So, it’s been just over a month since The CW packed a shitty taste in our collective mouth with the romantically foul Star-Crossed. You can imagine my reticence to dive into their newest series, The 100, which is completely different as far as plot and tone are concerned, but still features a cast comprised mostly of angst-ridden (and beautiful) teenagers. Imagine my surprise when I found myself completely invested in the story, although not a single minute went by that I didn’t groan at some inane piece of dialogue or bit action. But still, considering this is a CW show, I’ll go on record as calling this premiere an unmitigated success.
Did I really just say that? Sheesh. Before you go forward, know that there are a few spoilers in here, but nothing too specific. There are a few reveals during the episode that are genuinely interesting and surprising, and I don’t want to ruin them for anyone.
Let’s delve into the backstory. It has been 97 years since the Earth went through a nuclear apocalypse, and all of the survivors currently live up in space on a ship called the Ark, run by Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington). There are strict rules aboard this ship: anyone over 18 convicted of a crime faces the death penalty, and no parents are allowed to have more than one child due to population control. We’re not going to get into the fact that there are only being English-speaking people on board this ship, for hopefully obvious reasons.
For a mission to test how livable the Earth is after all these years, a ship of 100 juvenile delinquents (and then some) are sent down to the surface. And you can bet there is drama among all these criminal youngens. Our main character is Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor), daughter of Ark doctor Abby (Paige Turco) and a father who was murdered for information he discovered. (One of the things I like is the use of the word “floated” instead of “killed.”) Then there’s the Chancellor’s son Wells (Eli Goree), who doesn’t get along with Clarke.
We have Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley), a kid who wasn’t even supposed to be on the ship but snuck on to protect his sister Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), a “second child” who was hidden from the orbiting society. Bellamy did something terrible back on the Ark and doesn’t particularly feel it’s his responsibility to let those monitoring the 100 know that they’re all okay. He’s happy to make it look like everyone is dying so that no follow-up missions are sent down.
The ship crash-lands miles away from their intended location of Mount Weather, where a supply-stocked military base is hidden. Here is where one of the early wishy-washy plot elements come in. One must assume that whatever supplies being held in that base are still going to be good enough for people to use, but that’s fine. What’s dumb is only five of the group end up making the trek to the mountain, while the rest of them just want to hang around and party outside of the confines of a spaceship.
While Clarke and her crew go to the mountain, they come across a couple of deadly creatures that probably weren’t around before human’s left. These scenes are genuinely tense, despite being cloaked in cornball nonsense. You’re trying to survive, yet you feel the need to take a dip in a small river? I guess I can’t really relate to anyone who hasn’t ever experienced life on Earth, so I’ll try and give some of those moments the benefit of the doubt.
It isn’t quite clear exactly how any of the rebelling assholes will live if they aren’t trying to find food and water, but I’m perfectly content with this series racking up an extremely high body count. One of the things I like is that with such a huge cast, there’s no problem in people dropping like flies, and we do see a couple of deaths by the end, particularly one that poses a mystery as to what else is lurking around this mountain.
And things aren’t exactly peachy on the Ark either, as a possible tragedy leaves control of the ship to Councillor Kane, played by Lost‘s Henry Ian Cusick. I kept waiting for him to refer to someone as “Brotha” or to call out for Penny at any given moment. Sigh. Anyway, just because the Ark is full of capable adults doesn’t mean they’re going to act like it.
When all is said and done, we’re left with a plot that could go in a million different ways, with characters that aren’t overly predictable. Though it’s easy to make fun of these kids for being kids, the situation they’re in will doubtlessly turn them into completely different people as the series continues, which could be quite refreshing. If they encounter Jaden Smith, however, I’ll be the first person running for the hills.
What did you guys think? Leave us 100 comments letting us know.