Summer time television doesn't offer much scintillation beyond a barrage of reality shows. It's a time for viewers to hit Hulu and Netflix hard to find a show that'll keep them stimulated and on the edge of their couch cushions. That's exactly why I used the opportunity to give in to my friends' requests for me to watch the hypnotic show The 100. The 100 is about a post-apocalyptic group of people living in space who send one hundred convicted teenagers down to Earth to see if it's survivable. When this group of teenagers hit Earth, they find and learn more than they ever would have imagined.
In season one we're introduced to the people living on the Ark who are slowly running out of oxygen on their spaceship. In order not to cause mass panic the Chancellor (Isaiah Washington) and his board members decide to see if Earth is once again habitable by sending down the team of teenagers who are expendable to some, and not so much to others. Viewers are instantly pulled in by the gravity of the situation as well as core characters Clarke (Eliza Taylor), Bellamy (Bob Morley), Jasper (Devon Bostick), Monty (Christopher Larkin), and Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) whose pod ship has literally crashed into a whole new world. At first the group has to struggle to survive one another, but then they slowly realize there's an even bigger battle they will have to face.
The group is meant to find refuge and supplies at an old military installation known as Mount Weather, but their pod ship went off course. In addition to their problem of proximity to Mount Weather, there are newly mutated woodland creatures and a new race of people who have survived the post-nuclear war, called Grounders; consequently dubbing those from the Ark as Sky People. With danger lurking around every corner, it's hard to know who to trust and where to turn.
In season two, action and suspense intensify as the Sky People realise they need to become allies with the Grounders, not only for their survival, but to save both of their people from the cruelty beneath Mount Weather's confines. It's in this pact we meet one of the show's most compelling characters, Commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey). She teaches Clarke what it truly means to be a leader and how sacrifices must be made for a greater good, even if it goes against your best judgment, as weakness leads to death. Clarke soon recognizes she's going to be tested even further by both her environment and the choices she makes which will forever be embedded in her mind and in her heart. As they say in Spider-Man, "with great power comes great responsibility," and that's exactly how I see Clarke, a super hero. Not in the traditional sense, as not all super heroes wear capes, sometimes they wear a jacket and boots or a really hot blazer.
The 100 parallels society, positioning to pick your faction and defend it to your grave. Who's right and who's wrong, that depends on what side you fall on, and there are always areas shaded in grey. What's spectacular about the show is it's riddled with strong, powerful female leads that aren't sitting around waiting to be rescued by the male characters. Clarke, Octavia, Raven (Lindsey Morgan), who we meet later, and Lexa are ladies who hold their own while climbing out of the ashes and beg for more. Especially Raven. She faces an onslaught of disabilities and heartache, and even in the face of all that, she never lets it stop her from accomplishing her objective and never asks for help or pity. Be it by bullet, sword, or arrows, these ladies are unstoppable forces that give young female viewers someone to look up to that is flawed, but who takes those flaws and makes them work as an asset. While some moves they make may appear brash, there's always an underlying motive behind their actions. Each one believes they're sacrificing and working for a greater purpose, even if that never comes to fruition. They work together well and even at times when they seem at odds with one another, there is not a moment that comes off as a manipulation or as superiority. The subtle juxtaposition of the raven and griffin symbolism is riddled throughout the series. Ravens signify an omen or death while griffins are known for guarding treasures and are seen as a symbol of divine power. It makes sense because Clarke becomes the guardian of the Sky People and is always looked to for leadership, meanwhile Raven sees one heartbreak after another. She lands on Earth and dire situations only amplify.
Eliza Taylor is beauty and brawn wrapped within a powerhouse performer. She pushes the envelope with her fortitude and her ability to make you love even the seemingly villainous acts in her. Taylor will leave your heart in your throat and your jaw on the floor and she is even more polarizing when paired with Debnam-Carey. The two have a sinewy chemistry that appears effortless and to run deep. If looks could kill, Debnam-Carey's portrayal of the Commander Lexa would be a lethal weapon. Avergopoulos is fierce and captivating as hardened, but optimistic Octavia. She can cut you deeply with her razor sharp jaw line and even deeper with her compelling talents that pull you in to her tough-as-nails gritty role. Lindsey Morgan is a fantastic standout star as Raven Reyes. Raven is continually bruised, battered, and broken, but never lets anything keep her down for too long. She's resilient and a true woman of determination. Lindsey has the innate ability to engage viewers with her prowess and tug of heartstrings.
Friendships and romantic relationships are ties that bind, but how tightly will be determined by circumstances that are always turning on a dime. With cinematography that is a character in itself, an aching, cool slow burn of unfolding drama, and an incredibly driven cast who continues to raise the bar, The 100 is unstoppable. The show doesn't return until 2016, but that gives you plenty of time to binge watch, fall in love with these characters, or continue to solidify your love for this thrill ride of a show.