This review contains spoilers.
It’s hard to comprehend so early in the game that this season, Season 5, will be the best season yet. We’re just one episode in, and the majority of the episode was spent following Clarke in her exploratory solitude. But, despite my love for what’s come before– I do think this season has been set up to surpass its predecessors. It has all the fixings for success, and I’m so here for it.
The premiere kicks off and we find ourselves reliving those crucial moments following Praimfaya so very long ago, I don’t know about you but I can still see Clarke’s face melting from radiation poisoning as she gasps for air, sprawled out on the floor of Becca’s laboratory. In those first twenty minutes of “Eden,” we get bits and pieces of Clarke searching for life, water, and quite frankly her sanity– just a few weeks after the wave of radiation engulfed the Earth. She makes stops at Polis, where she finds Lexa’s throne (nice nod btw), and ultimately Arkadia (now full of ghosts and mementos of her loved ones)– the Earth is decimated and as Clarke offers the audience some commentary into her inner workings, and you just can’t help but feel empty inside. This isn’t the same show we’ve been tuning into the last four seasons, and perhaps that’s the greatest compliment. It’s been reborn. Reinvented. The landscape and character separation isn’t what we’re used to, not on this scale. But, somehow it works. It serves its purpose and drives the story forward.
One of the most important, and profound scenes in the episode, was when Clarke finds herself void of water, severely sunburned, and overall exhausted from trekking through the desert, and shouts “I’ve lost everything. I lost my friends, my father, my mother. I’ve got nothing left.” Her not-so-faint cry echoes into the abyss, and no one but a bird (RIP Randall) can hear her plea. Our hero, is fighting to survive, but what is she fighting to survive for? Octavia and the remaining clans are buried under the rubble where Polis once stood, and Bellamy and Raven are still in space, with no plausible way to get back to the ground. The future looks bleak… and in a harrowing moment, Clarke puts a gun to her temple, and at that point in time that’s the only option for her. We’ve seen this play out before, the sense of hopelessness, for Murphy, and Jasper, and we know, we know that Clarke is trying to go out on her own terms. She’s not one to be beaten down– to give up so easily. She believes her fight is over, and as troubling as it is to admit, while watching the episode, the audience is forced to feel like maybe it is the end for Clarke.
Eliza Taylor’s performance was remarkable, it really upped the ante and was beautiful, gritty, powerful, and to be honest her best work to date. The CW is known for its glitz and glam and perfect people and perfect make-up, and well, we get a perfect mess with Clarke. Her hair disheveled, clothes undoubtedly rank, face covered in blisters. She’s real. And the acting chops on Eliza rivals some of the most iconic in the industry, and I’m giddy with excitement to see where this season takes her. Challenging places, no doubt. Luckily, death does not become her this episode, as Randall (the bird) leads her to Eden, the one patch of green left on the entire Earth’s surface. Thanks Randall, but a girls gotta eat. Do you like your bird boiled or roasted? Gross, I know… but not as gross as Clarke munching on bugs splattered on the windshield and grates of the Rover.
Aside from self-preservation and navigating a bland, obliterated Earth in the Rover, we meet young Madi on Clarke’s journey and can I just say, she’s a little menace! Luring Clarke into that bear trap made me cringe, and for a hot second I wished old Murphy was there to put her in her place. I know, dark. But, young Madi is a terror! Clarke’s emotional state isn’t in the most stable shape these days, and this fearful child of the woods seems to escalate things, forcing Clarke to do surgery on herself, and hobble through the woods to the river where a young Madi is still lurking. But, despite seeing Clarke suffer (some more), young Madi offers the audience something we haven’t seen in awhile, Clarke’s maternal side. The young girl brought that out of Clarke, and it’s what we needed to see after so much despair. Madi is in a sense her adopted daughter, and getting the opportunity to draw, and tell the tales of her people is something Clarke jumps at. It’s how she remembers everyone. What she’s been through, what they all have been through. But with that instinct, comes responsibility.
We see a lot of parallels between Clarke and Madi’s relationship and Bellamy and Octavia’s from earlier seasons– perhaps offering some added insight into why Bellamy did the things he did. We can see that Madi’s resourceful without Clarke, but with her, she’s going to be unstoppable. Madi is cautious, she’s been hidden from the politics of the Conclave and doesn’t know the severity of the Earth’s state, which makes her a threat to Clarke at first. I’m not entirely clear on if she made this decision on her own, or if a parent figure warned her of the dangers of being a night blood. But, Shadow Valley doesn’t look like any of the other clans and has a sheltered feel to it. I also see Madi’s idolization of Octavia, or Skairipa as she refers to her, as a possible problem. We don’t know what kind of state Octavia is in, the glimpse we got of her last night was slightly terrifying and not the O we know and love. She’s hardened, changed, and with Indra by her side all these years– one must wonder if given the chance, would she jump at the opportunity to raise Madi by the old ways. Groom her to become the Commander. This could be a ploy to relinquish the burden Octavia has had to bear while leading in the bunker for the last six years. But, what do I know?
In addition to a sneak peek of the underground Fight Club Octavia’s at the helm of, we meet the prison ship inhabitants, and ish bought to get real bloody. I’m digging these parallels so much, Season 1 gives us fairly harmless delinquents skyrocketing down to the Earth for survival, and now we get grown-up violent offenders in Season 5? I see you writers, and I love you for it. One thing’s for sure, they don’t seem like the sharing type– and Clarke has her work cut out for her now that these deadly people know they’re not alone.
SpaceKru isn’t doing so hot either, Murphy has reverted to his old Murphy ways– Emori and him are at odds, and broken up. Raven still hasn’t found a way to get them back to Earth yet… but on the bright side, Monty’s Algae soup doesn’t make them want to hurl anymore. But really, Bellamy’s leading the charge, and in a not-so-twisty twist Bellamy and Echo are together. Romantically. Sucking faces, and sharing a room? Now, before I get a hail storm of NO BECHO NO messages. We all know that their circumstances in space were under limited conditions and that if you put people in a room together for over 5 years, sexy things are bound to happen. I don’t believe wedding bells are in their near future, or their future at all, but finding solace in each other is welcomed in my book, not to mention, it takes a lot for Bellamy to move forward, and put behind those ill feelings from the past. Bell is all grown up, and he seems to be doing a good job at forgiveness these days. I’m happy to report that Monty and Harper are golden, for now, and Emori fits snuggly into the SpaceKru, which is something I never thought could ever happen. Overall, “Eden” was a solid start to the highly-anticipated blood fest Season 5 promises to be. The music is brilliant, the acting is stellar, and there’s a matured vibe to the characters that I was craving as we watched them slowly age before the time jump.
- Has six years of living in peace with Madi softened Clarke? I mean, she quickly tosses out tranquility to get some good old fashioned blood on her hands when protecting Madi in the village. So, my guess is Wanheda ain’t deada yet.
- Maya’s iPod, Jaspers goggles, the note to Monty– *sobs uncontrollably*
- We know that each group has “their people” now, does this mean that Clarke’s loyalties lie with Madi and protecting her at all costs? Will her past friendships and relationships be strained because of the six year separation?
- If you’re here for ships, walk the plank! The 100 deserves better than the audience basing its worth off who’s screwing who. There are hundreds of murderers being released onto the ground right now, there’s no time for sexy time!
- Are Madi and Clarke truly the only two people who survived on Earth? Or are there others… somewhere…
- Did the folks on the Eligius ship hear all of Clarke’s conversations to Bellamy? Is that how they found Madi so quickly?
- Now that Polis has collapsed on top of the bunker, can Octavia and Wonkru make it out before they completely obliterate each other in their Underground Battle Royale?
Tune into The CW next Tues. at 9|8c for an all new episode of The 100!