Thoughts on the TV show The 100
The 100 is a post-apocalyptic television series that, among many themes, focuses on the survival of the human race after a global-nuclear event rendered the planet uninhabitable. Just think of what would have happened if Joshua/WOPR would have succeeded in the movie WAR GAMES!
I loved season 1 of The 100! What a fantastic show it was. The Ark—a mega-space station— is dying. Their leadership decides to send 100 youth (or prisoners) down to Earth to determine if it’s safe for humanity to return to the planet’s surface. Why? Because if Ark is dying, that means that all of humanity will die as well if they cannot escape or take drastic measures to ensure humanity’s survival.
The plan for the kids is to land as safely as possible in a drop ship on the surface near Mount Weather and then get there as quickly as possible. Special bands on their wrists would transmit critical information about whether the planet was inhabitable or not back to the scientists of the Ark. When the 100 safely make it to the planet’s surface, a Lord of the Flies type situation takes place as the stronger teens vie for leadership, but not after a little anarchy ensues. Some of them die; boo hoo. Oh, and most of them break off the wrist bands, causing confusion and drama for the parents back on the Ark. As the season unfolds, two main things happen:
- On the ground, the teens struggle to set up a fortified camp around the drop ship, survive, and of course, learn to deal with other humans—yup, some survived—who reverted back to a more caveman-ish lifestyle of clans and tribes to live. These assholes become known as the Grounders.
- On the station, the remaining bastion of humanity begins to unravel as rebels—and I use that term very loosely—attempt a coup, but fail. Ultimately a decision is made (Spoiler Alert) that brings the station down to earth close to where our merry band of teenagers and twenty-somethings have managed to survive and even thrive.
Season 1 manages to do plot and character development pretty well, and keeps the kids away from their parents, IMHO, makes the show worth watching, until the end. Doh.
This brings us charging into Season 2, which caused me to fall out-of-love with the show pretty quickly. We finally get a pretty awesome opening sequence (missing on Season 1 on Hulu) and show finally reveals who the mysterious Mountain Men and the Reapers are.
- The Mountain Men are the large group of civilized humans (who are great at torture) who survived the nuclear bombs and the deadly radiation. They are the current inhabitants of Mount Weather who live in its underground, self-contained, and radiation-free ecosystem. Most of these people cannot go outside of the mountain, as the remaining radiation will kill them.
- Wait… Wait… then how did the kids, and now Ark people survive on the planet’s surface if it’s still highly irradiated? Apparently living on a space station all your life teaches your body how to safely soak up solar radiation (no normal atmospheric shielding on a space station). This then allows you to soak up higher levels of nasty radiation on the planet 97 years after the nukes went boom. (While this might not make sense, it’s a great idea for the story, I think.)
- The Reapers (Spoiler Alert) are cannibals created by the Mountain men to protect Mount Weather from the Grounders, or anyone for that matter. Don’t go near them. Ever. Except… let’s not forget that getting to Mount Weather was the original and ultimate goal of the teenagers. Lucky for them they weren’t able to get their quickly.
By now, the 5 main groups of the show—the teenagers, the Grounders, the Reapers, the Mountain Men/Mount Weather people, and the Ark survivors—begin to interact and plots begin to develop and unfold in such a way that ended the story for me, and I stopped watching. Case in point— the Cerberus Project. Really? Do we become such assholes when we need to survive? This sci-fi series just tried to pull off an American Horror Story plot. But… it could work for the story.
When the Ark finally does come crashing down and the parents come home, the show lost one of the major driving forces behind its plot, and well, its title. With season 2, we don’t have the Space People vs the (three groups of) Earth People who are mysteriously linked but don’t talk to each other, ever.
What made the show interesting for me was the impassable chasm between the parents and their kids. I think the drama would have been more solid if two scenarios in parallel but with their unique challenges preserved. To this end, the Ark should have come down at the end of season 2, not season 1. I didn’t feel desperate enough to want the Ark to come down yet; it felt rushed.
Something else I’ve noticed is that the personalities of almost all the lead teenagers established in season 1 changed. Suddenly, except for their incessant whininess, these teens abruptly evolved into different people. For example:
- Clarke went from being a struggling yet successful leader to a mistrusting bitch who can’t get out of her own way and now embodies Bellamy’s mistrust.
- Clarke’s hott boy-toy Finn was kind, employed prudence and wisdom, and became a conscience-less do-whatever-it-takes-even-if-its-killing-the-unarmed-guy borderline crazy asshole.
- Jasper went from nerdy teen to double agent.
- Bellamy went from being a completely asshole-ish and merciless leader (which worked) to a slightly nicer one. I actually don’t mind his character’s development at all.
- Octavia, Name’s sister, was crazy through the entire thing. With a bunch of horny boys around, she just has to go and fall for the captured Grounder, Lincoln. Although let’s face it, his abs…
And finally, the biggest mystery of the show reveals itself in two ways and they both irks me! Maybe it’s intentional, and if that’s the case and then it’s working because it’s irks me a lot. The biggest mystery is humanity’s unkindness.
- Everyone is human. There are no aliens. Yet each group treats any other group as inhumanly as possible. They carry on as if they are different species with nothing in common. Yes, I know they try for peace, but… Something’s off.
- Why are all groups of humans treated as isolated groups of humans. Why didn’t the Mount Weather people ever try to contact anyone else, even if just to have pen-pals or something?
P.S., Why are there no gays?