One of The 100’s greatest strengths is its narrative focus and its ability to build an organic story that exploits the episodic nature of dramatic television. Every episode engages with the one before it, and, ideally, builds towards something meaningful. There have been crescendos this year–most notably, the midseason finale that culminated in the death of Finn–but for the most part, the show has done a wonderful job of slow-burning the inevitable fallout between the Mountain Men and their now-united enemies, the Grounders and the Sky People.
If there’s a complaint to be made about the patience the writers have shown this season in developing the war storyline, and in teasing out the complexities of the shifting alliances amongst all the players, it’s that the narrative beats feel very similar to the first season. Don’t get me wrong, season two of The 100 has been remarkable. It’s reached a level of week-to-week consistency that the first season only hinted at. It’s established its world and characters and challenged convention and expectations at almost every turn. But with only three episodes left in the season, and a war on the horizon, I can’t help but notice the similar narrative arc. Season one ended with a compelling and brutal two-part finale that saw the Sky People go to war with the Grounders, and established just how morally complex this world could be. Season two seems to be building towards a similar conclusion, with the Mountain Men taking on the role previously occupied by the Sky People. For now, this is a relatively small issue, but one that warrants a mention as we approach the season finale.
With that said, “Resurrection” sufficiently sets up that final confrontation, even if it fails to significantly address the more personal fallout of Clark and Lexa’s decision to leave their people behind in the previous episode. For the first time this season, the more compelling action takes place inside Mount Weather, where Bellamy and Maya are scrambling to get their friends out alive, while Jasper and the rest of the Sky People are doing what they can to buy Bellamy and Maya some time.
Jasper, Monty, and the Sky People recognize that they’re backed into a corner, and that their only hope of escaping is to barricade themselves in the mess hall and hope that Bellamy and Maya find a way to rescue them. Having already seen the effects of the containment breach, they lock down the mess hall and concoct a plan for when the Mountain Men inevitably come to take them away for more bone marrow harvesting. Perfectly on schedule, the Mountain Men storm the hall, throwing in knockout gas before tearing down the barricade. They find the Sky People laid out on the floor; it’s a nice bit of misdirection that I bought into (please tell me one of you also bought it, so that I don’t feel too stupid), because only moments later they all jump up and attack the soldiers. It’s a gruesome, bloody fight, representative of the darker tone the show has taken on this season. After pushing the soldiers back, who have managed to take one of the Sky People, there’s only one Mountain Man in a hazmat suit left. Jasper, barely even considering the act, quickly takes an axe to the man’s back and kills him. It’s a tough scene to watch, but it underscores one of this season’s most prominent themes, which is the way our morals shift during times of survival and duress.
It’s a central theme to the episode in general, even if it is underexplored. Jasper’s killing of the Mountain Man is tough to watch because of how gruesome and primal it is, but we understand it as necessary, as an act of rebellion. The Mountain Men have shown no mercy, so why would the Sky People? On the other hand, Clarke and Lexa’s decision to sacrifice many of their own people is not quite as simple. Clarke is clearly feeling the weight of her decision, but for the most part, “Resurrection” doesn’t dig too deep into the consequences. Not unlike the way the show inadequately addressed Finn’s slaughter of many Grounders, this episode never really meaningfully engage with the psychological effects of the decision Clarke has made. Yes, we see Clarke with her eyes welled up, but that’s about it. Even when Clarke and Lexa return from looking for the sniper that’s keeping everyone at the camp pinned down, there’s only a brief interaction with Abigail before Clarke once again moves on. That’s not to say the show won’t address the issues more sufficiently in coming episodes, but the immediate aftermath feels insufficient.
There is, however, a single, stunning moment that touches on Clark’s thought process leading up to the attack. Abigail, who is trapped underneath the rubble with Kane after trying to rescue him, lets him know that Clarke is safe because she knew about the impending attack. She confides in Kane and asks how her daughter could have done something so unspeakable. He tells her it’s because she grew up on the Ark, and she learned from the leaders there. She saw people sacrificed for oxygen. She saw her dad get floated, and then realize that it was her mother who was responsible for it. The clear cause-and-effect pattern, and the show’s willingness to employ its past in understanding the present, is something the rest of the episode lacks.
Back inside Mount Weather, with the first attack stifled, the focus is now on getting out of the mess hall. Bellamy and Maya figure that they can get into the armory, gather weapons, and then use the trash chutes to move everything to Level 5, where the Sky People are staying. They enlist the help of Maya’s dad, who, like her deceased mother, was part of a movement against the use of outsider blood in order to get the Mountain Men back to Earth. The reveal is a nice nod to the fact that there have been people living on this Earth, in many different circumstances, well before the Sky People came down. The 100 has done a great job expanding its world this season, and nuanced storytelling touches like this one are what make this show feel so lived-in.
After some struggle with the trash chutes, the Sky People finally break out of the mess hall and are helped by a handful of people inside Mount Weather that don’t share Cage’s beliefs. They offer to separate and hide the Sky People while they can, giving Bellamy time to free the Grounders and gather any troops. Clarke and Lexa, along with an army of Grounders, are on their way. The Sky People inside Mount Weather are armed and safe. Bellamy is ready to unleash a horde of very angry Grounders. War is indeed coming; let’s hope that the final few episodes don’t feel too much like a retread of last season’s stunning finale.
- Nice to see Octavia finding her role amongst the Grounders as a warrior. She’s long been an undercooked character, one too often attached to Lincoln and his character growth. In “Resurrection,” she shines.
- Jasper and Monty are basically this show’s version of Troy and Abed and I’m warming up to them more and more as the season rolls on.
- It was heartbreaking watching Jasper gleefully ask about Finn, and even more heartbreaking seeing Bellamy understand that he can’t tell Jasper the truth, not at this crucial moment in their survival.
- “Don’t forget that we’re the good guys.” Are you sure, Abigail?
- If it was so easy to crawl out from under that rock, why didn’t you do it sooner, Abigail?!?