This review contains spoilers.
2.5 Human Trials
What do you do if one of your show’s main characters is the most boring person on screen? If your central love story doesn’t catch on and viewers immediately jump ship to another pairing? What if he’s the one thing people complain about in an otherwise critically adored first series?
If you’re The 100, you completely overhaul that character, shift the rest around to fulfil whatever roles are open, and make him the most morally ambiguous and troubled character on the show. That’s what they’ve done with Finn, anyway, and it’s drawn a fair amount of criticism. It’s fairly safe to say that his actions in this episode, Human Trials, are the major point of no return for him, but it’s something that’s been in the making since the beginning of season two.
Yes, it’s sudden, and I’m sure a little jarring and traumatic for former Finn fans, but at least it has everyone talking about the show. I’m a big believer in shows taking a look at what doesn’t work and amending it accordingly, and this is just a particularly extreme case of that. The writers most probably saw that viewers liked Bellamy but didn’t like Finn, and so they switched the roles to give the former more longevity.
With Murphy then shifted to Bellamy’s former role, this left the space open for a crazy maniac, and so Finn stepped up. He may or may not die before the mid-season finale, but his descent into madness and obsession so far this season has, to me, been one of the most watchable aspects. It’s certainly preferable to the moon-eyed innocent he was being painted as during the first season, and eliminates the silly love triangle.
The massacre of the grounders didn’t just make us question Finn’s sanity, but it also pitched Murphy as someone the others might be capable of saving. Yes, he killed a few people and tried to hang Bellamy, but that’s small potatoes when you compare it to this mass homicide of men, women and children outside of their homes. We’re obviously supposed to view him as redeemable, just as we did Bellamy after last season’s torture debate-episode, but with Finn I’m not so sure what the future holds for him.
But one of the great things about The 100 is that it doesn’t make any effort to keep its characters in strict, recognisable good and evil categories. Those that is does detach from the trickiest decisions, like Octavia or Jaha, feel peripheral to the main story as a result, and are automatically less interesting than characters like Clarke and Bellamy.
Even Jasper is being dragged into things bigger than himself, with Mount Weather beginning to experiment on him and the other Sky People, and the experiments done on Lincoln have made him into a character that may finally transcend the boring love story between him and Octavia. He’s a weapon now, but he’s also a way into whatever’s going on with the Mountain Men and the Reapers.
The criticism of the adults’ role in things is also still ongoing, as Raven (increasingly one of the best things about the show) points out to Abby that it was their role in things that has caused their children to become warriors. Clarke isn’t the girl she was when she pulled her out of that cell and put her on the ship, and that’s down to their decision to send 100 of their youngest down to an assumed uninhabitable planet. No wonder there’s no trust between them.
While some are focusing on what the heck has happened to sweet, noble Finn, I’m just revelling in how darn compelling this show is this year – Finn storyline included. That final sequence is one of my top telly moments of the year, and – impossible as it seems – I can’t wait to see how The 100 is going to try to resolve it.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Many Happy Returns, here.
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