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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Who is Right on "The 100"

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Last night's conclusion of the first half of the season finale of "The 100" had a choice between the two "leaders" of the landed teenagers.

Bellamy wanted to stay and fight.

Clarke wanted to run.

Clarke (as of the last words in the first half of the two-part episode) seems to have won out. In the final analysis, it being a TV show, whether she is right or wrong will be determined by the "needs of the plot." In the real world things are not that simple.

Clarke apparently believes that if the 100 simply leave the territory of the Grounders, the Grounders will leave them alone. She believes that if the 100 move east towards the sea they will meet another tribe led by Lincoln's friend who will allow the 100 to enter their territory and leave in peace. Clarke is at least right that the 100 cannot stay in their camp forever, as the camp cannot survive a siege. Eventually the need for food and water would force the 100 into the open to oppose the Grounders. Clarke also is now aware that the Grounders they have faced have more resources and a larger organization (the arrival of the Commander of "the Rangers" even if she has no idea how many "rangers" there are). The few words spoken revealed that Anya is only a "local" commander of some sort, and she is under a higher authority that has additional resources of manpower.

Bellamy, however, is correct that in order to survive the 100 must win the current battle and they cannot do that on "open ground" in a "fair fight." The 100 is composed of teenagers (except perhaps Bellamy), but they are people who have spent much of their lives confined. It is doubtful they are anywhere near as physically fit as the Grounders we have seen, much less possessed of the stamina of the average "combat Grounder" we have seen to date. There is virtually no chance they could outrun the Grounders if nothing was slowing them down. And something is slowing them down: Raven. Raven's wound means she either cannot walk as fast as the others, or someone will be carrying her; either means they would be moving slower. There is also the lack of woodcraft among the 100, or knowledge of the terrain, meaning their pursuers are likely to know short cuts, or the fact that a path the 100 is following will lead to a dead end. And we do not know how many horses the Grounders have, but we do know they have some. There is no question that the Grounders could easily track and overtake the 100 if they "marched out" of their "fort."

Further, the Grounders, even the "local" troops (as opposed to the newly arrived "elite" rangers) have demonstrated an adeptness at camouflage that enables them to get very close to members of the 100. They are skilled with their bows. Added to the speed and knowledge of the ground, getting past the 100 while they are on the mach and setting up an ambush is not improbable. And a marching column "in the open" is far, far easier to destroy than the same group in an entrenched defensive position.

Neither choice is very good, but with the arrival of "the rangers" it is already too late to run. The time to run was immediately after they blew the bridge, but they did not know at the time that there were more grounders, or even a direction they could run with a hope of safety (and Lincoln's friend is only a hope, not a guarantee).

Standing and fighting now at least presents the possibility that you might again give the Grounders a bloody nose and make them draw back to lick their wounds, and perhaps under cover of night (with the Grounders predisposed to believe that you are going to stand your ground after the fight because you have before) you can then make a break and push hard through the night. But that might not be possible as the battle might leave you with even more wounded that you cannot afford to carry.

Trying to run now, as Clarke wants, in the real world would simply lead to a massacre on the Grounders' terms.