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MPAA Rating
Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Eliza Taylor as Clarke Griffin; Bob Morley as Bellamy; Devon Bostick as Jasper; Sachin Sahel as Jackson; Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia; Lindsey Morgan as Raven; Jarod Joseph as Miller; Richard Harmon as John; Genevieve Buechner as Fox; Katie Stuart as Monroe; Paige Turco as Abby; Thomas McDonell as Finn; Christopher Larkin as Monty; Isaiah Washington as Chancellor Jaha
Paul Asay
The 100

The 100

Maybe a post-apocalyptic world doesn't have to be all dust and cannibals. According to the CW, it could boast pretty teens, too.

Consider the scenario given to us in The 100. Oh, things appear bleak at first. Civilization was obliterated by nuclear war nearly a century ago, and now the remnants of humanity float above their one-time home on a collection of space stations called the Ark. It's a cramped and gloomy place, this Ark (the interior designer must've gotten a killer deal on gray paint), and its leaders don't put up with much. Any and every crime seems to be a capital offense, with the malfeasant being "floated" out an open airlock to gasp his or her last. Hit a guard? Steal a roll? Paint your room a nice shade of mauve? Yeah, that's a floatin' for ya.

But now even this little home away from home has gone past its expiration date. The Ark's life support systems are failing, and soon the castaways will suffer a horrible and colorless death.

Unless, of course, the planet beneath them (or above them or to the side of them or whatever, with those kinds of directions being rather pointless in space) is capable of sustaining life again. It's not likely, but it's possible. So the Ark's leaders decide to send 100 youngsters—all accused of crimes of course—down to the surface to see if they'll survive.

I know late adolescence can be a trying time for both parents and teens, but this seems a little extreme.

Thankfully, the earth's air is mostly breathable again, and if you ignore the two-headed deer and stay out of the poisonous rain and avoid the mysterious bogeymen dubbed "grounders," you can at least get your color fix. But communications between teens and their elders isn't working so well. (No surprise there, right?) So while the adults in the Ark chew their collective nails and wonder whether their precious little flowers are reenacting scenes from The Road Warrior, the teens themselves are—well, just imagine what you might do if you were a completely unsupervised delinquent teen without even a part-time summer job to keep you busy, spending all your time with scores of other law-flouting and telegenic teens (many of whom are surprisingly tan, given that they've spent their entire lives in a space station).

I'm surprised the folks in the Ark didn't send down a lifetime supply of beer.

Oh, I kid. Sort of. It's not like these teens spend their days twerking. The newly earthbound youth truly want to kick-start civilization again, with or without adult help from above. And given that most seem to have skipped social studies classes for most of their lives, they're trying to rebuild society as best they can without very many historical reference points. Why, it only took four episodes for the 100 (minus a few who've already died) to decide that a few rules might have advantages over all-out anarchy.

Those rules, of course, aren't keeping these kids from lying and cheating. They still get into fights and sometimes even kill one another. And then there's the frequent sex they share. That doesn't break any new laws, so it's all just fine until someone gets his feelings hurt. And then, sometimes the only balm that'll soothe these hurt feelings is more sex. The 100 is dystopian drama as imagined by Abercrombie & Fitch.

Not that the adults necessarily behave much better. They lie, cheat, make moral compromises and sometimes dabble in drugs. They don't have sex as much as they just talk about it. (The CW seems to believe that when it comes to adults and physical affection, they should be heard and not seen.)

The 100 is all rather silly and dispiriting, yet quite in character for a network that cares a great deal about its younger-skewing demographics but not so much about telling great stories. CW brainstorming sessions are probably blissfully short: "Hey, we haven't done a series on teens repopulating an entire planet. That should be easy to make sexy."

Episode Reviews

"Murphy's Law"

Protagonist Clarke removes her wristband (which tells the Ark that she's still alive) partly to upset her mother. Mom is indeed worried, and she speeds up illicit plans to launch a pod to check on the 100's progress.

When the teens find the fingers of one of their fellows who was thought to be killed by grounders, we're "treated" to a view of them sitting next to a bloody knife. Blame shifts quickly from the grounders to Murphy, who is nearly beaten to death before he's strung up by his neck. When a 13-year-old girl then confesses to the crime, Murphy demands the girl's life, and she obliges by jumping off a cliff. Murphy's then brutally beaten some more before being banished.

Clarke and Finn strip off their clothes (we see both of them shirtless, her from the back), make out, fall onto a couch and have sex. (The last bit isn't shown.) Two other teens kiss. Demanded bribes include sex and/or drugs. We hear "b‑‑ch" and "d‑‑n" twice each and "h‑‑‑" a half-dozen times. Someone disparages some sort of church service taking place in the Ark. Clarke and Finn keep secrets from the rest of the camp.