“the 100” and our unfixable brokenness

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Mom and Dad (Bellamy and Clarke) overlooking the new planet

If you’re a fan of The 100 who hasn’t watched the Season 5 finale yet, GO DO THAT NOW and also do not read this post because #spoilers. #checkyourselfbeforeyouwreckyourself #bellarke5ever

So my favourite show on television just dropped the finale to its fifth season. It BLEW ME AWAY (much like the bomb that blows away the last livable land on Earth in this finale lol but anyways). I watched the finale at around 10:00 p.m. and literally rolled around on my bed screeching because of the things that happened in this episode (just a typical night for me, really) and then couldn’t sleep later because I was so keyed up. I think this is the best season finale The 100 has produced so far and is also the best episode of the fifth season.

For some context: I’ve been following The 100 since its second season in 2014, and it still manages to be interesting, which is a feat in itself. The show is set in a future where nuclear war has wrecked the planet, leaving humanity to evacuate to a space station to survive. Decades later, the station sends 100 teenage delinquents to the ground to see if Earth is inhabitable yet. When they get there, they find out that yes, the planet is inhabitable. But they’re not alone. War breaks out. Ethical dilemmas are wrought. Tensions rise, people die, sometimes there is kissing – what else could you want in a sci-fi drama?

While the show starts out campy and lighthearted, utilizing all the teen drama tropes in the book, things turn dark as these tropes are reverted. The characters realize just how far they’ll have to walk into moral decay in order to make it in this new world. One of the show’s most prevalent themes is the idea that no one is a good guy, as spoken by Bellamy in an early episode: “Who we are and who need to be to survive are very different things.”

As the show goes on, a pattern emerges: humans destroy the earth and, once it heals, destroy it again. Season five’s finale depicts this notion with irony. The entire storyline of the season is about an emerging war over the Earth’s last livable land; at almost the last moment, McCreary declares, “If I can’t have that land, no one can.” Using launch codes that the audience knew of all season without knowing what purpose they served, he drops a bomb that destroys the valley that everyone was fighting for. Again, we come full circle: in their attempts to have it all, humans wreck everything.

You might ask, why didn’t they just share the valley instead of fighting over it? Firstly, because that doesn’t make for very good television. Secondly, because The 100 has five seasons under its belt proving that we don’t have the capacity to fix our deep brokenness and to get rid of evil once and for all. No matter how many fresh starts we get, it always ends with destruction.

In light of this idea, the finale is jarring because of its last few moments: Bellamy and Clarke, after waking up from over a hundred years of cryosleep, stand in the spaceship that houses the war’s survivors and gaze down at a new planet. After trying and failing over five seasons to establish safety and peace on Earth, they get to try again on this entirely new world. It’s a hopeful ending summed up by the title card that appears in this moment: End of Book One. The chapter of death, chaos, and pain on Earth is closed; now, in Book Two, Bellamy, Clarke, and their friends will have a shot at redemption on this new planet.

But we’ve seen this before. We saw it in the show’s very first episode when one hundred teens set foot on a pristine Earth – and we all know how that went. I’m not assuming that Season 6 will bring peace for these characters, but there is an indication that Bellamy and Clarke have finally, finally learned from their mistakes. In season five’s finale, the Onekru army marches into the valley, cornering their enemies. Commander Madi tells her army to kill them all. Bellamy, however, stops her, and she sneers at him, “I don’t need the flame to tell me what to do with a bunch of criminals who invaded my home.” Bellamy reminds her that they, as the original hundred, were also criminal invaders. “You can execute them because they’re the enemy,” he says, “or you can break the cycle. You can be better than them. Better than us.” This is a radical change in philosophy for Bellamy in particular, considering who he was even one or two seasons ago. It also marks a shift in what this show is about – no longer just surviving, but atoning for past sins and actively trying to treat each other better.

I’m excited to see how season six of The 100 will play out. My money’s on them ruining the planet again, but one can hope, right?

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Me reacting to this finale (jk it’s just Bellamy and Clarke again)

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