The 100: Praimfaya Review
The CW‘s The 100, Season 4, Episode 13, ‘Praimfaya,’ wasn’t the fiery climax it could’ve been; but it may have been the sort of resolution the series really needed. For all of its lack of a clear antagonist, and even direction, at times, season 4 did go out with something of burning cleanse.
Opening allusions to a pre-series dynamic, between Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) & Bellamy (Bob Morley), set the stage for what would be an almost ironic turn for both the series mythology, and its characters. Abruptly denying anyone else the privilege of a farewell also set the stage. There was going to be a lot left hanging, at the end of season 4; so we were meant to have a long last look, but only at a chosen few.
Octavia putting Bellamy’s Prometheus spin in context actually upped her stock, a bit, just when I thought it couldn’t get any higher (and not just because it broke up some Bellamy cheese delivery). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Octavia Blake has come farther than anyone else on this show. Not a hard claim to make, considering she was originally the bratty hot chick of the series.
Of course, Indra (Adina Porter) making her assumption of the Commander role (albeit, a whole new class of Commander) official likely rubbed a few Lexa fans the wrong way. I’m not getting anywhere near that one. I was left wondering who the new bratty hot chick will be; but I’m getting ahead of myself – there was a lot of character & moment milking to be had, going into that season 5 shake.
Regarding Clarke (Eliza Taylor), and her working under a martyrdom cloud, the show has built up more than enough plot armor around her for me to not take such an outcome seriously. At the very least, we have to see Clarke graduate into the shoes of at least one of the grown up cast members. As much as the resulting pathos must have meant to Bellarkies (keep hope alive, youz krazy kidz), it just seemed like filler, to me.
The Bellarke pause did happen, all the same, so Clarke could remind us why Bellamy deserves a share of that plot armor. I’d point out that original Bellamy’s Warlord Harem had nothing to do with protecting Octavia; but only because that was my fondest memory of original Bellamy. I won’t go into how he turned Clark’s pep talk into an appraisal of their co-dependency. On the bright side: there was enough booster banter between them to share with Raven (Lindsey Morgan), when her own mini-meltdown moment came.
Now, in case anyone thought I was some kind of smart-guy (and for the ones who didn’t: I’m Inception-ing you, when you sleep), I profess a weakness in mathematics (the engineering: fine, the math: mugh). That said, there was a lot I took at face value, regarding Raven’s work under pressure. Actually, it was something along the lines of “I believe you; stop it; my head hurts; make stuff happen, already.” I did appreciate the effort that went into making things seem less like wish-fulfillment plotting, though.
I’m still not 100% sure Raven gets enough credit as Fairy Godmother, though. Like Monty (Christopher Larkin), she gets over herself the second inspiration comes; and like Monty, inspiration comes fast. Unlike Monty, however, she’s got the engineering chops that realizes the science – making her the heavy lifter of scenarios like these. Given everything she’s been through, she may deserve the occasional breakdown more than anyone (arguably). Also unlike Monty, this time around, she had a decent ‘support’ staff on hand, when the meltdown came. Monty had Murphy (Richard Harmon), and vice-versa.
Did we really need a moment to honor Jasper’s memory (at Murphy’s expense, no less)? You’re the very best kind of friend to have – I get that, and it does you credit – but you should also be smart enough to know that you’re at least 100 lbs of liability lighter, now.
This might sound a little back-handed, but I found myself giving Murphy credit for not going the Human sled solution route (hey, it was all downhill, on slushy ground); so the Murphy’s Law moment that did happen didn’t hit quite as hard as likely intended.
Less, still, considering how much time everyone took to tell each other how little time they had, so they should hurry – complete with dramatic pauses, stares, clock checking, and gawking at rockets. There can only be so much suspension of disbelief, for the sake of dramatic licence, before viewers start yelling at the screen, people; but if I really want to be mad about it, I consider the odds that this is the kind of provocation some Showrunners encourage (some networks, too).
Not to be completely hard-assed about it, I did appreciate the bro-hug moment, though (you know the one – don’t make me spell it out).
Quick question: anybody else notice the boot print on the tower, when Clarke arrived at it? I think someone missed a spot, cleaning up between takes, and the showrunners ran with it. One minor detail I did like: the resident Grounders’ reaction to zero-G dynamics. It wasn’t just cute, it was kind of necessary (in hindsight).
Since the subject of meltdowns did come up, the noticeably silent Echo (Tasya Teles) had to be addressed. Her decision seemed tacked on – a convenient plot convolution, meant to wring more drama & Bellamy banter out of what should have been a dash for the finish line. It was also a strong shipping recommendation, considering there was no longer 3-to-1 odds in Bellamy’s favor (unless someone feels like sharing, looks like no Space Harem, dude).
I suppose Raven should get even more credit, for indulging whatever that was; but Bellamy’s moments had to have earned her a Sainthood for patience. To be fair, though (only, not really), you can’t blame Bellamy for wanting all his women on board (guys dig Harems – whether someone feels like sharing, or not).
I understand that the Showrunners wanted to wring as much suspense out of this final countdown as possible; but it was hard for me to get into how dire prospects became, considering how much time everyone wasted, along the way (and how much more everyone wanted to). Beyond the over-reliance on dramatic licence, however, my only real complaint was not getting enough flash-forward to work with.
Other than Indra, the grown ups were pretty much left out of the finale (making the lottery the resolution to their respective conflicts). The resolution to the season, then, did leave Clarke taking her place in grown-up shoes, after all. The flash-forward we did get had her in full mentor mode. Where the protege came from being a good question to await an answer for, along with the future roles of any returning cast members from the Polis bunker.
The biggest take-away, of course, was the full circle promise of the series, going forward.
I’ll just get this in before all the WTF talk about the next generation: it’s no real leap to consider pre-cataclysm Earth advanced enough to establish a presence in space, beyond orbit. Why it took so long for another source of breeding stock to arrive likely hinges on how far away they were, when the series began with a speculative all-clear for touch-down. Besides that, the established time-frame (and available gene-pool) wasn’t sufficient for a fresh batch of Arkadians to take over; so that infusion of maddening teens had to come from somewhere else.
Like I said, I get some stuff.
Even if the next season goes another way, with the explanation, I think the focus should remain on what can come from this ending.
Was it anti-climactic? It couldn’t help but be – the Conclave, and Rowan’s rise to the throne were tough acts for the series to follow, let alone the season. Was it a fitting resolution? Sure; but only because the specifics of its open ending gave us more to work with than previous finales. Did it make a case for continued viewing? Yes. Yes, it did. The 100 had outstripped its original premise the moment the Ark started raining men (the species, not the gender), and I have been waiting for just such a reset ever since.
All the petty annoyances of the character learning curves stand to have some fresh perspective to them, going forward, now that we will know the Grounders & elders dealing with the next 100. I can see where balancing fan faves with new blood could be an issue; but I’m hoping the focus will remain on the vets, rather than the next Lord of the Flies dynamic. With any luck, the new spin will be more complex than who gets to be the new Grounders & Mountain Men, at odds with a dangerously clueless Sky People.
Consider me in it for the fresh start to the story, not for the recycling of old melodrama & plot driving. Who’s with me?
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