I feel like I’ve fed through a woodchipper, heart-first.
Sorry kids. No GIFs or funny bits this time around…I’m a bit exhausted and simply can’t do a normal review.
Do you know how much I love this show? So much that I’ve probably written 150,000 words – that’s a very long novel y’all – sharing my thoughts about this show, spending nights and weekends on work I’m not paid for…something that I pretty much vowed I’d never do again after being a graphic designer waaaay back in another life. I love this show SO MUCH. So the wall I have suddenly slammed into really hurts my heart. And slam I sure have, with all the crunching, slippery gore you’d expect.
Let me be frank: we live in a very dark world right now. Nothing feels right. And perhaps now, The 100, with its dark themes and “no good guys” aesthetic is the wrong show at the wrong time for me. Maybe I need a good guy. Or a hero. Or some hope. And waiting until the first part of the finale to get any of that seems punitive to me. I feel like I’m actually being punished for watching this show and expecting something different. This episode is a culmination of a season that I feel has gone very wrong for me. It’s been going wrong for me since episode 5 or 6, and it’s taken awhile to realize that it’s NOT getting better.
I can’t sit here and try to deconstruct and analyze the plot or the characters because I simply don’t understand intent and action anymore. I’ve done enough mental gymnastics with this show of late to force myself into staying in love with it, and I don’t have that energy. You’ll need to go elsewhere for some sunshine blown up your ass in regards to this season.
And let me also state this: none of my disappointment or heartburn is coming from a shipping perspective. I’m not upset Bellarke isn’t happening. I don’t care about romance on this show anymore. Fuck it. Love is dead. This is simply from my perspective of being the biggest fan and cheerleader of this show, even to my own detriment. Even when it lead to some truly awful takes (one need only read my tone-deaf, unwoke 3×07 review for that…sorry gays, I was dumb).
This season, I so wanted Clarke to be Clarke Freakin’ Griffin this season, but I got a traitorous, abusive, dumb, self-doubting wrecking ball who had suddenly forgotten how smart and resourceful she is, suddenly forgotten her friends, instead becoming the very worst version of herself. People do change, but they usually don’t abandon the foundational elements of what makes them…them. She is literally my all-time favorite TV character and I haven’t even recognized her since episode 5.
There are some very good bits this season. Episodes 1-4 were LIT. I love our new characters. Madi, Diyoza, McCreary…I love them. I truly do. I love how Octavia became dark, I love how driven she is to try to make it all WORTH it. I love Bellamy becoming the very best of himself, with a lot of the very best of Clarke as part of him now. I love the performances. The actors are putting in work.
But there are some very difficult things I’m saddened by:
- The physical abuse of a minor. I cannot stress how much this upsets me. I cannot believe how much this doesn’t upset many fans. Bewildered. Straight up.
- The show’s dubious relationship with the concept of consent.
- Pretending there are no other choices in order to shock and awe, rather than taking a harder route to write a better story.
- Clarke forcing her will on Madi when saying she wouldn’t…Abby is a SHITTY role model.
- Brutally slow pacing, having resolutions/revelations come far too late to really care about anymore. Too little, too late.
- Murphy emotionally abusing Emori and we’re supposed to still find them cute.
- The doubling and tripling-down on well-tread themes that just seem like dead horses at this point.
- The obviously problematic and creepy situation of having Clarke’s dead lover in her daughter’s head…and speaking about Lexa’s memories in the first person (and this isn’t about Lexa…I LOVE Lexa, I loved Clexa. Call backs to her feel natural – as would call backs to Finn or Wells or Gina that NEVER HAPPEN to be fair).
- Comparing familial love with romantic love in any way, shape, or form is gross…it’s not a competition.
- Last episode, it seemed like Diyoza had an “ah ha” moment where she figured out how to double-cross McCreary. Nope…that was a completely wrong read…Kane and Diyoza completely fucked over Wonkru/Spacekru.
- Mothers are jerks, that’s supposed to be my takeaway? Except for Indra. Why can’t they all be more like Indra?
- Bellamy actually admitting he wants his sister dead, after doing a hell of a lot to ensure she didn’t die this episode. WTF. I actually had to rewind, put captions on, and watch it again to be SURE he said “yes” to wanting her dead.
- That Raven/Clarke “reunion” was a laughable kick in the balls.
- Conflict-driven characterization. Plot-driven characterization. Not character-driven characterization.
- I see that the bindi is back next episode – STOP putting bindis on white girls, just ditch the cultural appropriation as costume.
- Lack of ANYONE to root for.
- Lack of ANY hope.
Those last two are really kicking my ass.
I’m a bit exhausted by how much has happened on this show since episode 4 without ever seeming to GO anywhere. The Flame has been used to almost disastrous result, not only putting Lexa in Madi’s brain, but creating such a contentious situation with Clarke that physical abuse is the result.
Here’s how you fix that very problematic “Madi as Lexa in first person” memory discussion at the end of this episode that I wanted to like SO MUCH but skeeved me out: center it on Clarke’s memories. Because I’ll be fucking damned if Clarke’s consciousness isn’t also in that chip. Madi could have shaken Clarke out of her dumpster fire existence by simply saying something like (and I don’t write dialog, so suck it if you hate it, it’s a thought experiment):
“I see you standing in Mount Weather, your hand on that lever, having to do the unthinkable to save your people. But I also see Monty and Bellamy there with you, believing in you, trusting in you. I see Raven and Abby and Kane, grateful to be alive. You saved them. I see you working with Lexa to create a new way, to create peace, and she so loved you for it. I see you in the City of Light, defying ALIE and putting your faith in humanity to find a way to save itself. THAT is who you are. Now pull your head out of your ass, you’re supposed to be a goddamned hero.”
I hope that the show takes the “life is more than just surviving” bit to heart and really, TRULY re-invents itself by injecting some heroism and hope into season 6.
Sorry if you came here for GIFs and a chuckle…this review is completely raw and not creator-friendly and sorry if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings. Peace out.
“Damocles Pt. 1”: one broken heart
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 and owes me all her Raisinets.
- Jo Garfein – great fandom charity auctions.
Disclosure: this is my own indie site. This is on my time, my dime. Becho is endgame.