On the D/L – The 100
Season 2 Episode 11 – “Coup de Grâce”
With 5 episodes to go of the second season of The 100 things are really building to a massive boil. I’m guessing that some massive complication or twist that we didn’t expect is about to present itself because otherwise the season looks to be almost over.
Not that this is a bad thing as I really loved the way things were building in this episode. The story remained tightly focused on the dual narratives of Bellamy in Mount Weather and Clarke’s situation with her people as well as the Grounders. Having only two distinct stories to follow gave the episode time to meditate on the issues being raised and really explore them in fascinating detail.
After weeks of hinting about what happens to those chosen for harvesting we finally get to see it. Bellamy was definitely put through some really intense stuff. It was shot in a really stylish way to help the audience understand how disoriented Bellamy feels as he undergoes the preparation. This scene helps to reinforce how desperate and brutal the residents of Mount Weather are willing to be to survive.
Bellamy being inside Mount Weather gives us more of an excuse to be reminded where people are placed within this part of the show. Harper and Monty have been missing for a few days so Jasper and Maya are keen to find them. Maya is a little more pragmatic than Jasper is and encourages him to keep calm to lessen the risk of their plan being discovered. Naturally Jasper has other ideas and goes right to threatening President Wallace. I liked this scene as Jasper hasn’t really been known for his assertive nature so it’s great to see Devon Bostick given material that is a little more meaty for a change. He does a great job of portraying desperation as well as an intense realisation of how dangerous the situation in Mount Weather is.
It was also good to see Wallace given something significant to do for a change. I liked finding out that he seems just as confused as Jasper is. I found it a little tough to swallow that Wallace being the president could be so ignorant of what was going on in the place he’s supposed to be the ruler of. Seeing the way that he shut down the harvesting operation and stood up to Dr. Tsing was a great moment but it still didn’t redeem how clueless the character was when he really shouldn’t have been. It’s no wonder that his son Cage took over so easily as Wallace seemed to be a massively
I also liked the reunion between Monty and Jasper. It came across as really genuine and showed how close a friendship they have. It’s a nice step up from them being so idiotic earlier in the season so if we get more moments like this from them then I will be happy.
Bellamy and Maya working together was really good as well. I like how those characters interact and it was amusing that Bellamy knew who she was immediately through anecdotal evidence. These scenes had a massive level of tension about them as Bellamy risked discovery at every turn. He was taking a massive risk by sneaking through Mount Weather the way he did and the episode wastes no time in constantly reminding us of that.
The mini character arc that Bellamy had in the episode where he started off with the intention of killing every single person inside Mount Weather but quickly changing his mind when he learns that innocent children live there too was a nice touch. Bellamy is very much a warrior but he does have a compassionate side to him. When it comes down to it he doesn’t hold everyone responsible for the actions of a few and that makes him a good leader with a decent conscience. I did feel that meeting the son of a guard that he had to kill was far too obvious a way to hammer this point home as the episode had done a good enough job of that by revealing that there are children in Mount Weather. It seemed like too much in the way of emotional blackmail and really didn’t work for me.
Clarke’s story was really well done as well. I liked how commanding she was around The Grounders and how they seemed to follow her out of respect as well as being ordered to. Having them take the prisoner from Mount Weather makes sense from a tactical point of view as Clarke can’t fully count on Bellamy getting the job done alone. It shows great leadership that she has a backup plan in case Bellamy fails.
The power struggle between Clarke and her mother has been handled really well over the past few episodes. Abby seems to be fighting a losing battle trying to retain leadership of the group as slowly but surely they are deferring to Clarke’s leadership. Even Kane consistently tells Abby that Clarke is in charge and Clarke is starting to realise that herself.
Her handling of the Mount Weather prisoner situation made a lot of sense. I really liked the scene where she let him go and sends him back to his people with a very clear warning. Limiting his oxygen supply to dial up the urgency and force him to make his journey more quickly was a nice touch as well. It shows that Clarke is far from a soft touch and is learning how to make harsh and tough decisions as a leader.
I loved the scene where she tells Abby that regardless of her title Clarke is the one in charge. She has the backing of the people, she knows how the world works and she has plans that involve protecting those she is in charge of so that makes her infinitely more qualified to lead than her mother. Abby has to accept it but it’ll be interesting to see how that frustration builds over time.
Raven was great in this episode too. Her defiance of Clarke when she was given orders was an interesting touch. She still resents Clarke for killing Finn and doesn’t want to give her the satisfaction of following orders blindly. Raven is pretty much way ahead of Clarke in terms of the technical stuff anyway so she doesn’t need to follow her orders. I’m not sure how far Raven can be pushed before openly defying her leader.
As good as this episode was the progression of the story was nothing that hasn’t been seen before. We have seen most of these characters do similar things over the course of the two seasons so far so there are no real surprises here when it came to plotting. Part of me felt that the episode was killing time a lot before the story really gets going again. I also get a strong impression of how it’s all going to turn out which lessens the suspense a little. I’m eager to be surprised though.
A strong episode of this show that really gets things in place before the inevitable run to the season’s end.
Deciding to focus the narrative on two distinct threads was smart as it allowed these things to be explored fully. Bellamy sneaking around Mount Weather feels appropriately tense and the situation seems to be getting worse in there all the time.
Jasper was given some strong material in this episode as he confronts President Wallace. Devon Bostick did a great job of conveying the fear and desperation brought on by his friend being missing. I also like that President Wallace took a more active role in trying to figure out what has been happening under his nose all this time. I don’t quite believe that Wallace could be that ignorant to what goes on around him but it worked in the context of the episode and gave Cage the opportunity he needed to take over.
Maya and Bellamy’s scenes together were great to watch. The two characters bounce off each other really well and Bellamy’s discovery of the innocent living in Mount Weather was a powerful moment. I do think the episode beat the audience over the head with this revelation a little but in concept it really worked.
Clarke and Abby’s power struggle is really nicely done. Clarke has the advantage as everyone -with the possible exception of Raven- is ready to follow her where Abby’s leadership is nothing more than a title. Clarke knows the people, the planet and the situation and isn’t afraid to take charge to make the tough choices where Abby isn’t as clued up. The scene where Clarke stood up to her mother was great as was the scene where she sent a clear message to Mount Weather by way of a released prisoner.
In many ways the episode felt like it was spinning its wheels to set up the last run of episodes. The ground that was covered wasn’t really anything we hadn’t seen before and there were few surprises when it came to how people acted and what happened as a result. I also feel that where it’ll go from here is somewhat obvious but there could still be plenty of surprises coming up.