THE 100 gets back on track this week by streamlining the story once more. With Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) and Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) on the same page, the primary conflict has again risen from the self-righteous Jaha (Isaiah Washington) trying to save every single person in Skaikru despite there only being room for a hundred. The themes of classism and leadership were dialed up here to ten.
This season of The 100 has been very circular in that they find salvation, and fight over it until that salvation has been destroyed. Rinse, wash, and repeat. But what made this episode stand out from the rest of the season (besides the excellent conclave episode), is that the looming threat of the nuclear storm is finally being felt after being teased all season. With the threat right at everyone’s door, it made the stakes feel dire.
Jaha again proves to be the true villain outside of Praimfaya. As Kane comes up with a lottery, an idea proposed by Jaha earlier this season mind you, that idea doesn’t sit well with Jaha who proposes a revolt in secret with the increasingly contentious Skaikru. It’s interesting that Jaha is the one who wants to save everyone in Skaikru considering he killed at will for whatever he deemed right. Especially as Octavia pointed out that he floated her mother and the lives of others on the ark. Jaha started at a spiritual place of loss this season following ALIE and the City of Light only to regress to his old ways by the end of this season. Thelonious Jaha is like the recently deceased Jasper (Devon Bostick), a one-note character who outstayed his welcome in both narrative and character development ways.
This episode tries to redeem Clarke (Eliza Taylor) by having a heart to heart between mother and daughter with Abby (Paige Turco). Clarke has been uncharacteristically selfish. Abby tells Clarke that there are no good or bad choices, just reinforces the murky moral world these characters inhabit. I just don’t feel sold on Clarke who always tried to save everyone. What did feel in character was her joining in Bellamy’s (Bob Morley) quest to rescue Raven (Lindsey Morgan). Also joining are Emori (Luisa D’Oliveira) and Murphy (Richard Harmon) to get her as well. I think part of it is Murphy feeling guilty of leaving Raven behind and another is classism. Murphy and Emori have always had their survival in their first interest and with no special skills, not to mention Emori being an outsider, it’s another situation just like the Ark. It’s true once Bellamy opened the bunker door, he sentenced both of them to death, but at the same time, Murphy should have found a way to make himself useful. With that said, Clarke did find a redeeming moment in that she took her suit helmet off to give to Emori once they got attacked.
Also seeking redemption is Echo (Tasya Teles) who saved Raven’s salvation. I don’t know why the writers feel the need to keep her around and yes, even though she did save Murphy, Emori, Bellamy, and Clarke, why should they trust her? Throughout this season, she’s shown herself to be a distrusting, vengeful human being. But they promise to keep her safe. With their ride totaled, it’s just luck that Monty (Christopher Larkin) and Harper (Chelsey Reist) are in the neighborhood on their way to Polis from the Ark. As the group makes it to Becca’s island, one of the more exciting prospects is that the group heads into space in the little time they have left as there is no way they’d make it back in time to the bunker before Praimfaya. They plan on starting the Ark 2.0 for the next five years.
Seeing Octavia struggle with leadership was fascinating to watch. Indra (Adina Porter) has been guiding her this whole season, even as her mother figure as well. Indra stepped up when Octavia started doubting her leadership skills by telling her no leader truly rules or makes decisions alone. Which mirrors Kane stepping up and finally telling Jaha that it’s better to use the gas on their own people than having more of them die during an insurrection. Using Clarke’s list from earlier this season, they pick who stays and who dies. The biggest question is what happens once the storm is over? Is Luna right in that the petty squabbles will start the clans to war with each other again?
While for the most part, this season has been a greatest hits, it’s episodes like this where the tension is at the forefront and the character motivations and storytelling are streamlined. We got a great final surprise this week with the core group we’ve been following in this show headed to space, as Bellamy puts it “Why waste a good rocket?”. The notion of characters who are at each other’s throats mostly all the time, spending the next five years together in space is great writing. Not to mention the fact of limited resources they’ll have or no plan of how exactly they will return to Earth again. If the show can pull this off, it’ll manage to save itself from what has been a truly lackluster season.
Season 4, Episode 12 (S04E12)
The 100 airs Wednesdays at 9PM on The CW
A lifelong film enthusiast since he can remember, Brandon is an indie filmmaker/screenwriter and freelance critic who resides in Trenton, NJ. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter to talk movies, shows, and music (especially hip-hop).
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Brandon Norwood | Contributor