The 100 – “The Tinder Box” Review and Analysis

Show downs, spaceships, and ‘splosions, oh my.

“The Tinder Box,” written by series newcomer (but experienced sci fi writer), Morgan Gendel, firmly planted its flag in the ground as the “oh fuck, what now” episode in the season. With Arkadia now mostly in ruins and off the table as a haven to save 100 people from the coming apocalypse, we’re now back to ground zero in terms of a viable solution to save humankind.

Make no mistake about it, this episode was ridiculous. I didn’t love this episode; it just didn’t land with me completely. I found fault with a couple of its scenes, but it also had some really strong ones that, when juxtaposed against the weaker ones, made the episode feel a little disjointed. The 100 is both high concept and sometimes goofy in endearing ways that makes me forgive it its transgressions into ridiculousness. This wasn’t my favorite episode, even though it had some outstanding moments, but it didn’t hang together as well as a “holy fuck, Arkadia is burning” tentpole episode should.

This review is coming in a bit late for me. It’s been a long week professionally, as our marketing and product management teams gathered in Houston for an all hands meeting. Two days of Pragmatic Marketing training, another day and a half of presentations and breakout sessions, and team dinners (so…much…queso). I feel smarter, more energized to tackle my job this year, and completely exhausted from all the thinking and networking. By the end of the week, I decided that I needed a nap, some vegging in front of the TV, and mindlessly playing some Hearthstone more than spending more hours of my day at the computer writing.

giphy

These reviews will always take a backseat to real life, unfortunately. I’m not on an official TV review site, this is just my own little labor of love. I consider these reviews a way to express myself in a non-professional way and in turn, might improve my professional output because I’m allowed to be more imaginative and irreverent here. But I can’t always promise I’ll write them as timely as I would like. Mea culpa.

And that brings me to another programming note: I’m getting my gallbladder sucked out of my body the week that 4×06 airs and I’ll likely be a bit out of it and probably HIGH AS FUCK on pain meds, so my review of 4×06 may be very short, very incoherent, or very non-existent.

All of this to say: ADULTING IS HARD AND I DO NOT LIKE IT, NOT ONE BIT.

giphy1

Let’s get into it!

Clarke Basically Kissed Octavia And Now They’re Going Out

Let me just say that I’m glad that the Octavia “death” thing wasn’t dragged out and that she didn’t disappear for an episode. But at this point, the question of “why was she almost killed?” comes to mind, as it served very little purpose in doing any real heavy lifting to move the narrative along. Other than making her return to Arkadia and warning them of the Azgeda army even more of a badass move? Other than creating more tension between Bellamy and Echo? I dunno.

Clarke performed some incorrect CPR on Octavia, which totally means they kissed and are now part of the Clockativa endgame that I predicted long ago. Except that Niylarke is also endgame, so pick your ship, but you can only choose one of these two because I make the rules.

giphy6

During this early scene, we got to see Clarke take charge and get people moving without having to really think about it…this is the Clarke we’re used to seeing, making split second decisions that make her the leader we saw back in seasons 1 and 2.

I do like that Niylah is back and considers Skaikru friends even though they, you know, killed her father for no good reason. Jessica Harmon brings a lot to Niylah in the limited screen time she gets…as do most of the actors on this show. I’m constantly impressed by how much life is breathed into these side characters that we haven’t spent as much time with. In saying that, I hope we get a lot more Niylah. I love Niylah. I’m a bit confused by Clarke’s interaction with her and wonder if she was just about to spill the beans to Niylah about the coming radiation, and thought better of it. At least we got another Clarke smile, so let’s do a little subtextual reading of their exchange:

Clarke: Niylah…
Niylah: Yes Clarke? Did you want to ask me about smushing?
Clarke: No, I just…did you recharge the walkie talkie I gave you?
Niylah: So you can radio me to see if I want to smush later? Yes, of course.
Clarke: [……………]

yrymo

There will be smushing later. I will be a rebound/grief smush, but there will be a smush. Hey guys, do you remember a more innocent time when Jersey Shore was on and we still had sanity in this country? I do…sigh….

AND DON’T FRONT LIKE YOU DIDN’T WATCH JERSEY SHORE. We all fucking watched that show. Y’all are trash bags just as much as I am.

With the news that an Azgeda army is on the way, Clarke decides NOW she needs to talk to them…there must be some misunderstanding!

YA THINK?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

giphy2

I need to have a sit down with Clarke and teach her the importance of using her words BEFORE a situation gets out of hand.

I think we also need to teach Clarke et al. a little about stranger danger as well, because as everyone is running around tending to Octavia or planning a way to stop Ice Nation, Ilian is chillin’ like a villain in Arkadia, looking around at all the tech he absolutely hates and blames for the death of his family. So no big deal, right? He’ll probably just wander back off into the woods like a good little Grounder and not get himself into any shenanigans.

Sweet Death Valley High

Clarke, Miller’s dad (does he have a first name?), and the Arkadian guard go to head off the Azgeda army at the pass, entrapping the army due to higher ground and better weapons, but like only 1 man for every 40 that the Ice Nation has? Arkadia’s guard is looking a bit sparse of late.

Clarke decides to have a bit of a show down with Roan and tensions are running high.

giphy3

Roan agrees to have a chat with Roan and they proceed to go to a cave that seems rather far away and kinda dumb because you could just go down the valley a bit and talk there without eavesdroppers? I don’t get it. It’s like the production crew got this cave on Air BnB and want to get all their money out of it before their time is up.

I like this interaction between Roan and Clarke…it’s a meeting of equals. Roan has never treated Clarke unfairly in all their conversations and that’s true here too, and I think that’s important to acknowledge. He calls her out for what seems like Skaikru’s betrayal. With the fortifying of Arkadia, it appears as if they’re looking out only for themselves, and Clarke tries to walk that perception back by calling it a fallback option. But again, perception IS reality when it comes to Clarke’s decisions of late, and Roan is right to call her out on it. He’s also not happy about the nightblood plan, which he’s not fully informed about, and thinks that Skaikru might be trying to create the next Commander. Again, not what they’re doing precisely, but not being forthcoming from the jump leaves Roan with knowledge gaps that are quickly filled with negative assumptions.

He also hits her with this gem:

“You grieve for Lexa, yet you learned nothing from her. She was Trikru, yet she rose above loyalty to clan. You tell yourself you have too, the great Wanheda, the Commander of Death, who says she wants to save everyone yet builds a ship for herself, for her people.”

giphy4

He’s NOT wrong based on his perception of the situation. What he just doesn’t realize is that Clarke is a shitty communicator and has made some poor decisions to withhold information in order to protect her plan and not create a panic.

Things aren’t going well between the two and Roan try to use the gambit of his hostages of Bellamy and Kane, and Dark!Clarke is all like “you think you’re going to shake me? bitch, I was going to let my mother die to save everyone from ALIE,” and Roan is all like “bitch, I DID let my mother die to help you.”

giphy5

I would pay money to just watch a show dedicated to Roan and Clarke trading these back and forth jabs. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the chemistry these two have and I’m so glad to see them on my screen every single time.

When the option seems to narrow down to all-out war, Clarke decides to go halfsies with Roan on Arkadia. Fifty seats for Azgeda, fifty for Skaikru. Which leads me to ask…what about the rest of the clans? What about Indra and Trikru? I know Clarke is making the best out of a bad situation, but these are questions I have to ask. How will people react to this news (if Clarke had even intended to share it) and would she have been okay with Roan and Azgeda enforcing this deal with the time came to close the doors?

Y’all fucking know people would start panicking and it would have been a blood bath. Yes, you NEED people to enforce the 100 people rule if there’s any hope for humanity, but you also need to be willing to kill your own damn people/friends if they start thinking that they too should be in the shelter when push comes to shove. There will be no rational thought as soon as those doors start closing and YOU’RE not inside.

a5554f1f83e0da670fb2d842f0cc4252

Guys, there is nothing NOT tricky about how to execute on these plans and I guess we’ll be spared of finding out how brutal it could have gotten. Or will we be spared? Remember, JRoth kept saying throughout his pre-season interviews that there are limited seats on the lifeboat, so whether we’re talking about Arkadia or some other shelter or solution, not everyone will be saved. And you know we’ll be right back here watching people having to do horrible things to survive.

Trippin’ Balls On Death Island

Okay, when I call this episode ridiculous, the scenes in Becca’s lab are part of what makes this episode just kinda lovingly goofy. I don’t mind Raven floating around the lab as her mind is working overtime and unable to express itself properly for Raven to really understand what it’s trying to reveal to her, so it does it through her subconscious. I’m going to hand wave all of this mind stuff because that’s what I do best…ignore the shaky science of this show in order to enjoy it.

But the reveal that they have a space ship on site? That was pure and utter craziness. I sorta like it, but it’s also that deus ex machina that I can’t believe is actually going to work. Would the show pull out one rug from under us (Arkadia) and dare to do it again with the nightblood solution? Would they fake us out again?

j3cj2m4

OF COURSE THEY WOULD. But this seems like a rather elaborate set up just to have another possible solution fail. But then again, they spent 4 episodes dwelling on fortifying Arkadia and the moral dilemma it posed. Would they build this lab and a fucking rocket ship only to not have nightblood work? At this point I don’t know.

Anyone else just love Raven this episode? She so excited to see the space ship and the idea of going back into space. But because Raven (and Abby) were disconnected from ALIE “improperly” using the EMP device, Raven (and Abby) have brain damage in the form of a stroke.

Can I just go on record here to state: IF THEY KILL RAVEN I AM DONE.

giphy7

Yes, I will so upset, I’ll be in black and white.

But given that Abby is also suffering from brain damage, I think we get the swerve here and they kill off Abby instead. Does that make me happy? No, but Raven is a fan favorite, and important character given she’s a woman of color and has a disability, that it would be another strike against the show in terms of killing off representative characters. Which is hard, because the show has SO MANY representative characters it’s hard not to at this point. It’s a catch 22 for the show.

Can I just love on the show because of the excellent work they’re doing with Raven and Abby? I’ve loved the dynamic between the two of them ever since season 1, and the show keeps this couple strong. Abby’s mothering side really comes out with Raven this episode and I think the show successfully uses that dynamic to bring out the good stuff in Abby to balance out the more Clarke-like traits. I mean, did Abby wanting to get more blood out of Luna before backing off of that decision feel like something season 2 Dark!Clarke would have done? I think so…but I think the instant regret is there as well. Again, people who dislike Abby need to take a long, hard look at the parallels between her and Clarke and realize you can’t condemn one but exalt the other for essentially a lot of the same traits.

In regards to the problem with Raven’s brain, there’s the possibility of the Flame. It’s still out there. We’re now going to go on a little journey to make nightblood. So, if ALIE’s code is still inside Raven’s brain and possibly harming it further, could the Flame temper that damage and provide some balance in Raven’s noggin? I’m going to take a sophisicated wild ass guess (SWAG) and say that flame is going into Raven’s head…and it will come down to a decision between saving Abby and Raven and it’s going to suck and make me cry like a baby.

If Raven does take the flame, you all realize that Lexa is in there, will be a small part of Raven and that means Princess Mechanic is now endgame? Because it is. Listen, Princess Mechanic has ALWAYS been endgame (except, of course, when Clockatavia or Niylarke or Ice Princess is endgame).

Ah, triggering shippers one endgame declaration at a time.

bf709d5d9b29ad24ef72dfe5e1f4a467

Please leave your angry comments below! (here’s a preview: “Raven is no replacement for Lexa! Lexa was the best!” and “Why do you hate Bellarke so much?” and “Why don’t you respect my fragile feelings about fictional characters in fictional relationships on a fictional TV show…my feelings are REAL.” Yeah, and so was Gina, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.)

Spoiler alert: Monty and Clarke are endgame now. I’ve decided (actually, this isn’t a bad pairing).

Okay, What Is This Hypersleep Nuttiness And Will We Find Hypersleep Pods With People In Them?

So, if you have your closed captioning on during the opening scene where Raven is floating around, you’ll get some very interesting dialog from Jackson, Eric Jackson, in regards to the use of nightblood and hypersleep for long duration space missions. Nightblood was originally developed for a mining company to send criminals out into space to mine stuff…and this mining company lost contact with a mission according to a news article we see on one of Raven’s screens earlier in the season back in Arkadia.

I don’t think we get any of this backstory about the original purpose of nightblood for nothing. If Becca designed it to protect against solar radiation during hypersleep, are we going to see hypersleep chambers? Will these chambers become a possible solution to ride out the radiation?

Or, and I know this is a stable in sci fi, what if everyone is ALREADY in hypersleep and currently sharing a virtual reality?

giphy8

Yeah…it’s a little tropey, but would you totally hate it?, because I wouldn’t. If the show can hit me with a Riley cream pie all up in my face and I still love it, it could pretty much do anything and I’m like “sure…give it to me.”

I wonder if we’re going to see hypersleep pods, either in another part of Becca’s lab or in another location. Because if Bill Cadogan is in one of those pods, I will lose my shit. YOU KNOW DAT CRAZY BITCH BE OUT THERE. He is frozen and sleeping and just waiting for his brave prince, Jaha, to come wake him with a kiss.

Hypersleep gives us the possibility of doing a time jump into season 5 without aging anyone, and also waking up into a world that’s changed in ways we might not predict. I’m kinda fascinated by the idea, but also think there’s going to be limited hypersleep pods available, so we might be back to the “there’s only so many seats on the life boat” dilemma that Arkadia originally presented. I don’t think we’re past having to choose who lives or dies…that might have been the whole point of the Arkadia storyline in all of this, as right now it seems a bit throw-away other than creating that “oh shit” moment.

Oh, there’s also the little detail of the Second Dawn logo and the logo on the microscope in Becca’s lab being very similar (not the same, but similar), so there’s a ton of theories floating around out there about Cadogan’s ties to Polaris and Becca. Was he an investor? Was Becca in Second Dawn? Did Cadogan KNOW about ALIE and the danger she posed? DID HE LET HER OUT TO FULFILL HIS PROPHESY?! We’ve reached the point in the season where stuff is starting to get a bit weird and speculative and we’ll likely be pulling apart all of these clues and doing a lot of thinking about WHAT IT COULD ALL MEAN.

giphy13

 

TBH, I get a bit creeped out by the legitimizing of a doomsday cult, and linking Polaris and/or Becca to Cadogan and/or Second Dawn makes me a bit squicky. Becca was far too smart for such tomfoolery, but the intrigue is out there.

Fuck Riley And Fuck This Scene

Okay, so the biggest “this is ridiculous” moment of this episode comes from Bellamy trying to talk Riley down, as Riley had his sniper rifle trained and ready to kill…ABSOLUTELY NO ONE.

giphy9

I do not understand why this scene exists because it is so dumb…one does not need to “talk someone down” off of killing someone when there’s no one to kill in the sights of the gun. Yes, I suppose you could argue that Bellamy doesn’t know that, or that he thinks Riley will fire off a shot regardless, the Azgeda army will hear, and all fuckballs will break loose, but to this I say…what the actual fuck, that still doesn’t make this scene less ridiculous.

giphy10

Y’all know I don’t really bag on this show often, but this scene…it felt so weird and out of place and illogical.

In the end, I think this scene exists to establish more character work between Bellamy and Echo, because you can’t get to a Becho endgame without laying the groundwork. But they could have accomplished what they needed with these two without creating situation with no logical explanation as to why it went down the way it did. This scene had NOTHING to do with Riley’s trials and tribulations, but more to do with Bellamy’s road to redemption, a road I think I’m a bit tired being slapped in the face with at this point. I dunno…this whole scene just angers me because it didn’t need to be set up so poorly and take me out of what should have been a good moment.

Also, fuck Riley. I’m over that guy. Give me Helios every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

All Hail Monty, The King Of Courageously Doing The Right Thing

Fuck if this season isn’t making a strong case for us casting our ballot for Monty in the MVP race. Because I have been damn impressed with Monty’s decisions this season. He’s taken Clarke to task on her list, and now puts his own ass on the line to avoid war. He warns Echo about Riley and pretty much puts himself in danger as he knows he’s likely to become another Azgeda hostage. Monty is the fuckin’ man.

And now I’m scared that this hero’s journey is going to end in Monty’s demise, doing something courageous and absolutely necessary to everyone’s survival, but something that gets him killed. Because dammit if they’re not setting up Monty to be THE GUY this season.

giphy11

I think I’m at that point in the season where I’m convinced that everyone is going to die, so please take my death anxiety with a grain of salt. I mean, not EVERYONE is going to die, right? RIGHT?!

A little scene that I love is that Monty is able to confirm to Bellamy that Octavia is alive. I didn’t want Bellamy strung along for more than necessary because I hate that artificial tension that some stories can build just by withholding vital information for no good reason.

I know some people are lamenting the screen time and development of some characters, but I love that we have Monty stepping up in a big way this season. I also don’t care that Echo or Roan are getting more screen time. This is an ensemble cast with Clarke being the obvious lead, so if that means we get some interesting characters mixed into the story, I think that’s great. What I hope we see now that we sort of have a stake in the ground and a point to pivot around to move the narrative forward, that we can show some growth among characters like Clarke and Bellamy.

Hopefully, the leadership lessons of the first part of the season have sunk into Clarke’s brain and she doesn’t keep making the same mistakes, otherwise, what’s the point of the lies, the list, or Jaha? With Bellamy, I’m ready for him to grow beyond this never-ending redemption arc, or at least make it far less obvious. I could REALLY use a classic Octavia and Bellamy mess-around.

tumblr_oi6vw07t8r1ran0wvo7_r1_250

Not that we’ve had any Octavia and Bellamy mess-arounds as of yet really, but it’s a wonderful tradition they could start.

The Ark, The Ark, The Ark Is On Fire!

Give it up to the CW. That network has given us a lot of bad CGI over the years and we FINALLY get what I think is probably some of the best CGI we’ve seen on the network in quite some time, if not of all time. The image of the Ark burning, and the glow lighting up all the faces of distraught Grounder and Skaikru alike is fantastic.

I just recorded the May We Geek Again podcast with a couple special guests, CapitalChick and Bubblesluv, and CapitalChick pointed something out that I will now take full credit for: this is the first time in the show that everyone — EVERYONE — is equally fucked.

babyishfoolhardyhyena

(fyi…that’s the same radio that Clarke will be using for booty calls later)

Obviously Arkadia as a safe haven from the radiation, however small that solution was, is now completely off the table, and aside from the nightblood angle, we’re back to square one. Thankfully, Clarke and Roan don’t have to worry about the thousands of people their deal would have pissed off, as they made a unilateral decision for everyone on behalf of saving who they could. This show keeps putting people in really bad positions and asks them to make impossible decisions that no one will be happy with.

Reuniting Bellamy and Octavia was a good moment; we still don’t know the status of their relationship, but squabbles have a tendency to take a back seat in life or death situations. It’s clear that Ilian doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he just wants to ensure that the technology HE BELIEVES is responsible for all the bad in the world is destroyed, one bit at a time. And he obviously doesn’t know that there’s a second apocalypse coming because no one has informed the larger population of Grounders.

So if you’re pissed at Ilian for doing something really dumb, remember, you and I have all the info at our disposal, but very few people in the world of the show actually know what’s in store. So give our cute little Ilian a break.

giphy12

Anyone kinda love the ending scene of Bellamy holding onto Octavia and Clarke holding onto Octavia’s hand? I don’t know why that struck me, but it was a great moment and felt impactful. These guys have been through so much, and have had a lot of conflict with one another, but in the end, they’re family.

Read Something Far Smarter Than This Trash Review

Hey guys, I wanted to plug an article written by my friend, CapitalChick over on Hypable: “Why ‘The 100’ is the best political show on TV“. Congrats to CC on getting published and I hate you and your whore mouth for your smart words and stuff.


Miscellany

  • My ship, Slarke (soap + Clarke) is sailing along quite nicely…but she’s probably going to get some smoke up in that hair…for hair treatment tips, please see Luna, Goddess of Hair.
  • Jackson and Abby are sooooooooooo work married.
  • I’m not done talking about Luna’s hair: I missed this hair this week and Raven likely was suffering from Luna withdrawals and doesn’t have something seriously wrong with her brain:
    giphy43
  • Where. Is. Helios? Is he just wandering through the forest, that beautiful, majestic bastard?
  • Where Murphy at? Do people really trust leaving him alone in the lab? I wouldn’t. I love the son of a bitch, but I don’t trust him one bit.
  • Anyone else want Jackson to get some booty? JACKSON NEEDS TO GET SOME BOOTY.
  • Don’t you guys just love how characters disappear for full episodes, even though WE KNOW they’re just in the other room?
  • Here’s something else to piss the shippers off: I often wonder if the “Clarke” part of Clexa or Bellarke is as important to some shippers as the Lexa and Bellamy parts. I suspect not. Again, please leave your angry comments below.
  • If you are not watching “Legion” on FX, I will slap your face right off your face.
  • If you enjoyed this review, could you do me a favor and share / retweet / like it on twitter? I hate to ask this because I hate asking anyone to do anything for me, but I’d really appreciate it.
  • Hey people who like sounds entering your ear holes! I have a Spotify playlist, which is music from and inspired by The 100. You can find it right here and marvel at my musical tastes. I keep it up to date with anything featured on the show or in promos. I’m thorough like that.
  • Thanks for sticking around and reading this review! If you’d like your earballs tickled with a The 100 podcast I cohost, please check out maywegeekagain.podbean.com.

FINAL VERDICT!

“The Four Horsemen”: 7 out of 10 punches to Riley’s stupid face 


There are some The 100 reviewers/recaps/writers you should absolutely be reading, and I offer them up for your enjoyment; I have no affiliation with any of them, save for being a fan:


If you’re a fan of the show, join us on Reddit for deep discussions, wacky shenanigans, Trigedasleng lessons, and clan flair! It’s the least toxic place you can find right now for The 100 fandom. Mods got that shit on lockdown.

This entry was posted in Television. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The 100 – “The Tinder Box” Review and Analysis

  1. Ken B says:

    STOP DISRESPECTING CLURPHY(Clarke/Murphy) – You make fun of all the crack ships but not this one. CLURPHY will not be ignored!!!

    Not everyone is fucked-If they get some food that island bunker could hold about 100 people or so. add 4 to the lighthouse.

    But I hope to hell the have The 100:Wrath of Cadogen. He would be a great S5 bad guy. Maybe he can make Jaha sound sane

    Murphy was having sex with Emori while Luna, Miller, and the red shirt watched-duh

    • Jennifer says:

      DAMMIT!!! FORGOT ABOUT CLURPHY. Yes, Clurphy is endgame.

      I would love an episode dedicated to the awkward “behind closed doors” scenes at the lab with Murphy, Emori, Luna, Miller, and redshirt.

  2. Ellen M. says:

    I love you how you constantly taunt the “shippers”! “Wah, boo hoo. Jen is hurting my feelings about _______!” 😀
    As my grandfather used to say “Grow the fuck up and get a real job”. Of course this was before shipping was a thing so that may not apply now. Anyhoo. Keep up the fabulous reviews. Love how your mind works. Oh and good luck with the whole “gallbladder sucked out” thing.

  3. Linda Pollock says:

    LOL,this is the funniest, most truthful thing I’ve ever seen! “Why don’t you respect my fragile feelings about fictional characters in fictional relationships on a fictional TV show…my feelings are REAL.”

  4. natalia h says:

    One of your minions did good and plugged this review on twitter so that’s how I got here! I loved your review, had some cool points I hadn’t read anywhere else so thanks for that. I subscribed and all. #realpro

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s