My biggest problem with this season has been that it feels very much like we are treading over ground that we've already walked. All the writers seem to have done is change the perspective slightly, as though to trick the audience into believing that they've breathed new life into what is now clearly a series which is past it best by date. I do have to admit that though Sic Semper Tyrannis, didn't really add anything new per say, it's easily the best episode of the season so far and the only one to really capture my attention from start to finish.
The lines quickly became divided between the people of the prison ship, the remaining members of Skaikru and of course Wonkru, which if you think about it is ridiculous given how little habitable land is available for humans to occupy. I suppose one could argue that it is human nature to fight over difference and to make enemies of those who we consider to be outsiders but The 100 has been banging this same drum for the entirety of its existence.
Rather than focusing on the battle to control the land, Sic, Semper Tyrannis focuses on the inner turmoil between the groups. On one hand, we have Charmaine and McCreary vying for control and on the other, we have the attempted coup on Bloodreina which leads to a schism between Octavia and Indra as well as Clarke and Bellamy. This really is an episode about loyalties and who the characters value when the chips are down. I think that for the first time, all of the characters are forced to admit that the passage of time has changed a lot of things.
From day one, Murphy has always been conniving and it's easy to see how in the calm of space, this feature may not have worked to his best advantage; however, in the turmoil of an impending war, Murphy reminds us all how interesting and brilliant he can be. Murphy, Echo, Raven and Emori come to the determination that the best path towards escape is to play Charmaine off against McCreary and so Murphy sets the ball in motion by informing McCreary that Abby has found the cure and that Charmaine is only healing her people. Echo, is the one who informs Charmaine that McCreary knows about the cure and in turn, Charmaine readies her people for an all out battle. Clearly, after all of their years in space, the foursome are a family but what's perhaps most surprising is the leadership role that Echo seems to have fallen into. Emori, Raven and Murphy don't follow her without question, especially when it comes to the issue of whether or not to kill Shaw or escape with him but it's clear that Echo has some authority.
I have wondered since the ship first landed about about the origin of the enmity between Charmaine and McCreary comes from. This week the writers threw in a twist by revealing that McCreary is the father of Charmaine's unborn child. I suppose there's a thin line between love and hate but I would still like a little bit more of their backstory to find out what happened between these two because it's clear, it must have been good once.
After a well timed thrown rock by Murphy, shit jumps off and it's up to Raven and Emori to take off everyone's shock collars. Shaw is on side after having been convinced by Raven to escape with them. Charmaine tries to head off McCreary's men before they can get to Abby but unfortunately, though Charmaine puts up a good fight, Abby is captured. With no ability to get Abby back, Charmaine, Raven, Echo, Murphy, Kane and Shaw decide to withdraw for now. Luckily I suppose for Abby, she seems to have created a bond with Vinson which it seems may bear fruit later. Plotting together, Murphy and Echo may have been able to secure their freedom but now that Paxton is in charge, he makes it clear that he will not honour Charmaine's deal to share the Valley.
When we last left Wonkru, Bellamy had fed his sister the contaminated algae which put her into a coma. The plan was to initially have Indra step into Octavia's place and convince everyone to push for peace, rather than following through with Octavia's plan to attack. Unfortunately, what no one counted on was Miller stepping up, declaring himself loyal to Bloodreina and encouraging everyone to follow through on Octavia's plan. Even worse, others want to divide into clans once again to decide who can lead. It's clear that without Octavia holding it all together, true chaos is not far away.
Bellamy is desperate to stop a war and so decides the only thing left to do is to make Madi a commander. When Bellamy reveals this plan to Clarke she is enraged because she believes that this will make Madi a target, particularly because no one knows for sure if Octavia will wake up. Bellamy however can see no other way forward and even argues that by the time Octavia awakens that they will already be in the Valley and that she will see that what they did was for the best. Clarke however is not willing to take any chances with her family but as far as Bellamy is concerned, making Madi a commander is the only way to protect Murphy, Echo, Raven and Emori, who he has come to see as his family in the preceding years. Bellamy is no longer Clarke's second in command.
It's left to Indra to approach Gaia about the flame. Once again we are reminded that things are still tense between mother and daughter. Gaia has no respect for her mother, who she clearly sees as a killing machine; however, Indra argues that no real warrior actually wants war. Gaia isn't impressed that she is being asked to pass on the flame, particularly because Indra doesn't believe in the Grounder religion but she agrees to go along with this, even though it will mean certain death if Bloodreina recovers.
The horn sounds and the faithful begin to gather for Madi's ascension. An enraged Niylah goes to see Clarke because she believes Clarke broke her promise about not allowing Madi to ascend, only to find that Clarke had nothing to do with it. Realizing that Madi as the commander poses a threat to Octavia's leadership, Niylah decides to free Clarke to see what she can do to stop it.
Indra goes to check on Octavia, who thanks to Jackson is making a recovery. The moment Octavia regains consciousness, she calls for Bellamy's arrest, forcing Indra to attack Jackson and lock the door to keep Octavia on ice for now. Octavia is quick to challenge Indra, calling her a traitor and coward but Indra is unwilling to make the same mistakes she made during the dark year by allowing Octavia to carry too much weight on her shoulders. Indra rightfully sees that Octavia is well out of control and tries to argue that they can survive this together without losing anymore of their people.
Realising that she cannot stop Madi's ascension, Clarke bursts into Octavia's room determined to kill her. Octavia's time in the bunker has served her well, and she is quick to point out to Clarke that the only other person who doesn't want Madi to ascend is her. Killing her Octavia argues, will not put less of a target on Madi's back because the people loyal to her will want to kill Madi in revenge. An emotional Clarke desperate to save Madi agrees.
When Octavia and Clarke burst in, Octavia orders Bellamy and Gaia arrested and tries to pressure Clarke to take the chip out of Madi's head. Because the process has started, it's already too late. Clarke turns and slaps Bellamy across the face and leaves with Madi. Clarke has one of the soldiers loyal to Octavia place Madi in a rover, intending to leave Polis behind them but of course, Octavia, now back in power doesn't want any actual threats left alive and has given the soldier orders to kill both Madi and Clarke. Madi awakens and because the soldier served under Lexa, she is able to recognise him and she questions him about his honour, causing the soldier to lower his weapon. Clarke, who has learned the hard way not to take any chances, kills the soldier even though he has clearly submitted to the authority of the chip. Madi is shocked by this action but Clarke keeps it moving and gets them out of there.
Now that she is back in power, Octavia makes it clear to her people that the plan to invade the valley will continue unabated and that as soon as they have won the war, they will deal with the traitors in their midst. Octavia then stomps off to her room and sits in her chair. For the first time we see some of Octavia's humanity and tears roll down her face as she realises that with Bellamy, Indra and Gaia under arrest, there's no one she can trust any longer. Octavia is truly alone.
I am really glad the writers gave Octavia the ending that they did. As Bloodreina, Octavia has become unrecognisable and has almost reached the level of cartoon villain. There has been absolutely zero nuance to her character this season. I really need The 100 to do a flashback and show what occurred in the dark year to make Octavia into the person that she is today.
Vinson is a serial killer and I find his interactions with Abby interest me. Charmaine made it clear that while Abby has helped Vinson, that he is still a dangerous man. It's clear that Vinson is a psychopath and a murderer but given his warning to Abby when she was captured by McCreary, I kind of think that he has imprinted upon her somewhat. The thing about snakes is that they might not bite you right away but they will bite you. I really do think that they are going to use Vinson for a bit of much needed comic relief going forward.
We know that Bellamy, Indra and Gaia are waiting to die. Here's the thing, The 100 hasn't actually killed off an interesting killer in a while so I am nervous for Indra. She has been under utilized from the start but her death would provide angst for Octavia, Kane and possibly for Bellamy, since the plan was his to begin with. Too often we have seen the death of good characters for the growth of others. I will spit my dummy out of Indra is sacrificed for this purpose. I don't believe that Bellamy is in any danger because no matter how angry the Blake siblings are with each other, they always find a way to reconcile; there's too much history there. This only leaves Gaia who isn't an important enough of a character to be worth killing at this point. \
As much as I liked this episode, it's not lost on me that this is just dragging out the senseless war that neither side should be bloodthirsty for. Watching the changing loyalties is interesting but at the same time it's a reminder that The 100 needs to move past the constant state of war that it has lived in for the last five years. Something has to change and change soon.