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The 100 - The Children of Gabriel - Review: "An Oasis Full Of Nutcases"

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After two very good opening episodes in its sixth season, The 100 looks like it may have mashed the repeat button a few times given with what was unveiled in its third week. As the new colony of good guys was introduced to our main characters, a clan of not so good guys made themselves known, and to be honest I'm not overly impressed. Dean White was back in the director's chair for the first time this season, with "The Children of Gabriel" written by Drew Lindo.

My opening paragraph may seem rather harsh, so let's run through a few things I liked. Planet Alpha itself - also known as Sanctum - has been impressively well fleshed out given how early on in the season we are. The creative team have done well to give Sanctum a new feel. We've seen some of the wildlife and traits it possesses in the last couple of weeks, and plenty more was on show again in this hour. Initially, this was thanks to the near drowning Murphy suffered thanks to the Red Sun. He had effectively died before the local healer allowed a mutant snake of some description to latch on and deliver some of its venom which brought Murphy back in no time.

It was a good example of how the locals have worked to truly master this new environment. Additionally, the poison darts seen on multiple occasions are an interesting alternative to bullets, and late in the piece we saw Octavia subdued by a mace plant the 'Children of Gabriel' activated.

So the world is good. It's got its own personality and flavor, and because it's not earth it allows the creative team to bend the rules a wee bit. The people, however, rubbed me up the wrong way.

Russell Lightbourne is the leader of those inside the radiation shield on Sanctum. He, his wife and Clarke interacted several times during this episode, and for the most part I enjoyed the differing opinions and hard questions being asked from all parties. But early indications point strongly towards his people being nutcases.

Given what we saw last week in the flashbacks, the Primes arrived on Eligius IV and were clearly very much science-focused. Yet somehow a religion of some sort has formed, and is incredibly important to the daily lives of this present day crowd. The rapidly developed romance between Jordan and Delilah brought with it angst about a naming ceremony, there were several obviously religious phrases heard on many occasions, and there was a very clear social hierarchy according to which of the Primes someone was descended from.

While I don't consider myself religious, that's not what annoys me here. A religion - especially a fictional one like this - increases complexity, needs valuable screen time devoted to it to grow it and make it make sense, and it has an overbearing direction on the story because of things that can and cannot be done due to religious customs and other quirks running interference of some sort. This religion won't be disappearing anytime soon either, with the season's fifth episode named "The Gospel of Josephine". The connection between Josephine and Gabriel was established in the flashbacks last week, so somehow after being in love when they arrived on Alpha, they've ended up apart, presumably with Josephine's descendants being contained inside the radiation shield, and Gabriel's descendants being the ones who attacked Madi, Gaia and Diyoza while they waited at the drop ship.

A saving grace somewhat is that religion can increase predictability among characters because their morals and actions are clearly defined and governed, and this fortunately played into the hands of Clarke in her negotiations with Russell. While dining with him and his wife, Clarke was repeatedly questioned about the fate of earth, and her role in it, along with the very upfront question of how many people she had killed. The blame for Russell having this knowledge was placed squarely on Jordan's shoulders, who had somehow found a few hours presumably to run his mouth. Maybe the days on Sanctum are more than 24 hours long, thus giving Jordan the time to let everyone know what happened all those years ago.

It's the second time Jordan has put a foot wrong, with the first being when he allowed Octavia to stow away on the drop ship. He still managed to enjoy some luck, however, snaring a love interest, his first kiss, and almost getting laid. I'm enjoying his presence in the series.

However Bellamy was the real MVP in this hour for one reason: he abandoned Octavia by not letting her on the drop ship, which stranded her outside the shield. This was a moment that was six seasons in the making, not because Octavia has fallen out of his favor over the entire six year period, but because he finally let go of his self-imposed father figure/big brother responsibilities and punished Octavia for her mistakes instead of giving in to her puppy dog eyes. Octavia will inevitably survive on her own with little hassle, but what remains to be seen is whether she becomes an advocate of some sort for the Children of Gabriel in the same way she joined the Grounders in the show's early seasons.

My sister died a long time ago.
To her credit, it was Octavia who ensured Diyoza, Gaia and Madi didn't meet their ends. The trio was set upon by The Children of Gabriel as they waited with the drop ship. A rather surprising and somewhat annoying development was when Gaia was trying to further Madi's knowledge on the Commanders and the Flame she possesses. Nightbloods are also present on Sanctum, so this theme which should have died long ago continues to recur. What I found much more appealing was Diyoza being ordered outside the shield the very second Russell laid eyes on her for the first time, and learning he classed her alongside Hitler and bin Laden. I'm looking forward to this being fleshed out more deeply in the coming weeks.

Before closing, I think it's well worth mentioning the dialog between Abby and Murphy in this episode. Murphy was pretty rattled by his near death experience, and Abby's words gave him some much needed perspective on life:
At the end of our lives, we're not going to be judged for the things that we did to survive. We'll be judged for the reasons that we did them.
Though Murphy was the recipient of those words in this instance, those words apply to almost all the lead characters. Each of the episodes this season has fired several shots at Clarke in particular for her actions, with Murphy being the lead gunner. Hopefully he might now empathize with Clarke, and perhaps become her ally.

In all, this episode has left me with mixed feelings. We have a new world which is great, but we have the same old formula when it comes to the new characters that inhabit it. It's an oasis full of nutcases. It's a very far cry from the type of society that should realistically exist in a situation like this, and which was spawned by its first inhabitants a couple of centuries ago. Maybe I'm passing judgment too early, but the early signs aren't all that good.

Thanks for reading! This review has been a bit all over the place so thanks for sticking with me thus far. As always, let me know what you thought of this episode, along with any other thoughts and theories you might have by sharing them in the comments below.
See you right back here next week.

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