Meaghan McDonough ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Any fears fans of The 100 had last week that the show couldn’t keep up the rigorous pace set by Season 2, rest assured: The 100 we know and love has returned with a vengeance for what’s set up to be an astounding third season.
After two weeks of relatively clunky establishing episodes, this week’s episode, “Ye Who Enter Here”, finally picked up with the momentum we’ve come to expect from the series. Titled after the Dante-described inscription on Hell’s entrance and with trailers promising death and destruction, the episode delivered well beyond what viewers could have imagined. Abandon all hope ye who hope to avoid spoilers and suffering: this review is unavoidably jam-packed with descriptions of both.
As already mentioned in Emertainment Monthly’s review of “Wanheda: Part 2,” last week’s episode struggled with making the most of their allotted forty-five minutes. Too many characters were too all over the place both physically and writing-wise. There were four or five plotlines each begging for more care and attention in the episode, creating arcs that couldn’t be finished properly and only adding to pile of questions created by the premiere. While “Ye Who Enter Here” doesn’t necessarily work to answer any of those big questions, it expertly handles plots and characters in ways that allow viewers to put those questions on the back burner.
The episode opens with a CGI-generated slide up the side of and into the central tower at Polis, focusing on Clarke (Eliza Taylor) looking out over the city. We catch her just as she glances over her shoulder at Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) who appears in the room, apparently after a week of leaving Clarke to herself. Lexa explains that there is a summit to be held between SkiKru (ie the people of Arkadia) and the coalition of clans. Just as Lexa assures Clarke she is intent on returning Clarke to her people, she also clues Clarke in on her master plan: turning SkiKru into the thirteenth clan of the coalition. This comes even after Clarke continues to blame Lexa for abandoning Clarke and SkiKru in their time of need, arguing that Lexa “had no honor” while Clarke “had no choice.” This opening scene incredibly heated—filled with anger with an undercurrent of yearning—and closes out on Clarke establishing that she would sooner die than follow Lexa. Following this brief but tense interaction with Clarke, Lexa leaves to a small council meeting of the twelve clans. Already wound up from her conversation with Clarke, she has little patience for a brazen Ice Nation representative and ends up murdering him 300 style before starting the meeting.
Meanwhile, Bellamy (Bob Morley), Bellamy’s girlfriend Gina (Leah Gibson), Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), and Raven (Lindsey Morgan) arrive at the Mount Weather with supplies for the Farm Station refugees. Octavia has grown increasingly agitated with the presence of Grounder-hating Pike (Michael Beach) and his people. Seeing that they’ve settled down in Mount Weather—a place so filled with bad memories and apparent threats to the Grounder clans—absolutely disgusts her and she leaves almost on arrival. Raven, picked up by Sinclair (Alessandro Juliani), is assigned to fixing some of the technical issues in the Mount Weather compound, to which Gina follows her. This dividing of plot lines is done so elegantly compared to the last two episodes that it’s enough to leave viewers in breathless awe. The cuts here are so smooth and natural, it really helps to highlight the stunning writing of Kim Shumway, the careful directorial choices of Antonio Negret, and the overall vision of showrunner Jason Rothenberg. This is The 100 at it’s best.
Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and Abby (Paige Turco) travel to Polis to attend Lexa’s summit and get Clarke back. Though Bellamy was disappointed at having to be left behind due to his injury, seeing Kane and Abby together as the SkiKru representatives makes it seem like the most natural thing in the world. Though Abby is still the acting chancellor, it becomes apparent to both of them that Kane is much more suited for the job. His cultural competency and ease at communicating in Trigedasleng leads to Abby offering him the very same chancellor pin he had bestowed on her so many episodes ago. Cusick’s charm drives a lot of their scenes, making Kane and Abby’s partnership nearly as engaging Bellamy and Clarke’s. Considering how little Kane and Abby are actually involved in the major plot twists of the episodes, it’s very impressive how vital their scenes still feel to the episode.
As Kane and Abby make their pilgrimage to Polis, different plot points begin to reveal themselves throughout the other character groups. Echo (Tasya Teles), who most should remember as the Ice Nation grounder that Bellamy saved in Season 2, appears outside of Mount Weather and speaks of an Ice Nation plot to kill SkiKru—who and why and how is very subtly left out—while their leaders are distracted at the summit. At Polis, Roan (Zach McGowan) reminds Clarke of her desire for revenge against Lexa. Knowing of the threat to SkiKru, the Mount Weather group decide it’d be worthwhile to get ahold of the missiles while Bellamy, Pike, and Octavia (with the help of Echo) go to get Kane and Abby before it’s too late. Short cut scenes of an apparent assassin preparing for his job offer the audience a tangible proof of the threat. But, as things tend to go with The 100, not everything is as it appears.
The episode contains a good mix of touching character and relationship building scenes alongside the usual twists, turns and terrors. Plotlines flow in and out of each other with ease, with symbolic or metaphorical hints to what’s to come in both the season and the episode. A little more than half way through the episode, Clarke refers to the decision to join the coalition as the thirteenth clan is the new “Unity Day.” This should raise some pretty prominent red flags for those viewers who remember the Season 1 episode of that name. Just as things seem to be going well for the SkiKru representatives—Kane accepts the coalition brand and Clarke bows to Lexa—everything starts to take a sort of “Unity Day” turn. Even so, no one could have predicted how the outcome of the episode came to be.
As Bellamy, Pike, Octavia, and Echo reach the summit to rescue Kane, Abby, and Clarke, it becomes clear that there is no imminent threat to those present. Echo is gone before Bellamy even has a chance to give her a second look, never mind ask her what else she knew about the threat. The episode quickly cuts back to Mount Weather where it is revealed that the strange religious-seeming assassin was actually hiding there the whole time. A brief emotional scene between Sinclair and Raven lures viewers into a false sense of security that is quickly shattered by the brutal stabbing of Gina, which Raven hears entirely over walkie-talkie.
Things go from bad to worse as it is revealed that the assassin had the launch codes to the very same missiles that Gina, Sinclair, and Raven were trying to secure for SkiKru. The assassin plugs in the launch codes as Gina struggles for life. After the assassin leaves, Gina attempts to relay what she knows to Raven while the assassin tries to make his escape. Sinclair, spotting him, chases the assassin out of Mount Weather in hopes of getting for information. The clock winds down as Sinclair is almost killed by the assassin but is saved, at the last possible minute, by Raven. By the time they get the launch code from the assassin’s arm, however, Gina lays dead in a pool of her own blood, the last few seconds of the missile launch count reflecting in her lifeless eyes. Right before Raven is about to head back into Mount Weather, the base explodes, killing the thirty-six members of Pike’s group left inside. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as more reveals follow the explosion in rapid succession. Forgotten characters return, anticipated characters finally reveal themselves, and character relationships are left altered in unexpected ways.
New conflicts arise as old conflicts resolve and there’s really no way to describe this episode other than shell shocking. They make great use of the wide range of sets and character dynamics that the show has, leaving no stone unturned while also keeping the plot moving. The lack of appearances from the group at The City of Light and other side characters really saved them some time this episode, and it was very much a reminder just how much Jaha (Isaiah Washington) has overstayed his welcome. All the actors present really shine, though special praise should go to Bob Morley, Alycia Debnam Carey, Lindsey Morgan, and Henry Ian Cusick, who really made their very heavily shared spotlights count. This episode may not have been perfect, but it got pretty damn close. Most importantly, it rose to the occasion of being what viewers have come to expect from The 100: heart wrenching, jaw-dropping character oriented television that’s perfect for the sci-fi loving young adult to chew on.