‘The 100’ 5×02 Review: Red Queen

The second episode of season 5 of The 100, Red Queen, aired last night, and as I imagined it was much faster paced than the premiere episode. Not only was it more intense than the previous episode, it delivered a lot more feels. The second episode of the fifth season focused solely on what had happened inside of the bunker, and showed the events of one day.

Focusing only on one day allowed the show to give a more nuanced look at the state of the characters and their conditions than the first episode did. While the premiere episode took us through Clarke’s life over the six years since Praimfaya, the second episode took an alternative approach, and arguably better one.

The Important Stuff

The bulk of the episode was focused on Octavia, and her finally coming into her own as a leader. Octavia Blake has always been one of my favorite characters on The 100, and her character development is probably one of the best I have seen on TV in a while. She has come so incredibly far from chasing butterflies into the glowing forest and being sidelined and protected by her older brother.

She has gone from scared young girl who sleeps under the floor, to the leader of the entire remaining population (or so she thinks) of the world. I could write an entire essay of Octavia Blake and her evolution as a character, but for now let’s focus on her journey in this episode.

This week’s episode showed us the bunker of Wonkru a little over a month after Praimfaya, and the unrest that it was facing. As usually happens in the world of The 100 the clans began to fight, and in this episode Skaikru thought they would take the bunker for themselves. An engineer for the sky people figures out that they may not have enough resources for all 1200 people to live past the five years they had initially planned for.

Cooper (the engineer) takes things into her own hands and locks Skaikru in the dining hall (and also conveniently the farming area) during their meal time. The problem is that not all of them are there, and the other clans quickly become aware of what is happening.

Octavia’s evolution from naïve little girl to ruthless commander is seemingly complete in this episode when she confronts the grounders outside of the dining hall waiting to kill all of Skaikru when the doors are opened by Jaha (more on him in a minute). She moved forward and proclaimed that they were all one Kru or they were the enemy.

One by one grounders stepped forward to challenge her and one by one they were defeated.  After killing approximately 10 challengers the rest of the grounders bowed to Octavia, who at this point was covered in blood (assuming this is where the episode title Red Queen comes from) and she earns their respect.

Octavia insists that only the guilty members of Skaikru are to be punished, something that is different from past grounder traditions. The end of the episode shows us what the punishment for the guilty parties are a gladiator style death match.  The show then jumps back ahead six years where the same type of death match is happening and includes none other than Marcus Kane…

Some Other Important Stuff

Now, one of my favorite things about this show has always been its ability to let characters exist in the moral grey area, and no character better personifies that than Jaha. He was the Chancellor of the Ark, and an antagonist on the ground, but he was a father and an eventual savior as well. He was loved and hated at any given time, and in last night’s episode he finally met his end.

He was stabbed by a grounder in the commotion after Cooper took the farms for Skaikru, and though he was gravely injured he managed one last rousing speech. This time to Octavia, giving her that final push to become the leader he knew that she could be. I never really like Jaha, but this moment here makes it just a little bit harder to hate him.

The Shipper Stuff

On a less depressing note, this episode gave us the confirmation that Miller and Jackson are a thing and that they are *gasp* in love! Also on the shipper front in this episode we see the fallout of Kane’s decision to save Abby, even though she had specifically told him to let her die. We got a kiss from one ship, and an almost kiss from the other but both seem to be headed in the right direction. I am keeping my fingers crossed that at least one of them sees a happy ending, though I realized that is next to impossible in this show.

The Verdict

A-: I liked this episode more than the first one, because it felt more like The 100 that I have grown to love. I can’t wait to see more of the bunker, and look forward to seeing their reunion with the others whenever it may come.

The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9 on the CW.

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