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The 100 - The Four Horsemen - Review: "That's How You Do It"

16 Feb 2017

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Yes, showrunners, that's how you do it. This is what happens when you pull the pace back and let things breathe. You get a fantastic piece of television which tells a far more meaningful and powerful story. This week's third episode of The 100, titled "The Four Horseman" was written by Heidi Cole McAdams, with P.J. Pesce directing.

Last night's episode was noticeably better than last week's one, which I felt was rushed in places but still allowed for impressive character development. This hour was vastly improved in terms of pacing, and by slowing the B-plots down, so much more was able to be drawn from the excellent script. The expected absence of several regular cast members went a long way in helping this too. The balance was nigh on perfect, so kudos to the creative team right off the bat for that.

With the pacing improved, the intensity level was still very much up there. Lindsey Morgan led this with a solid performance as Raven, who looked about as overworked and underpaid as someone could be in the dystopian world in which she lives. She had a lot on her plate, including - but not limited to - repairing Alpha Station, managing supplies, and holding others to account. She had run-ins with Murphy and Abby, and perhaps for the first time in the series, she got a cold, hard reality check with regard to seeing what happens as the result of her decisions. Other main characters know this feeling well, but Raven isn't so accustomed, and seeing her look on as a child died from radiation exposure was one of the episode's most powerful moments.

The reintroduction of Luna, who was first sighted late last season, is a move I'm a big fan of. She led one of the hour's B-plots as she and Nyko arrived at the gates of Arkadia pleading for help after falling ill with acute radiation sickness. A catalyst in allowing ALIE's reign to continue longer than it could have last season caused Luna to eat humble pie here. Of the people she arrived with, only she survived the ARS, with the fact that she is a Nightblood being the likely reason. In the long run, this could be the beginnings of a cure for the impeding radiation caused by the nuclear meltdown, but we'll need to see more from future episodes to confirm that.

Can you please remind Clarke what happened last time Jaha went looking for salvation.

I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw from Clarke and Bellamy in this episode. For the first time in a long time they spent an entire episode working together. In Arkadia they discussed the challenges they faced with a seething Raven, and tagged along with Jaha - who did exactly what I thought he would do after last week's episode. Jaha believed he may have found a bunker which was built by a cult named Second Dawn. Clarke and Bellamy stopped Jaha leaving in the rover to investigate on his own, and unanimously opted to tag along instead of shutting him down. The bunker was located, but it was not viable, having not sealed correctly. Hundreds of bodies could be seen inside.

The opportunity for character development was taken full advantage of with this. Firstly, Clarke's improved respect for Jaha following their conversation about leadership last week led to her being the most interested in investigating this bunker despite a lack of evidence and the knowledge that their time could be better utilized. Jaha took a moment to discuss leadership with Bellamy, and commented on how he complements Clarke. Just like he did with Clarke, he talked positively about the decisions he had made, and that his intentions were pure despite them turning out rather badly. I honestly couldn't have asked for better writing here. The crux of all this is both Clarke and Bellamy have a mutual respect for Jaha, but on the flipside, Jaha was proven correct because the bunker was located. This gives him some swaying power should any more objects of interest come across his radar that he believes warrant further investigation. The roadmap for the character is abundantly clear, but despite that I'm thoroughly enjoying watching it unfold.

If I'm on that list, you're on that list.

Taking Jaha out of the equation in the episode's dying minutes brought about another massive step forward for Bellamy and Clarke. With the bunker a bust, Clarke made good on her deal with Raven to create the list of 100 people who would occupy the repaired Alpha Station during the meltdown. In tears, Clarke put Bellamy's name in 99th place, but couldn't bring herself to write her own name in the final place. Bellamy awoke from a nap and did that for her, and the comfort he provided her in that moment was something to savor.

In my review of the season premiere I commented on this series having not yet come of age and lacking simple, poignant and delicate touches which would elevate it above the cliché teen romances and fight scenes. This scene was a textbook example of how to do this. Further, a simple hand on the shoulder spoke louder and a hug or kiss ever could here. Another aspect of Clarke and Bellamy's relationship that was prominent right throughout this hour was that they both have hope. That alone is enough to sustain someone for a long time - and Jasper, though absent along with Monty in this episode - is displaying the polar opposite of this, because in his eyes the outlook is nothing more than hopeless. Keep this stuff up, creative team. It makes a massive difference.

After sitting last week's episode out, Murphy and Emori returned, and again I loved what I saw from Murphy in particular. After ditching Arkadia and Polis to live together, a lack of food drove Murphy back to Arkadia. He unexpectedly stumbled upon Abby and Raven's heated conversation about the latter withholding radiation medication from Luna's group. Abby left empty-handed, but Murphy improved that, lifting the medication for her, along with the food he came for. Richard Harmon really turned it on here, as you could tell Murphy was fully aware of his hypocritical behavior.

His father got floated for stealing medicine to save him. Who knew he had it in him?

This line from Jackson made all the difference. It adds a vast amount of context to Murphy's actions in this episode and those gone before. He could have plundered the rations and escaped, but he only intended to take a couple of items because he understands the value those items he took have to other people. He understands stealing is wrong, but there is a line in which people's moral compasses won't argue with, and by only taking a couple of items and also lifting the medication for Abby, he showed he does care about a picture which is bigger than himself. The conversation he overheard has changed his mind about living a nomadic lifestyle with Emori, and I'm stoked he's going to return to Arkadia because I want to see much more of him. This was also another textbook example of how to write in little moments which take a series to the next level.

Polis very much came second in this episode in my mind. The B-plot here was driven by a missing flame, which was stolen by Gaia, daughter of Indra. Octavia was approached by Roan and asked to retrieve it, which she duly attempted to do before Indra stepped in. The Grounder faction that caused trouble last week tagged onto the trail, too, keen on destroying the tech that decimated their population. They thought they did, but in fact they destroyed a fake flame - the pieces of which Octavia returned to Roan along with a severed head - but the genuine one remains with Gaia. Some dialog in all this was bit rough and difficult to follow, but a destroyed flame and a flame in the wrong hands aren't good news for Roan in particular, because his fragile reign depends on the flame. Octavia's line below is probably the greatest clue as to how the story might evolve in the future:

People fell in line behind the flame. Now they'll fall in line behind the sword.

I was surprised to see Octavia's loyalty switch from Roan to Indra here. I don't think she's fully aware of how risky it is having a foot in both camps, especially given the level of tension between them at present. Octavia's track record as a mediator is sketchy, having only been tested when she was dealing with the Grounders and Skaikru concerning Lincoln and other matters, but what comes of it should make for entertaining viewing nonetheless.

In all, what a difference a week makes. This episode of The 100 was much improved largely because things weren't rushed, and character development opportunities were made the most of. If I had to make a change, I would have included a flashback to the Ark when Murphy's father was floated, but it's great that there's still the potential with what was shown for that to be fleshed out even better at a later date. Next week's episode looks promising too - you can find out all you need to know by clicking here.

Thanks as always for reading! I'm keen to hear what you thought of my thoughts and theories, so make sure you share your own thoughts and theories in the comments below. See you all right back here next week!