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The 100: Blood Must Have Blood Part 2

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The second season of The 100 finished last week with Blood Will Have Blood Part. A dramatic title for a dramatic end to a dramatic season, but sadly, the episode did not quite live up to its potential.

Ultimately, I found the season finale of The 100 dramatic but disappointing. Is this the natural result of falling head over heels while marathoning a show and then having to watch it week after week instead? Something felt off to me. All the right notes were there, but they didn’t resonate as they should.

Part of the blame, I think, lies with the series’ fast pace. Constant plot development and plot twists should mean that we never get chance to get bored, but it can also prevent scenes from having the emotional resonance that they should. While the story races ahead, our connection to the characters gets left behind. The strongest moment of the episode was when Clarke pulled a Buffy and left the camp, too horrified by what she had done to face her friends or act as a leader any longer. Dramatic plot moments only work if they have emotional consequences, and a promise that those consequences will create more drama in the future.

So part of my problem with this episode was that I wanted more time. I wanted a payoff — either emotional or plotwise — to Lexa’s abandonment of Clarke. I wanted Clarke to be able to reflect on the lessons she took from Lexa about leadership, and what she thinks of them now. I wanted to be able to see more of Clarke’s struggle as she threatened to shoot a mostly innocent man. I wanted a more clear thread, both plotwise and emotion-wise, from Clarke’s decision to stab Finn through to the moment when she stands with her hand on a deadly lever in Mount Weather. I wanted to see how it all tied together, and although Eliza Taylor’s acting continued to be amazing, I didn’t feel the emotional build-up of all her tough decisions that I knew had to be there.

This isn’t to say that Clarke’s brutal decision here felt cheap. The 100 excels at presenting moral dilemmas that are actually dilemmas, and where the choice can’t be handwaved as “it was the only way.” Clarke and Bellamy chose to kill hundreds of innocent people in Mount Weather, including Maya, in order to save about 50 of their own people. They had to face the idea that they valued the lives of their own people far more than the lives of other innocents, and Clarke in particular had to deal with the realization that she might hate Lexa’s ruthless decision to betray her, but that she would make similar choices to protect her own. The moment worked, and the aftermath worked too. But I found myself wanting more.

And honestly, much of my emotional disconnect from this finale came from the fact that I never cared much about Mount Weather. I’m just not a fan of bunker-type stories — I never liked the Hatch much in LOST either — and I’m not really buying the religious quest arc either. An entire episode focused on those plot, without much time for emotional contemplation and without a survival-in-the-wilderness type plotline to balance it, revealed to me how little I was invested in them. I cared about Monty and Jasper, but the rest of the characters trapped there felt like redshirts. I cared about Clarke’s emotional reaction to her decision, but I didn’t really care much about the struggle to save everyone itself.

So, to me, many parts of the episode felt gratuitous. Raven is tortured, and it’s graphic and grim, but she isn’t actually at risk — it makes the audience scared for her, but otherwise doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Clarke threatening the ex-president brought her emotional arc of the season to a climax, but her threat didn’t seem to have much purpose, and actually killing him was even more pointless, as she threw her only bargaining chip away. A sign that Clarke was panicking and overwhelmed, perhaps, and a great opportunity to contrast how Clarke and Bellamy have both grown from their initial peaceful and “whatever the hell we want” stances, but one that didn’t quite resonate.

The scenes that worked best for me were the ones where nothing much actually happened. Clarke and Bellamy talking at the gate of Camp Jaha. Octavia shouting at Clarke and telling her that “doing the best she can” isn’t good enough if this is the result. Character reunions, character disagreements, quiet heart to hearts… The 100 excels when it allows its characters to breathe and drive the story, and some of that got lost this week in the fast pace and the drama. It was still good, but it wasn’t quite all it could have been.

Rhiannon

Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

4 thoughts on “The 100: Blood Must Have Blood Part 2

  1. I disagree with the idea that killing the president was purposeless–I think at that point, Clarke saw threatening to radiate the place as the only option. She didn’t have a use for him at that point, other then to prove how ruthless she could be. The rationale is debate-ably sound, but understandable, I think. And her initial threat, likewise, was her using her only option (as far as she could tell) to try and save her purpose. Nothing came of either threat, since not-Cain is a terrible and not especially smart sort-of person (seriously, she’s in the control room threatening to kill everyone and you want to escalate her decision by murdering her mother?), except further pushing her towards that final decision. Basically, I don’t think the episode would have worked without the president and his death.
    I really hope Monty’s part in the decision will create a character arc for him next season. I always preferred him to Jasper and was more than a bit ticked by how side-lined he has been. If his trauma and guilt is pushed aside I’ll be sorely disappointed.
    Anyway, first time commenter and I really enjoy our analysis (not just of The 100, but of most anything).

    1. Good point about the president. I think I felt quite disengaged during parts of this episode, so I definitely missed a couple of things. And you’re right that her killing him definitely helped to make her threat of killing *everybody* credible. Maybe more lingering on that point would have helped?

      And YES to Monty. I love him and I wish he had a bigger role. The final scene with him and Jasper broke my heart, and I hope it’s going somewhere next season.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    2. exactly, i don’t remember where i first heard that but if you don’t follow on the threats you make as a leader, your opponent will stop taking you seriously/fearing you. and while we didn’t have a scene where clarke explicitely ponders about lexa and what she learned from her, the very fact that she shot the president and radiated the 5th floor and made this very hard choice for her people shows it. idk i thought lexa’s shadow was on clarke’s every decision and every thought. the 100 likes to show instead of telling. There is a lot of character development but it’s noticeable through their actions and not their words for the most part

  2. I think the show could have done a better job at humanizing the Mountain Men. By the time Clarke had to make the decision to irradiate everyone, Maya’s father and the people helping Monty and Jasper were dead. Maya was the only one left of the “good guys” that we knew. They could have shown Mountain Men having normal lives, interacting with friends and family. This might have increased the impact of Clarke’s choice, but it was not bad as it was.

    One thing that bothers me is that the people from the Ark keep using the term “Grounders”. It is a name the 100 gave to the local population, and they never bothered to ask the “Grounders” what they call themselves. And I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be calling themselves “Grounders” – why would they? The name is given to differentiate them from people not living on the ground and the “Grounders” didn’t know until recently that such people existed. Perhaps they call themselves tree-people (to differentiate themselves from the Mountain Men), but we never learn for certain. It is somewhat colonialist – the Ark people come to a land that isn’t theirs, give the locals a name and never bother to learn the correct term.

    I also got a Buffy vibe from Clarke leaving.

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