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The 100 Discussion: Things go from bad to worse In 'The Red Queen'

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May 2, 2018

As we get further into the fifth season of The 100, it’s clear that things on the ground are still brutal. While the elements may be more conducive to survival this season, the tenuous connections between clans become even more frayed following the second apocalypse. We’re Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we will be breaking down the drama, the ships, and the various ways that our faves struggle to survive this season. Join us, won’t you?

Jessica: Well, I’ll just come right out and say what we’re all thinking. Life in the bunker is DARK. Were you surprised by how quickly things went south after they closed the hatch?

Alyssa: Oh man. I figured things would get pretty dire considering all of the strong and divergent personalities at play, but I did not expect sh*t to get quite so real so fast. Octavia does not play.  

Jessica: Hey, nothing but respect for my Red Queen. But seriously, there are plenty of geniuses trapped down there. Did no one predict that a death wave might cause the tower to come crashing down, right on top of their safehouse? Jaha didn’t mind boasting about his familiarity with the blueprints for the place this episode. The guy couldn’t have planned for a bit of rubble?

Alyssa: Agreed. I realize that they had very little time for modifications, but have only one exit — ONE EXIT — seems like Poor Planning 101. But we’ll get to that. First, Octavia.


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How Do You Solve A Problem Like Octavia?

Alyssa: I think we can all agree that someone had to step up and be a firm leader, but wow Octavia moved to the Dark Side with little hesitation. 

Jessica: She’s always been impulsive and combative so I’m not surprised. Like she said, she’s a warrior, not a leader. I honestly don’t think she had any plans after securing a place in the bunker for all 12 clans. I expected her to rule with an iron fist but her brutality this episode was on a whole other level.

Alyssa: The thing that I have to remind myself of often when I try to make sense of Octavia’s actions is that her experiences with SkyKru are so different than the rest of the 100. These are not her people. These are the people that floated her mother and kept her imprisoned, so why should she feel any sense of duty to them? Indra and TriKru are Octavia’s people and the ones who have given her any sense of belonging. Octavia is at her core a Grounder queen, and all of the brutality that comes with it. 

Jessica: Octavia doesn’t owe SkyKru a damn thing but I am surprised that, of all people, it’s Jaha who seems to have influenced her reign the most. The parallels between this season and Season 1 just keep popping up and that bit about Bellamy reading books to her when she was young about the Roman Empire was a smokey-eye kind of foreshadowing. When in Rome I guess? Do you think Octavia’s philosophy, if you’re not WonKru, you’re the enemy of WonKru, is off-track?

Alyssa: Yeah, I definitely got a whole “bread and circus” feel from the gladiator arena, but I don’t think Octavia has read enough about the fall of Rome. The idea that if you aren’t buying into the collective, you are actively working against it feels shortsighted. But, at the same time, they’re stuck in that bunker. The rules are different. She has to keep the most people alive, and this is very much a “do the ends justify the means” situation. I think that will be something that she has to wrestle with this season in a big way. Do you think the conflict between Indra and Gaia will be an issue this season? Both had pretty different responses to Octavia’s track. 

Jessica: Gaia and Indra always seem to be at odds so it’s not surprising that they disagree when it comes to Octavia. I think Indra is very much of the “old guard.” She expects Octavia to step into the shoes of previous commanders she’s served and follow a certain formula. If the Grounders labeled their generations, Gaia would be a millennial. She’s completely on board with bulldozing through traditions and archaic rules if it means Octavia can unite the clans — the one goal of her faith. She’s a zealot and I wouldn’t underestimate her. I think both mother and daughter have proven they will put their people and their ideals above their love for each other so theirs will be an interesting dynamic this season for sure. Speaking of, is now a good time to talk about Kabby?


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Spoiler Alert: Things Are Not Going Well For Kabby

Alyssa: I suppose, even though it PAINS ME. Abby is really struggling with that survivor’s guilt, isn’t she? 

Jessica: Abby might be the most frustrating character on this show, at least for me. I understand the guilt she’s carrying, the kind of remorse she’s experiencing but sis had no problem floating her husband, sending her daughter down to possibly die on Earth, going to war with the Grounders, and testing out Nightblood on a complete stranger in Becca’s Lab. She’s done terrible things to survive. They all have. I just don’t understand why Kane’s choice to save her is the straw breaking the camel’s back.

Alyssa: That’s fair. It does seem like she’s acting a bit out of character for the sake of ~drama~. I understand that losing Clarke again is a brutal blow, but it doesn’t quite sit right with me that Abby, who has been so strong in the face of so much, is pretty much incapacitated by her grief. Perhaps I expect too much from her, but I thought she had a bit more mileage than this. However, I am not surprised that Kane continues to be the dreamiest dude on this show. FEEL FREE to @ me. 

Jessica: When I saw Kane in the bunker I almost fainted. Then I had a flashback to watching Queer Eye on Netflix. That hair, that beard, his commitment to maintaining some kind of grooming routine was giving me Jonathan Van Ness vibes. Yes, symmetry. Yes, balance. Who gave us permission? No, who gave Kane permission to look like a daddy while the world is falling to sh*t?

Alyssa: It’s true. And his commitment to nonviolence? Can you believe? I am still very firmly in the Team Kane camp. So, what did you think of the SkyKru people who were looking to take control of their corner of the bunker? I can’t say that I blame them. 

Jessica: It’s got to be tough for them. The Grounders are entering this arrangement fresh, with a bit of a blank slate. SkyKru has been through this before. The rationing, the hunger, the feeling of being trapped. I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to that way of life after vacationing on the ground. At the same time, Kara, sweetie, did you really think this mutiny through? Were they expecting to fend off Octavia and the clans for 5+ years?

Alyssa: Yes, the mutiny was very poorly planned, but it did give me something that I have been hoping for since season one: the death of Thelonious Jaha. I have maintained that they killed the wrong Jaha since poor Wells was offed so early on, and finally, that sanctimonious prick is out of the picture. About time. 

Jessica: Tell us how you really feel, Alyssa. No, I completely agree. Jaha has been...a lot these past four seasons. At times I found him to be a rational figure with some surprising insight but mostly I imagined all of the gruesome ways the writers might kill him off one day. He got better than he deserved and I’m a little miffed that his influence will still be felt when it comes to Octavia’s method of ruling WonKru, but ring the bells. The douchebag is dead. 

Alyssa: Yeah, I was a little surprised that Jaha had as much influence over Octavia’s leadership style as he did, but he was a persuasive dude. I shouldn’t be that surprised. 


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Where Do They Go From Here?

Alyssa: I was a bit bummed that we didn’t get a check in with Clarke or our Space Team, but there was a lot that they needed to cover in that wretched bunker. Once separated groups finally meet again, I imagine things are going to be unsteady at best. As dark as his own past is, I cannot imagine that Bellamy will be cool with how Octavia has been running things.

Jessica: Oh definitely not. Big brother is going to have issues with her tyrannical rule and sacrificial philosophy, especially now that he’s kind of mellowed out in space. Must be the algae. How do you think Clarke will react to all of this?

Alyssa: Honestly, as noble as Clarke is, I don’t know if she will have a huge problem with it? I think she may blanche at the gladiator arena, but she knows better than anyone the difficult choices that come with being Heda. I think Clarke is above all else very pragmatic, so I think she’ll understand that Octavia probably viewed this as her best option. 

Jessica: True. It does feel like the show is positioning Bellamy and Octavia as these two leaders with opposing principles. Bellamy’s very much a dreamer and he leads with his heart, as Clarke’s said. People naturally want to follow him. Octavia’s had years to bend the people in the bunker to her will and she’s, in essence, saved them, so there’s real loyalty there. If the two can’t agree on a course of action, especially when it comes to the Eligius interlopers, I can’t imagine it ending well. 

Alyssa: Fighting Blakes hurt my heart every time, but I think you’re right. The 100 is always on the brink of war or in the midst of it, and I have a bad feeling that these two are going to come down on opposite sides.

Jessica: If they do, I wonder if Clarke will become some kind of deciding factor. Having Wanheda on your side would probably hold some sway. Honestly, as long as my sweet ship Mackson keeps sailing I’ll be happy.