‘We Will Rise’
If The 100 last week was an explosion of action and consequences, then ‘We Will Rise’ was the mad scrambling of people at the very edge of their capacity for hope. With the secret of praimfiya finally out, the grounders are at war and the Arkadians are slipping slowly but surely back into Bellamy’s season one mantra of “whatever the hell we want”. The world of The 100 is well and truly lost to chaos, so what follows is a choppy, jumble of an episode that reflects that feeling well, jumping from character to character and scene to scene as the chances of humanity’s survival look more impossible than ever.
Right now, the only plan left is to create nightblood and survive the radiation that way, which means Bellamy, Clarke and Roan face a dangerous trip through hostile Grounder country with ten barrels of highly-explosive hydrazine on board in an effort to deliver every last drop of it to Raven in Becca’s lab, all the while Raven desperately attempts to find a way that will allow her and Abby to travel safely to space and back. Back in Arkadia, meanwhile, the end of the world and their inability to survive it has left the Sky People determined to make Ilian pay for robbing them of their chance to live and Kane’s tenuous control on the mob can only hold so long, especially when he’s facing off against the ruthless Skairipa, Octavia Blake.By this point, Octavia’s unfaltering anger – at her brother, at her people, at the world – was starting to wear a bit thin, but seeing it reach its peak here as she lashes out once again at her brother for his role in Lincoln’s death before she calmly accepts that darkness is all they can know at the end of the world and gives Ilian over to the raging Arkadian mob builds up to a moment worth waiting for. As Octavia lets herself remember Lincoln, it feels like her character has reached a turning point and she can finally feel the pain of his death, stop fighting for once and just grieve – and Marie Avgeropoulos plays the moment we see all of this play across her face so well.
It’s the kind of longterm payoff The 100 likes to make us wait for, but at least when the unanswered questions finally get a fall out, they get to play out in a worthwhile way, which is how it feels when Clarke and Bellamy get the chance to similarly reflect on the Blakes’ relationship and how they’re running out of time to fix it. Bellamy, especially, is desperately clinging onto the hope that he’ll earn Octavia’s forgiveness before the death wave hits, but first they have to negotiate the warring clans and Azgeda’s betrayal, leaving Bellamy and Roan to try and work together for the first time to save Clarke and the fuel. Which, of course, they do, in large part due to Roan’s ever fine-tuned fighting techniques and Bellamy and Clarke’s being perfectly in tune with one another.‘We Will Rise’, then, included so many of the kind of familiar plot and obstacles that we’ve come to expect after four (and a half) seasons, but what this episode truly excelled at was the number of wonderful character moments, interactions and throwbacks that the plot brought about. Clarke and Kane’s early coming together of leaders is given a whole new compassionate edge considering Kane’s newfound relationship with Abby, while later Monty stands up to the man who sent him to the ground, Jaha, and calls on him to help calm the Arkadians’ anger by invoking on the memory of his son Wells.
But as wonderful as it was to see Roan and Bellamy snip at each other’s one-track thoughts to save their own people, or to see Kane step up and force Octavia to face the grief she’s largely been channelling into violence and vengeance since Lincoln’s death, one of the most gratifying arcs in this episode was forcing Raven and Murphy to spend time together and finally let Raven’s pent-up anger lash out at Murphy. Their history is often overlooked in the grand scheme of things on this show, so Raven finally hitting that breaking point, followed by Murphy’s own quiet self-hatred at the extents he’ll go to to survive, was very well realised and long overdue.Overall, this was a bit of a mismatched episode, combining yet another high stakes and compelling main arc with a fall back to the tendency to jump between B-plots, arcs and characters a bit too quickly to make an impact. It’s a necessary evil with a cast as large as The 100’s, especially if we don’t want to forget about the more minor characters completely, and ‘We Will Rise’ almost got away with it here, but without the luxury of spending a bit more time lingering on the smaller details, the show opens itself to a lot of loose ends, and a lot of viewer frustration. Luckily, we’re just about halfway through the season, so there’s still plenty of time to bring everything together again, and maybe even find that elusive solution now the characters’ latest only hope has been taken from them too.