There were some very interesting developments in tonight’s episode, “Day Trip.”And again, The 100 wallows in the morass of moral ambiguity as it explores complicated themes of guilt and redemption. In a nutshell, can the greatest crimes, and our greatest enemies, ever be forgiven?
The show finds a novel way of exploring these ideas via drug-like hallucinations. But more on those visions in a bit. There are also three important plot points that bear repeating here. (As always, please be warned that major spoilers follow. You owe it to yourself to watch tonight’s episode anyway).
First, the prisoners need to find a way to survive the impending winter. Kane informs Clarke of an emergency aid shelter that may contain supplies the prisoners need to make it through a brutal nuclear winter. Their makeshift tents and supplies scavenged from their drop ship simply aren’t going to be enough.
Second, Shumway really wants Bellamy dead, and dangles a carrot in front of a prisoner named Dax to make that happen before the Ark’s first drop ship lands. No Bellamy means no loose ends for Shumway. Which means Bellamy has every reason to fear for his safety.
And last but not least, Octavia frees the grounder, who we discover is named Lincoln. What’s interesting about this is not the obvious chemistry between these two (or Lincoln’s stolen kiss). Rather, it’s Bellamy’s tacit agreement with his sister to set the grounder free.
Clarke and Bellamy discovering a weapons cache in the supply depot is also an important development. Predictably, Clarke is not happy about bringing guns back to the camp, even if she understands how vital they are to the group’s survival. Her moral ambiguity goes out the window though after she fires an assault rifle for the first time. Indeed, it’s one of the few times we see Clarke actually enjoying herself (only to feel guilty immediately thereafter).
Like Bellamy and Octavia, Clarke has become less of a one-note character. She is a person with very real needs and disappointments, even if she often plays these vulnerabilities too close to the chest for her own good. She allowed herself to be vulnerable with Finn, a decision she regretted before Raven arrived and inadvertently turned their burgeoning romance into a love triangle.
As for the aforementioned visions, they allow Clarke and Bellamy to face their greatest fears—namely themselves. Throughout the season, these two characters have surrendered vital parts of their morality to ensure the group’s survival. This all came to a head in last week’s episode, which explored the uncomfortable necessity of torture. But, really, Clarke and Bellamy are the tortured ones, and always have been. Their guilt (whether it’s for endorsing torture or causing the death of 320 innocent people) is a burden that’s become too great to bear alone.
In the case of Bellamy’s vision, not only is he confronted by an imaginary, bloodied Jaha, he must also face the culled 320, who were doomed to die because he sabotaged Raven’s radio.
As for Clarke, even a hallucinated reunion with her father isn’t a happy one. She’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. And, as she confesses to her father, she allowed someone to be tortured.
“Forgiveness isn’t about what people deserve,” Jake tells Clarke. And since this is her vision, this simple truth he imparts to her is something she already knows, even if she’s reluctant to act on it. Some wounds never heal; they fester, and spread. Who will save Clarke from herself? Will it be Bellamy, who has become an unlikely ally?
I just want to point out that Bob Morley was fantastic in this episode. Because of his performance, I truly felt pity for Bellamy. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place with no real way out. Clarke, heeding her father’s advice, offers him forgiveness. In that moment, even I would have forgiven Bellamy’s many transgressions. Like Clarke, he is punishing himself for one too may compromises. As he points out, his mother raised him to be a better person than he’s become.
Marie Avgeropoulos also turns in a great performance. Like Bellamy, she’s come a long way as a character. I don’t think the Octavia of the pilot would have been capable of standing up for an alleged enemy. But in tonight’s episode, thanks to Avgeropoulos’s complicated performance, we’re able to see how much is truly at stake for Octavia.
I hope The 100 continues down this path. Slippery slopes may be dangerous, but they offer important opportunities for rich character development. And in that regard, “Day Trip” did not disappoint.
Some closing thoughts:
Bellamy tells Clarke it’s important to keep your enemies close. In the same breath, he tells her Miller isn’t someone to be trusted. We lost Dax, Bellamy’s would-be assassin, in this episode. Will Miller be next? And, if so, will it be by Octavia’s hand?
We finally get to see our first ruins. Which led me to wonder not only what caused the war, but also which country bombed the United States back to the Stone Age. We know the Ark is an amalgam of different countries. Is the country in question among mankind’s survivors—or were they left behind to eventually become grounders like Lincoln?
Has anyone else noticed the shuttle docked at the Ark in the show’s opening sequence? Will it play a part in the Ark’s mass exodus?