The 100 is unlike any other series on television, and this week's episode continues to raise the already high-bar that season five immediately established.
The first two episodes of the new season made an effort to show us events that have lead up to the six year time jump, taking us right back to the important discovery that a prison transport spacecraft has landed with an armed (and very deadly) squad of men and women looking to colonize the land for themselves. This alone really sets the tone that season one touched upon as The 100 were originally a less gun-strapped and younger version of this new set of opponents.
After killing four of the new group's warriors, Clarke is captured by them and ultimately leads to her being questioned by their leader (the uber-talented Ivana Milicevic) Initially, she is required to break up a fight between two of her own when they differ between killing or interrogating Clarke - showing us that Charmaine is certainly the person in charge. Another homage to the early seasons is depicted when questioning (and hitting) Clarke when she refuses to speak. Some question if she even understands English like Lincoln, but the leader sees right through her ploy faster than the first time around. She tries to offer Clarke a glimmer of hope, another tactic our protagonist is familiar with, but she is smart enough to stay silent and avoid revealing any information. She flexes her brute methods when noticing Clarke is listening to their radio by signaling her people to begin killing anyone they find, efficiently intimidating Clarke.
When night hits, one of the men by the name of Shaw attempts to establish dialogue with Clarke and offer his own information to sway her - but Clarke knows this tactic. Her people have executed it on various occasions, so nothing seems to come as a surprise to Clarke anymore. What changes her demeanor is when it becomes clear that they have found someone (Clarke's pseudo-child Madi) and she knows if she wants to save her, she will have to finally speak up and provide them with something to ensure the young girl's safety. Thus begins Clarke’s explanation of how the world ended - twice. In many ways, Clarke and company have become the only true faction of humanity, so anyone that intends to stay is on their turf. The progression of this new dynamic is a transition we’ve been privileged with after having several seasons establishing their place in the world.
Things in space have taken a turn, with the crew now feeling like things are becoming problematic on the ground they know they need to promptly return. Raven pushes the group to launch a pod to the stagnant Eligius ship and through that act we begin to learn more of the dynamics that have shifted in six years. Raven has prepped Emori as a protegee who struggles when landing (so that’s sorta worrisome) with Emori and Echo now experiencing a taste of where The 100 came from. It has forced them to evolve into a new setting despite the fact that there’s personal complications, most notable between Murphy and Emori. When they eventually make their rough landing, they come up against one of their prisoner enemies in cryosleep and realize that they are a juggernaut of an opponent. Raven being Raven finds a way for the crew to land, however she has to stay back and lies about the prospects of her making it back to Earth. Murphy declines to leave her alone and is simultaneously facing his own personal battles that showcases their different paths but unique stories. Another example of this comes from Bellamy opting not to kill hundreds of popsicle-soldiers, hoping to avoid any dire repetition of war driven losses he feels responsible for.
By the end of the episode, they have officially landed and encountered Madi, who leads them to Clarke. Unfortunately for Clarke, she now appears to be a liar in the new group’s eyes when others show up and make their presence known - prompting Clarke to receive “the collar.” Just as Clarke is going to possibly die, Bellamy arrives like Clarke’s guardian (grounder) angel and lets it be known that he isn’t willing to lose Clarke at any cost. Even if it suggests murdering their entire crew that’s at Raven’s disposal.
Overall Grade: 8.5/10
I can’t say enough how much I adore the pacing of this series. There is a constant state of emergency that avoids any filler episodes and feels so organically implemented to the nature of the series. The 100 continues to push themselves creatively by telling three separate stories (bunker, ground, and space) while making every detail feel thought-out and insanely gutsy. The performances of Lindsey Morgan, Bob Morley, Richard Harmon and Eliza Taylor are each adept in showing a deep range - just looking at where they’ve been and who they’ve become in their respective roles. Also: Season six is coming our way - congratulations on the much deserved renewal to the cast and crew of The 100!
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- Our interview with Richard Harmon at SDCC seemed to be very telling! You’ve gotta appreciate someone who is able to slyly drop major hints at what’s to come.
- Ivana Milicevic is a perfect fit for the series and a brilliant actress - what more can I say?
- I am often extremely critical of Clarke’s judgment calls but I feel like she’s hit her stride after the endless turmoil she’s experienced. What I am anxious to discover is how she will interact with Octavia when the two are forced to challenge their stances.
- The crazy, nifty sonic-boom gun that nearly killed Clarke and Madi was completely rad. Anyone else excited to see what tech they are carrying?