Review: The 100 ‘Wanheda: Part 1’ – Setting the Pieces

The CW’s The 100 returned this Thursday evening after a long hiatus, finally giving viewers some answers to the questions left hanging after Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Bellamy’s (Bob Morley) genocidal act which saved their people and brought an unsteady truce with the Grounders.

Ultimately, we were treated with more of what The 100 has given to us in the past, only to be a little let down with the obvious fact that it’s resetting pieces in order to hopefully kick them all over a cliff after kissing them on the lips.

Three months after the Mt. Weather incident, former members of the Ark are gardening, kids are playing soccer, contraceptive implants are being removed and people are generally enjoying life on earth. This is where we find our friends in the newly dubbed camp, “Arkadia”.

Bellamy and Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) have seemingly taken up the mantle of leading the non-adult troops and training them in the physical ways of the Grounders. Not shying away from the eye candy the show is wont to provide, we get a glimpse of Bellamy and Lincoln shirtlessly and brutally sparring. This friendship seems easy now but it is sure to be a lulling technique that I won’t trust for long.

Gearing up for a routine scout mission, they round up their crew which includes a drunken, apathetic Jasper (Devon Bostick), a now fully Grounded Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), Monty (Christopher Larkin) and Raven (Lindsey Morgan). On this scout, they receive a distress signal from what seems to be another piece of the Ark fallen to Earth– Farm Station. Bellamy makes the call to check out the signal without notifying the Chancellor because it’s Marty’s home station and the station from which Nathan’s (Jarod Joseph) boyfriend is from (the first sign this season that this show is indeed The 100 that we all know and love — a character is gay, no big deal). Instead of finding more Sky Folk, they are greeted by a team of Grounders from Ice Nation who have taken Farm Station’s homing beacon as a souvenir for reasons unknown. Octavia tries to deescalate the situation as the Grounder leader asks for the location of a certain “Wanheda” but an off-his-rocker Jasper gets himself in trouble, forcing a firefight which leaves the Grounders killed or incapacitated. So much for that uneasy truce…

Meanwhile, our friend Clarke is setting up panther traps with sweet innocent bunnies and jumping out of trees with a huge knife. Clarke has been surviving off these trappings and killings, taking her goods to a local Grounder trading post. Now sporting long red locks and an incessantly muddy countenance, she trades her goods with the woman at the outpost, Niylah, and their flirtatious manner isn’t subtext (in CW shows, even downtrodden outpost clerks are stunning human specimens). Soon, a member of the Grounder Ice Nation enters carrying a makeshift wanted poster depicting the Wanheda — Clarke.

The Ice Nation Grounder is sent away and the outpost woman tends to Clarke’s wounds, telling her that Waneda means “Commander of Death”. The Grounders look at Clarke as both a savior and another thing to conquer. Many Grounders believe that they can attain the powers of whatever they kill and “Commander of Death” is a pretty savory title to ingest. Clarke shifts the power back into her court as she reverses on Niylah and kisses her. Clarke and Niylah make love leaving the audience to question what Clarke is really trying to achieve with this act. Clarke is a woman who hates being out of control, but is also known to make some notable mistakes in learning her boundaries.

Soon, this mistake is personified when Clarke leaves Niylah sleeping in bed in the outpost and she is greeted outside by the Ice Nation Grounder as he places a knife against her throat.

Picking back up from where we left our Destiny-driven Jaha (Isaiah Washington) and notorious nihilist Murphy (Richard Harmon), things hang in a similarly precarious balance. Murphy ends up trapped in that strange luxury obelisk for nearly 90 days where he is forced (but seemingly just chooses to) watch that horrific home movie over and over again which details where our friendly (?) AI friend, A.L.I.E., came from and possibly how the earth was scorched over a hundred years ago. Finally let loose from this prison and on the edge of suicide, Murphy is able to make his way to the mansion where Jaha is now content with his new computer friend and disfigured servant-person, Gideon. Jaha is seen meditating where he claims that he is able to visit the City of Light and tries to persuade Murphy to ingest a strange disc so he can see it in all its glory as well. Murphy being Murphy, he isn’t about to follow Jaha on more pipe dream delusions, even in this particular one seemed to come to some sort of fruition.

It seems that Jaha was able to help the AI unlock the secrets in creating a sustainable energy source from the nuclear warhead. As Jaha is about to catch a boat to head back to the “mainland”, Murphy insists he’s done with this search. It isn’t until he sees the traitorous woman with the disfigured hand he befriended, Emori, (and who thusly gave them the clue essential to getting Jaha and Murphy to this point) captaining the boat. He’s back on board… for now.

The only moment that took me out of this particular episode comes toward the end when we get an unnecessary cameo from singer Shawn Mendes where he plays the piano and sings a poignant song over a montage of our heroes traveling to their next destinations. For a show that has come to redefine what it means to be a “CW show”, this struck a little too close to the dark past when many shows would end with this “hip” moment. The 100 resorting back to its most juvenile material since the pilot isn’t something I enjoy but will take with a grain of salt that we either get more of Mendes’ character, or this sort of thing is just a one-off.

This being the first entry of a two-part pilot, it leaned heavily on set up and exposition with very many questions left dangling which will certainly either be solved next week or throughout the course of the season. Bellamy has a new girlfriend. Lincoln and Octavia share a troubled Romeo and Juliet relationship, Monty deals with his best friend’s instability. Intra-Grounder politics and territories come to light. Clarke is no doubt thinking about Lexa. Kane (Henry Ian Cusick)and Abigail (Paige Turco) handle being effectively second-in-command to these kids who are no longer really kids and must come to terms with their own relationship.

There’s no reason to not look forward to more socially poignant, feminist, delicious storytelling yet to come. I can’t wait to have my heart ripped out again and again.

“The outside world means nothing. In the City of Light, we’re all kings.” – Jaha

 

Curtis Waugh
Curtis Waugh
Curtis is a Los Angeles transplant from a long lost land called Ohio. He aspires to transmute his experiences growing up a Monster Kid into something that will horrify normal people around the world. When he isn't bemoaning the loss of the latest Guillermo del Toro project, Curtis can be found every Thursday night at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, awaiting the next Dwayne Johnson movie.

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