7:30 am EDT, January 29, 2016

‘The 100’ season 3, episode 2 review: The Wizard of Tomorrowland

In The 100 season 3, episode 2, we learn the truth about the City of Light, and set up some prime candidates for recruitment.

We’re back for another week of The 100, and boy do I hope everyone tuned in live last night — because I want this show to go on forever. I’ve seen some criticism about what ultimately is a very 180 shift for a show which on the outset was about learning to live without modern technology… but personally, I’m very much enjoying the new direction of the show this season; I think the City of Light is the perfect way to continue the story, and it presents a compelling dilemma for our earth-bound heroes.

While there was plenty of lead character drama between Clarke, Bellamy, Abby and Lincoln, we also got to spend some quality time with secondary characters. Monty, Murphy and Jasper are all being set up for big emotional arcs (and/or set up for us to care about them before they die, Lost style), and every single character on this show right now has agency and purpose. I don’t think there’s a single person I don’t care about, which as far as I’m concerned means that the show has done its job right.

If you want more The 100 discussion, listen to our podcast review of “Wanheda, Part 1” right here.

The Emerald City of Light

You know what I love? Storytelling symmetry. Case in point:

City of Light

This entire City of Light plot is all very Wizard of Oz and/or Tomorrowland, down to the actual shot of the City of Light. I see what you did there, Mairzee Almas, and I like it.

The idea of a virtual, heavenly city ruled by a god-like creator is very prevalent in dystopian fiction, and the story has been told many times in many different ways (see Ready Player One for a great example of a dystopian society taking refuge in a digital paradise). Taking The 100 down this yellow brick road is a bold move, but as someone who feels ruled by technology myself, the idea that we can never really escape it rings very true to me. (As it will to the major characters, who’ve spent their whole lives living in a spaceship.)

The fact that The 100 is taking us here is, in my opinion, a great thing, because it makes me think. What would I do in this situation? I tell myself I’d choose the Grounder forest over the implant heaven any day, but aren’t I here, right now, writing a recap about a fictional story to be posted in a virtual space, to be read by people I’ve never met? Don’t we all get consumed by made-up worlds?

So to me, The City of Light plot, which felt like a massive misdirect in season 2, is finally paying off in a big way. Like many fans suspected, it is indeed a virtual reality, but the repercussions of this are vaster and more significant than we might have assumed.

Like I speculated earlier this week, the City of Light can indeed keep people “alive” even after they’ve died IRL, like my good friend Igor. While I doubt A.L.I.E. is able to restore people who’ve never been plugged in (so no Wells or Finn, probably), this is a huge benefit when it comes to recruiting skeptical Ark survivors.

I still believe Jasper and Raven will be some of the first people to sign up for a world “with no pain” where you can be “whole again,” but what about Abby? Clarke? Octavia? Monty? There’s no obvious reason to give up their fight for peace on the ground, but if someone they care about has died in real life, and they know a version of their consciousness still exists in CoL, they might be very tempted to leave reality behind. I get the feeling this will be very important down the line.

And the Tin Man got his heart

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Murphy

Meanwhile in real life, Murphy discovers that Emori truly is the perfect girl for him — she has even less morals than himself, and sets out to steal Jaha’s tech. She kills Igor in the process, and the pair take the boat. A.L.I.E. isn’t worried though, and neither is Emori’s brother Otan, Jaha’s new true believer. Clearly, he values a life free of his deformity more than his sister. Ouch.

Pairing up Murphy and Jaha is still one of the smartest decisions the show has ever made: Murphy, against all odds, ended up the lesser of two evils, and has been allowed to develop some semblance of a moral compass. But it seems they’re on two different paths now — Murphy is off with Emori, while Jaha’s storyline is now compelling enough that he doesn’t need Murphy there for moral complexity and comic relief.

I’m excited to see how both of their storylines develop, but especially Murphy’s. I like nothing better than a semi-reformed antihero, who is only “good” because he’s realized that there are far worse things in the world than himself.

If we cannot go over the mountain, let us go under it

Image credit: Movie Fan Central

…Cause nothing bad ever happened inside a mountain, sigh.

The inevitable storm is gathering for the Arkadians. When our Grounder friend Nyko comes to Abby for help, she decides — with Lincoln’s help — to go to Mount Weather. And there, Jackson convinces her to take advantage of the facilities. So much for Grounder peace.

Jasper, meanwhile, destroys a bit of priceless art and finds Maya’s favorite painting — “The Lovers’ Whirlwind,” William Blake‘s depiction of Dante‘s Inferno. How appropriate that it should be Octavia who finds him there, and we get a small reprise of their long-standing friendship. Jasper breaks down, in a beautiful scene, and in all the sadness we begin to get the faint hope that he’ll be okay. (Until Jaha comes and offers him the easy way out, I bet.)

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Jasper Octavia

Devon Bostick is really killing it this season. Who would have thought that Jasper and Monty, The 100‘s token comic relief duo, would end up having some of the most compelling storylines? This show is the master of taking characters ostensibly there to serve the main characters and drive the plot (Lexa, Murphy, Anya, Miller, Kane), and giving them depth and agency of their own. Even Jackson had real drive this week, even if he helped make a very bad decision.

Choosing to hide inside Mount Weather will lead nowhere good. In terms of story, it’s an important development: Mount Weather is likely going to be the perfect place for Jaha to set up what I imagine must be some sort of mass sleeping space where people can just lay their bodies down and let their minds escape to the City of Light. In theory, if Jaha is really as short-sighted as it seems (looks like he’s the scarecrow in our Wizard of Oz comparison), he wouldn’t even care if their physical bodies survived at all. He’d honestly believe that the consciousness they uploaded into CoL would be real.

(Oh, guys, this is all some big commentary on how the Internet is ruining our lives, isn’t it? The City of Light is Tumblr.)

Earth Skills 2.0

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Monty

Indra, Kane, Bellamy and Monty are ambushed, but lucky for everyone, it turns out to be Farm Station survivors. Monty reunites with his mother Hannah, while Kane and Bellamy both recognize Charles Pike, an Earth Skills teacher turned Grounder Slayer.

We learn that Monty’s dad was killed by Ice Nation warriors, who also took out a bunch of children, and when Kane tries to argue that not all Grounders are the same (duh), Pike (who I was just starting to like) spews out the most bullshit line ever uttered on television: “They are to me.”

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Pike

Like, okay Pike, let’s break this down: So if a group of Ark survivors go on a destructive killing spree, that makes you and your people killers who deserve to die, too? I have no patience for this kind of dumb, short-sighted anti-logic. I thought you were a teacher for crying out loud.

Anyway, aside from that, Pike is actually pretty cool. He is all for the idea of moving into Mount Weather, and as the makeshift leader of Farm Station, he’ll probably have a lot of sway with the Arkadians. It looks like Kane will be fighting a losing battle when they get home, what with Abby, Lincoln and now Pike all on the same side, and it leads me to wonder if maybe Arkadia will split up into two groups: Those who go to Helm’s Deep Mount Weather, and those who stay behind.

The Bellarke is strong with this one

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Bellamy

Bellamy, bless him, isn’t about to let Clarke out of his sight when she’s finally this close. He dresses up in Grounder garb, and now we know where that confusing shot from the season 3 trailer came from!

He goes into the cave, and because The 100 is the master of sub-subverting expectations, Clarke is actually there! They have a brief but glorious reunion before Roan almost kills him — and for one second, damn it, I was sure he would. I’m basically scared for everyone, all the time.

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Clarke

But Clarke begs for his life, and Good Guy Roan just stabs him in the leg instead. When Bells wakes up, Clarke is gone, but a little bleeding to death isn’t going to stop him. “We can’t lose Clarke! We can’t lose her,” he insists, and it’s truly a powerful moment.

Shipper wars aside, everyone’s in agreement that Bellamy and Clarke love each other, right? Clarke is a complex creature: She can have a profound bond with more than one person.

As far as romance goes, I think we’ve still got a long way to go (if it ever happens), but the love is definitely there. Bellamy and Clarke have been through so much together, and honestly, their bond is one of the best things about the show. I’m still not sure whether or not their relationship would benefit from developing into a romantic thing, but I’m certainly not opposed to it. Right now though, there’s another ship that deserves our attention.

Heda to Heda

The 100 season 3 episode 2 Lexa

Pre-Bellarke reunion, Clarke is being dragged through the forest by a Grounder, again, but this time it’s not her BFF Anya holding the chain: It’s Prince Roan of Ice Nation, whose arrival on the show has been heavily advertised (guess Zach McGowan is some big-shot pirate or something, wink wink). Roan isn’t a bad guy, as far as Grounders go, he simply wants to be un-banished from his people.

Although he’s Ice Nation, he takes Clarke to Lexa, who for some reason can undo his banishment (?), but she refuses: the Ice Queen has called her army to march on Polis, and until she honors their coalition, Roan is Lexa’s prisoner.

You might think Clarke would have been happy to find herself captured by Lexa rather than the Ice Queen, but nope. Lexa’s “War is brewing, I need you” is met by Clarke spitting her in the face and crying, “I hate you! I’ll kill you!” So much for them kissing and making up, huh?

While this makes me sad, I’m also kind of relieved that Clarke is genuinely upset about Lexa’s betrayal at the end of season 2 (because I was genuinely upset, too). The two will work it out, I’m sure, but for now, anything but this reaction from Clarke would have felt ingenuous, and that’s not true to her character.

Important comments and questions

The 100 season 3 episode 2 tech

  • We find out that Lexa is living in a tower. Huh. That’s very Rapunzel of her.
  • I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’ll be a long while before Bellamy and Clarke see each other again. Why is the show always separating those two? Hmmm.
  • There’s a total of 63 Farm Station survivors, and I will be you a City of Light entry chip that Miller’s boyfriend is one of those 63.
  • Abby was a week too late with her observation, but she did point out to Jasper that if he didn’t face his feelings, he’d end up like Finn. This is true, and it’s important. In this world, you cope or you die. Like Monty said when Bellamy asked if he was alright: “I have to be.”
  • A.L.I.E.’s tech is branded with a figure-eight sign of eternity, suggesting eternal life. I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if Jaha decides that the only way to truly live in the City of Light is to kill off your physical body, starting some kind of digital suicide cult.

Next week on ‘The 100’: Will Clarke and Lexa join tribes?

In season 3, episode 3 “Ye Who Enter Here,” Lexa offers Clarke to join their people — but can the Arkadians trust her this time?

The 100 airs Thursday nights at 9/8c on The CW! #WatchItLive, pass it on.

What did you think about The 100 season 3, episode 2, ‘Wanheda, Part 2’?

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