Welcome back to our reviews of The CW’s The 100. To read more coverage, click here.
The 100 has always been, and always will be, about one thing: survival. In all of its iterations, the characters on this often times dour series has faced off against the biggest and toughest odds to see the light of another day, often with bodies, bloodshed and loss left in their wake. Season four presented a whole different threat, with the end of the world on the horizon and humanity on the brink of extinction from the minute the fourth season began. While we watched as Clarke, Bellamy and co. fought against the clock to ensure their people’s safety, we always knew that it wouldn’t be an easy trip and that the “happy ending” of some of their people being allowed to live in the bunker for five years with Octavia as their newly minted leader also comes with the knowledge that even more of their people were left outside to die.
No matter the network that The 100 resides on, the show has always managed to defy expectations in terms of how far they were willing to push their characters. With “Praimfaya” we’re allowed to see how far they will go when survival is at stake, and the heroics that come out from them.
Beyond a brief moment at the start of the hour where we watch Bellamy and Octavia deliver their goodbye’s over the radio, the remained of the episode is spent with the eight attempting to get to space despite the towering odds. This was the greatest and most intelligent decision the writers could’ve made because now it makes the audience also feel as if they’re racing against the clock, holding their breath as we watch Bellamy, Clarke, Raven and co., stick their necks out into danger all for the thread of hope survival gives them.
While those three get their moments to shine (and we’ll get to them in a moment), it’s the rest of the characters where these heroics feel more enhanced. Take Emori and Echo for instance, grounders who have never been to space but are working hard to ensure the safety of the rest (aside from a minor blip from the latter). Emori’s face when they reach zero gravity is one of the highlights, as we’re reminded that there are some characters that we’ve grown to love that have never had these experiences.
Meanwhile, Murphy and Monty are paired together and are able to demonstrate just how far they’ve come since the inception of the series. Murphy, more than once, has been compared to a cockroach, someone who will survive the nuclear end of the world. And he has! For now, of course. Here he’s seen doing what he needs to do which included him leaving Monty behind to get a piece of equipment needed for space launch to safety, while also knowing that when he has the time, he and Bellamy must race back to save him.
Monty has had one of the more understated and interesting trajectories of the series as he’s gone from near silent sidekick to one of the main four heroes of season four along with Bellamy, Clarke and Raven. Here he shows his bravery when in retrieving a piece of equipment, he must take off his gloves, exposing himself to excruciating radiation in order to get it. He’s had moments of heroics before, but none that have been as clearly self-sacrificing before.
The emotional crux of the episode – and of the show really – rests with the main three however, and it’s intriguing to watch how they interplay with one another. Bob Morley and Eliza Taylor have remarkable, tangible chemistry together, something that’s exploited in the finale as the two dance around one another continually, be it in causal acts of comfort or the sense of loss that comes from both Clarke in the epilogue, leaving diary entries for Bellamy, or from Bellamy floating above earth, worrying over if he left he behind for nothing. But the most significant moment came when Clarke tells him that he needs to lead now not just from his heart, but with it’s head and he tells her that’s what she’s there for. She is his head. It’s reminiscent of Stark Trek: The Original Series even, with Kirk, Spock and Bones all playing the roles of heart, brain and soul. Success can’t happen without one of them playing their part to the greatest effect, something exemplified multiple times throughout the hour.
We even finally get the greatest moment from Clarke we’ve gotten all season as she lets her friends fly away for safety as she battles the elements to ensure their safe travel.
These moments of heroics and desperate need for survival hit their peak when they get to space, and the remainder seven work together to stay alive before the air turns on. The sequences of them sharing oxygen, of Echo scrambling to get Bellamy’s mask off, to Emori and Murphy working together to pull Raven towards the vents, is some of the most thrilling that the show has ever been while also showcasing the character dynamics perfectly. Survival, as Clarke puts it, is a team effort.
We’re left with quite the cliff hanger at the end of the hour, as were take a six year time jump ahead to find that Clarke is still alive and that there’s been no word from Bellamy or Octavia. All of this coupled with a mysterious cargo ship breaking through the atmosphere. These eight months waiting? They’re going to suck.
But at the very least we’re left with a moment that challenges the status quo of the series, that sets our characters up for greater adventures than they’ve faced prior as it comes after one of the greatest sacrifices they’ve ever had to make. After the dismal season three, season four reminded us just why The 100 was such an addictive and engaging series to begin with.
Episode Grade: 10/10
Season Grade: 9/10