by Billie Doux
So we have this situation: The dregs of humanity trapped on a space station with an oppressive government and dwindling resources, and the glorious, surreally green Earth, where you can tell right away that things aren't as lovely as they seem.
Ninety-seven years ago (why not an even hundred?), there was a nuclear apocalypse and the remainder of humanity managed to take twelve existing space stations and make them into one: the Ark, which is quite Biblical of them. On the Ark, every transgression is punishable by death, unless you're under eighteen, in which case they put you in prison until you're eighteen and put you to death, or something. This time, the government of the Ark took one hundred of their juvenile delinquents, popped them into a capsule, and sent them down to Earth to take their chances.
The lead character on the Ark appears to be Dr. Abby Griffith (Paige Turco from Person of Interest). The big boss is the Chancellor (Isaiah Washington from ER); unfortunately, his second in command is the way obviously evil Kane (Henry Ian Cusick from Lost with a bad American accent) who seems to want to put a lot of people to death, including Abby, because life support will fail in three months.
Which brings me to one of my big problems with this pilot: there were no adults volunteering to go down to Earth with all those teenagers to at least tell them they should boil their water before drinking it. You'd think there would be, especially with the life support failing. (Okay, it's a secret, but still.) And the communication problems didn't make a lot of sense, either. You'd think for something as critically important as finding out what the conditions were on Earth that there would be just a little communication redundancy. Although then we couldn't have the plot-heavy life-monitoring bracelets that the juvenile delinquents on Earth immediately started to remove.
Is all of this unmonitored chaos on the planet intentional?
Quite honestly, as a sci-fi geek, I'm a lot more interested in life on the space station with the adults -- but the majority of this episode was about the teenagers having a Lord of the Flies party on Earth, man. Because you can't just have people wandering around trying to survive on roots and twigs, the 100 immediately had a goal: trekking to Mount Weather and picking up the hundreds of years of supplies that are waiting for them. Unfortunately, only five of the teenagers thought that was important enough to do. Wait until they start getting hungry. Why aren't they hungry already? Instead, they're wandering around the glow-in-the-dark forest and dancing in the rain. Yes, I get that teenagers think they're going to live forever and that they spent their entire lives trapped in a space station with a very Nazi government, but I still lost patience with them.
Clarke (Eliza Taylor) is the lead character in the Earth group. Eighteen and beautiful as well as an artist, she immediately established herself as a leader and a grown-up. Wells, the other grown-up, is the son of the Chancellor who appears to either love Clarke, or he just feels terribly guilty that his father executed Clarke's father.
There's Finn, who has "love interest for Clarke" written all over him. And then there's the angry Bellamy Blake and his annoying sister Octavia (apparently no one on the Ark was named Fred or Jane). Octavia immediately jumped into a lake for some cheesecake swimming, while we in the audience were very aware that there had to be something dangerous in that lake, which there was. I'll give them this: I liked that there was no close-up of the huge snake, because often when you can see the monster clearly, it loses its power to frighten.
I don't think we found out what year it was, but Jasper, the kid with the goggles, had a T-shirt with the logo 'Earth Day 2062'. He got a spear through the chest at the end of the episode, which reminded me of the very bad Star Trek episode 'Galileo Seven'. I wonder if we're about to get a bunch of primitive earth dwellers wearing ridiculous-looking skins around their waists?
Things moved fast in this pilot. The kids had been dumped on planet Earth before the credits had even stopped rolling. I think maybe they should have spent a little more time universe-building and character-establishing, because I found the teenage characters on Earth stuff exasperating, uninteresting, and way too predictable. But I'm told that this series gets very good, so I'm going to hang in there for awhile.
-- The creepy deer turning its face scene was used in promos so often that it had no impact.
-- Execution on the Ark is being "floated", dumped out of a very big airlock. You'd think they would use a smaller airlock, given the fact that life support is an issue.
-- Using the song "Radioactive" was almost a given. Welcome to the new age.
-- Two of the actors in this episode, Richard Harmon (John Murphy) and Terry Chen (Shumway) have continuing roles in one of my current favorite shows, Continuum. I also smiled when I saw Alessandro Juliani from Battlestar Galactica.
Two out of four snakes in a lake,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.