Saturday, January 23, 2016

The 100, Season Three, Episode One: Wanheda: Part 1

This episode begins with Murphy and Lincoln sparing shirtless. Who do I have to thank for this? Also, I will take another helping of that next week.  It's been about three months since the events at Mt. Weather and now that the dust has somewhat settled, the sky people are tying to build a life somehow.  As one might imagine, all is not smooth.

Abby is still the Chancellor and she is very worried about the missing Clarke and she is right to be.  It seems that Clarke has a bounty on her head from all of the tribes.  Considering that Clarke ended the reaping by killing all of the Mt. Weather people, you would think that from the Grounder point of view that she would be hailed as a hero and that her life would be easy.  Unfortunately that is not the case. The Grounders respect what Clarke has done and have even given her the nickname, Wanheda - the commander of death.  It seems that the kill order stems from the fact that because Clarke is personally responsible for the death of so many people, it's believed that she possess great power and therefore killing Clarke would mean claiming that power.  It's an interesting perspective given that Clarke's feelings about what occurred on Mt. Weather seem quite the opposite.

At the end of season two, Clarke returned with her people to what is now camp Arkadia and promptly left, too racked with guilt to stay with her people.  There are some people like Clarke's new lover Niylah, who see what Clarke did as so heroic that she even lies to the Ice Queen's warriors about Clarke's location.  For Niylah, whose mother was taken in a reaping, Clarke's actions represent revenge and safety.  Now, no one will have to worry about being taken ever again.  Clarke however wears the heavy burden of the dead on her person, commenting that her body count is so high that she wouldn't be able to have all of the kill marks on her back. Clarke instead will have to have to content herself with the scars from the panther she killed, whose meat she trades for supplies.  It's a classic case of do the ends justify the means.  Abby warned her last season that there would be a price for her actions but Clarke at the time, could only see the end goal of freeing her people.

This episode erased any doubt that Clarke is indeed a bisexual protagonist.  This is a huge deal because there aren't a lot LGBT protagonists on television or in the genre.  I do however wonder whether we will actually see Clarke engaged in a long term same sex relationship.  For now however, I am pretty pleased with this very obvious declaration and hope that The 100 will not give her any fallout over it. It would nice to see a world in which love, whether it be same sex or heterosexual be supported and embraced.

Ironically, Jasper is one  of the people whose life Clarke's actions saved and he is not at all okay with it.  Since returning to camp, Jasper has been a drunk while mourning  the loss of Maya. How long did Jasper know Maya actually?  I'm not sure that I like the set up that Maya is the genesis of his pain. We did get Jasper raging at his people for taking supplies from Mt. Weather and calling them scavengers which suggests that we might get a more nuanced understanding of where Jasper's pain stems from.  It is worth noting that this is standard operating procedure for the people from the Ark, so I am not sure where they are going with this.  I would also like someone to explain to me how a resident from the Ark learned how to play the piano of all things.

Speaking of the people of Arkadia, Octavia is having trouble. On one hand we see her riding out on patrol with Jeremy and the crew, yet she keeps herself separate because she is on horseback while the others ride in a vehicle. This must mean on some level she has not forsaken her people though she never seems to tire of giving Lincoln grief for his policy of assimilation.  At this point, Octavia won't even sleep indoors.  I am bothered by this storyline because it reads as though Octavia has gone Native - a problematic stance.  We'll just see if they make her better at being a Grounder than the Grounders.  I am going to keep my eye on this.

For his part, Lincoln is confined to the camp because of a death warrant out against him.  He has however agreed to wear the uniform of Arkadia and believes that moving forward they have to see themselves as people rather than Grounders/Skypeople, if they are to move forward and survive.

Raven is our only disabled character thus far and she is still adjusting to this.  Raven is still too proud to admit that she needs help and seems to fear looking weak. I like that there is an adjustment period for her and a sense of fear of losing her independence. Going from being abled bodied to disabled is a series of adjustments and realisations.

Finally, we come to Jaha, who I still cannot even begin to tolerate and Murphy, whose jaded personality is starting to grow on me.  We know that Jaha chose to sacrifice everyone who left camp with him on his search for the mythical City of Light and then locked up Murphy in a bunker for almost three months.  It seems that Jaha has gotten friendly with ALIE, the artificial intelligence who set off the nuclear bombs because her mission was to make things better.  It seems that ALIE had determined that the problem was earth's population density. This should be enough to make Jaha suspicious but it seems that he has drunk the kool aid and is willing to do whatever it is that ALIE wants.  Clearly, Jaha's return is only going to add to the problems of the Ark people.  I do however like that Murphy is calling Jaha out on his shit and is refusing to blindly follow along.

A lot happened in this season opener.  The writers caught us up on what has been going on with the characters since the events of Mt. Weather and opened the door for new tension.  I loved the scene of the teens in the vehicle having one precious moment to be what they are - teenagers.  It will be interesting to see what kind of society the Ark people build now that they are back on land and if they will fall back to their old ways.  I still very much want to see Jaha die and feel that his character continues to be irrelevant.  I have very much enjoyed Clarke's growth and am interested in how she will deal with the morality of her actions and ultimately how the writers deal with the question of means justifying the ends.  This is very obviously going to be a theme for this season and it's clear because of both Clarke's story line and ALIE's story line.