The 100: The Dying of the Light

"Faith doesn't just die. It gets carried forward."

Credit where credit is due, this was a great episode. Riveting, actually, this is the word that kept coming to my mind after I finished watching "The Dying of the Light." I don't remember the last time I watched an episode of The 100 and found it riveting. The final minutes were edge-of-your-seat good.

To be honest, though, that final scene was very twisted and also very cruel, possibly the most disturbing scene in the entire series. When Clarke decided to give Madi a mercy kill, I was like "what? No, you just found her!" It had been, like, five seconds since Levitt had given his diagnosis after a ten-second analysis of Madi's brain, that's fifteen seconds combined for crying out loud. Consider just how much new tech these characters keep bumping into, why would Clarke be so easily convinced of the irreversibility of Madi's condition?

Then Octavia says "Clarke, no," and I'm relieved: Octavia will talk some sense into her. But, no, she's all "I'll do it for you," and I'm like "you guys, what the hell are you doing?" I could not believe my eyes that they were going to rush the kill of a main character for the second time in three episodes.

So maybe I want to say that the show had me on the edge of my seat for the wrong reasons, but, really, I don't. Because I still have no respect for Bellamy's death scene, but I can see where they were going with Clarke and Octavia ending Madi's life. I can see Clarke making that decision after a few failed attempts to fix Madi's brain, therefore I can low-key accept that the writers jumped a few steps of the road to give us a nerve-wrecking climax.



What happened to Madi is tragic, a fate somehow worse than death – for herself and for the people who love her. Because, unless they find a way to reverse what was done, Clarke will still need to make the decision to end Madi's life in the finale. I used to think Madi was the untouchable character, the one who would surely make it to the end of the series alive. And maybe she is. Maybe what happened to her is the writers' way to destroy Clarke's world (again), but still be able to fix it in the finale and give her a happy ending. Otherwise, I don't see Clarke recovering from this, which means odds are she will sacrifice herself in the finale for whatever greater good there is in The 100's 'verse. She lost her mom, what, two weeks ago? Then she kills her best friend to keep her daughter safe, but not a day after, she loses her daughter anyway. Girl is running out of reasons to pull through and stay alive.

Cadogan ripping through Madi's mind also kind of validates Clarke choosing to kill Bellamy. She was right, after all, that Madi's knowledge would put her in danger. No, that doesn't fix the awfulness of Bellamy's arc this season (it actually makes his belief in Cadogan even more pathetic) nor his poorly staged death scene, but it backs Clarke's reasoning somehow. What she feared happened, after all. And now I finally hate Cadogan. If anything, "The Dying of the Light" took him out of the gray area the past few episodes put him in and firmly reestablished him as evil and opportunistic. All that talk about transcendence had me worried that the writers were about to validate Cadogan's work and journey.

Now, the protagonists find themselves in a curious position when it comes to the final war/test. Most of them don't buy anything the Bardoans believe in, but they are worried that, if there is indeed a final test, Cadogan can't be the one representing human race. Did we know that only one person is going to be tested? I don't remember that ever being stated prior to this episode. Do we have any doubts it's going to be Clarke? And that she'll have to pull a lever? I'm a bit worried, though. How the hell are they going to wrap everything up in forty plus minutes?

Bits and Pieces

- The other big plot of the episode revolved around Murphy, Raven and Jackson rushing to save Emori's life. I loved two things about it: Emori's willingness to let herself go, so that they would concentrate on the bigger picture (saving Madi and stopping Cadogan), and how her friends just wouldn't give up on her, even after she went unconscious.


- Gaia told Clarke that Madi acted just like her: putting others' well-being before her own.

- Gold acting stars for Eliza Taylor and Lola Flanery. Eliza actually made me care for Clarke again. The way her voice cracked after Levitt told her Madi's condition was irreversible... damn, that was good acting. Possibly Eliza's best work in the entire series. Luisa d'Oliveira and Lindsey Morgan were also very good.

- Although I wanted Octavia to tell Clarke that it was too soon to make the decision of ending Madi's life, I loved that she was willing to kill Madi so that Clarke wouldn't carry that burden. I really love this newfound friendship of theirs and I resent the series for not giving that to us sooner.

- Good character development for Levitt in this episode. His faith has been wavering the entire season, but you can see the exact moment his mind switches to disbelief: when Cadogan, the man too good for familial bounds, declares that he wants to see his daughter. Oh, the exposed hypocrisy of religious leaders, always a good medicine to open the eyes of those who truly seek the truth.

- In season one, Clarke pulled the lever to ignite the bomb that killed the Grounders. Season two, to kill the Mountain People. Season three, the one that destroyed the City of Light. Season four, I'm drawing a blank. Season five, the lever that closed the door of Eligius IV. Season six, she pulled the lever to float the woman wearing her mother's body. What lever will Clarke pull for the last time?

- I wonder what role Bellamy would have played in this episode in the writers' original plan? I don't think he would have let Cadogan risk Madi's health, but he wouldn't be able to stop him either.

- I failed to notice last episode that they took Bob Morley out of the credits.

- You know, I wouldn't mind if it was revealed that seasons six and seven were a simulation that Monty has been running to make everyone better before they wake up. That way, the good character development that happened in those seasons (say, Octavia) wouldn't be lost, and we would instantly get rid of what didn't work. Plus, Diyoza would be like: "What the hell, I'm still pregnant?"

- Panda made his no-kill list, I'll make mine:
  • Indra: she is an interplanetary treasure who must be preserved at all costs.
  • Raven: she's suffered enough and deserves a happy ending, as happy as this series is still able to provide to its characters.
And that is pretty much it. I'd love it if Murphy & Emori and Octavia & Levitt got happy endings too, but I think that dying in a blaze of glory would fit both Octavia's and Murphy's character arcs.

Quotes

Gaia: "Killing Cadogan won't change anything."
Indra: "He can't chase us if he's dead."

Madi (to Cadogan): "Go float yourself."


Was this a four? Maybe I'm grading on a curve, because the past couple of episodes were challenging, to say the least, but I think this one deserves four out of four nano-tags. Or close.
--
Lamounier

2 comments:

Sjusjun said...

Isn't transcendence the only solution to save Madi? Can Madi take the final test? Something to ponder about...

magritte said...

I really, really hope it doesn't come down to Clarke taking the final test. To me, the character arc she really needs is to not pull the lever, to not take charge of the situation.

@Sjusjun, I'd love to see Madi somehow do it. Or Raven. I was really struck by how little we've seen of Raven in the past couple of seasons. Or even Jordan.