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The 100 - How We Get To Peace - Review: "My Sister, My Responsibility"

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For the second week running, The 100 has knocked it out of the park with a sensational hour of television. Last week's episode was the best post-premiere episode of the season in my opinion, and last night's installment, the eighth of the season, came very close to toppling its predecessor off its perch. Antonio Negret directed "How We Get To Peace" written by Lauren Muir.

First up, the pacing this episode had was just about perfect. Like last week the episode was split between Polis and Shadow Valley. I personally couldn't split them in terms of which was my favorite. Both locations delivered some outstanding storytelling.

Polis firstly. In a last ditch attempt to influence his peers, Monty had another powerful outing with the hope that he could use the algae he'd grown while in space to rejuvenate the hydroponic garden. We learned that the algae had a variety of uses, but that the first batch in space put someone in a coma for a week. What was going to happen later in the hour was given away right then and there, but it was great to see Monty sticking to his morals, and him and Harper have bucketloads of chemistry. It was interesting to note that he may be heading downhill slightly, perhaps in a similar fashion to Jasper. Monty is stronger by many measures so he'll more likely bounce back, and his skill set will be invaluable if Shadow Valley is properly settled. He's never been one to lead, but he is understandably getting sick and tired of being walked over the top of, especially in the fashion that Bellamy and Clarke did in this hour.

Speaking of those two, Bellamy and Clarke had what was probably their most important episode together this season. The pair were united in their belief that they had to do something in order to stop the impending war, but the question was which of the main players were the most expendable. Of Octavia or Cooper, the latter was selected, and forcefully abducted by the pair. In order to stage the death, Cooper was infected with the worms she had been developing, with a cut in her glove adding to the effect. She died a very traumatic death - one of the season's worst to date - but you could tell the sacrifice didn't go unnoticed to Bellamy and Clarke.

In a really good twist, once Cooper's corpse was discovered, Octavia revealed that it was the eggs of the worms that were to be used to thin the Eligius population, not the fully developed worms. This was a clever play, and it led Octavia right in the direction of Clarke and Bellamy, with Clarke taking the fall and being marched away. In the episode's final scene, Bellamy met his sister one on one in a superbly constructed scene, and fed her with food spiked with the aforementioned algae.

My sister, my responsibility.
I saw this play coming a mile away, ever since Monty mentioned it. As Octavia was overcome by the algae, Bellamy's love for his sister was on show for all to see. What I think struck me the most was that Bellamy knew that his sister would survive, but what was hardest for him was that he had to take the opportunity for her to make the right decision away from her. He knew that his actions were a last resort, and that if she'd been less fixated on war and more open to more diplomatic solutions, his move wouldn't have been necessary. This was a big call for Bellamy to make, and there's little doubt that the hundreds of lives he and Clarke have pulled the pin on for the greater good in the past were at the forefront of his mind.

Though Diyoza won't be aware just yet, there's little doubt she will be pleased that a surrender is on the cards from the people in Polis. In Shadow Valley, the series' best antagonist to date underwent additional character development as Kane managed to draw out a softer side from the outwardly cunning and hardline leader. Last week, Diyoza revealed to Abby that she was pregnant, and this week it was Kane's turn to find out as the pair discussed the location for a new settlement, As Kane listed off what would go where, Diyoza also chimed in, revealing she wanted a school for her new daughter to grow up and learn in. She intends to call her daughter Hope, and for the record she's five months pregnant, though the pregnancy was conceived a century before that, so it survived through cryosleep while she was in space.
I'm not preparing for war. I'm planning for peace. There's a difference. 
Maybe so. But until you recognize we're all just people, all this will ever be is a battlefield.
I was amazed how well Kane and Diyoza got on, and how much they saw eye to eye on. Kane's interactions with Diyoza will be vital in shaping how those in Polis view her. Up to this point, Diyoza has appeared as nothing more than their biggest current threat. It's entirely possible Diyoza could lead a united community, or at least sit on the council, much like Kane did on board the Ark. It's at this point that I'm now really hoping Diyoza survives the season and has a place in Season 6.

Also in Shadow Valley, Abby finally happened upon a cure for the lung disease the Eligius prisoners have. Sound waves from the scanner she was using to examine people had an effect on the disease, so a prisoner suggested she scale up her scanner and use the energy produced by the deadly sonic blaster instead. For that she needed Raven, but a warm reunion turned into a bitter separation when Raven discovered Abby was motivated only by her need to feed her addiction. Unfortunately Raven had already completed her sonic blaster conversion, so in her mind she's now handed over the cure for cheap, and cured prisoners mean an increased resistance for the inbound army from Polis.

In response, Echo saw killing the pilot, Shaw, as a viable compromise that would cause considerable disruption, but this looks to be on hold after Raven's moving scene with him late in the piece. Echo had an otherwise quiet hour compared to last week.

Rounding out the Shadow Valley storylines was the reintroduction of Murphy and Emori, who were last sighted a few weeks ago (including weeks off) having bombed a search party that was looking for them and abducting the only survivor, McCreary. In this hour, Murphy, with little say from Emori, decided it would be a good idea for McCreary to march them back to the Shadow Valley camp as if he'd captured them, which would allow them to free Raven. McCreary was motivated by knowledge that Diyoza had opted to let him die instead of exchanging him for Raven - Diyoza's biggest error to date. She sees McCreary as a leadership challenger, and he's always been the most difficult of her subordinates to keep in line, so she didn't miss him at all and would have celebrated his death had it eventuated. The staredown at their reunion when he marched his "prisoners" into the camp was priceless. A leadership challenge would not be good news for those in Polis either, so longer term, those in Polis, as well as Kane, have a vested interest in keeping Diyoza in power because she's diplomatic and sensible. This space will need to be watched carefully moving forward.

Moving back a step, Emori poured her heart out to Murphy on why she loved him when he had a goal and a purpose, just like in their situation in this episode, but when he had nothing to keep himself occupied essentially, he wasn't much fun to be around. This was a surprising piece of dialog to include because it wasn't really placed correctly, and would have had more impact on me as a viewer if Emori and Murphy made the decision to become "prisoners" jointly, with the dialog included there.
This is the John Murphy I fell in love with.
In summary, I'm really pleased that last week's turning point moment that war is being acknowledged as not the best way forward continued through to this episode in the form of Clarke and Bellamy's actions, supported by Monty, Harper and Indra, and through Diyoza's interactions with Kane. Additional tidbits from Diyoza include that she was planning for peace, and the battle plans Kane flicked through were defensive strategies. This is really important to me because The 100 needs to move away from constant war, enemies and battles, and try to focus on other aspects of what it's like to live in a post-post-apocalyptic world (Praimfaya and the Second Praimfaya). That could look like any number of things, but after five seasons of conflict, it's time for a new direction and that's what being hinted at recently.

Other than that, the moments between Clarke and Bellamy, Bellamy and Octavia, Monty and Harper, and Diyoza and Kane were all superb. I won't miss Cooper much but that character served its purpose well. Bellamy incapacitating his sister was predictable from early in the hour, but that didn't make the moment any less moving, and a key moment in the series. I don't believe the peace talks between Wonkru and the Eligius prisoners will go quite as smoothly as those with a vested interest hope, given the contents of the next episode's promo, which depicts sizable internal conflicts in Shadow Valley. A minor issue I had with this episode was that some dialog was very tricky to decipher. This isn't the first time this has happened, but it's pretty annoying when it does.

Sadly, The 100 takes another week's break, so the season's ninth episode will air July 10, and an hour earlier than previously, so bear that in mind. As always, do feel free to share your thoughts and theories on this episode and this review in the comments below. See you right back here in a fortnight.

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