The 100 – Season 5 Episode 10
“The Warriors Will”
The 100 forces characters to live with the decisions they’ve made as Octavia has to stand by her decision to force Bellamy and Indra to fight in the pit while other characters suffer from the consequences of decisions they have made.
Octavia’s story has been a little hit and miss this season. For the most part it works because there’s a strong sense of why she feels she has to behave a certain way. In order to keep the respect of those she leads it’s important that she stands by her convictions otherwise she risks losing it. This episode reinforces that with a divide starting to form now that word of a new commander is starting to spread. It is recognised that Madi is just a child but people are inclined to follow her because she’s the keeper of the flame. Octavia is strongly encouraged to respect that and it looks like the only way the legitimacy of her leadership will continue to be recognised is to start a War. Fortunately for Octavia it’s something she is committed to doing anyway but putting Bellamy in the arena has awakened doubts within her.
There is no denying that the brother/sister dynamic between Bellamy and Octavia is badly fractured but this episode makes clear that it isn’t damaged beyond repair despite her decision to sentence him to the pit last week. This is the first time we get a sense of internal conflict from Octavia and much of it comes from thinking back on everything she has been through with Bellamy. The scene where flashbacks to her childhood where Bellamy cared for and protected her are intercut with brutally violent memories she has from the arena are especially effective because it shows how much life has changed for Octavia. The aim is to differentiate the innocent young girl who hid in the floor because she wasn’t supposed to exist from the uncompromising leader that she has become and leave the question of whether that more innocent side of her has been lost forever.
Octavia and Bellamy have a conversation about the changes in their relationship. She remembers a time on the Ark where they were playing a game and she cut her lip causing blood to go everywhere. Bellamy cut his own arm to make people think it was his blood so that she would be safe. As they reminisce about that the camera focuses on the scar on Bellamy’s arm that resulted from that decision. It’s a very quick shot but works really well because it sums up Bellamy’s commitment to protecting his sister that resonates to this day. Octavia sees being poisoned by algae as a huge departure from that memory though Bellamy doesn’t agree with her because in his mind both actions were necessary in order to protect her so as far as he’s concerned both decisions were made because he loves her. It’s an interesting perspective and easy to see his point of view though equally reasonable that Octavia would feel betrayed by Bellamy’s recent decision.
Not everything about the Bellamy/Octavia interactions work because it seems like the show is quick to forget Bellamy’s past actions. He makes references to there being no way back for Octavia which makes it look like Bellamy has a really short memory considering he was forgiven for siding with Pike which led to him presiding over a massacre and standing by as Lincoln was executed. There was a period where Octavia hated him for that but she no longer does which shows that there is always hope for forgiveness. It’s also important not to forget that Bellamy forgave Kane for spacing his mother so his position here doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. It’s a direct contrast to Bellamy’s more morally upright characterisation that has been in place since the beginning of the season as he shows no real respect for Octavia and makes no attempt to understand where she’s coming from. Perhaps if he did they would have a more open discussion but his judgemental attitude prevents that and feels at odds with who Bellamy is at this point.
Despite the rigidity of the rules that she has created Octavia tries to find some sort of loophole that will prevent her from losing her brother. She knows that the fight will have to go ahead so that order can be maintained but she can also do what she can to influence the outcome. Her decision is to side with Bellamy because he is her blood which means that losing Indra and Gaia is something that she will have to live with. It’s a decision she makes and stands by because Bellamy is the only blood family she has left so that definitely means something. She gives Bellamy tips on how to defeat Indra by exploiting an injury and expects him to be more than a match for Gaia. Marie Avgeropoulous’ performance clearly shows that it’s not an easy decision to make but she forges ahead with it confidently even if there is a little bit of doubt and remorse in her facial expressions.
The scene between Octavia and Indra is really powerful especially when considering that as far as either of them know it’s the last conversation they’ll ever have. Their mother/daughter connection comes into play in a big way when Indra assures her that all she did was nurture the strength that was already there. There’s a great deal of pride in her voice and complete acceptance of her fate. When it comes to fighting in the arena she has made Gaia her priority for the same reason Octavia favours Bellamy. Indra plans to take Bellamy’s life and let Gaia kill her to be the victor because she sees that as the only way for her daughter to live under the rules of the society she lives in. She feels that this is her duty as a parent to ensure her child’s survival and doesn’t try to bargain her way out of the conflict because she understands why Octavia feels that she needs to go through with it.
Monty is still championing a peaceful resolution that will benefit everyone. His algae production is going really well though it will take time for it to be a truly viable alternative. Octavia learns about this in her quest for a loophole that will save Bellamy though isn’t all that interested in giving Monty’s plan a try. Part of they could be down to stubbornness on her part though it’s also possible she doesn’t think it will appease the people enough to keep her in command. Her purpose for visiting Monty is to convince him to rescue Bellamy therefore saving him from a fight to the death. At this point Monty is not interested in putting himself in danger because he doesn’t want to live the rest of his life as a wanted man. This could be seen as selfish on his part as he is potentially leaving Bellamy to die but he could also see it as delaying the inevitable at best and having them both killed if an escape attempt fails at worst.
Monty does take a risk when he forces himself into the arena to let the people see that peaceful alternative. Ciecumventing Octavia’s leadership is a dangerous thing to do but he also believes that the people deserve to know all the options before deciding whether they should go to War. He makes a compelling argument and there’s a sense that it provokes discussion at the very least therefore adding fuel to the tension that already exists now that Madi has the flame.
Octavia recognises this and sets fire to the farm which removes choice from the equation altogether. It’s a very tragic moment because it signifies the death of peace and acts as confirmation that there will be War. It’s clear that Monty’s plan was a viable one and with enough support the people could be very happy living with a fully sustainable food source but now that’s impossible and all of Monty’s hard work was for nothing. The episode ends with Octavia leading the march towards Shallow Valley with War all but confirmed.
Madi having the Flame impacts her in really interesting ways. The weight of history is passed onto her through the memories of the other commanders. Most prominent is the memory of Becca being burned to death which affects her as you might expect. The visualisation of this is excellent with the first person viewpoint and Becca being reflected in the helmet of those responsible for her death. It’s a very powerful example of the fate that most commanders suffer eventually. Clarke makes that point to Madi so that she is aware of what she’s getting into. Clarke is also the one to give her the necessary reality check when Madi believes the hype around her being commander material. It may seem harsh but reminding her that she’s still a child is necessary for context as she doesn’t have the experience or skills required to be an effective commander. Taking on that role is more than simply bonding with the Flame and Madi will have to learn what it means before even considering that. The scenes between Madi and Clarke are really well done because they develop Madi along natural lines and make great use of the mother/daughter connection between them.
Abby continues to suffer from really bad withdrawal that only gets worse. As a Doctor she recognises that the cold turkey approach won’t really work considering her level of addiction because she’s likely to suffer from a seizure or have her heart stop due to her body craving the pills. Her preferred method would be to reduce the dosage steadily until the dependency disappears but at she isn’t getting supplies at this point because McCreary refuses to help her out until she agrees to heal him. Abby refuses to do this because she thinks that McCreary is too dangerous and would rather that his lungs fill with fluid than make him better. This puts them at something of a stalemate as neither of them will back down until the other gives them what they want. McCreary seems very confident that Abby will break so continues to forge ahead knowing that he’s dying. Abby is likely content with potentially dying as long as McCreary dies too.
She does try to get around this restriction by befriending Vinson (Mike Dopud) who is grateful enough for her efforts to help her whatever way he can. The episode is really clever about building this pseudo friendship as the script is careful to push aside the horrible crimes that Vinson has committed by framing him as a nice guy in the context of his conversations with Abby. Her strung out mindset means that she’s more likely to latch onto any support that she receives and the promise of more pills causes her to lose objectivity. This pays off negatively when Vinson brutally kills the prisoners guarding Abby as she scrambles for her pills. This could easily have been prevented had Abby been less selfish but it’s intended to show how deeply addicted she is while delivering a genuine shock with the gory sequence involving Vinson killing and eating those guarding her. It’s really effective and makes good use of the involved characters to deliver that shock.
Another strong episode that delivers important insight into Octavia’s current mindset surrounding her relationships and her ability to lead. She spends a lot of this episode looking for some kind of loophole that will allow her to save Bellamy. Her first attempt involves her giving Bellamy insider information about Indra that he can use to defeat her. As she’s doing this they reminisce about their childhood and all the things Bellamy did to protect her. Octavia sees his actions now as a departure from that but in Bellamy’s mind he is still doing what he can to protect her. Some aspects of this don’t quite work as Bellamy seems unwilling to forgive Octavia which means that he’s forgetting how she forgave him for siding with Pike, presiding over a massacre and allowing Lincoln to be executed. This contrasts Bellamy’s current morally upright conversation and prevents their conversations from being as effective as they could be. Octavia’s discussion with Indra is much better as it makes great use of the mother/daughter dynamic while showing that Indra understands what she has to do to ensure that Gaia survives. Her attempt to find a loophole also has her petition Monty to help Bellamy escape but he’s unwilling to do so because it’s unlikely to succeed. Instead he shows her that the algae farm is viable and there’s no need for War which eventually causes him to break into the arena to show the people that they have the choice. Unfortunately Octavia removes that choice in a shocking moment where she burns the algae farm therefore making the decision on behalf of the people.
Madi’s experience of bonding with the flame is really well handled and develops the mother/daughter bond she has with Clarke naturally. The visualisation of Becca’s death as Madi relives it is really effective and punctuates the pain that comes with being a commander. Combining this with Clarke giving her a reality check in terms of her readiness to take on this role is a nice touch because it does show how significant this is. Abby struggling with withdrawal and refusing to heal McCreary in exchange for more pills is great. It shows Abby’s expertise and ability to be rational enough even though she is being torn apart by her dependency and let’s her morality shine through as she would rather risk death than heal McCreary. Her alliance with Vinson proves to be ill advised as shown by his violent murder of the prisoners guarding Abby. The episode sets this up cleverly by framing Vinson as a nice guy who can be trusted before contrasting that with the painful reminder of why he’s a prisoner in the first place.
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