“Can you see it, is it beautiful? I hope we do better there…” Book II of the 100 opens with Monty’s dying wish, setting the premise for the best season yet. We step right into a powder paint war as the team sets foot on planet Alpha – or rather moon. Not only is their new home a kaleidoscope of color but season six is vivaciously rich in plot, sci-fi content, character development, and moral lessons. All while incorporating some indispensable action and bold new costumes.
If there’s one narrative device that The 100 has perfected, it’s reinvention. Executive Producer Jason Rothenberg called it a reboot and did not fail to deliver. Although it’s still a continuation of the previous seasons, it explores new sets, themes and characters. While the show has always trudged on a threshold of grey morality, we now got to see these heroes come face-to-face with their inept decisions and live up to the term hero. But even in this new realm, the series’ opulent nostalgia cannot be ignored and is shrewdly maneuvered to propel the plot.
Another variation to appreciate is the increase in humor. John Murphy (Richard Harmon), court jester, has always brought some much needed comedic relief, yet Diyoza (Ivana Milicevic) continues to fill the queen of quips’ shoes in her inspirational new role. Even the leads crack a joke or two when they’re not steering their people to safety.
The writers are so reckless in their storytelling that I feared – more than once – half of the stellar ensemble would be killed off. Most important, they do not pander to the fans in terms of character behavior and relationships. Instead, they take audiences from A–Z with no external influences. For seasons, fans have been hoping for the leads of the show to cross the romantic verge, but The 100 doesn’t fit into the romance genre.
In the first three episodes, we’re filled in on the muse for the second book. Following the new idealism, it has shifted from the cycle of violence and moved into a territory of consideration and atonement. That said, The 100 never abandons its history and throughout there are stark parallels and callbacks to the first three seasons.
Octavia’s iconic “We’re back bitches!” line as she landed on the ground in season one is used several times during the season. And ALIE, the heartless AI’s chips, dubbed the key to the city of light, comes back into play in an extraordinary way. That’s only a few to mention since they take quite a few trips down memory lane on the characters’ path to the future.
As the exploration of Alpha starts with a small team, the suns are eclipsing while they stumble upon an empty castle with layers of glory in effervescent colors. It’s so Disney-like I kept waiting for Tinkerbell to appear with her wand. Anyway, a nursery rhyme book alludes them that the eclipse emits a red sun toxin which turns friends into foes. The result is a merciless battle between the heroes.
At the end of season 5, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) betrayed Spacekru, and though they haven’t forgiven her, it seems she considers herself a cancer that has to be squashed as well. In space, a similar situation takes place when Octavia (Marie Avgeropolous) challenges everyone who disagrees with her cold-blooded actions to a suicide battle. These two instances set one of the season’s arcs in motion: Clemency can only be earned by repenting for our sins.
The conflict truly starts when the moon’s inhabitants return: they are not pleased with finding intruders in their home. Nonetheless, they save Murphy, who died during the eclipse-battle, with a snake that sucks the red sun toxin from his veins. He resumes life with an invigorating fear of death after his short encounter with hell.
We learn that four families were sent on an intergalactic space mission by Eligius III to colonize new planets for oil extrapolation. In blatant contrast to the Eligius IV prisoners, these were strategic, well-educated people. Their ‘descendants’ are referred to as primes and considered the royalty of Sanctum.
We’re introduced to Russel Lightbourn (JR Bourne), hallowed be his name, seventh of his line, savior of Sanctum (wow, that name must be heavier than those smug royal robes) who gives the earthlings a chance to warrant their stay. Despite Clarke’s diplomatic speech about their willingness to change, Jordan’s (Shannon Kook) naivety leads to Russel getting the essential information about their disastrous past, causing him to decline their request for safe harbor until he learns that Clarke has nightblood – the crucial plot catalyst. At that, the king of Sanctum’s lavish smile exudes dictator vibes alongside his feigned humanity and lustrous hospitality. While his wife, Simone, seems less than pleased with the new houseguests.
Ultimately, it isn’t easy to do better. This show advocates how strong human driving forces such as love, power, revenge, and immortality truly are. Even in a post-apocalyptic world centuries from now, humans remain selfish and inhumane. From the ground to the mountain, the city of light, the bunker and now another planet, that one tragic reality has never ceased to exist.
It has always been a callous show, from sending juvenile delinquents to the ground, kids fighting to the death to earn the title of commander, brutal civil wars, cannibalism, and drug addiction. It doesn’t stop there as we now arrive at a zone of murdering innocents for immortality through a belief in serving false gods. Placing the heroes in another impossible situation between turning a blind eye in the face of doing better or bringing an end to the merciless acts of the divines. Although always considering their newfound mantra, the heroes – and villains – will still do anything to save their people (or person in a lot of cases).
The technology that the primes have perfected by reverse engineering Becca’s creations to suit their own needs is probably the most fascinating sci-fi technology we’ve witnessed since season three. It takes a special science to boomerang the past straight into the future and The 100 does just that by studiously crafting the anecdote around its foundation. Dr. Gabriel Santiago (Ian Pala/Chuku Modu) altered the mind-drives to upload entire minds as a means to resurrect his lover after her father killed her during the first eclipse.
This season of The 100 stresses the fact that despite our moral compasses we all have devils inside us whuch have to be overcome in order for us to heal and move forward. For some, it’s a more prominent force and takes several mistakes to drive the sword through the demon, although the heart-wrenching journey and action of the battle is an out-of-this-world experience.
Clarke’s journey starts when she meets her counterpart in the form of Josephine Lightbourn (Sara Thomas), a thrilling sociopathic princess with more depth, wits, and complexity than any anti-hero is allowed to have. Being stuck inside her own head gives the female lead ample opportunity to reflect and straighten out her choices with the help of a few blasts from the past.
Eliza Taylor does an outstanding job with her acting in the way she portrays Clarke, Josephine and the one as the other. She switches skins with careful ease and a perfect amount of the imposter’s characteristics. Clarke’s compassion subtly shines through during the ruse, while Josephine’s lack thereof is just as clear.
While this is absolutely Clarke’s season, most of the characters have to face-off with their previous mistakes. Abby (Paige Turco) converts her compulsive behavior of drug addiction into saving Kane (Henry Ian Cusick). Murphy, who has come a long way from the selfish outcast of season one, falls right back into his old shoes when immortality seems to trump morality. And Madi (Lola Flanery) struggles to navigate the experience and legacies of past leaders.
One of the most interesting journeys this season has to be Octavia’s. Being a danger to everyone, her brother shuns her to the woods where she reconciles with Diyoza who was outcasted by the primes as well. In bizarre ways, they’re called by the greatest mystery of Sanctum – the anomaly.
Gabriel feeds her a red-sun toxin cocktail to spur her memories of the experience with gooey green light, but she chooses to look inward instead, where she comes across the ghosts of her past. Pike (Michael Beach) who represents the edge of darkness for the girl under the floor brings her to the realization that she seeks redemption, leading to a staggering fight between Octavia and her red queen facade. This stimulating victory is delivered with a palpable conviction of change and both actors deserve loud applause.
This is a renewed version of The 100, but there are still certain principles present that it can never escape. The cutthroat plotlines will always have you sitting on the edge of your seat, with your fingers digging into a couch cushion. There is no reality or made-up future reality they aren’t willing to explore to tell the story of humanity – or lack thereof – and survival of the fittest.
If I have to nitpick, it would be on the blind spots. Seeing as the season consist of only thirteen episodes and an abundance of storylines, some development happens off-screen which does feel lacking. Bellamy (Bob Morley), for instance, knew about the cannibalism in the bunker but his reaction to learning this info was never shown.
Another small leak in the pipe is some inconsistency, especially in Murphy and Russel’s behavior. Their back and forth between good and evil tends to give you whiplash. I guess it could be written off as bouncing morals but it does become annoying after a while. Not to mention the will-they-won’t-they dance between Bellamy and Clarke. One moment Josephine refers to them as besties, the next he brings her back to life in true Snow White fashion. Pick a side and stick to it, I’d say.
But probably the biggest damp squib is the finale. The 100 has always been infamous for its last chapters. The end of season five left viewers in a chokehold of tears and a fog of excitement simultaneously. Don’t get me wrong, the cutting edge action, whirlwind of emotions and question marks of the final few minutes was decent, though not up to par. It felt rushed and inconclusive, like there’s an episode missing. With such an amazing precedent, one expects them to pull out all the stops.
Don’t let that discourage you, the sixth season of The 100 is undoubtedly worth the watch. The ending surely sets us up for yet another joyride in season 7, which has recently been announced as the show’s last.
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Although I have to deduct some points for the disappointing end,
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