*This review contains only extremely minor spoilers for The 100, season 6.
After leaving a completely dead earth at the end of season 5, the survivors of the human race arrive at a new planet to set down lives in the season 6 premier – Planet Alpha. It’s a new planet, but the same old The 100. Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and friends have to fight to save their people, which is really the core of the show.
The new planet is populated by the descendants of the passengers who arrived on the Eligius III ship generations ago, so once again, some politics have to be played to get the ground people to accept the people who came from the sky. They have technology, and seem to have made for themselves a peaceful society, but they also have their own specific culture and religion, and their own secrets as well. It’s those secrets that threaten everything.
The mass of the people who came over on the Eligius IV stay in cryo-sleep this season, with only the core cast being awakened to explore the new world, which was clever. There are also some significant deaths this season, though I won’t say who, so get ready to say goodbye to some beloved characters. The 100 has never had any problem killing off main characters before – let’s not forget Finn, Jasper, Jaha, or (now) Monty, and it has even more of a trigger finger with secondary characters, like Lexa, Lincoln, Sinclair, Roan, and (now) Harper. So it should not be surprising that some major characters are killed off, but it is anyway. It’s always tough when you have to say goodbye to characters that have been on the show since episode 1.
The fact of the matter is, even though the setting of the show has completely changed, it’s still excellent, and the tone is still the same. Save our people, go to extreme measures to do it – that has always been The 100‘s way. This season, our characters are trying to “do better,” than they did on Earth. This means trying to find other ways of getting things done than just killing a lot of people, trying to make peace, to leave a planet better than when they find it for once. But trouble stalks our characters as it ever did, and they wind up making a mess anyway. Well, if they didn’t then there wouldn’t be any show. But it’s also a narrative about how humans poison everything they touch – “we are the problem,” the show’s characters have spouted and contemplated before. That thesis holds more true every season.
There are some great arcs this season, especially since a bunch of the characters are actually on this path of trying to do better. Bellamy (Bob Morely) takes Clarke’s words to heart and thinks with his heart over his head throughout the season. It’s a good move for the character. Bellamy is never better than when he’s sticking by Clarke’s side, supporting her, and trying to do the right thing. He’s come a long way from the days of following Pike. He and Clarke have some really great moments this season that have us all wondering when they’re not together already, especially as Bellamy and Echo (Tasya Teles) really have no chemistry.
Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulus) has the most out-and-out redemption arc this season. After becoming quite the villain last season as Bludreina, Octavia starts to realize this season how badly she screwed up. When even Bellamy is willing to leave her behind without a second thought, she knows she’s lost. Octavia may have went extreme last season, but this season we see that Octavia still has a good heart inside her, guiding her. When she finally decides that she wants to find redemption, and get her brother back on her side, she fully commits, and we get to see the Octavia we have known and loved from the beginning.
Eliza Taylor has an interesting job this season as only part of the time she’s playing Clarke, and part of the time she’s playing a new character named Josephine who has an interesting backstory. I don’t want to reveal any more than that so as not to spoil it, but suffice to say Taylor does a great job playing both characters. Changing the way she talks, and her mannerisms, as she flips back and forth between the two characters.
As ever, desperate times call for desperate measures as peace breaks down between Clarke&co and the locals. The 100 has always been great at building tension, and coming up with great strategies for battle scenes and rescue missions. Clarke and Bellamy are world-class strategists, and they don’t disappoint this season.
It’s sad to leave behind the world that the show has built over the course of five seasons – the different tribes of the Grounders, the politics, the sets. But the show does an admirable job of making the transition – keeping the vibe, the themes, and the main cast the same. My only quibble is the open-ended way the season finale leaves off. There are too many vagaries and unanswered questions, and the cliff hanger doesn’t quite pack the punch they were hoping for. All in all though, a great season. Thank God the show’s been renewed for another season – the renewal came just days before the season 6 premier, showing the faith the network has in the show.