TV recap: The 100 episode five, Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Last time on The 100, Charlotte, feeling guilty for murdering Wells, jumped off a cliff to save Clarke and Bellamy from being attacked by Murphy. Determined to institute a punishment, The 100 decided to banish Murphy (baaad idea), and, overcome with grief at the unfairness of Charlotte’s death, Clarke and Finn slept together. While Finn’s girlfriend Raven hurtled to earth in a spaceship she’d fixed herself. And Abby got arrested for her plan to get to earth.

Earth-bound
Clarke and Finn are all happy and post-coital. I predict that’s going to last about five minutes. It doesn’t stop Clarke declaring her affection for Finn, who should take this as the opportune moment to confess that he has a girlfriend. He doesn’t, and they head out to share a romantic moment, in time to see the ship carrying Raven crashing through the atmosphere.

Bellamy has also seen the ship (well, other people saw it and yelled for Bellamy who was in bed with two women), and, terrified that contact with the Ark means he’s going to get punished for the murder of Chancellor Jaha (he still thinks Jaha is dead) makes a concerted and successful effort to get the pod ship first. Encountering an unconscious Raven, he acts like a true gentleman, providing mouth-to-mouth and bringing her round. Nope, sorry, that’s what he should have done. Instead, he rips out the radio and chucks it in the river. Never mind the bleeding girl in a coma Bellamy. Got to say, this is the stupidest thing Bellamy has done since arriving on earth, and he’s done some stupid things – hanging Atom (I thought his name was Adam!) from a tree, telling a teenage girl to kill her demons, and sleeping with a harem of women.

We’ve known since the beginning that Bellamy would do anything to save Octavia, but this is the first time we’re seeing him desperately trying to save his own hide. It’s a real show of vulnerability, and Bellamy acts more like a child in those few moments where he chucks the radio than any of the kids on the Ark.

And while I’ve mentioned it, let’s discuss the age issue. On the Ark, prisoners were killed as soon as they turned 18, which means all The 100 who were in jail were under 18. Bellamy, however, is clearly an adult. We know Octavia is a good few years younger than he is, and from the look of Bellamy, he’s definitely over 21. It’s a little strange, but I’m assuming for the purposes of this show, and sanity, that Clarke is almost 18 (remember how she shouted about it not being her birthday yet in the first episode?), as is Finn. Octavia might be a bit younger, but let’s call her 17 too, although a just-turned 17. And Raven? I think she’s a little older than Finn.

Talking of, Clarke and Finn turn up at Raven’s pod ship after Bellamy does, and to both their shock they find Raven (who has regained consciousness). Clarke gets to Raven first, and is shocked and amazed that someone has survived the journey. And then Finn rocks up, and is surprised because Raven’s his girlfriend and he just slept with Clarke. Oops. Awkward. Clarke’s shock turns to horror when she realises Finn and Raven are together, but like the true stoic she is, she betrays no hint of her emotions to anyone but Finn.

Also, can we take a moment here to consider the pairing of Finn and Raven? I like Finn – he’s cute, funny, a gentleman and honourable (when he’s not cheating on his girlfriend). But I can’t be the only one who thinks Raven is out of his league, right? She’s super clever, hot, and just generally a bit more grown up than Finn. I wonder if we’ll find out what brought the two of them together.

Anyway, Raven has shot down to earth bearing bad news – unless she can communicate with the Ark and tell them she, and members of The 100, are alive, 300 people are going to die when their oxygen is switched off. Ah Bellamy, you’re so pretty, but well stupid. Maybe you should have considered the consequences of not being able to contact the Ark before you hurled the radio into the river. 

Clarke and Finn immediately guess that Bellamy has destroyed the radio, and they and Raven go after him. They all fight, and Raven and Bellamy have a showdown (during which Raven tells Bellamy Jaha isn’t dead). The fight results in me thinking Raven is the most kick-arse person on earth. After confessing to what he did, the group search for the radio (giving Clarke and Finn the chance to have a heart to heart, ouch) and find there is no way to repair it. The 100 despair, until Raven comes up with a solution (see, way more clever than Finn). Talking to the Ark is the ideal, but really, she just needs to let them know The 100 are on earth. And that can be done by setting an absolutely massive bonfire with rockets.

I’ve got to say, not sure I buy this. Is a bonfire, however massive, really going to be seen by the Ark? Then again, there’s a lot about The 100 that doesn’t make sense, and it’s unfair of me to pick this as the thing to highlight.

Triumphant that something has at last gone right, The 100 breathe and relax. A little too soon. Earlier, Octavia and Bellamy argued, and then she ran off and fell and hit her head? Good news is she wakes up at the end of the episode, bad news is that she’s in a cave, face to face with a Grounder (in case you don’t recognise him, it’s Ricky Whittle. Yes, him from Hollyoaks). Dun dun dun.

On the Ark
Jaha visits Abby in her prison cell to tell her that oxygen levels are falling faster than thought, and that the council has approved Kane’s population reduction plan. There are just 12 hours until 320 (where did the extra 20 come from?) people are killed. Meanwhile, Jaha lets Abby out to treat people suffering from oxygen deprivation.

Kane tells Jaha the death of the people of Section 17 will look like an accident. But Jaha, in a continuation of last week’s theme of sacrifice, decides he will die with his people, leaving Kane in charge as Chancellor. Kane, in a show of humanity, pleads with Jaha to save himself, but Jaha tells him the Ark needs him, since Kane is not burdened by sentiment.

This prompts Abby into action, and she reveals to the whole of the Ark that the ship is running out of oxygen, the very thing she stopped Jake from doing. Scared that it’s going to cause a riot, Jaha, Kane and the council are surprised to find that instead, they have these gloriously brave people volunteering to be part of the 300 who will die. It’s a really, really moving, sad, moment (especially the father who volunteers so his daughter can get better) that can’t really be summed up in words, and again, goes back to the theme of sacrifice that has been so prevalent in The 100 in the recent episodes.

Kane persuades Jaha not to sacrifice himself in Section 17 – the Ark needs someone with humanity to lead it. Remember when Kane was a bad guy? He’s really transforming this episode, showing that his previous horridness has been down to his concern for the Ark.

But forget Kane and Jaha, because this episode was all about the largely nameless people of the Ark who head to their deaths. Watching them shake Jaha’s hand after handing over their IDs was moving. Watching them calmly take their places in a room which would be their coffin was heartwrenching. Watching them fall asleep never to wake up was virtually impossible through the tears clouding my eyes. I know it’s a silly teen show, but goodness, The 100 just provided one of the most powerful moments of television I’ve ever seen in my life.

Too late, back in her cell while having a chat with Jaha, Abby sees the bonfire lit by The 100. A small piece of good news that absolutely can’t mitigate what has happened.

Solid ground?
In some ways, this was one of the more melodramatic and silly episodes of The 100 so far, but in other ways, it was definitely the most moving episode we’ve seen so far. Bellamy’s actions, the Clarke-Finn-Raven love triangle, and the bonfire plot were all slightly ridiculous. 

But the events up on the Ark were devastating, and marked the first time I was more fascinated by what was happening in space than on the ground. The sacrifices made by the adults on the Ark also showed The 100 turning into a darker corridor, one I didn’t think could be topped after Charlotte last week killed herself. And we’ve not even discussed how, really, the deaths of those on the Ark is Bellamy’s fault (something to explore later in the season?).

It’s good that this week the Ark proved so fascinating, because if the narrative is going to continue to be split between earth and the Ark, both need to be compelling. The challenge now is for The 100 to have both parts be equally compelling at the same time. Fingers crossed for next week.

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