If the first few episodes of The 100 was about reintroducing us to the core characters, the episode titled “Pandora’s Box” was a necessary step that brought it all together by starting to initiate the next phase of the series.
With Bellamy and most of the second-generation space group back on the planet, Clarke in the mix, and what I call Octavia’s army back in play - the real games can officially commence. One of the strengths of the series (past and present) is that all-out attitude and insanely fast pacing that keeps viewers on their toes. By bringing everyone into a new and evolving story, there are various obstacles or developments the writers can introduce for each individual that avoids your standard universal conflict.
On one hand, there’s the obvious issue with Eligius (which we learn has more unknown and worrisome components) but they use it to benefit their own people. Bellamy and Clarke form a “pact” to release those locked in the bunker with the aid of their medic (Abby) but the tension is thick and by the end of the episode, there’s no more alliance. To be fair, they also leveraged an army of soldiers survival to get people out of the bunker, but would you expect anything different? With the looming threat of Raven and Murphy murdering the 300 popsicle-soldiers and needing a medic, Eligius aids Clarke and Bellamy in releasing the entire bunker where we learn of yet another crucial shift in dynamics.
Bellamy has always tried to take care of his sister, but in doing so he tends to overstep and assert himself as her (and others) leader. Clarke has always had that same character trait, which Octavia is truly not ready to abide by. She’s spent years feeling repressed by others and now in a situation where people look to her for safety. Even after realizing this, he wants to trump her judgements with his own idea at what should happen. Clarke and Bellamy exchange several disapproving looks when it comes to Octavia, but she is the reason anyone was able to survive in the first place and playing the “I could have done better” card really holds no value. Octavia might be more aggressive or brutish than we’ve ever seen, but she began as the girl hiding beneath the floorboards and has since become Blodreina, a take-no-prisoners warrior queen who knows that change had to occur to survive.
If she had maintained all of her original qualities without any challenge, she wouldn’t have survived the events of the series in the first place. With that being said, the Octavia we knew from the beginning is still around - she just knows that it can be exploited as a weakness, and tends to get more people killed. Octavia may be an unconventional leader, but she has proven to persuade many who you wouldn’t expect (Gaia, Indra, or the 814 of 1,200 people that are alive) to show unwavering loyalty or face death. They may want to establish her as a potential antagonist, but Octavia emerging from the ground and seeing the scorched earth’s surface was a powerful moment that reinforced my desire to see her succeed as a key figure in any possible continuation of the human race. I have concerns that the grim “dark year” involved cannibalism, but anything is possible after the changes we’ve seen people go through when they believe they’ve been sentenced to death. Incredibly important note: Marie Avgeropoulos is giving an impeccable performance as Octavia; seeing an actor and character simultaneously evolve is one of the most wonderful gifts a series can give.
If Octavia is evolving, Kane and Abby have faced the quandary of holding on to their former moral beliefs in a new world. Abby may have also picked up a not-so-nifty drug addiction, but they can't help but feel disconnected from everyone around them so her downward spiral seemed plausible. There’s even a hint of reluctance in seeing the others after getting to the surface, so when they are forced on to the ship back to Eligius - we finally have an idea of their next and possibly most interesting and dangerous journey so far.
I can’t pretend that there aren't those ‘Bellarke’ lovers out there, and this season is back to giving them the subtle moments that fans love - but this series isn’t made just to appease shippers and if they are going to get to that point, it’s clear they aren’t there just yet… but it’s surely coming. Clarke and Bellamy mostly are reacting to everything they are learning and my hope is that we can avoid them having an I told you so moment with Octavia and they can band together against a common threat. The reunion between Clarke and Bellamy is a strong moment for the characters and respective actors who create a genuine connection that is a spark that has been an underlying factor from the beginning of the series. As we’ve witnessed, romantic relationships don't pan out well in The 100 so consider it a blessing that nothing more has come to fruition.
Another pairing that has seen their fair share of turbulence is Raven and Murphy, who are arguably going to become essential to the Eligius story like Abby and Kane. Eligius crew members learn the hard way that Raven is a masterful hacker, already creating a reputation for herself on top of having their army at her disposal. Charmaine (Eligius leader) begins to adapt to her foes way of thinking rather quickly and by the end of the episode they are space-bound with Abby and Kane to obtain their ship and deal with Raven and Murphy. Unfortunately with Raven and Murphy being outsmarted by Charmaine - they are stuck with the army now each awake and looking for something (or someone) to pummel.
An interesting path so far comes from none other than the mysterious colonel of Eligius, Charmaine. Charmaine is a very detail-oriented person, feeling a lot more like a well-crafted antagonist in a short amount of time. We know that she was on the most-wanted list, was in the Navy, a known terrorist, and now leads an army of prisoners with advanced weaponry - so color me intrigued, I want to know everything there is to know about Charmaine. Part of the fascination is certainly due to the well rounded portrayal of the colonel by Ivana Mili?evi?, so even if she’s a problematic opponent I can’t help but want to see her stick around.
Overall Grade 8.5/10
Throwing all of these notions into an episode to really solidifies the kick-off a strong season and this episode feels like the chapter connecting to a larger story. In most other television series, they would use this point as a filler episode - but The 100 is a pulse pounding drama series with a hard love of sci-fi, so they use every minute possible to progress through an intricate narrative.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- Bellamy’s attitude towards his sister is masked as concern, but really feels domineering when she has proven to be a leader and massively influential. His opinion don’t change what has developed since he was gone, or at all - she isn’t needing a to be guided nor was he when he made several bold decisions with positive and negative outcomes.
- The scene where Raven and Murphy realized they are officially screwed was a chilling scene that reminds you there is no sense of security in a series like The 100.
- Can we get a spinoff mini-series titled The 100: Dark Year?