In the seventh episode of the first season of The 100, THIS SHOW DOESN’T PLAY AROUND. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The 100.
Trigger Warning: For torture, gore/blood,
You know, I’m often wary of the idea of a “filler” episode, because sometimes, I’ve seen that term applied to episodes that are just slow or don’t move the main plot forward at a pace that seems reasonable. Now, I’m a fan of the slow burn, and I know others are not. It’s a matter of taste. Still, I try to be careful about what I deem “filler” or not because even more so than others, I don’t actually know what’s going to happen over the course of a season.
I say all this so that I can definitively state that this show doesn’t even remotely court anything like a filler episode. This is one of the most intensely serialized narratives I’ve ever gotten to experience on Mark Watches. I say that not just because it follows a general story from episode to episode, but because in just seven episodes, I’ve seen more character development in this show than others I’ve spent seasons watching. It’s amazing to me because I’m so used to shows using miscommunication and stubbornness to keep plots moving along. And The 100? This is shaping up to be a show about adaptation.
So, if we go off my theory that this whole show is about adaptation, then it’s easy to see the changing nature of the society on the ship as evidence of that. Truthfully, Jaha and the rest of the council could not have kept many secrets after the events of the last two episodes, especially after Dr. Griffin’s message. Well, not just that! The fact that Raven initially is patched through to the Ark’s entire system means that everyone knew that people had been sent to Earth to try and determine if it was habitable. How could they hide anything after the Culling?
It’s here that the previous Chancellor, Diana Sydney, is introduced, and y’all, I’M SO IMPRESSED. I don’t necessarily trust her completely, but again, I’m used to writers committing so much to a character’s behavior that they write them as immutable. I expected Jaha to listen to Diana’s advice and then promptly ignore it. Instead, he immediately heeds her counsel, telling the entire Ark the truth about the Culling, the drop ships, and the fact that humanity can soon return to Earth. He urges for unity. And when the people justifiably turn on him, demanding more answers, expressing the fact that they don’t have any reason to trust him or the government, Jaha asks Diana Sydney to take Dr. Griffin’s seat.
Like Jaha’s development, I was just as surprised by Kane’s behavior in “Contents Under Pressure” becauseâ€¦ this doesn’t happen! I honestly thought he was faking his existential crisis, but you know what? As far as I can tell, this man faced undeniable evidence that he was wrong and HE ACTUALLY EXPRESSED REGRET AND SADNESS. Now, that’s not to say that Kane’s brutal pragmatism is going to disappear overnight; I still think that’s part of who he is. But what does he become in the wake of pushing for the Culling, only to find out that Dr. Griffin was totally right about The 100?
I have no idea. Maybe the disaster given to us at the end of the episode will take him in a new direction. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO DO ABOUT THE OTHER TWO THIRDS OF THE POPULATION WHO CAN’T EVACUATE THE ARK???
Y’all, these scenes were TOO MUCH. I don’t even know where to start because like a BILLION THINGS HAPPENED, and it was all in the same episode, and HOW. The fact that Raven got a connection to the Ark is the least interesting thing here, and it astounds me that this plot point is utterly buried by everything that comes after it.
But let’s talk about adaptation, since I think that’s the unifying thread of “Contents Under Pressure.” If we accept that the people on the Ark are changing due to chaos, fear, and hope, then you can argue that the 100 are doing exactly the same thing. The results are drastically different, though. Stuck inside the drop ship while a tornado blasts the eastern seaboard, they dealing with two disasters at once. Finn is dying in one part of the ship, while Bellamy tries to torture the unnamed Grounder who is responsible for Finn’s condition. It’s a nightmare to watch unfold because the morals are so horribly messed up. The group wants Finn to survive, but their priorities become muddled once Bellamy wants to torture the Grounder for the antidote to the poison he put on the blade.
It’s vital, then, that this episode take place after “Murphy’s Law,” which established both Bellamy and Clarke (more so Clarke) were against capital punishment. Bellamy’s torture of the Grounder skirts dangerously close to hypocrisy, though Bellamy views this Grounder through a very specific lens, making it easier for him to harm him. Octavia ends up being the only voice of dissent in the group, and it’s understandable for her to be that way. I think it further shows us how she’s feeling distant from Bellamy, but she’s also the only person who has any understanding of who this guy is. Is it strange? Of course it is! The guy kidnapped her, and as far as I can tell, he had some creepy fixation on her for the past week or so while he watched the 100’s camp.
Yet Octavia is alone. Even Clarke condones the torture of this guy. That’s the adaptation that we see. There’s that line at the end of the episode where Bellamy remarks on how difficult leading is, and I think that it’s more than just leading. Clarke’s morality evolves in the moment so that she can save Finn, which is also pretty awkward because she knows that she can’t have him, either. She thankfully isn’t going to compete with Raven over Finn, which I’m thankful for because NOOOOOO, END THIS POTENTIAL LOVE TRIANGLE NOW.
So what do the 100 do now? They’ve made contact with the Ark; Finn has survived; and they’ve got little information on who the hell is chained up in the drop ship. I still think that Octavia is right, that this man is not quite who they think he is, but that creepy notebook full of drawings and counts is not exactly helping his case. Why watch them? Why help Octavia? Why stay silent for nearly the entire episode?
GAH. I NEED SO MUCH MORE OF THIS SHOW.
The video for “Contents Under Pressure” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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