I love great character moments. And this episode had ALL THAT and a bowl of grits. Clarke and Madi mother/daughter feelings? Check. Monty and Echo hugging? Check. Niylah being a pod person? Check. Murphy and Emori bonding over explosions and taking hostages? Check. Blakes sword fighting? Check. Echo getting the fuckin’ glow up? CHECKITY FUCKITY CHECK.
“Exit Wounds,” written by Drew Lindo, a newcomer to the writer’s room, and directed by Michael Blundell in his directorial debut put the war for Eden in motion, but using mind games instead of swords and guns (for now). Octavia and Diyoza punching and counter punching in a war of wills and Echo putting her spy skills to use represent an exciting way to maneuver these two factions into intrigue and more conflict without spilling a drop of blood (well, unless you’re Octavia, and killing your own people’s blood is just another Tuesday). Madi’s secret was revealed and dealt with in surprising and scary ways, revealing some suprising enemies and allies. Relationships were dealt with, including a very frank conversation about change, jealousy, and resentment, and Clarke saw her worst fears come true, as Octavia moved to set herself between Clarke and Madi for what purpose we simply do not know yet.
Let’s get into it!
Stupid Sexy Smart Diyoza
So, of course Diyoza quotes Sun Tzu and The Art of War. She’s a cunning leader who is absolutely smarter than Octavia as a military strategist. She knows that Octavia’s people have knowledge and skills her prison folks just don’t have, and she’s looking at the big picture of actual sustainable survival. She knows that bloodshed is not the only way to wage a war. She’s so smart. (i love her)
Instead of using guns and manpower as weapons, she uses something far more subversive: food. Thanks to Kane’s intel, she knows that Wonkru is running low and understands that six years of bunker food (IT’S PEOPLE, IT’S MADE OF PEOPLE, OMG WE ALL KNOW THIS, RIGHT?!) and facing possible starvation with no way to cross the wasteland is a way to psychologically worm (ha!) her way into the hearts and minds of Wonkru, who aren’t the single-minded organism that Octavia would like to think as we come to find out.
Leveraging Kane’s knowledge of Octavia and Wonkru’s situation to find an alternative way to start widening the minute cracks in Wonkru’s foundation is just such a smart move for the show to make. We’ve watched wars get waged in several violent ways and having a cunning character like Diyoza follow an unexpected path is one of the many joys and surprises of season 5.
All the while, she finds a way to piss off McCreary and flirt with Kane. IN THE SAME SCENE. “Fostering dissent is like seduction. It takes time.” MY WOMAN.
My love for Diyoza is reaching embarrassing levels. This character is just electric every fucking second of screen time and she’s really changing up the dynamic of conflict this season. I should be rooting for our protagonists of the last 4 seasons, but I simply cannot. While Octavia kinda makes it easier, Diyoza is simply too good a character, and too smart for me to not to like a whole lot.
But. BUT. Y’all, I be worried.
I think it’s kinda obvious that I’m on Team Prison as Octavia and Wonkru are so problematic and scary for me, and there’s going to be a dark year reveal soon that will make it nigh impossible for me to not be even more freaked out by them. But Team Prison is not all that great either and feels held together by bubble gum, chicken wire, and the sheer force of Diyoza’s will. I think this season is delving into the nature of loyalty and leadership in ways that haven’t been explored before, and Diyoza will see her people turn on her. She’s one or two McCreary confrontations away from losing them.
There’s a pragmatism to Diyoza that doesn’t fare well in the face of impatience, ego, intellectual laziness, or lack of vision. How does one convince a bunch of violent prisoners who want to bust heads that supply dropping food is playing the smarter long game? They don’t fuckin’ care about the long game. They wanna bust heads. Wonkru may have some spreading cracks in its foundation, but Prisonkru is a festering powder keg and something tells me Diyoza will realize this too late. She thinks she’s leading an army, but really what the fuck is she the Colonel of? A bunch of barely organized prisoners? Ooooo girl. .
Kane’s Gettin’ a Little Uppity During Lunch Hour
You guys notice how Kane is now at the cool kids’ table, thinking he can talk smack to the other cool kids? I love you, you sexy beardy man, but damn son, please don’t poke the McCreary bear.
I love that Kane feels a little bit more comfortable with Diyoza…I think their dynamic is fun to watch…but McCreary’s nickname is GRAVEYARD. Yo. GRAVE. YARD. That’s not unicorns and lollipops and rainbows type of shit. Watch yourself, Kane. Diyoza seems to be the type to enjoy goading two dudes into a dick-measuring contest then stopping it to show power. Hey, it’s not rational, but her jabs at McCreary are telling.
Fake It Until You Make It – But What If You Never Feel You Make It?
I have a problem with Octavia. I’m having a very hard time reading her character. The way she goes around scowling and growling at people can, at times, feel a bit over-the-top. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a deliberate acting choice to convey something that I suspect to be true of Octavia: she has no fucking clue what she got herself into and the moment she lets the Blodreina facade slip, she’s dead.
There have been some very obvious times this season where we’ve seen glimpses of Octavia Blake – her frustration over proposed blanket theft resolution, seeing Bellamy for the first time in six years, her waving to Monty…but those moments stand in jarring opposition to Octavia stomping around barking orders and hissing threats.
I want to believe that Blodreina is just a persona – a mask – that Octavia felt she had to wear in order to get people past their divisions and get them all on the same page in the bunker. And over the years, she’s somewhat gotten better at being this Red Queen, but it’s never fit just quite right. There are times where I feel she’s barely in control of this other person she’s had to become and she doesn’t quite have the skills to move into a non-bunker world and maintain control.
Let’s face it…life outside of the very structured boundaries of the bunker adds a layer of complexity to what Octavia has to do to lead Wonkru. Kara (stupid head!) is right about the murmurs of doubt. Octavia looks weak due to her failure to cross the wasteland, and Octavia isn’t not equipped with the knowledge or experience to do anything other than view war as her only option. She’s a bulldozer looking for a hill to raze. She’s simply not on Diyoza’s level and it’s quite apparent that the best plans she implements are those suggested by others.
Now, I am by no means calling Octavia dumb. But she is, at this point, a blunt instrument to Diyoza’s scalpel. She’s also out-technologied in a big way, as the Eligius mother ship has an eye on Polis and Wonkru’s movements. She’s also out-intelled, as Kane is giving Diyoza all the data she needs and Octavia doesn’t know much at all about who she’s dealing with. And given Octavia’s character development over 4 seasons, she’s a warrior. Of course her first instinct is going to be to hack away with a sword until someone’s dead. That’s kinda all she knows. Plus she is emotionally immature. Plus her coping skills are SHIT.
Now, I’m sure a bunch of people are reading this and think I hate Octavia or think she’s stupid. Look, you could put me in charge of an army and I wouldn’t know fuck all about military tactics. You could put me in an airplane cockpit and we are definitely going to crash. Socially stunted people without skills in an area they’re suddenly thrust into aren’t necessarily going to thrive! People rarely succeed when they are ill-prepared, under-skilled, or lacking talent. That’s why I’m not a mathematician and went into liberal arts. And the reverse is true. IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE GOOD AT STUFF. IT IS OKAY TO FAIL. It’s only through failure we learn. Just in Octavia’s case, failure is simply not an option.
I’m not hating on Octavia to say I think she’s teetering on the edge of letting the mask slip, of letting people see she’s not cut out for this role she’s created for herself. That maybe, just maybe, she’s way in too deep with this Wonkru craziness and there’s no ability to just sort of quit and move on to something else. Deeply flawed characters are fine, sometimes they’re great. And not all protagonists get to die a hero. Octavia’s story this season is fascinating to watch because I feel I’m watching one of the show’s four main protagonists slip down into an antagonist role, and it’s far more interesting than another season of “oh, look, Octavia’s in this scene.”
While I’m on the subject of Octavia and Wonkru, I wanted to point out the significance of what that Shadow Valley hippy couple said: they wanted to go back to their home and start a family where they’re free. Free. Huh…interesting word.
Now that Wonkru is no longer trapped in a box, the individual members of Wonkru can restart their lives outside of the bunker. Does freedom from the bunker also mean freedom from Wonkru, freedom from whatever they did in that bunker? Can Octavia really fight against people who want to express their individual “rights” outside of bunker society. Does Octavia even care about those seeking an escape from their past? Will her need to hold onto power mean she stomps on the individual liberties of others? I mean, I think we’ve already seen the answer to that.
I’m sure there will be a showdown at some point that will cause Octavia to confront imposing her will on a people who are no longer bound by walls to conform to her rule. Will that opposing voice come from Bellamy, Clarke, or one of her own? Indra perhaps? If someone does call her out, I think we know that person will be marked for death.
WHATEVER, KARA: My Obligatory “I Hate Kara Cooper” Section
Hey, y’all like that scene to open the episode where Clarke is tending to Octavia’s worm…hole? bite? boring location? wound? and Kara “THE WORST” Cooper comes in and is all like “Hey Octavia, you ready, you can’t be sittin’ here licking your wounds, your people expect you up and about and doing cult stuff, let’s go we got a full day of cultin’ to do!”
And Clarke rolls her eyes and is like…”Whatever Karen.”
Kara pops up throughout this episode to be the absolute worst person in the world – a world filled with exceptionally bad people mind you – and any time she’s on screen, I just squint my eyes and seethe with the hatred of a thousand suns that are…like…very filled with hate. As suns usually are. SHUT UP, IT’S SCIENCE!
At the end of the episode, when Bellamy and Clarke catch Kara shooting defectors, I was like “FINALLY! They got her! She went against Octavia’s orders and Octavia will have no choice but to kill her betraying ass” and boy did I ever eat a disappointment shit sandwich on that one. OF COURSE Octavia gave Kara the order to shoot defectors, to make it look like a real defection and all. Dumb me.
I hate to say this, but……………..
…………….Kara’s right. Octavia’s grip on power, absolute in the bunker, gets a little hazier in the light of the sun, and Octavia needs to exercise her power in order to put across a message of “hey, I’m still the Red Queen here.”
It must be EXHAUSTING to be Octavia. Especially when stupid head Kara Cooper of ShesTheWorstKru is always there needling you and reminding you that you slip up once, and people will pounce, like once did and SHOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED FOR BUT NOOOOO SHE WON A SWORD FIGHT, LIKE SO LUCKY, WHATEVER. GOD!
Let’s turn now to something positive.
I Love Season 5 Bellamy…That’s Like My Opinion, Man
I don’t care what people say. This is the best version of Bellamy and I love him.
He’s smart, measured, balanced, and a fuckin’ grown ass adult. And guess what, I like smart, measured, balanced adults. I’m weird that way.
He’s matured into a Bellamy who in many ways, has reigned in the impulsive parts of himself without losing the passion and drive that was always the best bits of Bellamy, especially in my second-favorite iteration of him in season 2.
Not only did I love the sword sparring between he and Octavia, I loved that bit in the end:
“We all have things to answer for, things that shouldn’t be forgiven but are because we did them for our people. Our family. Echo is no different. She was an Azgeda spy, now she’s with me, your brother who is trying very hard to understand who you are now compared to who you were six years ago. All I’m asking is for you to do the same.”
Just such great goddamn dialog. So much was packed into a couple lines that really felt a lot like a super-condensed version of the arguments I made about Echo’s character development and our protagonist bias in my off-season Echo Defense Squad write up.
I’m not saying “look at how smart I am” for echoing (OLOLOLOLO) a lot of the same sentiment put forth by Bellamy’s dialog…but I’m not NOT saying “look how smart I am” either. I just feel kinda good that my thoughts about Echo/protagonist bias got addressed in such a straight-forward way. No biggie tho.
I think Octavia and Bellamy’s conflict also shows how much he’s changed and how much she’s dug into who she’s kinda always been. Octavia is about actions, not intentions. Bellamy, in his balancing his heart with his head, realizes that intentions are important. Reasons are important. Point of view is important. This is an emotional maturity that Bellamy has grown into throughout the series, with a lot of influence from Clarke, who is now letting her heart lead her a bit more this season. She’s grown because of Bellamy, because of Madi. But Octavia…Octavia, for me, lies in stark contrast to everyone else who has actually progressed in six years.
Octavia, again, is a blunt instrument. She doesn’t look past actions. Actions speak loudly to her, she doesn’t much care about the intention behind them. Punch her, she punches back. Her world is simple, black and white. Wonkru or enemy of Wonkru. This is NOT a good way to navigate a world with any level of complexity. I really am wondering if being in that bunker isn’t just being back under the floor. The larger world, the ability to change and evolve, the FREEDOM to change and evolve and choose one’s path simply isn’t available to Octavia. The bunker, like the floor, stunts her growth, turning her more inward, giving her an echo chamber which she never needs to question. And where she’s never questioned.
Octavia meets challenges, conflict, and stress with anger and violence. This is NOT a well-balanced human being who has emotional maturity, and this stunted growth makes her assessment of situations – looking merely at actions – and her reply – usually driven by anger – highly problematic. If love is weakness, then does Octavia consider its opposites as strength? This is going to be an issue moving forward, especially in light of Bellamy’s growth. And THAT’S OKAY. I love that people are growing when others are simply not. Again, change can happen at different rates, or not at all. Throwing this all into contrast by using the delta between who you were and how you are is fascinating stuff. I really dig the stuff we’re exploring this season.
This whole episode had so many great parts featuring Bellamy and Bob acted his goddamn ass off. It’s almost astonishing that I don’t notice his performance more because it has been great since the pilot (fight me), but there was just something about his dialog and delivery this episode that really sparked off the screen.
The Becho of It All, I Love It, That’s Just My Opinion, Man
Bob and Taysa have great chemistry. Bob expressed a lot of emotion in his line delivery with her. I think the dialog just fucking hit it out of the park more than usual. A lot of heavy lifting was done in this episode to progress our understanding of how their dynamic evolved, even though we didn’t SEE it, which is a sticking point for so many people.
But I also think we could get 50 years of Echo and Bellamy together, with generations of kids and grandkids, and there would still be some folks that would “Yeah but, we didn’t get to see it”. I’m no longer interested in having that conversation.
Hey, I didn’t get to see Bellamy suddenly be okay with killing 300 Grounders in their sleep either, but I head cannoned my way around it.
I like Becho. I think it makes sense, especially in the context of a show that is all about “what would you do for your people?” It’s ridiculous to not extend that consideration to Echo or Diyoza or Blodreina when we’ve done it consistently with Clarke, Bellamy, Lexa, Pike, et al. I think flipping perspective is a healthy way to understand the experiences of people who we have trouble relating to. So I’m into it.
Sorry if you’re not into it, but no worries. I’m sure the Becho relationship will soon be fridged and thrown into the Bellarke volcano as tribute.
But hey Becho…
The Emori of It All
I am actually someone who genuinely enjoys when people are in love and are putting in the heavy lifting to make a relationship work. I know I don’t put across that aura, but trust me, I dig a well-oiled partnership without drama for drama’s sake. I don’t like prop relationships.
While there is conflict with Memori, it’s not in order to push people apart so they are available for someone else…this relationship, and it’s breakup, is about as real as you can get when it comes to one of the main sources of relationships hitting the rocks – people change. And often that means growing apart in heartbreaking ways.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Emori found a greater purpose on the Ring and was part of something bigger than herself. Remember, she’s an outcast because of a physical mutation, forced to be a loner. But that doesn’t mean that she necessarily liked being a it or understood what it could feel like to be part of a group, a family. I teared up for Emori in this scene because I totally feel for her and love how she’s changed over these six years. She’s found her place. Her people.
And Murphy, who is far less capable of expressing his feelings without getting snarky and resentful, admits to feeling unneeded. He was jealous of Emori and how she was changing into this new, more fully-realized person, and he resented her and punished her, driving her away.
It’s sad because it’s a familiar story line in a great many relationships, real and fictional…it’s almost a given that change will drive resentment of some sort with two people. The key is working through it, getting right with it, then getting past it.
Murphy is the kind of dude that KNOWS why he does stuff, but won’t admit to it. He knows all of this, he knows he lashes out when in pain and hurts those he loves (you can see it on the Eligius with Raven and his immediate remorse), so it’s not that he’s emotionally dumb, he’s just sooooooooo bad with expressing himself in a way that is conducive to a conversation versus a fight.
We still love him despite his immature actions because he can be remorseful and come correct. He’s not that guy that sticks to his guns and won’t admit his faults, even if he does it sarcastically. It’s his armor, and I get that.
God, the fucking acting with these two. They’re not the warmest, cuddliest people on the face of the irradiated earth, but they express their love, hurt, and affection in sharper, more sarcastic and caustic ways. And it works for them. I totally buy into this relationship because it feels like two peas in a pod…a prickly pod, but they’re a matching set.
Especially when it comes to doing a little murderation and hostage-taking. These two have a thing for getting sexy by stirring up trouble. Am I into it?
Leave it to Murphy and Emori to blow up a couple of their pursuers and wound McCreary, who is now their hostage. Have you ever seen two people share a smile over taking a hostage? Hell, they were going to have post-exploding-people sex. Tell me these two crazy kids aren’t completely made for each other.
Hey Look It’s Niylah and She’s Totally Normal You Guys [INTERNAL SCREAMING]
Yay! We finally have confirmation that Niylah is still alive. In my last review, I said this about her:
“I love Niylah. I love how chill and peaceful and GOOD she is. Niylah went into the bunker, but who came out?”
Niylah seeks out Clarke, calls her out on avoiding her, then gives her a carving of a panther, a great callback to Niylah’s introduction in season 3 that I truly appreciated. These callback moments help connect characters through their history and instantly remind us of “oh hey, remember how close these two once were and how awkward things are now?”. We got treated to more great dialog in this episode as these two had a chat:
Things are different now.
Not everything has changed. I carved this for you. Remember the panther I smoked and made into jerky for you?
Yes I do. That was some great panther! Do you cure meat for Wonkru?
Not FOR Wonkru. FROM Wonkru.
Also, that panther is carved from an Azgeda femur. If you hold it up to your ear, you can still hear him screaming.
Is Niylah now a Wonkru pod person? You bet your ass that Niylah is now a fuckin’ pod person. The most cinnamon roll of cinnamon rolls is turning Wonkru into people jerky. She’s fully bought into the cult and dedicated to Blodreina and her calm demeanor during this conversation, a trait I had come to admire Niylah for, is now fucking frightening as fuck. I can’t be alone in this. My sweet baby Niylah is now a doe-eyed cult member and probably spends her time perfecting her jerk rub for long pig.
PLUS, SHE WAS GOING TO RAT ON MADI BEING A TRUE NIGHTBLOOD.
You guys, NIYLAH AIN’T RIGHT.
I hate it but I love it all the same because it’s so fucking eerie how nonchalant Niylah is about everything. She’s like a friend from high school you reconnect with after ten years and things are all cool. Until she starts talking to you about Amway.
I guess this is as good a place to bring it up as any:
You guys ready to see the emotional fall out over what happened in the bunker? Like people just finally breaking down from what they experienced in there? The picture getting painted is quite clear to anyone picking up what Blodreina and Wonkru are dropping: something really bad went down. And no one will talk about it.
But someone eventually will. And there will be a reckoning. Because it’s one thing to do abhorrent stuff to survive in a closed environment, but now that the bunker is opened up and there’s a larger world to exist in, how will people reconcile whatever happened with their new life?
I can see someone like Niylah falling apart. Or Kane – as I suspect he might begin revealing to Diyoza what happened in the Dark Year. I think Diyoza will sense something hinky about Wonkru that isn’t just devotion to Octavia, but a fierce protective instinct/fear of discussing what exactly went on in the bunker. Kane probably feels great shame, but has, like the others, convinced themselves that survival depended on it…and by it, I mean cannibalism. What other taboo could be causing them to act like this?
Oh, this is going to be a shit show, to be sure. I’m positively giddy with excitement. And I know you are too…c’mon, admit it. You, dear reader, are just as complicit as I am in this weird titillation over crossing into that one last taboo.
Also, a shared shame is a powerful glue…Wonkru’s secret is one of the things that holds them together, but once someone exposes that secret, shit’s going to hit the fan.
I don’t think we’ve had a sharper focus on how the characters feel about the current state of things than when Clarke tells Niylah that nothing’s the same. And it’s not, especially for Clarke, who after a shit time on earth, seems to be the one that fared the best in the six years that have passed. I think she found some measure of peace in her life in the Shadow Valley and with Madi. Her unease with Octavia, Niylah, and the rest of Wonkru is her intuition telling her that everything is fucked up and Madi, due to the nature of her night blood, is in grave danger.
Clarke has changed too, and I like how she’s not at the focal point of the first half of the season. She no longer feels the need to lead. Hers is a people of one, and Madi is her only priority. Bellamy has a slightly larger circle of seven people to look after, and Octavia has a gaggle of cultists at her beck and call. There is a looming danger here of competing priorities, of perceived threats, and clashing personalities and egos. Bellamy, Octavia, and Clarke are in a tenuous triangle of tension and conflict, exacerbated by the fact that no one truly knows each other any more.
And now that Octavia has essentially plucked Madi from under Clarke’s protective wing, she’s going to get even more fucked up because Octavia done poked mama bear Clarke.
AND YOU DO NOT POKE THE MAMA BEAR.
Speaking of which…
Wanheda Versus Blodreina: ARE YOU READY?
Where are my Degeneration X fans at? BREAK IT DOWN…
(I really know where my audience sweet spot is…the 3 people who watch The 100 and have deep WWE historical knowledge)
The second Octavia “adopted” or whatever the fuck you’d call it (abducted?) Madi into Wonkru, all bets were off on how Clarke is going to respond. Can you imagine watching in horror as your “daughter” gets inducted into a cult by the one person who can do some serious harm to her? Does anyone truly believe that Octavia has Madi’s best interests at heart? What exactly are Octavia’s intentions? Does she view Madi as a way to control Clarke? And poor Madi, who thought she was doing the right thing, doesn’t have the insight or experience to understand how big of a threat Octavia is.
Let me speak a bit on Madi’s decision. I wrote a poem to reflect my feelings upon seeing her go to tell Octavia the truth about her nightblood:
“OH MADI NO” by Jen
OH BABY NO DON’T WHAT IS YOU DOIN’???!!!
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
THIS IS BAD.
WHY SWEET BABY GIRL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
Yes, the Lebron meme – so very timely right now, so appreciate my cultural awareness – is part of the poem. I work in mixed media. My talent won’t be confined to just one method of communication.
I realize Madi thought she was protecting Clarke by coming clean so they didn’t have to go back to Eden with Diyoza a perceived threat, and it’s a completely Madi thing to do. She’s got spunk and agency, but unfortunately the Octavia of Clarke’s stories no longer exists. But she doesn’t know that. I don’t blame Madi, I’m just face-palming a bit because we, the audience, have far more insight into Octavia, can viscerally feel Clarke’s panic, and realize that inexperience and youth are driving a lot of Madi’s innocent actions.
That Madi has Octavia-shaped stars in her eyes doesn’t help anything. Like I said, she has no idea what Octavia has done, or what Wonkru is. She’s living off of Octavia’s greatest hits, not her current material. We’ll see if Madi gets clued into something being wrong in the state of Denmark. I don’t doubt we’re going to get some Madi being bratty with Clarke over “cool aunt” Octavia. It’s about to get all high school drama up in here. “YOU JUST DON’T GET IT, MOM!”
I thought perhaps Clarke would align with Octavia against Diyoza, but now it’s looking more likely to be the other way around. Clarke knows Octavia is dangerous, her interactions with Niylah and Gaia opening her eyes a bit more to the politics and cult of personality that is Wonkru.
I can only guess we’re now going to get a war between titans – Wanheda vs. Blodreina
And how, exactly, is Bellamy going to react to all of this? At some point, you’d think he’s going to have a make a choice between the two. In the past, his choice has almost always been his sister, but it’s been six years, people have changed, and Octavia has gone down a very dark path.
I Have A Big Apology to Make
In my Red Queen review, I wrote that I simply do not trust Gaia. I think I was wrong. Let me give you a 2018-version of an apology:
“I’m sorry you made me feel that way and say those things about you.”
I’m still not quite sure what Gaia plans to do, but it appears that she’s going to protect Madi. She was ready to kill Niylah to protect Madi. This was not something I expected out of her, and that was was also unwilling to just force Madi to take the Flame is yet another interesting detail. We know very little about the Flamekeepers, their beliefs, and their role in Grounder society.
Now we know Gaia is still ready and willing to adhere to her faith. How she reconciles serving both her queen and her faith will hopefully get explored, as I think we can all agree: we need to see much more of Gaia. She’s too interesting to be left on the periphery of the narrative, especially since the dynamics between the group of women – Octavia, Kara, Indra, and Gaia – is just RIPE with possible intrigue, conflicts, and power struggles.
But I’m sorry, Gaia. You surprised me this episode. I now fully endorse the Hashtag Protect Gaia At All Costs 2018 ticket. Stuff those ballot boxes, folks.
I would like to rage.
Simply The Best…Better Than All The Rest
Of course I saved Echo for last. Because this was the episode I had been waiting for.
If you’ll indulge me, I will yet again hearken back to my Echo Defense Squad Assemble piece I wrote prior to the season when I spoke on Echo’s potential. I maintained that she’s ride or die for her people, and I think her devotion to Azgeda proved it over and over again. Of course, a lot of what she did, we didn’t necessarily like because she wasn’t one of the “good guys.” Now that she’s ostensibly one of the “good guys,” how will we view her actions and her character?
I believe she’s ride or die for her little Spacekru family. Much like Emori, I don’t think Echo knew her place in the world. Outside of Azgeda and her service to its royal family, what was her role?
Just as Emori learned she had more to offer, I think Echo learned she had the ability to now choose where to place her loyalty and trust. She lacked agency in the past, driven merely by her duty to her clan. Having a choice, having the freedom to figure out your place in the world is a powerful story. Emori’s story resonates with me, and now so does Echo’s as I understand her better because I can see how she relates and interacts with the people I’ve trusted for 4 seasons.
Echo showing agency was very important for me this season. When Octavia basically makes Echo choose between banishment or turning in the names of those who plan on deserting, Echo refuses to give up the names. And it’s important to note her sense of integrity is not driven by anyone else. Bellamy could have told her not to, as it would mean the death of innocent people who just want to be free of Wonkru, but he never weighs in on Echo’s choice. It’s her decision alone to make, and I MAY have been slightly excited when she said she wasn’t going give Octavia anyone’s names.
Echo and Bellamy do manage, by coincidence of needing to get back to Diyoza’s ship, to convince Octavia to let the deserters go. Echo has to get Monty’s thumb drive to Raven to do computer stuff to hide them from the eye in the sky and all that technology mumbo jumbo. Saving people is a by-product of their plan. It’s a bit weird that it’s never quite clear that killing deserters is really all that upsetting to anyone until after the fact. I guess I would have thought this would have drawn more ire from Bellamy or Clarke.
Echo’s skills as a spy (they don’t call it spycraft for nothin’, folks…it ain’t easy) and understanding of military tactics make her quite valuable. We see snippets of her skills and how she’s leveraged them to teach and protect Spacekru throughout some of the early episodes, but she really shined in “Exit Wounds.” And in the matter of statecraft, what Echo learned from Nia gives her the ability to see how actions taken or not taken may hurt Octavia from a political standpoint, but a short-term loss might be necessary for long-term gain. She’s able to offer strategic, not just the nuts and bolts of how to execute a plan.
What I wouldn’t give for an episode of just Diyoza, Echo, and Indra having dinner and chatting about Sun Tzu, warfare, political maneuvering, fighting styles…I would be entranced.
By the end of the episode, I was thoroughly entertained and delighted by the direction they took her in and how they showed her competency as a spy and improviser. Now, thanks to Echo, I know that gunshot wounds are not only horrible, but also handy-dandy places to hide thumb drives and other small objects. That was some quick thinking on Echo’s part, and although gross, I have to tip my cap to her cunning.
I’m happy to see Echo now in play and Raven back in the picture to move the story line along, but I’m not sure I’m all too happy about Monty, Clarke, Bellamy, Madi, and Harper being left behind in cray cray land. I’m a “get the Adventure Squad together and keep them together!” Polly Anna, and it would be fun for 5 minutes before hindering the plot. So I be patient. But not too patient.
Sidebar: the one unexpected moment that delighted me to no end was Monty and Echo hugging goodbye. These small moments snap us back to the reality that these people have been together for six years, and friendships formed in the confined Ring up in space seem to be based on mutual admiration, trust, and affection. Contrast that feeling to the vibe coming from bunkerkru, held together by something deeper and darker. Contrast that to the “me and Madi against the world” loner vibe off of Clarke, and it’s all so very different from what we’ve felt from these characters before.
Some might not like it. But stories move forward, and the people in them evolve and change in ways that are natural within the narrative. Season 5 has turned out to be something completely fresh while still adhering to many of the recurring themes throughout the series, while admittedly applying a new coat of paint. I’m still highly engaged and excited to see where season 5 goes next. It’s been fucking fantastic to me. There are those who are unhappy with some decisions, but patient and respectful of the craft.
And there those who are unhappy and flinging shit in every direction. We’re not talking constructive criticism here, but ire and hate. To those who are just launching negativity at the show, creators, and actors, I say look to the nearest exit. There are thousands of other shiny objects to thrill and delight you on TV if The 100 no longer fits the bill.
And weirdly, it’s perfectly acceptable to dislike a thing and not raze it to the ground. After the Star Wars fuckery this week, my tolerance of fan entitlement and toxicity is nil. Well, it always has been, but this week of all weeks I’m really just ready to drop gloves. I’m happy to see a legion of SW fans rise up in support of Kelly Marie Tran.
From week to week, I’m ranking characters by likelihood two die in two buckets: gonna die and long shots. Dead characters of note are in the “May We Meet Again” category.
It’s been my contention for awhile now that one of the “core four” is dying this season. It’s season 5, I reason it’s time to kill off a major character. Y’all. I am officially WORRIED about Clarke Griffin. Marie, Bob, and Lindsey have all made some sort of reference to season 6, indicating strongly that they’ll all be back. There is one person missing in this equation, and that’s Eliza. Not one word of getting advance ideas from the writer’s room, season 6 prep talk, or celebration over getting renewed.
There’s really only one person who can sufficiently express how I’m feeling right about now, and that’s Paula. See how she’s barely holding it together? It me. It SO me.
Of course, I need to remember I have it in my own head that one of the Core Four is dying this season. But I could be dead wrong. You know how you convince yourself of something then you just start descending into an anxiety spiral as you start connecting dots and drawing conclusions based on the implications of one thing or another? That’s where I’m at. What I need to remind myself of is that none of my theories about this show ever come true. Like, EVER. That I have chosen to ignore my own poor track record, yet again, must be the pure embodiment of “lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.”
Also, I’m adding Madi to my long shot list. Because as I’m spiraling on Clarke, people are telling me there’s NO WAY they’ll kill off Clarke then my mind just shoots off to other characters in a panic and lands on the last one I want to die, which is Madi, which sets me off into another anxiety spiral…this Deathwatch 2018 feature was my worst idea ever.
Sure Bets, One of These Peeps Is Dyin’
- Kara (+1, moving her up out of pure spite because I’m petty that way)
- Indra (-1, moved down to move Kara up, suck it Kara!)
Dropped off the list: Echo, for now, but you know, Bellarke volcano god must be fed!
Loooooooooooooong Shots, Place Yer Bets!
- Clarke (previously unranked, as me worried AF now)
- Madi (previously unranked, as me worried AF now)
- —- (I’m stressed enough about Clarke, you want me to pick someone else I love to replace Bellamy on this list? What kind of monster are you?)
Dropped off the list: Raven (1), Bellamy (5) – both have been mentioned season 6 prep
May We Meet Again
- Jaha – he was number 1 on my Sure Bet to die board, though I take no pleasure in being right…it was a sorta easy read based on social media. Jaha was an interesting, complex, often infuriating figure in this universe, so RIP.
Raven Reyes Nookie Watch 2018
Welcome back to Raven Reyes Nookie Watch 2018! This is a weekly recurring feature of upmost importance. It’s all about the nookie!
Fun fact about the Nookie-O-Meter: it cannot render a reading if Raven – and by extension, potential nookie for Raven to partake in – is absent from an episode. Where Raven at? Not cool.
A SKIP BAYLESS GIF. Look, The 100 writers, I have been brought low by the absence of Raven. I resorted to a fuckin’ Skip Bayless GIF. Don’t do this to me again. It makes me feel icky.
RAVEN REYES NOOKIE ALERT LEVEL: Hazy, ask again later.
I see Raven is back next episode, so I’m excited. Some Raven is good. More Raven is always better. And once Raven is back on our screens, I can access, with scientific rigor and accuracy, the odds of nookie bein’ gotten at some point in time.
- Slarke is my ride or die ship – that’s Clarke + soap. There are some nice conditioning products I could recommend for that Polis hair.
- I have read that that some people consider “Exit Wounds” a “filler episode,” including people I presume are paid to write about TV professionally. A filler episode, according to TVtropes.com: “Filler episodes are entries in a generally continuous serial that are unrelated to the main plot, don’t significantly alter the relations between the characters, and generally serve only to take up space.” In my profession, if I couldn’t differentiate between feature and a benefit, I wouldn’t have a job.
- WORDS HAVE MEANING.
- Guys, do you think only Monty can see the ghost of Harper?
- Just how many caves across the land do you think Murphy and Emori have had sex in?
- Where my Chekhov’s serial killer Vinson at? Probably off reading “Leaves of Grass.” I luv him.
- Monty’s tired of all this war shit. I feel you, bro.
- It’s weird seeing fandom’s opinions of Octavia’s trajectory being all over the place. Some people think she’s going to make good. Whereas people like me think she’s going to spiral even further down. Uncertainty as this point is exciting. Nothing has been telegraphed.
- Anyone else excited as fuck to watch Murphy and McCreary chew scenery together? And just how turned on will Emori get?
- (I’m not saying threesome, but since someone out there is thinking it, I’m just doing us all a favor and mentioning it right here and now)
- I simply cannot wait for Wanheda versus Blodreina or Blodreina versus Diyoza or Clarke versus (or working with) Diyoza – and the look on Bellamy’s face.
- The downfall of leaders this year is going to be lack of vision.
- The downfall of leaders this year is going to be lack of people who believe your vision.
- It doesn’t warrant its own section but I wanted to mention that Eliza Taylor is oozing stress and concern over Madi’s well-being and it makes me so anxious, especially when Madi goes and puts herself in danger.
- I intended for this review to be shorter. Work has been very busy and I’m killing the game this week, but I thought I’d lay off on myself with this review. 7600+ words later, I have failed.
- TWEET/RETWEET: If you enjoyed this review, please share, retweet, or like it on twitter.
- SPOTIFY PLAYLIST OF THE 100 MUSIC!: 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.
“Exit Wounds”: 8.5 out of 10 fingers pokin’ around in gunshot wounds
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:
- Selina Wilken – a mix of passionate fandom and truly professional journalism.
- Erin Brown – unfairly beautiful writing. Like seriously, stop being so good.
- McKenzie Morrell – recapping her damn face off and great interviews with the cast!
- Toni_watches – piss your goddamn pants hilarious photo recaps.
- Jo Garfein – great fandom charity auctions.
Disclosure: this is my own indie site. This is on my time, my dime. Becho is endgame.
At this point can we just mark him down as “enemy of Wonkru?”
You are Wonkru or you are the enemy of Wonkru. Choose.