The 100 S5E2 Review

While I was not impressed by last week's season premiere, there were two things I was interested in that were introduced. This week's episode expands on one of those: what has happened in the bunker?

S5E2 "Red Queen"

The episode begins 46 days after Praimfaya. There is debate over how things should be run here. The people from the Ark have that experience, and it's something that Kane doesn't want to return to. Octavia agrees, opposing death sentences for minor crimes. However, these disagreements seem small compared with what's to come. The characters here run into a problem when they learn they are trapped, and are limited on resources. It's just like the Ark all over again. I found the politics on the Ark very entertaining back in season one, so as long as this isn't a rehash, it should be compelling.

A major conflict here is rooted in a woman named Kara, who insists that the bunker should belong to those from the Ark. When she takes action, it is huge. She locks the grounders out of where all of the resources are, leaving them to die. The grounders aren't the only people out there; Octavia and Jaha are also on the wrong side of the door. Abby tries to convince Kara to reverse her action, by explaining in detail how starvation will affect those on the other side of the door. The picture she paints is bleak, but doesn't convince Kara. I found this conflict very compelling, and it makes sense given the circumstances.

Outside the door, the group realizes that the only way to escape starvation is using the one thing that the people on the inside want: Jaha. Octavia reluctantly works with Jaha, but he refuses to get the door opened until Octavia assures him that she will stop the grounders from killing innocent people on the inside. Jaha explains how, on the Ark, they had to kill anyone who put the group in any danger of death. His purpose anymore seems to primarily be to talk to the leaders, as he has the experience being leader on the Ark. He had a similar discussion with Clarke last season, and I really enjoyed it. This one was good as well.

Octavia takes a firm leadership stance, telling the grounders exactly how it will be: "You are Wonkru, or you are the enemy of Wonkru." Anyone who objects to letting the innocent people on the inside of the doors live fights Octavia, and of course, she wins. Octavia fight scenes are always strong, and this is no exception. Now, the remaining grounders respect Octavia as their leader. Octavia has continually had to fight for the respect of grounders, and the show continues to make it believable.

On the inside, the most interesting thing that happens is Abby and Kane discussing his decision to bring her into the bunker. That's how uninteresting everything is in there. Luckily, little time is spent there. Jaha opens the doors, and Octavia demands that the guilty be taken alive. Kara puts a gun to her own head, but she is stopped from killing herself. She won't escape so easily. After this has happened, Abby and Kane discover Jaha's injury, which seems to be fatal. Jaha has come to terms with dying, and in his final moments, he shares his excitement to be reunited with his wife and son. The show has realized that Jaha's purpose in this show is over, and gave him a nice death scene. I am very happy about this decision.

At the end of the episode, Octavia tells everyone how things will work here. She makes this different than life on the ground or life on the Ark, she decides to use what she knows about ancient Rome. She gives the criminals an opportunity to live, by having them fight each other to the death, with one winner. This differs from the utilitarian philosophy of the Ark, and the idea among the grounders that "blood must have blood." The final moments of the episode flash forward six years and provide us with a startling reveal, it seems Kane has gotten himself into trouble. I am very intrigued here, the episode leaving us with another question of "how did this happen?"

This was a strong episode of politics, leadership, conflict, and fighting for survival. The 100 leaned into its strengths for the most part this week, and as a result provided a compelling story. Octavia is a very interesting character, and it was wonderful to see her gain respect as a leader in this episode.

Score: 9/10

What do you think of "Red Queen"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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