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The 100 - Pilot - Roundtable Discussion

The highly anticipated series premiere of The 100 aired on the CW just a few hours ago. Fortunately, SpoilerTV has access to screeners for several of the season's episodes, so we can bring you a bit more content than we normally can for many of the other shows we cover. Here's our roundtable discussion on the first episode, with questions by Jimmy Ryan, and answers courtesy of Justyna Kubica, Daniel van der Veer, and pablozky21.

Without further ado, let's get into it!

Jimmy: The opening few scenes were full of action and intensity. Other pilots normally take a bit more time setting the scene. What did you think of this approach?

Daniel: It’s a technique called in medias res, where you start in the midst of things, which I think is a great way to start with if it’s done well. It might not work for all shows, but I believe it worked out fine for The 100. You immediately get into the story and this might be an interesting way to hook viewers. Yet there is also sufficient explanation of the concept in the opening scenes so it’s not like the audience doesn’t know what the show is about. So I wouldn’t have it any other way. Justyna: Definitely a fan of this approach. Sure, sometimes it’s good to have more time to introduce the characters and to set the story before all the craziness starts, but when it comes to the shows like The 100, where action and mystery play such a huge part, it feels right to start with an intense punch and move things along faster than it usually happens. It’s interesting and it can be quite an effective tactic if you’re trying to quickly engage the viewers in the story.
Pablo: I think it pays off when it is well executed and The 100 did a really good job at that. The premise for the show is already interesting so I believe that the decision to start with so much action and intensity was to show that the series was going to be something actually intense, that the society in which these people live is willing to take brutal choices such as sending teens to ground from space using brute force.

What makes it work is that following all that intensity we can already pick some personality traits for every character that we are presented, so within the intensity there is character insight and while we are entertained by the action sequences we get to know who these guys really are. The pilot then slows down and starts a sense of exploration and adventure, that follow up is pretty good so I think there’s no trouble starting with a lot of action and intensity to engage interest as long as the pilot is willing to give us insight later on. The action is not meaningless, I think that’s what I appreciate the most of it.

Jimmy: It’s clear that many of the 100’s interests aren’t aligned, and there’s plenty of grudges held among the group. There’s clearly a lot of work to be done in the bonding department. How do you see this developing?

Daniel: When you have 100 teenagers (or 90+), of course not everybody gets along with the rest. Bellamy and his followers do whatever they want while Clarke and her small group are exploring the Earth and doing what the Ark has asked them to do: to see if the planet is habitable. I think throughout the series we are going to see more bonding between these clashing groups, and as all the teenagers evolve, so will their relationships to others. Justyna: I think that the easiest way for everyone to start bonding is to raise the stakes and put everyone against a common enemy. At least that’s how things often work and I’m okay with this approach. Obviously some of the grudges are bigger than the others so I expect that it’s not gonna end right away, but it will allow us to see more of the characters’ development, on many emotional levels, and I’m definitely interested to see that.
Pablo: I think the development is a delicate issue here. The 100’s storytelling is quite risky, with so many characters the show is always in danger of losing focus. We follow the lives of some of the characters, not all of them, and there’s always the question of what these peripheral characters are doing. However, the show is able to hold all of this together with the simple phrase “whatever the hell we want!”, such a simple line gives the show an excuse for the absence of those peripheral characters. With this issue solved, it’s all about how each episode approach their own storylines and what characters are mashed up together; having completely different interests makes the show feel more real than other shows where seemingly all the characters have the same interest. This produces conflict and I see the show developing said conflicts in ways that feels real and organic, and also delivering some unexpected moments. By the pilot alone I could tell the show is about real people instead of characters playing roles, which means the show will be more concerned in exploring how real teens would act with each other, so I foresee a very interesting development in which their psyche is explored fully.

Jimmy: On board the Ark, the justice system is ruthless to say the least, and the council is under immense pressure. What do you think of the decisions they’ve made?

Daniel: I think they don’t have much of a choice. The Ark is dying and Earth isn’t habitable yet so they have to make these difficult decisions. There’s a point where Kane says “You all think I’m the bad guy”, and I got that same impression, but he is really willing to make hard choices to save the human race. Justyna: These are obviously impossible choices to be made and I can’t even begin to imagine myself in this kind of position, but the truth is, I believe people have the right to know what’s going on, to make their own choices. Human lives should mean more, otherwise who exactly are they trying to save? Anyway, it’s still just the beginning. We’ll see what happens next.
Pablo: I don’t justify cruelty even when it’s for the better, but I do understand why they do what they do. They are in crisis, humanity is on the edge of extinction and in order to survive they have to be well organised and those who are not following rules are considered to be expendable. The problem is that those expendable people might hold abilities that can help overcome some of the crisis that they face, but they don’t get a second chance. The choice to send a bunch of kids into the Earth is quite brutal, the fact that they are considering reducing population to conserve oxygen is even worse, but then the question pops up “what’s better? To lose some of us or to lose all of us?”. There’s no right answer, you can say it is right or wrong, but they are in a situation so extreme that what’s right to do can sway both ways. I really don’t know what I would have done myself in that situation and I don’t believe they chose to send those teenagers to the ground out of a mere whim, but I think maybe they should have sent some adults to the ground too (possibly family members) so they could oversee them and guide them. Aside from that, I can’t come to make any judgment, I think they made those decisions because they didn’t come with better choices, but I think they could have took some better measures while sending their kids to the ground.

Jimmy: Chemistry between characters is a big part of many CW shows. Were you happy with what you saw between a few of the characters in the pilot?

Daniel: Yeah, so far so good. I like the dynamics on the Ark, where you’ve got Jaha, Kane and Abby. And then on the ground you’ve got this whole lot of teenagers who sometimes get along and sometimes don’t. Obviously there is still room for improvement, but I think time will tell. Justyna: No problems here. I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters. There’s definitely chemistry there but there’s always room for improvement. The actors have done a very good job in the pilot. And I have to say, it’s good to see some old familiar faces back on my screen.
Pablo: There was some chemistry here and there, but I think it was mostly unintentional. Bellamy and Octavia don’t have many moments together in the pilot, but they do feel like brother and sister and I feel some good chemistry there. Jacob is a really likeable character that seems to be a good fit with whoever he shares a moment with. I’d say my main problem is Wells, whenever he shares a scene with anyone else I feel like skipping his scenes as I feel Eli Goree’s acting is way to forced, therefore I don’t sense any chemistry at all no matter what character he is put with. Aside from that, I’d say that the show is still testing the water to see what combinations work the best, but I think it will find its way soon. With every scene these character are becoming more and more real, so I think chemistry will develop along the way too.

Jimmy: Was there a particular point in the pilot when you knew you were hooked?

Daniel: From the start actually! No seriously, to be honest I’ve always been interested in space and the universe and all that, so to have this Ark up in space was something I was really looking forward to. And then there is the mystery element of this unknown planet, the chaos that arises from sending 100 teenagers down to Earth and the darkness that comes over them. So I was actually quite interested from the beginning. Justyna: I can’t think of a specific moment, but I definitely enjoyed the pilot as a whole and immediately decided to keep watching the show the second the episode ended.
Pablo: I knew I liked the pilot when Octavia was swimming and everyone seemed so compelled to do the same. It was a simple moment that made these people feel more real - instead of warning her to get out they just saw how joyful she was and they were all tempted to do the same. The moment I was hooked though, was at the end when Jasper was suddenly stabbed by javelin that came out of nowhere and Clarke realised that they were not alone in Earth. At that moment I knew I wanted to keep watching to see what choices The 100 would make.

Jimmy: What was your personal highlight from the pilot?

Daniel: There wasn’t something in particular that was outstanding. I just think it’s a great story and it’s a good combination of having these teenagers down there and then the adults up in space. Sometimes I am more eager to see the scenes in the Ark, and sometimes I can’t wait to find out what happens on Earth. You can’t really do without either of them and that’s what makes this a unique concept, in my opinion. Justyna: I like the story. The plot seems to be the main highlight for me at this point. It has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see where we’re gonna go from here. I definitely enjoyed the Ark aspect of the show - the politics, the characters and their interactions at home. On Earth I’d rather see more of the exploration and mystery, less partying and conflicts about the leadership and everyone’s parents.
Pablo: It’s hard to pick a highlight because I liked the pilot overall, but possibly my favorite moments were those when Clarke became less intense because it showed us that she wasn’t meant to be as stereotypical as initially presented and that the show would work forward to make her a real human being. As I said when I answered question number 5, the moment Octavia dives for a swim is a simple moment that shows us that these teenagers are not just all worries, but also are looking forward to relax a little bit. That would be a little highlight, but I think the best moment is early on, when everyone gets down from the ship and take their first step to Earth. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons plays on the background and I kind of connect with the feeling of relief the characters have and I think that it allows me to connect with them in a deeper level through the pilot, so that would be my personal highlight.

Jimmy: Was there anything you didn’t like or thought could have been done better?

Daniel: Nothing storywise. I would have liked to see more of Kelly Hu’s character as there wasn’t a lot of screentime for her and it’s a bit unclear what her role is. Sadly, as I’ve seen the next few episodes I can tell it won’t improve and I am even wondering if she is really a series regular. Justyna: Like I said, not particularly interested in the power struggle between everyone on Earth. Obviously it can’t be avoided, but I hope it can be minimized in the future episodes. Other than that, I’m just hoping to see more action, mystery and character development as the show progresses. But it was a great start.
Pablo: I would have liked that Clarke was a little bit different. Through the pilot she is the voice of duty, she is the one that leads the way and that makes her feel like the stereotypical hero, which is why I appreciate a lot of the moments during the pilot when she’s allowed to relax. I think the show could have worked her character better to make her a little bit more complex, but through the following episodes she has room to evolve, so it doesn’t really bother me. Wells, though, is a character that seems to serve plot purposes only, so I would have made him a completely different character, someone who didn’t seem so loyal to his father and so strict on his moral. Maybe I would keep those characteristics but add some layer of depth, or at least show him enjoy Earth more.

Aside from that I don’t know if I’d change anything, maybe I’d would have floated Clarke’s mom just to show that The 100 is willing to pull the trigger on its characters or I wouldn't have put her in that position to begin with, I feel like I was teased just for the sake of being teased. Everything else works really well for me.

That concludes the roundtable for the series premiere of The 100. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below! If you're curious about something, or want to pick our brains for spoilers, follow the roundtable participants and send us a tweet!

Jimmy Ryan Daniel van der Veer Justyna Kubica Pablozky21

On next week's episode, titled 'Earth Skills', the pandemonium escalates on Earth, tensions rise on board the Ark, Clarke plays politics, and the search for Jasper reveals some more interesting post-apocalyptic wildlife.

Thanks for reading! See you all next week for the roundtable of episode 2.
The The 100 roundtable team.

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