The wait is over, and the fate of our fractured survivors following the cataclysmic event, Praimafaya, is revealed!
The 100 – “Eden”, Season 5, Episode 01
Airdate: April 24th, 2018
Director: Dean White
Writer: Jason Rothenberg
Based on the Book by: Kass Morgan
The 100 – “Red Queen”, Season 5, Episode 02
Airdate: May 1st, 2018
Director: PJ Pesce
Writer: Terri Hughes
Based on the Book by: Kass Morgan
What You Should Know:
Last season culminated with the arrival of Praimfaya, an extinction-level event that swept the globe, rendering Earth, once again, uninhabitable for a projected five years. In Polis, the Armageddon bunker had been secured, but with capacity for only 12,000, Octavia united the clans as Wonkru, enabling all clans to save some, but preventing Skaicrew from saving the majority of their numbers as originally intended. Meanwhile, Clarke, Bellamy, and Monty’s group set about blasting off for the ark with the hopes of getting it up and running again to wait out the five years. Unfortunately, Clarke did not make the flight and was last seen suffering from severe radiation burns, still on the surface.
What You’ll Find Out:
The first two episodes of this season are split between Clarke and the Ark crew and Octavia and Wonkru in the bunker. Both are designed to catch the viewers up to the happenings of the last six-plus years, and presumably set up a convergence between the scattered survivors of Praimfaya.
“Eden” dominantly follows Clarke, starting 42 days post-Praimfaya. The Nightblood coursing through Clarke’s veins enabled her to survive, but in a hellish, post-cataclysmic landscape, the question quickly becomes “For how long?” After healing from her initial burns, Clarke sets out for Polis to attempt to join Wonkru in the bunker, only to find the tower collapsed and entry (as well as exit) from the bunker rendered impossible. She then returns to Arcadia only to find it not only in ruins but full of the ghosts of those we have lost along the way.
As Clarke is struggling to survive on an Earth that looks like a cross between Dune and Mad Max, Wonkru has problems of their own, as shown in “Red Queen.” Marcus and Abby are sent to investigate the banging at the hatch caused by Clarke’s futile attempts to dig them free, only to discover that there is no exit. After conferring with Jaha, it is determined that not only is there no escape now, but there will be no escape in five years or even a hundred years, and the farm inside the bunker was already overtaxed at a 1,200 population for five years. As all eyes turn to Octavia for answers, there appear no answers to be had, which in turn yields mutiny in multiple forms. Kara, the lead farmer, seals off the farming level with only members of Skaikru inside (including Marcus and Abby), fully prepared to allow the rest of the bunker starve. As the rest of the bunker is divided up among various warring tribes, a secretly wounded and dying Jaha suggests a way to get the farm doors open, but only if Octavia can establish herself as the leader she is expected to be.
Octavia approaches the door to the farm, surrounded by various tribes attempt to break in, and offers a simple ultimatum. “You are Wonkru or you are enemy of Wonkru. Choose.” At least a dozen choose to fight as Octavia reminded everybody how she came to be known as Skairipa. Her deadly dance drops man after man, showering her with blood until the rest yield. Those responsible for the farm takeover, and a few other minor “criminal” offenders from before the chaos burst loose are gathered in an arena as Octavia decides exactly how to thin the herd: by the rules of the conclave. Last man standing lives.
While the events inside the bunker are horrific, there are different horrors awaiting the lone Clarke on the outside. With no steady source of clean water, food, or reliable shelter against roaming dust storms, Clarke finds herself crossing a desert on foot without supplies. After passing out from exhaustion, she is awakened to a stark reality where she is carrion for the vultures. Hope arrives in the most unexpected realization that, where there are animals, there must be sustenance. She follows the bird over the hill to find… more desert. The second bird sighting is much more promising, however, as it leads Clarke to an isolated valley that the fires missed. Staring down her beautiful, green Eden, Clarke shoots the bird in what could be read as the single most profound moment of the series. If there is any single action over the course of four-plus seasons that captures the essence of the show, that action was it.
Clarke encounters a village in the valley, but despite the signs of life, so too are the signs of Praimfaya, in the form of an entire village dead from radiation sickness, a sickness Nightbloods are protected against. Clarke sets to work burning bodies and establishing a home, and it is not long before she catches sight of a young, feral girl spying on her. In the chase, Clarke eventually steps in a bear trap. It’s not really important. I just wanted to say it. The important part here is that Clarke eventually befriends the tiny Nightblood (named Madi) and, as jump cuts take us further and further into the future, Clarke becomes a mother figure to the young girl, eventually domesticating her (if that sounds snide, it isn’t meant to be, but I can think of no more appropriate word for taking something feral and turning it not feral).
As we flash from Madi and Clarke to the Ark survivors, we learn that six years have passed since Praimfaya, and nothing has worked out as planned. Raven has been unable to find a way to return to the surface. They have monitored Eden from space but have no way of reaching it. That is until they spot a dropship on the horizon sending a transport to the surface. Attempts to hail the ship fail, so the crew decides to make a final gambit to reach the dropship in hopes of finding transport to the surface, despite having no knowledge of who the ship belongs to.
The who is revealed on the surface to be a ship of mostly violent criminals emerging from some sort of stasis. The origin of these criminals is unknown at this time, as any criminals on the Ark would have been floated, so it stands to reason that these are criminals from prior to the original Earth cataclysm. Naturally, with only a single valley of habitable land, they come into contact with Clarke and Madi quickly, resulting in Madi killing one of their numbers. The criminals, now aware that they are not alone, are left preparing for confrontation.
“Eden” ends in the same place as “Red Queen” does, with minor differences. Octavia, now the Red Queen, presides over a conclave deathmatch, flanked by Indra, Gaia, and Nathan. The very last thing we see in “Red Queen” is Marcus entering the arena.
What Just Happened?
The 100, at its core, has always been about survival, and these two episodes exemplify the many forms that survival can, and often will, take. From Clarke’s solo journey through hell only to find the will to live in the soul of another person, to the desperate measures deployed by Wonkru to avoid slow and painful starvation, “Eden” and “Red Queen” illustrate that the struggle to survive is not bound by morals or ethics, but that doesn’t make morals and ethics unwelcome or impossible. The fact is, survival is a “by any means necessary” game, yet the means need not always be to resort to the basest of human emotions. Survival is a case by case basis. While the show also contains splendid romance, awesome action, and more drama than you can shake a teenager at, in the end, it is the ability and willingness to show the many faces of humanity in a state of distress and adversity that has been, and continues to be, the greatest strength of the series.
Final Thought: The wait was long. Only a few weeks shy of a year since the Season 4 finale. It was, however, well worth the wait, as these two episodes could be the greatest of the series I’ve seen yet.
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