August 8, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Finale Review: “The 100”


CW’s THE 100 has set its bar fairly high fover the years, and on those terms, Season 5 wasn’t quite up to par.  The central crisis–our protagonists had to face off against a pack of vicious thawed-out convicts–was uncomfortably close to a Direct-to-VOD premise, and the climactic arrival of yet another nuclear holocaust struck even some of the characters as familiar.  In addition, the season had to cover so many plotlines in multiple locations that its emotional center Clarke (Eliza Taylor) was off-screen quite a bit, and when she was around, almost entirely concerned with her fiercely maternal feelings for Madi (Lola Flanery), who in yet another trope was revealed as the show’s latest Chosen One, the Nightblood who carries the code of the Commanders.

To be sure, series creator Jason Rothenberg packed some more powerful nuggets into the storyline, particularly in the flashbacks that told of the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome world that existed in the bunker during the 5 years that separated Seasons 4 and 5, which under the dictatorship of Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) came to include battles to the death and cannibalism.  Rothenberg has always embraced the ruthlessness of even his most heroic characters, and almost all the leads came close to killing one or another of their fellow cast members over the course of the season.

The second half of the season finale, written by Rothenberg and directed by Dean White, disposed of the war rather quickly, as the worst of the convicts were wiped out by Clarke and Raven (Lindsey Morgan), or via a plan presented to Madi through the consciousness of the previous Commanders that reside in her head.  Before Big Bad McCreary (William Miller) bit the dust, however, he set off more of those pesky nukes, forcing Clarke and the remaining cast to flee Earth in the convict spaceship, the beginning of a very elaborate set-up for Season 6.  The slate for that story will be extremely clean, because far from the 10 years of nuclear winter Clarke and the rest thought they’d be spending in cryogenic sleep, it turned out they had napped for 125 years.  Once Clarke and Bellamy (Bob Morley) were woken up, they learned in a series of video messages left by Monty (Christopher Larkin), who was wearing increasingly humorous old-age wigs, that since Earth seemed to be out for the count, he’d steered the ship to an entirely unexplored planet with two suns.

With a new planet to play with, Rothenberg can take The 100 anywhere he wants in Season 6.  The strength of the series, however, has always rested with the show’s grounding in emotional reality, so the hope is that The 100 won’t go all-out sci-fi, now that any manner of aliens can be revealed as inhabitants of the world.  Like Game of Thrones, the show has benefited from the way its fantasy stories impact believable characters, and whatever changes are ahead, those rules should continue to apply.  In any case, even an imperfect season of The 100 is dramatically stronger and more provocative than most genre TV, and perhaps a new setting and timeframe will re-energize the narrative batteries.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."