Review: ‘The 100’ Season 4 Premiere: “Echoes”

the_100_401-1You know, it’s interesting – I absolutely LOVED The 100 season 3 premiere last year, only to come to the rude awakening that it had been a misleading intro into a decidedly messy first half of the season.  I almost wished the premiere had not been as good as it was, because it set my expectations too high.  Season 3 eventually got its shit together in the back half, but getting there was a bumpy ride.

And then conversely, the season 4 premiere last night was an entirely different experience – It was a solid intro to the season, but not too flashy.  It had some really nice moments but nothing as grandiose as the Rover ride to the Violent Femmes, the jaguar wrestling match, or the emo music montage featuring a Canadian teenage pop star at the piano.  It also fell a bit more into the trap that many season premieres and finales fall into, which is that it was a bit overly packed with plot.  It’s easy for a season premiere to wind up feeling like the episode is mainly checking off a list of plot points to tie off from the previous season’s finale, along with a list of plot developments that need to happen to set up the new season.  The season 3 premiere handled this a bit more smoothly last year.

BUT with all this said, I ain’t mad about it, at least not yet.  Because the last thing I want is another season 3, where the premiere hits it out of the park and then the season goes wonky from there.  I’m feeling fairly optimistic that Jason R and the writers have learned their lessons from season 3 in this area, so as of this moment I’m not expecting season 4 to run into the same pitfalls.  If the season 4 premiere has to be a bit workman-like in order to set up the season, then I’m fine with it as long as the rest of the season is good.

I should also mention though that season 4 does have one challenge that season 3 did not: 3 less episodes to tell the story.  The 100 has 13 episodes this season as opposed to the usual 16.  They did a great job of telling the story in 13 eps in season 1, so there’s nothing to say they can’t do this in season 4, but I also know it gets harder as the series goes on, because the story focus and the vastness of the fictional world tends to expand with each season.  On the upside, it should hopefully force a tighter story and help avoid the situation they had in season 3 where they were just trying to do too much with the season.

I may or may not do regular reviews this season just because I don’t get paid for this and it’s technically a complete waste of my time, if you weigh it against other more productive things I could be doing, lol.  On the other hand, given Fuhrer Trump and our current state of affairs, watching and reviewing The 100 could help prepare us all for the upcoming apocalypse.  And then who’ll be crying??  Not us, we’ll have all everything we need: blueprints from Raven on how to survive a total nuclear meltdown.  That is, if our favorite delinquents really do figure out how to survive.  Fingers crossed.

Aiight I’m just gonna go through the good stuff and bad stuff in the premiere.  Here we go.  I’ll start with the bad first so we can end on a high note.

Bad Stuff

Jasper

Why.  Why??  I do not understand why the writers feel the need to continue making Jasper the most obnoxious whiny bitch in the universe, STILL.  What did he do to deserve this?  He was not like this in the first 2 seasons.  He was a functional and essential member of Skaikru then.  But after Maya was killed at Mount Weather, he spent all of season 3 being practically the new (season 1) Murphy in his obnoxiousness, especially once he took the chip.  But then at the end of season 3, when the City of Light was wiped out, it looked like he was finally going to come out of his stupid funk.  I honestly thought he was going to become a useful character again this season, until I watched … well honestly until I watched the season 4 trailers, because even they made it pretty obvious what was going to happen with our wayward Jasper.

I know he was supposed to commit suicide last season’s finale, so I understand why they had him nearly commit suicide in the season 4 premiere.  But since they made the decision not to have him commit suicide, I would prefer that they just avoided this path altogether.  I’m glad that at least he’s in happy mode now that he knows the world is ending, but I’m pretty damn sure he’s going to continue to be a completely useless character this season. He’ll be nothing but a dead weight to Clarke and team as they try to save the damn world.  Just like Murphy in season 1.  Considering that this will likely be the case, I’d almost rather he just committed suicide successfully before being interrupted by Monty.  Anyway.  We’ll see.  I hope I’m wrong.  Maybe he’ll at least provide some good laughs in the meantime.  But after cheating death in seasons 1 and 3, I will be shocked if he survives season 4.  My prediction is that if any delinquents are gonna get got this season, that Jasper will be one of them.  It seems as if the writers are purposely making him expendable so that they can kill him.

Either that or he’ll be the only person still alive when the entire series ends, just because the writers want to fuck with us.

I just re-watched the episode and the good news is, I’ve realized that this is really the only significant thing I have to complain about.

Good Stuff

Octavia

the-100_401_9Omg.  After the last scene of season 3, plus the trailers featuring Octavia as an assassin, I was fully expecting her to go completely rogue in this episode.  I expected full FBB (Floorboard Baby) mode, which, if you read any of my season 3 reviews, you’ll know I am NOT a fan of.  So I cannot possibly convey how thrilled I am that this did not happen … at least not yet.  Maybe it’ll happen next week and I’ll be disappointed.  But for now I’ll take what I can get.

I read Eric Goldman’s IGN review after I watched the ep, and he mentioned that he thought it felt disjointed to have Octavia kill Pike and storm off at the end of 3.16 and then have her just still working with the team in 4.01.  I totally get what he’s saying, but when I think back to last May, there was nothing in ep 3.16 to say with any level of certainty she was going to go rogue.  It was of course one of the main possibilities I was considering, but I feel like it was the S4 trailers and descriptions of S4 that made me decide on this as the probable outcome.  You’ll see in my 3.16 review that I had no clue at the time where she was storming off to at the end of that ep.  One other possibility I was considering was that she was just checking things off her list: 1) Kill Pike, 2) Go save Indra, 3) Figure out next steps, which is indeed what ended up happening.  I do understand why you’d find it misleading though, because to end the entire season on that “Octavia storms out” scene makes it seem like it’s going to be something far more significant.  At the time I found it odd to end season 3 on this in general rather than to end on Clarke telling Bellamy the big news about the impending end of the world.

All I know is, I’m just glad it went the way it did, for now.  To have Octavia go find and help Indra right in the very first scene of the premiere was a great start to the season for me.  I think these two as a duo are one of the best things about The 100.  I really really hope they work together a lot this season.

the-100_401_10OH and I can’t forget the scene where Octavia starts her assassin work and spears that guy in the face like a BAMF!  I said earlier in this review that there was nothing too flashy in the season 4 premiere, but if anything in this ep qualifies in that category, it’s this scene.  The way they shot the spear flying was fun and I liked the editing and slow-mo effect.  (In my season 3 reviews I mentioned that I have issues with the strange and sometimes cheesy editing and special effects they use on this show sometimes, but this scene did not fall into that category thank goodness.)  And Abby’s reaction to Octavia’s hit job was priceless.  Clarke seemed significantly less fazed, which I also found amusing.

Echo

the_100_401-8Look, I mean, fuck Echo, in general.  She seemed like she had such potential in season 2, only to turn into such an evil biznatch in season 3 … it was disappointing.  But the writers did two encouraging things with Echo in the season 4 premiere: First off, one thing that I’ve always liked about The 100 is the way they’ll take bit characters from previous seasons and then – like several seasons later – turn them into full-on main characters (well, supporting characters, but with real actual storylines and screentime).  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a TV series do this.  Have I?  At least not on such a regular basis.  Are any of these characters in the books and that’s why they have a better chance of coming into the limelight later on?  I’m not sure.  But it’s happened several times so far.

Harper is a great example of this.  She had almost zero screentime in season 1 other than just being in the background of scenes … the only significant scene I remember is the one where she flirts with Jasper and he blows her off like a jerk.  But then in season 2, in Mount Weather, there she is, coming more to the forefront to help the delinquents escape.  Then she gets pulled in for the gnarly bone marrow harvesting, and her role continues to expand.  By season 3 she is a full-fledged member of the team.  Echo is an even more extreme example, in that she’s literally only in a few scenes of season 2, as Bellamy’s cage-neighbor, and you don’t really expect to ever see her again after the grounders are freed from Mount Weather.  Then she shows up again early in season 3 briefly, only to aid in setting up the Ice Nation story by conning Bellamy, betraying his trust, and murdering his girlfriend.  And then you really think you’ll never see her shady ass again.

But wait!  Here she is again in season 4, seemingly about to play a key role in the season.  I’m not entirely sure yet, but it kinda seems that way.  The other thing they’ve done with her that I like is that they’ve made an attempt to explain her assholery in season 3 – She’s a spy and she was just following orders, o.k.!?  It’s all she knows.  She tried to do what she could for Bellamy but couldn’t save his girlfriend.  It’s certainly not enough of an excuse to forgive her, but at least she makes some attempt to show she tried a teeny tiny bit, so it’s better than nothing at all.

Raven

One of the reasons I’m cautiously hopeful about season 4 is that I feel like this is going to be Raven’s time to shine.  She already did get a chance to shine in the back half of season 3 by being the brain behind the hacking/takedown of the City of Light.  But I think and hope that she may be able to take even more of a leadership role in season 4.  The enemy they’re facing this time is gonna require someone to science the shit out of it, and Raven is the woman for that.  Season 4 is all on her.  No pressure Raven, just don’t disappoint us.

Clexa

The writers definitely made a point to address Clarke’s mourning of Lexa in this episode, and it felt like a way for The 100 to properly pay its respects to Lexa and to the importance of Clarke’s relationship with her.  It seemed like closure, though there could very well be more references to it as season 4 goes on – it certainly will be a relevant topic each time the flame is used this season.

Clarke and Bellamy

the_100_401-4It’s obvious that this show works a lot better when these two are working as a team, and that was a significant factor in the first half of season 3 being problematic, just as it was also a big factor in the second half of season 3 finally getting its shit together.  When these two are at odds, the show goes to crap.  And apparently Bellamy himself goes to crap!  It’s like he doesn’t even know how to act like a proper human being without Clarke around to guide him.  Season 2 showed that Clarke and Bellamy can actually be physically separated, but as long as they are on the same team, we’re good.  Though I personally prefer them to physically be in the same vicinity.  Just sayin’.  Maybe I’m biased.

The season premiere had these two working solidly as a team from start to finish, and that made me happy.  It was nice to see Clarke make a point to thank Bell for keeping her alive in 3.16, and his little quips in that scene were cute.  And when they walked off together at the end and he said “O.k. Princess, what now?” I kinda melted a little.  It’s been a long time since he’s called her Princess, right?  Am I just forgetting?  Plus that particular line is from season 1, isn’t it?  Oh, Tumblr just answered this one for me.  The line was very close.

Other Stuff

Clarke: “[Octavia] won’t be charged!  Everyone will say that Pike had it coming.”

Bellamy: “Maybe we all do.”

Well, I mean, no, not all of you, Bellamy.  Mostly just you.  Hahah I mean, it wasn’t Clarke or Octavia or Abby out there helping Pike murder people left and right, it was just you.  And I guess Bryan.  And some other no-names that none of us care about.  Jaha has it coming too though.  So at least you’re not alone.

Jasper: “Sorry about the … ya know.”

Harper: “Smashing my face into a wall, or pistol-whipping me?”

Lmao.  A good example of what a great team player Jasper was last season.

Bellamy: “There’s something we need you to look into.”

Raven: “First, tell me how my friends are.  Did everyone make it??  Clarke?”

Clarke: “I’m here.  Thanks to you.”

Raven: [Relieved face]

D’aww.  God I NEED Princess Mechanic to happen this season.  I don’t mean like in a romantic way I just mean in a friendship and working together to save the world kinda way.  Please?

Roan

Ice Nation continue to be such raging dicks, I hate them.  They are the season 1 Murphy of the Grounder clans.  Maybe I’ve overused that analogy.  They are the Cage Wallace of the Grounder clans.  Now that Zach McGowan is officially a regular castmember as Roan, it’ll be interesting to see if he continues to be a decent human being or if he gets seduced by power.  I enjoyed his relationship with Clarke last season, so hopefully that’ll continue this season.

Jaha

the_100_401-3Jaha … oh Jaha.  Sigh.  So crazy, so bent on saving the world, and so ridiculously misguided most of the time.  I enjoyed the A.L.I.E. storyline in season 3, so I shouldn’t complain about Jaha too much, but I did hate his guts last season.  As I was supposed to.  He seems bent on making amends for his sins this season, so we’ll see how that goes for him.  Hopefully it doesn’t lead him into turning everyone into murderous zombies again.

A few other things:

  • Murphy and Emori are still together, and I’m happy about that.  Why does Murphy always gotta be such an asshole though?  Betrayed Bellamy again.  I guess he wouldn’t be Murphy if he wasn’t still acting like a selfish prick at least 50% of the time.
  • Kabby are a full-on unit this season so that should be fun.  Clarke’s realization that they’re a couple was cute-slash-awkward.
  • Indra and Kane – D’aww!!
  • Monty and Harper!  So I guess they are officially boyfriend and girlfriend now?  I’m into it.  Everyone’s coupling up this season.
  • OH holy shit, I never would have noticed this if not for Tumblr, but the girl who heckles Roan during his big king’s speech with the flame … “This is blasphemy!” I think this might be the same girl who installs the flame into her neck later in the season, based on the full-length trailer.  Interesting.  We’d better keep our eye on her.

My rating for the season 4 premiere, ep 4.01: 82/100

Solid start to season 4, nothing that made me completely shit my pants out of either love or hate, but still with some nice character moments.  And they seem to be taking most of the story and the characters in a direction I like, save for Jasper.  Let’s see where they take it next week.

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