This review contains spoilers.
Short of reuniting the various characters by the end of the first episode, The 100‘s second season looks like it will stick with the separation of the various groups for a little while yet. It’s a very efficient way of quickly exploring the new earth that they have found themselves on, and nicely sidesteps the problem of having too many villains on the show at once. With each story having its own established protagonists, the audience can feel connected to all of them.
As of the end of episode three, this includes Clarke and Anya leaving Monty and Jasper (and 40+ faceless kids) behind at Mount Weather, Bellamy, Murphy and Finn on a rescue mission, Octavia with the Grounders, Lincoln with the Reapers, Abby and Kane at Camp Jaha and, as far as we know, the real Jaha stuck in some nondescript desert.
That’s a lot of stuff for a show to pack into one 40-minute episode, but the groundwork The 100 did last season really helps it out now. We’ve already met and spent time with Anya, for example, making her and Clarke’s escape from Mount Weather more interesting than it may have been otherwise. They both need each other to survive, and to help their respective people, but there’s history there that prevents them from being true allies.
And the shady operation Clarke discovered in the back room of the hospital wing seems to be exactly what it looked like last week, with Grounders being drained of their blood before being dumped for collection by the Reapers. What they do with them is up for debate, but it seems as though the Reapers and President Dante have an arrangement that lets the former re-purpose the bodies once they’re done with them.
The cannibalism aspect would be even more disconcerting had The Walking Dead not done it at almost exactly the same moment, but that doesn’t stop the storyline from having the desired impact. This, coupled with Kane’s decision to punish Abby with ten ‘lashes’ for her bungled rescue mission, has really pushed The 100 into brand new, darker and more daring territory for season two.
Another great decision was to make Finn into a more complex character, whereas last year he was simply the nice, well-meaning guy at the centre of a boring love triangle. That’s fine on most CW shows, but The 100 seems to have loftier ideas for even its minor characters. With Clarke missing and Raven partially paralysed, it makes sense that he’s no longer willing to mess around with lengthy debates and hand-wringing.
Finn is now one of the more interesting members of the original hundred kids, taking on Bellamy’s role as the one who will do what it takes to get to the end goal – including torture and execution, if he deems it necessary. This leaves Bellamy in Clarke’s old role, with the boys having effectively switched places over the break. Seeing him shoot that Grounder while Bellamy and Murphy argued over morals solidified the shift.
The Octavia/Lincoln stuff is still the weakest part of the season, though it did take a step up this week. The key to mending this storyline for audiences not invested in the love story is making Octavia into a better, less passive character, and having her join the Grounders even in Lincoln’s absence is a good step towards eventually doing this. We’re also set to get a greater insight into the Reapers, as Lincoln has been selected for a purpose other than ‘Harvest’.
Could the Reapers be eating the bodies put out for them by Mount Weather and capturing others for some kind of conversion process? We can be fairly sure that Lincoln won’t be dying any time soon, but I can also see them keeping him away from Octavia for the majority of the season, just to reunite them in the end.
The decision to pursue individual story threads rather than unifying them continues to pay off for The 100, and I’m certainly looking forward to exploring a brand new environment when we pick up with Jaha.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Inclement Weather, here.
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