TV recap; The 100, episode seven, Contents Under Pressure

Last time on The 100, we found out a lot more about Bellamy, including that he would do just about anything for his sister Octavia, and that he was employed to shoot Chancellor Jaha by one of the guards aboard the Ark. And as we found out more about a character we’ve known the whole series but didn’t really know, we also got introduced to a new one – a handsome Grounder full of contradictions, who helped Octavia, kidnapped her, and then let her go.

Well, hasn’t The 100 taken a turn for the dark, and wasn’t that turn down to the one character you least expected it from? After weeks of a slow burn and the odd flashes of violence, this week The 100 engaged in flow blown torture, of an innocent man no less, and that torture was mostly down to Clarke, who has spent the series so far urging The 100 to stay calm and not lose their humanity. So how did Clarke get to this point?

It’s an easy enough question to answer – Finn. Injured during the group’s encounter with the Grounder, Finn is, it’s no exaggeration to say, in mortal peril. His wound is beyond Clarke’s healing skills, and she desperately needs Raven, herself upset over her boyfriend’s injury, to set up a connection with the Ark as soon as possible so Clarke can get medical guidance from her mum.

In a show of solidarity, Clarke and Raven come together to help heal Finn, the former offering the latter the reassurance she needs to get on with the job. It can’t be easy, since both of them can see the dirty great dagger sticking out of Finn’s chest. But Raven, because she rocks, succeeds.

And Clarke speaks to her mum for the first time since finding out she was responsible for the death of her father. It’s tense, and becomes tenser still when Clarke has to tell Chancellor Jaha that Wells died. She giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other.

Bellamy and co return to the ship with the Grounder, tied up like a Christmas turkey and having about as much fun. While the women (Clarke, Raven and Octavia) are saving lives, the men are upstairs tying the Grounder up and trying to extract information from him. Octavia confronts Bellamy, but she’s no match for her brother’s anger. While it’s clear the Grounder feels some affection for Octavia, he’s not giving much else away (and Bellamy is too caught up in himself to realise that perhaps having Octavia be nice to the Grounder might be a better way to get the information he needs).

Downstairs, Clarke and Raven are trying to pull the knife from Finn’s chest, and they, against the odds, succeed. It’s not pretty, but it works. Just in time, because a huge gust of wind jolts the whole ship, causing Finn to go flying. The moment increases the respect Raven has for Clarke, bonding the two women who were previously ‘enemies’.

Bellamy’s still trying to get the Grounder to talk, and he only becomes more determined when he discovers that the Grounder has drawn multiple pictures of Octavia. Uh oh. Big brother is getting protective again. Clarke heads up to see Bellamy, arguing to him that torturing the Grounder will only make their enemies hate The 100 more, not less. Bellamy is talking of wars, while Clarke tells him they’re not soldiers.

Pulling that knife out of Finn’s chest isn’t quite enough, he seems to have caught some sort of infection, and since there’s no medicine and the connection to the Ark has dropped in the storm, Clarke needs another solution. And then she realises the knife that was used to stab Finn with was poisoned, and she leaps upstairs to confront the Grounder. The Grounder refuses to speak, even when Octavia pleads with him. So Bellamy offers torture as a solution, and Clarke endorses it, and watches. Suddenly Clarke has morphed from a healer into a soldier, the very thing she told Bellamy they were not.

The Grounder is not giving up his secrets, and Bellamy decides to escalate the torture (and it gets pretty gross). In a little twist, Bellamy tells Clarke she can leave – is our brooding hero developing feelings for Clarke? Please yes. His protective nature is extending to cover Clarke, not just Octavia, but it’s a different kind of protection (the romantic kind). That doesn’t work, and then Raven gets involved, rocking less than she did earlier, using electricity to torture the Grounder while screaming about how she needs Finn and he’s all that she’s got. And that doesn’t work.

So Octavia, more in tune with human emotion than any of the others, does the only thing that does work – cuts herself with the poisoned knife to get the Grounder to reveal which vial in his kit is the antidote. AND IT WORKS.

So Finn is saved, which is about the only good thing. As he heals Clarke breaks down, finally overcome by all that she’s gone through, and caused. She finally talks to her mum, but it doesn’t go well, with Clarke confessing she knows Abby was responsible for her dad’s death.

Remorseful, Clarke goes to clean up the Grounder, who is having none of it. He lets Octavia help, giving the two women the chance to talk. Octavia is not letting anyone who helped torture the Grounder get away with it, and he knows. Despite being covered in blood and completely black and blue, the Grounder and Octavia have a moment, and he thanks her. HE CAN SPEAK ENGLISH. It’s a secret that Octavia is more than willing to keep.

Finn wakes up and he and Clarke have a moment while Raven sleeps nearby. Clarke decides to give up on Finn, realising Raven needs him more. It won’t stop the longing looks between Clarke and Finn though.

Outside, the storm has passed and The 100 are clearing up. Clearing away the memories of the knight are not going to be so easy, but Bellamy’s advice to Clarke is that who she is and who she needs to be to survive can co-exist. Finally, Clarke understands that being a ruler doesn’t mean being good all the time.

On the Ark
Abby is put on trial in front of the Council for her plethora of crimes, but Kane and the Council decide her medical expertise is needed. While the Council chats, a crackle comes through the communications systems, but it’s only momentary.

Determined to get the Council to listen to her, Abby says the group need to investigate the flares that she saw, but Kane tells her she’s pedalling in false hope. It’s false hope that’s turned upside down when Raven finally gets a signal through to the Ark, telling the whole ship that The 100 are alive.

And wait, who’s this blonde woman knocking at Jaha’s door? A former Chancellor, Diana seems to have fallen from grace and is now the confidante for the Ark’s poorest. She’s here to advocate on their behalf, but to be honest, I don’t like her. Her power play is ill-timed, but she also clearly knows what she’s talking about and has the ear of the common folk. She offers herself as a sounding board, and it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and not in a good way.

Kane heads back down to see his mum, who has set up a vigil for those on the Ark who sacrificed themselves. Kane is full of remorse, and it’s the most feeling we’ve seen out of him since the series started. He’s gone from being a one-sided villain to a complex character who is deeply flawed but very human and, dare I say it, likeable. And we find out that Kane’s actions have all been because he wants to help.

Jaha confesses to the people of the Ark that the Council sent The 100 to the ground, and reveals that the earth is survivable. The news is greeted with disbelief, and it’s Jaha’s heartbroken confession that he lost Wells that gets the people on side. That, and Diana, who swoops in with a speech to appeal to the masses. And with that, she’s ingratiated herself with both the Council and the people. This cannot end well.

On the opposite side of the smarmy Diana is the lovely Kane. I know I said this a few weeks ago, but remember when Kane was a villain? He’s definitely not anymore, and I completely love him. Also, his newfound loveliness provides me with a new ship – Kane and Abby 4eva.

In a day of bad news and to end the episode, Jaha and Diana tell the Council that there are not enough ships to carry all of the Ark’s population to the ground. Dun dun dun.

Solid ground?
This was a week where everything got turned upside down.

It was a week for powerful women – on the ground Clarke, Raven and Octavia were saving lives and/or destroying them, while on the Ark, a woman was making a play for power while another found her faith justified. The 100 definitely isn’t afraid to have its female characters standing tall and in the centre, acting as leaders, healers, soldiers and more.

But of course, the most interesting aspect this week was the descent of the rational characters into irrationality. It’s Clarke who proves the greatest surprise, and we see a side of her character that we never suspected existed. Having time and time again stopped The 100 from descending into chaos Clarke finally breaks. Her feelings for Finn override her sense of good and bad, and she becomes someone who sees a piece of information she needs, and only one way to get it. It’s brutal to watch but really fits the character, and also makes the viewer question what they would do in the same situation – torture is undeniably wrong, but if someone you loved was dying and another person refused the information you knew could save them, how far would you go to get it? It’s an uncomfortable question, but I love that The 100 is not afraid to ask it.

Finally, let’s take a moment to appreciate the way The 100 uses the earth and the crashed spaceship to its full advantage, and the composition of the scenes on the ground. The stormy, rain soaked night is the perfect backdrop to the tense goings on, and the spaceship is a great setting – claustrophobic, heightening everyone’s emotions in an already tense situation. The bright lights used in the room where the Grounder is being held captive shine a light, literally, on The 100’s wrongdoings, with every wound on the Grounder’s body cruelly visible. Down where Finn is being treated, the dim lighting would, in another situation, be romantic, but it’s disturbingly the complete opposite. And in the final scene on the ground, the metaphor of the rain washing everything clean is cruelly used, because you know Clarke and Bellamy will never feel clean again after what they did.

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