The 100 S3E1: "Wanheda, Pt. 1" Recap & Review
I know you've had problems. You're not the only one. —-Add It Up, The Violent Femmes
Three months have lapsed since the events of Mount Weather, leaving both people and societies in a state of exhausted truce. With one stupid move by a hungover Jasper, and the grounder clans on the hunt for a mysterious Wanheda (Commander of Death), the relative peace is quickly coming to an end.
Here’s what happened! Recap first, review and notes below.
those are the abc's of me: murphy, jaha & alie
The episode opens seconds after season two ends. Murphy, while watching a video of a man committing suicide, is alarmed—let’s be real, majorly pissed off— when the bunker locks him in. He tries to bust open the doors, but to no avail. He is stuck for the next 86 days, eating MREs, drinking wine, and not bathing.
Murphy, surely there was a shower. SURELY.
His food running out, Murphy picks up the camera that Chris, the man who shot himself, left and begins to make his own goodbye video. In typical Murphy fashion, he is yelling, “SCREW YOU” to Jaha when the bunker doors unlock.
He stumbles out into the sun, and eventually makes his way to the huge white/gray mansion. He sees Jaha, and then passes out.
When he awakens, there is a red apple and a glass of water in front of him. Jaha greets him and takes him to ALIE. They talk to him about the paradise of the City of Light, seemingly a mind-place that Jaha has access to. Murphy is having none of it of course, having seen the videos that cast ALIE as the destroyer of the world. He walks out.
Later that night, Jaha finds Murphy sitting on one of the abandoned row boats. Jaha tries to convince him again of ALIE’s good intentions, and tucks an implant into Murphy’s pocket. Then Emori motors up in a fishing boat, and Murphy agrees to go with ALIE, Jaha, Gideon (some sort of stooge?), and Emori. He ends the episode without taking the implant, but ALIE is confident he’ll come around.
DAY AFTER DAY: ARKADIA AND THE ADVENTURE SQUAD
Our introduction into the settlement of Arkadia, formerly Camp Jaha, is a shirtless, sweaty Lincoln and Bellamy performing a training fight for their cute cadets (thanks writers!). We see Monroe and Harper (hi guys! missed you!) before Lincoln and Bellamy have a side conversation in which Bellamy basically inducts Lincoln into the Sky People guard. Lincoln resists, sort of, but he is a peacemaker and ultimately takes the jacket.
Bellamy is heading regular scouting missions into Sector 7, near the Ice Nation boundary (Sector 8), at the behest of Kane.
Adventure squad assemble! Bellamy, Monty, Raven, Miller, and a hungover Jasper prepare the Rover One—their new badass military jeep—to leave. Gina, Bellamy’s girlfriend, is introduced, having just come back from a supply run to Mount Weather. She hands him a copy of The Iliad. Bellamy is clearly moved, in a very Bellamy fashion. Meaning he clenches his jaw and gets quiet. Aw, Bell.
The squad heads out, Octavia riding alongside on her horse Helios, and the best sequence of the episode begins. They plug in the Violent Femme’s ‘Add It Up’ and slowly, surely, a sing-along begins. Set against the setting sun and golden grass, with amazing parallels of Octavia riding free on her horse next to the Rover, it is a small moment of lightness for a group of people who are deeply hurting. It’s a cathartic moment for both the group and the audience.
Of course, it ends too soon. The group picks up a signal from the Farm Station in Sector 8, Ice Nation, which is off-limits without Chancellor approval. They decide to go anyway since Monty’s family and Miller’s boyfriend were on Farm Station. Instead of finding Sky People, they are “oh-crap” introduced to Ice Nation (Azgeda) riders/border guards. One of the riders has the Farm Station signal beacon.
The Ice Nation assumes that the Adventure Squad is looking for Wanheda. No one in the Squad knows who that is, and just as it seems that everyone will go their separate ways, a hungover, death-wish Jasper snatches the beacon from the Azgeda soldier’s belt. He, in turn, grabs Jasper and starts to slit his throat. Guns and blades are drawn, but Ice Nation swords are no match for Sky People guns.
The Adventure Squad just broke the fragile truce between the twelve (now thirteen, with Sky People) clans. Not good.
Bellamy sends Raven, a bleeding Jasper, Octavia, and Miller back home. Later that night, Lincoln and Octavia have a falling out about Lincoln accepting the guard jacket. Octavia contends he is forgetting TriKru. Lincoln disagrees, saying TriKru is about one’s heart, who one is inside.
Twice Abby tries to convince Raven to let Abby help her with her hip and leg; Raven refuses both times. The friendship and care-taking between these two is deeply affecting as a viewer. Both are handling loss and grief by covering their pain with work. Both are struggling to accept that they might need to be vulnerable and reach out for help. It’s a beautiful, very authentic portrayal of the push-pull of friendship and mother-daughter like relationships.
Meanwhile, Bellamy and Monty ride out to meet another signal, this time from Kane in the TriKru lands (Sector 4). Kane and Indra are there. Indra tells them that “everyone” is hunting Clarke, now known as Wanheda (or Commander of Death).
The grounders believe that when you kill a person, you inherit their power. The Ice Nation Queen has put a bounty on her, because she wants to gain Wanheda’s power to influence her people to revolt against the Commander (Lexa).
Indra, Kane, Bellamy, and Monty begin the search for Clarke. Driving along in a thick fog, Monty almost crashes into a fallen tree. A fluke? Nope—another tree is felled behind them. They're trapped.
i did what i had to do, that's all: clarke
Meanwhile, Clarke is hunting panthers and bedding trading-post ladies. She’s in disguise—red hair, grounder clothes—but visits this trading post often enough that Niylah, the woman who works there, has a comfortable rapport with her.
A bounty hunter comes in looking for Wanheda. Niylah denies any knowledge of her, and sends them away though it’s obvious that she knows who Clarke is. Clarke asks Niylah about this, and Niylah tells her that the Mountain took her mother. She is indebted to Clarke for killing them.
Several different emotions merge on Clarke’s face, ending in sadness, and she tries to leave. Niylah makes her stay, though, to be sure the hunters have left. Later, Niylah begins washing Clarke’s back, but asks Clarke to tell her about the mountain. Clarke refuses. After an awkard pause, Clarke reaches out and grabs Niylah’s hand to keep her from pulling away. The two have enthusiastic sex.
Later, after awakening from a nightmare, Clarke sneaks out of Niylah’s home. And, uh-oh, Roan the-bounty-hunter grabs her. "Hello, Wanheda," he says, while holding a knife to her throat.
Wanheda Part One is a beautiful, often stirring, start to season three. The minor blips seem almost inherent to any season premiere: wedged-in plot points and clunky new-character introductions. However, in the face of such an enthusiastic cast, beautiful cinematography, and world-building sets, costumes, and art design, those are minor quibbles. The sound and music this episode were also top-notch. The thumping percussion behind Lincoln and Bellamy’s fight, the mechanical whine of the Rover, and the soft, lapping sounds of Emori’s boat motoring along the quiet, foggy lake all stood out.
The only hesitation I have with Wanheda Part One is my concern with the series as a whole. It’s rightly praised for being relentlessly paced, but at the third season time can—and should—be taken to ensure that our favorite characters are acting in accordance with their previous development. The 100 has been criticized before for cutting corners on character development—see Finn’s descent into trauma-induced madness—and I hope that this season they are smart enough to avoid those pitfalls. A character making unlikeable decisions leading to challenging, destructive places is one thing, but a character making those decisions for plot expediency is another.
Otherwise, all three plots and their inevitable intersection are exciting. The events of Wanheda Part One set up interesting plots and complex, intersecting themes of violence and peace, legend-making and religion, as well as the conflict between duty, loyalty, and love. I can’t wait for next week, and to see how the season unfolds.
notes: don't know much about...mythology
Clearly this season is pulling out the big guns with several Biblical and mythological references. Jaha puts the red apple and a glass of water in front of Murphy, recalling both the Garden of Eden, baptism, as well as Narcissa and the well. A place named Eden’s Pass is mentioned, which is the gateway to Azgeda (Ice Nation). Gina, Bellamy’s girlfriend, hands him a copy of The Iliad. Given the trailers that have been released, it seems like Bellamy, Octavia, and Lincoln might be heading towards a Hector, Achilles, and Patroclus triangle. Clarke’s journey could easily be compared to Odysseus.