The 100 Premiere Recap: New Normal

Wanheda: Part One
Paige Turco as Abby. Photo: Diyah Pera/CW
The 100

The 100

Wanheda: Part One Season 3 Episode 1
Editor's Rating 3 stars

Welcome to Vulture’s first recap of The 100. If you’re not familiar with the show, I encourage you to check out the first two seasons. (They’re currently available on Netflix.) The 100 is basically CW’s response to The Hunger Games, and like every other CW show, it’s packed with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. Unlike some other shows on the CW, though, The 100 is effortlessly feminist. The female characters take on leadership roles, excel at combat, and don’t shy away from violence — all while eschewing petty relationship drama.

The 100 is set in a post-apocalyptic future, 97 years after nuclear war has destroyed life on Earth. The few remaining survivors live in the “Ark,” a large international space station. When the station begins to run out of resources, 100 youth criminals are sent down to Earth to see if the planet can sustain life. Of course, they’re not alone — despite the radiation, some people are still alive on the ground. The show is centered around the conflicts between each group as they all fight to survive.

At the end of the second season, the 100 had finally reunited with the others who came down from the Ark. Clarke (Eliza Taylor), still shaken by the Mount Weather massacre, decides not to follow the rest of the Delinquents back to camp. Jaha (Isaiah Washington) stumbles upon a beautiful AI hologram (Erica Cerra), who thanks him for bringing a nuclear warhead from space, and Murphy (Richard Harmon) ends up trapped in a containment bunker.

“Wanheda: Part One” picks up three months after the second season’s finale. The time lapse, established in the first few minutes of the episode, takes place through Murphy’s eyes — he’s still inside the containment bunker, stuck on his insane journey to the City of Light with Jaha. I’ve never understood or really believed in Jaha’s manic faith, but I love Murphy as a character, so I’m happy to follow the two of them on their journey.

Minutes after deciding that he won’t shoot himself, Murphy finally crawls out of the bunker. He’s weak and dehydrated, but still takes a swing at Jaha after he sees him, snarling before he loses consciousness. This is what makes Murphy such a conflicted, complex character: He’s made some vile decisions, but he holds real integrity. He refuses to believe Jaha when he says that the City of Light is real. Eventually, Murphy decides to continue on with Jaha, but not because he has faith in the quest. He wants to find the girl who cleverly robbed everyone in the desert last season.

Meanwhile, the remaining members of the original 100 are living in a heavily militarized settlement, known as Arkadia, with outside areas divided into numbered sectors. Their lives seems very similar to what they were like on the Ark, with a notable exception: Many of the core members are fully reintegrated with jobs. Even Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) has found a home with the Sky People, training others in hand-to-hand combat.

There’s a ton of exposition in this part of the episode, and that worried me. Bellamy (Bob Morley) has a girlfriend, who is quickly introduced and dismissed. Raven (Lindsey Morgan) is bothered by a leg injury, which isn’t much of a surprise after her walloping at the dam. Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) and Lincoln seem to be on the outs, stemming from the fact that Octavia wants to be back with the Grounders. Abby (Paige Turco) is spread incredibly thin, grabbing quick naps between her duties as both doctor and chancellor. Jasper (Devon Bostick) can barely cope after losing Maya (Eve Harlow) at Mount Weather, and drinks copiously every night.

Thankfully, “Wanheda: Part One” moves forward after establishing these story details. Bellamy leads a group of the 100 outside the settlement to look for other people from the Ark. They locate a tracker beacon from the farm station, then continue their search. Instead of finding more Sky People, though, the team runs into members of the Ice Nation.

The ensuing confrontation scene relies heavily on Octavia, who stands in front of the others to translate. The Ice Nation is looking for someone named Wanheda, and Octavia quickly conveys that they’re not looking for a fight. Then Jasper, still drunk, marches up to the Grounders to grab the tracking beacon. They snatch him, and that’s when the episode really starts to come together. Raven and Monty lower their weapons, watching with almost-stunned horror as Jasper smiles with a knife to his throat. Seconds later, a Grounder begins slicing Jasper’s neck, and all hell breaks loose.

The episode spends a lot of time working up to this moment, and the payoff is excellent. There’s a beautiful choreography of movement: As shots are fired, Octavia screams for Jasper to duck and lobs her knife into a Grounder’s chest. Until I saw this scene, I was concerned that The 100 lost some of its fire and audacity after the events at Mount Weather. I shouldn’t have worried, though; the episode never loses steam after this action sequence.

Once they’ve killed the Grounders, Kane radios in, asking Bellamy to meet him in Sector 4. The team splits up: Miller, Raven, Jasper, and Octavia head back to the settlement, while Monty and Bellamy continue on to meet with Kane and Indra. It’s there that they realize “Wanheda” is actually Clarke, and she’s being hunted by almost everyone. They set off in search for her, but as the episode ends, Kane, Indra, Monty, and Bellamy are trapped between two fallen trees, their fate unknown.

In the months since Clarke set off on her own, she’s had a bit of a misadventure. She dyed her hair red, and has survived by bartering fresh kills for salted meat at a small trading post. She’s still wary of others, and tortured by the memories of the people she killed at Mount Weather. Defeating Cage made her seem more powerful than the Commander, so everyone’s fighting to capture her alive. (According to Indra, her people believe they can gain Clarke’s power by killing her — that’s why they’ve placed a bounty on her head.)

Clarke escapes a close call at the trading post, thanks to the generosity of the girl there. The two of them sleep together, and after Clarke wakes from a nightmare, she tries to slip out into the night. Instead, she’s captured by the men who were searching for her at the trading post. They were waiting for her, biding their time until she appeared. Who are they? Where will they take her? And if she manages to escape, where will she go next?

Other Thoughts:

  • I might be alone here, but I’ve never really believed in Clarke as a bisexual character. This might be because I’m a steadfast Bellamy-Clarke shipper — I was really hoping Clarke would make her way back to him, but her story appears to be heading elsewhere.
  • Toward the end of the episode, Lincoln chooses to give up his bedroom so he can sleep with Octavia in the woods. Their relationship is truly star-crossed; both of them feel betrayed by their people. I’m just happy to see they’ve found ways to be together.
  • Did anyone else notice how similar the current Sky People settlement seems to District 13? The numbered sectors outside the camp certainly don’t help.
  • When Bellamy and Lincoln fight, shirtless and sweaty, I actually pumped my fist in the air. I love many things about The 100 — the way female characters are portrayed as independent, the lack of bitchy girl fighting, how the characters often look disgusting as their bodies heal — but it’s still lovely to see these very, very attractive men without their shirts on.

I’ll see you next week, but until then, I’m around for any Delinquent-related chats at @m_karimjee.

The 100 Premiere Recap: New Normal