What up people! The show that vexes me to no end, The 100 returns to The CW for its 5th outing this week and I have to say the first episode of season 5 made me remember why I used to adore this show. Unfortunately, after the greatness that is episode 1, episode 2 brought me crashing down to earth (see what I did?) and reminded me why the show drives me NUTS. I won’t bore you with the Tedious Plot Summary (TPS) because if you are watching S5, you know the characters already. This review is based on the first 4 episodes and contains minor spoilers. The 100 returns to The CW Network, Tuesday, April 24th.
Let’s start by what’s great – the pacing and structure of this season is so much better and more solid than season 3 and 4. The story lines and episodes feel tighter, more focused and less unwieldy than in the past and that’s understandable since show creator/writer Jason Rothenberg killed almost his entire cast in the last two years. Only people left are all the people I hated. I’m not going to rehash all the reasons every character on this show was awful.
Rothenberg does something I thought was impossible, he made me like Clarke (Eliza Taylor) again and hell I even like Bellamy (Bob Morley) now. Although it is still hard to fully invest in his character after the events of S3. If this was S2 Bellamy, I’d totally be in love with S5 Bellamy. He’s grown up and is now someone who thinks before he acts, doesn’t shoot first before knowing all the facts and has finally gotten rid of the chip on his shoulder and is acting his age and thinks strategically.
Bellamy only had to go on a self-righteous, self-serving, xenophobic, murderous rampage and kill over 300 innocent people for him to get to this point, but, whatever. Clarke and everyone else forgave him, even though he never once admitted that what he did was wrong. Grounder lives don’t matter. Don’t get me started. Anyway, I like this version of Bellamy, I still will probably throw my controller at my expensive OLED TV when this inevitably happens.
Morley does an amazing job with this version of Bellamy, he gives the character a lot of layers, while I say his redemption wasn’t earned, you can tell his actions weighed on him just by the way he carries himself now and the subtle looks he gives everyone.
Back to my original point about the pacing. Each of the first four episodes focus tightly on just a few storylines. Episode 1 is mostly Clarke’s journey alone on earth and we find out what she’s been up to and how she spent 6 years as the only living person on earth. There’s a whole Castaway vibe to how the episode is structured and Eliza Taylor really knocks it out of the park, dare I say this was Emmy level acting and writing? It really was one of the best single hours of TV I’ve seen all year.
During her walkabout, Clarke meets the only other living human during her first few months alone. Even as a small girl, Madi (Lola Flanery) was feisty and kicked Clarke’s butt. The show does a great job of using only two scenes to get me hooked on Madi and by the end of the episode I thought she was a great addition to the show. Can’t wait to see where the character goes.
The last 15 minutes of episode one focuses us on the what’s happening with Bellamy and the others up on the arc. There’s really not much to say, other than, I really hated what they did with Murphy. They basically threw away most of Murphy’s character growth to return him back to a modified version of S1 douchebag Murphy. It really annoyed me because Murphy is the only character on this show who actually had a full character arc and changed for the better. Everyone else is pretty much exactly the same as they were in S1.
The nice thing about the time jump is they no longer need to act and look like they are teenagers and are able to act their ages, and while I do say these characters haven’t really changes since s1, they all are definitely more world weary, but Murphy, he went on a true character journey and came out a better man because of it.
Bellamy has gone on that same type of journey, but his redemption and change hasn’t been earned. I feel like I get whiplash whenever I watch Bellamy. His character changes based on whatever the plot needs. So while I like Bellamy now, I won’t be surprised if he goes on another rampage.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 2
After the greatness that was Episode 1, we’re hit with Episode 2 which focuses on things happening in the bunker and everything that I loathe about this show. We have the last remaining humans on earth and instead of trying to find a way to live together they are still fighting and killing each other and Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) went from being one of my favorite charcters on TV to having all her potential completely wiped out. She’s a one note character, all she does is sit on her high horse and judge everyone else around her and acts like she’s a perfect human being.
Now that she’s leader of the entire human race – supposedly, she once again does absolutely nothing in this episode to make things better. To strive to be better, to get her people to act better. No, the entire episode is basically cage fight after cage fight with Octavia and her horribly cheap, looking face paint standing judgement. The episode lost me in the very beginning when Skaikru still holding grudges decides to take over the bunker. Of course, the people who end up getting slaughtered by Octavia for Skaikru actions are the grounders.
I understand you need to do something to get these people to cooperate, but I’m sorry it’s the end of the freaking world and the only thing the writers could think to do was have a Conclave at the end of season 4 and essentially keep them fighting throughout 6 years trapped in a bunker? The show is so focused on showing grounders as only one thing and it’s just tired and irritating now.
I really hoped they would show everyone as using this as an opportunity to evolve and they would come out of the bunker fully unified and ready to not repeat the same mistakes of the past. Kane and Abby are basically useless in this episode and I won’t spoil what happens with them in later episode 4 but none of it makes a lick of sense. Anytime Indra is the only reasonable, sane person you know there’s trouble.
Episode 3 puts the new mystery people from Prison Station in the spotlight. The entire episode was basically designed to put Clarke in the shoes of the grounders, namely Lincoln and some of the scenes feel like they were lifted straight from S1. She doesn’t know who these strangers are and is scouting them.
It turns out the Prisoners were cryogenically frozen and sent into space before the world ended. So they are over 100 years old. Their leader Diyoza (Ivana Milicevic) is a reasonable, but hard ass ex-navy seal who turned into a terrorist. She’s kind of an older version of Clarke, she’s not someone who wants to just kill everything in sight, but she’s also all about eliminating any potential threat. There are a couple of really intriguing twists here in this episode that I don’t want to spoil.
I do think these Prison station people are a red herring and that there will be something bigger than this fight to deal with. I have no idea what that can be since the entire world has literally been wiped out. I believe the show is going to end with most of them being back on the Ark. Similar to how Gilligan’s Island end with them back on the Island.
Without delving too deeply into Ep 3 here, it was a pretty solid return to form after the mess of Ep 2. Believe me there’s more that happens but I don’t want to spoil. Imagine how much greater this season could have been if they didn’t have S3 and S4 and there was actually peace between the grounders and skycrew and then Prison station landed. Overall, I really love the first 4 episodes of this, it starts strong but I think Octavia and the bunker crew are going to drag this season down.
The 100 returns to The CW Network, Tuesday, April 24th.
- Episode 1 – A
- Episode 2 – D
- Episode 3 – B+
- Episode 4 – B