It’s about time we created a post-apocalyptic drama with zero realism, said no-one.
There are likely approximately minus three-thousand reasons why ‘The 100’ got a renewal this year. For a show that claims to be gritty, it truly is not. Really, the term ‘gritty’ needed a double check in the dictionary to understand its definition. Nowhere next to the word does it say ‘unnecessary darkness with no light at the end of the tunnel’. Wars had victories, albeit at a great cost. Mass-murderers usually got their comeuppance. A bunch of mainly-white, insanely good-looking, fresh-off-the-boat ‘convicts’ who look like they’ve just stolen a loaf of bread getting sent down to earth? Considering the earth’s habitable and the Ark is dying of oxygen starvation, it seems like a sweet deal.
That’s not to mention that nowhere near the word ‘gritty’ is there ‘unrealistic’. In the first episode (or something) Jasper (Devon Bostick), the most annoying boy in the world, gets staked in the chest by a spear. He survives, because Clarke (Eliza Taylor) clumsily rubs some seaweed on him. But it’s magic! You say. No. We eat seaweed. We do not survive a spear to the chest.
Yet when Commander Lexa bursts on-screen (Alycia Debnam-Carey) to the jeers of unnamed shippers, she get shot by a gun to a non-fatal organ. Instead of using her healing abilities, Clarke faffs about. Murphy (Richard Harmon) and Titus (Neil Sandilands) stand and perform an excellent impression of lemons. They do not call for help. Thus, the great Commander who united twelve clans and fought several wars…dies.
That isn’t even the half of it.
Within what seems like days, Raven (Lindsey Morgan) suffers a spinal injury and kinda gets better. Granted, there’s five minutes of her being in agony. Thanks to her knight in shining armour (we’ve forgotten his name) she has a crutch made for her. This is no slight on Morgan’s acting. She perhaps has some of the better scenes in the show. But for someone with a bullet lodged in the spine you’d think there’d be sufficient nerve damage. No-one can realistically withstand that pain without some opiates. But no, soldier Raven goes on, hobbling about. Stupidly, she ignores the medical advice of Abby (Paige Turco). You guessed it: she’s a trained medic. But anything for the unnecessary drama, right?
Ignoring the fight scenes in Polis is a wise thing to do right now. Having Lexa face a daunting Prince Roan (Zach McGowan) is difficult to explain and requires another analysis article. And that’s assuming the show thought of such tactics whilst choreographing the scene. But the problem with ‘The 100’ is creating conflict where there is none. When Clarke killed the Mount Weather residents, couldn’t she just have brokered a deal where year by year, the Arkers donate blood? Once? Then, like Emerson, they can roam the land.
Jaha (Isaiah Washington) deserves a website of his own. Landing on earth on a missile? Check. Getting high off some shrooms in the Dead Zone and hallucinating some chick in a curvy red dress? Check. There must be a theory somewhere about Jaha dying as he crossed the atmosphere of Earth, burning, and replaced by a robot.
Gritty does not equal macabre mass-murders.
‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ was a gritty, quiet thriller. Featuring the acting prowess of Gary Oldman and Colin Firth to name a few, the film was quiet, smoky and brooding. The trick was, it never overdid it. However, there were disgustingly inappropriate (one could say the show did overdo it) deaths in ‘The 100’. Especially for its timeslot on ‘The CW’, which is probably aimed at tweens.
Instead, ‘The 100′ seems to end with genocide every single season. In the first season, Clarke—eighteen years old—scorches three hundred Grounders alive. She doesn’t even know them. In the second season, she gasses over three hundred Mountain Men, some of which are children. In season three, she condemns the entire world to a fate of an oncoming nuke. That’s pretty heavy stuff for someone who can’t even legally drink in the USA.
This is a disclaimer: mostly, it was well-acted, especially by Eliza Taylor.
Bob Morley’s Bellamy gets the brunt of it. Manipulated by a crazed son-of-a-bleep, Bellamy sets off in the middle of the night. Accompanied by like-minded individuals, he murders three-hundred Grounders in their sleep. The worst thing? They were sent by the Commander to guard the Arkers’ segregated camp, Arkadia. They were there to protect.
This moves us onto our next point…
Gritty does not equal colonialism.
This could all be a moot point, if Jason Rothenberg had decided to be clever and tell the story of man. We are instinctively selfish; we want. Ask Christopher Columbus. We see land that is fertile, and we invade. Do we care about the people who lived there previously? Running out of water and provisions, the likely answer is no.
But we do not live in a world like that anymore. How many of you will sail ashore, find a deserted island, kill the natives and roast some fish by the fire? ‘The 100’ was never a story about the horrors of man: it simply is not clever enough to be so. There are too many plot gorges to be so. Storytelling is not a necessity here.
This is not a hate piece. It is the criticism nobody really wants to hear. If we looked at the bare-bones of what has transpired over these hollow seasons, the themes remain the same. The Natives (the Grounders) are slowly but surely shunted from their land, to make room for the Arkers. All traditions they have are taken over by Arker science. These Grounders—these Neanderthals—are ridiculed, sometimes by Clarke, for their beliefs. Indra (Adina Porter) is especially represented as brutal. Hakeldama showed that regardless of past allegiance, the Arkers will terminate the foreign scum. Without mercy. The treatment of Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) was despicable. He was imprisoned for the season and then executed like a Jew in World War II.
It’s not just that. Even Clarke, who we do love, is seen as some white saviour. With her scenes in Polis, she regularly speaks out-of-turn and defies the Commander, who commands ultimate respect. Bob Morley, with his Filipino origins, has that utterly erased when Rothenberg & co cast a pure-white boy for his flashbacks. So maybe this is some weird experiment about how man is perpetually racist. My bet? Rothenberg wasn’t that clever.