Tuesday, 30 September 2014

TV recap: the 100 episode 13, We Are All Grounders part two

Last time on The 100, Murphy almost succeeded in hanging Bellamy, who was saved by some clever work by Raven, which resulted in Raven being shot and Murphy escaping. Also escaping were Finn and Clarke, who got away from the Grounders and made it back to camp to warn everyone of an impending attack. Clarke ordered The 100 to get ready to leave, a decision Bellamy was not on board with. Up on the Ark, Chancellor Jaha came up with a plan to get the survivors down to earth by using the Ark as a launch ship.

The 100 are packing up, but maintaining a guard round their camp, while listening to Raven scream as Clarke cauterises her wound. Raven, ever positive, says it's lucky she was shot by Murphy, rather than him taking the immense amount of rocket fuel that remains on the ship.

Bellamy is still annoyed at Clarke and Finn's plan to run. Finn and Bellamy have a manly bust up over it, but Clarke appeals to Bellamy, telling him they need him. He's not so convinced, citing their quick switch to Clarke's plan as evidence.

And so The 100 leave camp, which happens much earlier in the episode than I thought it would. As they leave, Bellamy reflects on the 18 of The 100 who are dead, Clarke focuses on the 82 that are alive. It's a poignant set of scenes, with the appropriately named The Other Side by Woodkid playing over it all and really adding to the sense of exodus. Poor The 100, first they were chucked off the Ark, now they're running from the only home they've known on earth.

And suddenly the music stops as Octavia hears something. And the an axe comes flying out of the forest and straight into some guy's face. So back to camp everyone runs. I guess that's why it came so early in the episode. Forced back, Clarke realises that The 100 are trapped exactly where the Grounders want them.

Octavia's plan is to fight off the Grounders' scouts and continue running, but Clarke reluctantly agrees to stay and fight, putting Bellamy in his element. Octavia heads into the forest to try and see off some Grounders, while Bellamy sets up a perimeter and decides how weapons will be used. There's only enough ammo to fight for a little while, and then the plan is to hide in the drop ship and hope the Grounders can't get through.

Only Clarke has a better plan, one that Raven gets straight away. The 100 will 'blast off' in the ship, setting a fire that will burn all the Grounders in the vicinity alive. Raven, despite now not being able to feel her legs because of her gunshot wound, somehow summons up the strength to instruct Clarke and Finn into wiring up the ship in the way they need. Finally showing some spine, Finn says he'll head out to Lincoln's cave to get some of coagulant herb that could stop the internal bleeding Raven is suffering from. It's a combination of guilt and more guilt that's making him do this, but it does result in Clarke confessing she can't face losing Finn again.

Now cloaked in darkness, The 100 can hear noises, and get a radio message from another guard station that Grounders are approaching. But the Grounders aren't attacking, even though The 100 are shooting at them. 

Clarke's not having much luck locating the wire Raven is after (cue cute rocket science joke) and then it gets serious, as Raven laments the fact that she used to be the girl picked first for everything, and now she's stuck, dying, on the ground, about to be attacked. It gives the two women the opportunity to bond, and for the first time get on without the shadow of Finn hovering over every interaction.

The 100 are rapidly using up their bullets, and Jasper finally figures out the Grounders are making them use up their ammunition before the real fighting starts. And then we cut to Murphy - turns out he also stole a radio and the Grounders have been listening in to The 100's communications this whole time. Now that they know about the mines, the Grounders decide they'll go straight for the attack. There's a battle but it all happens in the dark, and I couldn't tell what what happening. Lots of gunfire though and Octavia gets injured.

Finn finds Lincoln, who's annoyed that they haven't followed his instructions and left. It took him a while to shake the Reapers, but Finn decides he wants to use them. This is a stupid plan, I can tell already. But it just might work.

The Grounders are pretty much upon The 100 now, but Raven is flagging fast and the drop ship still isn't prepped to be used as a firebomb. And then everything and everyone stops to see a giant fireball in the sky - it's the Ark falling through the atmosphere to the ground.

It's a momentary reprieve, and the Grounders try and break down the gate. Before they get started, they hear Reapers approaching and make a run for it. Finn's stupid plan to get the Reapers and Grounders to attack one another has worked somehow, and he makes it back to camp and into Clarke's arms. 

Bellamy and Octavia are stuck in the forest, with not much hope of escaping, until Lincoln comes along. Octavia's wound is deep, and the only way to save her is for her to go with Lincoln. And for once, Bellamy lets go of his sister, telling her she needs to go with Lincoln. He sends her off, and it's really emotional and I can't talk about it because I have something in my eye.

The Grounders manage to beat the Reapers and head back to The 100's camp. Jasper, against everyone's expectations, has rigged the ship up properly and it's ready to 'go'. Everyone runs inside, apart from Bellamy, who is at the edge of camp. He gets into a fight with the head Grounder dude, and Finn, of all people, runs to his rescue. There's no time for Finn and Bellamy to get back into the ship, so Clarke leaves them behind and locks the doors. Oh goodness. Please survive.

Anya, bent on revenge, manages to propel herself into the drop ship just before the door shuts. Not the best decision she's ever made, although she still tries to fight. True to form, most of The 100 try to beat her up, but Clarke stops them by saying: "We are not Grounders."

And Jasper flips a switch, and the drop ship lifts a couple of feet into the air, spewing great plumes of fire all about. No one outside can have survived that. *sob*

The next morning, The 100 open the door to the drop ship to everything incinerated, covered in grey ash and skeletons lying everywhere. Clarke heads to two skeletons lying close together - are they Finn and Bellamy? Before anything else can happen, canisters of red smoke are thrown at The 100. Anya mutters 'Mountain Men' and then everyone collapses as figures in space suits and with laser beam guns come out of the smoke.

And then Clarke wakes up. She's lying on a white pillow, dressed in white, looking remarkably clean. Our view cuts to that of a camera, and we see Clarke is locked in a fairly well furnished but cold room. She walks to the door and sees out the window that Monty is in the room opposite her. He implores her to look at the sign on the wall - it says Mount Weather. Woah. This is Mount Weather? This is where The 100 were originally aiming for. Looks like they made it, but it's not quite what they thought.

On the Ark
Also planning to blast off are the guys on the Ark. They've got a plan, but they're not sure which parts of the ship will survive and make it to earth, and which will not. It all sounds very dangerous, and there's a lot they can't control, but they're determined to go ahead. 

The population split into different parts of the Ark, with Sinclair, Kane and Abby in one, and Chancellor Jaha in another. They count down to blast off and ... nothing happens. The remote detonation has failed, and Sinclair says the only option is for someone to launch the ships manually. Kane immediately volunteers, with Abby trying to stop him. As they say goodbye and Kane gets up, there is a judder and the ship moves. A delayed automatic reaction? Nope. Turns out Jaha made it to the controls first, and has decided to sacrifice himself to get the others to the ground. Oh man. What a guy. His plan is to reunite Abby and Clarke, while he reunites with Wells (RIP).

Jaha, alone on the ship, tries to radio to the stations that hurtled to earth, and finally hears back from Abby, who was on a ship that survived. Abby and Kane head up, open a trap door, and find themselves on earth. To one side of them is lush greenery and a beautiful lake, and there are blue skies, and mountains in the distance. Abby describes the scene to Jaha, who shuts his eyes and dreams. 

And then Kane notices a plume of smoke in the distance, which they think could be another station. And with Jaha's instructions to find Clarke and the other stations, he signs off, heads to a window, and watches the earth from his lonely ship. And he cracks open the bottle of alcohol that was being saved for when the population of the Ark got back to earth, and toasts the earth: "May we meet again." I wish we could Jaha, I kind of like you now.

Solid ground?
Please don't say Bellamy and Finn are dead. Please don't say Bellamy and Finn are dead. Please don't say Bellamy and Finn are dead. 

Maybe if I say it enough times, it'll be true. To be honest, I don't see how Bellamy and Finn can be dead. Well, I can how they would have died, but there's no way the showrunners of The 100 would kill them off, they're too valuable.

Anyway, what a season finale. There was a lot, a lot, in this episode, yet it didn't feel rushed. Most of it, however, did feel like tying up loose ends or moving people into a position that will make the start of season two interesting - no more Ark (unless Jaha somehow magically survives), so everyone is now on earth; The 100 captured by the Moutain Men; and Octavia and Lincoln escaping to wherever.

I'm sad that this series is over, but it's been a good one, right? Here's to series two.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Film review: Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

Here's a bold claim for you - Gone Girl is one of the two best film adaptations of a book I have ever seen. The other is The Godfather. That's how good I think David Fincher's film of Gillian Flynn's hit novel is.

Partially, that's because Flynn herself wrote the screenplay, which remains as taut, twisted and terrifying as the book (more on the book later). And partly it's because everything about the film, from the acting to the settings to the music, are utterly en pointe while being unsettling at the same time.

Ben Affleck is a revelation as Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on their fifth anniversary. Faced with no body but a whole heap of evidence, Nick soon finds himself going from pitied husband to perceived murderer, especially once Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) finds Amy's diary, which shows a woman in fear of her husband. Every action Nick takes, every word he says, and every look he gives are put under a microscope and Nick comes out of it looking like bacterium. This is the best I've ever seen Affleck (Gigli what?), who creates a Nick who is more pitiable than he is unlikeable.

And Pike, wow. From the moment she appears onscreen - an opening shot of her guileless, perfect face, huge eyes staring straight at you - she's utterly captivating. As Nick falls in love with her, so do we. There is something just perfect about Amy, who lives up to the Amazing Amy moniker from the books her mother and father created. To say anymore would be a spoiler for those who know nothing about the plot, but goodness, someone give Pike a shiny statuette of some sort.

And now to the book. Flynn's Gone Girl has a narrative structure that is split between the present and the past, and the film sticks to that and it works. For the present, we have Nick and a host of other characters, for the past we have Amy and her diary entries. Amy's diary entries could have been awkward translated into the screen, but instead they work as a seamless bridge into learning about the couple's past, and the intimate insight the diary entries offer leaves you feeling distinctly uneasy.

In fact, everything about Gone Girl makes you feel slightly uneasy. In the present, Amy and Nick's house is too perfect and devoid of all feeling, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's score underlines the spookiness in some of the films most important scenes. Fincher's direction is spot on - the distance shots reflect the slightly off nature of the whole plot, the beats of silence heighten tension, the violence is, well, violent yet restrained.

Gone Girl is very, very faithful to the book. Of course things had to be changed and some aspects left out, but what I loved best about the book is right there on the screen, as is the stuff that made me frustrated (yet made me love the book all the more). Book lovers will be stunned at how accurate the film is, those who haven't read the book will want to do so afterwards.

Some general observations:
-Gone Girl is funny. The comic timing of every one of the actors is spot on, and even in the midst of the darkest scenes there were lines and facial expressions that had the audience I saw the film with laughing out loud. Proper belly laughs.

-This is not a film for the squeamish. There was one moment that reminded me of THAT scene in Stephen King's Misery, and I had to cover my eyes, and while I made it through the most gruesome scene in the film just fine, my neighbour had her head down and eyes shut in order to survive.

-Gone Girl's supporting cast is brilliant. Pike and Affleck are the stars, but Neil Patrick Harris as Amy's creepy ex is good at making the audience uncomfortable without saying a word; Tyler Perry's flashy lawyer Tanner Bolt adds a sense of glamour and likeability to the film (and provides the biggest laugh for the most honest observation of the film); Carrie Coon as Nick's sister Margo is loyal and lovely and oh so tragic; and Dickens' detective is just awesome and no nonsense.

-Ben Affleck is huge in this film. Apparently he was in the midst of training for his role as Batman while this was being filmed, and it shows. His shoulders are distracting, but his sheer size really works for this role.

I could go on and on, but I'll end with this. My viewing of Gone Girl was informed by the book, and I wasn't disappointed for even a second - this is the best film I've seen this year and I know when I reread the book I'll picture Affleck and Pike in the lead roles, because they're perfect. But I do envy anyone who is going in to Gone Girl with no knowledge of how it is all supposed to pan out - to see it without expectations and be blown away regardless would be a treat.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

TV recap: The 100 episode 12, We Are Grounders

Last time on The 100, Clarke and Finn were kidnapped by Anya's Grounders, before she sent Finn off to be killed after Clarke failed to save the life of a Grounder girl, and Monty disappeared while a bunch of The 100 were out trying to find Clarke and Finn. Up on the Ark, survivors included Kane and Chancellor Jaha, but things weren't looking too good.

They might have put a temporary stop to the Grounders by blowing up a bridge, but The 100 know they can't rest on their laurels. Bellamy's had Raven planting land mines, and wants to continue fighting in the morning. Raven, on the other hand, is operating on a "leave no man behind" philosophy, and wants to hunts for Clarke, Finn and Monty.

Clarke's attempt to escape the Grounders failed, and she's back in Anya's camp, tied up. Along comes a new, clearly evil Grounder, Tristan, who seems be Anya's superior. He's been sent by the Commander (your guess is as good as mine, but clearly the Grounders have a military like structure) and tells Anya that they'll march on The 100's camp in the morning to destroy it.

A fire signals to Anya that something called Reapers are approaching. It seems they're an enemy of the Grounders, and Anya gives the order for Clarke to be killed, as she and her gang head off to a hiding place.

Bellamy's trying to strategise for battle, but the latest person to guilt trip him about leaving Clarke, Finn and Monty to the Grounders is Jasper. And to make him miss Clarke even more, there's a sick guy in camp. When Bellamy goes to get him water, Murphy steps in and suffocates him with a plastic bag. Ugh, that guy. Jasper catches the tail end of his act, and Murphy decides his only option is to take Jasper hostage in the drop ship. Like this group don't have enough problems. Murphy locks the drop ship down and tells Bellamy, via the radios Raven made, that Jasper dies unless he gets his way.

Meanwhile, Clarke appears to still be alive, despite Anya's orders. No surprises for guessing that actually, the Grounder in the mask ordered to kill her was Lincoln, and he also lied about killing Finn. And he set the signal fire warning about the big bad Reapers, all as part of a cunning plan to rescue Clarke and Finn. That Lincoln, he's a good sort. 

Still, Anya knows that Clarke is alive, so the trio run into a bunch of mines to get away. This is all very Lord of the Rings. They've got Anya chasing them, and I'm guessing there's nothing good awaiting them in the pitch black mines.

Octavia finds out Jasper is being held hostage, and screams at Bellamy for not doing anything. She's wrong this time, Bellamy and Raven are working on an alternative route into the drop ship, in the hopes of staging a rescue mission. Bellamy knows Murphy really wants to hurt him, not Jasper, and offers to trade himself for Jasper. That Bellamy, he's a good sort. Murphy accepts, and Bellamy heads into the ship, telling Octavia to make sure everyone keeps working on fortifying the camp.

In the mines, Lincoln reveals that the Reapers use the tunnels they're in, and in answer to Finn's question tells him and Clarke they never wan to find out what a Reaper is. I am guessing they're cannibals, simply because in Firefly (one of my favourite programmes) there's a bunch of cannibals called Reavers, and the names sound similar. We'll see how good my deductive skills are later, I'm sure. Scary as it is, the situation gives Lincoln the time to bond with Clarke and Finn, and to tell them he thinks the Grounders' actions are wrong.

Raven and Jasper find a back door into the drop ship's engine room thing, and need to try and find the right wires to open the door from the front. What they do discover is that there is lots, and lots, of fuel in the drop ship. Enough to make a lot of bombs with.

Murphy makes Bellamy tell everyone outside the drop ship he's fine, and then makes him tie himself up. And goodness, it took me a few seconds to realise, but Murphy has Bellamy building his own noose. Murphy makes Bellamy stand on a chair and slip the noose over his head, and then Murphy tightens it. 

Further into the mines, Clarke, Finn and Lincoln find they're approaching a bunch of Reapers. And guess what? The Reapers are cannibals. With no way to avoid them, Lincoln says he'll distract the Reapers, while Clarke and Finn run to their camp and warn the others about Tristan's arrival. Lincoln tells Clarke that The 100 must leave their camp and head north to where someone he trusts can be found. A small scuffle and one dead Reaper later, and Finn and Clarke manage to escape (past the mostly dead people).

Murphy enjoys the sound of his own voice, so is talking himself into an ever more angry position, and taking his time getting round to punishing Bellamy. It's given Raven enough time to find the wires for the door, but she makes a sound and gives herself away, causing Murphy to shoot at the floor under which she's hiding, before kicking the bench out from under Bellamy's feet. Jasper and Octavia run in just in time to save Bellamy, who's spent a few seconds swinging from his noose, giving Murphy the time to get a gun and head up a higher level of the drop ship.

Clarke and Finn are out, but Finn is also freaking out from the blood on his hands from the Reaper he killed. When he stops freaking out, it's to tell Clarke that he's in love with her. Granted, not the best time, but if they're all going to die, I guess it's as good a time as any. Love confessions are cut short (not that Clarke is confessing anything but her heartbreak) when they hear an explosion.

Turns out the explosion is Murphy blowing a hole in the side of the ship to get away. The whole incident had made Bellamy realise he needs to rescue Clarke, Finn and Monty. Only he doesn't need to, because they're back. (Has no one noticed Raven is still under the floor of the drop ship?)

Finn wastes no time in telling Bellamy that The 100 need to leave, but Bellamy is having none of it. And so comes a rousing speech, ending in the message that the 100, being on the ground, are now Grounders. Aragon couldn't have done it better. And goodness, Clarke is agreeing with him, wait, no she's not. She gives a rousing speech of her own, and persuades everyone to start packing up. Turns out Clarke is the Aragorn of this group.

And finally Raven appears, shot. She'd better not die, since she's the most kick-ass of The 100 and I need her to be part of the spin-off with Anya and Clarke where they just kick butt all day long (thanks @Chapter5Books for that suggestion).

On the Ark
They may have survived the Ark being almost blown up, but there's still bad news for everyone up there - Chancellor Jaha announces that they have 51 hours to live. There is no way to get down to earth, there are not enough supplies to get through more than 51 hours, and the people on the Ark should just be proud of The 100, who have managed to get to earth. Jaha also says all resources will be freed so that the people on the Ark can live comfortably in their last few days. It's all very moving, but I'm sure this can't be the end. They've got to find a way to survive.

Kane isn't ready to give up so easily, and is determined to find a way to survive, because he's AWESOME. Meanwhile Jaha is drinking very old whiskey/scotch (didn't pay attention to which) and watching old home videos of Wells (RIP) and Clarke. In the video Clarke and Wells are asking Jaha about how the Ark stays in the air, giving Jaha an idea. Clunky exposition, but it works.

Kane is futilely running scenarios he thinks might save the Ark when Jaha appears with his solution - use the Ark as an exodus ship. Jaha wants to launch the Ark towards the earth, and even though Sinclair says the effort will blow the Ark to pieces, Jaha thinks it's worth trying. It's either die in space, or die trying to get to earth.

Solid ground?
The Ark, traditionally the more boring of the two arcs in The 100, has really been coming into its own. We didn't see much this week, but there was enough to set up for something really big next week, and I can't wait.

On the ground, as if there wasn't enough going on with the Grounders approaching The 100, this week the show decided to throw a whole heap of other stuff at the group. Still, Murphy's kidnap attempt and the introduction of the Reapers really worked. The former didn't feel rushed, and the latter was brief but still lengthy enough to scare viewers. The only thing that felt out of place was Finn's confession to Clarke, but whatever, I guess the episode needed an emotional moment that wasn't based around bombs or guns or hangings. We continue with the major overarching theme of sacrifice, as both Lincoln and Bellamy put themselves on the line for other members of The 100. Bellamy got out okay, I can only hope Lincoln managed it too.

And while it wasn't mentioned much, what has happened to Monty? He's not with the Grounders (Lincoln would have known, I'm sure), he's not at camp - he's just disappeared. I hope that question, among many, is answered in next week's season finale.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

TV recap: The 100 episode 11, The Calm

Last time on The 100, Murphy came back to camp carrying a virus the Grounders infected him with. As The 100 battled to keep well enough to function, Raven built them a bomb, which they used to blow up a bridge, delaying the arrival of the Grounders, who are determined to slaughter The 100. And then Raven and Finn had a seriously sad break-up.

The 100 are preparing camp for a siege, while keeping a watch out for the Grounders, who they know they've only stalled by blowing up the bridge.

Clarke's previous gung-ho attitude to violence is starting to waver, even as Bellamy's rhetoric becomes more violent. Clarke's only more reluctant because she thinks everyone on the Ark is dead, and no-one is coming to save them or join their fight.

Octavia is curing meat, and also trying to find off hostile members of The 100, who want to punish her for her relationship with Lincoln. Surprisingly, Murphy comes to her rescue. But, you know, he's a murderer so I wouldn't get too close.

In the midst of all the panic, Finn and Raven are getting on pretty well for a couple who have just broken up. They're joking and laughing, although it's all underlined by awkwardness. A small spat makes Raven determined to pretend that everything is ok. Which it isn't, because a few seconds later the area where The 100's food is stored burns down. And when I say food storage area, I mean ALL of their food. They're left with wild onions and nuts. Plot device to get people out of camp, I'm guessing.

Clarke and Bellamy work together to form hunting parties to go find more food - this is proper teamwork. Not proper teamwork is Clarke reluctant to have Finn join her hunting party (which contains a very teenage looking boy who clearly has a crush on Clarke).

Seeing Finn go off with Clarke, Raven decides to leave camp forever, and is stopped by Bellamy. Granted, Bellamy's previous pep talks haven't always worked out (remember when that girl murdered Wells because she took Bellamy's advice?) but this speech (which starts with "don't be an idiot" - wise words) manages to get the right result. Telling Raven that the group needs her is exactly what she needs to hear after feeling unwanted by Finn, and Raven decides the next step is to build radios for the group so they can communicate.

In the forest Miles, the teenage kid, is busy chattering away. Finn believes they're the ones being hunted, a belief that turns out to be true when Miles is shot through with an arrow and Finn and Clarke are knocked out and captured by Anya and her crew. Dragged to Anya's camp, Finn and Clarke discover that the reason Anya has come after them is because the bridge bomb injured one of Anya's closest friends. That friend, a young girls called Tris, is on death's door. If Clarke doesn't save her, Anya plans to kill Finn. That's some motivation.

Monty and Raven are trying to get some radios working, and finding that someone is jamming a signal that they've come across. This will obviously come back later, especially as Raven isn't as concerned as Monty about it. Raven decides she also needs the radio the group use to communicate with the Ark with, something which hurts Monty, who still has hope his family is alive.

And then... Raven and Bellamy. Whoa. *fans self* I am a firm Bellamy and Clarke shipper, but Raven ands Bellamy together are hot. Thinking Finn and Clarke are hooking up, Raven heads to see Bellamy in his tent, and tells him she wants to sleep with him. We all know Bellamy likes his women, and after making sure that Raven knows he's not going to mollycoddle her, he gives in. Because he's human and Raven is there stripping off in his tent and telling him to get on with it.

A very not hooking up Clarke and Finn are trying to save Tris, but it doesn't sound good. Literally. Tris can't breathe properly, her lungs are full of fluid. Clarke tries to relieve the pressure, but Anya's not happy with her medical methods. She knocks Clarke away, and as Finn tries to save her, he gets pushed away too. The drain works for a bit, but Tris soon starts to get hot, leading Clarke to believe sehe's got blood poisoning. Clark decides a blood transfusion is the way to go.

Raven and Bellamy are done getting hot and heavy, but Raven feels approximately zero per cent better. Revenge sex is clearly not the answer, even if it is with the guy that your ex really dislikes.

Finn, who is unaware his ex has had revenge sex with the guy who is his polar opposite among The 100, volunteers himself as blood donor for Tris, but it's too late. Tris has died, which means Finn is a dead man standing, and I don't imagine Clarke is going to fair much better. Anya clips a lock of Tris's hair, and then orders her right hand thug to take the body away, before ordering her left hand thugs to take Finn away and kill him.

Raven might not feel better, but she has relaxed a tiny bit and decides to apologise to Monty for her earlier behaviour over the radio. Monty then tells her that Clarke and Finn haven't returned, and neither has Miles. Realising Clarke and Finn didn't go out on their own, Raven's jealousy and anger turns to worry, and she heads out with a rescue party to find them.

One of Anya's men tells Clarke she will be welcomed into their group if she makes herself useful. He's kind of nice, relatively speaking, up until the point he tells her that The 100's camp will be destroyed come morning. Clarke knows how to use her innocence to her advantage, drawing the guy into conversation about the number of people he's killed (romantic) and then stabbing him to death. She might not like death, but she's no coward, she stares into his eyes until he dies (Ned Stark would approve).

Raven tries to confide in Octavia about her guilt over what's happened to Finn and Clarke, but Octavia's pretty no nonsense about it. Monty, in another part of the forest, can hear strange noises on the the radio, like the ones he heard before. The others are more focused on finding Clakre and Finn, but Monty sees something that makes him stop, and then he just disappears. Meanwhile, the group discover Miles, who's badly injured but alive, and decide they need to give up on Finn and Clarke.

They shouldn't, because Clarke is still alive, running through the forest. Well, she's running until she steps into a trap and gets hoisted up in the air.

And this, as we're told by the episode's title, is the calm.

On the Ark
We didn't see the Ark last week, but it would be foolish to think no one survived the explosion of the exodus ship.

As we head back to the ship, tHe first person we see is Kane, alone on the floor as some power comes back to the Ark. He pulls himself up, but is seemingly alone - there is no on else anywhere near him, even though I'm sure a whole group of people were together when Dodgy Diana left on the exodus ship. After some wandering he finds a cocky but cute engineer guy, whose arm is trapped between some doors on the ship. Ouch.

Getting the guy free, the pair head further into the Ark to discover a heap of people lying on the floor, clearly struggling for oxygen. The air supply is rubbish, but Kane is determined to find more survivors, and there definitely are some, because the manual controls for the ship are being used.

Kane leads the group through the ship, only to discover the way blocked by a ton of debris. Engineer guy manages to get the radio working to communicate with central command, and discovers Chancellor Kane is alive. He and Sinclair are struggling to breathe, but are determined to fix as much of the ship as possible before their oxygen runs out. Jaha has a serious death wish, this is at least the second time he's decided to sacrifice himself for the good of the Ark.

Kane sends the rest of his group off to the mess hall, and stays behind to remove all the debris and find a way through to Jaha. He wants the group to get to safety, but Kane's a pretty good guy, and the others decide to stay with him and help. It's touching to see the guy who was so mean at the start of the series becoming a figure who inspires loyalty.

The teamwork works, and Kane and co make their way through to Jaha and his gang, saving their lives. That's only the first step, now the pair need to figure out what to do, especially as Kane estimates that at least 1,500 people are dead.

Engineer guy discovers more people might be alive in the service bay, but the only way to get to them is through tunnels that will be really hot because the cooling system isn't working. And so Kane comes to the rescue again, crawling through heated tunnels to get to what I hope are survivors. Kane gets through, and gets the doors to the bay open to find there are people (just about) alive, among the Abby (Kane and Abby 4eva). 

Solid ground?
If this is the calm before the storm, I can only imagine what is coming as we approach the season finale. We're set up for an epic battle between the Grounders and The 100, but there's also a new element at play /- whoever took Monty and has been sending out that weird radio signal. Could it be the Mountain Men Lincoln referred to previously?

We got to see the beginnings of some great relationships this week. I love Raven and Bellamy together, even though I'm a Clarke/Bellamy shipper. I have to admit, Raven and Bellmay work well together. They both know the world is pretty harsh, they both know another person can comfort you without filling the whole in your heart, and neither has time for romance when the world is falling apart around them. The scene between Bellamy and Raven in the tent could have felt cold, but I liked that neither of them were under any illusions about what they were doing, and neither was going to shame the other for what they needed in that moment.

In addition to Raven and Bellamy, I also liked the tentative friendship which we momentarily saw between Raven and Monty. It makes me sad that that friendship might not get the chance to blossom now that Monty has disappeared.

On the Ark, I am really enjoying the evolution of Kane. He's become a real hero for me, partially because we've seen him really develop and change over the course of this season. I think this episode showed that The 100 is really good at characters, without them it wouldn't be anywhere near as entertaining.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

TV recap: The 100, episode 10, I Am Become Death

Last time on The 100, it was Unity Day. On Earth, it went wrong because The Grounders and The 100 couldn't trust each other, on the Ark it went wrong because Dodgy Diana is an untrustworthy so and so who sacrificed the whole of the Ark to get herself and a chosen few to Earth (not very successfully by the looks of it).

The 100 (some of them) head to the site of the crashed exodus ship to discover there are no survivors, just a whole lot of debris and some really explosive fluid that Raven warns everyone to keep away from. Clarke's upset because she thinks her mother is dead, Finn is protective over Clarke, and Bellamy is concerned the Grounders will retaliate after the groups' previous encounter.

Jasper's revelling in his new-found popularity, regaling the women at camp with stories of how he shot at the Grounders. It's all a bit exaggerated, and BFF Monty is getting a bit sick of things, and later they have a horrible break-up.

And well, weel, well, look who's back - Murphy. Remember how he constantly beat up on Wells (RIP)? Remember how he urinated on a guy to teach him a lesson? Remember the time he wanted to kill a little girl who then committed suicide so that Murphy wouldn't hurt Clarke and Bellamy? Well, all that and the fact that he's weasel-y and evil make me think that whatever Murphy is doing back, it's not good. Also, I'd like to say that when Clarke banished Murphy, I called it that it would be a bad decision.

But anyway, benefit of the doubt (but not from me). So Murphy is back, looking like crap, with his fingernails torn out, bleeding everywhere and acting like a man who has seen bad things (his own reflection in a pre-nuclear bomb mirror, perhaps). Thankfully, Bellamy is too savvy to trust him and his story about being chased by Grounders, but Clarke and Finn are determined to give Murphy a second chance. Ugh.

Raven is trying to connect to the Ark, with no luck, and as she chats to Clarke, the latter's eyes start bleeding. As if Murphy just being back isn't bad enough, it turns out he's ill - in a bleeding from random places kind of way. Murphy's illness is also contagious (hopefully his evilness isn't) and suddenly it's like The Exorcist in camp, just with fewer spirits and spinning heads and more blood-filled vomiting everywhere. Clarke puts two and two together to realise that the Grounders released Murphy so that they could use him as a biological weapon against The 100.

Octavia seems to be fine, and uses the opportunity of being in quarantine to go and see Lincoln (with Clarke's urging) to find out if there's a cure for the virus. Lincoln tries to persuade Octavia to run away with him to somewhere safer because the Grounders are planning to attack The 100's camp come morning. She agrees to meet him, but first heads back to warm Bellamy.

Bellamy finds out that Octavia has gone to see Lincoln, but his anger is put to one side when one of The 100 turns around with bleeding eyes, and then another blood vomits on someone else. Clarke stops the rioting by shooting a gun in the air, and then promptly collapses, with Finn running to catch her, much to Raven's displeasure (and mine, Bellamy should have caught her).

Murphy graciously gives up his bed for Clarke, while Octavia tells the group that Lincoln believes the virus doesn't last long, but they'll be too weak to fight when the Grounders arrive in the morning. Clarke tries to get Finn to leave camp with the healthy people, but he refuses, although he seems to have something else up his sleeve.

His plan is a bomb - to blow up the bridge between the Grounders' camp and The 100's. Bellamy isn't sure the plan will work, but Raven has faith in her bomb making abilities (and the explosive fluid from the ship that crashed to earth). Raven successfully builds a bomb, and now it's just a matter of getting to the bridge to set it off.

Before he can head out to set the bomb, Bellamy gets sick, which is just guaranteed to tug on the heart, since he's now all vulnerable as well as being emotionally damaged. Look, secretly, many women (and men) watching certain films and television programmes have a soft spot for the damaged guy (honourable mention for Bucky Barnes here), and we all fantasise about helping them recover (and then having them put their strong arms around us). So basically, what I'm saying is that we all want to be Clarke at this point (without the bloody eyes) and we all want Clarke to be helping Bellamy.

Anway... Bellamy sends Jasper off to plant the bomb, but when he goes to collect it, he and Finn discover that Raven has gone off with it herself. Finn figures it out, but we cut to Raven to see her get a massive nosebleed, so will Finn be too late? 

Bellamy's still looking all vulnerable, and instead of Clarke coming to help him, evil Murphy tries, and Bellamy threatens him with banishment again. And then Clarke, much better now, does turn up. The two have a heart to heart, not about how they're a perfect couple, but about how Murphy shouldn't be trusted, and about how everyone being sick and in the drop ship is better than a bunch of them dying outside at the hands of the Grounders.

Raven, sick as a dog, shows just how tough she is by making it to the bridge and setting up her bomb. But the Grounders are fast approaching her, with their war drums ringing out. Finn and Jasper are close by, but not close enough to set the bomb off. As Raven crawls away Finn runs towards her and Jasper lines up the shot from the woods while the Grounders approach the bridge. Finn manages to get Raven away, and yells at Jasper, who has some performance anxiety, to shoot. Jasper misses, but luckily Monty turns up with a loaded gun, which he hands off to Jasper with a 'you got this'. Pressure on, Jasper misses again, but with his second bullet hits the bomb, setting off a huge explosion and destroying the bridge, as well as some Grounders.

At camp, the gang see the bomb go off, and Clarke quotes Oppenheimer, giving the episode its name and also giving Bellamy the chance to reveal he's actually pretty book clever too.

Octavia heads to see Lincoln, who warns her that there is worse out there than the Grounders - people he calls the Mountain Men will come to get them. He's annoyed at The 100 for the bomb, but not annoyed enough to not want to run away with Octavia, who has now decided she will stay with her brother. Credit to Lincoln, he doesn't try to pressure her, and understands that she wants to stay with her people. The two have a tearful, and rather touching, goodbye.

And Jasper, Finn, Monty and Raven return to a heroes' welcome at camp. Raven is recovering quickly, and has enough lucidity to realise that her relationship with Finn is over. In the most heartbreaking moment of the series so far, she breaks up with Finn, telling him that while he loves her, it's not the way she wants to be loved, and the way he loves Clarke. Oof. I feel like I've been kicked in the chest.

Clarke, meanwhile, is at the gravesite, where 14 of The 100 succumbed to the illness. Bellamy approaches her to talk about Murphy, who he doesn't trust, but who Clarke is willing to tolerate because they need all the people ey can get.

And Murphy, what's he doing? Suffocating one of The 100 to death as an act of revenge. I'm not even sorry for saying this - I told you so.

On the Ark
No scenes aboard the Ark this week, but communications are still down, so it can't be good news.

Solid ground?
Another excellent episode of The 100, although this was clearly an episode setting up for something in the future. Despite that, it managed to be packed with action and emotion. And never let it be said that The 100 is afraid to show what hurts - whether it was tragically ill people, murder or even just a heartbreaking break-up, The 100 this week handled it all with brutal honesty.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

TV recap: The 100 episode nine, Unity Day

Last time on The 100, everyone got high and started hallucinating, giving Octavia the chance to help Lincoln the Grounder escape. Bellamy tried to run away, and after almost being killed by a fellow member of The 100, was brought to his senses by Clarke, and the two began to form a true alliance. On the Ark, Jaha got closer to finding out who tried to have him killed, and we finally got confirmation that it was Dodgy Diana.

On Earth, The 100 are watching Chancellor Jaha give his annual Unity Day speech. Marking the day when 12 space stations came together to form the Ark, not everyone is convinced by Unity Day - Finn believes it's a lie, as it took the destruction of the 13th station force Ark to be created (this is all a bit Hunger Games). He finds himself on the opposing side to Clarke, who sees Unity Day as a day that gives people hope.

Hope that is helped by Jasper and Monty, who have managed to brew 'Unity Juice' and are busy getting everyone drunk. Drunk enough that Octavia can sneak away without anyone (apart from Finn) seeing. Taking a wild guess, I think she's off to see Lincoln.

The 100 are having a pretty good time, even Bellamy and Clarke (who is putting a cutting of communications with the Ark down to a technical fault). This is the most relaxed and smiling we've ever seen Bellamy and Clarke, and it's lovely, even if it doesn't take a genius to work out that this must be some sort of calm before a storm.

Raven is the only one not partaking in the merrymaking, making bullets in a tent. Finn is finding a second female in camp who is not on his side - Raven is happy to confront the Grounders with violence, while Finn wants to try the diplomatic approach of talking. Finn is an idealist, but I think The 100 should try his method first. Violence only begets more violence.

Having fun in a different way is Octavia, who is following a trail of flowers left for her by Lincoln. The relationship between the two has clearly progressed from the hot kiss they shared at the drop ship to something a lot more physical (and hotter). As Octavia gets ready to leave, Finn appears out of the darkness, intent on wanting to talk to Lincoln. Finn believes if he and Lincoln can get along, so can everyone else. And Finn wants to achieve that by meeting the Grounders' leader, before the guys from the Ark head down to earth and start fighting.

Lincoln agrees to set up a meeting between his leader and The 100's, and he's not talking about Bellamy. So Finn heads back to camp to persuade Clarke that he needs her to negotiate with the Grounders. She's not happy, and is shocked to find out that Finn has met with Lincoln. Clarke is firmly in Bellamy's camp on this one, convinced guns are the only answer. Finn appeals to her and she seems convinced enough to give it a try. That doesn't stop her from telling Bellamy that he needs to follow her and Finn secretly, and take guns. While I think Finn is in the right here, I can't help but love that trust is growing between Clarke and Bellamy (Bellarke forever).

Jasper attempts to cheer Raven up, which is more than can be said for her boyfriend. Their banter is cute, and this is a lovely friendship I hope to see blossom. It doesn't have much time right now to do that, as Bellamy interrupts to grab some ammunition. Not willing to stay behind, Raven and Jasper head out with Bellamy on what could be a suicide mission.

Walking through a dark forest is giving Finn and Clarke the chance to bond again, although their relationship is seriously stilted, so it's a good thing they reach the meeting point sharpish, finding Octavia there waiting for them (much to the surprise of Bellamy, who is hidden in the trees watching).

And there, over the bridge, appears Lincoln, followed by a group of Grounders on horseback, including their kick ass female leader (the Winter Soldier definitely takes eye make up tips from her). Clarke and the leader, Anya, meet in the middle of the bridge to talk. Anya points out that The 100 came onto the Grounders' territory, that the flares launched by The 100 destroyed a village, and that The 100 invaded their territory. It's an interesting perspective, The 100 having gone from explorers and pioneers to invaders. But Anya and Clarke do seem to be coming to some sort of agreement - the thought of more people coming from the Ark is scary for the Grounders, but Clarke promises she will try and make them honour the terms she and Anya set.

Clarke points out that the Ark has tech which could destroy the Grounders, but Anya's people have lived through worse. And then, as they're talking Jasper spots Grounders with weapons hidden in the trees, despite Lincoln's promise that the Grounders wouldn't bring weapons to the meeting. The irony escapes Jasper, Bellamy and Raven, who are themselves armed with a massive guns, and they leap out of the trees, shouting at Clarke to run as they begin firing their guns at the Grounders. Negotiations ruined, everyone makes a run for their respective sides of the bridge, although Lincoln is hit with an arrow. That's what you get for being a good guy.

The gang head back to camp, with Finn and Octavia pissed at the others for bringing guns to the meeting. And then Finn says the most devastating thing - telling Clarke that she didn't have to trust the Grounders, she just had to trust him. Oof. My heart.

Left standing alone on what should be a day of celebration, Bellamy and Clarke look to the sky to see the exodus ship. It's early, but they're happy, until they realise it's heading to earth way too fast. And then it hits the ground in an explosion of light, leaving Clarke to believe her mother, meant to be on the first ship, has died. 

Happy Unity Day.

On the Ark
Jaha announces that the first of the ships will leave the Ark for earth the following week, but it appears he hasn't told the population that not everyone will be going to earth.

Dodgy Diana is continuing her sly takeover of the Ark, sidling up to Abby to apologise to her, and then acting surprised when Jaha cuts his speech short. Jaha makes way for a group of kids, who are performing a play about the formation of the Ark, while Kane's mother is trying to persuade him to take he small tree she's been cultivating down to earth with him. Kane's a little too busy being important, and walks away from his mum.

As a bunch of cute children are in the midst of a reenactment of the unification of the Ark, a bomb explodes. Bodies litter the floor as a ringing sound plays out and Jaha wakes to muffled voices and blurred vision. And then everything becomes clear - bright red blood everywhere and screams filling the air. He immediately charges Kane with finding out who is responsible, but Kane is distressed to see his mother has been fatally injured and he cradles her as she takes her last few breaths, giving the blessing to send her on a safe journey. Again, my heart.

Despite his loss Kane realises that someone is trying to kill Jaha. Dodgy Diana, suspiciously missing, must be behind it, but the gang hasn't worked that out yet, although Kane is uneasy. And yep, there Dodgy Diana is, preparing for battle, and planning to take the ship and travel on it down to earth without (most of) the Ark dwellers.

As the clean-up operation continues, Dodgy Diana rushes in to say that the launch of the ship must be delayed and that she has discovered who set off the bomb - a mechanic who lost his wife in the culling. Kane and Abby are suspicious, but they don't have any concrete proof of Dodgy Diana's treachery. Kane heads to interrogate the mechanic, and walks straight into a trap - the mechanic and his 'guard' are in Dodgy Diana's pocket and knock Kane unconscious.

Things on the Ark are getting worse - the station is suffering from a failure of everything, and people are soon going to start dying. Jaha manages to find Kane, who has realised (finally) that Dodgy Diana is staging a mutiny.

Dodgy Diana appears at the drop ship, and commands her men to start throwing disloyal people off the ship - her people are calling her Chancellor. Abby, hidden in a corner, can only sit and watch.

Jaha and Kane arrive to find Dodgy Diana in the exodus ship, and they can only watch through the window as she readies the ship for launch. And then Abby is found hiding, and Dodgy Diana decides Abby will be of use to her people when they get to the ground. Abby refuses and is stabbed as she makes a leap for the lock and turns it enough that Jaha and co can get a wrech in and try and open the doors. Try as they might, they can't open the doors, and it only gets worse as they realise that the exodus ship is not uncoupled from the Ark, meaning everything will be destroyed when the exodus ship launches.

And then Dodgy Diana plays her trump card - yelling that there aren't enough drop ships for everyone. And then she gives the command to launch the ship, and we get an external view of the Ark - the exodus ship detatching itself from the rest of the structure, which goes black.

Solid ground?
Ooh, the stakes have been raised and things have changed considerably. Up to now the big bad has been the Grounders, but this week we saw that the Grounders see The 100 as the threat. I definitely want to see how this relationship, which could have gone so well, now plays itself out after official enemy lines have been drawn.

But the best thing about this episode is the The 100's approach to gender politics. One thing I love about The 100 is its female characters, who are nuanced and worthy of so much more than that awful "strong female characters" tag. 

Throughout The 100, both on the Ark and on earth, it's been the women who have been powerful. Sure, there are times when Bellamy seemed to be in control of The 100, but he's admitted himself that Clarke is really the leader, and she's clearly looked up to by the group. The fact that the Grounders appear to live in a society which welcomes female leaders/is a matriarchal society (we haven't seen enough yet to judge whether that's the case), and which wants to negotiate with measured, female leaders from opposing parties, is encouraging.

And on the Ark, Abby, while not being the elected leader, clearly has the ear of her peers. Her motherhood is celebrated, and her emotions and passion lead her to make good decisions, they're not something to be ashamed of. Dodgy Diana is slightly more of a typical female villain, cold and calculating and hard-nosed, but even she has layers. Also, note how all Dodgy Diana's acolytes are men. There's an argument here for Dodgy Diana being named after Diana, the Roman goddess of childbirth, nature and fertility - after all, Dodgy Diana's aim in the time we've known her has been to lead a crew of people down to earth (nature) to repopulate and resettle. And she's always referred to her crew as "my people" - does she see them as children of a sort? Diana was also the moon-goddess, and, well, Dodgy Diana lives on a space station above earth, a bit like the moon.

Whatever else its faults - an occasional tendency towards the ridiculous, many failed attempts at getting the balance between the Ark and The 100 right, too much silly romance - The 100 is definitely good at portraying women in a way they rarely are in the mass media.


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