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The 100 – The Calm – Review: “In the midst of hope and darkness”

By Travis
In Reviews
May 31, 2014

So lately I’ve been engaging a lot with some of the writers of The 100 by using twitter, and through that interaction something became quite clear: they are trying to make the best show possible.
That seems like an obvious statement that could be said about any writer, but the thing is that The 100 isn’t merely trying to be good, it’s doing the best it can to standout as a whole. As such, through the run of its first season it has become CW’s darkest drama, but it has also been able to sway in the right amount of hope so that the show itself doesn’t feel bleak. It has been a great job in my opinion and one that shows how much the cast and crew care for this series, how much they want to make it the best thing on TV if possible.

I think one of the better aspects of The 100 is how complex their characters have become through time: when the show started I remarked Clarke as a stereotypical heroine and both Bellamy and Kane were the obvious villains. Through the run of the season the tables have been turned, and all of these people have shown others aspects of themselves; Bellamy and Kane’s guilt brought the better of them and through hardship Clarke went from heroine to soldier. There’s no one in this show that you can call a hero or a villain, except maybe Diane who we know little of.

Just think about the scenes in which Clarke is forced to try heal Anya’s daughter; that kid has been taught to fight and has killed people (and has been praised for it). That’s horrible, but considering how the grounders desperately need to train their kids to fight among them it’s understandable that it happens. The 100 are stocking weapons so that they can kill grounders, but that’s because they need to defend themselves. There is no right or wrong here, we can’t say which one is right because it’s all a matter of perspective.

By abducting Clarke and Finn the episode found a way to go inside the grounders’ mind; they have reasons to fight and they have been through so much pain that they got to the point where they will take any measures necessary to keep themselves alive, may it be train their children to kill or anything like that. And as The 100 represent a threat to them, they are ready to take them down, but the show has made a statement through these last 4 episodes: they are doing this in order to survive.

In the end Clarke is unable to save Anya’s daughter, a moment which left me a bit shocked since I didn’t know how the situation could be resolved without falling apart completely. And then Anya ordered that Finn would be killed. Though I’m not counting Finn out just yet The 100 is a show that is not afraid of disposing characters (remember Wells?) and if Finn dies I’m going to be amazed, but I don’t think he will. Either way, it’s great that the show found itself in the position to make both scenarios possible, in any other show we would be completely sure that Finn would make it through, but in this one? Who knows!

Now, I would like to take a moment to talk about Bob Morley’s performance.
Bellamy has quickly become my favorite character: he is conflicted, he has made right and wrong calls all the same, he has been selfish and unselfish, and as such he has proved to be a very complex character, one that could be a hero or a villain at any given time. I’d say he’s more like an anti-hero, he doesn’t have the high morals like Clarke did in the beginning- which are now mostly shut down- and he does what needs to be done. But he isn’t happy making the hard calls, the decisions he makes hunts him, and that’s where Bob Morley has done a superb job. He has been able to portray Bellamy as a real person, not just a character, it feels like Bellamy could exist beyond the screen and that is mostly by how real the display of emotions go.

In this episode we get to see a more laid back version of Bellamy, one that just give the usual orders and then just stays around in camp. He connects with Raven- who is really pissed after her break up with Finn- and they end up hooking up. While this may bother some people who don’t like romantic entanglement I would like to say that this is probably just a one night stand, nothing beyond that, and it makes sense considering all the tension they are going through, and both Bob Morley and Lindsey Morgan sell it as such.

So, what’s going on in The Ark? Things are looking quite bleak, oxygen is running low and Kane must look for survivors while also find a way to fix the air problems. This is the first time we see Kane acting like a fully fleshed hero, which is nice considering the transformation he has gone through ever since The Ark found out that The 100 were still alive.

I was really amazed by how much sense it made for Kane to act so heroically, as if he was trying to redeem for all the 320 deaths he caused. His determination to save Jaha and how everyone with him helped him move the rubble was one of those moments in which the show sways in hope for the human race in just about the right timing.
Also impressive: when Kane goes through the air ducts the visuals are surprisingly good, just by looking him go through them I could almost feel the heat on my face, which made his effort all the more satisfying once he managed to fix the air on the other side and save lots of people, including Abby, who seems to have escaped the dropship just in the right timing.

The episode ends with a cliffhanger: Clarke escapes the grounders- by killing one with no hesitation!-, but she is caught again, Finn could be dead or alive and Monty suddenly disappeared. There are many things going on and it seems like they are ready to explode in the finale.
The start of the episode felt a little bit sluggish, to be honest, but it fixes it quite quickly and everything comes together nicely by the end of it.

Grade: A-

Now just a little comment about the love triangle thing: Whenever I see someone complain about the show, this is the issue that standout the most. While I’m not a fan of love triangles, it doesn’t bother me as long as it isn’t the main force that drives the narrative, and in this show it doesn’t. It just happens, it is there, but the main concerns of the characters is to survive not who slept with who, that mostly occurs in isolated moments.

Stray Observations:

-Miles: “Haven’t really got a chance to hang with you guys much. Hey, do you even know how I got arrested in The Ark?”
Finn: “I’m dying to hear about it.”
Honestly I was a bit worried by the way Miles was introduced, it reminded me of Nikki and Paolo from Lost, but it doesn’t seem like Miles is staying for long, and if he does… well, it seems like he would make a good comic relief.

-Wick (the guy Kane found first): “What a bitch! My mom voted for her!”
That was such a great line I had to put it here.

-Is there anything Raven can’t do? This week she and Monty built radios. That’s quite impressive.

-I could hear Bellarke’s fans scream when Bellamy and Raven hooked up. Don’t worry, as stated this is only a one time thing (probably).

-Do you think we’ll see Lincon for the finale?

-It’s interesting that Clarke has become a valuable asset for the grounders, I imagine they are going to try find every possible way to make her cooperate. Things are getting really interesting.

-So, what if what fell to the ground and exploded wasn’t the dropship but a piece of The Ark and Diana is still kicking around somewhere? If so, all hell will break loose in season 2!

-Last but not least: I’ve been tweeting a lot about how The 100 deserves an emmy nomination. While this may seem farfetched considering there are far more perfected shows out there (GoT, Mad Men, The Good Wife, among others) I think the show has broke a lot of ground and has done some excellent writing and some top notch performances (Bob Morley mostly). So while I believe it won’t be nominated, I do hope that someday along its run it could be. The fact that it is a genre show and that it airs in The CW goes against it, but there’s hope that this one might be the show that makes it, eventually, because as I said above, these guys are doing the best to standout, and so far the freshman season has done so. The show is just a couple of steps of reaching out the big leagues, it just need some more time to win the heart of some more critics. (Interesting to note: it seems this is the only show the CW has remarked as “critically acclaimed”, which is a very good thing).

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