The 100 Review by John Keegan

The 100 1.03: Earth Kills

The 100 1.03: Earth Kills

Written By:
Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
Directed By:
Dean White

After the previous episode, I was wondering how far The 100 would be able to go in terms of replicating some of the morally questionable angles of its clear inspiration, The Hunger Games.  Well, this episode certainly answered that question!  In fact, it feels like the writers and producers are trying to bring some of the elements of The Walking Dead to the mainstream networks, and I’m very happy to see it.



 

I suppose I shouldn’t say that I’m happy with the idea of teenagers killing and getting killed in all sorts of interesting ways.  But out of the original 100 exiles, they are already down to 95.  Any thought that the teen population on the ground would somehow been safe from the attrition taking place up in the Ark is now moot.  And guess what?  It turns out that some of the prisoners were sequestered from society for a damn good reason.

 

Two high-profile deaths took place, but the circumstances were very different.  Atom’s death became a test of Clarke’s sense of pragmatism and mercy.  Bellamy and others chastised Clarke for holding on to the hope of Jasper’s survival, but none of them seemed to understand the key to that hope: evidence that there was a way to help him heal from his wound.  Atom’s horrifying wounds from the acidic fog were never going to be healed, and a quick death was the best thing Clarke could offer.  That they showed Clarke stabbing his jugular right on camera was a startling statement.



 

It was also foreshadowing to Charlotte’s actions at the very end of the episode, and here we see how the advice to “killing one’s demons” can go very, very wrong.  Charlotte’s nightmares about her parents being spaced mirror Clarke’s own memory of her father flying out of the airlock (again, directly shown, not just described), so a direct comparison of Clarke’s capacity for forgiveness and mercy to Charlotte’s insane resolution to her ongoing psychological trauma is certainly intended.  That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, and Charlotte’s expression is chilling, to say the least.

 

The implications are vast.  Atom’s death was the result of external threat; Wells’ death is internal to the group.  The question becomes: what other individuals among the exiles might be equally psychotic?  And of course, this was the Chancellor’s son, so when his death is revealed to his father, what will that mean?  Clarke’s reaction ought to be interesting enough, since she had come to terms with Wells’ innocence in the matter of her father’s death.  Speaking of which, if her mother is trying to get to the surface to check on the exiles, what kind of reunion are they likely to have now?



 

If there was a weakness to the episode, it was that the use of flashbacks to flesh out the truth about Clarke’s father and the politics of the Ark meant that the “present-day” issues on the Ark were deferred to the next installment.  Even so, the flashbacks didn’t hold back, and there is a certain mythical resonance as events transpire.  (I was detecting something of a riff on the Superman origin stories, to be honest.)  But it’s a minor point, given how much of the rest of the episode worked for me.


Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • The stakes rise in compelling ways
  • Nice layering to give meaning to the deaths
The Bad:
  • The crisis on The Ark was only in flashbacks

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The 100 by - 4/4/2014 6:50 AM230 views

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