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The 100 - Exit Wounds - Review: "Please No More Nightbloods"

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A week off couldn't have come at a worse time during this fifth season of The 100. Last night's episode was very good, but the hiatus meant I found myself playing catch-up constantly. "Exit Wounds" also saw the debuts of writer Drew Lindo and director Michael Blundell, both of whom brought a different look and feel to this hour.

We can't have you caught up in a power struggle, especially during a war.
I'll open this review with the above quote because it most closely resembled the episode's primary focus. This power struggle of course centered around the current Wonkru leader, Octavia, but what made things interesting - and also seem a little pointless or slow at times - was the fact that there was no real power struggle at all, merely the possibility of one courtesy of big-mouthed Madi, who predictably outed her Nightblood properties very early in the piece, thus throwing into motion a series of events that turned the tables for Clarke. On one hand, this correctly demonstrates Madi's relative immaturity, but on the other, it rekindles a now long gone storyline that really should remain just that.

Looking at things objectively, this mini subplot is created purely to give Gaia and Niylah something to do this season. They're the wedge that's been used to completely separate the remaining ties Clarke and Octavia have with one another. That's fair enough given how much Octavia has changed in her six years in charge of Wonkru, but now the damage has been done, their relationship can possibly be rebuilt through the back half of the season. Again, objectively, for the series to continue, this has to happen. More on all this later.

Moving back a step, Diyoza and her Eligius members start and end the hour firmly in control. Using loudspeakers attached to a generous supply drop, Diyoza encourages Wonkru members to defect from Wonkru and build a new life with them in Shadow Valley. In a pivotal moment which again enhances my satisfaction with these antagonists this season, Diyoza states plainly that they need expertise such as farmers and engineers, and that Wonkru members are of greater use and benefit to them in these roles than they are if they were annihilated with a couple of rockets.

This rightly causes great concern for Octavia, but it's her reaction to Diyoza's recruitment drive that puts the biggest black mark on her leadership record thus far in my book. Instead of trying to unify her people, plan a way forward other than war, and listen to those more than qualified to provide advice, she continues to issue ultimatums that, in layman's terms, are stay or die.

Bouncing around in all of this is Echo and Bellamy. Despite her brother's pleas, Octavia once again banishes Echo from Wonkru, with her only reprieve coming in the form of joining the defectors in an attempt to plant a bug in the Eligius systems using a flash drive and Raven (who sat out this hour), with the hope that the bug could enable Monty to disable the 'eye' - the camera being used by Diyoza to track Wonkru movements. This was the only decision that Octavia got right - even if her series of incorrect decisions led her to this sub-optimal one.
That is not my sister.
That quote was from Bellamy, and it's fair to say he had an awful time in this episode. His attempts to talk some sense into his sister - including fighting and defeating her in a sword fight - all failed aside from his influence in allowing Echo to be spared if she could plant the bug. He did say goodbye to his girlfriend in the best way possible, however, with the season's first steamy scene between him and Echo. This wasn't your typical teenage steamy scene either - director Michael Blundell managed to make it seem more raw and primal than the series has produced in the past, and that was probably designed to resemble how they met, when they were being treated essentially like animals. Cue my favorite line in the episode:
We found each other in a cage. Whatever happens, I know we'll find each other again.
This line was an absolute jackpot from writer Drew Lindo. It took me as a viewer right back to the second season and the hell Bellamy and Echo endured in Mount Weather. It emphasizes that these two have a much deeper connection with each other that surpasses the standard reasons for their relationship such as slim pickings, isolation and convenience while on the Ark as the only reasons why they are together. That isn't to say that Bellamy hasn't endured hardship with Clarke - that statement is false for sure - but it gives Bellamy's relationship with Echo a decent and valid credibility boost.

Moving on to Murphy and Emori, who are in hiding in the valley, right under the noses of the Eligius patrols. Their screen time was short and sweet, but it bordered on being my favorite part of the hour in many ways, not least of which was their dialog concerning their break-up on board the Ark. Murphy didn't take too kindly to Emori spending so much time with Raven, and probably felt a bit useless considering her skills in several areas increased significantly whereas he hardly bettered himself at all during the six years in space. Their chemistry is still somewhat present, however, but the hour's second steamy scene was stopped short by McCreary staggering out of the cave where they'd lured the search party into and detonated a bomb using some spare rocket fuel. They now have a hostage, and how they choose to leverage him will be really interesting to watch.

Finally, back to this Nightblood mini subplot I discussed earlier. What we're fairly certain of is that Madi told Octavia (and Clarke also knows) that she's a pure Nightblood, which could mean she has a case for Wonkru leadership if enough of the population are still aligned towards that. At the end of the day, I'm really not that keen on seeing Nightbloods gaining importance again. That ship has long since sailed, and there's plenty of other potential sources should the writers be looking for a way to threaten Octavia's reign without opting for something they've used before.

It's this part of the hour that pulled the whole episode down a peg from my perspective, otherwise everything else was very solid, even if the week off made things harder to follow at first glance. It's good to see Echo have a singular mission to focus on which should test her resolve, and that there might be a way forward to leveling the playing field with Eligius and Diyoza thanks to Monty and also Murphy and Emori. Clarke and Bellamy find themselves in a limbo of sorts which is rather unorthodox, and what Octavia will do next is literally anyone's guess.

That's about it for me with this review of this episode of The 100, but sadly the flow is in for another jolt as The 100 takes another week off and returns on June 19. Thanks for reading, be sure to leave a comment on what you thought of this episode, and I'll see you right back here in a fortnight.

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