The 100 – Season 3 Episode 1
“Wanheda Part 1”
The 100 returns for a third time after an excellent second season that shattered the status quo routinely and excelled at world building.
Season 3 begins around 3 months after the end of season 2 so pretty much in real time from our perspective and things are going well for the group. The truce with the Grounders is stable and people are starting to build lives in the camp that is now called Arkadia. Bellamy and Kane have buried their hatchet and Bellamy has settled into his new role as more of a squad leader than leader of the group in past seasons.
There are some interesting flips of dynamics built up over the past two seasons. At one point Octavia was part of the society and Lincoln was an outsider but here Lincoln is well and truly part of the group while Octavia feels isolated from it. It makes sense for her character to go that way considering how much she grew last season and gained acceptance from the Grounders. She identifies more with their more nomadic way of life than she does with the community living. It isn’t covered in a lot of detail but I really get the impression that it will be an ongoing issue that will drive a wedge between her and Lincoln. I find the idea that Octavia feels like she’s outgrown him in a lot of ways a really interesting one especially considering how dependent she was on him early on.
Jasper’s change is quite harrowing. The loss of Maya has really affected him as shown by him not fearing death, drinking far too much and generally lashing out at other people. He is a really damaged individual who is barely holding it together and other people can see that he is due to breakdown at any moment. The way he acts around the Ice Nation showing no regard for the safety of himself or his friends forces an unnecessary conflict and shows how far into madness he has descended.
The fact that a fight with the Ice Nation breaks out so easily shows that the truce is essentially an illusion that only needed the slightest spark to begin hostilities again. It’s clear that the end of that peace is coming soon and it’s going to be violent when it does fall apart. I like how the Ice Nation are being developed so far as it helps enrich Grounder culture in a very organic way.
In the most danger from any of this is Clarke who is apparently being hunted by everyone. There has been a persistent theme of togetherness in this show from the beginning. The 100 stayed alive because they stayed together in season 1, Mount Weather was dealt with because the 100 and the Grounders worked together in season 2 and the society being built by the survivors of the Ark is possible because they do it together. Having Clarke out on her own tackling threats from all sides sends a clear message about how much danger she is in because she has nobody backing her up. She isn’t at all useless on her own as shown by the way she handles killing a panther but the fact that she sustains injuries clearly outlines how dangerous being cut off from a support system is.
Things aren’t entirely hopeless for her as she has found an ally in Niylah (Jessica Harmon), a woman who runs a trading post and has taken a liking to her to the extent that she will lie to protect her. The way that Niylah sees Clarke is an interesting contrast to how Clarke views herself. Clarke feels guilty for killing so many people but Niylah sees her as some sort of heroic figure who ended “The Reaping”. This is actually a great interpretation of a very real issue that springs up around Wars where people are regarded as Heroes or Villains by people for doing certain things when the truth of the matter is far from how the stories portray it. The title of the episode Wanheda refers to Clarke who is now known as that among the Grounders. The name means “Commander of death”. It shows how much of a legend she has become as well as a target. I found the fact that Clarke and Niylah slept together to be a bit extraneous as it didn’t feel like a necessary part of the story. I have applauded this show for the lack of sensationalism around character sexuality but in this case it felt like it was there for the sake of having it.
The treatment of Raven in this episode was really well done. She is still dealing with her disability and it seems that her leg is getting worse but her pride is getting in the way of her doing anything about it. Abby is concerned about her but Raven reacts with hostility until she calms down a little and is better able to listen to reason. Raven adjusting to her new reality was a really strong part of last season and I’m glad to see that she is still having trouble with it as it feels more real.
Jaha and Murphy are completely removed from the rest of the characters but have a lot going on themselves. The montage of Murphy going crazy as he was trapped underground alone for 86 days with only some video to watch was really well done. It felt like a claustrophobic situation and seeing Murphy slowly crack worked really well.
I find myself fascinated by Jaha talking about the City of Light which seems to be some meditative state of enlightenment that he can retreat to. I wonder what causes that and if he has been in some way corrupted by the mysterious holographic Alie (Erica Cerra). There wasn’t much given in the way of answers from this story but enough was teased to keep it interesting.
This episode was excellent and entertaining but with it being part one of a story it did feel like it was spinning its wheels a bit. A lot of it was setup for payoff that will hopefully happen this week but that means that the episode suffers slightly because there are no real conclusions or answers given. It’s almost like it cuts off just as it’s getting really interesting. Maybe The 100 should have returned with a double episode to bring viewers back into this world.
An excellent beginning to the new season that builds on the world that has been developed over the course of the past two seasons in a way that makes sense.
In the beginning of the episode things seem to be going well for the group. The truce with the Grounders is stable and people are starting to build lives. Even Bellamy and Kane have settled their differences and Bellamy is comfortable in his role as a squad leader.
Some of the dynamics have been flipped in interesting ways such as Octavia feeling like an outsider while Lincoln feels like part of the group. She identifies more with the nomadic Grounder way of life. It isn’t covered in a lot of detail but it will definitely drive a wedge between them.
Jasper has undergone a harrowing change after the loss of loss of Maya. He no longer fears death, drinks too much and lashes out at those around him. He is really damaged and his lack of regard for his own safety as well as the safety of others forces an unnecessary conflict with the Ice Nation.
The fact that a fight breaks out so easily shows that the truce is essentially an illusion that only needed the slightest spark to begin hostilities again. The end of the peace is coming soon and it’s going to be very violent when it does.
Clarke is in the most danger from any of this as she is being hunted by everyone and completely cut off from any kind of support system. She isn’t useless on her own as she is able to kill a panther but she sustains injuries and it’s only a matter of time before that catches up with her.
She does find an ally in Niylah who sees her as some kind of legendary folk hero. She is willing to lie for her in order to protect her. I found the fact that they slept together to be a bit extraneous as it didn’t feel like a necessary part of the story.
Raven was really well done in this episode. She is still trying to get to grips with the reality of her disability which causes her to react with hostility to Abby’s concern before calming down. It’s good to see that she’s still struggling with her disability as it makes it feel more real.
Jaha and Murphy are removed from the rest of the characters but have a lot going on. The montage of Murphy going crazy as he was trapped underground alone with only some video to watch was really well done and felt appropriately claustrophobic.
Jaha talking about the City of Light was fascinating as it suggests that it is a form of brainwashing. The mysterious holographic Alie has my attention and I look forward to seeing this develop.
With this being the first part of a bigger story it felt a bit like the whole narrative was spinning its wheels. There’s no real resolution or payoff to anything as this is due to come later. It’s interesting and entertaining but the lack of resolution is definitely apparent. Maybe the return of this show should have been a double episode.