Wednesday, September 30, 2020

REVIEW: 'The 100' - Clarke and Cadogan Face the Test to Determine the Fate of the Entire Human Race in 'The Last War'

The CW's The 100 - Episode 7.16 "The Last War"

After all the fighting and loss, Clarke and her friends have reached the final battle. But is humanity worthy of something greater?

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series finale of The CW's The 100.

"The Last War" was written by Jason Rothenberg and directed by Jason Rothenberg

Across this final season, Cadogan has made the argument repeatedly that it's transcend or die. That has been the stakes for this final story. The pending test would determine the fate of all humanity. The results would reveal the conclusion of the story and the fates of the characters who survive. And yet, that choice isn't as finite as that. This series finale reveals that Cadogan truly did misinterpret a lot. It was actually a test and not a war. Jordan figured that out looking at the text for a few minutes. All of Cadogan's hard work studying this former civilization and creating a new society with a specific ideology may have been completely pointless. And yes, Cadogan is the only person from the Disciples ideology who makes much of an impact in this conclusion. When Levitt is the one making the argument to both sides in this war, it wasn't going to be convincing. He was a character only introduced in this final season. Plus, he hasn't had much depth outside of being sympathetic to Octavia's plight and essentially being in awe of her. He probed her mind and came around with a new appreciation for life. It was simplistic without much nuance whatsoever. It's much more inevitable and effective when Octavia is on the battlefield making this plea to the warring factions. Indra is more than willing to listen to her as well. Of course, that's only after she kills Sheidheda. That moment was expected in this finale. It simply needed to happen because of their trajectories throughout the season. She had to get her revenge against him for her parents and for her entire people. He is a threat to humanity. He will always be its downfall because he is determined to lead through fear. He fires the opening shot of this war because he sees it as advantageous to himself. And yes, the core characters have killed plenty of times. They have even gone so far as to dismiss any potential consequences for what those actions do to their psyches. Clarke seeks revenge against Cadogan for what he did to Madi. It's a simple quest for her. And yet, the final test is asking for more evolution from this species. It needs to be more than repeating the same pattern of war and violence over and over again. The judge points that out to everyone who presents themselves. Cadogan was probably destined to fail the test. However, it was only getting started when Clarke arrived and promptly killed him. That was shocking. It proved that a lot of action was going to take place in this final episode. He had to be dispatched quickly because the conclusion wasn't solely about how he perceived the human race. It was more about the test than the specific threat that Clarke and her friends had to deal with.

Clarke fails as well. None of the humans are perfect. They have all failed. But it's also wrong to prop one person up as a representative for the entire species. That's still how the judgment falls though. Clarke fails but Octavia succeeds. The human race gets to transcend. Clarke is left alone though. She has to deal with those consequences. She isn't alone though. Instead, all of her friends have been given a choice. They want to spend the rest of their lives with her on Earth. It's a sweet ending that brings everything back to where it started. But it's still strange given everything that happened to get to this point. It makes Bellamy's plight especially baffling. It simply rings false that he isn't part of this final reunion with the rest of his friends. Those who died before the transcendence happened didn't evolve to the next stage of consciousness in the world. Clarke truly did kill her best friend. People are willing to admit that he was right. He was fighting for an existence with no pain. And yet, it was more important for this family to stay together. They could join as one. Their collective experiences could help grow the consciousness of the world. Madi gets to experience some kind of normal life that she is more than deserving to have. This is an ending that hopes to make some big proclamations about the human condition. We need to be willing to lay down our swords and stand together. We are all human at the end of the day. And yes, personal connections are just as rewarding too. They lift each of us up. They make this life worth living. Clarke may have been condemned by those who judge the world. But she is still loved by her friends. They experienced something she didn't. They still wanted to come back. It's a happy ending even though it's also stating that this is the end of the human race. They are responsible for that once again. This time it just doesn't happen to be a bad thing. That tonal shift is important even though the overall message has been better executed in some of the previous conclusions from throughout the series run. It was hard to believe all of the character twists and turns from this final season. That created an ending where it wasn't easy to be invested in what would happen to these characters we once had great affection for. That's disappointing. It's still moving to see Murphy and Emori fight to stay together for as long as they can. Raven and Octavia's pleads to be better are effective too. And yet, the collective idea of what's fated for humanity seemed to be the priority over the individual characters which proved quite damning in some insistences this season.