Mark Watches ‘The 100’- S01E04 – Murphy’s Law

In the fourth episode of the first season of The 100, the camp deals with Charlotte’s actions, and Dr. Griffin makes a pivotal choice. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The 100.

Trigger Warning: For capital punishment, suicide, emotional trauma, racism, lynching.

Well, The 100 certainly doesn’t fuck around.

The Ark

I appreciate the grittiness of the scenes on the space ship, as I think it’s neat to contrast the high technology with such horrendous human behavior. The characters are dirty, willing to do what it takes to put themselves above others, and in this case? It’s a brutal, dog-eat-dog kind of world. That’s where a character like Nigel thrives, but I also think that this shows us more of Dr. Griffin’s ruthless side. We know why she’s desperate to get down to Earth, and with the clock ticking down on the time left before the Ark executes 300 innocent people, I understood why she and Raven were willing to do almost anything to get a pressure regulator. In this instance, it made sense that Raven wouldn’t be quite as invested as Dr. Griffin, even though Finn was down on Earth. It’s not that Raven doesn’t care about her boyfriend! That shot of the necklace charm he created for her is evidence to the contrary. But Dr. Griffin has a different context for this pod. It’s hope that her daughter is alive. It’s hope that the Ark doesn’t have to start killing people to survive. It’s hope that Kane is just wrong.

As it stands, life on the Ark is collapsing. From the patients suffering from oxygen to the chaotic measures people must go through to survive, this is not a society that is any better than what’s happening down on the earth. Sure, there’s more organization, but aren’t Nigel, Kane, and Dr. Griffin all forms of the same sense of distrust and desperation? I don’t know that you could argue that the adults are succeeding at running a society, either. They double-cross one another, set others up for failure, surveil one another… the list goes on and on. (Except for Kane’s mother and Raven, I’d say. Both of them are actually nice people.)

The 100

My god, what a mess. I am still furious over Wells’s death, and despite my boyfriend’s assertion that since we never saw his body, he might be still alive… yeah. I think he’s gone. It sucks, but I don’t want to belabor the point I made in the last review. If I was watching this show on my own, apart from Mark Watches, Wells’s death is probably a point where I’d bow out and give another show a chance. I was certainly entertained by “Murphy’s Law,” and I think there are plenty of things here that were refreshing and thrilling. But I have a low tolerance for this sort of egregious bullshit these days, and in another context, I probably wouldn’t be doing this.

However, we’re here, and I do still want to give this show my attention. While “Murphy’s Law” is literally an entire episode devoted to the ramifications of Wells’s death (proof that his death was for other characters, not himself), it’s also a chance for the writers to wax heavily on a number of tough issues. Truthfully, I was genuinely surprised that this script was as openly critical as it was of a number of behaviors we saw here, and I think that’s what is keeping me interested in The 100. In a matter of minutes, this show is suddenly about capital punishment and mob behavior in a very real way, and it doesn’t shy away from how ridiculously disturbing this can be. Despite that Murphy is easily the most unlikable character in the whole show, he’s momentarily turned into a sympathetic figure by the misidentification of him as Wells’s murderer. I say “momentarily” because Murphy wastes no fucking time turning right back into a bullying, violent monster. HE IS THE ACTUAL WORST.

Despite that this is an undisputed truth in the show, The 100 asks us to consider a different question: At what point does a person not deserve to live in this community? Initially, that’s presented to us through the near-lynching of Murphy. (Which is a weird sequence for a separate reason: there’s something deeply disturbing about a black man cheering on the lynching of a white man, but I can’t quite figure out how to explain why. Someone want to parse this for me?) The crowd immediately turns against him, and his very recent past behavior is all the reason they need to discount the possibility that he didn’t kill Wells. I don’t feel a shred of positive energy towards Murphy in any context ever, given that he’s an abusive little shit, but I knew that the lynching was utterly wrong.

It’s fascinating to me, though, that the group did not turn against Charlotte after she admitted to killing Wells. Why is that? I expected it, given how quickly they turned on someone. But at that point, no one had really interacted with Charlotte. They had not watched her pee on someone who needed water, and thus, they weren’t already biased against her. Plus, I imagine that few people there were all that sad about Wells dying. Hadn’t most of them hated him anyway?

So while Clarke does everything she can to help Charlotte stay alive, she’s also not subtle about her feelings towards the young girl. And damn, that scene made me eager to see more of this show. The fact that they gave Clarke a voice to criticize what Charlotte had done? YES. YES. Honestly, that’s what takes a very heavy-handed episode and gives it life for me. The bully is punished, but life is still valued in the end. Bellamy continues to evolve as a character, especially as he accepts his responsibility as a leader. But it’s in the episode title that this show addresses a necessary topic: Is chaos what the 100 needs? Were they given a second chance, or will they just repeat the sins of their parents?

Initially, it’s the latter. From the lynching to the pursuit of Charlotte, which ends in her suicide, these children just repeat the same cycle of violence enacted on them. Well, not all of them, and I’m pleased to see the splinter group gaining power. People like Monty, Jasper, Octavia, Finn, Bellamy, and Clarke are refusing to repeat the same mistakes. God, I can barely believe that Bellamy is part of that, but he spends the majority of this episode refusing to let Murphy and his gang enact their brand of law. This society has to deliberately change, or they’ll just be no worse than those who came before him.

I will also take this moment to state the following: PLEASE, CAN WE NOT HAVE A LOVE TRIANGLE ON THIS SHOW? Please.

The video for “Murphy’s Law” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The 100 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.