So while Sweet Magnolias is mostly sweet, we find a few elements which make it more tart than some would like.
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 the remnants of humanity floated above their one-time home on a collection of space stations called the Ark. When the station went past its expiration date, its leaders sent a bevy of wayward teens—the 100—down to check terra firma out and see if the ol’ gal was habitable again.
Sure enough, it was. In fact, it’s so habitable that other sorts of humans who were all thought to be long dead have actually been living on the surface for a good long while. Grounders have been hunting and foraging and getting rough and ready in this lush, violent paradise for decades. And Mountain Men have come to control cannibalistic, drugged-up human guard dogs who are “affectionately” called Reapers. And there’s even a mysterious place called the “City of Light,” a heavenly-like realm that true believers hold is a place free of physical and spiritual pain.
It’s about as good as earth can get these days. Until, of course, the violent new world, as they’ve come to know it, is destroyed again, and the remnants of humanity are forced to go back into space until they can find another habitable planet. Which, it turns out, is actually a moon bent on destroying all who walk its rugged terrain.
During The 100’s first season I said that this was a dystopian drama as imagined by Abercrombie & Fitch. That’s no longer so true. The teens are now weathered and grizzled—and aged beyond their years thanks to the threats they’ve had to deal with. And the show, like those teens, has grown deeper, more complex … and more problematic. Even as it dives into the morality of war and plays around with spiritual themes—a rare sight indeed in a teen-based drama—it serves up same-sex kisses and tries to redefine the word float as a new, censor-dodging stand-in for that still-banned-on-network-TV f-fronted obscenity (much as Battlestar Galactica did with frack). The petty lying, cheating and sleeping around continues (among the teens and adults). But this show is now not so much about who’s with whom as much as it is who’s going to live to the credits.
The 100, even into the seventh season, has turned into a decidedly violent, often bloody drama—part Lord of the Flies, part Planet of the Apes, part Lost as reimagined by the CW. It superficially extols themes of faith, hope and love, and then it coats them with a sheen of gore.
Clarke tries to determine what sort of example she should set for future generations while deciding the fate of Russell (a man who many believe to be a god but who is also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people—including Clarke’s mother).
A man’s throat is slit. A woman with a bleeding arm discovers a tube with a hidden message inside her wound. Three men are gunned down. One survivor tries to kill a woman before he’s shot again. A woman punches and kicks a man multiple times, causing him to bleed black blood, and eventually knocks him unconscious. She nearly leaves him to die in a burning building but decides to pull him out instead.
A man is knocked unconscious by invisible fiends and dragged off. His friends are thrown through the air by his assailants when they try to save him. A woman punches a man in the throat. Two women fist fight. People threaten each other with knives and guns. Two arguing groups of people nearly start a riot. Many people are armed with guns and use them to fire warning shots. Someone is upset that an “army of cannibal peacekeepers” is guarding a prisoner. People talk about nuclear bombs.
Many people worship and pray to Russell, believing him to be a god. (In reality, he just has access to very advanced technology.) People talk about a young girl who was possessed by an evil warlord. Later, a grown man also becomes possessed by him. Someone says that faith is both powerful and dangerous. Someone says, “Thank God.”
Several people hallucinate after inhaling a toxin in the air. A woman grieving the loss of her mother is reminded by her own adopted daughter that she isn’t the only one who has had to watch someone they love die. Another woman is bitter towards her mom for not allowing her to cry when her dad died. People drink in a tavern. Shirtless men and women wearing crop tops bathe in a communal pool. A guy calls his girlfriend “hot.” We hear a few uses each of “a–” and “h—,” as well as a couple misuses of God’s name.
Hundreds of years after earth’s destruction, Clarke and Bellamy wake up on a ship with hundreds of their friends still preserved through cryo-freezing by their deceased friend, Monty. Monty has left Clarke and Bellamy instructions on how to descend to a new planet—but this planet is actually a moon where nothing is as it seems.
Once Clarke, Bellamy and a few others land on this mysterious moon, they soon find that bugs have the ability to kill humans, and that the sun and air can be toxic and lead to insanity. While exploring, they come across a shrine sprinkled with blood, chains and demented drawings.
A man is electrocuted and killed. A woman nearly stabs a man to death. A man convulses and bleeds out (blood pours from his mouth and covers his body).
Men and women alike have difficulty forgiving one another, especially in light of their violent history on earth. A man asks those around him to pray for safety and tells Clarke that salvation “comes from what you do, not what you say.”
Women wear cleavage-baring tops and men go shirtless. Couples kiss, make-out and flirt. One couple lies under sheets after having sex. God’s name is misused twice and other profanity includes multiple uses of “h—,” “b–ch,” “d–n,” “d–mit,” “p-ssed” and “crap.”
In the series finale, Madi takes her place as the leader of the 100. McCreary does whatever he can to take control of earth, even if that means destroying it.
As Madi and McCreary’s soldiers wage war, bodies are blown up, shot and severely injured. Blood pours from wounds and covers the ground. We see mangled limbs and hear people groan in agony. One man is tortured as his teeth are ripped out and is legs are nearly broken. An evil man is electrocuted after he threatens to kill everyone on earth. A woman is knocked unconscious.
A woman threatens to shoot an unborn child. Buildings explode, guns are shot and rockets are launched. A young girl is instructed to summon spirits. There is a spiritual reference to the serpents in the Garden of Eden. Women wear revealing clothing, couples kiss and profanity includes a stand in for the f-word (“float”) and other words such as “h—,” “d–n,” and “d–mit.”
Madi has recently been implanted with a stone that makes her the rightful commander of evil dictator Octavia’s people. But her pseudo-mother, Clarke, will do whatever it takes to keep Madi from challenging Octavia’s reign. Octavia, for her part, ruthlessly gives her followers only one choice: Obey me, or die.
Violence spews from every corner of what’s left of the Earth. People are shot in the head, throats are slit, and a man bites the throats of two soliders (we see him chewing hungrily on their flesh as blood spurts from throats and other body parts). Someone slits an arm and smears blood on his face. A dictator who is “dead inside” sets fire to the only life source left for her people and forces them to fight to the death in an arena. Fear and force are used to control those who refuse to fall in line. Two people suffer from incurable diseases (often causing them to vomit). A female doctor is poisoned.
A woman prays to “the spirit of the commander.” Some women’s tops reveal cleavage. We hear the words “d–n” and “d–mit.”
Following Praimfaya, a nuclear death wave that destroyed most of planet earth, Clarke is left alone on earth after helping her friends return to space. Now, she must fight for her survival, meeting unexpected friends and foes along the way.
The earth has been virtually destroyed, excepted for one spot called “Eden.” As Clarke (unknowingly) makes her way to this paradise, she must weather storms and natural disasters while searching for food and water. At one point, she thinks of committing suicide but is distracted when a bird (a sign of life and water) flies overhead. She wonders if life is comprised of only pain and suffering. She nearly starves to death and evades death on multiple occasions. Eventually, she meets Madi, a young girl who’s the only other person Clarke knows on earth. Before the two become friends, Madi attempts to kill Clarke out of fear. Six years pass and the two form an unbreakable bond before a spaceship of mercenaries lands on earth, changing everything.
God’s name is misused twice and words like “h—,” “b–ch,” and “suck” are heard. Men and women get into brutal physical fights with one another. Hundreds of dead bodies, both adults and children, are seen (the result of world-wide radiation). Clarke strips down to her bra and underwear before swimming. She’s violently attacked, and she and Madi shoot two men in the head. Clarke gives herself stitches and shoots and eats a bird. A woman’s top reveals some cleavage and couples embrace and passionately kiss.
The episode’s title takes its name from the New Testament’s “field of blood,” associated with Judas Iscariot. And, indeed, traitorous activity is in abundance here.
Pike, the newly elected chancellor of the Ark, has attacked and killed an army of previously friendly Grounders—slaughtering even the wounded. (We see a field covered in corpses.) Former leader Clarke, who has lived with the Grounders for months, sneaks into the encampment to talk with onetime ally Bellamy, but is, in turn, betrayed by him. And Thelonious, the former chancellor, returns from the City of Light to convert who he can to his “faith.” He gives the injured Raven a pill/wafer with an infinity symbol on it, and when she takes it her damaged leg seems to feel better. And the dialogue surrounding this “special” city is deeply steeped in religious ideas. Thelonious sees and talks with a sexily dressed woman in red whom no one else can see.
We see more punching and pummeling. An attack ends in death. A woman bears a bloody, nearly fatal wound from a battle. Someone is zapped with a security weapon. Knives are held to throats. Dire threats are hurled. A corpse is carried on a cart. A man and a woman burgle travelers, with the man lying in the road pretending to be dead. (He smears his face with animal blood to look the part.) We see a couple kiss. Characters say “h—” and “d–n,” and they use the word float as a substitute for the f-word.
“Survival of the Fittest”
Marcus invites a bevy of Grounders to forge an alliance against the Mountain Men. Clarke and Commander Lexa are stuck in the woods with a crazed gorilla. Bellamy and one-time Reaper Lincoln make their dangerous way into Mount Weather. And Jaha encourages Murphy to help him search for a rumored “City of Light.”
Clarke’s bodyguard dies after her arm gets ripped off. A Grounder shoots arrows at Clarke, chokes her and nearly kills her, but Lexa throws a knife into the dude’s wrist, buries an ax in his leg and leaves him for the gorilla. Grounders beat each other senseless in training. When Octavia insists on taking part, her opponent hits her, kicks her and nearly kills her. We hear about lots of other deaths, including by immolation. We see skeletons and half-eaten animal corpses dripping with gore.
Lexa says that, should she die, her spirit will pick a new leader, which Clarke interprets as a belief in reincarnation. Lincoln can’t resist the pull of the drugs he and other Reapers became addicted to. Characters say “a–,” “h—” and “d–n” (two or three times each).
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.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).
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