The 100: 5×11 “The Dark Year” Review

Sweet Jesus.

No joke. Those were the first words out of my mouth after “The Dark Year” closed out. If anyone ever doubts The 100 and its ability to brilliantly throw in surprises no one saw coming, I’ll just casually refer them to this episode. As hard as everyone worked to find the right “side” to be on, the lines were drawn in the sand and war is on their doorstep.

Let’s dive into this, shall we?

The choices we make are a matter of life or death

The 100 has never been less subtle than it is now about the hell these characters have gone through the last six years. Wonkru’s fight to survive in and out of the bunker, Octavia’s battle with the Red Queen, to each and every person making decisions that turn others into the last one they may ever make.

When you are fighting for the people you are responsible for — or people that you love — the passion drives your actions. You may think you’re acting from a place of caring, but in reality fear is what clouds your choices. It affects everything you do, and as we have seen, it usually blows up in your face.

Octavia’s choice to listen to Abby, and use fear as her weapon molded her into the person she was when she was pulled out of the bunker. Wonkru may have survived, but the trauma will never fade, no matter what Octavia says about it “being worth it.” Clarke narrowing her people down to Madi is not an excuse to act out of fear, and ignore everyone else’s safety for one person’s alone. Kane’s condemnation of Octavia, and fear of a war decimating the valley does not excuse all but ensuring a bloodbath is brought on their doorstep.

The only kind of relief I felt during this hour was finally understanding what path led Octavia to become the Red Queen. I don’t excuse her choices post Bunker — most of them power mad, insane and just flat out shitty to exert her power — but now we know how she got there. I had seen the theory of cannibalism floated around for weeks online, and to see it confirmed was both horrifying, and completely signature to how this show operates. They take the unimaginable, and make it to where we can see how these characters were pushed to this point.

What made my jaw drop, though, came down to two characters alone – Abby and Kane.

We condemn ourselves or someone else

Abby’s slow decline has been difficult to watch, but the rapid detox was a thousand times worse. Paige Turco knocked it out of the park showcasing how Abby’s struggle with the pills was truly a deep rooted escape from her guilt. That SHE was the one who told Octavia to enforce cannibalism. The fact that Octavia took the blame and responsibility for it was, as Madi said, not entirely unlike what Clarke did at Mount Weather. How they turned out after defined how Octavia and Clarke, respectively, handled the burden of making these kinds of choices.

The fact that Kane views Octavia as the devil from forcing Wonkru to make that choice, means he has no idea Abby was behind it. Kane would rather help the creepy torturer win the war, and undermine everything Wonkru and Spacekru has done to peacefully take the valley. Soon to be a bloody war ground, for the first time I’m genuinely afraid Eden will not survive the fear driven choices of what’s left of humanity.

The truth tellers in the realm of “calling people out for their shit” fell to Bellamy and Madi this week. Bellamy is done playing nice with his sister after being thrown in a death pit, and I can’t blame him in the slightest. Octavia’s plan to march blind into the valley was indeed monumentally stupid, and his focus on being with his family shut the door on any brother/sister reconciliation possibilities for the moment.

Madi — continuing the Flame saga in her head — gets a full history of what Clarke left out of her stories in the last six years, and I can imagine how illuminating it must have been. Madi’s age doesn’t preclude her experience living in this world, and as harsh as it might have been to Clarke, she needed to be called out. I understand wanting to do everything in your power to protect someone you love, but she needs to remember what she’s forgotten over the last six years of peace. Namely that there is no such thing as “safe” right now, and that won’t happen until this war over Shadow Valley has been put to rest.

I have the distinct feeling Clarke’s going to hit her breaking point and, of course that’s when all hell is literally going to break loose. Due, of course, to the double cross I did NOT see coming. I don’t know how these guys keep these twists fresh, but kudos to the writers on letting cannibalism somehow not be the biggest twist to happen in an episode.

As hard as everyone has worked to stay “safe” and find peace, the fear led straight to war. I can’t even predict who will and won’t live, but I am terrified for SO MANY PEOPLE. Let it never be said The 100 didn’t know how to make your heart beat a million miles an hour, one night a week. Thank god for romance that blooms during the calm moments, and balances out the insanity. Yes, I squealed when Raven and Shaw kissed, because I’ve shipped them since Raven outsmarted him up on the ship in space. Therefore, I declare Shaw will not die — please, show, don’t prove me wrong.

How about you guys? Are you excited for the last two episodes of this season? Who do you think will win this war?

God knows I’m dying to find out — pun not intended!

The 100 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW.

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