The 100: Murphy's Law

While the series is still struggling to find the right balance between character, story and tone, this episode brought up some interesting moral issues, character depth, and some minor world-building on the Ark.

Above

Abby and Kane are both still not coalescing for me as characters, since they are only a few tiny steps away from caricatures of cookie cutter archetypes. Kane is almost mustache twirling in his need to kill someone (usually Abby) in every episode. And Abby cannot possibly hold a position of power when her every action is to buck against the system she is an important part of.

The things that are starting to stand out for me on the Ark are the elements of a criminal underground (namely Nygel), and the signs of a new kind of religion, which is apparently led by Kane's mother. For the most part though, I'm finding the stuff on the Ark to be my least favorite part of the show. Thankfully one of my early favorite characters (Raven), is getting away from the Ark. Perhaps her presence below will solidify the dynamic there.

Below

Charlotte was probably the most important character in this episode, even though she was basically just a walking plot focus. Everything in this episode hinged on her actions from the last, killing Wells with Murphy's knife and cutting off a couple of fingers in the process. Even though what she did was monstrous, it wasn't all that surprising.

She was given a pretty significant amount of character definition in the short time she was on screen, and it was very clear she was an emotionally disturbed, traumatized, and scared little girl. She should've been in a new foster home with people trying their damnedest to make a better life for her. Instead, because of the backwards laws on the Ark, she was shoved into a prison cell, than plopped down on Earth with literally nothing and no one to care for her.

So when Bellamy showed an interest in her, it was totally logical that she would follow his guidance in a literal way. It wasn't Bellamy's fault, he was only trying to do the right thing by her. Actually, Bellamy's actions towards Charlotte and the way he accepted Clarke as a co-leader of the group has made me like him, a little bit at least.

Clarke is already an interesting character, but her reactions in this episode were even more so. She put herself in harm's way for Charlotte multiple times when it would've been both easier and expected for her to lash out or give up on the girl. Wells and Clarke had a complicated relationship, and I doubt she had time to fully process out her hatred of him, after the revelation that he wasn't the one that gave up her father.

So with all that swimming through her head -- grief, confusion, and anger -- she still managed to make the right choices. It might have been insensitive to explain so bluntly that Charlotte wasn't forgiven. But it would've been totally unbelievable for Clarke to simply forgive her under the circumstances. It was a harsh bit of reality too. This was a situation (murder) that had to come around sooner or later, and the way it resolved was both horrible and a bit too neat. Still, it was a brave writing choice to have Charlotte commit suicide, and it was an even harder scene to watch.

I haven't really talked about Murphy yet, and that is because he is kind of a nothing character for me. He really only serves one purpose, to cause conflict. Bellamy and Clarke were right to banish him, although I wonder what kind of consequences that will bring. I strongly doubt Murphy is just going to sit around and mope; he is angry and has shown himself to be vindictive. So either he will cause trouble, or this banishment will give him perspective and he might try to redeem himself.

Bits:

The small details about Wells and Clarke's history were a nice touch. He would have been a nice character to have around long term, kind, smart, self-sacrificing. Ah well.

It seems like most of the 100 are dark haired, which makes blonde Clarke stand out.

There was a small visual bit of foreshadowing. When Finn and Clarke were leading Charlotte out of the camp, they passed through the graveyard.

Another Lost reference, this time a hatch. Though I somehow doubt this hatch will be as troublesome as the one on Lost.

So the Ark's religion has to do with a group of people called 'The Grounders'. That probably explains why the 100 are calling the natives that.

That cliff seems like an suitable place to execute people, no body to bury. A bit cruel perhaps, but kind of beautiful in a macabre sort of way.

Clarke and Finn's romantic sexy time feels like it has come too soon. Pushed by the plot to force a love triangle once Raven arrives on the ground.

Raven: "I need a pressure regulator."
Nygel: "What for?"
Raven: "Regulating pressure."

So far, I think this was the strongest episode. No rating yet for me, but the series feels like it's on an upwards quality arc.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and cool new movies that strike his fancy.

3 comments:

Lamounier said...

the way he accepted Clarke as a co-leader of the group has made me like him

Aw, Clarke and Bellamy as co-leaders. I love it! And it’s freaking earned. I like how they start respecting each other’s point of view, instead of dismissing it.

Well’s murder and Charlotte’s suicide are the first events that push this series into darker territory. They made me a little uncomfortable at first because they came off to me as dark events for darkness sake. Looking back, it does make sense with the overall theme of the show that there is no easy life and there will be no easy choices for these kids on Earth.

Great review, J.D., this was indeed the strongest episode so far.

Laure Mack said...

So much about this episode felt forced to me that it left too bad a taste in my mouth for me to enjoy the good parts as much as you did.

Clarke and Finn jumping into bed (like you pointed out), Charlotte conveniently killing herself so that our main characters didn't have to take any long-term action, even the Clarke and Bellamy co-leadership seemed to come out of nowhere since they've done nothing but undermine each other until now. Eh, maybe I'm just being too critical for a show that just starting out?

Loved reading your review, JD!

Billie Doux said...

I like Bellamy more now, too. Maybe he saw a bit of himself in Charlotte.