The 100 Season 4 Episode 5 Review: The Tinder Box

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Can I get a sad trombone up in here? We're not even halfway into the season and already the Sky People have gone through what seems like countless different busted plans to survive the apocalypse.

The 100 Season 4 Episode 5 featured the latest catastrophic failure: The complete and utter destruction of Arkadia.

Thanks a lot, Ilian, you doofus.

A Tense Meeting – The 100 Season 4 Episode 5

After remaining separated for much of The 100 Season 4 so far, the distinct Polis and Arkadia plot lines finally collided on "The Tinder Box," following the events set into motion on The 100 Season 4 Episode 4.

Roan and Echo brought the Ice Nation army to Arkadia's doorstep. But thanks to virtually indestructible Octavia, all-out war was narrowly prevented.

War is here.


Alas, that's where O's luck ran out – but we'll get to that issue in just a minute.

After being stabbed by Echo and falling off of a cliff into a river, Octavia's magic wonder-horse managed to get her most of the way to Arkadia before she collapsed. Luckily (or unluckily, in retrospect), Ilian found her in the forest and brought her to Clarke, who saved her with some standard Clarke-doctor-magic-mojo.

Octavia also managed to give everyone the heads up that Roan was en route with his warriors, giving Clarke time to formulate a defense and plan her negotiating mission.

What resulted was a pretty great hour-long stand-off. Tensions were high. At certain points, I was legitimately concerned that the bloodbath might begin – on The 100, nothing would surprise me.

Roan's suspicion and anger made complete sense to me, but given that he ended up being willing to negotiate will Clarke so easily, it seemed like a massive overreaction for him to have brought along an entire army. Overkill, much?

I'm beginning to grow a little weary of Roan's continuous ally/enemy flip-flopping. It's getting stale, and he's got a tendency to switch at the drop of a hat. When Echo's in his ear, he's ready to turn on Skaikru and behead poor Stephens. Two minutes in a cave with Clarke, and he's seen the light of reason again.

Your move, Wanheda.


Oh, Roan.

Interestingly, it was the two newbie characters who caused the most trouble throughout "The Tinder Box."

Clarke and the Skaikru guards quickly deployed a smart defensive tactic, setting up a perimeter around where Azgeda would be approaching and training their guns on the soldiers (and, initially, Roan).

I loved the fact that Miller's dad and everyone else listened to Clarke and Monty, who both insisted on a meeting with Roan, rather than going on the offensive as they'd initially thought. Had they gone with the offensive, it would've been a ton of bloodshed for no reason.

Of course, Riley almost went and effed it all up, regardless.

I'm deeply confused as to what Riley's purpose on this show is supposed to be. It's a bit odd that they've introduced this character so late in the game, told us that he's very important to these various established characters (without really explaining why at all), and then just expected us to give a crap about him.

Also, from years of being a Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's very possible that I'm just predisposed to dislike characters named Riley.

Hilariously, all of Skaikru, in retrospect, realized that it wasn't appropriate for Riley to be part of the gun-toting defense squad against Ice Nation. He was still (understandably) recovering from his PTSD being held as an Azgeda slave and watching his fellow slaves be killed. I get that they were in a rush, but handing Riley a gun was a bad idea.

Luckily, Monty saved the day like he always does – with an assist from Bellamy.

This is a tinder box. One shot, and we'll be at war.


Monty managed to inform Echo and Bellamy that Riley had snuck off after Roan and Clarke in order to assassinate the king, but of course it was Bellamy's job to talk him down. Bellamy's speech to Riley was a great moment, and it allowed Bellamy to reflect on his own past war crimes with Pike.

It's like Queen Nia used to say – War makes murderers of us all.


I especially liked the fact that Bellamy repeated the exact phrase Echo had used when recounting the late Queen Nia's saying. War has made murderers of them all, despite their best intentions.

I do look forward to continuing to deepen Echo's character and hope she's not killed off before that can happen.

The fact that she chose not to inform Roan about the near-miss with Riley, after Roan and Clarke had settled on their agreement to split Arkaia 50-50, was a good start. She also clearly didn't want to shoot Riley with an arrow, based on her facial expression.

But whereas Riley's misadventure was a near-miss, Ilian's plan went off perfectly – with devastating results.

While Octavia was being watched over by Niylah and nearly every other major character was dealing with the Azgeda stand-off, Ilian was left to wander Arkadia unchecked. Which apparently gave him ample time to rig up a way to blow the station to smithereens.

Octavia gave a half-hearted speech to stop Ilian, but it didn't work – he destroyed Arkadia, the only hope of a radiation-proof shelter for humanity. If the nightblood solution or something else doesn't work out, this dude may have literally ended the existence of the human race because of his misguided grudge.

I officially hate this guy. I was honestly expecting Roan to turn around and chop his head off or something during the solemn everyone-watches-Arkadia-burn scene.

Speaking of which: those effects were done incredibly well. The scene was visually stunning and very harrowing.

The other big development happened over at Becca's old lab, where Jackson and Abby discovered that Raven was experiencing something like a Lucy situation.

Thanks to ALIE and the EMP used to forcibly remove Raven from the City of Light, her brain had been "upgraded." She had access to knowledge she hadn't before, including important Becca/nightblood intel and information about the lab.

Specifically, Raven figured out that the only way to create more nightblood would be to get into zero-g – into space. And luckily for the group, Raven also knew just where to find Becca's spare lab rocket.

The downside? Raven's new hyperdrive brain is liable to kill her eventually – her brain showed evidence of a stroke. Jackson and Abby pointed out to her that her brain couldn't keep working at this speed, though Raven insisted that she keep going in order to find a solution to save everyone. 

So what? I survive long enough for everyone else to die? I can't do that Abby. Even if it costs me my life, you have to let me go.


They're setting up Raven's death this season – sacrificing herself to save everyone – and I really don't want to see that happen. She's such a great character, and Lindsey Morgan is a tremendous talent.

As if the situation couldn't get worse, Abby's life is also at risk.

The EMP was also used by Clarke on her mother to remove the chip, and the end of the hour found her hallucinating a radiation-sickened Clarke warning her that she was running out of time. Clearly, that was supposed to be a symptom of Abby's own brain damage.

And on that dark note...

Stray thoughts:

  • Jasper was nowhere to be seen again, which was weird because he definitely should have been in or around Arkadia, no? Was he just, like, taking a long stroll into the radiation-soaked forest or something?
  • Several other characters weren't seen either – like Murphy, Emori, and Miller, who were all on the lab mission with Abby. Their absence makes more sense, though. I'm assuming they were all either en route back home from the lab or just chilling there off-screen.
  • It's nice that Clarke and Niylah had sex and then Clarke almost got Niylah killed by ALIE's minions, but now they're totally cool with one another and all "Hello, my friend." I kind of love it.
  • Speaking of Niylah, I'd like to see more Octavia/Niylah interactions. I think their very different personalities would mesh well together.
  • Bellamy's realization that Octavia was alive and their eventual reunion by the ruins of Arkadia were both spectacular moments. Bravo to Bob Morley, the definite MVP of this installment.
  • The opening scene with Raven's floating hallucination was so spooky and well done. I felt like I was in a trance of my own watching it. Very eerie.

What did you think of "The Tinder Box"? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts, and remember that you can watch The 100 online here at TV Fanatic anytime!

The Tinder Box Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (37 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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