With the Ark gone, the only corners of The 100 left to explore are on (or under) the Earth. And the show becomes much more interesting when it spreads out beyond the "Sky People" and Grounder factions.
Although "Many Happy Returns" did, in fact, feature a few significant returns and reunions, a good deal of this episode was spent treading water, with the real meat of the episode involving Anya and Clarke's power struggle and Jaha's encounter with the desert family.
We had a bit of contentious bonding between Raven and Wick, who are working to set a radio beacon to find other Ark survivors. It's mostly good for Raven's soul, proving that she can still be useful even with her damaged leg. But their solution for dealing with the mountain blocking the signal, sending the beacon up with a helium balloon, just attracts Major Byrne's ire. As per usual, Byrne sees not an opportunity, but an insecurity, and again she turns to her symbol of order: the guard.
Meanwhile, the 100 scout team comes across something horrifying: a mass of bodies that fell from the Ark. Among them is a sole survivor: a girl named Mel who is stranded on a cliff face. As Finn and Bellamy debate whether or not to slow down and risk one of their number to rescue the girl, it seems a brief conversation on their immediate needs (getting to the Undergrounder meeting spot pronto) versus the duty they owe to their fellow Arkies. But when it becomes clear the girl won't survive without immediate help, even Finn has to relent. Sterling tries to go down and get her, but he's tied a rather terrible knot (double figure-eight is your friend) and plummets to his death. Attempt Number Two proves less deadly, and ends with a reunion with Octavia as a bonus. The scout team splits up, with Finn and Murphy heading to the meeting point and everyone else returning to Camp Jaha.
Clarke, naturally, tries to reason with Anya and assure her that they would be better as allies than enemies. But Anya still isn't having any of Clarke's let's-all-be-friends song and dance. Anya views Clarke as week, but she's ignored the advantage that Clarke's familiarity with technology gives her. When the Undergrounders continue to chase them down, Anya suspects they're tracking the pair, but Clarke suspects they're actually using a sub-dermal tracer. And after Clarke proves her technological advantage, she takes physical control of Anya with a tranq dart.
But when Clarke pauses at the crash site and tries to make out her mother's smudged message, Anya recovers and engages Clarke in a violent duel. Clarke comes out victorious, but just as she's about to deliver the killing blow, she spots the floating beacon. So Clarke leads Anya to Camp Jaha, but releases her in the name of joining up to fight Mount Weather. At long last, Anya agrees to join Clarke's cause, but as she turns to leave, she's shot by the Camp Jaha guards. Thanks, Major Byrne, you ass.
I'm most intrigued by Thelonious' story this week, however, because it grows the post-apocalyptic world of The 100 a bit more. A young scavenger discovers Jaha in the desert and takes him home. His mother has the tattoos of other Grounders and speaks both English and another language, but she is leading a very different life in the desert. The boy is deformed from Earth's lingering radiation, and rather than follow her people's tradition of giving deformed babies back to nature, this woman and her husband chose exile with her son. She also wants to get to a place called the City of Light, which is why she turns Jaha in for a bounty. This is an interesting hint at the wider world. Jaha has every reason to be nervous about his new captors, but mainly I'm just curious about the revelations they might bring.