Tuesday, 15 July 2014

TV recap: The 100 episode two - Earth Skills

Last time on The 100, 100 juvenile delinquents went sent down to check if earth was habitable again, 97 years after a nuclear war. The surprisingly attractive bunch, who all still looked good after hurtling to earth in a spaceship which crashed, soon began to enjoy their newfound freedom, with the exception of politician's son Wells. Meanwhile, heroine Clarke took a bunch of kids off to find Mount Weather, and one of them got a spear thrown at him and is presumed dead.

Earth-bound
So, turns out Jasper's not dead, despite getting a ruddy great spear through his chest. When Clarke, Finn, Octavia and Monty hear screaming, they turn back and discover Jasper has disappeared. Cue Clarke: "They took him." They who?! Wasn't everyone wiped out by a nuclear war? Ooh, I'm guessing this is a bad guy alert. Surely whoever has managed to survive a nuclear war on earth isn't going to be too attractive (remember the two-headed deer and the giant eel thing)?

Wells, hated by everyone, takes the time to bury the two guys who died as the spaceship carrying The 100 descended. He's such a nice guy, but also so boring. Sorry Wells. Heading back to camp, we see that everyone else is pretty het up - this is what I imagine a frat house looks like when it's located in the jungle. Talking of frat houses, Bellamy heads out from the ship, which he seems to have taken over as his castle, topless and saying goodbye to some girl. At this point, I'd just like to say that with only 100 people around, it's not a good idea to start sleeping with a lot of people. 

But Bellamy, chest out, gun strapped to his waist, knows that his virility makes him look powerful, and he uses it to his advantage, becoming de facto leader of the pack. Compared to him, Wells is nothing more than the runt of the litter, letting noble ideas and morals get in the way. I love that The 100 is exploring the idea of survival of the fittest (let me be juvenile for a second, fittest in all senses of the word). It seems cleverness and morality won't do Wells much good, it's all about physical prowess, brute strength, and giving the people what they want, even if it leads to chaos in the short term ("what's wrong with a little chaos?" asks Bellamy).

Cheekbone boy, who I knew looked bad from the moment I set eyes on him in episode one, is now holding people over fire so that their wristband shows the crew up on the Ark that they're in pain. And then cheekbone boy (I'll find out his name soon) starts beating Wells up, and just as he's about to knife him, Bellamy finally steps in. To hand Wells a knife. Wells bests cheekbone boy, but then Clarke returns, ordering him to let cheekbone boy go. And he does. So now we have Bellamy - commanding by force and fight - and Clarke - commanding by respect. Who will win?

Even though he's spent the last day enjoying himself, Bellamy's quick to have a go at Clarke and Finn for coming back without food, something he then realises doesn't matter when the gang reveal they were attacked by a Grounder. Lo and behold, The 100 have a new enemy. But they're still fighting amongst each other - Clarke pleads with The 100 to leave their wristbands on, but Bellamy wins the popularity contest with a rousing speech about how the kids are now free, and how they can beat the Grounders. Goodness, Bellamy is pretty to look at, but he's acting stupidly right now.

Clarke and Wells have a moment, but not enough of one that Clarke will let Wells go with her to rescue Jasper. Seriously, Clarke needs to wake up and see she can't let old grudges get in the way of, you know, survival. Finn wants to stop Clarke heading out, but she's stubborn and heads out, with Wells following doggedly.

Also bonding are Bellamy and Octavia, and then Bellamy and Clarke. Tough he may be, but Clarke knows how to get to him, and plays on Bellamy's need to be respected as leader to get him to accompany her on the search for Jasper. She's good, and it seems brains is currently winning out in the fight for dominance. Unfortunately, Bellamy gets cheekbone boy - Murphy - to accompany him. Seems Bellamy has a plan to make the Ark think Clarke - or Princess as he nicknames her (early stage flirting) - is dead so they don't come down to earth.

Meanwhile, Bellamy has left Adam in charge of Octavia. Got to say, Octavia's not nice, but I feel for her, being treated like a child by your brother is no fun. She tries to manipulate him by flirting, only to get locked in the ship by Adam, revealing that she was trapped under the floor for 16 years on the Ark. Oh, now I'm beginning to feel for Octavia a little. And she and Monty get a little bonding time, as Monty tries to fix the communications between the ship and the Ark. He fails, but nice try. Episode two would be a little too early for anything that lucky to happen.

Locked in a battle of wills, Bellamy once again loses out to Clarke, who refuses to take off her wristband. Finn turns up and heads off with Clarke, while Bellamy tries to manipulate Wells by telling him that while Finn is around, Wells will never get a look in with Clarke. Oh Bellamy, you're terrible but also clever - he has a knack for discovering what it is people really want, and then trying to set up the circumstances so they can get that. Is Bellamy actually a worthy leader of The 100, or is he just a canny politician?

When he lets her out, Adam and Octavia have a bonding moment. Also bonding are Finn and Clarke, who engage in a little flirtation in the river (do they not remember the giant eel thing?). It turns serious when Finn shows he's a little more intuitive than previously thought, and then turns scary when the pair discover blood on rocks - Jasper's?

Back at camp, Octavia follows a butterfly to a glow-in-the-dark field, and Adam follows her, and they kiss. I'm pretty sure this insta-romance is going to insta-end very soon. Bellamy was very clear that anyone touching Octavia would answer to him.

As they track Jasper, Clarke and co are being watched through the trees by someone(s). Bellamy continues to goad Wells about Finn and Clarke's closeness, and then there's a bellowing that one can only presume is Jasper. And it is, it's just that he's tied to a tree. What?! And his wound has been treated. While the Grounders may not be friendly, it seems they are civilised. That adds a whole new depth to The 100 - have the space kids come down and encroached on territory belonging to someone else? Are they literally aliens?

Surprisingly, Wells proves to the hero during the rescue of Jasper, shooting dead a giant panther-like thing when everyone else can only stare. Does he do it because he's brave, or does he do it because it will make Clarke like him?

The group returns to camp, with Bellamy triumphantly bringing the panther-thing with him as food. Now he's not only acting as enabler and protector, Bellamy is also acting as provider to The 100. He exchanges food for wristbands, showing he's also got power. Clarke's not impressed, and heads off to nurse Jasper and bond with Finn, who gives her some sort of metal sculpture (note that Raven has a metal raven on a necklace) as a present. Cute. Finn shows for a second time he's not all joker by grabbing food for himself and Clarke, in spite of Murphy's protests.

Just when it seems things might be alright, Bellamy catches Adam and Octavia kissing. Annoyed that Finn and Clarke seem to have bested him, Bellamy takes out his anger on Adam, stringing him up on a tree as punishment for his dalliance with Octavia. He "won't be disobeyed", he tells Adam, signalling his authority at the same time. It's a dangerous game for Bellamy to be playing, eventually he'll be pushed into a situation where he'll be forced to take action he doesn't like, all to show he's in control. And what will he do then?

And whoa, who is that? Someone, dressed in a metal mask, is watching The 100. The guy that threw the spear at Jasper? One of the ones who tied him up? Whoever he is, he spells danger.

On the Ark
People are suspicious about the missing teenagers and the fact that they saw a ship launched. Abby is worried about The 100, who seem to be dying because their bracelets are going offline. Everyone thinks the teens are dying because of radiation poisoning, but Abby is convinced that's not the case.

Jaha has lost hope, and has Kane whispering in his ear. In fun news, Jaha's first name is Thelonius. Amazing.

Abby tells Jaha that Kane is planning a secret vote on culling the population of the Ark, but Jaha tells her there's no point putting faith in The 100. I'm pretty sure Abby's going to succeed in winning Jaha over, it'll just take time. And it will require Kane to disappear - the man's a piece of work and Jaha knows it. Kane denies having a role to play in the shooting of Jaha, but in the next breath says something has to be done to save the population of the Ark.

And here's someone new, a fiesty Latina (The 100 is still stereoptyping) called Raven, who's also a brilliant engineer. She's got a boyfriend in prison, and is suspicious about a so-called quarantine put in place which means she can't see him for two months, so approaches Abby. When that gets her no answers, Raven sneaks into the control room, and discovers what's happened to The 100. She unwittingly reassures Abby, quickly realising The 100 are not dying, they're taking off their wristbands.

Bad guy Kane is becoming a little less of a bad guy - he points out that the longer the council waits to cull the Ark's population, the more innocent people will have to die. And here's another interesting dilemma explored on The 100 - how much can be sacrificed for the greater good? Is what amounts to murder right if it's sanctioned by leaders and is for the benefit of the masses? Kane may be cruel, but he's a realist and willing to do the difficult thing, while Jaha is an idealist. Together, they could make one truly great leader, apart, they're risking more lives every day.

Jaha abstains from voting, buying in to Abby's doctrine of hope. Granted, he's not murdering anyone directly, but he's also risking the lives of everyone on the Ark.

The reprieve is enough for Abby to call Raven in, and ask her to repair a spaceship which she can use to head down to earth to prove it is habitable. Raven, who's pretty clever, bargains her service in exchange for a place on the ship with Abby. She must really love that boyfriend of hers, whoever he is. I'm thinking it's Finn, what with his metal sculpture abilities. While Raven gets to work fixing the spaceship, Jaha, Kane and Abby watch as one by one, lights go out on The 100's wristbands.

Solid ground
A great second episode from The 100, continuing to further explore ideas of justice and power, and of right and wrong, both on earth and on the Ark. Things are moving pretty fast for The 100, who are making friends and enemies inside and outside camp, and the most interesting aspect is definitely Bellamy and Clarke's power struggle over the teens. So far, Bellamy's winning, although Clarke has the higher ground, but neither can carry this on for much longer. In a programme about the survival of the human race, The 100 cleverly shows that there's more than one way to lose humanity, with both Bellamy and Kane willing to do, it seems, whatever it takes to ensure their own survival.

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