If anything, beyond the relationships that keep our eyes glued to the screens, The 100 is about choices and, more often than not, the nearly impossible choices people in leadership positions must make for their people, for good or bad. We’ve seen it from Jaha, Kane and Abby when they were forced to go through the culling of the arc in season one and kill 42 people who offered their lives for the good of their people. We’ve seen it with Lexa when she decided to omit information when a camp of her and Clarke’s people were targeted and then of course with Clarke, Bellamy and Monty when decided to kill all of Mount Weather. Even in more severe cases, such as when Bellamy helped massacre a field of grounders, his mind was set on the foolish notion that this act of violence would “save his people” and now we see, almost naively, that he’s taken on this penance of death by his hands to try and redeem his actions, much to the dismay of Clarke and Raven. It is in turn yet a difficult decision for Bellamy to make, one that for once requires him to save lives rather than end them, and leads to a choice of Clarke’s to deliver a promise to her people that she could only hope to keep. She tells them, after Bellamy has offered up their chance of clean water supply, that she will keep every last person safe, despite the fact that the ship could only hold 100 with the provisions they have.
It are these choices that shade our characters to be anything but two dimensional, allowing them to make difficult, and what seem to be callous choices but still present them as characters worthy of empathy. We’ve seen Monty be calculating and seen him grieve and try and save lives, so his admittance of wanting to leave the individuals being kept by a rogue group of Ice Nation soldiers as slaves may seem harsh, but it makes sense from his point of view, one where he’s comparing the lives of 25 people to humanity itself. This decision is later juxtaposed with him taking an axe not to end the life of the man who killed his father, but to chop away at the chains binding those slaves, using a tool of violence to exact freedom. Similarly, it makes sense that Harper who was kept the longest by Mount Weather and continuously drilled for bone marrow would see the captives and immediately want to help. No decision these characters make is made simply for the sake of narrative purposes but are all based on the history of the characters and the past grievous decisions, mistakes or triumphs, that have led them to this point.
That doesn’t make any of their decisions less frustrating to watch play out however, especially when we know just how close all of them are to end days. Clarke’s belief that hope can inspire more than honesty is a foolish notion in the circumstances and shows the lack of faith in her own people that other leaders in seasons past have grievously paid for. However, it’s no less stressful to watch Bellamy deal with his demons by sacrificing humanity’s seemingly one shot at survival, even if emotionally we can all resonate with his need to protect and atone for his sins.
Against all odds The 100 has always been a show that reveled in the stress in inspired in viewers and throughout just the second episode of season four we’re already beginning to feel the stakes ramp up as loose canons such as Octavia begin to take matters of justice into her own hands while everyone else scrambles to try and find a viable key to survival. The show and its writers aren’t taking it’s time in getting the action rolling, rather going with the pace of a group of people fighting against the clock. These characters aren’t going to be able to take a moment to catch a breath so neither are we and this breakneck acceleration of storyline will only improve the series but refusing to allow us to take a break from the tension and questions of will they/won’t they make it to the end of the season alive.
There are moments of levity of course, such as the romantic glow radiating off of Kane and Abby or the small scene where Jasper asks Monty to pick up their stash of weed from Monty’s old room at the crashed Farm Station, but those scenes are fleeting in an episode that thrives on the sense of dread that likely will be sticking around long throughout the season, right until what must be a fitful and tragic end.
Unless Clarke is right in saying that hope sometimes can save the day.
Who is to guess, but if this is the tone and the pace that season two will be donning for the remaining episodes, I can’t wait to see what is in store for us next, even if it makes this writer worry for her favorite characters each hour that it is on.