This The 100 review contains spoilers.
The 100 Season 6 Episode 1
The 100’s season 6 premier has a huge job: set the rules of engagement for the not-quite-a-time-jump that is cryosleep, introduce us to a whole new world, and the usual business of kicking off tying up the very loose ends of last season while kicking off a new season’s worth of storytelling. It’s not surprising, then, that these first two episodes function a bit more like a two-part premiere and they feel more satisfying after the conclusion of the second than they do at the end of the first, which is more of a taste than an opening story.
“Sanctum” is a great episode for remembering the essence of The 100 and its characters – a dysfunctional family with ever-shifting alliances that’s doing its best to survive with whatever new, strange problem it faces. Perhaps the strangest thing about this new world is when our merry band of scouts reaches the inner sanctum and finds what appears to be a safe and serene place. This being The 100, it won’t stay that way. But like Mount Weather and Shallow Valley before it, I’m looking forward to seeing how our characters struggle with how to become people of peace when so much of their life is predicated on a constant war of one kind of another.
Richard Harmon’s performance is an indisputable highlight of this episode. I’m thrilled to see that The 100 is leaning into charming scallywag Murphy. He’s the perfect person to surface all these tensions that everyone would rather ignore, like Miller being so loyal to Blodreina for so long. Seeing him singing “This is the Sea” by The Waterboys while everyone talks and watches hearkens back to the “Gone, Daddy Gone” scene in the season 3 opener. I really love the restraint with which they include contemporary music on The 100, but there are a ton of gems on that music player. I’m hoping to hear “It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City” sometime.
An unmistakable dynamic of this episode, and one I imagine will continue for some time, is the fact that Clarke is an outsider. Bellamy takes charge easily and the rest of the re-SpaceKru is comfortable together. They make digs at Clarke, but Echo defends her – an interesting choice. Seeing Emori say, “may we meet again,” without hesitation, it hit home that she’s truly one of them. I’m so happy for her because she was on her own and rejected by her own people for so long, but in that same moment, Murphy looked back with…what? Surprise? Scorn? Jealousy? Hurt? He might not know how to be anything other than an outsider with her. It’s worth pointing out that the core group who went to space during Praimfaya is the closest.
As much as everyone’s pretending to move on, their wounds are still fresh. Bellamy may nominally trust Miller, but he still makes a point to say to him, “easy, we approach slow, no hostile moves.” Niylah could have woken up anyone, but she woke up Octavia. She may not be Blodreina anymore, but all that loyalty doesn’t simply disappear, nor do the actions of everyone who betrayed WonKru, like Kane. He’s still trying to defend the fact that he went to Diyoza, dooming WonKru and Octavia. Yeah, O went south, but no one else is taking any responsibility either.
I love the long-term, continued attention to detail around the various blood types on this show, like SkaiKru being universal donors. Meanwhile, down on Alpha, being a night blood allowed Clarke through the giant bug zapper of radiation that killed Shaw. Poor Raven, that girl deserves some happiness. O speaks Trigedeslang at one point, which raises a question – how do you keep your culture alive when your home is annihilated? I’m not worried that the Ark’s customs will remain, but what of the Grounders?
Monty and Harper’s presence is woven throughout the episode beautifully. Of course Monty thought of a way to save Kane and made algae for all of them to eat. Jordan is a welcome addition. He’s observant, and seems to know all of them, much like Madi did. I know it makes no sense – he’s an actor, not their child – but I swear I saw Monty and Harper in Jordan’s eyes when he teared up looking out the window, discovering Alpha’s a moon and thinking of how much his parents would have loved it. I’m looking forward to learning more about how his parents prepared him, seeing more of their relics scattered across the season.
At one point, Bellamy and Clarke compared the girls they raised, Octavia and Madi, and the childhoods they didn’t get. It strikes me that Jordan has had a similarly sheltered life, eating only algae and knowing only his parents. I’ll be curious to see how his meeting Madi plays out, and how Bel and Clarke’s priorities shake out among their three collective charges, even if Octavia is a grown woman herself.
There are some very creepy vibes down in Sanctum, with lots of lotus imagery. No radio contact can get through, which triggers a much-awaited conversation about Clarke calling Bellamy on the radio for all those years. Here’s hoping that’s not the last we’ll hear on that topic. Even before someone steals their ship, there’s the infinity symbol, chains and eerie shrines around. One is for the Lightborn family, and another says, “our all for the grace and the glory of the primes.” We know from trailers that at least some of this weirdness is leading to the eclipse-induced psychosis…but that doesn’t explain all of it.