The 100's fifth episode of the fourth season faced a potential war and a risky concept that could save humanity or cause a fan favorite their life -- so let's jump right in to an episode filled with multiple breakthroughs.
"The Tinder Box" Recap
The episode "Tinder Box" begins by taking us back to Octavia post battle with Azgeda, who is now barely clinging to her horse -- until she actually ends up falling off and passing out from the fight and falls to the ground. It is then that Illian (the Grounder whose life changed due to ALIE) finds Octavia and helps her make her way to Arkadia, where Clarke performs CPR on the Blake sibling. Octavia takes a breath and has enough energy to warn Clarke and the others that war with Azgeda is approaching; their people will come for them. This notion is enough to engulf everyone with turmoil and the preparations to withstand Azgeda must become a reality. In this chaos, they try to reach Kane via radio to no response, a reminder to viewers that there is a lot going on for Skaikru.
Because Monty can't get ahold of Kane and Bellamy's rover is found by Jaha, concern is initiated, causing Miller's father to crave a battle without any regard for their safety or land. Clarke (being the diplomat she is) offers up an idea to open a line of communication between herself and Roan, only being backed by Monty. The idea isn't received well, but it's better than immediate bloodshed, so Clarke goes horse-bound to meet their warriors and speak with the king himself. Clarke finally gets to their location somewhere between Polis and Arkadia, but she's greeted by archers ready to end her existence. She asks to speak to Roan for a few minutes max, but he's not as interested in talking. Fortunately for Clarke, her people cover Roan in sniper lasers, and they both know there is going to be a brief standstill.
Shortly after, Roan tells his people to bring Kane and Bellamy (hostages of a new war) to the forefront in an attempt to show them what is at stake. The meeting between both leaders gives them some privacy in a nearby cave just after Monty convinced Riley to hold off on revenge-killing Roan for his own suffering. Clarke wants to know what could have made him go back on their truce, which he says is credited to his new knowledge of the ship. Clarke reinforces that it is only a backup plan capable of saving 100 people, but the Nightblood could be the key to everyone's survival somehow. She promises she isn't trying to overthrow him with a new leader because the chip is gone (imagine how much trust he'll lose when Octavia shares the truth). Roan tells Clarke a harsh truth regarding the woman she loved, saying that Lexa knew how to put loyalty over clan -- and that she needs to figure that out for herself, too.
The words resonate with Clarke, apparently, because she offers up 50 spots to Azgeda and the other 50 to Skaikru, a split divide to appease both and avoid bloodshed. Even though they take an oath that should stop fighting, Riley has disappeared, and Monty is forced to tell Echo about his plan to kill their current king. Bellamy uses the opportunity to get out of being a prisoner and give his aid to Echo in the search for Riley. When they find the young man, he is prepping to kill Roan, and Echo readies herself to kill him. Bellamy begs that she doesn't become a murderer from war, but Riley eases the decision by putting his gun down and keeping his own hand clean (for the time being).
Elsewhere, queen Octavia (nickname from me, not an official title) awakens to find Niylah taking care of her injuries and asks how she ended up back at the ship. When Niylah tells her about Illian, Octavia instantly worries about what the others should have worried about before fleeing and leaving him alone in their tech-heavy ship. By the time they find him, he is just about ready to burn down the ship, and he succeeds at annihilating their only current option to withstand the radiation storm sweeping their way. Everyone comes back after postponing war to see their ship torched to the ground, so the Nightblood option becomes their only option to stay alive.
In the lab that ALIE/Becca has created, Abby works hard to find an alternative way to fuse Nightblood with their own and recreate it, but Raven gets caught up enjoying some flight time. In reality, Raven has a seizure that Abby helps her through, yet Raven is convinced she actually just was given a brilliant idea. Raven shares that, because they used an EMP to remove ALIE from her brain, fragments remain, and, because of the constant thought process, she seized (as a normal human couldn't handle that much brain activity), but the solution: Becca needed to go to space (I won't pretend to have Raven's brain) in zero gravity to bond the blood. Luckily, Becca had a small ship with functionality to return to space, so Raven volunteers to set out for space with Abby. Jackson stops them both and says Raven is showing signs of a stroke, and a CT scan proves she has black spotting beginning to cover her brain. Raven insists she will give her life to save the others if needed, so Jackson reminds Abby she received the EMP, too. Abby says she'll watch for symptoms, but the moment she's alone, she sees a blistered Clarke, adding pressure to finding a cure for what's to come. Better work quickly, people -- the clock is ticking!
Overall Grade: 8.5/10
Raven seems to be evolving and crumbling simultaneously, which makes for a fascinating line to tow as one of the series' best characters, who also happens to be the brains behind the operation. Clarke made (another) decision to avoid conflict, but, in doing so, she has ignited a spark that could cause Arkadia to crumble as a unit -- I just hope to see Clarke finally realize that she isn't the single person capable of leading Arkadia . Five episodes in, and The 100 remains one of television's most consistently impressive series.
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
- Raven for new leader of Arkadia
- RIP to the Ark portion of Ark-adia, but kudos to the scene where we watch it go out in a blaze.
- Octavia surviving and being the only person to have suspicions about Illian is another reason to praise the relentlessness of the youngest Blake sibling.
- A (short) return to space could be a nice change of pace after focusing solely on Earth for awhile.
- I'm happy that Niylah has been able to stick around. She's a pleasant surprise when she appears.