ReRuns: A Love (Hate) Letter to ‘The 100’

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Yes, I know it’s bad. But it’s oh so good.

“The 100” starts in 2149 when 100 teenage prisoners are sent from their space station to see if Earth is habitable again, a century after a nuclear apocalypse. The dystopian sci-fi is based on Kass Morgan’s novel series under the same name.

Ever since the first season of “The 100” dropped on Netflix back in 2014, I’ve been watching this show out of growing spite to finish it. Six years later, I can finally say: thank God it’s over. 

The seventh and final season hit Netflix Oct. 8 and I got to be honest — it’s pretty disappointing. 

In the first four seasons, the character’s motivations and arcs are important to the plot and make the show gripping. There’s a heavy subtext in “The 100” that speaks on class differences, colonization and medical ethics dilemmas. Sure, the science doesn’t make sense on the “sci-fi” show, but who cares? We’re here for the drama, not a pre-med lecture.

Sure, I enjoyed the absurd plotlines over the seasons, from body snatchers to genocidal AIs to two nuclear wars (more is more, right?). But looking back and typing it out, it all feels a little bit ridiculous. In standard CW fashion, the story just gets wilder, with the final season including new planets, space-traveling through random “stones,” an emotionless cult and a resurrected dictator. 

Oh, and mind-reading technology, for some reason.

The last season is a lot less entrancing than the earlier ones. The two main characters, Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) and Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley) take a backseat this season, resulting in the car crash that is the finale.

Usually with shows that go on for this long, many from the original cast die off. This isn’t a problem unless the show replaces them with one-dimensional characters, which is what “The 100” did. A stale Ritz cracker has more personality than some of these new characters.

While the set design and cinematography improved as the show went on, “The 100” made a strange choice — similar to other sci-fi shows — where every scene is as dark as America’s future. Maybe this is meant to distract the audience from the cringe-worthy dialogue during fight scenes or cover the numerous plot holes.

From a storytelling standpoint, I understand the choice to dim the lights. The setting loses its vibrancy as the characters lose their innocence, blah blah blah. But, with the show so dark, all I could see was my laptop screen reflecting my frown. 

Most of my love for the show is nostalgia-based since I used to binge episodes with friends in middle school and early high school. When I think back to the slow-moving, political third season, I’m taken back to my friend’s backyard deck, drinking lemonade and ogling over the actors. Seriously, if nothing else, watch this show for the attractive cast. 

The show has made strides in representation, from a bisexual main character to a pretty diverse cast overall. I’m always a big fan of TV shows and movies that include LGBTQ characters while also giving them personalities outside of their sexual orientation (a low bar, I know). 

The best moments are character-driven, such as Jasper Jordan’s (Devon Bostick) personal struggles in seasons three and four and Octavia Blake’s (Marie Avgeropoulos) badass transition to a warrior in season two. I live for Jasper and Monty Green’s (Christopher Larkin) handshake where they high five themselves. It’s when the story is simple that the show peaks. 

Despite the headaches I got from the final season, it’s clear the showrunner and writers had a long-term plan. There are lots of Easter eggs throughout the seasons foreshadowing future events, making it a great re-watch. 

While “The 100” is fairly plot-heavy and wacky at times, it’s definitely binge-worthy. 

All seasons of “The 100” are available on Netflix.

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