“We gather here today to remind ourselves what happens to the enemies of Wonkru. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you choose sides against us, if you divide us, if you defy us then you are not us. Before we give these traitors a second chance to be called brother, sister or seda, we pay tribute to those who have died, so that we may live.”
And there have been a lot of those folks. The series title once referred to the 100 teens who were sent to the surface of Earth a hundred years after a nuclear war to find out if it was habitable once again. By the time we reach the end of Season 5, there will only be four members of the 100 remaining alive. The title might have lost its meaning by now, but this season will literally take us to a completely new world before it’s finished. Fox brings you the complete fifth season of The 100, and the ride isn’t quite over yet.
The fourth season ended with Clarke (Taylor) unleashing a nuclear arsenal once again on the battered Earth. The survivors had split into three separate groups to ride out the six years before they could emerge once again. The first three episodes of the season take us back to that moment and move us forward six years for each of the groups.
In the bunker, Octavia (Avgeropoulos) has become the Red Queen and rules the majority of the planet’s survivors with an iron hand. She has an almost cult-like presence that demands complete loyalty. Because Octavia allowed more people into the bunker than it could support, she had to find a way to lower the population. Instead of floating or culling, she created The Pit. There offenders of even the smallest of rules were pitted against each other in gladiator games. The survivors were allowed to rejoin the community… that is, unless Octavia decided they should not. Abby (Turco) had stolen drugs, and Marcus (Cusick) took the blame and is subjected to repeated rounds in The Pit. It appears that Abby and Marcus have become close, and she has become addicted to pills. It gets worse when it’s discovered that the tower collapsed on top of the bunker’s exit and they can’t even get out after six years.
The few who made it back to space are leading somewhat dull lives. Raven (Morgan) keeps the equipment going while Monty (Larkin) has found a way to farm algae and can not only feed themselves but help the rest to survive once the ground recovers. Murphy (Harmon) elects to spend the years isolated on the ship.
On the surface, Clarke’s blood has allowed her to survive, and she discovers a young girl who has also survived. She names the girl Madi (Flannery) and discovers that she also has the commander blood, which she hopes to hide once everyone is back on the surface.
But our three groups are not alone. Enter a prison ship where 400 prisoners were put in cryo-sleep before the war that ended the Earth. A core group is awake and has taken control of the ship, and they’re headed back to Earth only to discover that things have changed. They storm the surface led by Col Diyoza (Milicevic) and a group of soldiers who decide they are going to take control of the single valley that became fertile once again. With some battles and confrontations, the prisoners encounter first Clarke, then Bellamy (Blake) and the space crew, and finally free the hundreds trapped in the bunker. Octavia fights to move her control over everyone, and she has an army willing to help her do just that.
The season becomes a series of tactical moves with characters changing sides and locations like an apocalyptical game of musical chairs. Instead of being willing to share the green valley, they fight over it, and soon they jeopardize the very thing they are all fighting for.
The pace of the season is off the charts. Over 13 episodes there is a lot of action, and a lot more survivors end up killed. The unfortunate aspect of the season is that no one is particularly likable before it’s all over. The character flaws, while necessary, dominate the season, and it’s impossible to cheer for any of them. The pace is too swift to ever get your bearings, and don’t even try to start with Season 5. It will only confuse you all the more. The season finale brings us to yet another complete retool of the show’s story. The title has long ago become irrelevant, and I’m happy to see this part of the story finally close. They backed themselves so much into a corner that there were only two choices. The show could end now or get a severe change of direction. Who knows where it will all eventually lead. The ratings have been slipping, and I suspect this change is a last-ditch effort to salvage the series. Time will tell if it does. Oh, and if you think a six-year jump in time is crazy, wait until you see how much of a time jump the show makes in the season finale’s final minutes. “I call time violation.”