The end of the world is nigh – again! – and tensions are rising on The 100 Season 4 Episode 1.
... not that tensions were ever particularly low on this show to begin with.
The premiere picked up mere moments after the jaw-dropping events of The 100 Season 3 Finale. This made for an action packed (and super plot-heavy) installment.
“Echoes” does a lot of the heavy lifting of laying the ground work for this season.
It establishes what I assume will be the two major through-lines: (1) the fight for who will control Polis and the coalition of the clans and (2) the larger scale struggle to save, well, all of humanity from imminent destruction (and to keep it all a secret in the meantime).
The former will have to try hard to impress me. Already, it’s very similar to the political intrigue we dealt with during the first half of The 100 Season 3, the initial Polis arc when Lexa had Roan bring Clarke there.
It seemed that fans were split between loving and hating that arc – if you love Lexa/Clexa, that arc was the best part of Season 3, whereas if you wanted more of the original Sky People, it would’ve been a total drag. I, for one, really liked that arc until its regrettably trope-filled conclusion, The 100 Season 3 Episode 7.
How will this time around be any different?
Instead of Nia with Ontari as her humble but ambitious servant, we've swapped in Roan with Echo as his aspiring right-hand. The most interesting part of this plot is Roan’s initially-reluctant acceptance of the leadership and power.
Echo spent a lot of time (relatively) convincing him that becoming the king and wearing his grandfather’s Ice Nation crown was the right thing to do.
Roan, your people are hungry for you to lead them. Do so now as your mother would have. Kill Wanheda, take her power, and rule over everything.
It was also telling that Roan publicly vowed only to rule until such time as another Nightblood "ascended" to be the commander, appointing himself keeper of the flame in the interim.
Jury's still out on whether Roan will survive his reign. This show doesn't have a great track record with keeping its Grounder leaders in the land of the living.
I also appreciated that Roan shut down Echo’s idea to kill Clarke once “Wanheda” told him the truth about what was going on and handed over the flame to him as a bargaining chip.
Their unexpected allyship (and Roan's consistency as a character) is pretty refreshing.
Also refreshing: I was expecting (dreading) some sort of drawn-out subterfuge when it came to Clarke convincing Roan to accept Skaikru as the thirteenth clan again and put them under his protection, some searching for a way to avoid letting the irradiated earth truth out.
Luckily, Clarke cut through the bullshit and told him about the nuclear reactors melting down.
The characters are realistically making decisions as though there is no time to waste (because, actually, there isn’t), and that’s a smart move on the writers’ parts. It's keeping things exciting and moving quickly.
Everything to do with Clarke and the flame broke my damn heart.
It’s important to both Clarke’s and Lexa’s characters (and their relationship) for Clarke to still be hung up on Lexa. After all, Lexa’s sudden and traumatizing death happened only a few weeks ago (at most) in show-time.
Hell, she just said goodbye to Lexa for probably the last time in the City of Light only about an hour before her season premiere conversation with Roan in the throne room!
For Clarke to be “over it” or not mention Lexa at all would be unrealistic and disrespectful to both characters and their arcs.
Thankfully, on top of how much it visibly pained Clarke to part with the flame – the last part of Lexa she had left – we also got a really sweet moment between Clarke and Abby, where Clarke explained to her mother what Lexa had really meant to her.
Abby: I know that look.
Clarke: I loved her, mom.
Abby: I know.
The best part? Abby already knew. Because of course she did.
Interestingly, Roan and Indra, the two major characters whose fates were left up in the air when The 100 Season 3 concluded, are both miraculously alive when the show picks up.
Indra was last seen tackling a then-chipped Kane in order to save him from an explosion. Roan was last seen even earlier, getting shot while trying to sneak Clarke in to get to Ontari in the first half of the finale.
Indra’s fate was less of a surprise – there was no way in hell they’d allow such a major character to die off-screen with no fanfare.
But Roan looked pretty damn dead and somehow survived for a significantly long time with a bullet in his chest and no medical attention whatsoever.
Truthfully, the mechanics of the saving-Roan thing was all a little much for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the character and was thrilled that he lived (and will likely play a much larger role this season).
But holy hell, his miraculous resurrection just in the nick of time – Echo was *this close* to chopping Clarke’s head clean off! – was the cheesiest thing this show has ever done! I rolled my eyes so hard I might’ve strained an optic muscle.
Speaking of Echo: she was awesome since she was first introduced as Bellamy’s unexpected Grounder ally back on The 100 Season 2 Episode 11, and she’s still pretty damn cool.
Beheading an ambassador and declaring Polis under Ice Nation rule? Scary and a little bit evil, but undeniably badass.
Ambassador: Until the new commander can ascend, Polis is to be ruled by ambassadors of the coalition. If Azgeda wants it, they must take it by force.
Echo [beheads her]: Consider it taken.
Echo is like Ontari in a sense, with all of the Ice Nation fealty minus much of the bloodthirstiness.
Like, I’m not getting the vibe that Echo is gonna go off and murder a bunch of innocent children or rape a man, basically. Which is a definite improvement over Ontari, who could have been a more nuanced and intriguing character than she wound up being. Echo’s got all kinds of potential.
What also has potential: all of that Echo/Bellamy chemistry.
Listen: I am firmly NOT one of those viewers who is watching solely for romance.
This show’s got so much more going on than that. But The 100 has incidentally crafted a few of my favorite on-screen relationships of all time amidst the action-packed drama.
And, hey, I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em – Echo and Bellamy have sparks. It was there when they first met and tentatively worked together as Mount Weather prisoners, and it’s still there.
Yes, even after Echo had a direct hand in the death of Bellamy’s Season 3 girlfriend of two-and-a-half minutes, Gina.
I don’t know whether the writers will actually go there with them – let’s be real, Echo will probably be dead by midseason – but the brief exchange when Echo took a second to ask Bellamy whether trust between them could be repaired spoke volumes to me.
Echo: You think we'll ever be able to trust each other again?
Bellamy: I doubt it.
Why would she care about that? Why would she voice that concern when, before this, she hasn’t given a hoot about what any other Sky Person thinks of her? Yeah.
Echo's got a thing for Bellamy, on some probably-not-yet-conscious level. I’m getting some forthcoming hate-sex vibes.
Despite all the potential I’m seeing with Echo and Bellamy, I still don’t think she will be a permanent match for him.
There were several sweet, subtle (and then way LESS subtle) moments throughout the premiere that made it clear that Bellamy and Clarke are most likely endgame.
Yes, I’m aware that many viewers absolutely hate that idea. But to insist that there is no way it will happen is, frankly, absurd.
The groundwork has been laid for the past three seasons.
In this premiere alone, Clarke confided the secret of the end of the world solely in Bellamy (at first), he had to be physically restrained when Echo’s men came to grab Clarke from the prison, and he gave her a pep talk.
All of this before they set off together on an epic quest to save the world. But sure, the writers are *definitely* not going there...
At this point, I'd bet on the fact that Bellamy loves Clarke in a more-than-platonic way (and knows it, on some level), but Clarke isn’t quite there yet. Nothing like a little end of the world to speed things along, though!
Things were decidedly less exciting back in Arkadia with Monty, Harper, Raven, and Jasper.
Monty and Harper had sex and confirmed they both wanted a relationship (awww).
Raven did some investigating into the nuclear reactor meltdown and realized it was inevitable (ahhhh!), and Jasper prepared to kill himself and then decided against it once he found out he’d die via radiation poisoning soon enough anyway (ugh).
I’m on the fence with how I feel about Jasper’s storyline right now. On the one hand, I understand his suicidal urge given what he’s been through.
But didn’t his bemusement over the impending apocalypse and plopping the gun down in front of his concerned friends seem like an unnecessarily dickish move?!
My sympathy for this character is wearing very thin. My beloved Monty deserves a better BFF.
- Indra and Kane’s reunion – that bro-hug!! – made me seriously emotional. May have teared up just a bit. I love the gradual development of their friendship.
- It was the tiniest moment, but Clarke observing Kane and Abby comforting one another – and recognizing/subtly approving that they’re now, basically, in a relationship – was wonderful.
- Another subtlety I loved: Abby “knew that look” when Clarke was feeling sad about Lexa because she recognized it in herself, when she had been mourning her own husband, Clarke’s dad Jake.
- Octavia is on the brink of spiraling out of control. Clearly, Clarke and Abby were horrified to see that she’d butchered both the guards watching unconscious Roan *and* the Ice Nation healer. That was, literally, overkill. Will Indra’s guidance be enough to keep her in check?
- It’s clear that Jaha’s arc this season will be about penance for his role in “releasing” ALIE. His “penance” began when he took it upon himself to collect the bodies of the dead – literally taking the burden of their deaths onto his own shoulders.
- Murphy was allegiant to the Sky People for all of one minute. Hey, at least he’s consistent – the moment he recognized shit was going down in Polis, he found Emori and booked it. Self-preservation is and always has been key for him.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.