The 100 season 2 episode 4

Last time there was no sign of the chancellor guy who had made it to earth in the previous episode. This is rectified at the start of this episode with a visually interesting sequence where a figure walks across the desert and finds a parched and barely conscious chancellor under the remains of a parachute. There is a distinct Mad Max feel to the sequence which I am sure is deliberate. The figure turns out to be a young boy who takes the chancellor back to the hovel where he lives with his parents.

image
Max Max Lite.

It turns out the boy is badly disfigured by radiation. His parents had to leave left people as mutant children are usually left to die and they were not willing to kill their son.

One minor criticism. The woman playing the mutant’s mother spoke her dialog in a very “Stargate alien” way. Now, I’m a big fan of the Stargate shows, but the people they encountered on other worlds always spoke very formally, very “welcome stranger, I will take you to our village and introduce you to our elder,” sort of thing. It just sort of popped out at me when watching this episode and I wish she had spoken a little more naturally.

Then again the Earth-born characters in this show tend to have their own languages and dialects which is a nice detail and I think it is implied that English is a second language for a lot of the natives, so from that point of view this “formal speak” was probably done very deliberately.

Anyway it turns out the parents betray the chancellor to some “bad men” in order to escape punishment for helping him and also to get a horse to take them to a mysterious “city of lights”. The chancellor is fairly philosophical about being handed over as he knows they are doing it for their son who he has grown fond of.

image
Watching the “Bad Man” approach…

A nice touch, we see the chancellor handed over in the distance. He approaches the “bad man” on a horse who just swipes down with a club and the chancellor falls. It’s all done as point-of-view long shot with no sound effects and it is very effective.

But enough about the chancellor, what about Clarke and Anya? Well as promised Anya is taking a captive Clarke back to her people where they will no doubt be annoyed at having 300 warriors fried by Clarke. Soon the pair realise they are being chased by mountain men who fire tranquilliser darts at them. One hits a tree and Clarke grabs it. I’m sure that will come in handy later…

Clarke realises that Anya has a tracking device imbedded. As she’s working out how to remove it with some sort of sterile blade Anya just bites into her arm and spits out the device. Seems she’s not keen on going back to the mountain.

image
Clarke and Anya. Note where Anya has bitten a chunk out of her own arm!

Meanwhile Bellamy’s gang finds the crash site of another piece of the Ark. There are lots of bodies of former crew members scattered around the ground with the noise of flies buzzing around. They hear a cry for help and find a terrified girl dangling from a branch halfway down a vertical cliff. One of the gang wants to help get her up. Finn says they can’t waste the time and he tries to convince Bellamy of this. It’s a testament to how this show goes dark that Bellamy eventually agrees. But not waiting for permission the other dude goes down the cliff face with a rope to get her.

And then the knot slips and he falls to his death. Bellamy then decides to go down himself and gets the others to make a new rope. He goes down and there is predictably many tense cliffhanging (ha-ha) moments. To complicate things some Grounders attack as they are trying to pull Bellamy and the girl up.

A fog horn sounds and the Grounders run off. (Remember fog on this future Earth is deadly.) But it’s Octavia who sounded the fog horn to scare off the Grounders. Bellamy is understandably happy to see his sister. He decides to take Octavia and the injured girls back to the camp. Finn and Murphy are to keep looking for the others and Bellamy will catch up.

Back at the Ark crash site Mister Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica puts Raven to work on building a radio beacon to try to contact any other Ark survivors who made it to the ground. Eventually she hits on the idea of putting up a balloon as a visual beacon. There’s some other guff about how she is adapting to having a leg that doesn’t work correctly.

image
I told you Mister Gaeta was in it…

Elsewhere Clarke gets Anya with the tranquilliser dart she hid earlier. So now Clarke is leading the half-conscious Anya back to the old drop-ship camp site . Obviously there is no longer anyone there but she sees the message that Abby wrote on the drop-ship, albeit badly faded from exposure to the elements.

She and Anya fight. Anya just won’t give up so Clarke starts beating her to a pulp. Eventually Anya smiles groggily and says Clarke fought well.

Clarke sees the balloon Raven put up so now she knows how to get to the Ark crash site. Of course it also means that every Grounder for miles knows where it is too. Back at the Ark Raven gets a telling off for this. I actually kind of like this as it’s an example of a smart person doing a stupid thing because they are so focused on solving a problem that they don’t consider the implications.

image
Raven on crutches because of her bad leg. Doesn’t stop her doing mechanic type things though.

In any case as night falls Clarke and Anya make it to the Ark crash site. Clarke decides to free Anya. Well, the fight between them must have done wonders for Anya’s attitude as she and Clarke now finally make friends. Anya promises to try to get her people to help fight the mountain men. They clasp hands. Friends at last! Things are looking up!

Then a shot rings out and Anya drops to the ground mortally wounded. Clarke cradles her dying body as the Ark camp guards appear. They mistake Clarke for a Grounder and knock her out. I love the incredible irony of that shock twist where fate intervenes and says “no you’re not getting away with it that easily”. I did feel sorry for poor old Clarke after everything she went through to free Anya and escape from Mount Weather.

So another strong episode. I look forward to the next one.

The 100 season 2 episode 3

The episode starts by picking up with Clarke’s discovery of the captive Grounders in the Mount Weather facility. She frees Anya, the Grounder leader she encountered previously. They get out of the cage area but find themselves in what turns out to be a disposal chute, sort of like the one in Star Wars, only this one deposits them on a pile of barely alive bodies.

Yes, this show has been getting dark. And it seems it will go darker still…

Some reaper cannibal dudes appear in the tunnels under the mountain so Clarke and Anya hide in an old mine car kind of deal. The reapers start tossing bodies from the disposal pile on top of them. So it would seem that the bunker people are using the reapers as a disposal mechanism.

image

Clarke and Anya escape from the mine car and go deeper into the tunnels to try and find a way out. Clarke wants to team up with Anya but the latter is not impressed.

Back at the Ark camp Marcus, the guy who wasn’t the chancellor but thinks he is, decides to punish doctor Abby for letting Bellamy go and supplying the kids with guns. She is given ten lashes with the pain stick. (“No! Not the pain stick!”) But later he tells Abby he is taking a captive Grounder to go and make peace with the Grounders and will try to get the other kids back.

Bellamy and his gang use Murphy (the guy from Continuum) to find a Grounder camp. They see a one-eyed Grounder with Clarke’s watch. They capture him and take him back to a bomb shelter to question. He draws them a map that will supposedly take them to Clarke and the others.

They then argue about what to do with the captive. Bellamy surprisingly is the voice of reason and wants to leave him tied up. Finn however is talking with his fists and just wants to shoot him. The argument continues until Finn just shoots the guy.

image

See, I’m impressed that the writers have made the “nice boy” turn nasty. This show is throwing up a few surprises.

Elsewhere Octavia shadows the Lincoln Village Grounders (huh, sounds like a seventies pop group) who are looking for their people who where taken by the reapers. Initially the Grounder leader lady wants to kill Octavia but eventually she agrees to let Octavia “help”, i.e. play dead as bait for the reapers. They do manage to free four captive Grounders including the hairy healer guy (who Octavia took captive last time despite him being twice her size) but unfortunately there is no Lincoln among them. Octavia is upset and cries. But at least she is now allowed to tag along with her new Grounder gang.

Back with Clarke. Anya leaves her alone and Clarke gets surrounded by reapers. Just as she is about to be eaten some bunker people appear in radiation suits and repel the reapers with some sonic devices.

(Clarke is unaffected so do the reapers have implants or something?)

The bunker people capture Clarke and are going to return her presumably to have her blood extracted as she knows too much to rejoin her people. Then Anya returns and attacks the bunker people and Clarke gets loose. Anya leads her to the way out.

image

“Way out” being a hole in the wall of a dam hundreds of feet above a lake. Anya jumps into the water far below and Clarke has no choice but to follow when more bunker people appear.

When she comes to later she thanks Anya only to get knocked on her head for the trouble. It seems Anya still bears a grudge about the small matter of 300 of her people getting fried by Clarke’s “let’s set off the rocket engines” plan.

Back in the bunker tunnels a suited bunker person is looking at new captive Grounders. Most are being sent to “harvest” in other words have their blood extracted. But there’s Lincoln! And it looks like they have something else in store for him…

This was a very strong episode. I’m enjoying how lots of different factions are coming into play. Also I’m a little (pleasantly) surprised that the makers have their attractive young cast covered in blood and mud for the running time of the episode in a nod to realism.

It’s also nice to have the adults on the surface now too, apparently for the long run as the wreck of the ship seems to be around for the foreasable future. The decision to punish Abby in accordance to the old rules of the Ark, where out of necessity the tinest infraction could get someone killed, was a nice bit of dubious morality thrown into the mix.

And I’m enjoying both Octavia and Clarke having the opportunity to go all Ripley.

Really, this show is turning out to be unexpectedly really very good and for me unmissable.

image

The 100 season 2 episode 2 review

The first thing I need to remake on is that there appears to be a nifty new credits sequence at the start of the episode. At least I don’t remember the earlier episodes having the sequence. It shows some ruined future Earth landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty. It really gives a feeling of a larger scale for the show. Anyway, I liked it.

So, on to the episode… Clarke is still suspicious of the bunker people. All her buddies are happy to be there. There’s even some pillow fights and arm wrestling going on. At one point Clarke sees some injured bunker personnel being worked on and one guy in particular has very bad burns.

Everyone is getting annoyed at her continual suspicions. Jasper (I think his name is Jasper, the guy who got speared in the chest by the Grounders) tells her she’s making things worse for them. More on Clarke later…

Octavia wakes up at the Lincoln memorial waiting for (the other) Lincoln to get back with some antidote. Some hairy dude turns up with the antidote instead. Turns out Lincoln was his friend and got the hairy healer to do this favour for him. But Lincoln is in trouble back at his village because helping Octavia caused some Reaper problems. So what is a girl to do? Octavia goes totally badass on this hairy guy who is twice her size and takes him prisoner. She goes back to the village and demands Lincoln is freed in return for the hairy healer dude. The boss lady of the village agrees and meets Octavia at the Lincoln memorial for the prisoner swap. Then the Reaper guys attack and capture Lincoln.

But seriously, we are meant to believe Octavia can capture a big hairy grounder dude? Never mind. Moving on…

image

The Ark adult type people are setting up camp. The guy who isn’t the chancellor is taking charge. Abby has to operate on Raven without anaesthetic to get a bullet out from near her spine. Abby wants to look for Clarke and the others but after some guard people get crucified by Grounders the boss guy says no. So Abby frees Bellamy and the guy from Continuum to go and look for the others.

Up on the space station the chancellor is hearing things. Or his he? He goes looking and finds a baby in a cupboard, apparently forgotten about in the evacuation. He decides to try and get the baby to the surface using an unfired missile left over from before the nuclear war. Problem is the missile is on the other side of the station and he will have to make a spacewalk.

He straps on an old spacesuit with the baby inside only to find the helmet has a crack in it. Nevertheless he opens the door to get whooshed out with the remaining air.

I loved this bit. It was (I am sure deliberately) reminiscent of 2001 A Space Odyssey. As he zooms across the intervening space to the opposite side of the wheel his helmet inevitably cracks. He makes it to the door and shoots through, grabbing the handle to close the door and fill the airlock with air. Just like Dave Bowman did in 2001. The composition of the shot was quite similar.

He opens his spacesuit to check on the baby, only to discover… No baby! He was imagining it after all due to oxygen deprivation. Then his dead son appears. The baby was his son! Head slap! His son tells him to use the missile to get to the surface. Somehow the plan works.

I also like playing Spot the Battlestar Galactica Reference. There were a few more nods in this episode. We now have one of the Final Five Cylons, Tori, working as a doctor in the bunker place. Mister Gaeta is still hanging around with the Ark people. Also some of the cgi space effects shots had the patented BSG shaky camera and zoom-in effect going on.

Back to Clarke in the bunker. It looks like she is gradually accepting the world of pillow fights and arm wrestling. She eventually scrunches up the escape map she’s been working on. Then she sees the burned guy from earlier. He’s still a bit burned but a lot less than when she saw him before. What is going on? She follows him to the medical area. This is off limits to her. What to do…

She still has her arm stitched up from cutting it when escaping from her room last time. She basically self harms by ripping open the wound. Ew!

Clarke wakes up in the medical lab patched up. She sees other patients from the bunker getting some sort of blood transfusion. But where is the blood coming from? She follows the tubes to another area and sees a couple of unfortunate folk getting their blood drained. And then in another area there are lots of cages filled with captive Grounders, including the female leader of the Grounders she encountered before.

image

So I was sort of right, the bunker people are kind of cannibals or vampires!

I have to admit I had a vampire clue in the first episode of the season when a bunker girl was given some sort of mysterious blood transfusion.

In any case it was a great cliffhanger that tells us a lot about the bunker people and what they have had to do to survive. They never venture outside except in radiation type suits and they must capture Grounders to live off heir blood. So they are sort of vampires.

Anyhow, I look forward to Clarke going all badass and blowing up the bunker. As Corporal Hicks says in Aliens, “it’s the only way to be sure.”

The 100 season 2 episode 1 review

Suddenly The 100 is back on TV. So suddenly in fact that I completely missed it and ended up resorting to a catchup service.

So here are a few musings on the first episode.

The previous season ended with the surviving “100” folk using the remaining fuel in their drop ship to fry dangerous marauding Grounders into crispy less dangerous Grounders. And the only other thing I remember is main character Clarke waking up in the Mount Weather (former US government bomb shelter/bunker) facility.

So the new episode picks up with Clarke in her cell/quarters. She eventually goes all badass on the window of her cell door. (That reinforced glass sure breaks very easily.) She escapes from her room and eventually finds a bunch of well-dressed folk having dinner with a full on party atmosphere. They get a bit upset at the sight of Clarke and run away fearful of contamination.

image
Clarke meets the bunker people.

It turns out that survivors of the nuclear war have stayed in the Mount Weather shelter and managed to keep going with hydroelectric power, clean air and water. But exposure to the surface would apparently pretty much kill them. Meanwhile the folk from the space station can survive on the surface because they have lived their lives exposed to high levels of solar radiation. Ok, I’ll take their word for it.

Turns out other 100s are there and are happy to see Clarke. But Clarke remains very suspicious and keeps trying to unsuccessfully escape. Until she does escape she is resigned to eating nice food. And all the bunker folk are friendly towards the 100s when they realise there’s no risk of contamination from them. And they get to play dress up into the bargain.

image
Clarke meets keypad.

But what’s the twist? There’s always a twist, right? Are the bunker people cannibals? I mean, that’s usually what happens, like in The Walking Dead. I bet they’re cannibals. You’re not eating chocolate cake, Clarke! Put down the spoon!

Up on the surface nice Grounder Lincoln is trying to get some antidote for Octavia’s poison situation. He takes her to a spot (allegedly near his village) which has the actual Lincoln memorial in the middle of a bunch of trees. Hey, that’s why he’s called Lincoln! But hang on, I’ve seen this scene in Logan’s Run. Michael York and Jenny Agutter found the memorial but didn’t know who it was. Oh well.

image
The guy who wasn’t the main boss Chancellor but has now taken charge. Plus Clarke’s mother, played by that nice Paige Turco from NYPD Blue.

Elsewhere the survivors from the Ark crash-landing meet up with Finn and Bellamy who take them back to the drop ship. There the only 100s they find are Finn’s former engineering-savvy girlfriend from before he fancied Clarke and that dude from Continuum and Bates Motel. The guy who wasn’t the Chancellor on the Ark takes charge and arrests Bellamy for trying to beat up the guy from Continuum, oblivious to what a jerk Continuum-guy is.

So overall it was an entertaining episode. I’m left wondering if the Mount Weather people are indeed cannibals or vampires or something. Or will the twist be that there is no twist.

image
The President of the bunker people. Probably a vampire or cannibal or something.