When The 100 first started I was skeptical, very skeptical. It was the one show that could potential dethrone and result in the cancellation of one of my favorite new shows and it did (I will miss The Tomorrow People dearly). The issue was that this was a post apocalyptic story centering around kids being sent to Earth. These weren’t good kids, but criminals of all sorts. While The 100 definitely did have a rough start, it did smooth out into a consistently good show.
I have no explanations as to why the show was so rough in the beginning. In many ways I think it has a lot to do with how the show came out of the gate running, but still had a number of things that the audience had to suspend their disbelief for. It didn’t help that the acting i the first few episodes was spectacularly bad as a chunk of the cast had to learn how to play their characters. the heavy exposition to explain what was going on in the beginning was also frustrating. Aside from exposition and weak acting, the biggest issue with the early part of the season was the disposable events. Many of the events early in the season felt more like the creators testing the waters with how far they could go when it came to shock factor. I’m glad they did plant these moments early on, making it clear that being on the ground was dangerous, but it also felt like they wanted to take back situations. The biggest glaring issues I have with the early episodes was the early loss of Wells who had a slight impact on the next episode, but should have been a bigger loss than his death was. The only one who seemed to care or remember was his father. The other big issue was Jasper. He had an arrow shot through his chest, yet he survived. I’ll go along with it because he is an interesting character, but my suspension of disbelief was stretched thin with that one.
As I’ve started to mention there are a number of interesting characters. Clarke may not have been the most compelling in her story which mostly felt like angsty teenage justice fighting combined with betrayal. Clarke makes sense some sense as a leader, but she certainly isn’t one of the more interesting characters. The other leader, Bellamy is interesting. Other than his complex beginnings as a stowaway who shot Jaha, he is a leader. He is determined to protect his people at any costs. That is what Bellamy is, a protector. Watching him fight to protect his sister, his people, the people he is starting to see as friends is an interesting struggle. Early on I was very upset that Wells was killed off. From his introduction he was an enthralling character who was willing to get dirty and fight rough for what he thought was right. Thus when he was unceremoniously killed of by a young girl who was too old to misinterpret Bellamy’s words in the way she did, I thought it was a great loss of a character. However, as the season went on, we saw Finn mold into the character that Bellamy once was. All of a sudden, Finn was standing up for what was right and butting heads with everyone in the process. So in many ways we didn’t lose that character type as they took the rather blank slate Finn and made him more compelling.
Teenage Love Story
It wouldn’t really be a CW show if there were no signs of a budding relationship. In fact, I don’t think many shows can do that successfully because forming relationships is second nature to people. However, It was frustrating when they sent Raven down to Earth for the dreaded love triangle between her, Clarke, and Finn. It was painful at times, but ultimately, it was very well played. Rather than dwelling on the tension of the two women loving the same guy, Clarke reacted by backing off and getting angry at Finn. It was a great initial reaction. There were some dragging bits, particularly when Finn constantly shared longing glances with Clarke as Raven sat nearby. Before the season ended, Raven and Finn called it off paving they way for Finn and Clarke. More importantly though is we saw that Clarke isn’t just a guy obsessed person. The bonding between Clarke and Raven was tense, but it was clear that they respect each other.
We Are Grounders
From very early on we learned that the 100 were going to go up against the grounders. People who had descended from people who some how managed to survive the nuclear radiation. I’m not entirely sure how these people managed to survive considering that there were deer with double heads. Regardless of how they managed to make it the grounders were present and dangerous. For a time they were unseen forces who were present only in the trees attacking whenever the 100 got to close. Then we met Lincoln. Well, we didn’t know his name at first, but he was our first really good look at the grounders. They spoke English and were borderline feral, but they felt threatened. Numerous things the 100 had done had devastated grounder camps and they saw it was war. The result was the 100, a group of delinquent children, having to figure out how to fight a war on turf that could be barely considered their own. The result was a great battle and we learned more about how the grounders fought. There was no denying that the grounders were dangerous and it was exciting to see how the 100 were going to manage to cope against an organized force. The result was using their smarts, luring the even more dangerous reapers to attack the grounders, and their tech to burn any of the grounders trying to get to the 100 and kill them.
Unfortunately, there was another group other than the grounders and the reapers that was even more feared. The Mountain Men. While the name sounds potentially more primitive than the grounders who we knew had order, even if it was chaotic and violent, they were the most sophisticated. The Mountain Men stormed in with smoke bombs, laser sights, and guns that actually worked consistently. They also seemed to inhabit some sort of military situation in which they had a quarantine zone where they locked up all of their captives.
EnvironmentEarly in the season it was made very clear that the 100 were going to need to contend with surviving their environment. I mean there were monster fish in the water and deer with split faces. Not only that, but it seems that on occassion there is a deadly mist that sweeps over the land. Certainly these are things that the 100 could learn to deal with and adapt. I’m certain that’s exactly what happened considering the killer mist that killed one of their own never returned to take any casualties, but it’d be nice to know. This is an Earth that hasn’t been lived on by the 100 for a very long time. Things have changed and mutated because of the nuclear war. It would be nice if we saw the environment be the same threat that it was initially touted as.
What comes next
We know that The 100 will be returning in the fall for it’s second season. I’m actually excited to see what will happen next with it. There are a number of character’s whose fates are on the line because of what seemed like their apparent deaths. Bellamy and Finn could very well be burnt skeletons or they could have managed to get out of range in time. There was a decent amount of time for them to run if they did between the time the doors closed and the explosion. There’s also Raven who was passed out and clinging to life when the Mountain Men arrived. Considering that Clarke appeared to be fixed up when she woke in her white room there’s a good chance that Raven could be patched up as well.
I’m looking forward to see what is going on with the Mountain Men. It will be interesting to find out if they are good guys or bad guys. I’ll be happy if we discover that the Mountain Men really are a cache of surviving military personnel who know about the Ark, but were unable to establish communication. I’d rather see us make friends with the Mountain Men, even if they may be a bit dangerous and face an even more dangerous villain in a new face we’ve yet to see.
I’ve already mentioned that I’m hoping that the environment becomes a much bigger threat. In our current world, nature is still one of the biggest threats to disrupt every day life and it is not judgmental. Nature will take out anyone and everyone that gets in its way. With a world that has been altered due to nuclear war it would be interesting to see them go against nature as the enemy at least for a little bit. Not to mention what other creatures could have mutated to be dangerous to human kind.
With any luck, we will see the characters developed even more as we learn more about the disparate groups. This includes all the people that just landed in the Ark that will likely want to oppress the 100 who essentially scouted the land before them. Sure, Jaha may have pardoned many of them, but with Jaha dying in the Ark people may disregard his rules as they try to re-establish their civilization as they know it on grounds that are unfamiliar to them. Actually I didn’t mention the Ark much in this review, but there were a number of flashbacks to the Ark and storylines, that worked particularly well. Though some did fill like fillers. With the adults no longer separated by space, hopefully their role will feel less irrelevant or side story like.
One of the biggest things I’m hoping for with The 100 is the continuation of a short season. One of the reasons The 100 had such and impact and felt so urgent was because the characters didn’t have time to go off on unnecessary tangents. The 13 episode season forced the show to remain focused and I hope that it remains a 13 episode season for it’s second. It would be awful to see the story watered down by inconsequential storylines just because it had to fill the additional time.
Check out the season 1 gallery here. What did you think of the first season of The 100?