The 100: 5×05 “Shifting Sands” Review

The 100 never fails to have aptly named episodes, and “Shifting Sands” certainly did not disappoint in showcasing how quickly things can change on the ground, now that everyone is walking above ground and free.

Seriously, this hour was packed. It was part horror-inducing action thriller, part character-rich, and seamlessly flowed into one hell of an “edge of your seat” time. I’ve watched this show since the middle of the first season, and while I am new to reviewing it, I flat out admit it’s one of the few shows I’ve seen in a long time that improves season after season.

Let’s dive into it then, shall we?

Abby, Kane, and the Perils of Enemy Camp

I’m starting with these two lovely people because, despite the craziness in camp, it did rank lowest on the list of mind-blowing plot twists. Instead, viewers were treated to a few quiet character moments that showed the beating heart of “Shifting Sands.”

They may have left the bunker, but the scars of what Kane and Abby had to endure are written all over them, as they are once again placed in another perilous situation. I admit I was relieved and happy to see genuine love find its way in, despite all the crap going on around these two characters — which included a scary, yet chilling, collared sick man — the struggle of Abby’s addiction being fed by Diyoza for her own ends, and then using Kane’s lack of loyalty to Octavia to her advantage.

As much as I hate seeing how bad things have gotten, Kane doesn’t owe any loyalty to the woman who was about to kill him before the bunker was opened. In spite of that, I know he’s not offering his knowledge because he wants to see Octavia slaughtered. He knows the hell that was the gladiator pit and believes he can still find the most peaceful solution for his fellow bunker mates, as well as everyone he cares about.

Diyoza, however, is clearly someone NOT to be messed with, and I fully anticipate this going badly. Because when does anything ever go according to plan on The 100?

Raven, Shaw, Murphy & Spacekru Mission into the Wild

Raven and Murphy had turns in the shock collars this week, and it wasn’t any more fun watching McCreary (the creepy bastard) torture them than when he shocked Clarke two episodes ago. Raven is tough as nails, but thank God Shaw stepped in and confirmed what I’d guessed last week: He locked the missile system so Diyoza couldn’t take out what is, at this point, half the human race.

I was glad that Shaw came clean, but, really, how long did you think this “faking it” plan would work with McCreepy, the torture lover, around? Raven, being the super awesome genius she is, comes up with a plan to warn their friends about the missiles by sending Murphy out into the woods where Spacekru is armed with sass, a hobbit, and a radio line straight to Bellamy.

…which had the added benefit of putting Murphy in the safe zone with his ex girlfriend. Can Murphy and Emori please make up now? My Memori heart hurts seeing you two snark in hurtful ways at each other.

Shaw decides to also save his own ass and unlock the missiles so they can take out Wonkru — which I instantly loved, but Raven is going to rip him to shreds for this one. This matters because he already respects the woman for being more brilliant than he is, and I sense an angsty love story coming on.

Oh come on. It’s The 100, so I’d be surprised if we didn’t have an enemies-to-friends-to-potential-lovers story around here.

Wonkru vs Bellamy & Clarke

I’ll just be straight here: Octavia may be impressive as Blodreina, but she scared the crap out of me, to the point where I’m wondering if she’ll ever let that identity go. Six years of forging gladiators in a pit have turned this group into a united clan, but the brutality and ease to which they obey and protect her is even more unnerving with Bellamy and Clarke there.

Bellamy and Clarke are the outsiders here, and as hard as they both try to get someone –anyone — to listen to sense, it’s clear that however things operated before Praimfaya isn’t going to happen now. Their march into the desert is danger ridden, but they still find a few moments to connect in the way only Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake can.

To answer the obvious: Yes, I am a Bellarke shipper. No, I do not hate Echo or that she’s dating Bellamy, I am here for the ENTIRE story.

Now that that’s out of the way, I was not sure what to expect from these two past the reunion, but six years apart hasn’t taken away their well-loved habit of knowing just what to say to encourage the other in the middle of insane situations.

Clarke and Bellamy have changed — for sure — and are acclimating to being around other people; but it was hard to contain my intense love for these two, between the fireside chat, “the head and the heart,” and easily stepping back into the teamwork pace to problem solve whatever is thrown at them. I could probably write a lot more in-depth words about all these things — and don’t think I’m not tempted — but quite frankly, what it comes down to is, it’s never been more obvious where their path has been for the past four seasons or where it’s headed now.

Clarke and Bellamy believe in each other, recognizing the difficulty of what the other’s had to do, between surviving alone (initially, at least, for Clarke) and opening Pandora’s box with ingenuity — but without any of the judgement anyone else might have about their choices.

Now, though, the sands have truly shifted with Octavia in the mix. Blodreina has no issue with doing whatever it takes to fight this war, but fighting in a pit is far easier to watch over than leading an entire army through sandstorms, mutated worms, and missiles. Quick note: HOW DID ALL OF THAT HAPPEN AT ONCE?! God! Talk about giving me a heart attack here.

Octavia’s attitude stems from years of doing what it took to survive, but her rejection of love was more terrifying than any brutal choice I watched her make this hour. Without love, without caring about anyone — period, you’re a loose cannon with nothing to anchor you down except the cult you relish commanding. That kind of power is not something you give up, and Octavia’s attitude towards Bellamy, even after he admitted Wonkru strength, sent chills down my spine.

When Spacekru joins the bunker mates, the game is officially changed; and so much is exchanged in what feels like only twenty seconds. Madi running to hug Clarke, followed by Bellamy’s hug and kiss reunion with Echo, is the closest we get to rainbows on The 100.

I’d be worried if the camera didn’t deliberately pan to show Clarke’s (jealous) reaction and Octavia’s “game on” stare straight towards Echo.

Well, this is going to be FUN, isn’t it?

Final Thoughts

  • Indra was the MVP of Wonkru and most of this episode — just for being her. The entirety of Wonkru follow Octavia because she’s Blodreina, but Indra may be the only person left who follows because she loves Octavia. In six years, that hasn’t changed, and she’s still challenging this young woman who’s been vastly altered in the time she’s known her. To answer your question: No, you are not, nor will you ever be, weak for loving someone — including Octavia Blake.
  • Madi taking five seconds to size up everyone in Space Kru, sassing Murphy for not being funny enough, and admitting Octavia is her favorite (YIKES) was everything I didn’t know I needed. Bless you, sweetie, and I hope Octavia doesn’t (terrify) disappoint you.
  • WHERE THE HELL IS NIYLAH?! SHE BETTER BE ALIVE OR I WILL THROW SOMETHING!
  • I have no love for Diyoza, but I can respect her for refusing to screw around on the ground and being just sincere enough to make everything way more intimidating. It’s like watching who Clarke could have become if she stopped caring about anyone but herself. *shudders*
  • Why do I have to wait till JUNE 5?!!

The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on the CW.

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