Annie Lindenberg ’19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
After a resurgence of buzz for The 100 with the release of the season 3 trailer a month ago, fans have been waiting with both anxiety and excitement for its return. With The 100’s jump back onto the small screen this evening with “Wanheda: Part 1”, it is safe to say the excitement should outweigh the anxiety. With both fresh faces and familiar faces of old favorites, it was reassuring to have The 100 back with this dynamic opening. After last season’s dramatic end with the massacre of Mount Weather, the entrance of Alie (Erica Cerra), and Clarke’s (Eliza Taylor) departure from camp and her people, questions were abundant for how Season 3 was going to tackle all of these, and other unknown, conflicts.
The episode itself started right where it left off with Murphy (Richard Harmon) still in the bunker, showing a progression of time through his listless actions and Murphy’s descent into madness based on helplessness after being locked inside by an unseeable force. After roughly 90 days, the shortage of food bringing Murphy nearly to death, the bunker opens and we see the outside world for the first time. Things have changed since we’ve last caught up with the delinquents and the Ark. Relationships have shifted, power dynamics have altered, and life on the ground has developed. After Murphy left the confines of the bunker, one of the biggest residual questions from last year’s finale hits: what in the world have Jaha (Isaiah Washington) and Alie. been up to?
Murphy speaks for the viewer as he calls on Jaha’s evident descent into madness. If one thing is abundantly clear, it’s that Jaha has become someone entirely unrecognizable from the man he originally was. Though the Alie story arc brings some potential interest to the season, Jaha is a character who may just be past his prime. Once relevant to the show, he has become more of a bother and a waste of screen time for the rest of the cast as he slips more into insanity, and his life becomes more ridiculous with each new near-death experience.
Whereas Jaha may have reached the point of no return for the audience, the delinquents and those from the Ark have thrived. Not to say that there haven’t been difficulties during the time jump, but each character has brought something new and interesting to the screen. Back at camp the delinquents have finally been treated with respect, and with the exception of Jasper, they appear to be doing monumentally better than the last we saw of them. Bellamy (Bob Morley) has a new girlfriend, Monty (Christopher Larkin) has finally gotten some well-deserved character development, and Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) has fully evolved into a Grounder warrior. All of these changes bring intriguing new facets to the show that will be interesting as they develop.
Once inseparable friends, Monty and Jasper (Devon Bostick) have fallen apart since the demise of Jasper’s girlfriend at the end of Season 2. With Monty suddenly stronger than ever seen before and Jasper a hot mess, their relationship is completely different. This dynamic of Monty in a position of stability and Jasper in anything but shows off both actors’ chops. Ricky Whittle, who plays Lincoln, also shows off his strong skill as he enters a whole new dimension of character development. Struggling between his grounder past and his sky people present, he’s forced to deal with the issue of where he may belong.
While Lincoln may not know where he is meant to be, Octavia is stronger than ever. Octavia is pure Grounder. She longs for the fight and full immersion into the Grounder culture, wishing desperately to escape from the confines of what she no longer considers her home. This division between certainty in Octavia and uncertainty in Lincoln has created strife in The 100’s strongest romantic relationship up to this point, something that will provide a new dynamic for the audience which may prove stressful throughout the season. It won’t be smooth sailing for the two as the season’s conflicts heat up.
Raven (Lindsey Morgan) is also in a position of uncertainty as her injury continues to worsen. While screen time for Raven is always appreciated, the continual pain placed on Raven is becoming increasingly difficult to see. Morgan plays her strength and vulnerability with real craft, and when she plays across from Paige Turco – Abby Griffin – she and her crackle on the screen. The resurgence of their relationship in the third season was a good choice, and hopefully viewers get to see more of this in the future.
Where’s Clarke? For a good chunk of the episode it’s a question on all viewers’ minds. After her disappearance into the wilderness at the end of season 2, it’s been a mystery where Clarke would finally reappear. She comes back to the screen with a bang – literally – as she slaughters a panther in her first scene. Clarke is not the girl viewers have last seen. Garbed in grounder gear, long locks that are not the characteristic blonde, and a face hardened from the distance and unknowable struggle of the last few months, she has become someone entirely new. Though Clarke is not seen an incredible amount this first episode, every scene brings the audience with a desire to see her more.
Overall, The 100 did a good job of showing the whole ensemble, something they had lost last season at points. Not only seeing big players but also smaller characters brought those watching back into the folds of the world entirely and completely. A good introduction episode, there are times where the story feels rushed and jumbled because of so many scenes needed to reintroduce characters, but this is not entirely unexpected. For the most part, the show lays the groundwork for several storylines that will continue to push these characters to new levels if everything goes smoothly. As long as the writers don’t forget the ensemble characters as they push through this season’s storylines, The 100 might just run better than anticipated.