Following a rather controversial season three, The 100 is back this week for it’s fourth season where all hope seems to have been lost about societies survival as Clarke learned in season three’s finale that earth is a nuclear bubble ready to burst. Without an announcement yet of the fourth being the final season, it’s safe (for now) to assume that at least some of our characters will make it safe (if not unscathed) from certain death but it’s the who and the how that will make season four engaging television. Will the show be able to redeem itself fully for some of its missteps last year or will it continue to make the same mistakes? With such a rich cast of characters and some genuinely strong performers hopefully the stories will be worth their (and the production design team of course) talents.
Here are the ten best episodes of the series up until this point. Will any of season four end up ranking among them? And what episodes would have made your list? Let us know below in the comments.
These have been ranked based on release date.
“Twilight’s Last Gleaming” (1×05)
Anyone who says that The 100 started as a strong show right out of the gate would be lying. It was awkwardly paced, poorly acted and too reliant on the ridiculously good looking leads and the interconnected romances rather than the much more science fiction roots at the heart of the series. However, if you stuck through the first four episodes you managed to get to “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” which, to this day, remains one of the most effective episodes of the series. It’s one of the first times where we see the real repercussions of the delinquents and their actions. More than anything though, it’s at its greatest when we’re granted insight to the members still stuck in space who make the decisions to sacrifice themselves for the sake of loved ones and crew members. It ensures that the audience isn’t just stuck on earth with the noted 100, but that we too are understanding of the harsh realities of space. No episode to this day has made this writer tear up as much as “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” did in its last, melancholy moments.
“Day Trip” (1×08)
“Day Trip” might offer lower stakes than some of The 100’s more tense episodes but it offers some of the most character development over the course of the who first season, especially when it comes to Clarke and Bellamy who spend the episode separated from the rest of the group. While the rest of the characters battle hallucinogenic nuts and Raven and Finn try to babysit, Bellamy and Clarke must battle fever dreams of their own which open them up to two of their greatest fears: his that he’s a monster his mother would be ashamed of and she guilty of her fathers and her peoples death. Their moment of reconciliation as they decide to lay in the mess of their own making for a moment to gather themselves before returning to the group their meant to lead is a satisfying one as for once we’re seeing two characters, typically on opposing sides, unite together to face their demons, past, present and future.
“Unity Day” (1×09)
While there was plenty of drama that took place on the ground with Clarke and co., the majority of the action was set in space with Abby and Kane as an attack was planted in their Unity Day festivities, killing many including Kane’s mother. All of this is the work of Dianna, who used it as a distraction to try and take of the Exodus ship, which we learn in the next episode ended in deadly results as the ship was too fast and too unstable to ensure a safe landing. From the second the episode starts there’s a sense of unease, as peace we realize is a territory that no one in this universe can seem to bring themselves to embrace. From the struggle of power on the Arc where Dianna and her followers are hoping to escape from to save themselves rather than risk being left behind, to the ground where Clarke can’t allow herself to trust in the Grounders want for the two groups of survivors to come together for both’s benefit. It’s a thrilling hour of television that utilizes all of the tricks it built in it’s tumultuous first half for an hour that’s as good as any science fiction great out there.
“Human Trials” (2×05)
Beaten and bloody, scarred from their individual trials, Bellamy and Clarke’s reunion during “Human Trials” is one of the most highlighted and talked about moments of the entire series-much of which is due to the interest in the two becoming romantic interests. What this writer found interesting however is how much this moment demonstrates how far the characters have come since the day the drop ship first landed, having moved from adversaries, to partnering roles of leadership, to genuine friends. This moment of happiness and relief of friends being reunited is expertly cut short however in face of the horrors that Finn had just committed against a village of grounders, gunning them down out of sheer, misplaced panic and rage. Along with Jasper’s offering of himself to try and help make the Mount Weather residents more resilient to the outside world, the episode does a beautiful job in showing that for every moment of joy, relief or moment of selflessness, there will always be a countering moment of pain or violence in the world of The 100. It doesn’t match the bleakness of Game of Thrones in terms of never allowing its characters moments of happiness, but it certainly is aiming to portray a show and universe that is just as ruthless.
“Space Walker” (2×08)
I did not like Finn the character. I did not like the love triangle between Finn, Clarke and Raven. Just about any plot involving Finn had me rolling my eyes into the back of my head out of sheer boredom and annoyance that he was taking up screentime I’d rather seen given to Monty, Bellamy or Raven. I will put myself at the top of the list of being the most surprised at just how moved I was over the “Space Walker” episode where Finn dies and Clarke makes an impossible choice to save him from a torturous slow death by killing him swiftly herself. The performances across the board were all phenomenal, especially Lindsay Morgan’s anguish once Raven realizes what has happened, and while he’ll never go down as one of the favorite characters of the series, knowing that Finn had taken the blame for Raven’s illegal space walking to spare her (as she was 18 and would have been sentenced to death) gives us a sense of empathy for a character who had begun as kind and selfless and slowly warped into someone who would gun down a village, strung out on what he thought he needed to do to protect Clarke.
Directed by Mairzee Almas, “Rubicon” stands out for some of it’s more visual flourishes. Standing apart from the dark colors of Camp Jaha and Mount Weather, Jaha and Murphy’s trek to the City of Light allows for more sun drenched visuals, as the dry heat of the desert seems to radiate of the screen. Murphy has always been an intriguing character, a greater source of antagonism before beginning his journey to redemption, and this episode introduces us to Emori, a character who will proceed to be one of the most interesting supporting characters of the bunch. The juxtaposition of their storyline which features them in a land with no end to Bellamy’s claustrophobic one as he infiltrates Mount Weather with Raven’s help is wonderfully portrayed, especially as Bellamy is faced with the realities for the first time leading up to the tragic finale of what the cost of saving his people might be.
Having stood by idle for much of season two, Jasper steps into the role of leader in this thrilling episode of The 100 where he and the rest of the taken captive 100 members fight back against the powers of Mount Weather. Directed by the Dean White, the episode pushes the series into even greater thriller inspired territories as Jasper, Monty, Miller, Harper and co., must fight for their lives, resulting in bloody results. The series has never shied away from the lengths necessary to take to ensure the characters survival, but this group has often been left out of some of the more grizzly moments until now. Elsewhere, tensions rise between Lexa and Clarke, which builds on their already simmering tension. Largely set within the confines of Mount Weathers bunkers, “Resurrection” is tense, action packed and anxiety inducing as the audience is kept on the edge of their seats, ready for the inevitable retaliation against the characters.
“Blood Must Have Blood Part 2” (2×16)
Once Bellamy infiltrated Mount Weather, season two refused to relent, providing some of the very best episodes of the series and surely the strongest overall arc as all of our characters were faced yet again with impossible choices. Either Monty, Bellamy and Clarke could sit and watch as their people were tortured and killed, or they could save them by condemning the Mouth Weather residents to a slow, agnozing death by letting in the toxic air from the outside world. While we as viewers are attached to the characters we’ve come to know and love and the show couldn’t exist with all of them dead, the writing does a beautiful job in showcasing that while the three save their people, they aren’t the heroes in this moment. The 100 is a show where the world isn’t made up of the good versus the bad, but rather made up of people who have gone about surviving the apocalypse by whatever means necessary.
If there was a marked moment where season three of The 100 began to show signs of moving past it’s earlier errors it’s “Nevermore” which brought the original 100 members back together to help Raven fight for control of Alie who had taken over her body. Lindsay Morgan demonstrates a tremendous physical command over her body as well as switching from different versions of manipulation to try and free herself from the restraints she’s found herself in. Elsewhere, Monty and Octavia go through their own, tragic journey as Monty tries to convince Octavia to stay with group, telling her that they’re stronger together. They’re not a pairing often given scenes but it gives the moment that Monty kills his mother whose been taken over by Alie to save Octavia all the more thematic weight. He might be related to his mother by blood, but Octavia is now his family too, and he’d do anything to save her. The episode is the series at its best because it understands the innate chemistry of its leads the pull the audience gets to watch when their favorites are once again onscreen together. It would be something the show would benefit from to keep in mind as it moves forward.
“Perverse Instantiation: Part Two” (3×16)
The third season of The 100 was, unfortunately, a bit of a mess at the end of the day, no matter how strongly fans tried to prove otherwise and one of it’s greatest flaws came in the death of Lexa, Clarke’s romantic interest. It wasn’t just the fact that she was killed off but the matter of how which happens by a stray bullet, one meant for Clarke. This fearsome warrior was taken out as an accident and more than just this writer found that damn near insulting, no matter how effecting the two actresses were in their farewell scene. This is one of many reasons why “Perverse Instantiation: Part Two” was such a perfect caper to a distracted season because it gave Lexa the hero, chill inducing exit that she so deserved the first time around. Saving Clarke and leading her back to her people to save the day, facing down a group that greatly outnumbered her is the image we needed to see and the send off that best befitted the warrior and fan favorite. On top of her exit, there’s much to love about the episode, especially as it brings all of our favorites together to save the day-everyone from Raven to Murphy playing instrumental roles-only for Clarke to learn that by saving her people from an artificial life, she may have condemned them to death as she learns her world is on the edge of extinction.
What better way to prime us for season four?