The 100: 211 “Coup de Grâce” Review
Reviewed by Owen Bush.
Although still feisty, confident and risky, The 100 has been in a slight slump for the past few episodes, not a massively large decline, but one that includes an essence of spontaneously random sequences and far too many sub-plots that began to severely distract from the true emotional core that is the centre of the show. This episode, titled Coup de Grâce, brought that intense beauty back, and held it by the arms and legs (literally!).
I’ve been purposely wittering about the lack of our once arrogant, turned ace, Bellamy on The 100 and this episode shouted at me for ever mentioning it, with the thriller awakening with scenes of deep, thoroughly grim torture after last week’s sensational conclusion. It was suitably chilling, with the episode proving to follow in the same direction. Bob Morley (Bellamy) was significant, bold and daring in his new mission, with the pre-titles sequence projecting his natural, instinctive emotions brutally. The cinematography was also menacing and deviant – I think my nails were even slightly shorter after the scenes. We finally got a rooted back-story to how those taken in by Mount Weather are treated, and it definitely made me despise Mount Weather even more (if that’s possible!).
Maya and Jasper also finally got some more recognition after only a few mysterious glimpses towards Mount Weather recently, especially Maya, who has made leaps since her original, rather monotone personality. Jasper left behind his quirky tones as well, and although his actions may have seemed a little desperate and pathetic, it was necessary to see the character pushed into his boiling points, and how solid he becomes mentally as a leader, rather than physically. Dante played a largely influential role as he soothed through Jasper’s quibbles, and I love the writing for the mysterious leader, for his actions are unpredictable and mysterious – did he really know?
The two powers threatened back and forth, with Mount Weather originally targeting our freakishly daring leader Clarke, only to have it backfire with crucial consequences as a hostage from Mount Weather is taken into Camp Jaha. As the season is coming to its concrete war, it’s interesting to watch the stakes finally rise, after a lot of solo-development within the characters we thought we knew, we’re finally seeing the effects of war, and how this will change everything for every side. The events may have been slightly tedious with the guard having his protection slain and it definitely wasn’t the best scene from an incredibly accomplished episode but it did fuse together the developing tension between Mount Weather, The Sky People, and The Grounders and I’m certain this will continue to bond as we approach a colossal war.
Did we really think our leading man (sorry Finn) Bellamy, was going to give up so easily? Of course he wasn’t, as he was pushed to his upper-most limits to succeed for Clarke (again, sorry Finn). I was fascinated by the scenes between a fellow cage victim and Bellamy, again developing the destruction being caused by some of those at Mount Weather, and how the deepening cuts of secrets keep unravelling with more and more blood. Once again proving his graciousness, he sacrificed himself again to push forward into the plan, but with Lincoln already failing him, how far would he go?
As that question hung tight (much like Bellamy being hung from the ceiling), it was Maya who unexpectedly retrieved Bellamy and it was incredible to see the escape mission successfully growing, with Bellamy’s badass seeping through like venom into the terribly shocking and intriguing fights. However, the thing I loved even more about this sequence, was the way Maya reacted as Bellamy turned Grounder-like in his manner, her reaction was looming and eerie, and beautifully acted by Eve Harlow. The music also lifted this already insane moment into an obliterating, monstrous scene that was haunting, intense and wonderfully acted by all. As Bellamy was suited and booted for action, a subtle moment lifted the scene into luxury, as a silent promise tightened around Bellamy’s neck (and we know promises are risky!).
We finally saw our favourite risk taker Monty, and our not-so-known but still crucial fellow prisoner, Harper, but they weren’t in their brightest of days as Dr Singh continued to claw evil into their remains – but with the help of Dante, they wouldn’t be there long. This is when we saw the true colours of Dante, as he pushed his way through the disasters of Mount Weather, securing his leadership – but for how long?
Clarke bloomed into ferociousness after wise words from Lexa previously, struggling to succumb to her Mother’s weak antics as the dread began to flower. With the Mount Weather guard refusing to talk, and Abby refusing to make any honest judgement, it seems things aren’t all daisies between the mother and daughter, and both seem to battle for leadership more and more as the season advances. It’s a strange but important turn of events, with this giving an important reason why the pair as so distant, and why Clarke has problems with her mother after her father’s death – a nice transition back to Season 1, and a subtle hint at the dramas that are sure to continue to evolve.
The writing was insanely superb for this episode, with Maya and Bellamy’s ongoing rivalries being smartly played, and kept distinctly close to the themes of spies and traitors, which for me, is another massive theme that is prominent for season two. It was realistic and creepily clever, making the episode fun to watch as well as electrifying. It seemed this theme was to reveal even more, as Dante’s power became pitiful as he attempted to overthrow his brute of a son. Although slightly generic, the scenes disturbed me of the effects of Cage’s power, and how Dante will progress as a hero, rather than the villain we originally perceived him to be.
For me, a moment that really secured this episode as incredible was the small motion towards the other people in Mount Weather. These include the children, the helpless – those who have no input towards draining blood, or murdering teenagers, who are the innocent people inside Mount Weather. It’s an interesting nod by the writers, and I’m sure we’ll see more of this difficult conflict between murdering savages and murdering innocents. As Bellamy said, Clarke needs to find a way to do this without war, or death, but I’m not sure this is possible because this is The 100. With Jasper, Monty and Harper safe and then quickly beckoned to suffering again with being locked away, it seems it will only get a lot harder for the group, even though they have now contacted Clarke and The Sky People.
With a rather strangely enjoyable music montage seeming to end the episode, there was of course room for one more shocker. Tension bolted through the wind as Clarke and crew pushed into Abby’s weakness, making their own decisions. We saw Clarke as ruthless, threatening, as well as showing no mercy for those she’s meant to love, subsequently throwing the question into the air whether Clarke has taken Lexa’s words into action, and will be a determined leader, boundlessly thrown away from love. With only 6 hours to go, will the message be sewn with rage and determination, or be only a mistake that causes a fusillade of death?
Verdict : 9.5/10
Coup de Grâce was effortlessly brutal, complemented with chilling acting, a strong sense of direction and that added vigorous emotion that we’ve come to adore from The 100. With many answers given, many questions are moved into anxious integrity and beautified intensity as we come to the main segment of this gritty war.