At one point in The 100’s season five finale, Octavia turns to Diyoza, the person who’s symbolised the other side of this conflict for her since the early episodes, and reaches a conclusion that most people have been playing with all season: “Eden didn’t stand a chance.” Neither, it turns out, did Earth, as after countless wars and three nuclear apocalypses, ‘Damocles – Part 2’ saw the planet destroyed for good. “Earth isn’t coming back,” says Monty. And thus The 100 forges ahead into its new world order for season six, with Bellamy and Clarke waking up after a 125-year cryosleep to meet their friends’ 20-something son Jordan and face an uncertain future on a new planet.
But before we can even get into considering what any of that might mean for season six, we have a finale to get through – and, once again, The 100 proves that it can always deliver in the final episode. After a long, tense and sometimes drawn-out season, ‘Damocles – Part 2’ was a thrilling finale, packed with violence, emotional character beats, high stakes, and all the other hallmarks we’ve come to expect of a great episode of this show. But, above all else, it was a game-changer.
With Clarke back on side and Octavia putting aside her Blodreina persona for good by publicly pledging her support to the new commander, Madi leads a charge that soon turns the tide in the war for Eden – and McCreary is bitter enough to destroy the land and attempt to kill everyone in the face of his defeat. After 12 episodes of gearing up for a fight for land, it ultimately took less than a minute for McCreary to enter the nuclear bomb launch codes and for the show to change tack, becoming a fight for the survival of the human race once again. This time, though, there’s a few key changes and five seasons worth of mistakes for the characters to learn from, paving the way for some great throwbacks and touching plot points.
Considering his season five arc has been so focused on doing better and avoiding war, it was fitting that Bellamy is the one to guide Madi to not repeat the mistakes of the past by killing all of McCreary’s surrendering men. With Madi on a victorious high and determined to get revenge for the deaths of hundreds of her people, it’s Bellamy who steps in and reminds her, and everyone, that they can’t go on in the way they have been doing, in this cycle of violence, war and retaliation.
“We’ve been here before,” he tells Madi. “We landed in someone else’s home and we went to war. You can execute them because they’re the enemy or you can break the cycle. You can be better than them. You can be better than us. The choice is yours, Heda.”
Even beyond Bellamy’s voice of reason speech, this episode was using previous seasons to inform and explain characters’ actions, from Madi’s telling Bellamy that Clarke spent the better part of six years radioing him every day as proof of the bond they’ve forged, and Bellamy refusing to leave any more of his friends behind to die in a nuclear wave (again), to Raven giving in as McCreary threatens to crush Shaw’s leg during torture because she knows how hard it is to survive in this world with only one fully-functioning limb. Even blink-and-you-miss-them moments, like the look between Clarke and Raven that told Raven all she needed to know about how to react to defeat McCreary, are built on seasons of interactions and character development that have all come together seamlessly.Octavia, too, seems to have reverted back to a version of her season one self, feeling like she doesn’t belong with any of the surviving groups and wryly pointing out that her cryopod is kind of like hiding under the floor all over again. This time, however, when she tells her big brother she loves him, she doesn’t get the same answer in return; there’s a part of Bellamy that loves his sister, but their relationship isn’t the same as it was, and he won’t tell Octavia what she needs to hear anymore. And then, of course, we get to Monty and Harper and their choice to live happily ever after in space while everyone else is taking their Long Nap. Between the number of survivors, the amount of rations on the ship and the fact that Earth isn’t survivable, the group decides to enter into cryosleep for 10 years and wake up when they can go back to Earth. Only, when Bellamy and Clarke wake up, it’s been a lot longer than just those 10 years.
Watching as Monty and Harper’s happy life together plays out in a series of videos is a bittersweet moment, serving as both a fitting ending to two underused characters who chose each other – at first for their own happiness, and later continued to do so to work on a solution to save their friends when they realised Earth wasn’t an option anymore – and also a heart wrenching goodbye, to the characters and to the series as we know it. In choosing to live with Harper and not join his friends in cryosleep, Monty dedicated his life to ensuring his friends and his son got to survive, and he sent them off to their new lives on this new, survivable planet he’s found for them to live on with the hope that his friends really can be the “good guys” this time and find the peace that he and Harper found, and that Jasper wanted to so badly.
It’s right, then, that Monty and Harper chose for Bellamy and Clarke to be woken up and hear this message first. For all the conflict this season has brought for the pair, and all the challenges they’ve faced together, one thing Bellamy and Clarke have proven time and time again is that they work well together, from their reluctant partnership to keep the original 100 safe in season one to their fierce loyalty to their people throughout and Bellamy’s passing remark that they can’t figure out the fate of human race (again) without Clarke. Of course these leaders, these partners, should meet Jordan first, should learn Monty and Harper’s story first, and should see what’s in store for them next first. Bellamy and Clarke are the head and the heart of this show, and sending the characters into a brave new world with those two leading the way is a very deserving finale indeed.In case the ‘End Book One’ message that appeared at the end of the episode didn’t make it clear, with ‘Damcoles – Part 2’, The 100 is closing the chapter on the delinquents, Skaikru, grounders and their time on Earth for good. This finale was a good one, but it was the return to space, to science-fiction and the leap into the future that made it great. Individually, a lot of this season’s episodes held up well, exploring character beats and situational conflicts to great effect in self-contained units, but the season as a whole felt longer and more full of despair than those that came before it. The sheer darkness of the world in season five left me, personally, feeling nostalgic for the relatively more carefree earlier seasons, before having to find your humanity again became an everyday problem.
With this finale though, season six promises to bring back some of that hope for a fresh start that the pilot brought with it, and that every season since then has been chipping away at. Of course, the characters haven’t felt the 125-year jump and will still be holding onto a lot of the same issues, conflicts and problems that came between them in season five, but all of that just feeds into this new world of possibilities that The 100 has left us with. Which, really, just makes all of it all the more exciting.★★★★★