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The 100 – S5E11 – The Dark Year

Previously on The 100, “The Warriors Will

“It Was Me”

Clarke and Madi work as hard as they can to pump Abby’s stomach free of the pain killers she took. McCreary arrives at the gas station and asks how they got there. Clarke spills the beans on Echo’s mission by showing McCreary that the eye in the sky is down and Octavia probably is already marching to the valley. McCreary gives Clarke an ultimatum: get Abby functional to heal his men or he will kill Clarke and Madi. As Abby drifts in and out of consciousness she tells Clarke about the Dark Year in the bunker.

This flashback was highly anticipated by yours truly. It answers a few questions, but there are still lingering threads that were not addressed fully in this episode. Two years into the bunker after Praimfaya, Cooper tells the council of Indra, Abby, Kane, and Octavia, that the role of red queen hasn’t been fully embraced and that the crops won’t be able to feed Wonkru for a year. With no good answers of how not to starve, Abby suggests — as subtly as possible — eating the remains of the dead from the fighting pits. Octavia encourages Wonkru to honor the dead by eating them, to avoid starvation. Kane however refuses to eat and will not cross that line into cannibalism and encourages others to make the choice they feel is right as other members of Wonkru leave the cafeteria.

Later, Octavia is content with letting her people decide when to eat and is convinced that once they are hungry enough they will eat. Abby tells her that is a foolish plan because when they starve to death there will not be enough meat on the bones for the survivors to eat after their deaths. Abby suggests to Octavia to make it a crime to not eat. Abby also tells Octavia that if she can convince Kane the rest will follow.

At the next dinner, after she eats, Octavia goes to a table of Wonkru members that refuse to eat. After they respectfully tell her they don’t want to do it, Octavia pulls a pistol from a nearby guard and holds the grounder at gun point and tells him to eat. Was I the only one who caught this guy poke his chest out a bit and refuse to eat because his brother died in the pits? Well he made his chest an easier target for Octavia when she shot him dead at the table. Octavia points the gun to the woman at the table who refuses to eat and pleads with her no to do this. Octavia begs her to take a bite, but the woman refuses. Octavia shoots her in the head at the same table. I’m sure Octavia would have kept executing grounders on the spot, but Kane jumped in to stop it and ate. Once he ate, the rest who refused did so as well.  

The flashback did well with telling us how Abby got to spiraling out of control with the pain killers — first to heal her body from separating from ALIE and then dealing with the guilt of pushing Octavia to make Wonkru into cannibals for a year.

The story of Octavia struggling as a leader was done better in the first Wonkru flashback in episode 2 of this season. Maybe if the deaths at the cafeteria were people Octavia had more of a bond with — whether it be Ethan a Skaikru member, or even hold off on the deaths of Jaha or Illian until this moment  — it would have been more effective. Also, without Gaia in any of the flashbacks and only one speaking line from Miller, this seemed like a missed opportunity to show why they were so fiercely loyal to Octavia. Is it because they are thankful she bore this burden for them or is it just out of fear of their red queen?

After Clarke and Madi are finally able to get Abby back to functioning properly, Abby doesn’t want the pills and is willing to help McCreary and his men. Madi is furious with Clarke for healing McCreary’s men and repeatedly tells Clarke she is on the wrong side of this; she even goes as far as attempting to kill McCreary while Abby is healing him. Clarke’s able to stop Madi inconspicuously and asks her why. Madi seems to understand Octavia’s plight and why she became who she was in the bunker. Clarke is totally against how Octavia used fear to break the will of Wonkru. Madi tells Clarke that Octavia bore the burden, so her people didn’t have to the same way Clarke did at Mount Weather. Even though Clarke never told Madi what happened at Mount Weather, it seems Madi continues to get more and more information from Lexa and the previous commanders through her connection with the flame.

The flashbacks also provide motivation for Kane’s actions at the end the episode. Even after Diyoza and Kane work with Echo and the rest of spacekru to help Wonkru safely get into the valley, Kane still leverages this to make a deal with McCreary to keep the devil (Octavia) out of the garden. Kane has always been willing to seek redemption not only for himself but in others. It seems like a hard pill to swallow that he would potentially betray Wonkru, Echo, and the others just because of Octavia.

The 100 S5E11 Review Score
  • 7.5/10
    Plot - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Dialogue - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Action - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
8.1/10

"The Dark Year"

Starring Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Bob Morley, Lindsey Morgan, Marie Avgeropoulos, Christopher Larkin, Richard Harmon, Tasya Teles, Luisa d’Oliveira, Chelsey Reist,  Lola Flanery, Adina Porter, Henry Ian Cusick

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