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The 100 - Sleeping Giants - Review: "Difficult To Invest In"

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Mere hours after a premature sixth season renewal, The CW's The 100 aired its third episode in Season 5. "Sleeping Giants" stacked up nicely against its two premiere predecessors, though some would say what it produced was rather premature. Tim Scanlan directed the episode written by Aaron Ginsburg & Wade McIntyre.

With the current formula, the odd-numbered episodes focus on what's going on in space and in Clarke's world, with even-numbered ones focusing on the Second Dawn bunker. In theory it's a production cost-cutting measure that doesn't often work that well in practice, but with two very separate storylines and settings, the The 100 creative team are pulling it off. Being odd-numbered, this hour focused on the former storyline, and if I'm honest, that storyline is my pick of the pair by far.

Overall, things happened very rapidly, but fortunately things didn't seem inorganic or rushed for the most part, though the sacrificial lamb here was character development, and a lot of potential material was left out. The season premiere was very character-driven, but that took a back seat for a storyline-heavy episode this week.

Go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.
On the ground, the prisoners of Eligius IV began scouring the valley for Clarke and Madi having lost men to the pair already. Colonel Diyoza was very much in charge and stamped her authority without hesitation. This antagonist is growing on me, which is a good thing because I didn't expect that at all. She wasted no time executing one of her own who was left skewered by Clarke and Madi in order to lure the other prisoners to that location so she could snipe them. This didn't end up working for Clarke, who was hit and wounded by the mystery force field gun. I felt as if a couple of camera angles went missing here that could have been better used to convey the scene, but that's a minor point. In the end, Clarke was captured after managing to hide Madi, and was brought to a church being used by the prisoners as a base.

Despite the action on the ground, space was where I was most interested, and this was duly rewarded. The Ark Seven wasted no time heading for the Eligius ship, and after a drama-filled attempt to dock with the ship, they had a much better idea of what they were dealing with. There were some good verbal exchanges between the characters - Monty and Murphy, Harper and Emori being the standouts - but the end result was they discovered the near 300 other prisoners still in cryosleep, and rightly debated whether to kill them all now or use them as leverage. This was a tough choice, but even though this would have been a mass killing that I would have supported much more readily than the similar events we've seen in this series before, sparing them for now is the smarter move.
There isn't an escape pod.
Perhaps the hour's best piece of character development was showing how Emori has changed thanks to her time in space. She's clearly made an effort to learn from Raven, and although she still has a wee way to go, she did the job when it came to landing herself, Bellamy, Echo, Harper and Monty on Earth, while Raven and Murphy opted to stay aboard the Ark - the former in order to carry out a kill order should it come, and the latter who was fooled by Raven's promise to depart the Eligius ship aboard an escape pod. The only trouble with that was the pod didn't actually exist, leaving Murphy in a position that he'd rather not be in.

As funny as this was, it was all serious on the ground. The five travelers were surrounded very soon after exiting their rocket, and it was Madi who rescued them from imminent death at the hands of the prisoners. In a heartwarming moment she recognized Bellamy, and took everyone to the prisoner headquarters where Clarke and Bellamy were the closest they've been in over 2400 days. They're not free yet, but that will depend on Bellamy's ability to negotiate with Colonel Diyoza.

Like I said at the start of this review, this complex series of events happened very rapidly, and while it's good to know that normalcy in a sense that everyone's back together in some capacity isn't far away from being a reality, it doesn't really leave me with a sense of satisfaction as a viewer. The opportunity was there for the ship the Ark Seven used to get to the Eligius ship to have suffered some damage, meaning they had to do something else to interfere with the prisoners on the ground such as scrambling their communications or some other form of interference to delay whatever they were doing until they could repair their ship and head down.

Doing that wouldn't have seemed unrealistic or held the storyline up, and it could have allowed the relationship between Clarke and Diyoza to be developed more. Diyoza asked Clarke how the world ended, but this entire conversation was cut. It would have been fascinating to hear that story purely as a refresher for long time fans, and to help bring new fans up to speed. Diyoza could have told Clarke her story too. I'm assuming she will at a later date, but swapping that and the Ark Seven landing around in the timeline could have been beneficial.

In all, this was a good episode of The 100 for the most part, but the speed thing happened made it difficult for me to invest in the Ark Seven characters and their journey to the ground - the complete opposite to what I experienced watching Clarke's journey in the season premiere. Some tweaking here and there would have made things better, but we can now only look forward to next week which is set back in the Second Dawn bunker. I'm curious to see whether its occupants will be any closer to getting out of the bunker instead of slaughtering themselves, but time will tell. I'm picking a full reunion for episode six. I am secretly excited to see what Murphy and Raven get up to on board the Eligius ship. That could be a dark horse worth keeping an eye on.

Thanks as always for reading! Congratulations once again to the cast and crew for securing a sixth season so early on. If you have any thoughts and theories on this episode please do share them with me and your fellow SpoilerTV readers in the comments below. See you all right back here next week!

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