Last year I decided to binge the first four seasons of The CW’s The 100 and they were so worth it! If you haven’t yet watched The 100, I recommend you do so immediately. The series begins with a group of 100 delinquents who are sent down to the earth from an orbiting space ‘ark’, to see whether or not it is inhabitable almost a century after a nuclear Armageddon. The first four seasons see the group face new challenges as they encounter new survivors on a planet that doesn’t want anyone to be alive. If you haven’t yet watched the first four seasons, don’t begin with this episode, as it is designed for the series’ loyal fanbase. Instead, binge the first four seasons, and hopefully, you won’t have to endure the same agony as me as I eagerly await the weekly instalments.
The season finale of Season Four saw our protagonist Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) left on the surface of Earth as her friends were either catapulted into space or tucked safely away in a bunker below the Earth’s surface.
Over the last several months I have (not so) patiently waited for the release of the fifth season, as the series creator/executive producer Jason Rothenburg and his tweets have filled my timeline. The month by month, then day by day countdowns to April 25th was kind of refreshing as it’s been a while since I’ve eagerly awaited for a release date for a television series. Instead, I generally prefer to binge a series, appreciate it in the moment and move on. Perhaps it’s the way the show has nodded to so many post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes during its previous four seasons, or the strong range of female characters, and mix of ethnicities, but The 100 has stuck with me, and the fifth season looks like it will be continuing the trend.
The first episode of Season Five begins with Clarke breaking herself free from the wreckage of the lab she was inhabiting for the first six weeks following ‘Praimfaya’ to discover a deserted wasteland. The once lush area of water is now sand and dirt. The first half of this episode has Clarke navigating this wasteland, attempting in vain to dig down to the bunker in Polis where her mother resides, starving, thirsty, and ready to give up, and returning to the ruins of Arkadia to discover the suicide note of Jasper (Devon Bostick), a series favourite.
“Up until that moment, I’d believed I’d live in the bunker with the others. With my mum, I can’t bear the thought of leaving her down there. But the hard truth is, I could dig for years and never reach that door. I’ve been by myself now for two months. But this is the first time I feel alone.”
Just as she raises the gun to her temple she is forced to reconsider by her first signs of life in over two months; a crow, which once it takes her to the aptly named “Eden Valley”, she shoots for food and survival.
“It’s like the wave jumped over this entire valley; but unfortunately the radiation didn’t.”
In Eden Valley, Clarke finds food, water and another lone survivor, “the child from hell” Madi (Lola Flanery), a Nightblood like her. The two soon become family, and as we know that Clarke is now okay we turn our attention above and below.
Above, Raven (Lindsey Morgan), Echo (Tasya Teles), Emori (Luisa D’Oliveira), and Harper (Chelsey Reist) keep fit through fight training, as Monty (Christopher Larkin) grows an algae garden. History repeats itself as Bellamy (Bob Morley) returns to his role as leader and Murphy (Richard Harmon) returns to isolating himself. They’re lonely and restless, but surviving. Until six years later when Murphy sees another spacecraft orbiting directly above the only green spot on the planet. They attempt to radio the craft but are left in silence as it makes its way down.
On the ground, Clarke and Madi prepare for their new guests, but Clarke quickly realises they’re more foe than friend as the ship was a prison. They have too many weapons, including unrecognisable machine guns. The commander even states “Oh, you’re still my favourite mass murderer” to one of the prisoners. Madi is pulled immediately from a hiding place that for years had protected her. Clarke and Madi are able to break free of their captors, but unfortunately the sound of the bullets from the guns that saved them, also alert the rest of the prisoners to their presence on earth.
We don’t get to see what has happened in the bunker in Polis until the final moments of the episode where chaos ensues, as the original queen of under the floorboards Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), watches over a battle of the Grounders. Perhaps she is the only person who has a way to stand up to this new threat. Which sets the new problem of how do you get an army out of their buried prison? And what has been happening underneath the ground for the last six years with a hostile group of a thousand warriors whose first instinct is to fight?
In many ways this episode has acknowledged and taken advantage of the luxury of a dedicated and supportive fanbase as it’s odd to start off a season with a single character taking up half of the screen time essentially doing something that could have been, and most likely would have (if the series wasn’t so mature) been demonstrated in the first five minutes through a montage sequence.
The 100 is able to focus on the emotions of the characters and their relationships with each other without rushing through them on the first episode of the season, which is both appreciated and frustrating as I eagerly await to find out the answers to so many questions set up by the previous season finale.
TVNZ (NZ), The CW (US)
24 April 2018
Season 5, Episode 1 “Eden”