculous way possible) tells them that everything’s going to be okay because they’ve arrived. Throwing the Ark people with Bellamy at all means there will be instant conflict since Bellamy’s unlikely to fall in line with anyone’s orders at this point. Besides, we know what the Ark thinks of rules and in a lot of ways, Clarke and Bellamy’s more lax stance is preferable.

Naturally Kane’s first instance of rule-abiding is with Murphy who is still alive (for some reason). Bellamy’s first instinct is to kick the crap out of him, which is a perfectly natural reaction. And Kane takes this opportunity to arrest Bellamy. “There are rules,” he says while he has no opinion on Murphy murdering several of their people, shooting Raven and trying to hang Bellamy. It’s there to hammer home that Bellamy has no power here, that Clarke has none either. They’re not in charge anymore. Clarke’s not in charge at Mount Weather, Bellamy’s not in charge in the wilderness. They’ve been replaced in the hierarchy, and neither one of them is going to take it well.

While we’re on the topic of Murphy….Let’s just vomit together shall we? Are we supposed to feel sorry for Murphy now? Because he had a hard life on the Ark? Didn’t they all have hard lives on the Ark? The 100 didn’t end up being the 100 because they had wonderful lives up there (with the exception of Wells, RIP). Even Clarke has some family drama that needs to be resolved. We know enough of Raven’s mother to know that she wasn’t great, and Bellamy and Octavia had no father but had a mother who got floated simply for having another child. Murphy’s story, however sad, doesn’t do anything to make up for what he’s done, and Raven omitting that he’s the one who shot her when Abby asks is the most eyeroll inducing moment of the episode by far.

In my review of the finale, I commented on how The 100 has unlimited avenues to explore in a world like this one. They’ve dropped Clarke into Mount Weather’s modern world, where she’s surrounded by art saved from the apocalypse. The nature of the radiation means that there could be any number of monstrous things hiding in the wilderness, one of which reveals itself to Octavia to be chalked up to the effects of the poisoned arrowhead she was shot with. The show could, theoretically, become many different things over time. One season it’s the Grounders, the next Mount Weather, the next zombie vampires on beaches and they could always blame it on the radiation and the sheer scope of the unfamiliar world they’ve landed on.

As long is stays about these kids (and sometimes the adults) who are trying to survive, it could work. There are several wrenches thrown into their plans at this point. There have been many arguments about who’s in charge and who’s plans to follow over the course of the show, and there are only going to be more now that there are other voices in the mix. Though we can be sure Kane has good intentions, though we’ve seen what his good intentions mean for the livelihood of the people he commands, but Wallace’s are less clear. When Lincoln first mentioned the Mountain Men he said they’d kill “them all“, and that doesn’t imply anything good for either the Grounders or the 100.

Finally, there’s Jaha, alone and in space. His messages to the ground go unheard, and he shuts everything down (including a photo of Wells). Resigned to his fate, he’s ready to go. That is until he hears a baby crying, and the camera shifts down the Ark’s dark and empty corridors. So what is that Jaha’s hearing? Is this a result of his oxygen deprivation? Or is there some phantom baby residing in what’s left of the Ark? Who knows? It is space after all.

Stray Observations

  • Raven had no choice but to leave Murphy alive, because she was out of ammo. But why did the Grounders not just kill him? Especially when Tristan cared so little about killing the other kid who couldn’t keep up with him? This question is also asking why is Murphy alive at all?
  • Lincoln carrying Octavia is actually my favorite thing.
  • The Lincoln monument is a landmark denoting Lincoln’s village. Is that why he’s named Lincoln or…? If so that implies there’s some level of history floating around Grounder tribes and a similar sense of nostalgia.
  • I already have zero patience for Jasper this season. More Monty, less Jasper. Always.

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