On this week’s The 100, Clarke and Lexa encounter a new threat, Bellamy and Lincoln attempt to infiltrate Mount Weather, Octavia impresses Indra, and Jaha leads Murphy on a new path toward the City of Light.
Aside from some outright atrocious special effects, “Survival of the Fittest” is an excellent episode. The latter half of season two is rapidly moving in new directions, especially with the Sky People and Grounders alliance underway, as well as Jaha’s decision to blindly lead some of his people to a new place altogether; these are all really well-chosen storytelling moves, as the audience is simultaneously learning more about the Grounders culture and the world these characters are currently inhabiting. All of these decisions make for some thoroughly-engrossing television.
Along with the Grounders/Sky People alliance, several new and exciting smaller alliances are also forming. Bellamy and Lincoln is perhaps the most fun and entertaining to witness, especially given their mutual connection to Octavia, but Octavia and Indra’s alliance is by far the most surprising and promising. Octavia is already meshed with the Grounders, thanks to her relationship with Lincoln, and she seems like the best possible person to tie the two groups/societies together (aside from Clarke). Plus, Octavia is blossoming into a truly dynamic and interesting character–her refusal to give up, despite clearly losing, during her sword fight with one of the Grounders is a lovely display of how far she’s come from the carefree, excitable girl that was first to jump off the 100’s ship and onto Earth.
Unfortunately, the Grounders/Sky People alliance is mostly playing out as expected, with both sides pushing back against the idea of teamwork and sharing weapons. (The firing practice scene raises another question–just how much firepower do the Sky People have? Their bullets are a limited resource, right?) However, their uneasy alliance is already far more interesting than their war was. Another intriguing aspect of the merging societies is the concept of a brand new civilization being formed; “Survival of the Fittest” brings religion into the story’s fold in several ways, especially with Lexa’s offhanded comment about the Grounders believing in reincarnation and Jaha’s prophet-esque behavior. As mentioned before, The 100 is very similar to past shows Lost and Battlestar Galactica, and both shows featured religion in their plotlines in a big way. If handled well, the religious bits of the show could turn out to be extremely affecting and intriguing. But, back to the birth of a new civilization–as the two sides merge, they’re also clearly sharing their survival and fighting skills, their concepts of leadership, and, of course, their religions. This will be incredibly beneficial for both societies, so long as they manage to work together without falling back into war.
Meanwhile, the weakest part of the episode is definitely the sub-par special effect work on the gorilla; it was downright laughable. And it’s a shame, because, up until he was seen, the gorilla seemed absolutely terrifying. But, really, that’s a small complaint among a really wonderful episode, and it doesn’t weigh down the drama or intensity of the gorilla’s showdown with Clarke and Lexa.
“Survival of the Fittest” serves as proof that, even while balancing several new and emerging storylines, The 100 knows how to keep the momentum and the drama flowing smoothly without skimping on character development. And, for a show only in its sophomore season, this is a remarkable, and incredibly promising, skill.