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The 100 - Pandora's Box - Review: "Reunions"

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The fourth episode of Season 5 of The 100 finally brought both main subplots together into a single episode, but much like last week, things are developing at breakneck pace with little chance to build tension and simmer. "Pandora's Box" was expertly directed by Dean White, with Charmaine DeGrate writing.

A substantial amount of storytelling was crammed into this hour, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Second Dawn, which was is my least preferred subplot, saw the bulk of the action unfold, and its content was on the whole better than the effort two weeks ago. Initially, Kane was in the ring along with three other opponents accused of a crime and sentenced to die, though living was possible should there be a winner. From what was stated later on, Kane was presumed guilty of stealing pills for Abby, though he didn't actually do this. He successfully won his battle, but Octavia denied his freedom, forcing him to fight again another day.

When we invite death into this hall, we honor it.
It's clearly been a tumultuous few years for the 1200 inhabitants of the bunker over the past 6 years 7 months. What I did enjoy a lot about the storytelling throughout this subplot was the hints that answers were to come. Later on in the hour, when Bellamy reunited with Octavia outside the bunker, he rightly asked for an explanation for what had gone on during that time, but while Octavia didn't answer directly, a "dark year" was hinted at, along with the fact that people change. Answers about what happened in space over that time also look promising thanks to the reunion between Clarke and Bellamy.

Reunions were certainly the main theme in this episode, and they weren't in short supply at all. I'd taken a guess that next week's episode would see some action on this front, but the showrunners beat me to it. I'm not sure it was for the best in terms of a longer term storytelling perspective, but I really enjoyed every reunion that was featured. Let's run through them.

Clarke and Bellamy is the obvious starting point here. This was more subdued than I expected, but it fit the characters beautifully. It formed the building blocks for the other two reunions between Octavia and Bellamy, and Clarke and her mother Abby. In the former's case, you could see Octavia finally relax and let her guard down slightly when she embraced her brother. For Abby, Clarke was the last person she could have imagined walking through the door. Abby was grieving at the presumed loss of Kane at the time and while her and Kane are still very much hot property, it seems like Clarke's presence is the best news she's had in a long time.

The ground felt a bit empty thanks to the absence of Echo, Emori, and especially Monty, with all three being sidelined in this hour as normal transmission resumes. Bellamy was involved with everything - including things that Monty should have taken over, especially keeping in touch with Raven. That's a disappointing omission in my book.
Jeez, and they call me the cockroach.
I was really pleased that Raven and Murphy got the amount of screen time they did. Those two characters experienced more growth than anyone else in this episode. Murphy is building a sense of empathy and humility, and it was fascinating listening to him explain his decision to stay on the Ark. Raven couldn't bring herself to shoulder the responsibility of killing the remaining 283 cryosleep prisoners, but when push came to shove, neither could Murphy.

The power struggle between Colonel Diyoza and Bellamy was also pretty good value for the most part, if not a tad predictable in places. An oversight by Raven meant that the prisoner drop ship was still able to access the hangar doors on board Eligius 4, so they were opened from the ground in order to flush Raven and Monty out. That forced Raven and Monty to play their one and only card, which was to wake the prisoners, forcing Diyoza to close the hangar doors to prevent killing their own men. With an obvious transport and firepower advantage, the prisoners are back in control, and they wasted no time taking the valley for themselves. Wonkru have a manpower advantage for the time being, but charging into battle will not be worthwhile. They need to play smarter than that.

For an antagonist, I'll again reiterate my fondness for Diyoza. We learned a bit more about her in this hour too thanks to Raven. Diyoza is a highly decorated former Navy SEAL who became the most wanted criminal in the world thanks to her penchant for terror attacks. On the ground, her decision-making has been correct and decisive, though the people she has under her command are often where that effectiveness ends. As a sidenote, we now know there were a total of 4 Eligius missions to mine asteroids. The first mission found mineral deposits on an asteroid, the second mission was to mine it but failed due to a lack of manpower. Information on the third mission is encrypted and unreadable, but the fourth mission used prison labor to account for the manpower shortages experienced on mission two.

It seems to me that Eligius may have fallen victim to its own success because prison labor is a surprising way to go about adding manpower for subsequent missions. It's likely we'll learn more about the third mission at a later date, but it's great to see the backstory for this new introduction to the series being developed early because that's doing a lot to keep my interest in this aspect.

The final moments of this episode indicate we might see more of the same in terms of what's happened in the past, going forward. Octavia virtually declared war the moment one of the prisoners fired a shot at her - she was only spared thanks to the sacrifice of one of her followers. Wonkru are stranded in what was Polis, and the prisoners have taken the valley. We likely have a good old-fashioned turf war on our hands, but the current state of affairs will have to change significantly for things to swing back in favor of Wonkru. Diyoza's interest in obtaining Abby for assistance in curing a condition which is hinted at in next week's episode promo will likely be the catalyst to force the prisoners to be more reasonable. The leadership situation in Wonkru will also be interesting, but something tells me that won't see a lot of development.

Some final odds and ends from me include my delight at Bellamy rightly questioning the purpose of the fighting ring that Bellamy laid eyes on the moment he landed in the bunker, the episode's primary cliffhanger in what happens next for Raven and Murphy now that the other prisoners are awake being heavily understated, and the mystery of how Abby became hooked on pills, and that she continued taking them despite promising to Kane that she wouldn't.

In all, a substantial amount happened in this episode of The 100. I haven't mentioned it since the first paragraph of my review but I still don't feel any real tension or angst yet for any storyline. Things are happening too quickly at times, new developments aren't being given time to settle, and though the reunions and many other things were well executed and good to watch, the tension is low overall. Part of it may be that the prisoners seem more temporary than the Grounders and the various clans were. My heart rate may have elevated slightly as Kane's date with destiny came and went, but that outcome was predictable. That being said, there's still lots I liked, and I'm enjoying the journey this season is taking us on. The reunions and Raven and Murphy's stints were my favorites in this hour.

Thanks as always for reading! I hope you've enjoyed my review - please do share your thoughts on this episode in the comments below. See you right back here next week.

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