Screen / The 100

The 100: “Long Into An Abyss”

So the Grounders should maybe be the heroes of this show yes? The further along we go the more I thirst for The 100 to do an episode like Battlestar Galatica‘s “Downloaded” which focused exclusively on the cylons. It gave a glimpse of the enemies, showed us their motivations and even managed to push the story forward and escape that pesky syndrome of more unusual episodes meaning next to nothing in the wider seasonlong arc. But if you ask The 100, the Grounders aren’t even worth the scenes they give our antagonists at Mt. Weather.

Unlike BSG, The 100 seems to get worse and worse at at making its main characters compelling in their choices. One bad decision after another and these people still think they’re allowed some kind of grace period. BSG had a whole host of problems and even if you disagreed with someone, you saw where they were coming from, and The 100 had this for awhile but it’s losing sight of it. Lexa marching on Camp Jaha is an inevitability, and it’s not even an unreasonable one. She’s responding to a myriad of offenses, the most recent being Finn’s indefensible slaughter of a village. Yet all Clarke can say about this is “attacking is what Grounders do.”

Um…no not really.

The Grounders don’t back down from a fight, but we’ve heard what their thought process is. The 100 haven’t earned any favors from them, not from the moment they crash landed and set off those flares. Even Anya got killed for her own attempts at allying with Clarke so what benefits do the Grounders get for letting these oblivious people live? They have enough problems don’t you think? Between Mt. Weather and the Reapers, the Grounders have drawn a very short straw. Being bled dry and terrorized, their own people being turned into mindless cannibals, why should they have to put up with some annoying out-of-towners who can’t get it through their heads that they should maybe stop pissing them off, ruining their lives and killing their people?

The Grounders have an interesting perspective and one that only gets more interesting the further things go and start making the Arkians look ridiculous. Everyone’s in a tizzy because of the impending attack, Abby and Jaha are in conflict and Clarke’s looking for a solution to their problem. Leaving would mean abandoning Kane and the 47 in Mt. Weather, which is just unacceptable for Clarke and co. So we’re back to negotiating which is a laughable option considering all the things that have gone down between these two groups. But Clarke thinks she has a way: offering the Grounders a way to eliminate the Reaper threat.

With Lincoln transformed and trying to take a bite out of everyone, Octavia, Bellamy and Clarke hope letting the drug work its way out of his system will make him normal again. They seem to succeed somewhat, and Lexa’s open to the idea if Clarke can provide proof of Lincoln’s recovery. When Lexa and Indra enter the drop ship and find Lincoln dead, it’s perhaps the most ridiculous moment ever and only because Clarke still thinks she can say to them “You don’t have to do this” when things are about to turn violent. The assumption these people have that they can skate by on good will is absolutely insulting, and I’m relieved when Lexa agrees to their truce with one requirement: Finn.

It’s not an unreasonable request. It makes an overabundance of sense. Give these wronged people this one person who did this bad, bad thing and let them have justice. Perhaps the most insulting idea of this episode is that there’s something comparable in Finn and Lincoln because of what they’ve done which is wildly ridiculous because of the obvious differences here. There’s Lincoln, brainwashed and drug-addicted, turned into a Reaper against his will. Then there’s Finn, willful murderer of defenseless group of people. Lincoln will surely feel guilt, but Lincoln’s not wholly responsible for what he did. But Finn is, and no one’s holding him responsible but the Grounders who are shrugged off time and time again as if their rage is inconsequential. Everyone’s quick to drop the word “war” and comfort themselves and each other with reminders that they’re fighting one, but when will someone start talking about war crimes?

If The 100 wants to pose hard questions for these characters, they have to have those answers mean something. You can’t make one of your central characters slaughter a bunch of innocent people and simply shrug it off and have him say “my bad”. He has to pay for that, and the show has to see it through. I don’t want next week’s midseason finale to trace how they’re going to save Finn after his actions are what got him here, and I don’t want to hear about Finn’s pain when he doesn’t mention anything about the pain he caused the people he killed and the ones who loved them.

There’s always a bit of hypocrisy in these things, you know. My enemy can’t do this because it’s wrong but if I do it well there are reasons. But The 100‘s done something of a 180 since last week’s episode which had everyone tiptoeing around Finn and eyeing him warily, wondering who the hell they’re sharing a camp with. The only person who’s mildly put off by him in this hour is Octavia who’s about to clock Bellamy for pointing a gun at Nico when he attacks Finn. Hopefully if there’s going to be anyone not caring that much about Finn facing some consequence for his actions, it’ll be her. Even when everyone else lets me down, Octavia’s always made me happy.

As the season progresses another unsettling something has arisen, or rather re-arisen about the show. This is a show that I stopped watching when I heard that they killed off Wells Jaha, the only non-white character on the ground and resident good person, dead for no reason. This is the same show that followed up that episode with one in which Murphy peed on the back of another black character for not working hard enough. And this is the same show that posits its mostly non-white group of people (The Grounders) as savage and violent even while our heroes grow more and more tone-deaf with each passing episode. And it’s the same show that has members of this group caged to have their blood harvested to benefit a mostly white governmental power, who turns other members of this group into monsters. Not to mention that it killed off Anya and has pushed Adina Porter’s Indra to the side in favor of a white woman leader in Lexa and that in making Lincoln monstrous and dangerous even temporarily, it was perpetuating a stereotype about black men being animalistic and dangerous.

Stray Observations

  • Also insulting: Jasper being the mastermind of anything when Monty and Miller exist.
  • Okay but did no one catch Abby calling Jaha Chancellor. How can you call him Chancellor but not let him be Chancellor?
  • If this was BSG, they would have totally left everyone behind to save themselves. Not because they would have wanted to but because they’d have had no choice. You all remember season three. Besides, I’d really like to see this City of Light.
  • Oh so Raven just has better things to do than be in this episode? Okay, show.
  • I certainly hope Finn just gives himself up because I cannot spend next week’s episode watching everyone angst about how to save him from his own bad choices while Monty and Miller may be getting their bone marrow forcibly removed anytime now.

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