REVIEW | The 100 - Episode 2.03 - "Reapercussions"
Horrified, petrified and utterly determined to stay alive, in this week’s episode of The CW’s The 100 – entitled “Reapercussions” – time is most definitely of the essence for Clarke and Anya as the frenemies make a desperate attempt to escape the horrific truths and terrors of Mount Weather. But making a run for it is made all the harder when they discover that not only are the Mountain people harvesting the blood of Grounders to transfuse their own, but are also feeding the resulting - and occasionally still alive - offcuts to the insidious population of Reapers inhabiting the tunnels deep within the treacherous peak.
Elsewhere, Finn and Bellamy find themselves on the run and in possession of a Grounder prisoner as they being afresh the hunt to find their captured friends, only with added and distinct non-bonus of having the ever sneaky Murphy in tow. In the wake of their departure, Abby finds herself on the cusp of being made an example of, as Kane decides to have her publically and brutally punished for her helping them escape to find the missing kids they not so long ago shunted down to earth.
Some serious moral and ethical boundaries will be crossed as pretty much everyone we love – and quite a few people we don’t – are faced with the prospect of having to embrace some inner darknesses in order to survive the night. With all that in mind, let’s dive in and have a deeper look the episode shall we?
THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY
There are many emotional boundaries being tested this week between enemies who are having to rely one on the other to beat a common threat. Think about it. Bellamy, Finn and Murphy. Clarke and Anya. Even Kane and Abby. (Legit, ‘member when he kept threatening to float her? Fool.) And I for one am absolutely loving that they’re taking this approach. It keeps the story unpredictable because the layers of trust between everybody are just so damn thin; you can never be sure who will turn on who and just how great a reason they’ll need to do so. (NB. Mr. ‘Eh It’s Thursday, I Think I’ll Betray Some Poor Sod to Their Death’ Murphy does not count. That bastard would betray his grandmother for a jar of dirt).
Like many viewers, I imagine, I’m really enjoying the fact that the relationship between Anya and Clarke – despite the fact that they’ve saved each other’s lives now – is still highly fraught and strung as it ever was. It makes for heaps more interesting viewing than if they were both just like ‘Oh my survival sister! Let us put away all our massive differences, forget everything that made us anti-BFF’s and hold hands as we run free into a new life of ovaries before brovaries’. What they’ve done instead, makes for a heaps more dynamic and, in the long run, perhaps even a stronger relationship between these two. In all honesty, I think that relationship may even be the key to beating the mountain people. Everyone on the ground need to be united if they’re going to attack a military fortress like that and win; if it's going to start with anyone, there are no better candidates than those two.
Then there's Bellamy, Finn and Murphy. Now, Murphy is a prime example of a theory once so eloquently imparted by Jack Sparrow. “I'm dishonest,” he says the Captain, “and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly... stupid.” And Murphy? You can't ever trust Murphy as far as you could throw him. (In my case, I dream of it being off a CLIFF). That's a given.
In this case though, Bellamy – the very man who once kicked the hangman’s box out from under Murphy’s feet – is now the honest one. He’s not hiding anything. His motivations, or his changed attitudes to needing violence to achieve his goals. He is, indeed, no longer the Bellamy who tortured Lincoln to within an inch of his life in that drop ship (remember that? FEEEEEEEEEEELS), nor the guy who ripped the cables from Raven's crash pod to disable communication with the Ark; indeed, I can absolutely see the elder Blake doing something stupid in order to find his friends.
Primarily, I think to find Clarke. There was a veritable electric buzz between those two at the end of last season, and in a lot of ways I think Clarke came to embody a lot of Bellamy’s idea of the man he secretly wants to be. She represents a certain hope to him, so I’m not surprised that he is so adamant to find her. And the others. But mostly her. I think. I hope.
But by far – by an absolute country freakin' mile – the biggest shock this episode was Finn, and his sudden willingness to undertake brutality as a means to the end of finding Clarke. First things first. I’m trying to work out – and I think I’ve got it right – that in a lot of ways he is still in love with both Clarke and Raven, if in different ways. Think about it. Back at the camp, it really felt like he was with Raven, a team with her, in it together or not at all. And yet his behaviour in the bunker as they tortured the Grounder for information suggests that he is at the point of absolution where he will do anything – even point plank shoot a man in the head for expedience’s sake – to get to wherever Clarke is and rescue her from Grounder clutches. Is that love? Yes, I think it is. But at the same time, you can’t help but wonder whether the darkness he has now embraced within himself in order to get the job done is casting a very black shadow indeed over that love. Thomas McDonell was gripping in this week in particular and really surprised me with just how…well, cold and yet also hot blooded he could be as Finn. I love being surprised by that, and by him, even if it was bloody shocking to watch.
The other character who has turned on a dime since he’s landed in his new surrounds is Kane. His agreeing to see Abby tortured (and by that obnoxious, militant cow of an Ark commander to boot) for insubordination is downright insidious, and perhaps more to the point, utterly spineless. You want people to learn, fool? Lead by example. Be the kind of person that on their best day, they would want to be. Don’t torture people’s minds and bodies into submission until they’ll only do what you want them to do, out of fear.
Indeed I really struggled with Kane this week, but by the same token, gosh but it made for a formidable comparison to Abby and her absolute fricking badass display of indefatigable bravery. She was magnificent, hauling herself up defiantly under every burning electric shocks. And Paige Turco? You absolutely smashed it this week, lady. Your portrayal of her unquestionably makes me believe that Clarke is her mother’s daughter – hence why she is surviving like a deadset boss at the moment – and in so many ways your performance this week absolutely obliterated much of my residual mistrust of you after we learned of your involvement in your husband’s death. You were incredible and I am so glad you are in this show.
OCTAVIA THE BRAVE
I cannot get over the growth of Baby Blake – from spoilt brat to warrior and soul mate of Lincoln – and it is wonderful to be continually confronted with the fact that Marie Avgeropoulos is just delivering it like a pro every week since her character has entered this new bend in her plot arc. That scene where she realises Lincoln isn’t among the Reaper prisoners was heart wrenching and for my part, I don’t cry easily when watching TV but she pretty much walloped me in the feels in that moment as she tears the dirty hoods from the chained men and women being held by the Reapers. Indeed she is really growing as an actor in this role and is already so far ahead even of where she was this time last season.
In Lincoln’s case, I’ll be super fascinated to find out who this healer friend of his – Nyko – is and what role he might play moving forward. He seems like a good character but I love that I can’t totally pick his heart yet. Acting wise, seeing Ty Olsson back on my screen is wonderful. I loved him so much in his role on Supernatural in particular, and I kind of lamented not seeing him as much on television because he really is a very good actor. And it bodes well for Nyko in that I like to think by hiring Olsson to play him, it’s a sign that the creative forces behind the show are going to invest something more into this character.
In which case, I can’t wait to see what happens with him next. Same goes for Adina Porter’s character, Indra. She’s another prime example of the fact that the writers are dedicated, too, to giving us strong, capable female leads of immense presence and value. Seriously. There’s a few other shows that I think would be WELL served to take notes in that department, because The 100 is a veritable goldmine of female empowerment.
ALL THE BETTER TO LEECH YOU WITH, MY DEAR
False. Unimpressed. Clinical. Dr. Tsing is the coldest example yet of the true heart of the Mountain people, or perhaps more to the point, their leaders. The way she looks at the people in the Harvest Room – as lab rats, only fit for blood consumption but not to live – is horrifically cold and a very confronting embodiment of what Dante and Co. see the people beyond them as. Indeed the connotations of the term ‘Harvest Room’ ALONE are beyond scary, especially given the fact that we are still only three episodes into this season. Those cages, and worse still, those barely living creatures hanging like meat on butcher’s hooks as they’re drained of their life blood…I mean geez. How many people have died like that to have sustained the Mountain people for so long? Are the Grounders killers to a degree? Yes, but by the same token they are very much products of their environment, and no less perfect or imperfect than anyone else. They are a people of survival, and brutal though their methods are, you can’t help but think that they are second in the monster race by a country mile compared to Dante and his people. After all, at least the Grounders have enough spine to not hide their true intentions. These pasty people within Mount Weather’s confines, though…I mean how soulless can you get?
But then here’s the thing. Do you think the majority of people under the Mountain – like Maya for example – do you think they actually know what’s really going on? Do you think if all those people knew the cost that had been paid to keep them ticking, that they would let it keep happening? I wondered and it was a wonder that stuck with me, like a little glass splinter in my brain the entire episode. Niggling and wiggling incessantly with the questions such a situation, posed.
And are you thinking what I’m thinking that Dante’s plans for the hundred are? After all, he himself said it: their blood is stronger even than the Grounders. Imagine the healing powers in that vein juice. In which case, is this a retelling of that age old cautionary tale? A post-apocalyptic Hansel and Gretel: of children being fattened with cake and candy by a witch-hearted President with a penchant for painting and blood theft? Indeed, are they the unwitting lambs next in line for the cold cage confines of Dr. Tsing’s quarters? If so, I MAY NEVER EAT CAKE AGAIN.
Actually no that’s a lie, but I’ll sure think twice about it beforehand.
It’s weird. I get to the end of every new episode and feel like I am driven to be even more of a 100 evangelist than I was before, which is saying something considering I’m pretty sure there’s no-one left in my life who I haven’t told to drop everything like it’s hot and watch this show. It’s likewise hard because it feels somewhat disingenuous plastering A’s and A+’s on the show week after week. After all: can television really be that good? Can it earn your absolute praise absolutely, time after time? Can it so repeatedly hit the nail on the head with the message it’s aiming to tell? It seems impossible. Most of the time it is.
But for my part, I can’t help but feel earnestly that The 100 is three for three now. To give it less than what it deserves just because you don’t want to appear more like a fan than a reviewer week after week…well, put plainly is just not fair. The A this episode gets is an A it abundantly deserves. Why? Because the raw and vibrant heart of this show beats with the same rhythm of a wild thing escaping into freedom – galloping into open space every chance it gets – and this episode was a prime example of that. It took no prisoners and did not for a moment hold back in being confrontational with us as a viewer; in asking us whether humanity even deserves to survive this hypothetical nuclear apocalypse. In asking us whether the behaviour we’re so busy judging, is actually a legacy of our own behaviour as a generation. Indeed, are we in fact judging ourselves? Would we be so harsh if we honestly saw that was the case?
In the end, are they big questions? Bloody oath they are. And so they bloody should be. It’s the clearest indicator that the writers respect their audience enough to be brave and tell that kind of story – one that they know is going to smack them morally and ethically between the eyes. And it’s so satisfying to not just see such gutsy television, but to see it so broadly supported by such a passionate fan base.
But on to the technical side of events. Script-wise, Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyr were bang on in this addition to the broader story, particularly in how they really amped up that tenuous but still brimming with potential relationship between Clarke and Anya. They really engaged the strong creative dynamic of each actress and it was great to see because both Eliza Taylor and Dichen Lachman are killing it this season, particularly Taylor who really has come into her own of late. Also loved the continued emotional chess game going on between Kane and Abby. The script demonstrated a real understanding of the fraught relationship between them, and that was so important to the broader development of the story. Excellent work, lads – this was a corker of an ep. Cannot wait til your next one.
Dean White was back, too, in the director’s chair and you could really tell, particularly in those visually spectacular action scenes (especially that one on the slip wall – that was a beauty). He has such a great eye for engaging the whole visual environment of the various sets and locations in order to better tell the story. In particular that whole scene with Abby being tortured – under that vast, blue sky on the Earth they had fought so hard to return to, and with such good intentions to see their people flourish again – was so well done. I loved how the space behind Abby was so huge and wild, and yet bigger still was the brave, gritty step up of Clarke’s mother under the brunt of torture. It was so fricking sharp and every bit and in your face as it needed to beto get the point across. Well done sir.
In any case, it’s a rocky road for all involved that lays ahead. How can the Ark people ever hope to save their children if they cannot emotionally adapt to the fact that they are not the only fish in the mutated pond of this planet, and definitely not the strongest? What lies ahead for Clarke now that Anya’s taking her back to her people as a prize, despite their escaping together from the Mountain? And are Bellamy, Finn and Co. heading to the same destination? Will they find their fearless leading lady there? Or will they find their own demise? Who knows, but that without question, yet more explosive times await these peoples of the land and sky as they battle each other to live and die – and in some cases, reign supreme – on this untamed patch of earth.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS…
There are all kinds of things making very ugly sense after this episode.
Very much enjoying all these ends being tied up with such twists. Having the mountain men feeding the cannibalistic Reapers with their offcuts? Is it an exchange of sorts? ‘You don’t attack us, we’ll give you all the necessary ingredients for your version of Steak and Kidney Pie?’ It’s insidious but I didn’t see that coming.
Are the Reapers the missing genetic mutation link so to speak between the weak people of the mountain and the robust population of Grounders?
Still don’t know how to feel about Maya, or where her loyalty would ultimately lie now if she had to choose between doing what was right and doing what she’s always thought was right. Would be sad to see Jasper’s love life go down in flames twice in a row, though.
I want to learn more about Monty. He’s like the last core player of that group of the 100 that we don’t really know anything about and I feel like he must matter as something more to this story than what we’re being told.
I am already dreaming of how that doctor is going to meet her maker, basically. It ain’t pretty and there’s a wood chipper involved.
Murphy’s intentions still seem very dark and something more than just doing what he needs to do to survive. It’s like wherever he is, he goads the worst in people to come out and play. A veritable Snake in Eden.
What the heck is the Cerebus program (did I hear that right?) and why is Lincoln more fitted to that than the harvest room?
Yeah, Abby. You’re damn RIGHT Kane wasn’t elected Chancellor. He assumed it. Keep it real, girlfriend.
I just don’t know what to believe any more about Kane. First he’s noble, then he’s a knob. Then he’s noble again. It makes me wonder what the end of his path to redemption is going to look like as opposed to whether or not it’s just the beginning for him.
Hey captain lady with the cattle prod. People like you are the reason that it could be argued your portion of humanity would only screw up your second chance at life, hence why you shouldn’t be given one. I have a feeling that a grounder fight waits for you. Then we’ll see who’s so sure about electroshocking the only doctor on site.
Because we know the survivors are in the mountain and therefore not at the Grounder camp as prisoners, it stands to reason that the map ploy from the executed Grounder was a trap for Bellamy, Finn and Co. Will be interesting to see though if in going there, it proves meant to be because it’s where Anya will take Clarke.
The promise of Bellamy, Clarke and Finn together in the same spot – finally – since what happened at the drop ship is giving me goose bumps the size of Mars. *tiiiiiiiiiiiiingles*
However engrossed I feel in the human story here, the broader one of the physical world intrigues me as well. What monsters are in it that we have yet to discover?
The Grouder language is awesome. It sounds so real. Love it.
Bellamy is now where Finn and Clarke did the horizontal foxtrot and I am all kinds of uncomfortable with this.
That slip wall scene with Anya and Clarke was fricking FANTASTIC. A+ directing, Dean White.
Would be interested to know if stuff like that poisonous green fog will be returning soon or at all, because now I’m more intrigued than ever as to where it actually originates. Is that a Mountain tactic?
Chancellor Abby YES PLEASE THANK YOU FOR THIS I APPROVE.
Yes he’s appeared a few time but MORE OF RICKY WHITTLE PLS HE IS PUTTING THE ABS IN ABSENCE RIGHT NOW GIVE HIM BACK. #lincdrawals