This The 100 review contains spoilers.
The 100 Season 5 Episode 13
The 100 provided an unprecedented level of emotional whiplash with tonight’s season finale. The war for the last survivable land on earth was wrapped up rather tidily – a bit too tidily – by the 40-minute mark, leaving the last 20 minutes for an achingly beautiful ending that felt like it came from an entirely different show. Reminiscent of The Magicians’ “A Life in The Day,” and Red’s final speech in The Shawshank Redemption, the tear-jerking ending told the story of Monty and Harper’s life and death on board the ship while everyone else was in cryosleep, which eventually lead to humanity’s new home.
This season started off incredibly strong and floundered in the middle, largely held back by an unwillingness to let us in on Octavia’s perspective in general and what happened during “the dark year” in particular. This forced the show to spin its wheels for far too long and meant that the reasoning behind much of Octavia’s actions is still opaque, which leaves her feeling out of character and forced by the needs of the plot. Octavia kneeling to Madi was meant to be a far more powerful moment, but it was marred by how late it comes in the season and how little the audience has been allowed to understand why it has taken Octavia this long to make it.
This episode should be considered separately, since the tonal shift is so great. What works within the first two-thirds of the episode are the components that reinforce the relationships that have built up all season. Gaia continues to provide a meaningful conduit for the grounder religion in the story, and in this case, for the past commanders, and Indra’s relationships with Gaia and Octavia continue to be some of the best material on the show, not to mention some of the best performances. Bellamy’s gentle confrontation with Madi and the way she passed it on to Clarke was incredibly effective, as was Octavia’s pursuit of Abby. It completely tracks that in the heat of the moment, O would seek out Abby and be sure to both rescue and emotionally eviscerate her, in a desperate attempt to mollify her own guilt.
The logistics of how, exactly, Clarke and SpaceKru would take control were a lot less interesting. It was inevitable, but at least Echo’s shooting was cool and Emori’s concern over Murphy’s injury moved characterization forward a bit, but much of the activity on the Eligius ship was water-treading filler until it was time for a missile to head toward Earth.
From a narrative standpoint, showrunner Jason Rothenberg made good on all of his usual promises. Yes, these factions did battle for the last survivable land, in a conflict that seemed destined to destroy that valley. Those missiles Diyoza and McCreary threatened Wonkru with all season were finally used for some good old mutually assured destruction, and the cryo pods even came back for some more freaky deaky sci-fi fun, continuing to make Diyoza’s baby some kind of CW-style Methuselah before it’s even born.
One look at Jordan Jasper’s hair and it was obvious who this kid belonged to, and having Monty and Harper go back to their peaceful time on the ring tracks with the pacifism and self-sacrifice we’ve seen from them all along. It also helps bring up this season’s body count, which is still suspiciously low, with Jaha bringing the “good guy” tally to three, since Gaia and Murphy will be fine and Kane is simply in cryo with everyone else.
An interesting twist in Bellamy and Clarke being woken up first is that Harper asked them to look out for their boy. The heartbreak in her voice and the look on both of their faces as they realized the weight of her words made it clear: Bellamy and Clarke have a kid now. During this past season, Madi served as a wedge between the pair, with Clarke choosing Madi “over” Bellamy, even in situations where that didn’t seem entirely necessary. One of the lessons of the finale was not only Madi learning from Bellamy, but Clarke realizing how important Bellamy and the other people in her life are to Madi’s upbringing. She and Madi aren’t a family of two, separate from everyone else: they’re a family within the larger tribe, and learning from everyone in that tribe makes Madi a better person, keeps her safer, and makes Clarke a better mother. But what will it mean for Clarke and Bellamy to truly be on the same side when it comes to Jordan? Might they disagree on how to do right by him?
Diyoza and Octavia’s conversation aboard the Eligius was promising, and I hope for more from their relationship moving forward. Octavia has always been a world apart, a lone wolf who didn’t quite fit in. As she pointed out in the cryopod, she can never forget being the girl underneath the floorboards, the girl her people didn’t want. It’s heartbreaking to see her cast out again, and I hope next season delves into some of that real pain, rather than simply hanging it all on the ego of lost power.
This was a much quieter finale from The 100 than we’re used to, even with the battle at the beginning and a missile that destroyed Earth forever. There were enough cryo pods for everyone, there was no big bomb or invading force at the end. Even the deaths were quiet and sweet. In a way, The 100 is leaving us just as Monty and Harper left Clarke and Bellamy: nostalgic and hopeful, looking out into the complete unknown, once again without any clue as to what awaits our heroes when they reach the ground.
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