This review contains spoilers.
The 100 has never really been a show prone to wallowing. Things happen, those things mean something to the characters on screen, but we were never going to see an entire multi-episode arc devoted to Clarke dealing with her guilt over last week’s attack. There’s too much to be done, too many people to keep safe and too many enemies waiting to pounce – Clarke doesn’t have the luxury of self-pity or grief.
Which is good because, if all of the characters were taking time out of the action to deal with the emotional ramifications of their questionable actions, then there wouldn’t be much of a show to watch. Clarke will likely be grappling with what she did (or, more accurately, didn’t do) for the rest of her life, in addition to how Finn’s story ended, but the characters in this universe have about as much time for long discussions about morality as I suspect the audience do.
Which is why it was important to include the conversation between Abby and Kane in this week’s episode. Clarke is off making decisions, saving lives and leading an army, but the right and wrong of what happened still needs to be addressed somewhere. The morality of this world has always been a little murky given the environment in which the hundred sent down to earth had to grow up, so I was glad that at least Kane realises that anything these kids do is probably a product of the way they ran things.
Abby has always been far less self-aware, herself committing acts objectively more horrible than anything Clarke has done thus far, yet never really owning up to her role in it. She expects more from her daughter, yet is quick to cast her aside when something she does makes her uncomfortable.
For Clarke, she’s stuck between loyalty to her people and the more experienced perspective of Lexa. This is about war now, not just survival, and so the rules have changed accordingly. Lexa knows how to negotiate when the stakes are this high, whereas Clarke only left the comparative safety of the Ark a little while ago. It makes sense that she would listen, and it’s refreshing to have the show not paint it as one character leading the other astray. Lexa is making good points, and Clarke really has no choice but to consider them.
While all this is going on, though, Jasper has formed his own little army inside Mount Weather, and they’re certainly not messing around. If you were to compare a picture of sweet, comedy-relief Jasper from the first episode to the guy here, it’s probably a good illustration of how far The 100 in general has evolved over the past two seasons, almost unrecognisable but pretty darn satisfying to see.
Give me bombings, mass suicides and two-headed deer anytime – watching Jasper axe-murder a wounded soldier might have been the most shocked I’ve ever been at the show. It makes me wonder at what point these kids are going to cross the line between doing what they have to do to survive and doing stuff for revenge or just because they can – have we already gotten there? Was this it?
Because, while Clarke and Bellamy arguably always had a predisposition towards leadership and war politics, or at least an aptitude for it, we were introduced to Jasper and Monty as the geeky, comedy sidekicks seen a thousand times before on shows like this. In a lot of ways, the banality of most of the show’s first season is serving a purpose now, because it can take previously one-dimensional stock characters and actively subvert our expectations for them.
It’s indicative of the general freedom The 100 seems to be enjoying right now, being the critical darling of The CW, and that faith in where the show might take us if it be allowed to steer the wheel is infectious. It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen from week to week, or how dark things are going to get before we get some respite, and that’s incredibly exciting.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Rubicon, here.
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