The 100: I Am Become Death

Clarke (quoting Oppenheimer): “I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”

And the world just keeps on spinning.

Nuclear war created the mess that is the Ark and the world that the 100 now inhabit. They repeat history as they fight the Grounders to survive. The symbolism of the mushroom cloud was a bit heavy handed but the idea that we keep repeating our mistakes is important to this series. Some of its most interesting bits are about characters attempting to move away from the belief that we must kill or be killed and/or that we must do what is necessary to survive despite the cost. These are pretty heavy philosophical discussions to embed in what looks like a teenage drama. Is it any wonder that the show has its ups and downs as it tries to find its legs?

The 100 have managed to establish themselves quite well considering they are a group of misfit teens but they are now under considerable threat. They have no idea what is happening 'above' as communication has ceased. The Grounders are preparing for war and are considerably smarter and better prepared than our camp. Sending Murphy back as the modern version of a smallpox infected blanket was genius, and Raven and some scavenged jet fuel are the only things that save the day - for now. They've lost 14 people and are hanging on by their fingernails. What I particularly like about this show is that in the middle of all this we still have teenagers being teenagers.

Jasper is the typical, posturing football hero using his stories of glory to pump himself up and be 'the popular guy'. He gets a swelled head and disrespects his friend Monty. I've seen this same bit in things like 90210 or Dawson's Creek. Ditto for the teen love triangle as Raven looks longingly at Finn staring at Clarke. But then we switch gears and have Clarke and Bellamy discussing the difficulties of leadership, whether it is better to kill Murphy or keep him around as another soldier. And Murphy is a whole other element. We know he is bad news but it looks like he is trying to redeem himself until he kills Connor in cold blood.

This all makes for some interesting but sometimes uneven viewing. The whole crash of the drop ship was swept aside even though Clarke believed her mother was a passenger. Sometimes the teen drama bits are annoying. Finn carrying both Raven and Clarke in his arms was probably supposed to be swoon worthy but I'm with others that I just find angst ridden, peacemaker Finn a bit much. The whole piece with the jet fuel confused me. You need a space suit to collect it but then you bring it back to camp and put it in a mason jar? Not to mention that everyone's lives are depending on shooting this bomb but you don't make sure that you have enough rounds to hit the darned thing? So I applaud the writers for trying to deal with some big issues in a sometimes cliched vehicle, but they still need to work out some kinks.


Bellamy sounds like a commander but I'm not sure he has any real troops. And where did he learn such things? Video games maybe?

May I just say that I love Monty. A good friend who saved everyone's asses.

There are a lot more 'Grounders' around. Lincoln talks about going east across the sea to another clan. If they are in Virginia is he talking about the Atlantic Ocean? Exactly how would that happen?

We also hear about the Mountain Men. The Earth is definitely not the unpopulated world that the Ark assumed.


Jasper: “Pure animal instinct took over.”
Olivia: “Pure animal instinct? More like pure pants-wetting panic.”

Jasper: “Go float yourself, Monty.”

Bellamy: “That bridge has survived a nuclear war and 97 years of weather.”
Raven: “It won’t survive me.”

Raven: “Please don’t let me blow up.”

Bellamy: “The men who built the A-bomb thought they were peacemakers too. How’d that work out for them?”

Jasper: “Oh, we’re running toward the war drums. I hate this plan.”

Murphy: “Bygones.”


Mark Greig said...

Maybe the sea Lincoln is talking about is Chesapeake Bay, which the Grounders might consider a large enough body of water to be classed as a sea.

Billie Doux said...

Excellent review, Doc. You're absolutely right that there is so much intriguing heavy stuff about this series, and yet they're not quite pulling it off completely. I also thought the dangerous exploding fuel didn't make sense. A little bit makes a big boom, and a huge amount in a mason jar?

It's interesting that we got *nothing* about what's going on in the Ark. And we have no idea whether or not Abby was vaporized with Diana's people. Did they bring in Kate Vernon for such a short-lived role?

Jess Lynde said...

I agree that this show is definitely a weird blend of thought-provoking, post-apocalyptic dilemmas and typical teen drama. It’s also a weird blend of The Walking Dead on the ground --- complete with logistics and elements you really shouldn’t think about too hard! --- and Battlestar Galactica up above. But I think they are doing a pretty good job overall of keeping the annoying teenage stuff to a minimum.

And the triangle stuff has actually been handled with a reasonable level of maturity from the ladies. No cat-fighting or “He’s mine, you bitch!” nonsense. I’ve been really pleased that Raven and Clarke have continued on friendly (if slightly awkward) terms. And I was super pleased that Raven was allowed to gradually come to the point where she could break it off with Finn, in a way that recognized her own worth and needs. “Not the way I want to be loved.” It was a good breakup scene. I’m hopeful we don’t slide into Raven and Clarke having issues with each other.

I’m definitely enjoying the series more and more --- what the hell is the situation on Ark now?! --- and am going to be bummed when I get to the end of Season 1 and then have to wait for S2 to show up on Netflix. Erg.

Billie Doux said...

Jess, I'm only halfway through season two (I'm not getting ahead of the reviews) and as some of our readers have already posted, it keeps getting better.