Sunday, June 17, 2018

The 100, Season Five, Episode Six: Exit Wounds

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At the end of season four, everyone had been split up in order to survive primefiyah. Now that everyone is back together again, or at least all on earth and above ground, the fissures created by a six year divide are no longer deniable.  Even Bellamy is forced to admit that Octavia is no longer his sister.  Yes, the Blake siblings have had their issues over the years but with Octavia becoming so powerful, even Bellamy is not safe from her wrath, nor does he seem to have much influence over her any longer.  There was a time when you couldn't slide a piece of paper between these two but that time is long gone.  Octavia has undeniably become a ruthless dictator under the guise of keeping her people together and safe. 

For much of The 100, Clarke has acted on behalf of Skaikru, making the hard decisions in order to save as many lives as possible.  Skaikru is long gone now and all that she has left is Madi.  Madi as we have come to see in the passing years has become family to Clarke and her top priority.  For her part, Madi has completely lost herself in all of the stories that Clarke had told her about her people and is so naive, that she doesn't really understand that these stories no longer reflect who these people are today.  Octavia is so much more than the girl under the floor, she's someone to be feared now. It all comes to a head when Niylah discovers that Maddie is a nightblood.  Niylah and Clarke may have history but Octavia has made it clear in the intervening years that one is either Wonkru or Nokru.  Niylah's allegiances lie with Octavia and she promises that if Clarke comes clean that Octavia will show mercy.  After witnessing Octavia's brutality first hand, mercy is not something Clarke trusts as something Octavia is capable of anymore.

It becomes clear just how closely Maddie has been listening to Clarke when she decides that rather than fleeing and returning to the Valley for the sake of her safety, she reveals her true identity to Octavia. Maddie is clearly way out of her element and is acting with hopeful naïveté. Maddie confesses because she knows it's not safe for Clarke in the valley. This is actually something that Clarke would have done on behalf of Skaikru in the past.  For her part, Octavia identifies with Maddie because she too was forced to hide and so she makes her part of Wonkru.  At this point, I can see how Octavia identifies the similarities between herself and Maddie but I don't know that it will be strong enough to save Maddie from the actual threat that she represents to Octavia's rule. Sure people are loyal but many are only loyal because of fear and lack of options, not because they believe in Octavia. 

Bellamy does his best to argue for Echo's safety but Octavia is having none of it. Octavia orders Echo banished but does agree that if Echo turns in people who are unloyal that she will be allowed to stay. Sure enough, as Echo begins to pack her bags, members of Wonkru show up and ask to travel with her. They are sick of Octavia's heavy handed leadership and would rather take their risks with the outside world than live another day with Wonkru.  Proving how much Echo has changed, she refuses to turn these people over to Octavia to save her own life and instead offers to infiltrate the Valley as a defector and shut down their eye in the sky.  Octavia agrees to this plan but warns Echo that if she gets caught that no one is coming to save her. 

Echo leads a few defectors away from Wonkru, taking Diyoza's offer to take in any of Wonkru who choose to come and live in the Valley.  For Diyoza's part, it makes sense to take in people because they are going to need farmers and tech people in order to make a life in the Valley workable. Echo makes her bid for freedom but Octavia does not keep up her end of the bargain and has Miller shoot at the members of Wonkru who are trying to escape, much to Bellamy and Clarke's horror.  Echo helps a young woman along and when she gets shot, she slips the chip she needs to take down the eye in the sky in the wound. Bellamy is shocked that Octavia would go as far as to kill her own people but it seems that by leaving -- as far as Octavia is concerned -- they were no longer a part of Wonkru. Octavia also tries to justify her actions by saying that this makes Echo's escape more plausible because Diyoza would never have believed that she would have just let people go. At this point, it's clear that Octavia is just used to explaining away the evil that she does in the name of Wonkru.

When Emori and Murphy left earth they were deeply in love; however, somehow in space, their relationship fell apart. When last we left them, Emori had decided to hide out with John because the collar stopped him from being able to leave the Valley. Emori's first attempt to remove John's collar leads to them both being shocked and passing out briefly. Once conscious again, John cannot stop himself from snarking about how Emori is Raven's top student. It turns out that on the Arc, John became jealous of all the time that Emori was spending with Raven and felt that he wasn't needed anymore and so he pushed Emori away. For her part, Emori didn't realise until she was in space how much she needed to be a part of something and how that would change her. If you recall, when we first met Emori, the only person she looked out for was herself and it was only over time that she decided to add Murphy to her list of concerns. John being jealous that Emori grew is typical of an insecure douchebag and I for one am glad that she was strong enough to walk away from the games he tried to play. They end up kissing and though nothing is solved by the conversation, they are closer than they've been in a long time. Emori manages to get the collar off and together they create a trap for Diyoza's men. Emori and Murphy manage to capture McCreary and celebrate having a hostage. I think that McCreary might just end up being more trouble than he's worth. 

The pieces on the chessboard are starting to come together. With Cane's help, Diyoza now has an understanding of what it's going to take to win a psychological war against Octavia.  It's actually a good strategy because Octavia is completely blind to the ways that she has abused her people in order to keep Wonkru together in the bunker for six years.  I do however hope that Cane is playing a larger game because at this point, even though Diyoza seems more rational, she is in charge of a group of murdering psychopaths who could turn on her at any moment.  He may just be trading one danger for another.  I really hope that in the next episode we get just a little bit more focus on Kane. 

Now that the bell has been rung and it has been revealed that Maddie is a nightblood, it's only a matter of time before things come to a head. Gaia is a true believer and she cannot be the only one who is left. Maddie could easily become a symbol for the rest of Wonkru, particularly because of the timing of her appearance. Gaia's belief in Maddie could also put her into direct confrontation with her mother, who sees Octavia as an adoptive daughter.  Maddie's true status also puts Octavia in direct confrontation with Clarke, who as we know, will do anything to protect the people she loves.  All of Clarke's energy has been poured into Maddie for the last six years and there's absolutely no way that Clarke won't go to war to protect her. Then we have the problem between the Blake siblings. For now, Bellamy doesn't recognise his sister but what if it comes down to a battle between Clarke and Octavia, who will he choose?  The possibilities here could lead to some interesting plot lines. 

It's episode six and it still feels like the writers are setting up the story and aligning the characters. I think that at this point, it's time to get a move on with the general plot and have something happen, or it will start to feel long and drawn out. There's only so long we can have Bellamy horrified by Octavia's actions or power with nothing coming of it. Similarly, there's only so long we can have Kane coaching Charmaine without really dealing with who she is in charge of.  I know that personal relationships help make the stakes feel real but too much focus without any movement of the plot makes The 100 feel stagnate.