This review contains spoilers.
1.5 Twilight’s Last Gleaming
The prospect of 300 residents of the Ark being ‘floated’ so that there’s more oxygen for the remaining population to breathe was always a dark notion but, on what we all perceived as a typical, though ambitious, teen drama on the CW, the notion that this plan would actually transpire seemed ridiculous. Kids killing kids is something that has become somewhat worryingly okay fare for young audiences, so long as there’s some commentary on human nature in there to support it, but the floating of 300 volunteers this week was more troubling than anything I could have imagined The 100 would do in its run.
We’re not even half way through the season yet, and the body count is ticking up at an alarming pace. Wells and Charlotte were pretty significant deaths down on the ground but, even without including any of the main cast members in Section 17, the departures in Twilight’s Last Gleaming felt heavier by far. Upon hearing about the fate of the Ark and the plan to discard people to give the rest a chance, parents, husbands and wives all came forward to volunteer for the floating. It was in this moment that the audience realised The 100 might actually go there, and in this moment that my expectations for the rest of the season shot through the roof.
The only issue is that the show currently feels like its split in half, with the hook-ups and melodrama down on the ground and the real, meaty post-apocalyptic stuff solely on the Ark. It’s understandable that the reaction of children and teenagers to such dire circumstances would be entirely different to that of adult officials with power over the outcome but, as this episode proved once and for all, there’s a significant divide in terms of stakes, atmosphere and tone. Maybe that difference wouldn’t have been so stark if the action down on the ground hadn’t been so wrapped up in that love triangle nonsense.
Before Raven and her shuttle happened to land in their laps, the hundred were essentially powerless to stop the impending mass execution, and a large portion of the kids didn’t even care what happened to their government, their parents or anyone else they’d left behind. Bellamy and Octavia had a pretty traumatic history, but I’m sure there’s someone among the hundred who had it worse. These are young people who have either been severely wronged by those people who were meant to take care of them, or who are genuine criminals capable of as much carnage and mayhem as they can muster down on the lawless ground.
That makes them dangerous in the short term, and also theoretically capable of taking down the Grounders, but something about government-sanctioned assisted suicide feels far bigger than anything the show has yet attempted. Abby’s leaked video didn’t cause the riots Kane and the Chancellor were predicting – quite the opposite – but the knowledge that so many people selflessly sacrificed their lives for nothing, which will be revealed when they realise what those flares actually mean, most certainly won’t incite more loyalty and sacrifice from the mass population.
Abby and the Chancellor, who have so far been painted as heroes against Kane’s villain, are just as accountable as anyone for this turn of events, and they’re going to have their fair share of guilt to deal with. Will they interpret the sight of those flares the way the hundred want them to? And, now that Clarke knows what Bellamy had to do to come down with his sister, does that mean their uneasy alliance is back on? Bellamy seemed completely happy here to let the Ark know they’re alive, despite his resistance to including them up until this point.
Twilight’s Last Gleaming was an important episode for The 100, both for how memorable it was and as set-up for the rest of the season. The best thing is, I can’t imagine this is the last time we’ll be shocked by what the show is willing to do, and that means that things can only get better, smarter, more gripping and far bloodier in the weeks ahead. See you next week for the Octavia rescue mission.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Murphy’s Law, here.
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