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The 100 - The Dying of the Light - Review: "Are We On Course For A Happy Ending?"

Last week's stupidathon episode of The 100 didn't exactly have me hotly anticipating last night's penultimate hour, but I was pleased to see the veteran writer Kim Shumway hit most of the right marks. As I'd expected, this episode was the first of a two-part finale, and traditionally the first parts have been neither here nor there, with this one being no different. "The Dying of the Light" was directed by Ian Samoil.

The bunker collapsing after a bomb was planted by the Disciples looked like it may become a bit of a metaphor for this episode early on. The primary objective for this hour was to rile the characters up so much emotionally that they would be unstoppable when they eventually take on Cadogan and his Disciples next week. In the bunker, Murphy regained consciousness to find Emori had been buried and impaled in the collapse, so he, Raven and Jackson spent the duration of the episode trying to stabilize Emori and smash their way through the floor to where they hoped the stone was. Eventually they succeeded, though Emori is still in a pretty grave state, and tried to convince Raven in particular not to worry about her, and instead go to Bardo. Their dialog was one of the better parts of the episode in my view, and helped to build on the connection they've developed right back from when Emori became Raven's apprentice of sorts a few seasons ago.


If it's a choice between saving me and saving everyone, you choose everyone. It's what I want.
Meanwhile, Clarke, Indra, Gaia, Jordan, Hope and Octavia were cut off from the others in another part of the bunker. Having lost Madi moments earlier, Clarke and Octavia opted to swallow the two remaining nanotags that were left behind, only to find that they weren't brought through to Bardo immediately. This gave Clarke plenty of time to stew over her indiscretions, with Gaia strangely being the one to offer consolation. I'm glad Clarke came to the realization that a bit of her had rubbed off on Madi before she discovered her fate later on.

On Bardo, Madi underwent M-Cap, with Levitt under the strict direction of Cadogan to do whatever it took in order to get the codes and other details he wanted. Madi put up a fight, but was ultimately no match for the machinery. Levitt's overarching purpose in this season was revealed shortly thereafter when Cadogan dismissed him for not wanting to put Madi at undue risk, so he switched sides and brought Clarke and Octavia through to Bardo. Cadogan had a few more bumps in the road for them, however, when he switched the arrival location to a spot surrounded by Disciples, so they were promptly captured and imprisoned alongside Sheidheda. Levitt was able to free them, and allowed Clarke and Octavia to strike a deal with Sheidheda that he would cause a distraction while they went to rescue Madi.

The following scene was quite a bit better than I believed it was going to be. To everyone's surprise, Madi had been all but killed. Levitt believed she had suffered a stroke, and while her brain was somewhat functioning, all her motor functions had been lost. Clarke was understandably distraught - though she actually showed that this time as opposed to when Bellamy was needlessly killed. Some quality directing and acting here really helped to sell this moment properly too, and despite the circumstances it was a nice moment when Octavia pitched in and offered to mercy kill Madi for Clarke.



Funnily enough, they didn't go through with it because Levitt determined that Cadogan had in fact got what he wanted before leaving Madi locked in and essentially dead. I don't really understand why that was reason enough for Madi to be spared, but I think it's likely that Madi and Emori will end up surviving as a method of providing a happy ending in next week's series finale. There's still some unfinished business left for Madi in particular because after causing his distraction, Sheidheda vanished. Where he ends up is anyone's guess, but a small part of me is now wondering whether a truce is somehow able to be manufactured, because he hasn't been enemy number one since he and Cadogan first met a few weeks back. Everyone wants Cadogan and the Disciples finished, so it will be interesting to see if the way to make sure that happens involves Sheidheda being spared. This episode gave us yet another example of his enormously distructive abilities, and it's certainly understandable why Clarke and the others would prefer to be fighting with him instead of against him. Besides, a three-way war in a series finale seems a bit dumb from a storytelling perspective. One thing that is for certain, though, is that JR Bourne has been superb this season, and his cameo in this hour was yet again great to watch.

Other than that, this episode was pretty light on overall storytelling. Perhaps the most important new plot development was Jordan announcing - and Madi stating much more firmly - that the last war wasn't a war as such, rather it was a test someone has to take. Though this theory was planted many weeks ago, what's really frustrating is that it's hardly been developed at all since, which is pretty disappointing and indicates poor creative direction. This would have been a significant opportunity to divide the fandom into differing trains of thought, with evidence for and against for each theory, and characters also taking sides. It's exactly the kind of debate and theory-spinning a final season should have generated, but the showrunners have left it far too late in the season to start convincingly developing the theory now, with the series finale next week.

There's still plenty of big unknowns moving forward into next week, however. One of those is whether Raven followed Emori's dying wish and used the stone to send everyone to Bardo instead of Sanctum. I think Sanctum is more likely at this point, with Raven's thinking being that they can drop her off there and make haste to Bardo to assist Clarke and Octavia. She was leaning that way too, with her last words to Emori. The promo strongly suggests everyone important makes their way to Bardo at some point to begin the last war. Let's also not forget that there's still Echo and Niylah to think about as they're still presumably trapped in the bunker. I know The 100 has had a character rotation policy in place for as long as it's existed, but I'd have hoped that given this isn't any old penultimate episode, everyone would be involved in it, instead of that being reserved for the series finale only.



Overall, not the best episode considering it's a penultimate one, but when you're this far down the rabbit hole you've just got to press on with it. I guess firing the characters up emotionally is a good thing in some ways, but the trade-off is that the storytelling gets pretty lean, and I'm just not a fan of that, as I also mentioned last week. I'll acknowledge that there's a difference between character development - which is what we saw last week - and emotional setups, but for a series' penultimate episode, I think one thing that can be ascertained is that the creative team were getting pretty short on ideas. We've got this enemy who wants to have this big war and transcend and blah blah, but we wasted all of last week's episode making the characters look stupid, and much of this week getting a rise out of Clarke and Murphy by hurting those closest to them. Is it just me or does that seem really cheap?

Despite all that, however, there is a series finale next week. I want to hear from you in the comments what you thought of this episode, obviously, but I also want to hear what your happy ending looks like. What would make you satisfied? What would make you think the minimum 100 hours you've spent watching this series, and the many more hours reading, thinking, writing or talking about it, were worth it? And what would help you recommend The 100 as a whole to someone because you knew it ends well? I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks as always, and I'll see you all back here next week for one final time.

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