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Recap: THE 100 Has Its Own “Gone Girl”

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Episode 301 “Wanheda: Part One”
Written by Jason Rothenberg, directed by Dean White

“We’ve been fighting for our lives since the moment we landed.” An eleven-word summary of the first two seasons of The 100 is delivered not by Eliza Taylor as usual, but this time by Bob Morley’s Bellamy, which gives you a pretty good idea of where this episode goes, character-wise. The prerequisite recap includes the 100’s arrival way back in episode one, the massacre at Mount Weather, Jaha and Murphy’s Crazy Adventure, and Clarke’s heartbreaking goodbye to Bellamy from the season 2 finale right before she goes AWOL. All you really need to know about this show going in is that Bellamy is dad to like fifty kids, everyone is severely damaged, and Clarke Griffin is the Buffy Summers of our generation.

Now hold on to your hats, viewers, because Season 3 opens up with a bang.

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We start off the episode where we left Murphy last season, in a tastefully decorated bunker with a disturbing video playing of its previous occupants. After finding the gun that one of the men from the video used to commit suicide, what follows is a frankly awe-inspiring performance by Richard Harmon as we follow Murphy’s captivity over the three-month time jump. And it’s not just a montage that should be shown in acting classes for the next decade; we also learn more about A.L.I.E., the mysterious AI that Jaha discovered at the end of S2 (Short version: she was created by a woman named Becca, stole her image, then nuked the planet. You know, basic stuff).

Richard Harmon as John Murphy (The CW)
Richard Harmon as John Murphy (Cate Cameron/The CW)

86 days go by and it seems our Dear John has reached the end of his rope. He leaves a video suicide note, including one final FU to Jaha, but after a tense moment in which I prepare myself to say goodbye to Murphy forever, he throws the gun down and chooses to live instead. A really, really good call, for just seconds after he does, the sealed door to the bunker unlocks.

And so John Murphy sees sunlight for the first time in three months, and follows a drone straight into the foyer of Jaha and A.L.I.E.’s fancy digs. Before he can give Jaha a beating that he totally deserves, Murphy passes out from exhaustion and gets carried princess-style into the lion’s den before the opening credits roll.

Back in Arkadia (fka Camp Jaha, changed for obvious reasons), Bellamy and Lincoln are engaged in a shirtless combat demonstration for their friends/trainees (Oh, The 100 writers, never change). It ends with Bellamy getting floored by his sister’s boyfriend, and gracefully accepting defeat by giving Lincoln his own Ark guard uniform. In his most inspiring Dad speech since Season One, Bellamy tells his friends that they decide what to make of their new home, and only them.

Bellamy then puts on the guard jacket that he’s wanted since before the start of the show, and goes to Kane for permission to arm his scouting party for the ominous Sector 7. Kane agrees, on the condition of non-violence. “Our people think this is real peace. Try not to screw that up.” he tells Bellamy. That’s our Vice Chancellor, alright. Always looking on the bright side. Bellamy then squads up, including Miller, Raven, Monty, and the hot mess that was once called Jasper.

Full disclosure: I’ve never cared for Jasper. I never found him particularly interesting or relatable, and suffered through his Season 2 story arc only because it was important and Monty was in it. However, now sporting a new haircut, alcoholism, and some earned PTSD, Jasper has become mildly entertaining to watch, though not enough for me to be truly invested in him.

You know who is interesting? Bellamy’s new girlfriend whose name I don’t know. She’s funny, thoughtful, and seems to have been dating Bellamy long enough to know my favorite aspect of his character, which is that he’s low-key a humongous nerd. I already want to see more of her, and already know she is probably going to die.

Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia Blake (Cate Cameron/The CW)
Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia Blake (Cate Cameron/The CW)

With Raven at the wheel and Octavia on horseback, the new heroes of Arkadia start their scouting adventure (with the added tiny sucker-punch of Finn’s necklace on Raven’s rear view mirror. I both love and detest this show). The road trip is DJ’d by a still-buzzed Jasper, and for a couple of minutes you’re reminded that this is a group of kids with way too much responsibility heaped on them. Right in the middle of their jam, they pick up a signal from a lost part of the Ark, which just happened to be the home of Monty, and Miller’s boyfriend (!! Yes!! All I wanted was more backstory about Miller!! Prayer works!!)

Bellamy, in true Bellamy fashion, decides to “screw protocol” and not consult Abby before following the beacon into the spooky-ominous Ice Nation territory. As expected, everything goes spectacularly wrong. The beacon is not fellow Arkers, because of course it’s not, but instead three Ice Nation warriors. They accuse our heroes of looking for a mysterious “Wanheda”, Jasper gets his white ass captured and nearly killed (although that prospect, disturbingly, delights him), and the kids break the peace by shooting two Canadians and sword-chucking a third. Before they can take a breath, Kane radios the rover and tells them to meet him in Sector 4. The Scooby Gang then splits up; Bellamy and Monty to meet Kane, and the rest to take Jasper back for medical attention.

Update: I still do not care about Jasper.

Back in the mansion that the apocalypse built, Murphy wakes up from a well-earned nap to discover a meditating (or tripping) Thelonius. It’s there he encounters A.L.I.E. for the first time, and instantly sees right through her, and now I’m REALLY glad Murphy didn’t kill himself twenty minutes ago. An enlightening confrontation proves Jaha is just as nutter-butters as the last time we saw him. Boy, was that name change a good call by Kane and Abby. When Murphy (correctly) points out that Jaha’s new holo-buddy is the one who ended the world in the first place, Crazy Jaha responds “She didn’t end the world. She saved it.” Again, shout out to Kabby for not naming your new civilization after a lunatic.

Bellamy and Monty venture out to find Kane — and Indra!! Indra’s back, everyone! While I celebrate in my head, Monty points out that he and Indra have never actually met, something that I forgot about, but the writers did not. I love this show. But of course, as always, Indra is here to tell everyone bad news. “It’s about Clarke,” Kane says, and the subject of Bellamy’s best friend and Monty’s mom changes the mood dramatically. “She’s being hunted,” warns Indra, “by everyone.”

It is important to note that at this point, we have not actually seen Clarke. The fact that this doesn’t bother me despite her being my favorite character in all of television history speaks a lot to the power of this cast. No matter what’s on the screen, it’s always interesting.

Turns out, Clarke has pulled a Gone Girl, undergoing a drastic dye job and living in the woods to fight panthers (full disclosure: I have never seen Gone Girl). After coming out (mostly) unscathed from her big cat fight, she drags her kill to a trading post that she apparently frequents, run by a girl who’s noticed that this mysterious redhead has some secrets that don’t quite add up. Clarke too, is intrigued by the metal cuff on this girl’s wrist, but more on that later.

Eliza Taylor as Clarke Griffin (Cate Cameron/The CW)
Eliza Taylor as Clarke Griffin (Cate Cameron/The CW)

Octavia and Crew arrive back at Arkadia with the injured Jasper in tow. Our fearless Chancellor, the undervalued Abby Griffin, clearly overworked and stressed about her missing daughter, asks Raven about her before realizing that the injured mechanic can’t get down from her horse and I am sad. Real talk, though: Abby and Raven’s relationship is one I’ve always loved. Raven’s lack of a mother figure paired with Abby’s current lack of a daughter, however, leads to some overbearing on Abby’s part, which Raven does not appreciate.

Back to the rover gang. Indra, who doesn’t seem to like cars, reveals that the “Wanheda” the Ice Nation was looking for is Clarke, who is now known as “The Commander of Death”, and has a bounty on her head. I have to take a brief moment here to throwback to Season One, where Clarke quotes Oppenheimer. “I am become death, destroyer of worlds,” she says, and now I truly know what foreshadowing means. Clarke has now, quite literally, become death. Kudos to The 100 writers as usual; they had this one burning a hole in their pocket for two whole years.

We learn that the Ice Nation commander wants to kill Clarke to absorb her power, and in doing so become master of death. What the Ice Nation commander doesn’t know is that Clarke doesn’t want to command death; Clarke wants to hook up with this trading post girl. And, after the girl throws two Grounder bounty hunters off her trail, she does. To no surprise, she knew Clarke was Wanheda the whole time, but was generous with her because the Mountain Men killed her mother, and Clarke killed the Mountain Men. They go on to share what is definitely the hottest sex scene in the show thus far, beating out Raven and Wick’s lab hook-up by a country mile, and giving me faith in cable television.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Griffin/Doctor Abby consults Lincoln on grounder subjects, something that rubs Octavia the wrong way. She also summons Raven to lecture her on hiding the latest in her ever-growing string of injuries and injustices. Honestly, at this point I am in Chris Crocker levels of hysteria, and I am literally begging the writers to just LEAVE RAVEN ALONE! PLEASE! SHE’S A HUMAN! But, as Raven lashes points out, Abby, in her grief, has been pulling herself in too many different directions since Clarke left, and Arkadia is suffering because of it. “Fix yourself, Abby,” she says, and it’s kind of good advice for the woman who tries to fix everyone else.

Ricky Whittle as Lincoln and Marie Avgeropoulos s Octavia Blake (Cate Cameron/The CW)
Ricky Whittle as Lincoln and Marie Avgeropoulos s Octavia Blake (Cate Cameron/The CW)

Out at the stables, Octavia confronts Lincoln about losing his roots. Now that he wears an Ark uniform and works for the Chancellor, she feels he’s no longer the Grounder she fell in love with, but a pawn being used to prove that Grounders and Arkers can live together in peace. Lincoln says that’s exactly what it proves, and I love Lincoln so much. He’s no longer just Octavia’s love interest, he’s a fully developed character in his own right and he’s fighting for unity and peace harder than anyone on the show. That’s now how Octavia sees it, however.

Back on Mansion Island, Murphy is getting ready to pack up and go before he’s confronted by Jaha and friend. Jaha, who’s also on his way out, apologizes to Murphy for imprisoning him and puts some weird crystal drug in his pocket that will apparently show him the City of Light. “No pain, no hate, no envy,” promises Jaha, but Murphy starkly refuses. In what might be his best line yet, he states clearly: “Pain, hate, envy? Those are the ABCs of me. Get rid of them and there’s nothing left.” The greatest thing about Murphy is not that he’s a jerk, but a self-aware jerk. But of course, at the last minute, he is convinced to join them by the appearance of Memori, his hiking buddy from last season. So Murphy, Memori, Jaha, Jaha’s hallucination of A.L.I.E., and some other people venture off into the monster lake.

As the episode closes out:

  • Raven and Abby kind of make up
  • Lincoln forgoes sleeping in his Arkadia quarters in order to snuggle with Octavia out in the stables
  • Jasper walks into the Arkadia trading post where they sell the remains of Mt. Weather and attacks guest/pop star Shawn Mendes as he performs the same song Jasper was listening to earlier in the rover, calling them all grave robbers for selling the possessions of his former friends. While he is technically right, Shawn Mendes didn’t do anything to deserve this. “Stitches” is a good song.
  • Clarke wakes up from a nightmare next to her lover and leaves in the dead of night, only to be ambushed by the bounty hunters from earlier who did not believe her girlfriend as much as we thought (I’m just saying, they would have believed Lexa. She was a way better liar.)
  • Bellamonty and Co. fall into a trap in the forest. By who? Looks like we’ll have to watch “Wanheda, pt. 2” to find out.

Whew. That was quite a trip. In true 100 fashion, I was awestruck, engaged, and slightly terrified at all times, which strangely soothed me. I was worried at the end of last season, as many were, that the show was going to take a stark left turn with the drastic plot change. And, like so many other shows that go down that path, lose itself in the process (looking right at you, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). But it didn’t. Even though its main character was in all of five minutes of the episode, The 100 still played into all of its core strengths. High-stakes writing, a stellar ensemble cast, and the subtle world building were all still present, so I was able to enjoy all the changes and natural evolution of the plot without feeling like I was watching an entirely different show.  Which is good, because I don’t want to watch a different show. I want to watch The 100. And I did. And it was fantastic.

 

The 100 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.

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