The 100 S5E13: “Damocles Part Two” Review

So, we had two pretty distinct halves of an episode there, and I liked the second half a lot more than a first! Once again, I got spoiled, although this one was basically just twitter being twitter, because I was actively trying to avoid it and things went wrong. So that definitely affects things, because I knew some amount of what was coming, but I had also guessed a lot, but whatever! The good news I can write coherently about this episode instead of being a literal pillar of salt, a refreshing change of pace.

The first half of the episode is Apocalypse 3: This Time For Real Though. Honestly, the number of times the world has ended on this show is absurd, so I’m glad they were finally just like, okay, yes, Earth is over, we have to move on. In this case, it is McCreary who does it! We have some various moving of pieces to get to this point, starting with Madi taking on the full commander title. I will never like this but apparently it’s still happening and I assume it will continue happening so I either have to deal with it or stop watching, which I guess I’ll decide over the hiatus. Anyway, the commanders speak to her (the commanders speak Latin, so both Latin and English survived the apocalypse but we still made up a third language for some reason) and tell her a cunning plan to route the enemy, which is basically “cannons have to power up and go boom.” I’m not sure why no one else could think of this plan, especially since Murphy ran afoul of it last episode, but whatever. Echo gets to use a bow and arrow, which is baller, and spacekru blows things up, clearing a path for the army.

McCreary has only not missiled them because Clarke is holding a gun on his unborn baby, because this is the kind of show where if you introduce a baby in the first act, someone must hold a gun on it in the third act. He also does a bunch of torture on Shaw but I am just skipping that because fuck that noise, it was gross. Anyway, McCreary knows he’s beaten so he goes scorched earth, which is my second least favorite recurring theme of the season, after the commander stuff. Clarke for some reason fails to shoot him the entire time he’s arming the missiles? Everyone is yelling a lot and he’s threatening her, but there’s not really a convincing reason she doesn’t do that, like, even if his guys shot her I feel like she’d still be better off. But Clarke must live and the Earth must die, so she doesn’t, the missiles are launched. She does some weird shit with shock collars that I missed because I was making a snarky tweet but she wrests power from McCreary and I guess stomps his face in until he dies and everyone else can scramble onto the ship to get off the planet.

Monty (I think) even helpfully says “deja vu,” to make sure we all realize that this, like Spira from Final Fantasy X, is a spiral of death that keeps repeating. One of my frustrations here is that we get a few good scenes–Monty helping Murphy, mirroring 413, Bellamy telling Madi that not killing is an option, some degree of Octavia and Abby resolution–but most of the emotional stakes are just on pause from this point forward. Not shockingly, the Bellarke fandom has been clamoring for Bellamy to find out about Clarke’s calls for the entire season, and while it was nice to finally have that happen, the lack of real emotional follow-through made it fall kind of flat. It was a means to an end with Bellamy forgiving Clarke, and I appreciate that because I didn’t really want that conflict looming, but I would have much preferred some real conversations instead of everyone running around and yelling, and I wish I didn’t feel so disconnected from so many relationships at this point.

That being said, the scene where Clarke puts off closing the door while Bellamy waits for Monty, Murphy, and Emori is nicely done (although, again, the fact that Clarke seems to have more of a reaction to losing Bellamy than Raven does to losing four supposed family members is not great emotional continuity), and it’s nice to see Clarke pulling a lever and no one dying after. So good for her!

Honestly, the biggest surprise of this episode might be how low the death count is. Diyoza? Survives! Gaia? Survives! Murphy? Survives! Kane? Well okay he needs some help but currently alive! Everyone is going into cryosleep for ten years while the Earth recovers. Clarke says goodnight to Madi, which is sweet; Bellamy continues to set appropriate boundaries with Octavia, which I appreciate. No one else seems interested in consequences for her, but at least he’s got my back.

But like I said, a lot of our emotional stakes are basically on hold, so maybe it’ll come back stronger. Everyone is still kind of pissed at everyone? We have a bunch of random factions, some of whom I feel must object to being ruled by thirty dead people talking to a twelve-year-old child through a USB drive, but I’m sure ten years in cryosleep will go normally and everyone will wake up refreshed and ready to face the day as a team.

Or there are still ten minutes left in the episode, so we need another twist. Clarke and Bellamy come out of cryosleep, but no one else wakes up with them, and then a handsome man shows up to gush about how exciting it is to meet them.

A bizarre choice the show made for reasons on which I am unclear is revealing this handsome Asian man (Shannon Kook) as part of the finale when they were filming it, so fandom has had like a full year to try to figure out who he is, and “Monty and Harper’s kid’ was definitely something everyone came up with as an option and which was confirmed via an iTunes featurette leak a couple days before the episode aired. But he’s adorable! I like him. His name is Jordan Jasper Green, because of course it is, and when he goes into cryosleep Monty says it’s been 28 years, so he’s like 26-27. Monty still asks Clarke and Bellamy to take care of him, which is honestly hilarious because he’s at least two years older than Clarke, but he’s also never met human beings other than his parents so he probably needs all the help he can get.

(Speaking of odd emotional beats, while I obviously am here for Bellamy and Clarke as the leaders, it’s kind of weird that Harper and Monty chose them, given that they were also on not great terms with Clarke before? Like, why are Bellamy and Clarke the stars of their stories, why not spacekru? Why wasn’t Jordan waking up Bellamy and Raven and/or Echo? The answer is that Clarke is the lead, but it’s still weird on a character level.)

Anyway, Monty gets to give us some exposition with increasingly bad old-age makeup, which I feel bad even snarking about because god I love Monty. Also, my wife sobbed off and on for about half an hour after this, so, no snark: Monty is amazing, I will miss him terribly, but I’m glad he got to have probably the happiest ending anyone has gotten on this show. And I’m very glad we splurged on expensive con tickets so we can hang out with him. My wife is prepared to sob on him there too.

Harper also gets to periodically feature in the videos, but man was she basically just “Monty’s girlfriend” this season. Which, to be fair, she’s never been as major a player, but it would have been nice to feel like she had more of a POV or her own feelings before she went out. But whatever! The big thing is that, as I said, Earth has finally been All Apocalypsed Out, so it has been 125 years and Monty found them a new planet, and he begs them to be the good guys on this one. So say we all, Monty.

So, yes, here we are. It’s been an odd season for me; I loved it up until 509, and then it lost me completely, to the extent that I’m doubting my interest levels in season six. This episode is a mixed bag in that regard. A new world, a fresh start? Sign me up. But the show has just lost so much of my faith, and I don’t believe it’s interested in the kind of emotional continuity I am. I signed up for hard choices and tragedy, and I don’t mind that, so long as there’s a core to the characters and relationships that I can still love. The final image was beautiful, and feels like it should be what I want, but I’ve thought that so many times before and been burned.

So here we are at the end of book one, apparently. The CW recently said the show can go on basically forever; I guess I’ll decide in a few months if I’m going with it.

Stray Observations

  • Diyoza’s dig about not knowing whose side Clarke was on was some quality lampshade hanging, and I’m so glad she survived.
  • That being said, Clarke finally felt about 95% coherent again after the last couple episodes, give or take a “Why aren’t you just shooting him as he slowly enters these numbers onto a display screen?”
  • I thought those worms were going to make a comeback and I’m not disappointed they didn’t but I’m also just kinda like, it’s weird you did that closeup on them and then just kinda dropped it.
  • I feel this way about other things also but that is salt I will save for my tumblr.
  • I recognize that how I feel about the flame is not how the show wants me to feel about it, but even leaving that aside I feel like it’s very weird to spend the whole season being like, man, Wonkru is a terrible cult led by a dictator, and then the fix is just to have her cede power to another dictator. Madi is doing better so far, but she’s still twelve, and as political messages go, “you just need to find the right dictator” could use some work.
  • Also I got a lot of good flame burns (no pun intended) in during various salty DMs, but my favorite was “divine right of kings on a USB drive.”
  • I’m a white lady, so this is not my lane, but a lot of fans whose lane it is have objected, over and over, to the use of a cog resembling a bindi as part of the commanders’ regalia. Jason Rothenberg’s perspective seems to be “it’s not a bindi and you are wrong to yell at me for it” so good job doubling down on something you could have easily let die.
  • “Madi Griffin” on the cryopod display was really cute and made me happy, though. Did any other grounders her last names? Whose job was it to do all that data entry?
  • I’m amazed that Bellamy and Clarke just went into the cryopods without making sure Monty and Harper were in first. They seem like they would be those chaperones who go around with a list of names making sure everyone is on the bus before they leave.
  • Serious props for Shannon Kook for nailing the Monty-and-Harper’s-child-who-has-never-met-another-human vibe. He really made me feel like I knew Jordan in about ten minutes of airtime.
  • Also he did a truly heroic amount of promo on twitter over the last year so I guess he’s excited too.
  • And serious props to both Christopher Larkin and Chelsey Reist!! I will miss Monty terribly and Harper less so, but they were both wonderful for five years.
  • Last year I was at a con with both of them and while I was getting an autograph from Christopher Larkin, Chelsey Reist started sexy dancing on the table next to him in an attempt to distract him and he and I both stubbornly did our best to pretend it wasn’t happening and continue our conversation, and afterward he was just like, I guess maybe I should have been watching that?? Bless his cow.
  • For the record, our count of people going into season six is I think 411 (412 was the number we got, minus Monty and Harper, plus Jordan), so congratulations to the writers for learning a new number.
  • And that’s a wrap on season five! I did my eulogizing above, so I will leave you with thanks for joining me. I think I’m likely to at least tune in for 601, and I hope to see y’all again if I do! I truly appreciate having this space to yell and nitpick.