How ‘The 100’ Mistreated Madi in Its Penultimate Episode

– Photo by the CW

Let’s start with a fact: I expected there to be death in the final season of The 100. After all, this show has killed many of its main characters off. Finn, Kane, Abby, Jasper, Lincoln, Lexa — and those are just the first ones that come to mind. There were many more major and minor characters that have lost their lives in this series, and even more in the wars and Mount Weather of it all. So I expected this season to be a bloodbath.

The problem I’m seeing with this season is that the deaths and destruction that’s happening are being shoved in an overcomplicated plot and they’re simply not done well. I’ve already made the case why Bellamy’s death was a problem. Last week, we lost Gabriel. (His death, fighting to save Madi, would normally have been fine until the last moments where he refused medical help, claiming it was his time. Ok, it might have been his time, but maybe let the doctor examine you first, just in case he can stitch you up and you’d be fine, rather than choosing to bleed out.)

And now, let’s look at Madi. Technically, Madi isn’t dead…yet? She’s still alive, but essentially living in a shell of herself, unable to move. Her consciousness is there — she can see, she can hear — but she can’t do anything else. It’s horrific. But is it…necessary?

Let’s take a look at this. We certainly can’t say that this is unfair because she’s a child. After all, this is the show that, in its first season, had a child kill Wells and then throw herself off a cliff to avoid being killed by an angry mob. Even children aren’t safe in the world(s) of The 100. So putting Madi in peril is only fair game. Even adding her name to the list as a loss. It’s heartbreaking, but in this show, you can’t be entirely surprised.

And having Clarke walk into that room, being too late, and seeing that Madi had lost her life fighting Cadogan would have been an enormous loss for Clarke, the team, and the viewers. It’d be even more upsetting to realize after the fact that Cadogan had gotten what he wanted and killed her in the process. Whatever they’re aiming to do with Clarke in this final season would have easily been pushed forward having walked in on Madi in that state.

But the events that actually unfolded were much worse. Madi was alive and conscious, but her mind was essentially cut off from her body. She couldn’t function. And upon hearing that it couldn’t be fixed, Clarke immediately felt that she needed to put Madi out of her misery — at which point, Octavia took the weapon to do the job. It was a mercy kill. They were only stopped when they realized that Cadogan got what he wanted and they needed to turn their attention to the Final War.

So not only was this turn unnecessary (see above: Clarke would’ve had just as much heartbreak if she found her dead), but it was completely cruel. It was added in simply for shock value: Imagine the worst thing you could imagine Clarke had to do, something worse than killing her own mother or Bellamy. Yep, you’ve got it. Shoot her own daughter.

The other thing here is that the reaction was completely out of character. Yes, Clarke is familiar with the mercy kill, all the way back to season one. But this is her daughter. You expect me to believe that she’d just be like, “Ok, can’t be fixed, gotta die now.” She’d be screaming, desperately trying to find a way to put Madi back together (so to speak). She’d be going through screen after screen to find a way to scientifically connect Madi’s brain back to her body. There’d be nothing stopping Clarke from trying. In fact, I could almost see her pulling a gun on poor Levitt in a desperate attempt to have him fix her before turning it on Madi as a mercy kill.

And even after all that, they just leave her with a  quick “I’ll be back.” You’ll be back? For what? You were just about to kill her, so either now she’s still in the personal hell you were trying to save her from through a mercy kill until you return, or she’s waiting for you to come back to kill her. Either way, it’s no surprise we saw a tear falling down Madi’s face.

Overall, it was just a distasteful choice, especially for a young character — a child— on the show. Of course, we won’t know for sure what her fate is until next week (since she’s still alive, I can only hope this means they’ll save her somehow, but who knows). Sure, children are just as at risk in the world(s) of The 100. But to put them through situations like that, simply for a bigger reaction from the viewers, just to say that they did something big near the finale? Well, that’s just an ugly mistreatment of a character.

‘The 100’ Made a Bold Choice in ‘Blood Giant.’ Was It the Right One?

Photo by the CW

I’ve been thinking a lot about The 100. Which is no surprise. It’s the final season, and after last Wednesday’s episode, I was left reeling. (SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the episode “Blood Giant.”)

If I’m being honest, this season has been more than a little hard to follow. There’s been so much going on: Sheidheda, The Shepard and his disciples, the last war, civil war on Sanctum… It’s a lot to take in, and with every episode skipping around to different people, planets, and moons, keeping track of the intricacies of the plot is difficult.

Possibly the most intricate is that of Bill Cadogan (“The Shepard”) and his last war. It’s a war with some sort of…being? Disease? Alien? We’re not quite sure, but it turns your body into crystals. But looking more closely, it may not be a war at all but a test. Either way, it’s very unclear what the event is, what needs to be done, and whether it is actually good or bad. All we know is that the Flame is the key to help them start this war, and whatever they are doing is “for all mankind.”

But making this “war” so mysterious is problematic. We’re just to assume that Cadogan is the bad guy—and he very well might be. But when Bellamy has a vision quest and moves to his side, it doesn’t make much sense.

I believe that Bellamy was convinced. He saw the beings of light in the cave and was able to speak to his dead mother. But we also know how easily Bellamy is swayed. Think of his siding with Pike in season three (ugh). Without a fuller idea of the goodness behind the plan, it leads me to question his alliances, which is exactly what Clarke and the rest of the team do.

What The 100 has always done well are moral dilemmas. What made Clarke and Bellamy’s decision to kill everyone in Mount Weather so indescribably heart wrenching was they understood everything they were fighting against and what they were ultimately doing. They knew Mount Weather was full of good people, but their leader was threatening their people, so they made that choice. Similarly, when Clarke pulled everyone out of the AI afterlife of sorts, she understood what she was doing. Her people could live a life of happiness in this digital universe—heck, she walked past Jasper happy with ice cream. They’d never die. But she decided right and wrong with that knowledge and pulled them out.

But here, she doesn’t know what this war/test/whatever it is will really mean. Instead, she’d protecting Madi. Ok, I get that. But they’ve essentially made Madi into what Dawn was to season 5 of Buffy: She’s a mythical “key,” now that the Flame is gone, that can cause the last war. Clarke, in essence, became the person who will do anything to protect Madi, without considering anything else. Yes, we’ve seen her like this before, but when Bellamy’s at the other end of the gun, it suddenly makes you realize that this isn’t quite as considered as seasons past.

For those who are watching, you know what happens. Clarke kills Bellamy, and she’s still unable to get her hands on the sketchbook that caused the conflict in the first place. (Jason Rothenberg, the show’s creator, of course choose that twist for a reason.)

It was a poor ending, in my view, for Bellamy. Bellamy had already been in very little of the season (from what I read, that was a choice by Bob Morley, the actor who plays Bellamy), and without fully understanding Cadogan’s plan, it just felt wrong for the character. You could essentially put any of our well-loved characters in Bellamy’s shoes, and it still would’ve worked for the plot. Instead, we chose Bellamy, in part because he’s such a favorite of the fans and the team. It felt like a poor choice. Bellamy could have died in many ways in the final season of the show, but this didn’t seem in line with the characters, nor did the stakes feel quite high enough. If Bellamy had Madi in his grasp or had ordered the soldiers to get her, maybe. But with only the sketchbook? I’m not sure.

What this does do, though, is cause much tension in the next three episodes. The team we’ve followed all these years will never be the same. I found it interesting that they put the absolutely beautiful scene where Clarke, Murphy, and Emori comfort a crying Raven in the same episode that Clarke killed Bellamy. It’s a strong reminder of who all these people are to each other—and they never will be again. There’s no way anyone will look at Clarke the same way, and I certainly envision Echo going off the rails in murderous rage after finding out. The rest of the group, I’m sure, will break apart, and Octavia (an underutilized actor this season, by the way), I don’t know, but it can’t be good.

And while that does raise the stakes and conflict for the final three episodes, it also adds a lot to close up in the final three episodes. And I suppose Bellamy’s death felt less about Bellamy and his character’s development—or even Clarke’s—and more about adding a device to splinter the group. And that just doesn’t feel fair to someone who has been such a strong presence in the show since episode one.

The 100: Coup de Grâce

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THE 100: 2.11 “Coup de Grâce”

You may be the chancellor, but I’m in charge.

It’s a tension that has been building silently for a while now. And honestly, as I mentioned on Twitter, I kinda forgot that Abby was chancellor at all. Over the last few episodes, she’s been being more of a mom than a leader, following around her daughter while she called the shots. Others had noticed. Even Kane mentioned that they were following a “child.” Somehow, Abby didn’t see it.

Or at least she didn’t process it. Or maybe she didn’t process her role in Camp Jaha’s government. She hasn’t been in charge; no one has really expected to take order from her. Until this episode.

And by the way, Clarke is a badass.

Ok, let’s backtrack because a lot of things happened in this episode. Bellamy successfully got into Mt. Weather, though it certainly wasn’t pleasant when he got there. The process these people — these prisoners — go through just to be clean enough to be bled… it’s ugly. Fortunately, Bellamy seems to have gotten through it a little less painfully than some of the others he was with, though I personally would never want to experience whatever huge metal thing went into his mouth. [Shiver.]

We’re lucky that Bellamy just happened to come across Maya so early. If not, I have no idea how this plan would have gone. Yes, it seemed a little convenient, but come one. The plot must go on. I did feel absolutely horrible that Bellamy killed Lovejoy, though (ironic, considering his name). It was a grotesque scene, and the look on Maya’s face clearly showed that she was digesting exactly what she was getting into by allying with Bellamy and the other 47.  But it killed me to see Lovejoy’s son. I knew that we’d discover who his father was, even before we saw the name on the backpack. I was just hoping it wasn’t the case.

Meanwhile, we had the coup against the President. Of course, we want all of the 47 to pack their bags (what bags?) and go home. But it’s all too easy. So it didn’t surprise me that his son turned his back on him and took over. Though it was heartbreaking to see the former President sitting alone in the end in quarantine. After all, it’s his dream to get to the ground, too. He just wanted to do it in a moral way.

So now we have the 47 trapped, waiting for their doom, while Bellamy and Maya figure out what to do next. I wish we had gotten more of a reaction from Jasper, though, when he recognized Bellamy. Man, that’s a reunion I can’t wait to see.

Now let’s get back to our heroine. Clarke discovered that she was the target for an assassination attempt. Abby seemed to be unable to wrap her mind about this, but Clarke was unfazed: Just another day on the ground.

It’s actually interesting. Clarke tried to stay in the background for this particular scenario. Which is probably why it didn’t work all that well. Of course, he wouldn’t answer questions. Even he didn’t see Abby as the real threat. It was always about Clarke.

And eventually, Clarke realized it. She was the one in charge and the only one that could keep the alliance. (And we got that badass march through the Arc for it.) The faceoff with her mother was just fantastic. If that didn’t get you excited for where this was headed, I don’t know what would. Clarke found her power again — and she took hold of it with both hands.

What this will mean for Abby, I don’t know. On the one hand, they still see Clarke as just a child. But then again, Clarke has logged more field time on the ground than all of the people from the Arc. And that will clearly give her an edge.

And yet, there’s something about all this badass-ery that makes me nervous. Nothing goes well on the ground. So what bad situation is waiting for our new leader?

*Photo by Cate Cameron/The CW

The 100: Spacewalker

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THE 100: 2.08 “Spacewalker”

Midseason finales can be rough. And with a show like The 100, which is rather brutal and surprising every week, this rough finale was no surprise. If you haven’t yet seen last night’s episode and you don’t want to be spoiled, I suggest you stop reading now.

While the events of last night may not have been surprising, they were certainly poignant and painful. In the aftermath of Finn’s massacre and on the brink of war, the Grounders and Skypeople finally came to a truce. Unfortunately, that truce would only move forward if the Skypeople handed over Finn to die the 18 deaths of their people.

Of course, Clarke and crew were against it. Finn was their friend. Finn was one of their people. It was no surprise that Bellamy, Clarke, Raven — even Murphy — were trying to save him. What was surprising, to me at least, was that Clarke’s mother and other officials at Camp Jaha were trying to save him as well.

Why was this strange? Well, sure, he’s just a kid. He shouldn’t have to be handed to an enemy camp for death by torture. But then again, when did those in charge of Camp Jaha — those who used to run the Ark — ever look the other way at death for breaking the law. Floating people was their usual punishment. And while some of that might have been for the purposes of oxygen preservation, somehow I doubt that mentality would change once they were on the ground. It was in their government and culture. You break the law, you die. And when basically world peace is at stake (this is the only world they know now), it seems an obvious choice to sacrifice one boy for the sake of the rest of your people. (Perhaps this is just early insight into discovering that Clarke’s mother may not be all that great of a chancellor.)

What I wasn’t expecting for this episode was the flashbacks, where we finally discovered why Finn had been imprisoned. It wasn’t that he spacewalked himself, but he covered for Raven after helping her do it. Of course, all that was moot once Raven discovered that her physical reason for being held back was overturned given her records. Had Finn never been imprisoned, he would never have gotten on the ground, never met Clarke — well, you get the point.

This guilt for Raven was pushing her to extremes. She was willing to sacrifice Murphy, kill the Grounders’ leader, punch one of the Camp’s own officials. Honestly, this only made the episode better. I worried that we’d focus too much on Clarke and Finn, a relationship that was fine but not my favorite on the series (Bellmay/Clarke shippers unite; you now have your chance). So seeing Finn and Raven’s relationship back in the glory days of the Ark was really nice.

That said, Clarke’s desperate attempt to save Finn’s life — “He did it for me.” “Then he shall die for you.” — was just heartbreaking. And while it will only create a rift between Raven and Clarke (and possibly many others), it was the right choice to kill Finn to save him from the terrible torture ahead of him.

The ending somehow has stayed in my memory long after the episode ended. While it wasn’t necessarily a shock, I suppose I held out hope that somehow Finn would make it (even though you could easily argue that the show will be even better without him now that Clarke has to live with her actions and many people may be angry with her). I even wondered if that stabbing was really a kill — if it was all just a setup to have Finn released.

But no, I think it was the last we’ve seen of Finn, who ended up being a good-hearted kid. And when I woke up this morning, I felt that same sadness I felt as tears fell out of Clarke’s eyes (she did a great job on that scene, by the way). Once again, The 100 impresses. And now I’m just haunted, much like Clarke herself may be, until a January return.

*Photo by The CW

The 100: Human Trials

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THE 100: 2.05 “Human Trials”

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written about The 100. But that certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t been watching. And when I’ve been watching, I’ve been on the edge of my seat.

Last week was no different. And much like the previous episodes, the episode was more than just a sequence of events. It was all a discussion of what these kids — the 100 — really are. Are they still just kids?

Personally, I’m with Raven. Clarke, in particular, stopped being a child the minute she was sent down to the ground to die. Not only did she learn her survival skills, but she learned to lead people. In fact, I’m waiting for the moment when Clarke stops talking about saving her friends and starts talking about saving her people.

Let’s take a step back, first. I’m not saying Clarke’s perfect. The previous episode was telling. She still has a good heart, one that trusts the Grounders, particularly if they have a common enemy. But I don’t think Clarke made an ally in Anya. The way Anya was assessing that camp, she was planning on bringing her people back to Camp Jaha to take them out. Of course, she didn’t get the chance.

Nonetheless, Clarke knows her priorities. The ground is more dangerous than just hanging out behind an electric fence (and it does make you wonder how long that power is really going to last). She needs to save her friends at Mt. Weather — and maybe even find the rest of the 100 who are missing (if they’re still alive at all). She’s a leader. And now that Bellamy is back at her side, they’re on a mission.

And by the way, was the reunion between Bellamy and Clarke not cute? I love it.

But at the end of the day, these teenagers aren’t as old as they think they are, displayed by Finn. I admit, I spent the last few minutes of the episode mouth agape in shock as Finn took out the Grounder camp with his gun. He was just a scared little boy. And I’m not sure that’s something that anyone will recover from.

The coming weeks will really show the repercussions of Finn’s actions. Grounders will certainly not forgive Sky People. Sky People already don’t trust Grounders — and that distrust will only grow upon the realization that Kane has been taken.

But let’s stop talking about war. On the other side of this episode was a psychological experiment. Mt. Weather has its own agenda, apart of the war on the outside. While I really didn’t care much about what Lincoln was going through — the mad scientist just felt a little misplaced in this series — I’m interested enough to see it play out. They said they’re making an army. Does that mean they’re making the Reapers? Or something else? I guess we’ll have to see.

More important to me is the safety of Jasper, Monty, and the other 40-something teenagers held in Mt. Weather. Clearly, they’re not as safe as they think. And I think Monty is catching on. What’s worse, I think containment breach was purposeful, which means someone in there has some malicious intentions — more malicious than we thought.

There are a lot of things at play right now for everyone on the ground. But what’s for sure is that no one is safe, no matter who their enemy is.

The 100: Reapercussions

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THE 100: 2.03 “Reapercussions” (Get it?)

Well, this episode was a doozy. I want to jump right in and say how happy I am that Dichen Lachman is back on the show. Since Anya was presumed dead at the end of last season, it was a shock to see her alive and caged in last week’s episode. And she’s certainly not lost any of her anger and determination this week.

My last review, which was about the season opener, was all about power. This week, though, it’s less about power and more about morality. From the get-go, we’ve always been rooting for The 100. We ultimately wanted them to survive, even if they were a rambunctious group of criminal teenagers.

In the start of the series, we certainly didn’t trust their moral code. After all, Bellamy was automatically against the Chancellor, telling everyone to take their bracelets off to fool them. And that was the least they did. A child slit Wells’ throat, and Murphy was strung up from a tree.

But over the season, they seem to have found a moral code. Suddenly, they’re who we’re basing everything off of. The Grounders wanted to kill them. Grounders are bad. The Reapers wanted to kill them worse. The Reapers are worse.

So where are we now? Suddenly, The 100 are faced with those that imprisoned them, the law-abiding citizens that launched them to the ground in the first place. Instead of floating, we now see Camp Jaha using electric whips on their law breakers — even if they’re in such high places as Abby. Sure, Kane clearly felt lousy after the fact (though, honestly, it makes no sense to put the person you just publicly tortured in the Chancellor seat), but nonetheless, harshness rules. Right and wrong fall along a pretty violent line.

Then we have Mt. Weather, who we just discovered is MUCH less than than moral. Not only are they draining Grounders of their blood to save their own skin (literally, it saves their radiation-mutilated skin), but they’re handing off the bodies to the Reapers, who, in turn, hand over fresh bodies to Mt. Weather. While, certainly, these folks have realized how to survive in a rather cruel world, it’s brutality at its worst.

So clearly, The 100 have the moral high ground here. They kill, but only in extreme circumstances: when hundreds of Grounders are coming to kill them, or in self-defense, like Octavia (who suddenly became badass in this episode, by the way). But is that all?

Let’s look at Finn, who has suddenly gone off the deep end in his search for Clarke. Sure, love is guiding his actions, but he killed a Grounder execution-style — a Grounder we know had nothing to do with Clarke’s disappearance. Where is the moral line now?

Oddly enough, it may be that the Grounders have the most defined lines of right and wrong. Now that we know the connection between Mt. Weather and the Reapers, it’s suddenly clear the abuse these Grounders have been dealing with. No wonder they’ve been so easy to defend themselves. Any strike against them is just another clean-faced human working against their people. They’re already in a war. The 100 just happened to come down in the middle of it, already looking like some of the enemy.

It’s a brutal, “trust no one” world. And with Clarke and Anya in a enemy/ally situation, it can only make the lines between good and evil that much more blurry — and interesting.

*Photos by the CW/Cate Cameron

‘The 100’ Returns — And Everything’s Changed

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THE 100: 2.01 “The 48”

One of my most anticipated returning series of the year was The 100 from the CW. If you’re surprised, well, I am too. This was a series that I just fell into over the early summer, something that I had heard a little bit about (but not much), and since nothing much else was on, I thought I’d try it out. But I was instantly hooked — primarily because of its fascinating post-apocalyptic setting and because it did not hesitate to kill off both major and minor characters.

On the Ark alone last season, they killed off more than 300 people. On the ground, if we’re counting native armies, it’s more.

This season set all kinda of new gears in motion, and I can see that the theme of this season will be about two words: power struggles.

It’s funny. For some reason, we all saw the Ark coming down to Earth as a blessing. Suddenly, the 100 (or what’s left of them) weren’t alone anymore. They’ll have help, supplies, comfort! But we seem to have forgotten that the 100 are criminals in a rather oppressive civilization. The only reason they’re not dead already is because of their age — and the only reason they’re even on Earth is because the Ark saw them as expendable. As much as we like Jaha and Abigail (and even Kane…sometimes), they run a tight ship, and that ship doesn’t have room for error.

And with Kane now in charge, it seems that tough hand is going to continue, which will be a rather tough pill to swallow when people like Clarke and Bellamy have been running the place. Not only that, but Clarke and Bellamy know what they’re dealing with; the Ark does not. Sure, Kane very easily took down the big bad Grounder with his gun, but he’s only one of many dangers on Earth. They do not have everything under control as they’d like.

So here we already have on distinct power struggle between Bellamy (who’s already arrested, while Murphy runs free — metaphorically, of course, given his injury) and Kane. To Kane, Bellamy’s just another bad seed, the one who shot Jaha. But we all know he’s more than that. And I’d rather be in Bellamy’s guiding hands than Kane’s.

Meanwhile, Clarke is separated from her friends at Mt. Weather, facing her own power struggle with President Dante Wallace. Clarke is 100% sure that Dante is keeping information from her (and I tend to agree), feeling like a prisoner in this underground world that seems to have everything they need for not just survival but a happy life (enter similarities to Mockingjay here, but I won’t go into that). At the most basic level, Dante is telling Clarke that there are no other survivors that they’ve found; we viewers know that’s true. But there’s also something strange about the fact that they can’t even open the door. What is the real reason Dante doesn’t want anyone to get out? How does he know so much about Clarke? And if no one was to get out, what made them leave to come find Clarke and her team to begin with?

Also, did anyone else notice that new girl Maya said she wasn’t “pressing charges”? If the Ark floats their criminals, what will this underground society do to its wrongdoers?

Speaking of, Mt. Weather is an interesting place. Parts of it seem lost in time — particularly its clothing, music, and decor (by the way, if you’re curious about the art at Mt. Weather, you’ll probably enjoy reading about the real Mt. Weather). But this society still has no experience with the ground. Just like Clarke in the first episode, pining over an opportunity to one day plant her feet onto the Earth from space, this new world has her within it, still unable to smell the air and run free. It really is a new prison below, instead of above. I’m incredibly curious to find out what really does go on there.

I’d last like to mention Jaha, who I was worried about in the finale (I’m going to skip over Octavia, as I can’t quite remember what happened to her in the last episode, and I’m not entirely sure where it’s going yet). Jaha, I was sure, would be taking his last breath in this episode, with the final “Jaha out.” But what happened next made me audibly gasp. Could there really be a child left — a baby, at that — in the Ark? I have three possible hypotheses:

  1. Yes, there is a child. She’s a child like our own Octavia, who was illegal and hidden, and when the Ark fled, the poor thing was left behind due to headcount rules. At which point, Jaha will do everything he can to see this child live a life on Earth (and hopefully get there himself).
  2. No, there is no child. His grief over Wells and lack of oxygen is making him go crazy, and we’ll see him slowly dissolve in what remains of the Ark, which will, in essence make my heartbreak and I will possibly flood the planet N’oreaster-style with tears.
  3. No, there is no child, but the possibility of one will suddenly awaken his zeal for life, and he’ll make his way to Earth somehow anyway.

I hope for #1, it could be #3. Please don’t let it be #2. I’m not sure I could take it. I hear that we’ll find out more in the next episode (Disclaimer: potential hints or spoilers at the link provided), so I guess I won’t have to wait too long to find out. Either way, with all of these power dynamics at play, we’re in for an exciting season.