[Contains damaged dams and SPOILERS!!!]
I started the second season of The 100 with high hopes, impressed that ‘Clarke’ (Eliza Taylor) hadn’t even bothered waiting for the first shoe to drop before suspecting that the seemingly warm and welcoming residents of Mount Weather were secretly up to no good. She clicked straight into escape mode the moment she regained consciousness, and her instincts were ultimately proved correct, when it was revealed that the sun-deprived bunker-dwellers were hoping to use the Juvies’ blood to boost their own resistance to radiation, so they could once again return to the surface. I was also relieved by Clarke’s discovery of a living ‘Anya’ (Dichen Lachman) while exploring the “donor” storage-room… in fact, I actually cheered her name aloud at the exact moment that Clarke said it on-screen! Watching the two of them break out of the bunker together, then squabble and scrap their way back to “safety” was glorious… until some trigger-happy, Grounder-phobic guards shot Anya dead, just after she’d agreed to help Clarke unite their people against the common enemy. GAH!!!
I probably wouldn’t have minded her death so much if the show hadn’t then replaced her with a much younger model, in the form of her supposed second ‘Lexa’ (Alycia Debnam-Carey). It made sense for the Juvies to be led by a teenager/twenty-something, because they were all around that age anyway… and I could even accept the grown-up “Sky People” deferring to Clarke in certain cases, because she’d been on the ground a little longer than they had… but to set up a teenager/twenty-something as the unquestionable commander of the forest-dwelling Grounders stretched my credulity to snapping point. Especially when they had the awesome Adina Porter stood on the sidelines as a scar-faced, battle-hardened badass named ‘Indra’… though she lost a lot of respect from me when she adopted ‘Octavia’ (Marie Avgeropoulos) as her own protégé. No disrespect to Debnam-Carey and Avgeropoulos, who did a lot of solid work acting-wise, but I never really bought them as edgy, ass-kicking warrior-queens… though I did enjoy Clarke and Lexa’s rumble with a rampaging gorilla, for what it’s worth.
Meanwhile, ‘Jaha’s miraculous missile-escape-pod-landing had to be one of the most egregious uses of a “character shield” I’ve ever seen… adding to my growing disinterest and snorting contempt for the show, along with several other choppy narrative compressions and attitudinal inconsistencies… but the very last straw for me was the death of adorable Mountain Girl ‘Maya’ (Eve Harlow) in the finale. She began the season as Clarke’s hostage, before proving herself to be a selfless and priceless ally to the captured Juvies, and was probably my fave character (new or old) in the show… so her undignified and undeserved death was especially disappointing for me. I’ve been down this road before with long-running TV shows, where the writers keep killing off the characters I actually care about, while boosting and empowering the ones I find boring or annoying… and I can’t be bothered giving this show the benefit of the doubt anymore. Despite a lot of good, gory, surprising action sequences and several thought-provoking dramatic moments scattered across the season, they were ultimately drowned out by all the bum notes… and I highly doubt that I’ll bother tuning in for the third season.
P.S. Oopsie! Forgot to give a shout-out to Rekha Sharma, who played the diabolical ‘Doctor Tsing’… Desi actors often seem to get cast as medical-types, and there are plenty listed on her resume, but at least she got to play a memorable and hissable villain this time around, rather than just a random bedside comforter!
P.P.S. The new Game of Thrones-aping title sequence actually made me more confused about the geography of the area than I was before I saw it! Tch.