If the first episode didn’t allay my fears that this show would be more than just another teenage dystopian future, then this episode surely didn’t, and neither will the next, or the next. In fact, this IS a dystopian future. It’s a dystopian future on top of a dystopian future. Not only did humanity have to leave earth because of radiation poisoning, but now the ark that was supposed to sustain them cannot, and the higher ups are sacrificing innocents to keep their lives a little longer and in the midst of it send 100 imprisoned teens to earth to see if it can sustain life. With this episode we get a little more info on where the ark is life-support-wise, and where they are in the scheme of things. We get a better idea as to how long it’s been since they left earth and at best guess the year is 2232.
We also find out that the Chancellor and the other chairmen on the ark are claiming the prison quarantined off, so as not to draw suspicion. This does little to stop one very nosy and completely unprofessional engineer (that is frankly too hot to be taken seriously) to eavesdrop and discover the truth. All of the people in the know are completely at a loss as to why the children keep dying, and only just after finding this news out the hot engineer realizes the truth of the matter… They’re just dumb kids taking their wristbands off. ‘Earth Skills’ stresses that the politics in space, on the ark, are still very primitive and there are a few unruly power-hungry characters we need to keep our eyes open for.
Meanwhile on earth the kids continue reveling, fighting, sexing – a depraved and anarchic society that anyone with any sense could tell immediately wouldn’t last longer than a week. Clarke and her team come back to the camp to find the fighting and halt it, only to alert them that there is a new threat looming. Jasper has been speared through the chest and taken. Bellamy and Murphy join them on their search and when they find him he’s tied up to a tree – a trap Clarke nearly killed herself in. It was at this point I realized the show had a particularly good grasp of CGI, as it was very impressive – but not perfect. I shouldn’t be able to tell it was CGI in the first place really.
I love how the name they chose for the others that live on the ground just stuck like ‘that’ without any explanation, or reasoning. “Grounders” they called them. Very typical YA SciFi term. Regardless, they take Jasper back after finding out that the grounders had patched up his wound. That’s interesting. For whatever reason they don’t wish them to cross the river to go to Mount Weather, or at least that’s what the kids surmise.
All the while, the episode shows the need for order amidst the chaos of the situation. Bellamy’s struggle to remain in charge is threatened on more than one occasion by simple logic, and rule breaking. He ends up taking it out on his sisters new love, who’s name escapes me currently, and he strings him up. As they eat the food they brought back to camp, the audience finds they’re being watched by someone in the trees with crazy eyes, and a crazier mask. Undoubtedly of the people who threw a spear through Jasper’s heart.
Practical steps to maintaining life begin to be initiated, on both sides. On the planet, one guy is trying to use the wristbands to connect like a transmitter to the ark, but to no avail (yet). And on the ark Clarke’s mother tasks the engineer to fix an ancient pod within nine days so she can make the trip to earth for reasons we aren’t fully enlightened to yet, but we can assume is to gather further proof that the teens still live.
Although The 100 has yet to break the mold on television or science fiction in general, it definitely stands to break the mold of being up their next to Arrow at the top of the CW’s lineup. It just screams “I can be more,” and for that realization I’m holding my breath. This past episode was excellent, and a major step up as apposed to my eye-roll induced viewing of the pilot. I think it may just hold it’s weight. Next episode promises to bring radical changes to the nature of the world (as they currently know it anyway). Do stay tuned.