The 100 has some work to do.
If you haven’t caught up with last week’s episode, then:
SPOILERY MCSPOILSTERS GALORE AHEAD SPOILER!
Lincoln is still deader than Jon Snow and Octavia is looking for vengeance. Upon being reunited with Bellamy, she exacts a little bit of that against his face. The tenth episode of this season, “Fallen”, deals with everything that has fallen-out over Lincoln’s death: Raven neglecting the shiny City of Evil… sorry, City of Light, Bellamy’s flip-flopping, Ontari’s unfair usurping of the Heda-ship, Jasper’s rebelliousness, Pike’s evil ways, etc. In short, “Fallen” deals with a lot of the same stuff.
First, what I liked:
1. Pike’s capture.
It came very abruptly and in the middle of a series of switcharoos which took away the impact of finally giving over a major character (who we still have no reason to care about other than the fact that he’s been mustache-twirling evil) to presumably die. However, that moment allowed Bellamy and Octavia to come to terms with each other over their actions. Bellamy’s 27th flip of the season was grating but it was the right choice and one which will heal the pain of Lincoln’s death as Bellamy’s fault in Octavia’s eyes. When Kane then asks Bellamy if he did it because of Octavia or because it was the right thing we, as an audience, want to say both. Bellamy simply responds with, “You’re welcome.” That’s the character. He’s thinking about his choices but ultimately he’s probably being a little selfish in merely protecting his sister. Also, this capture gives us that moment of tension which is earned when Kane suggests he join the Grounders back to Polis with Pike in tow. He doesn’t know what the situation is like over there but we understand his choice even though it’s likely to not turn out pretty. These are the kinds of decisions the show makes which make it a cut-above.
2. Murphy waking up in the filthy BDSM dream he has always wanted.*
What I didn’t like:
1. Everything else.
From Jaha continuing A.L.I.E.’s nefarious plot by wanting to take away free will from everyone to Monty and Mommy Monty having a forced moment in Arkadia, “Fallen” was stilted, rushed and illogical. The reason and logic the characters are always spouting made no sense here as their actions dictated otherwise.
We’ve never liked Monty’s Mom. We can’t be expected to be emotionally moved when she tries to warningly warn Monty that he needs to leave because she gave him up. Nope.
It was never a fully realized idea that Jaha is another A.L.I.E. automaton. From everything the series told me, I believed he had some sort of filter between his true self and the AI and was only given such a buffer because he was batshit crazy enough to actually believe in this stuff. But when you take the character so far as to want to take away all of the free will of his people, I’m off the train. Jaha simply has to be an automaton at this point because we’ve seen nothing that suggests the character would submit the souls of everyone he knows for a shiny image of a city. The progression wasn’t there.
Raven’s torture should have had zero effect on Abby and Jasper’s plan to get to the bracelet. If A.L.I.E. is so hellbent on obtaining control of Raven, I get her focus to this area but that should’ve allowed Jasper the time to collect the bracelet. Plus, why wouldn’t A.L.I.E. just get Jasper first, since he could very well be the undoing of her entire plot to control Raven? I believe this is more of a directorial thing as the scenes where Raven was tortured with her past pains and the one where Jasper finally comes across the bracelet aren’t cut together like they should have been, thusly negating all tension they could wring from the situation.
Here’s my theory after a string of questionable episodes this season:
Maybe The 100 is better when they’re just trying to keep the wheels on? I’m not saying all the great character work and surprises were haphazardly thrown together in previous seasons. I’m saying the show was better when it had nothing to lose. Now there’s an expectation. With this, moves and decisions are provoked that haven’t come from the same headspace as it once did. That’s fine. Shows blow up in the popular conscience and evolve as a result all the time. The 100 is simply not handling what it’s become with much aplomb. And stories like Ricky Whittle’s bullying claims by that of showrunner and creator, Jason Rothenberg, also give me pause when trying to defend the show’s choices. Of course, this could all be untrue but Whittle speaking out against a show (although he does say to still support it because of its diversity and the cast he loves) with an ardent fan base and a general lack of a good response from Rothenberg makes me question the writers’ room all the more. Now, I do think The 100 is a show where the fans love the characters themselves more than the story so I can see questionable decisions like these actually coming back to hurt the show rather than strengthening its defenders.
Maybe success was the worst thing to happen to The 100?
I’m still on board but I’m now extremely cautious each time the show leaves me feeling like it’s about to move on, instead choosing to run more circles around itself.
“You’re dead to me.” – Octavia
*In all seriousness, that bit was kind of fun but it couldn’t have really happened. I mean, I know it did. The show isn’t pulling a fantasy sequence on us but nothing about what happened in Polis in “Fallen” rang true and Murphy is the only character we have connection with and he so clearly wants something like this to happen to him that it’s all I have to go on.
Check out my reviews of previous episodes of ‘The 100’ here: