The latest episode of “The 100” physically hurt me to watch.
I felt the show’s visceral hands wrapping around my heart, squeezing, making it hard to breathe and couldn’t fathom what was right in front of my eyes. Horrific scene after horrific scene flooded my screen. I didn’t even fully comprehend what I watched until later.
The 100’s penultimate episode — season seven, episode 15 “The Dying of the Light” — aired on The CW Wednesday, Sept. 24.
It was incredibly difficult to watch and the majority of it was highly unnecessary. Instead of the show working on putting the finishing touches on its characters and storylines before its finale, it threw us head-first into yet another episode where a loveable character was lost.
Just when I think all hope has disappeared after watching an episode of “The 100” this season, the show proves me wrong. More and more hope (that I thought had dissipated a long time ago) continues to dwindle with each passing hour of this series.
I’m not going to lie, the episode was entertaining. I couldn’t peel my eyes away and I was invested (unfortunately). I loved seeing Raven, Jackson and Murphy working so hard to save Emori. Their relationships have come so far and it was a small reminder of why I fell in love with “The 100” in the first place.
Looking beyond the handful of beautiful character moments though, an “entertaining” episode isn’t good enough anymore. This is the final season. We need more than just something with a fast-paced plot. We need something that makes sense and feels true to the story we’ve come to love. I’ve had enough with the shock-value.
“The 100” needs to take itself more seriously instead of just checking things off its list of horrific things it can throw the characters’ way:
- An explosion that causes rubble to crash around them, severely injuring one of them
- A child being tortured and experimented on by an old, white man because of his extreme religious beliefs
- A group of people being totally OK with murdering a child
- Considering killing someone who’s still alive but is incapable of verbally and physically making that decision for themselves (Why was this in the episode??)
This episode proved the light of the show has become extinguished, leaving smoke and ash in its wake. “The 100” isn’t about the morally grey and how we try to be better anymore. It’s turned into a torture fest (of its characters and fans). That’s a dangerous message to send, especially in 2020 when so many people are already suffering.
A story should offer a semblance of hope and validity to the human experience, not reconfirm all the terrors so many people face on a daily basis.
Here’s my star rating for 7×15:
The one shining light
I love Emori. She’s been one of the show’s only saving graces this season for me (along with Jackson, Indra, Murphy, Gabriel, Jordan and doggo Picasso).
She really feels like one of the only characters left who seems like herself. She’s had a natural, triumphant, satisfying arc that gives me the glimmer of hope I always had in “The 100.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very disappointed with the final season as a whole, but I’ll take my small successes where I can at this point.
With Emori being a fan favorite (perhaps even more so this season — we don’t have too many great characters to choose from anymore), it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that rubble collapsed on her after the explosion in the bunker. Ah, just another reminder that we can’t have nice things with this show.
Murphy found her right away, buried in debris. Emori sported a nasty leg injury and she even acted super nonchalant about her stomach being impaled. What? This old thing? Pfft, I’ve had worse.
Emori’s chill demeanor was a facade for how she really felt, however. She knew there was no coming back from this, and her instincts told her this was the end. She didn’t let fear get to her though. She took the last moments she thought she had to provide closure to the loved ones around her.
While Murphy, Raven and Jackson were doing everything in their power to help her injuries and get to the Anomaly stone, Emori held onto her soul. She was ready to die if it meant her friends would be OK. She stayed strong while laying her heart on the line, making sure everyone around her was fine.
She also talked with Raven about Bellamy and how they’ve already lost too much.
Emori: Yeah, I did love it (playing primes). It was the first time I mattered.
Murphy: That’s not true. That’s not true. You always mattered to me.
She’s one of the few selfless characters left on the show. She’s amazing, and thank goodness she didn’t die. She’s still alive even if she was ready to die for her friends.
Murphy vehemently begged her to hold on.
Her flame may have dimmed, but it’s still one of the brightest left on “The 100.”
A flickering flame
Now it’s time to meander into my least favorite part of the episode. I genuinely hated this. The amount of discomfort I felt while watching this was insane.
Madi deserved better. She’s just a child.
I don’t know how else to approach this, so I’m just going to be blunt with how terrible the ending was. Here’s what Madi was forced to endure in this episode:
- She had her autonomy stolen from Cadogan through M-Cap
- Became paralyzed from the Disciples prodding her brain too much. She had a stroke, which left her unable to move anything and she was trapped inside her mind but could still see and hear everything around her.
- Was left slumped in the M-Cap chair while Cadogan and his Disciples went to use the code they found in her memories
- Was almost “mercy” killed by Clarke and Octavia without her consent. This was the hardest, most disturbing thing to watch. I hated this.
- Was left alone again (still slumped, paralyzed in the chair) while Clarke, Octavia and Levitt went to stop the test.
Clarke killed Bellamy two episodes ago to protect Madi and now she almost killed Madi herself in this one? Where does it make sense? Where does any of this make sense?
If the writers really wanted to have a gruesome scene with someone enduring a stroke through M-Cap because of Cadogan’s impetuous nature to get the code, why couldn’t it have been with Sheidheda?
He was in the flame a lot longer than Madi and would’ve done everything in his power to know the memories of all the commanders who came before him (empathy is one of the most dangerous weapons after all). He’s also been on Bardo for a couple episodes where they used the M-Cap machine on him already. They could’ve gotten the code an episode ago, kickstarting the final test, but the writers decided to drag the show on and torture a child instead for shock-value.
I genuinely want to know why the writers think this was necessary for the show’s story, because it was everything but that.
This led to one of the most backwards, de-characterizations I have ever seen in a show.
Clarke was all but ready to kill Madi even though she was still alive (just like how Clarke was in season six *cough cough hypocrisy cough*). She hummed a little tune while Octavia put a gun to Madi’s heart. Clarke did almost the exact same thing in season one, episode three after Atom was caught in acid fog, suffering and close to death. She hummed a little song and stabbed him in the throat (no character development, huh?).
Clarke and Octavia were all ready to pull the trigger until Levitt brought them out of their terrifying trance by telling them Cadogan had the code.
A spark was suddenly ignited within them, but it wasn’t because they were about to kill a child without her consent; it was because the villain had the key. How does this make Clarke any different than Cadogan? They drew the same line in the sand. They’re willing to kill the same people. They just have different takes on how humanity “should be saved.”
This is not the Clarke I know. This is not the Clarke I’ve loved. After seven seasons, multiple deaths and hundreds of years traveling through the universe, she’s stayed stagnant. I don’t know who this woman on my screen is, but she’s not the hero of this story.
Madi sacrificed everything for Clarke, and in the end, her adoptive mother leaves her slumped in a chair, fearful that the one woman she loves will come back to kill her.
An extinguished fire
The producers must really want to highlight, bold and underline their nihilistic viewpoint of the human experience. In doing so, “The 100” has made me lose faith in humanity.
What’s the point of trying? What’s the point of caring? What’s the point of trying to “do better?” We can force ourselves to make hard decisions with the belief they’ll be worth it. We can sacrifice ourselves with the dream our sacrifice will save the many. However, it hasn’t been that way. Nothing’s been worth the fight. It’s all been for naught.
We’re stuck in the same cycle, losing everyone we care about and eventually the ideals that make up our identities. That’s what the show’s taught me over its seven-year run — nothing strong and inspirational just that the world is a bleak, bad place and humans are the worst.
“The 100” isn’t exciting to watch anymore. It’s tiring. It’s pounding away at my beliefs and that hurts. I don’t feel the thrill to predict what’s going to happen like I used to, because I know more characters are just going to die. I know their decisions are going to come back to haunt them.
The show has exceeded morally complex characters and their struggles with existentialism. It isn’t a question now of whether or not humanity deserves to be saved. That answer’s been made clear this season. It’s not. Life isn’t worth it, and the world would’ve been better off had everyone died in praimfaya at the end of season four. That’s where I am right now.
What’s the point of any of this? Why care about a show when you know it doesn’t care about its characters and audience? Why become invested in a show where the final message is to give up hope because we don’t deserve to be saved?
The penultimate episode was titled “The Dying of the Light” and for once the show couldn’t be more accurate.
“The 100” used to exude light and warmth through its inspiring, morally complex characters. It used to get me amped up. I used to ask myself, “What would Clarke, Bellamy or Octavia do in this situation?” when things got tough. I guess now I could ask myself that same question and just do the opposite.
The series finale, “The Last War,” airs Wednesday, Sept. 30 on The CW at 8/7c. Just one more episode until we’re all free, folks.