The 100 5x10 "The Warriors Will" Review
(image credit: Terra @getsomesleep on Twitter)
Hello, fans of The 100, and welcome to another review. The last time you all heard from me I had the opportunity to write about Episode 6 of Season 5 “Exit Wounds” and this time I get to review what amounts to yet another filler episode in a season that has thus far been chock full of them. Episode 10, “The Warriors Will”, had huge potential, but it fell flat for me. As in my previous review, I’m going to abandon my preferred paragraph formatting and use lists. Without further ado, here are “The Ugly, the Bad, and the Decent.”
1. This Seems Familiar
For the fifth episode in a row, we are again watching those in the bunker plot to get to Shallow Valley. It’s something they’ve done in every episode and we’ve finally come full circle (which isn’t a good thing). Just as in Episodes 5 “Shifting Sands” and 6 “Exit Wounds” in particular (although, as stated previously, every episode has given us the same dilemma), we are treated to Wonkru believing they have no alternative other than to go to war with the crew of Eligius, being shown another option that could work, doubting Octavia as their leader, Octavia destroying their possible sustenance and the Grounders believing they have no other option than to go to war.
“The Warriors Will” feels like an episode that should have happened much earlier in the season (perhaps even as early as Episode 6). Don’t believe me when I say we’re watching the same episode repeatedly (like we’re stuck in a demented time loop)? Have some proof:
We have someone presenting Octavia with proof of vegetation to prevent a war and Octavia destroying it.
We have Abby continuing to struggle with her drug addiction (with no real end in sight — because a drug addiction takes more than one episode to clear up and we only have 3 episodes to go).
We have Monty (and Harper) once again refusing to fight because there must be a better way than constantly murdering people.
We have Bellamy and Octavia sparring (with words this time) and Octavia not wanting to kill Bellamy but also still threatening his life.
Sandworms in a desert?
We have Clarke Griffin, our leading lady, appearing as a guest star in her own show.
Nothing is new this season. We’ve been facing the same dilemma, from the same characters, with the same motivations and no real plot movement since the midway point. Now that we’re about 80% of the way through the season, it’s really starting to become evident that there were a lot of big ideas in The 100 Writers’ Room, but no real way to stretch them out over the course of 13 episodes. Episode 10 of The 100 ends with Wonkru in the exact same place they were in Episode 5 and I don’t think I should have to explain why that’s not great.
2. Motherhood Doesn’t Make You Stupid…
But The 100 would surely have you believe that it does. Over the course of this season we’ve seen how devoted Clarke is to Madi, the Grounder child she met in her initial foray into the newly irradiated world, and it makes absolute sense that the two would be close as they only had each other for six years. Clarke has adopted Madi as her own child, fed her, clothed her, sent her off to school with water and more; no one is questioning that their bond is real.
The problems with their relationship (and therefore Clarke’s character development) only really show up when you bother to look at Clarke’s actions. Nothing she does (even under the pretense of protecting Madi) is logical or is even truly reflective of things that a real mother might do. It seems that Clarke’s intellect has fled the building (as has her previous desire to ensure that everyone stays safe, not just her own people — I’m looking at you especially, Season 3 and 4 Clarke) when she makes the decision to simply toss out the sandworm larvae she finds in the back of the rover, even though she is fully aware that the worms are capable of growing and surviving in the desert — she was the one who had to pull the worm out of Octavia’s arm in Episode 5 of this very season.
The smarter move would have been to ensure their destruction, but I suppose that wouldn’t work with the pretty obvious need to have the worms make a reappearance in the desert in Episode 11 (likely in a “turnabout is fair play” moment for Octavia — wherein the worms she plotted to use to level Diyoza’s army wind up leveling her own), but there were other ways of doing this without sacrificing your lead’s intelligence.
More, Clarke continues to try to bend Madi (a 13-year-old with full awareness of the choice that she made) to her own will because of her own fears. She even goes so far as to physically wrestle with Madi and later, she threatens Madi with the activation words for the Flame (something that makes Madi flinch away from her). As a mother myself, I understand loving your child, but I will never do so to the point of physically forcing them to do things my way. I understand we’re meant to see this as a lesson in how far gone Clarke is now, how much her priorities have shifted, but having children doesn’t fundamentally change who you are, at least not the way the show would have you believe it does.
It doesn’t help that Clarke herself seems unaware of the lessons she’s been teaching Madi herself. When Madi slits the miner’s throat Clarke looks horrified (and I’m tempted to believe she thinks Madi’s new ruthlessness is inspired by the Flame), but it’s Clarke herself — with her continued murdering of guards in front of Madi under the guise of “There are no good guys” — who has created this monster. Will the show finally have Clarke realize she might have gone overboard? At this point, I don’t know.
3. Sometimes a Villain…
Can just be a villain. I’ve never been Octavia’s biggest fan; even in Season 1 she didn’t appeal to me the way she did to the masses, and perhaps that’s because she always felt too well adjusted for someone who was forced to live under the floor with no human interaction outside of two people for her entire life. Her actions in later seasons only forced me further away from her (beating her brother, her mentor, her lover, telling Grounders about their culture, etc), as it felt like the show was still trying to make me see her as someone who was capable of redemption.
Season 5 seemingly threw redemption out of the window for Octavia and leaned full blast into her apparent psychosis. This is who Octavia should have always been: unbalanced, with a yearning for power (caused by her own years of helplessness) and a desire to keep it by any means necessary, but “The Warriors Will” felt like an odd mix of redemption and further destruction for Octavia. When she cried after meeting with Bellamy and almost ran the piece of glass across her own wrist, it seemed as if we were supposed to feel sympathy for her. When she begged Indra to show her another way, when she pleaded with Monty to speak with Bellamy about Indra’s weakness and reminisced about the good times trapped in their room with Bellamy; all of these moments felt as if we were supposed to be seeing Octavia under the guise of “Blodreina”.
Unfortunately for the show, I’ve already spent four years understanding why Octavia is who she is, and I didn’t need any more explanations. Yes, I can see that each of the “softer” moments I’ve listed above were then flipped on their heads by Octavia allowing Blodreina to creep out when people didn’t bend to her will, but a villain as bad as Octavia has become in those six years under the ground doesn’t need to be humanized further. This was always going to be her destination, because Octavia was doomed from the moment of her birth.
I hope that the writers fully give in to Octavia as a truly broken and destroyed individual, someone who has truly “died” on the inside, but Octavia has had a metaphorical death every season and I have no faith that the writers are finally ready to commit to the villain they’ve created.
1. Where are the Grounders, Who are the Grounders...
Why are the Grounders (love and miss you Dax!) written as so ridiculously idiotic? This show is full of MacGuffins (plot devices) but I can’t believe that an entire group of people are functioning as one. I cannot understand how an entire group of reasonably intelligent people are still following Octavia’s orders after she has betrayed them twice in one episode.
We have seen the Grounders turn against their Commander before (that was the entire plot of the front end of S3) and know that some will even resort to assassination attempts if necessary. We know that, in the first few months in the bunker, the Grounders didn’t respect Octavia as a true leader, likely because she isn’t a Nightblood and does not hold the Flame, and we know that dissent has been growing amongst them since the bunker was opened.
In this very episode, we see the Grounders lead a chant of “No more Blodreina” for almost a solid minute after the discovery that she’s been lying to them about the existence of food (and a way to grow their own sustainable plant life outside of the bunker), but after Octavia burns that very same sustenance to the ground, the Grounders are once again ready to march to their deaths for their Red Queen.
It’s just not realistic. No group of people is truly this stupid. Not when dissent was already beginning amongst them as early as “Exit Wounds”, not when Octavia doesn’t fit their idea of true Commander anyway, not when she continues to prove how little she values their lives over her own need for power, not when they know that they have a true Commander out there waiting for them (and at least half of the army believes in Madi) — and all of this is made even more offensive by the reminder that Grounders are coded as indigenous peoples.
2. Too Many Serial Killers…
Makes the show a bit dull. As much as I enjoy the inner turmoil that has boiled over in the Eligius crew, McCreary and his merry band of thieves and murderers don’t really bring the same punch when they aren’t facing off against fan favorites Diyoza and Zeke Shaw. The scene in the woods with McCreary murdering the defectors had absolutely no emotional impact (or even an impact on the overall plot) because the audience has no attachment to the characters he murdered.
I assume it was meant to show us once again that McCreary is a ruthless killer, but we already know that. He was on Eligius for a reason and it wasn’t because he handed out candy to crying babies. The scenes with his crew guarding Abby were also unfulfilling because, again, we didn’t know those miners, and because I didn’t know them, their gruesome deaths at the hands of the obviously cannibalistic Vinson (probably foreshadowing for next week’s episode, “The Dark Year”) fell flat as well. The filming choice for that scene was also atrocious as a viewer. I understand that we’re supposed to be “seeing” through Abby’s eyes, but a shaky, blurry camera doesn’t make for a good viewing experience.
I had to consistently force myself to pay attention to the action on the screen during these moments, and even in my rewatch I found nothing of note save Diyoza’s notebook (which mentions the Sword of Damocles — an allusion to the ever-present peril faced by those in power and the title of the two-part finale), which clearly foreshadows the use of the element mined all those years ago later in the season. I would have been more interested in seeing McCreary and his crew hunting for Zeke and Diyoza (as opposed to simply torturing defectors for information) interspersed with the escapees trying to get to safety or coming up with another plan of attack. Instead, the fan favorites were all missing this episode (Zeke, Diyoza, Raven, Murphy, Emori) and what was left was…not great.
3. Let the Past Die
Not to quote Kylo Ren (because…gross), but it’s just not a good thing to continue to harp on the Season 3 actions of one character and one character only. Yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, I am discussing the second mention this season of Bellamy’s participation in the Pike sponsored massacre. We are constantly framing this one moment as the defining moment of Bellamy’s character arc, all while ignoring that Pike actively used Bellamy’s PTSD as it relates to Grounders to coerce him into participating, that Bellamy immediately showed remorse for his actions (in trying to stop Pike from murdering the wounded and later his body language and facial expressions upon entering Arkadia) and that it has, in canon, now been six years since those events happened. It doesn’t help that each time that moment in Bellamy’s life is mentioned the camera pans slowly to his face and Bellamy always must look guilty for a few moments, so we can understand that he did “a bad thing”.
If we are going to dwell on the Bad Thing that Bellamy did in Season 3, why is that we don’t also focus on the Bad Things that almost every other character did in Season 3? Why don’t we ever discuss Octavia brutally beating her brother while those who were supposed to be Bellamy’s friends watched in silence? Why don’t we ever discuss Clarke abandoning her people to relax in the shade in Polis for two weeks under the guise of ambassadorship? Why don’t we discuss Monty being on Team Pike just as much as Bellamy was and even helping to lock the gates to prevent Pike defectors from leaving Arkadia? All of those actions have been excused by the narrative as OK and yet, six years later, we are still dwelling on one day in the life of a character who is meant to be one of our heroes. If Bellamy has grown past his actions and has matured into a head and heart leader, let the others around him do the same.
To be clear, this isn’t a problem that Bellamy alone faces, it’s simply that his actions are the only ones portrayed as negative. Here I’m discussing the show’s continued pandering to Lexa kom Trikru fans. Despite Lexa’s death six years ago, Clarke still holds onto to the memory of her lost love (which is fine! I want to be clear that I have no problem with Clarke being curious about Lexa and Madi’s ability to “commune” with her if you will). My problem here is that we now have a show that has stated that Clarke was canonically willing to allow her best friend (again — canon confirmed) to die for placing the Flame in her child’s head (something just last episode Clarke was referring to as a “thing”), but now can’t bring herself to destroy the Flame because, even six years later, she still believes Lexa is actually residing within it, even as she believes the Flame’s existence to be a clear and present danger to her child.
You can’t write Clarke as being fanatically protective of Madi, to the point where she will allow her best friend to die over a device, I cannot emphasize enough that Bellamy is her still-living best friend, and then turn around and have her use her daughter to inquire about a woman that she loved who has been dead for over six years now. We get it, you want us to understand how important Lexa was, but you should not do that at the expense of what has been deemed the “foundation of the show” by the showrunner himself.
1. Don’t Mess with Gaia…
Kom Trikru, that is. I have been a Gaia stan since her initial introduction and the religious warrior hasn’t let me down yet. Her every action for six years in the bunker has been done with the faith that one day a true Commander would return to them and lead the Grounders once more. In the interim period, she made sure to ingratiate herself to Octavia, becoming a trusted member of her group which allowed her to continue to protect the Flame and operate mostly unquestioned. I admired her plan in this episode, her staunch refusal to murder her mother or Bellamy and even her attempted assassination of Octavia. Now that Gaia knows Madi is out there, she will stop at nothing to place her in her rightful place.
Equally as exciting is that there are people who believe in her as well. Gaia’s faction of the faithful seems small now, but I have no doubt that as we get closer to the end of the season we’re going to see that number increase. It won’t be easy to walk through fifty miles of desert, especially not once the sandworms make their appearance, and the further they walk the more cracks will appear in Wonkru, and I have no doubt that’s when Gaia will strike. I believe in her mission and I hope that her faith will be rewarded.
2. Always Bet on Green…
Monty Green, that is. It comes as no surprise to any of us that Monty, who has been pushing for a peaceful solution since he got to the ground and realized what has become of the bunker, found a way to save the day. He knew he could regrow the hydrofarm, he said as much to Kara only a few episodes prior (in 5x08 “How We Get to Peace”) and he’s managed to do just that and more, expanding his idea into the ability to create sustainable flora even outside of the bunker, with the hope that perhaps they could create their own Eden. It’s a genius solution, one that wastes no more lives and, while it might take a few years to truly bloom, it was one that was workable. In fact, that shred of hope might have given the bunker group enough time to work out true peace with Eligius.
Instead, all of Monty’s hard work is burned to the ground by literal dictator Octavia, and it is heartbreaking to see Monty sitting outside the ruins of Polis, holding on to his last bit of algae. Monty’s one hope was that death could be avoided. He didn’t want to return to Earth if it meant having to kill to live, he didn’t want to march on Eden, and I believe that his words about “deserving Earth” will come back to haunt a few people. Monty’s algae in small doses was enough to put both Murphy and Octavia in a coma, in a large enough dose I fear it could prove lethal. The camera focus on the jar and Monty’s insistence this season on peace (and death before war) tell me that the facilitator of irradiation in Mt. Weather, the boy who killed his mother twice (one time for Octavia herself — methinks he might regret that now) might be planning something, and I don’t think it’s going to turn out well for everyone.
3. A Mother’s Love…
As much as I’ve bemoaned the presentation of motherhood on The 100 in general and this season in particular, they finally got it right with Indra. I have never been more in awe of her than I was when she told Octavia that Gaia would be walking out of that pit and that she would kill Bellamy to ensure it. There was no hesitation, and finally I saw a mother’s love that I recognize. Indra’s willingness to sacrifice herself (and everyone else in the ring with her) is exactly what motherhood is all about. What makes the moment even better are the facts that:
- Indra considered Octavia a daughter and loves her still, but is unwilling to continue to allow that to take precedence over the continued survival of Gaia, and
- Octavia truly believed that Indra would choose Bellamy (and thus Octavia herself) over Gaia, only to hear Indra reject her.
Just as Bellamy is Octavia’s blood, Gaia is Indra’s (and more — flesh of her flesh as well). There is no stronger bond than that of motherhood, no greater love than that of a mother for her child, and I will rewatch the moments that Indra told both Blake siblings that her child would be the one walking out of that ring alive until my DVR recording refuses to allow me to rewind again. There is true strength in motherhood that does not run from problems but faces them head on and when it realizes that the only option might be death, does not flinch. I love Indra kom Trikru, she deserves the world.
In conclusion, “The Warriors Will” was another filler episode that had little to no impact on the overall plot of the season. It’s beginning to seem as of the six-year time jump, which could have had huge emotional impact across several relationships, was only created to force a divide between two characters, as no other aspect of the show has changed. Octavia is darker, absolutely, but she was already dark. Abby has a severe medical condition, but she already had one of those. Kane is operating as a goodwill ambassador for Eligius, but he’s always done that. The Flame is still a MacGuffin that does whatever the plot needs it to, it’s always done that.
I believe an opportunity for actual character-driven plots (as opposed to the characters continuing to react to the plot) was missed and, with only 3 episodes left in the season, I have no idea how the show can successfully wrap up every loose end it’s created and also shoehorn in the introduction for next season. I hope the show can prove me wrong.
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.