This review contains spoilers.
1.9 Unity Day
The nicest thing about The 100 is that it’s managed to remain completely unpredictable. Despite the clichéd premise and liberal attitude towards taking themes and ideas from other, similar properties, by episode nine I can honestly say I have no idea what might happen next. Killing off the people they chose to early on was a masterstroke in this, and it’s rare that a series can legitimately lay claim to the familiar boast that ‘no one is safe!’ and have us actually believe it. The end of this episode, Unity Day, might not mean what it wants us to think it means, but the chance that it might is sometimes enough.
The episode centred around the titular celebration of Unity Day, both on the ground and up on the Ark. Unfortunately, the stilted Ark celebrations result in the first of many characters’ deaths of the episode – Kane’s mother might not have been a series regular or even a part of more than one episode, but the moment still had some weight – and is something that is likely to crop up again before we wrap up the first season. The war prior to forming the Ark sounds like pretty fertile ground for some sort of flashback episode, or even just some past trauma that can be woven into the series as a whole.
Unity Day introduced the idea of unnecessary war into the series, and this fed into the interactions between the hundred and the Grounders. Anyone who watched Lost probably already figured out that the Earth’s existing residents (aka The Others) weren’t going to be all they seemed, and Finn’s stance on the whole thing was, quite shockingly, the most sensible of them all. Continuing on her transition into a ruthless leader and partner to Bellamy, Clarke was the one not to trust that talking would be enough, and ordered her backup to bring weapons. As a result, Jasper may have just kicked off a full-on war between two tribes just trying to protect their own.
It’s an interesting concept for a show that could have coasted on its Hunger Games-esque story and ability to mix and match love triangles, with the antagonists having just as much to fight for as our main characters, and really encapsulates what a great little surprise The 100 has been. It’s not afraid to complicate things in all the best ways, and that translates that having the Grounders established as non-evil characters this early on. And just to solidify that for doubting audiences, we have one of the most compelling romances (not a high bar, admittedly) on the show with Octavia and Lincoln.
The stuff on the Ark is, surprisingly, much more black and white. Diana was most definitely the bad guy in this scenario despite the fact that the Chancellor has been lying to the workers about how much room there is on the drop ships, and I honestly hope that crash killed her off. No matter what, we can assume that the bulk of the adult characters are going to make it down to earth at least in time for season two and, when they do, I don’t see there being any room for such an openly antagonist presence. Kane, Abby and Jaha are fascinating because they live firmly in the grey, doing unspeakable things with the best of intentions.
But did Abby die in that cliff-hanger explosion, or is something else going on? Truth be told, it’s honestly just lovely to wonder whether the show has killed off another one of its major characters, since so many series like The 100 are frightened to do anything that might upset viewers. This show seems to be doing the opposite, and that’s pretty exciting given its season two renewal. See you next week for what looks like even more death and mayhem for our campers, as well as the return of Jasper.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Day Trip, here.
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