The 100: 204 “Many Happy Returns” Review
Reviewed by Owen Bush.
Last week’s ‘Reapercussions’ saw Clarke and Anya finally leave what we could consider Hell (Mount Weather), but this week, we see Jaha enter into a new type of Hell, and it isn’t looking good for our favourite Chancellor (sorry Kane!). The episode, titled ‘Many Happy Returns’ took us to new dimensions and new plots, as well as ending others as the series starts to remove sub-plots and push into the real plot: the ever hanging war between sides.
The episode began with us returning to Jaha, who has had a rough time already in this season with his first four episodes definitely dragging him through many emotions. The tone of these scenes was incredibly different to anything we’ve seen on The 100, with the destination of Jaha being a wasteland, a dead zone. This is definitely a positive for both the episode and the season – introducing strong, fresh and unique concepts to a show that has no boundaries is a great way of re-enticing the viewers into the show, and adding development upon the surface of Earth.
Anya and Clarke continued their battles within the episode. Directly following the events of ‘Reapercussions’, they led their own personal missions through fighting, ultimately causing a catastrophe as the episode concluded. It’s nice to see the character development from both Anya and Clarke – both began understanding little about each other and their natures, but as the episode drew to a close, they began to recognize how they could form a bond together to solve the bigger issues. However, at the beginning of the episode, things looked as disastrous as ever, with Clarke being used as a hostage for Anya’s benefit. The scenes weren’t the strongest we’ve seen from the pair, but both still held meaning and examples of how similar the characters are compared to how different they feel they are to each other.
As the episode progressed, we saw more from Bellamy and Finn’s expedition to save Clarke and the others from the Grounders. After last week’s explosive and argumentative scenes, they decided to head north but things didn’t go as well as planned – when do they ever on The 100? Finn once again returned to his selfish ways; however this week he wasn’t as interesting to watch, due to him putting Clarke over every other person they met. This became quite predictable and once again, he went back to rather wooden and boring. Encountering a young girl hanging from another rocket’s wreckage opened up a completely random and rather unplanned sub-plot for the group during the episode. Personally, many of the scenes added little to the interesting questions raised during other plots as well as adding little to the episode as a whole. A death of a character we barely know didn’t feel emotional or intense for me either, but added another forgettable name to the list of deaths we’ve had in the past seasons.
Raven finally returned this week, and after her painfully emotional surgery it was nice for her to feature in the episode. Her scenes were both emotional and heartbreaking, as well as the audience feeling a stronger pity for her conditions throughout the seasons. Lindsey Morgan (Raven) always seems to perform exceptionally in her episodes, with realism and emotion that is often unseen with some Sci-Fi shows. As well as this, the re-introduction of Wick seemed to help maintain her scenes, keeping the relationship real and not forced. Not wanting to give up as usual, Raven attempted to climb the electricity tower to try and contact Clarke and the other missing people. Once again, the scenes were incredibly well acted and showed true human emotion that a lot could relate to.
Jaha returned to sanity as he bonded with a family in the dead zone. As usual, Isaiah Washington (Jaha) showed signs of incredible acting, with his emotion subtly marking his face. I, personally, am very excited for the introduction to this area, plot and new characters, and can only hope they continue throughout the season, as it would be a shame to leave these new characters as soon as we’ve met them. The scenes felt very real, even with all the abnormalities around them. As Clarke and Anya continued with their arguments, those of Mount Weather began tracking them, only pondering why they care so much about people getting out, raising more mysterious thoughts for the so-called-haven. Understanding that they are being tracked due to Anya’s tracker, she rips it out, which is a delightful part of TV (also, The Walking Dead Terminus flashbacks!)
Bellamy’s attempt at saving the girl continued, now being abseiling down using some materials from the crashed rocket. As the pair was reaching safety, the others were attacked with arrows causing some intense but brief scenes that were soon ruined with the entrance of Octavia. If a brother and sister had been reunited after bombs and injuries that could have caused them death, I would have expected more emotion and real wanting for the other person, but the scene fell short and wasn’t as climatic and happy as I would have expected from an episode titled ‘Many Happy Returns’.
An anonymous person arrived for Jaha, causing a split between the relationship that had grown between Jaha and the young boy. Eventually, Jaha is told he was turned in due to a ‘sky people bounty’ – it’s a shame to possibly leave the family and area due to the immense connection I made with them, but hopefully we’ll see them again. Jaha is subsequently hit down, but of course this isn’t the end as our favourite Chancellor has much more to overcome.
It seems the tracker had stopped the powerful Mount Weather from finding them, but as Clarke had stolen a sleeping injection from them she further used it on Anya as an attempt to swap positions and make Anya become the hostage. A shock for Anya and Clarke as they once again began fighting – however, it was nice to see Clarke return to the dropship from the first season, another comparison to how life has changed so much for all the characters since season one. The stakes have been increased and this really suggests the good use of pace and timing on The 100, as the strength of the transition between Season 1 and 2 has been incredible to watch. The pair continued to brawl, the comparisons and similarities only reflect their fighting and the way that they both move in similar, distinct ways. The fight eventually finished with a balloon from Camp Jaha, signifying the successful implementation of Raven’s ideas (although quickly shot down by our least favourite goon).
The episode concludes with Clarke finding Camp Jaha – but before the episode fills with ‘Many Happy Returns’, Anya is shot down after making agreements with Clarke that could have caused peace between Camp Jaha and The Grounders. It was a sad death – as, in the words of Anya, her fight was over. Anya has been an incredible character to watch, developing as a person who originally wouldn’t make any agreements with anyone, to someone who helped Clarke gain strength and eventually committed to peace. R.I.P Anya…
Verdict : 7.5/10
‘Many Happy Returns’ did provide some emotional and brutal development for characters, but some scenes felt weak and unnecessary and things weren’t as interesting as usual. However, next week is sure to bring more development with ‘happy returns’ as we’re sure Clarke will begin to reunite with her team.