Spoilers ahead for tonight’s episode, Remember Me, as well as last month’s mid-season finale.
Time and again, The 100 has dared to take pretty big risks, especially when it chooses to take the moral low ground. These characters are not perfect—far from it. Even the best of them, like Clarke and Bellamy, are deeply flawed individuals who are slowly losing pieces of themselves in the ongoing pursuit for survival. And, at this point in the series, almost everyone has blood on their hands. This is especially true of Clarke, only this time, Finn’s blood is the hardest to wash away.
While The 100 excels at putting its characters through the wringer, tonight’s episode didn’t quite gel for me. Yes, there was conflict aplenty and drama to spare, but that’s probably part of the problem. If tonight’s episode suffers from anything, it’s overreach. But even a flawed night of The 100 is still better than your average show. In other words, we shouldn’t hold the show’s ambition against it.
So let’s start with what worked about tonight’s episode:
Clarke’s lingering guilt over killing Finn. Many viewers were quite distraught over Finn’s death in the mid-season finale. Indeed, many viewers wanted the show’s creators to answer for what happened to a beloved character. For a show like this to work, no one can ever be safe. The world the survivors inhabit is openly hostile—which is why a successful truce is so vital to everyone’s survival. And, unfortunately, Finn’s death became an essential part of achieving the truce. That being said, while we’ve seen Clarke mercy-kill before, this time was different. Throughout the episode, she is haunted by visions of Finn, whose eerie silence is damning.
Clarke grappling with her leadership role. While Clarke is not the chancellor per se, she has nevertheless assumed the role simply by following her instincts. But she soon discovers she lacks the emotional distance to be a truly effective leader. What’s interesting here is the leader she’s trying to emulate is not her mother, who is the acting Chancellor, but Lexa. Clarke senses true strength in the Grounder commander. Right now, it’s safe to say she probably trusts Lexa more than she does her own mother. But more on Abby in a bit.
Monty takes some initiative. Bad things are afoot in Mount Weather. Luckily Monty is among the 47 trapped inside the underground bunker. He takes it upon himself to get into the command center and turn off the signal jamming all outgoing transmissions. And he succeeds! Their distress signal is heard! But instead of celebrating with Jasper and the rest, Monty is captured and thrown in the dreaded kennel. I really hope he survives. Seriously.
The return of Linctavia. For a while there it didn’t seem like Octavia and Lincoln would ever be reunited, especially after he went full Reaver. Her forgiveness—their happiness—was one of the few bright spots in a show that was low on optimism. And after losing Finn, I think viewers could do with a little hope.
What didn’t work:
Normally The 100 is great at juggling its ensemble cast and its various settings, but tonight’s episode was very uneven. It would be easy to say that the choppiness merely reflects Clarke’s addled state of mind, but I don’t think so. More often than not, Clarke is the emotional center of the show, and Eliza Taylor handles this well from week to week. But there was simply too much drama packed into a single episode. Clarke is mad at herself. Raven is mad at Clarke. Clarke is mad at Abby. The Grounders are mad at everyone. And on top of that, suddenly the truce is in jeopardy because it appears that someone tried to poison Lexa. That Raven was probably framed doesn’t even matter—she’s sentenced to the same slow death that was fated for Finn. It is a lot to digest.
Abby is no longer a sympathetic character. Not only has she made some poor decisions as acting chancellor, she is jeopardizing her relationship with Clarke. Each week it becomes more and more obvious how little she understands the person Clarke has become since being sent to the ground. As much as I appreciate this dynamic, having Clarke confront her mother about her father’s death was one conflict too many to address. As a result, the all-important truce got lost in the shuffle. So did some important character beats, especially how Raven is coping with losing Finn. After the last episode, in which we saw her and Finn in happier times, I really thought we’d see Raven grapple with some pretty heavy-duty grief. Perhaps the show will explore this some more in the next episode, otherwise it’s a real missed opportunity.
Some closing thoughts:
We learn some more about this post-apocalyptic world. For instance, 12 Grounder clans comprise the coalition. We also learn the village in which Finn slaughtered 18 people is known as Tondc, or Washington, DC. We already knew this after seeing what was left of the Lincoln Memorial, but hearing what the area is called now is nonetheless interesting.
Lincoln is a man without a country. And now he’s going back to Mount Weather? I have a very bad feeling about this.