The 100 Discussion: 'The Sword Of Damocles Pt. 2' brings the season to a spectacular end

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Aug 8, 2018

The 100 is known to really bring the heat (and the feels) in their finales, and the Season 5 ender "The Sword Of Damocles Pt. 2" is no exception. As the characters we've loved and hated for so long are faced with a totally new planet, we are left wondering if they can adapt without destroying this world as well in the process. We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we invite you to join us on this ride of space travel, heartbreaking ships, and moral dilemmas as we close out this season of The 100.

Alyssa: Holy sh*t, dude. THAT was a finale. I don’t want to say that this episode covered over the sins of this season, but it certainly went a long way. The 100 has always been very good at season finales, and, to me, this may have been the best one yet (except for maybe Season 2).

Jessica: Ooooh boy, Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore. Hell, we’re not even on the same planet as the great state of Kansas anymore. I think it was fairly obvious that this season would not end with WonKru and the Eligius prisoners making nice in Eden, but the predictability of it all didn’t drain even an ounce of excitement from that episode. It was, in a word, epic.

Alyssa: I laughed, I cried, I swooned. Epic indeed. Are you ready to dig into everything that happened?


The Destruction Of Eden

Jessica: Are we ever prepared for anything when it comes to this show?

Alyssa: No, but we can try! So, there was no way they were ever going to settle quietly in the valley. No way. Too easy. Still, I thought that Clarke played a pretty risky game with her face-off with McCreary. Also, tasering Raven? Deeply uncool, WanHeda.

Jessica: OK but how badass did she look just walking up on that spaceship, cool as a post-apocalyptic, moto jacket-wearing cucumber, ready to do whatever it takes to save her little commander baby? Mama Clarke has been a point of contention this season and for good reason, we never knew which side she would choose in order to keep Madi safe, but damn do I stan a Clarke Griffin ready to shoot unborn babies and stomp entitled white a**holes to death for the sake of her friends. And before you say it, yes, I know there’s something fundamentally wrong with that. I just don’t care. What did you think of how Madi handled her responsibility at the gorge? It felt like it was really up to her and Clarke to bring these two groups together.

Alyssa: Clarke and Madi really did hold the future of the human race in their hands, didn’t they? Griffin women, once again, getting things done. I was a little brokenhearted to see another young girl being forced by circumstance to make decisions that she should not have to make, but that is post-apocalyptic life. I liked Madi coming into the Heda role fully, and I got deeply emotional when Octavia recognized her authority. She looked so damn tired, and despite all of her Blodreina nonsense, I want Octavia to find a little peace. When she offered Madi her sword, I may have started tearing up. NOT THE LAST TIME FOR THE EPISODE.

Jessica: Whatever are you referring to, Alyssa? JK, I know and I’m still not emotionally ready to talk about it, so let’s put it off as long as we can. I too enjoyed Madi’s official ascent as commander. Her quick scene with Gaia was *chef kiss* perfect, and her relationship with Bellamy especially now that she’s commander was so fun to watch. Both Blakes stepping up to serve Clarke’s baby left me feeling some kind of way, but even more than that, hearing Bellamy’s speech in the valley about being better, doing things right this time, and then seeing Madi take that to heart … I don’t know, it felt like maybe, for the first time, this whole Flame/Commander subplot might actually be worth something?

Alyssa: Agreed. Calling upon the knowledge of the past commanders was good, and oh man did Bellamy’s speech get me in the gut. Bob Morley can give an impassioned speech like nobody’s business. It was also really awesome to see the SpaceKru team fighting together again. I know you’re not Echo’s biggest fan, but seeing her take out those cannons with her arrows? Badass. “Be true,” indeed.

Jessica: Oh no, I’m completely on board for Echo the badass warrior. I mean, after all, this chick is the one who taught SpaceKru how to handle themselves those six years up in space. Her relationship with Bellamy, and her more annoying monologues this season aside, I was totally fine with where Echo ended up in this finale. Killing her would’ve felt weird and a bit icky and would’ve only prolonged a possible Bellarke relationship. And after everything SpaceKru has been through on the ground, it was so rewarding to see that they all made it on that damn ship. I was shook when Monty carried Murphy out of that bush with just a few seconds to spare. It felt so reminiscent of the Season 4 finale, I was just sure someone was going to be left behind.

Mending Relationships

Alyssa: Murphy! My boy! I was so happy that he and Emori seem to have worked things out, at least a little bit. Those two scrappers deserve each other, and we deserve them. While I was a little annoyed that it was yet another finale coming down to escaping on a spaceship/pulling a lever to decide the fate of humanity, they did a pretty great job of building the tension. A big part of that? Madi finally, FINALLY clueing Bellamy in about Clarke’s six years of radio calls. The look he gave Clarke after this revelation? The Bellarke fandom is built on meaningful looks, and that one is going to keep us all going through the hiatus. My heart almost couldn’t take it. Honestly, if they ever do actually get together, I might keel over and die. For real.

Jessica: When Madi told Bellamy about the radio calls from Clarke, I swear a thousand fanfictions grew wings and ascended to heaven. I knew it would be our little commander who would finally end this angsting bullsh*t between her mom and dad. Parents, man. But I have so many Bellarke feels right now that they deserve their own space so I’ll hold off. I was worried though, that all of these fractured relationships wouldn’t have enough time to be addressed in between all of the big action sequences taking place and, sure, we didn’t get any real heart-to-hearts, but I was oddly fine with where the status of our favorite ships ended up. They’re in limbo, yes, but limbo is better than thrown on a burning pyre and set adrift. There’s hope yet.

Alyssa: One thing we haven’t discussed yet was Octavia and Abby. Those two still have a lot of baggage — cannibalism does that to people — but the fact that Octavia didn’t leave Abby (and Kane) to die was huge to me. Seeing Octavia without her Blodreina makeup moved me deeply, and seeing her move towards healing with Abby really drove that home. There are only so many people to restart humanity, and I’m glad that these two women will be a part of that. And hopefully, Kane will be magically healed in cryo, because I am not ready for Space Daddy The Elder to go gentle into that good night. Octavia also had a pretty meaningful chat with Diyoza, whose survival delighted me to no end. She was easily one of the best characters added to The 100 in a while, and I am glad that we’ll see more of her next season.

Jessica: Agreed on all points. Octavia and Abby hashing it out felt cathartic as hell, and while I know Blodreina won’t be completely healed and redeemed the next time we see her, it looks like she’s on the right path and that’s all I could realistically hope for when it came to Octavia this season. Kane won’t have an off-screen death, he just won’t, but I doubt he’s waking up from cryo at the same time as the rest of 'em. Our dad needs time to heal physically and emotionally after all. And Diyoza staying on board that ship, in the end, filled my soul to the brim. I loved her character this season, even though she was basically sidelined in the latter half, and I’m interested to see what kind of role she’ll take when they finally meet up with these Eligius III descendants. Speaking of, should we go ahead and talk about that ending?

Alyssa: Before we do, we need to talk about one relationship that is still pretty damn fractured: Octavia and Bellamy. Those two have been through the absolute ringer this season, and while I get that it’s not easy to forgive your sister for becoming a tyrant who essentially forced her people into cannibalism, but it still broke my heart that Bellamy wouldn’t tell her that he loved her. You’re going into cryosleep for a decade! The future is unstable! Just tell her you love her!

Jessica: The fractured Blake relationship has been especially tough to take this season. I think seeing Bellamy angry with Octavia is something new for us. He’s made plenty of mistakes in how he’s handled that relationship over the years — he practically pulled the trigger on Lincoln — and it was always Octavia angry with him and Bellamy holding out hope she’d forgive him. Which she always did. To see the roles reversed, and to see Bellamy refusing that forgiveness, it’s completely understandable but it also made me grab the tissues. That relationship needs a lot of work. I hope the show gives it enough screen time next season to heal.

Alyssa: Agreed. Now, the time has come to discuss… that ending.



Alyssa: Let’s be real: Monty is probably the most unequivocally good character on the show. The phrase “precious cinnamon roll” will never personify anyone better than Monty Green. I figured that The 100 would have a trick up its sleeve, but the twist that they were in cryo for 125 years and that Monty dedicated his life to finding a new planet for his friends devastated me. It was beautiful and was a perfect way to send off a great character, but woof, I was overcome.

Jessica: Pour one out for our algae-farming Moses, who led his cryogenically frozen people to the promise land and single-handedly saved the human race. Monty Green has always been that character on this show, the one the writers could never fully utilize. He had so much potential, and Christopher Larkin acted his ass off in every scene, but it just never felt like Monty got his due. Still, it felt pretty fitting and heartbreakingly bittersweet that he got his happy ending with Harper (a character that deserved so much better than this series could ever give her). Did their whole happily-ever-after storyline feel like a bit of a rip-off from that god-awful Passengers flick with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt? Sure, but imagining them enjoying zero-g space sex and raising their baby while tending to their algae farms makes up for it.

Alyssa: It was Passengers without the creepy rape culture undertones, so I was fine with it. Larkin did act his ass off, despite his terrible old man wig, and while he may not have gotten his due on the show, that was as epic of a send-off as this show has ever done. I agree about Harper, too. She never really become a character outside of Monty, even to the bitter end. Can we talk about how perfect the casting for their son is? Because that boy really looks like the two of them like whoa. A+, casting team. Also, while we may not have gotten canon Bellarke this season, the shot of those two looking out over their new planet (Is it Tatooine? Twin suns? The 100/Star Wars crossover of my dreams?), ready to save humanity again? Lord, I was living. At this point, these two have a pretty unshakeable bond, and I am so stoked to see how that plays out next season.

Jessica: Alright, it’s that time. Let’s talk about #Bellarke. After this season, it has to be official right? Bellarke is the slowest slow burn in the history of television. We’re talking over 130 years here, surviving on nothing but a few hugs, meaningful glances, and an angst-filled bitch slap. Brava, 100 writers, brava. You’ve managed the impossible: to keep me emotionally invested in a ship that rationally, I know will never set sail from the “platonic soulmate” zone. Which, what the hell does that even mean, Jason Rothenberg? After teasing Bellarke all season, reading some post-finale interviews in which he’s once again putting Bellarke on the backburner just feels odd. Of course, this show knows how to play the long game, so I’m fully aware that they’re probably just f*cking with us for the fun of it, but if Season 6 could open with a few precious Bellarke moments before Echo gets woken up from her cryo beauty sleep, that would be most appreciated.

Alyssa: Listen, I think that I would be ok with the whole “platonic soulmate” idea of they truly presented them in that way. I think that male/female friendships really don’t get their due on television, and if it seemed like they were going with that, cool. I don’t need all the hot people to bone on my screen. BUT, if they’re going to do that, they need to frame them in a different way. Don’t zoom in on Clarke after a Bellamy/Echo moment. Don’t have these two exchange longing looks all the damn time. I get that they have to keep people invested, and we’re all monsters who love romance, but I do think that they need to pick a lane and stick with it. Because the teasing is too much for me.

Jessica: Agreed. I love a strong, healthy male/female friendship as much as the next girl who’s trying to smash rape culture by invalidating that damn friendzone concept, but the bones of this show is the relationship between Clarke and Bellamy, so whether they’re just friends or something more, be clear about it. It’s been five seasons of will-they-won’t-they. Don’t get me wrong, I’m trash for that kind of angst-filled sexual tension, but even I recognize that five seasons and 130+ years of it is just too much. If they’re not going to be together, introduce a storyline that really cements that fact, not a love interest built entirely offscreen with no emotional weight. Speaking of ships though, Shaw defied the dark history this show has of killing off new characters we actually love by surviving and thriving once the world officially ended. He’s piloting a ship with his lady love. His leg is still fully intact. He’s on deck for big decision-making conferences with Clarke and Bellamy. He’s done it! He’s one of the gang. At least until Season 6 happens. Enjoy Shaven as long as you can, fam. They’re all we have at the moment.

Alyssa: As awful as it was to see Raven tortured again (AGAIN), I am so glad that she got her moment to once again save everyone from a burning planet, except this time it was with an equal partner. She has been through so much, so I am so fully aboard the Shaven train because something good is finally happening for our mechanic queen. Even though they were immediately put into cryo. They’ll be fine, and they can start saving the human race by bringing beautiful, brilliant babies into this dark yet promising new world.

Jessica: Shaven babies? Dreams like that just don’t come true, do they? Speaking of babies, two words: Madi Griffin. Oh, what’s that lying there? Nothing, just the heart I’ve ripped from my chest and laid at your goddamn feet, Clarke Griffin. Normally I hate when motherhood is introduced as a way to further develop a female character, but one of the shining lights of this season was the relationship between Clarke and her little bear-trap-loving natblida. Plenty of ships let me down this season, but that mother-daughter duo never did.

Alyssa: Agreed. Motherhood is a part of many women’s journey, but it’s sometimes a bummer for that to be seen as the end-all-and-be-all of a female character’s development, but it really, really worked for Clarke. She’s always been one to make the difficult decisions, but her working to protect Madi at all costs really added a lot of emotional weight to every choice she made this season. It was interesting to see how being a mother softened her in some ways, but mostly it just added even more iron to the classic Griffin backbone. Clarke has long been one of my favorite protagonists on television, and I feel like, despite some questionable choices, the writers did right by her development this season.

Jessica: I second that, especially compared to some other characters, Clarke exhibited real growth this season, which is all any of us can ask for when it comes to female characters on genre TV. But now we have a long, brutal hiatus to suffer through before the show basically reinvents itself for Season 6. Is it time to torture ourselves with speculative musings and improbable predictions?

Alyssa: We need something to keep us occupied until the hiatus is over, right?


Speculations, What Worked, and What Didn’t

Alyssa: I for one hope we see aliens next season. I mean, why the hell not? The 100 has pretty much thrown every single sci-fi trope into a bottle and shaken it up to see what sticks at this point, and I feel like aliens is a pretty natural progression.

Jessica: Well, they’ve already admitted there will be “creatures” so I think aliens isn’t that strange of a wish. Are we talking Predator-style aliens or more benevolent beings? Or a Martian-human hybrid? The possibilities truly are endless. I have been manifesting this entire season the idea of space travel, particularly of Shaw and Raven have intergalactic adventures and honestly, I feel like this was the universe giving me just a drop of happiness when it comes to this show. As we know, that’s a rare thing. Personally, I’m excited about the time jump, the space jump, and the storylines that open up when you take worn-in characters and thrust them into this new and alien environment. I think the show has spent five seasons rehashing the same old themes and it’s been able to do it in a way that always felt fresh and challenging to the characters, but I’m so ready for our faves to start working through their personal issues, to start trying to live instead of just survive. What do you think life will be like on two-sun Earth?

Alyssa: I am down for any kind of aliens that they decide to throw at us, and I hope they stick around more consistently than the radioactive creatures from season one. They were fun! And then they were just gone. I think the show will look really different next season. With the “End Book One” coda, I think that the writers acknowledged that things need to be different. It can’t just be “oh god another army we’re going to destroy the world instead of saving it because of human nature” every time. I think offering these characters a few more moments of happiness wouldn’t go amiss, but I think it will mostly be interesting to see what it’s like for these characters to become leaders when they aren’t on the brink of destruction. Settling on a new planet is interesting enough. We don’t need to set it on fire at the same time. Honestly, I would not be mad about a more character/relationship driven Season 6. These people have inflicted a lot of hurt on one another, so I hope that we get to see the emotional labor that will have to be put in to work together to build a better world.

Jessica: But does that better world need building is the true question. Our heroes have been cryosleeping for 125 years, and Eligius III disappeared what, 95 years before that? They’ve had a while to establish a society, to figure out how to govern themselves, to repopulate, etc. I’d be interested to see our group enter a world that’s more advanced and further along in terms of their society than the Grounders were in the first couple of seasons. To see them struggling with where they fit into this new world order might force them to lean on each other more and thus, work out their damn issues. I mean, most of them are still pretty young. I can’t imagine the elders of this new planet are just going to bow down and follow them without question. But who knows? What did you not enjoy about this season that you hope the writers avoid come Season 6?

Alyssa: Ooooh, true. Watching these characters assimilate into a new society will be so good. Can Clarke Griffin play nice if she isn’t the boss? All signs point to no. Our group is pretty ride-or-die for the Commander, so how will that role look on a new planet? The possibilities! I am so stoked! For the most part, I enjoyed this season. I think that it is, unfortunately, a hallmark of the show for the middle/back end to get a bit bogged down in repetitive suffering, which definitely happened this time around. They managed to pull themselves out of the rut with this finale, but yikes did all of the badness that went down in the bunker put a real pall over the season. That was pretty tough to slog through.

Jessica: Agreed. For me, the most frustrating part of this season was the way character development was handled. The 100 is an ensemble show. It always has been. It’s also been a show that consistently delivers big action sequences and tackles giant themes and storylines but the characters really felt lost this season. Too much development took place offscreen, the actors weren’t given enough time onscreen to sell that development, and the entire story suffered more because of it.

I know we’re heading to a new planet, and there’s that excitement as a writer to explore that world in depth, but this show really needs to figure out how to balance character and story. As interesting as this new society will undoubtedly be, I still want more intimate chats between our faves, emotional therapy sessions, some cathartic hug-it-out moments. I care about the characters at this point more than any sci-fi setting they’re thrown into and I don’t want them sacrificed for the sake of the action.

Alyssa: I agree. The 100 already has such a huge cast that I worry that with the introduction of a whole new planet, a few of our faves will be lost in the noise. We’ve invested five seasons into these characters, and while the introduction of Shaw and Diyoza was definitely a great thing, there is only so much screentime. We can only keep up with and care about so many characters. It will be a real test for the writers to find a balance of new without sacrificing too much of the old next season. Still, even with these reservations, I am so excited to see where The 100 goes from here. This show may stab me in the heart, kick me when I’m down, and make me cry more tears than I’d care to admit here, but damn it if I am not invested. Clarke, Bellamy, and the rest of these assholes really own my heart.

Jessica: I’m tearing up just thinking about ending this final recap. Shout out to the writers of this show for possessing the kind of wordy-witchcraft necessary to keep us coming back for more heartbreak and torture season after season and to the actors who sell the sh*t out of every bizarre, out-there storyline thrown their way. And mostly to the fans, including you, my dear Alyssa, for being so fun to watch this messy drama with. With that, let’s all go into cryosleep until Season 6. Sound good?

Alyssa: Sounds perfect, my partner-in-feels. May we meet again.

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