The 100 episode 3 review: Earth Kills

The Hunger Games, Lost... The 100's inspirations are a little too evident in this week's episode...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 Earth Kills

The first two episodes of The 100 were very much about how the unfortunate teenagers dumped on Earth were going to react to their environment and how, not surprisingly, their hostile environment was going to react to them. When Jasper didn’t die despite getting a spear through the chest from some unknown entity hiding in the forest, it was easy to think that the show wouldn’t have the guts it needed to craft a compelling Lord Of The Flies-esque drama but, in week three, it set about disproving that theory.

For there were not one, but two deaths during the hour – one brought about by some toxic fog (by way of Clarke) and the other by one of their own. This grimness and sinister atmosphere is what most of us tuned in for, of course, and the ‘kids killing kids’ criticism that met the first Hunger Games movie can now also apply to The 100. We were told that no one in the group would be safe and, given that the number of Earth residents still stands at 94, there’s plenty of cannon fodder left to meet and discard.

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But Atom and Wells, who both bit the dust during Earth Kills, were central characters with established relationships and their deaths, specifically Wells’, shows a lot of welcome gumption on the show’s part. Alas, we only discovered his and Clarke’s backstory this week – in which she believed he had told his father about her father’s suspicions and been responsible for his ‘floating’ – but, as with The Walking Dead and so many other shows like it, it looks as though we should always be suspicious when a character gets a big episode.

Atom’s death, already assumed when we left him strung up in the jungle last week, was less of an emotional gut-punch and more of a plot device to pitch Bellamy and Clarke against each other. It might not be the recommended position to take, but I haven’t bonded with Clarke in the slightest, and that makes we side with Bellamy on this particular argument. He’s supposed to be the Jack to her Ralph but, when our protagonist is so thinly drawn and uncharismatic, it’s not hard to believe the masses would choose someone else as their de facto leader. The power struggle is obligatory, at this point, rather than interesting in itself.

It’ll also have to move past of the obvious Lost echoes, whether they’re intentional or not, but any show revolving around a stranded group of people fighting against a hostile island/planet with no chance of escape gets a temporary pass on this. We kind of knew how the Atom dilemma would work because we’ve seen the same problem posed before and, with that and the villainous smoke (okay, this was an acid cloud, but still), it’s hard not to watch The 100 while connecting the dots between all its inspirations. The events of this episode suggest it could soon be doing its own thing, but right now we’re just watching it tread familiar ground.

But The 100 had the good sense to kill a couple of characters this week and, with the choice of deaths ranging from obvious to shocking, there are plenty of signs that there’s more to come. Offing someone so close to our heroine was particularly bold and, added to the way in which he was slaughtered, it gives me high hopes for the rest of the season. We may have started out gentle, but Earth Kills thankfully decided to start delivering on its gory, brutal promise.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episodes, Pilot and Earth Skills, here.

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