Article first published as TV Review: 'The 100' - 'The 48' on Blogcritics.
Warning: The following contains some spoilers from the season premiere of The 100.
CW’s The 100 is back for a second season this week. As the premiere episode opens, our cast remains scattered after the chaos of the season-ending battle last spring. Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and forty-seven others have been taken below ground by a group of survivors trying to live much the same way people used to on Earth, hence the title of the hour, “The 48.” Octavia (Maria Avgeropoulos) lies dying from the poison arrow she is shot with, Raven (Lindsey Morgan) is stuck with an unexpected companion, and Bellamy (Bob Morley) tracks a captured Finn (Thomas McDonell) through the forest.
Clarke’s subplot gets the biggest focus, as one might expect, since she is the main protagonist. She wakes up in a white room, confused, not knowing where she is or how she got there. The 100 does a good job of communicating the terror of being in an unfamiliar environment, letting the audience see things through Clarke’s eyes, and only after a bit of action do we find out what’s going on.
Clarke soon meets Dante (Raymond J. Barry, Justified), the leader of the so-called Mountain Men. He and his people are generous, offering the ‘rescued’ teenagers clean clothing and good food. Much of the group is very happy to be there, but Clarke is suspicious, believing the whole thing is too good to be true. “The 48″ doesn’t tell us whether or not Clarke is right, as most smartly-written dramas keep us guessing, letting things unfold in such a way that Dante could be a hero, a villain, or something in between. It will be interesting to see how things with him play out.
Clarke’s story is intriguing, but The 100 is smart to divide its cast because it allows for other avenues to be explored at the same time. Various combinations of personalities can be tossed together, played with for awhile, then remixed to keep the story interesting. For example, Murphy (Richard Harmon) winds up spending time with one of our main group. No one likes him, but by constructing the story in such a way that a beloved cast member is forced to spend time with him, it allows the conflict needed for drama and keeps things moving along. Thankfully, “The 48″ doesn’t end this pairing in a predictable way, either.
What many viewers will be wondering throughout this initial installment is, where are those that fell to the ground from space? Abigail (Paige Turco) and Marcus (Henry Ian Cusick) do show up about two-thirds of the way through the episode. I won’t spoil where they enter or what they do, but one thing is definitely clear: their presence marks a shift in the balance of power. The kids, despite having been back on the planet for only a short time, have their own hierarchy and rules now. Does anyone really think their parents and elders will just join that framework? Of course not. Which makes for another thread I’m anxious to see more of.
Finally, there is one main character who appears to be done in last year’s season finale but is definitely not. I was quite surprised to see this person pop up in “The 48″ and I’m not sure exactly why the writers have decided to keep them. Yet, like most of the other story lines, this one is mysterious enough to draw one in, and I definitely look forward to seeing how the writers get this person out of the corner they’ve written them into.
I’ve striven to tease without revealing, but I found The 100‘s season premiere quite good. It picks back up nicely from where it leaves off, and it begins a number of new plots that should serve the show well.
The 100 airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET on the CW.