In seeing the preview for this week’s The 100, it was easy to recognize that they were definitely trying to provoke a horror movie vibe. The episode’s title, “Demons”, took the theme even further, but this is no Exorcist-style scary story (that was last week), the demons in the title are ones of the characters’ own making, as in the one’s that come back to haunt. The great thing about a show like The 100 is that it can wear just about any genre for an episode, and “Demons” unfurls like a slasher film as the group’s return to Arkadia does not go as planned thanks to an unexpected guest.
It was a dark and stormy night. No really. Miller, Harper and Bryan are back at the cave trading ghost stories when a man dressed up as what can only be described as the Iron Swamp Thing surprises them. What happened to the triad? We don’t find out till later. Meanwhile, the others are heading back to Arkadia, which is now, fitting to the theme, a ghost town. Raven says that A.L.I.E. isn’t likely to return to a place she’s already taken, but the group still decides to grab to Lincoln’s journal – the key to finding Luna – fast, and get back on the proverbial road. Just one problem, Emerson.
“The Mountain Man” obviously didn’t think much of Clarke’s mercy back in Polis, and the episode leaves it hanging just how Emerson knew that Arkadia is empty, where the 100 were hanging out, and how he knew Clarke and the others were coming back. On the one hand, it lets Emerson immerse himself in the role of the boogeyman by giving him the omniscience of a slasher film killer, but on the other hand it seems like the show is trying to force on us the notion that Emerson deserves to die, and he’s here daring Clarke to take care of him once and for all.
Frequently, The 100 floats the idea of pragmatic self-rationalization, the idea that survival doesn’t care who the good guy and who the bad guy is, when you’re attacked, you attack back. Or to put it another way, as Clarke did last week, “Maybe there are no good guys.” In “Demons” though, Emerson is all bad guy. There’s an understandable moral play between Clarke and Emerson and it did unfold in “Bitter Harvest.” Frankly, that episode, it seems, said everything that needed to be said about that relationship, and the history between those characters. “Demons” turned Emerson into two-dimensional Ahab, and Clarke was his white whale.
Emerson manages to roust half-a-dozen battle-hardened young people and throw then in the airlock, which still works for some reason, just so that he can have Clarke watch them die before he finally kills her. That’s some comic book level super-villainy right there for someone who sided with Ice Nation with understandable motives. Killing one’s whole family and society will certainly skewer a man’s perspective, but The 100 seemed smarter than turning someone into a psycho-killer just to give our heroes another hurtle to vault.
Of course someone had to die, and of course it had to be Sinclair. He’s not one of the actual 100, of course neither is Raven but she’s suffered enough, and suffers again because Emerson twists her arm, and she did have something of an unrequited thing with Sinclair. It would have be nice if, for once, something bad happens and Raven doesn’t take the brunt physically or emotionally, but alas, that was not this week. On the bright side, Alessandro Juliani died slightly less like a punk here than he did on Battlestar Galactica.
It seems weird with so much going on, and so much left to go through, The 100 served up this week what was basically a filler episode. While we did learn a valuable clue – how to activate the flame with the Latin translation of “seek higher things” – it was only handy in that it finally offed Emerson. It felt wrong that Clarke would use the Flame to eliminate someone, but maybe that was the point.
The episode also featured a prime Clarke/Bellamy moment, as they were the only ones left that Emerson didn’t capture. It was fun to see them team-up and improvise a terrible plan to the save the others, and very reminiscent of a lot of earlier episodes, but it also reinforced just how far off the beaten track they’ve taken Bellamy’s character this year. In other dynamic duo news you will note how Monty refused to give Jasper a goodbye hug when Jasper decided to leave with Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia to find Luna, while the others stayed behind at Arkadia. You can tell by the look on Monty’s face that he instantly regretted the diss; he’s wondering if he’ll ever seen Jasper again. Foreshadowing?
The most consequential stuff this week was happening in Polis, where Casanova John Murphy was reunited with one lover, Emori, while out and about in the city with another. Emori thinks that Murphy is scheming against Ontari, running some kind of con on the new commander, and she wants in. Seems rather straightforward, and it’s a bit weird that Emori would show up in Polis where her disfigurement would make her an outcast, so she must either really love John, or there was something else afoot.
And that lead to Murphy’s other big reunion this week, with Jaha. Jaha shows up at the commander’s court, outs Murphy as a schemer, and Emori as Murphy’s lover. Emori seemed oddly tight with Jaha but that was because she has also joined the City of Light army now. How/when did that happen? Perhaps that will be answered, but it was an interesting twist. Note too that in the Commander’s throne room, A.L.I.E. seemed to be fully in control of Emori. Luisa D’Oliveira’s impression of Erica Cerra isn’t as spot on as Lindsay Morgen’s, but it was passible enough to make the point.
“Demons” addressed an interesting question in terms of A.L.I.E.’s world domination plans, why did she wait for Jaha to arrive for beginning her takeover scheme, especially with a world full of Grounders? One can only assume that with the Flame out of play, and a false Commander in place at Polis, A.L.I.E. saw an opportunity and seized upon it. Jaha played Ontari well, offering a chip similar to that she was missing, but it seemed that the chip Jaha offered her was different than than the others. I don’t remember them being so blue in color.
If the rest of the episode felt a bit middling, than the conclusion almost made up for it. The sight of A.L.I.E. on the commander’s throne, flanked by Ontari and Jaha was quite the message of unity as the A.I. continues her takeover plans. What fate is there for Murphy though? It seems that he can’t go more than two episodes in a row before he’s locked up and tortured, but at least now the other members of the 100 have an ally in Polis when they find Luna.