On the D/L – The 100
Season 2 Episode 10 – “Survival of the Fittest”
The 100 manages to keep the various plates spinning with the existing stories as well as changing up the group dynamic in really interesting ways.
There was a lot going on this episode but it didn’t really suffer for it at. I found Jaha and Murphy -as well as a group of people- going on a quest to the “City of Light” to be really interesting. I’m eager to find out what they’ll find when they get there and what consequences it will have for the group. I never expected I would see Jaha and Murphy put together but it worked really well. I liked how Jaha showed that he isn’t ashamed of any of his decisions before now and points out that his decision to send Murphy and the rest of the teenagers to the surface has led to the survival of everyone currently on the surface. I liked that he wanted to see his son’s grave as well as it reminds us of what drives Jaha now and how difficult it would be for him to lose his son.
Clarke and Lexa being put together is always great to watch and this episode was no exception. There is a growing respect between the two characters that I find really fascinating. Lexa sees Clarke as an equal and has a vested interest in keeping her alive. I get the impression that she doesn’t feel she can retain order by herself and Clarke’s presence helps her feel more confident in how she runs things and the decisions she makes. Clarke really respects her as well and seems willing to work with her to ensure that there is peace between their two communities.
Lincoln and Bellamy was probably the most familiar of the pairings but the episode managed to bring something new to that. We get a lot more insight into Lincoln through him telling the story of finding a man who was trying to commit suicide by going to Earth’s surface -surely there are easier ways to do it?- and being forced to kill him by his father. Lincoln’s back story is a very tragic one as he feels that everything in his life has been trying to corrupt him. His moral compass has always been his most interesting trait so it’s even more effective to know that this appeared despite a harsh and brutal upbringing. Ricky Whittle did a great job of making his scenes drip with pathos.
It was really difficult to see Lincoln be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good when the plan to infiltrate Mount Weather didn’t go so well. The only way in was for Lincoln to risk becoming a Reaper again, something that we have seen before and clearly should not be revisited. Bellamy’s reaction was very fitting and a nice testament to the friendship that has slowly developed between these characters.
One thing I’ve been really enthusiastic about is the growth and development of Octavia’s character this season. She has gone from being a naive and vulnerable damsel to a really strong willed survivor. This episode exemplified the change in her character beautifully. Her fight with the Grounder was a significant moment for her as she wasn’t stopped by the fact that she couldn’t possibly win. It was pretty much a kerb stomp from start to finish but Octavia kept getting back up. There were moments that she manages to get a lick in here and there but on the whole the fight was really one sided. Octavia’s determination was great to see and it really sums up how far she has come.
Even Indra was impressed by Octavia and began to respect her after seeing this display of courage. It’s great to see another side to the character who has been fairly one trick before this point. It makes sense that Octavia’s actions would impress her as The Grounders live by a warriors code meaning that acts of bravery in combat would gain respect.
It’s not really a criticism as such but at times the sheer volume of events leaves the audience with little time to catch their breath. Just as one highly dramatic exchange has passed another is well underway and the pacing never lets up to allow processing of anything. I would also like the show to spend a little more time on world building. Revelations like Grounder mythology believing that each commander is the reincarnation of the previous one are great but I’d like more time to be spent on covering things like that. The existence of the other factions and the culture that has been built up are all interesting as glimpsed so some slowing down to “smell the roses” so to speak would be more than welcomed.
An astounding episode that furthers the main plots as well as the character drama in really fascinating ways.
Some pairings that we’ve never seen before happen in this episode such as Jaha and Murphy who provide some really interesting discussions about their questionable decisions and how Jaha justifies his in his own mind. A reminder of his dead son nicely adds an element of melancholy to Jaha’s position in life.
Bellamy and Lincoln had some really good scenes together giving insight into Lincoln’s back story in very harrowing ways. He’s had a tough life and has managed to be a good person in spite of that. His tragic sacrifice in this episode is a great moment and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Clark and Lexa’s part of the story was great. I love how these characters interact and the mutual respect that has grown between them in the recent episodes. They seem to give each other confidence to fight to maintain the alliance and are on even footing when it comes to skill and leadership.
Octavia’s fight against a Grounder was my personal highlight. Seeing her take a great deal of punishment but never giving up was fantastic. I liked that she was always on the losing side of the fight and no cheesy reversal happened. It gained her some respect from Indra and generally showed how far Octavia has come since her introduction in the first episode.
I’m really enjoying the growing mythology of The Grounders but the show isn’t spending enough time of it. Fleeting references are about all we get but I would enjoy taking some time to explore the society and find out how it works as well as be told a lot more about their history. In some cases the show doesn’t give the opportunity any time to catch their breath. It’s not a bad thing it would just be nice to slow it down a little occasionally.