It’s the end of the road for The 100 as the grounders attack the base camp in the S1 finale.
Let’s bitch it out…
The 100 started out pretty spectacularly earlier this season – the show unapologetically killed off its teen cast, let the kids re-enact Lord of the Flies and managed to zig more often than zag. Unfortunately there were several CW-esque elements (teenage love triangles particularly) that became increasingly problematic (read: boring) as the season wore on. The last few episodes building up to the finale definitely dropped the ball: the Grounders should have been an enigma, or a credible opposing force, and instead they ended up feeling like lukewarm Mad Max rejects and the narrative became a generic investigation of “white kids” vs “vaguely ethnic Others.” The introduction of cannibalistic Reapers – a name and trait that hues so closely to the Reavers of Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity that you can almost taste the copyright infringement – didn’t help.
Which brings us to tonight’s very special episode. The 100 has been renewed for a second season, but these episodes were likely produced in a vacuum, which almost makes me forgive the all-cliffhanger, all-the-time approach ‘We Are Grounders: Part 2’ adopts. Almost. Because although the episode is filled with expensive looking action sequences, and lots of crap happens, ending nearly every storyline with a question mark and featuring a host of predictable plot developments leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
The moment that Raven
Symone (Lindsey Morgan) talked about rocket fuel last week, it was clear that a giant bomb or incendiary device was on the horizon. This made the abbreviated run for the ocean that opens the episode a complete red herring – even if we hadn’t seen all of the trailers advertising the fight, it’s clear that our rag tag band of child soldiers would stay and fight (after all there’s nothing dramatic about running, whereas bodies and explosions is quintessential finale material). And fight they do: poorly and in a disorganized fashion that surely ups the number of dead kids past the 18 the episode began with. Unfortunately, like most of the season, it’s mostly red shirts who bite it, including the obvious “guy who talks about surfing and gets an axe to the head” and “sacrificial kids manning the perimeter.” I mean, kudos – again – for having the audacity to kill teens and all, but the fact is that not a single main character (or special guest) bites it in this finale. That, my friends, is an unwillingness to commit and prove that there are real stakes.
Know what I wanted? Clarke (Eliza Taylor), Bellamy (Bob Morley) and/or Finn (Thomas McDonell) to die. Not only are they all inherently boring, but that would have upset the status quo. Instead we end up with a bunch of expected outcomes, including Clarke refusing to let her friends kill Anya (Dichen Lachman), both boys being left outside the drop ship (obviously they’ll both be fine next season), and Abby (Paige Turco) and Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) as the sole Ark ship to survive the plummet to earth. Throw in an ending featuring a homage to Resident Evil‘s Umbrella Corporation and this finale sure does feel stitched together from a bunch of plots (of both TV and movies) that we’re seen before. Hopefully when The 100 returns in the fall, it will have found its guilty pleasure mojo again. It’s not a bad show; I actually quite like it, which is why it’s disappointing that this finale is so bland. It’s definitely become the show that I hoped it wasn’t when I first started watching (if that makes any sense).
Observations Clichéd Developments:
- Jasper (Devon Bostick) gets his moment in the sun after Raven
Symonepasses out from her gunshot wound, but naturally first he connects the wires backwards. Cliché.
- Jaha (Isaiah Washington) plays the martyr and stays behind on the central Ark station in order to let the others descend to earth safely. The whole “we need someone to stay behind and manually do something, but it means they’ll die” plot device is really played out. Boooooo.
- Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) whisks Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) away with an arrow in her butt after she and Bellamy – predictably – apologize and confess their sibling love. At least she gets a a kick-ass ninja/Michonne from The Walking Dead moment before being swept away in the arms of her star-crossed lover.
- Good thing the line “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is said a half dozen times or we never would have figured out that the Reapers have a role to play…oh wait…
- I am a bit aghast that Clarke and the other kids essentially kill an entire group of people and no time is spent on that decision. The close-up of the corpse might be an attempt, but I interpreted it as Clarke thinking the charred body belongs to (or Bellamy). Moments later the Mountain Men attack, which moves us immediately along to the Resident Evil facility. I get that it’s a finale that’s meant to be a roller-coaster ride, but they just killed like 50 people. Take a beat or ten and let that sink in!
- Just to end on a positive note: I will award continuity points for the Grounders using Murphy’s (Richard Harmon) radio to listen in on the kids battle tactics (remember we saw him carrying it when he ran away from camp last week). Also the description of “Mountain Men” to anticipate the return of “Mount Weather” – the destination that the kids were originally meant to get to – is also a nice return to the series opener.Creator/exec-producer Jason Rothenberg also ensures there was a visual motif between Clarke’s two cells.
That’s my take. What’s yours? Too cliché? Entertaining? Are you happy that Anya’s not dead? Wishing Clarke was? If only Bellamy or Finn survives, which would you pick? Are the Grounders dead and gone? Would you tune in to watch doomed Jaha deliver sad soliloquies to himself in the dying Ark next season? Sound off below.
The 100 has finished airing its first season. It will return in the fall on The CW.