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The 100 - A Sort of Homecoming - Review: "A Waste"

The series finale of The 100 is fast approaching, but the options for endings are slowly being eliminated, and it looks increasingly like the last war is inevitable. Series star Jessica Harmon directed "A Sort of Homecoming", with Sean Crouch penning the script.

We've seen more than a handful of planets in this final season, so why not add Earth to the mix? The vast majority of this hour took place on Earth, with Bardo seeing a minute or so. In a weird way it was quite refreshing to be back home, and the episode title did make some sense in that regard. But what frustrated me the most was that this episode spent a lot of time accomplishing very little.

Through Gaia's (lackluster) return, we learned the basics of how an anomaly bridge works when it's closing: it defaults to the planetary origin of the DNA of those passing through it, and we witnessed Gaia scoring a victory over the Disciple who followed her through the anomaly. So she's been here this whole time, but when the others arrived, it appeared they had a water source sorted, but the question of a food source went unanswered, which was pretty disappointing. This was a perfect opportunity to call back to the first few episodes of the first season, where the 100 were figuring this stuff out themselves. We got a lot of fluff around the edges with various characters trying to bury hatchets and whatnot, but this could all have happened while the group were exploring the planet that used to be a nuclear wasteland just a couple of seasons ago.

Instead, all we saw take place outside was Clarke admit that Bellamy was dead. Though the acting and passion were a good couple of notches better than last week's effort, the whole situation doesn't seem any less wrong or stupid now than it did then. That being said, it was certainly a good thing that Echo in particular moved on from things quite easily when she claimed Bellamy was a lost cause much earlier.

We lost him a long time ago.
Back inside, why everyone didn't go looking for the stone as soon as Raven had pinpointed it was beyond me. This was the single most important asset to them at that point in time, and if it was literally 100 yards away then they at least needed to attempt to locate it. I wouldn't say the storylines deteriorated from here, but I think it's fair to say the edges began to fray.

At this point, Sheidheda came into play. In another quality exchange with Cadogan, Sheidheda insisted he wanted nothing to do with him, and only wanted to rule Sanctum. In exchange he would go and fetch Madi from Earth for him. It wasn't long before he ghosted into the bunker, following some of its occupants around in circles as they tried to locate Madi.

This whole sequence irked me in multiple ways, but the biggest of all was that it made the characters look stupid. Indra, Octavia and Gaia were seemingly oblivious to the fact that the Disciples had invisibility technology. Sheidheda was able to saunter right past them, or follow them and others as they ran around like headless chooks looking for Madi. The Disciples' helmet that Clarke smashed early in the piece would have proved useful here - again another poor decision from her. She should have known better than anyone the dangers that the Disciples still posed, and how handy having any of their working technology in her possession would have been.

Everyone was off doing their own thing, and the lack of coordination and cohesion between the group was frustrating to watch. Gabriel was playing the piano to Hope and Jordan, while Niylah got drunk, Jackson and Miller were sleeping together, Echo was alone feeling sorry for herself, Raven, Murphy and Emori were turning the lights back on (well Raven was anyway), and Octavia and Indra were standing guard outside initially, then inside. Finally, the writers had to find an excuse for Madi to get lost essentially, so they fabricated an argument between her and Clarke.

Worst of all, last week's episode clearly showed that despite having invisibility, the Disciples were still somewhat visible, but this fact went missing completely in this hour. Instead, Gabriel's time was sadly cut short when Sheidheda stabbed him while he was teaching Madi the piano. He made a brave last stand which allowed Madi to escape, though he really shouldn't have lived as long as he did.

This prompted Madi to decide to take things into her own hands. She did what Sheidheda did, and fled Earth using the Disciples' technology. In her mind, no one else is going to die needlessly protecting her. That's an interesting stance to take, and I will say it's one that fits her character well, but it almost certainly ensures Cadogan and his Disciples will get their war. Moving forward into the final two weeks, we will see once and for all whether these characters have learned that there are no winners in war, and that better ways do exist. The whole transcension issue adds an entirely new dimension to things this time around though.

In all, I'm just not that happy with how this episode was executed. It made a mockery of the characters in particular with the lack of coordination, communication and cohesion. It failed spectaculartly to leverage the return to Earth. Bellamy's death wasn't sufficiently dealt with, and though it was a nice touch in some respects, the character development we saw between the likes of Niylah and Echo, and Jordan and Hope was merely tinkering around the edges and trying to fill some time. Early on, Clarke posed a really interesting question on whether the group be selfish and keep Earth for themselves when she smashed the Disciples' helmet, but it was obvious from the blasé way it was managed that that option wasn't going to get a look-in to any great degree. The showrunners have well and truly committed themselves to the last war, whether the characters like it or not.

Calling this episode a waste is a fair description in my opinion. This is not the stuff one wants to see from the 98th episode of a television series that has just two more episodes to come before it disappears for good. There was a sprinkling of quality moments, but this episode should have been packed with them. The creative team do have decent track records of late with season finales, but other than that, there was precious little in this episode to get me excited for the series finale in a fortnights time.

With all that off my chest, now's a good time to wrap things up. Thanks as always for reading, and I'd love to hear your thoughts and theories on this episode. Did you find it as much of a waste as I did? Make yourself heard in the comments below. See you right back here for The 100's penultimate hour next week.


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