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The 100 - Red Sun Rising - Review: "Premiere, Eclipsed"


In most instances you'd expect the season premiere of a new season of a television series to hold the "best episode of the season" title for a few weeks at least. In the case of The 100, last week's premiere has already been well and truly eclipsed, literally. "Red Sun Rising" was marvelously directed by Alex Kalymnios and written by Jeff Vlaming.

I was stoked to see a flashback opening for this hour. We witnessed the very early days of the Eligius III mission to planet Alpha. In three weeks on the planet, Josephine, her parents, and her crush, Gabriel, were hard at work documenting the planet's flora and fauna. Unknown to them at the time, the eclipse was just as potent 236 years ago for them as it was for the landing party in present day. Josephine's father was first to lose his mind, killing or wounding several of his mission team members in no time at all. Given everyone else in the mission team would have also been affected by whatever is in the air, it's a miracle anyone at all was left alive on the planet, and go on to establish a permanent base that endured for more than two centuries.



Alex Kalymnios has directed just two prior episodes of The 100, but both were among the darkest episodes the series has produced, and tonight's hour will get added to that list without a doubt. After finding the village on Planet Alpha in last week's premiere, Clarke, Bellamy, Murphy, Echo, Emori, Miller and Jackson decided to heed the warnings in the children's book they discovered, and hunker down and wait out the eclipse. The buildings were littered with restraints precisely for this purpose, it seems.

What followed was as spectacular as it was traumatic to watch. One by one, the characters began to lose their minds, with hallucinations of varying degrees, and specific to the individual, taking hold and wreaking havoc on them. Miller and Jackson were first to succumb, with Clarke and Bellamy leaving their restraints to try and help them, only to succumb minutes later when trying to help Echo and Emori. Meanwhile, Murphy also freed himself, which culminated in a three way battle which very nearly turned deadly.

When I'm in charge, people die. Isn't that what you said?
The cinematography, with the introduction of fisheye lenses as the characters began to lose their minds was superb. The editing was also excellent and very well thought out. The actors did very well, too. Script-wise, Echo's hallucinations were taunting her for being a spy, and Clarke's were highly personal, with her mother's voice encouraging her to take her own life. Interestingly, Murphy seemed least affected by the toxin. He appeared to be briefly after he escaped and began shooting at Clarke and Bellamy, but remained relatively sane during the hand-to-hand combat with Bellamy not long after. Shortly before the toxin took over, Murphy didn't miss the opportunity to add his dissenting opinions to Clarke's conduct during last season. One explanation could be that the nicer someone is in a normal state, the more the toxin affects them.

In last week's premiere, the dying seconds showed the drop ship leaving for space, with those on Alpha not on board, and in this episode we saw why that was. I quite enjoyed what occurred on board Eligius IV, which saw four masked intruders take over the ship, locking those who were currently out of cryosleep out of the bridge.



It was Raven's turn to save the day effectively. She woke Diyoza because there was no one else on board who knew Eligius IV as well as she did. Diyoza clearly hasn't changed one bit in her 100+ years asleep, and she's nearing the end of her pregnancy as well, which makes what she did next even more remarkable. Feigning having not thawed out enough to wake fully, she disarmed the two intruders who were sent to put her back to sleep, and wasted no time playing 'bad cop' and making use of Raven to take back control of Eligius IV, with a cameo from Madi.

Alongside this was an interesting exploration of Octavia's character. While in captivity at the hands of the intruders, and in parallel with what was happening to those on the planet, Octavia also began to lose her mind as it dawned on her how what she knew as her identity had been torn to shreds and tossed away. She fought with others in the room while trying to rekindle the Wonkru bond they used to share, but it finally dawned on her that she was very much alone. This is hopefully a turning point for her as she works through the stages of grief. I found myself scratching my head once more with the involvement of Niylah, who earlier sparred with Octavia, and tried to console her while she was trying to bash a door down. At present, Niylah is Octavia's only friend of sorts. I wouldn't go so far as to call her an ally just yet, but that could very easily change.
Let her live with what she's become.
Thanks to Diyoza's work suppressing the intruders, those on board Eligius IV had their first contact with someone on the ground in the form of one of their captives. A second party made up of Raven, Jordan, Abby, Gaia, Madi, Diyoza, the prisoner, and Octavia, made their way to the ground. Octavia apparently stowed away, though there was a slight hint Jordan may have helped orchestrate that. Diyoza, Gaia and Madi stayed behind with the drop ship while everyone else made their way in the direction the first party went. At the radiation fence they came across Shaw's grave, where Raven was understandably devastated. Not long later, they came across the village, and a sleeping Clarke and Bellamy, however Murphy was far worse for wear, with a weak pulse, and mysterious black lines on his chest. Then, a few dozen young children returned to the village. One of them asked "Are you here to take us home?" Clarke responded "Isn't this your home?"

At the end of my review of last week's sixth season premiere I asked whether history will repeat itself. Will the main characters as protagonists be forced into fighting, politics, wars and disharmony with a new people who serve as the antagonists? That question still remains unanswered. The intruders entering Eligius IV sways the answer to that question in one direction, but the unexpected return of the dozens of children back to the village on Alpha after the eclipse pulls the answer back in the other direction. Without doubt there will be some hostility and growing pains when two parties isolated for centuries make contact, but can that be overcome in a way that works for everyone and not just the more powerful or power-hungry force?



I really hope that answer can finally be a yes. It's probably worth revisiting the flashback that the episode opened with. The original mission team were peaceful and stable. Their backgrounds as scientists would have naturally made them more averse to violence. They also knew they were likely humanity's last hope. If those origins have been passed down the generations, they'll likely be more open to working peacefully and harmoniously with the main characters than we've ever seen before.

In all, I really enjoyed this episode. When I watched the premiere and this episode when we received them as screeners, it was this one which stuck with me more. It was better than the premiere in many ways, and it was also quite different to anything we've seen previously in the series. It had better flow, it had a really good flashback, and it tested the characters in a unique way. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next week.

Thanks for reading!. I'd love to hear what you thought of this episode, so make your thoughts and theories known in the comments below. The opinion poll is down below as well. See you all right back here next week.


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