Our second episode opens with a brief monologue from Clarke establishing the premise of the show, much like the “one girl, in all the world” intro we got with Buffy for the first few seasons. Makes sense if you want to clue in new viewers.
Headed back to the dropship in defeat and without food, the adventure squad of Clarke, Monty, Finn, and Octavia (sadly minus a skewered Jasper) run across a skeleton of what looks like – wait, what? – a gorilla or something. Are we headed into a Planet of the Apes type scenario? Surely not. Right?…
Chancellor Jaha, Abby, and Kane on the Ark argue about what it means that a lot of wristband signals seem to be blinking out. Kane wants it to mean that the kids are dead because he’s really pessimistic and wants to be right. Abby has hope. Jaha is still kind of out-of-it from the assassination attempt and his recovery from the emergency surgery Abby gave him to keep Kane from becoming Chancellor.
On the ground, we find Wells burying the two dead kids from the last episode, the ones who wouldn’t listen to Clarke and put on their seatbelts, despite Clarke using Teacher Voice on them. It appears that Bellamy has had relations with a young lady on the dropship, and he gives us some Capt. Willard from Apocalypse Now shirtless, gun-toting sketchiness as he kisses her. We don’t learn her name. But their scanty dress and her hairstyle and the Apocalypse Now-ishness of Bellamy here point us a little towards the “going native” trope. We already saw from the past episode that he’s forming a little wilderness empire on the ground, and he’s the only guy with the
phallus gun. Shades of Kurtz as well. The horror!
In a similar vein we see a spread of violence amongst the delinquents in the aforementioned Lord of the Flies type scenario. Murphy and Wells end up in a knife fight, which Clarke luckily shows up just in time to stop. Again we see that Clarke is possibly the only responsible would-be adult on hand.
In other words, Clarke is No Fun At All. Especially when she breaks it to everybody that they’re not alone on the ground. At this point, Bellamy makes the first reference to Grounders, a loaded term that we’ll hear again for sure. Again we see Clarke pitted against Bellamy in this scene, which he again couches in terms of economic privilege versus disadvantage in order to turn everyone against her and continue with his Wristband Rebellion / mini-empire.
On the Ark, Abby and Jaha argue about the possibility of “culling” people from the Ark to extend their oxygen supply. Yes, this means killing a bunch of people. Abby is against it, and Jaha is wavering due to the unknowns regarding life on the ground. “Hope is everything,” Abby insists, “and the Chancellor I voted for, he knew that.” Thelonius Jaha is black and the chief executive of the Ark who ran and got elected on a platform of hope and then disappointed everybody. That sounds awfully familiar…
Kane and Jaha speak alone about the attempted assassination, and we get the distinct sense that Kane had the most to gain by Jaha’s death. Also, Kane talks about Jaha being “too weak” to make the hard decisions. In other words, too merciful. Here again we have the moral conundrum of mercy versus the sacrifice of some people to save others.
The kids down on Earth strategize about who will help with the Jasper rescue effort. Clarke calls Finn a coward for not wanting to go. Bellamy comes with and puts his minion Atom in charge of watching after little sis Octavia. I really question this decision.
On the Ark, we meet a new character: Raven the engineer, who… uh… reveals herself when she sheds her space suit after a spacewalk. She has determined that one of the “exodus ships” was launched and it was not due to a malfunction. Sorry adults, you’re about to get busted for sending a bunch of kids to the ground with zero prep.
Meanwhile, Octavia gets saucy with some dude, and Atom gets rid of him and locks her in the upper floor of the dropship with Monty, who’s trying and failing to make some kind of communication device out of some busted wristbands. Don’t lock up Octavia! Don’t you know she’s already had enough of that hiding under the floor all her life? Her bro and Atom are really cramping her style, yo.
Raven approaches Abby about the exodus ship launch and a “quarantine” of the detention lockup she has discovered. She figures this out because she was hoping for a conjugal visit with… someone. Abby is really cagey about confirming all this info at first.
A bunch of stuff happens on the ground, such as Bellamy and Murphy being really shady with Clarke and suggesting they’re going to force her to give up her wristband. Atom semi-hits on Octavia. You know, after locking her upstairs. That apparently worked for her, though ::cough::Stockholm syndrome::cough:: because she seems into his advances.
Finn and Clarke figure out that the river – the same one with the river Basilisk that bit Octavia’s leg – is some kind of boundary to the Mt. Weather area. They decide to take a dip in the river fully clothed. And once again it’s wet T-shirt time, and they have some exchange that was probably supposed to be cute. It’s not. This wet t-shirt situation seems to happen a lot on this show, especially to Clarke. I temporarily hoped that they’d both get an accidental bath this way, but Clarke doesn’t even get her hair wet. Finn does, so at least there’s some hope for temporary cleanliness. They also spot a super-obvious clue: some blood that is probably Jasper’s. A LOT of blood, actually. How does he even have any left?
Raven tells Abby and co. that they shouldn’t lose hope for the kids because clearly the kids are removing the wristbands voluntarily. Kane is sad because he had already lost hope and now has to appear to have hope again. He really wanted those kids to be dead. Because strong leaders love to kill their own to prove a point.
Octavia, released from the dropship, follows a glowing butterfly. Really? REALLY?!? A glowing butterfly? Wtf? … Ugh…
Okay fine. She follows this fluorescent blue butterfly to a whole tree of butterflies. A whole horde of them, The Birds style, glowing on a magical butterfly tree full of blatant Avatar intertext. The butterflies land on her like little fairies, saying “We dub thee Earth Goddess!” She’s really happy though, so at least there’s that. Poor thing. Butterflies, nature, freedom – these are what our girl craves. And flirting with dudes. She craves that too.
Cue Atom showing up. He says something not very romantic, and they start making out. She seems interested in taking things to the next level forthwith, and Atom responds for her to chill because, “We’ve got nothing but time.” Uh… dude? Never mind. You don’t wanna know. So I won’t tell you. But let’s just say you probably shoulda gone for it while you had the chance.
Oh hell – Jasper is all bloody and tied up in a tree! For anyone who’s paying attention, this is the part where Admiral Ackbar should make a cameo and yell, “It’s a trap!” Because clearly they don’t realize it. Epic earth skills fail! All of you! The trap is a the old trap door routine, like from every jungle movie ever. Naturally, Clarke falls through it when she runs over – however well intentioned – to untie Jasper. Bellamy can’t decide if he wants to save her at first (jerk!), but then with the help of the full adventure squad, he pulls her out of the trap, complete with its Gilligan’s Island style bamboo lid. Meanwhile, Jasper be like.
In a boring council meeting on the Ark, they decide whether to kill people in order to save humanity, because that totally makes sense. Jaha is supposed to be the tie-breaker, but then he abstains, which somehow through Ark parlaimentary procedure, gives them 10 days to figure out if the ground is habitable.
While rescuing Jasper after reluctantly rescuing Clarke, Bellamy finds himself
impotent weaponless, and Wells rescues everybody by shooting a panther that was about to attack them. This also means a food source (for 98 people?). Party time!!
Abby shows Raven an old, shoddy-looking space capsule (“probably from Mir 3 in 2102”), and Abby’s hoping our lovely engineer can fix it up for her so she can go down and be mom/doctor to all the kids. Finally, someone cares about the kids! Raven agrees but on the condition that she can go too because, “I have someone I love on the ground.” We still don’t know who. Except yes we do. But he’s busy right now.
Panther feast!!! Bellamy uses the meat as a shady bargaining chip to further the Wristband Rebellion. People only get to eat if they’re willing to be de-accessorized. Most are cool with that. Finn somehow manages to score a roasted panther cutlet for himself and Clarke even though she doesn’t submit to Bellamy’s plan. Finn also gives Clarke a really shitty necklace. Pure game, Finn. Or what passes for it on the ground, I guess.
Octavia and Atom are still making out at the Tree of Souls or whatever, and Bellamy sees them. The next thing we know Atom is strung up and hanging from a tree. Not hanging-hanging, mind you. He’s still alive and stuff, but Bellamy declares, “I won’t be disobeyed!” Bellamy, you are really creeping me out, man. Stop being such a petty dictator! This is not the Belgian Congo / Vietnam.
Also, Bellamy, hello double standards! You’re all hittin’ it in the dropship with a random lady and it’s totes okay, even though you don’t bother to introduce us. But Octavia – poor Octavia who has probably never gotten to even hold hands with a guy during her previous under-the-floor lifestyle – gets in trouble for getting kissy with your friend, who seems like a halfway alright dude? I mean relatively alright. I mean, he’s definitely no Lincoln, that’s for sure. But you know, love the one you’re with, right?
And uh, oh, wait – what’s that in the trees? A masked mystery-Grounder watching the festivities.
Bonus Questions: How did Bellamy string up Atom in the tree? How long do they go without food? How does everybody stand walking around in wet clothes all the time? Does panther taste like chicken?
Cleanliness: getting dirtier, despite Clarke and Finn’s wet t-shirt interlude
Best Hair: Abby and Raven, but they’re still on the Ark, so the competition is a little unfair.
Worst Hair: still Murphy; Finn is gaining on him though
Injuries: Ongoing ones from Jasper getting speared, Atom gets strung up in a tree (presumably that hurts, but not as bad as getting speared), and Murphy further proves his tendency towards casual atrocities by holding a girl over a fire, just for funsies. She seems physically unharmed, but I assume traumatized. Oh and I assume someone got cut in the knife fight. Because knife fight.
Death/Dismemberment: RIP, panther
Moral: Don’t disobey Bellamy. No wait, do disobey him a lot, because he’s a complete jackass right now. Or: a few glowing butterflies are pretty. A whole swarm of them amassed on a tree is just creepy. Eww. No thanks.