TV Show Review

TV Review: THE 100: Season 4, Episode 5: The Tinder Box [The CW]

The 100 The Tinder Box

The 100: The Tinder Box Review

The CW‘s The 100, Season 4, Episode 5, ‘The Tinder Box,’ tackled an old question, for this series. Not that anyone likely noticed, due to the game-changer ending; but questions, like this, tend to gnaw at places my eyes don’t go.

The question: how many Grounders does it take to finally take down Arkadia?

At least once per season, some Grounder force sets out to wipe out the Sky people. Every time one does, there’s some spiel about guns, guts, the rules survival, and the futility of war by attrition. Silly rabbits. Didn’t they ever hear the one about the Trojan Horse – the one small enough to be completely overlooked, but packed with ideological zealotry?

The lesser question of the week was how many geniuses does it take to screw-the-pooch, regarding some post-A.I. miracle plotting.

While Abby (Paige Turco) & Jackson (Sachin Sahel) did their own thing, Raven (Lindsey Morgan) had a lighter-than-airhead moment. As an ALIE upgrade, Raven was revealed to have access to some of Becca’s leftover cyber tomes – but of the potentially self-destructing variety (good morning, Mr. Phelps).

Raven may now truly be too smart for her own good. Unfortunately, that might amount to being as smart as the script needs her to be, at any given moment – as her highlight moment gave way to something of an eye-roll development.

They found Becca’s ‘other car.’

Monty (Christopher Larkin) was still being a jackass to Clarke (Eliza Taylor), back at Arkadia; but his choice in friends has allowed for that. He did get better, though – easy to do, when he only had Harper (Chelsey Reist) at his side, this time around. In the meantime, with Bellamy (Bob Morley) still in Roan’s (Zach McGowan) hands, Clarke’s emotional support came from Grounder friend(?), Niylah (Jessica Harmon). It might actually be nice if she were to stick around, for a bit – mix up the dynamics, some.

Emotional support was not what I was thinking, when Ilian (Chai Romruen) turned out to be the one to deliver Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) to Arkadia in time, however.

Hey, here’s a question: Clarke speaks Grounder, but how did Ilian come to speak Arkadian? Was it time in the City of Light, or did Lexa encourage some coalition-wide crash course, as prep for Skaikru’s induction? In any case, it came in handy – he was promptly left to his own devices, inside Arkadia. After Octavia’s warning, you’d think security would be more of an immediate & wide-scale concern. They weren’t that undermanned, and Ilian had to get through the gates, to begin with.

Having a loose cannon in the ranks, during stand-off, has become almost as much a given as having Grounders setting out to kill Sky people. For some reason (let’s just call it ‘plot,’ for now), nobody ever thinks to keep the hot-heads away from the proceedings. Worse is when the acknowledged loose cannon – in this case, Riley (Ben Sullivan) – is allowed to go on the loose (with his cannon) without any one noticing.

Between Raven, Riley, and Ilian, there were a whole lot of dramatic licenses being issued.

Dramatic license would also be the reason Skaikru’s laser sights were so danged bright. It kind of defeats the purpose, giving your target a trail back to your exact location – especially if you’re not firing, right away –  but the optics look good (like charging the martial artist, instead of shooting from a distance, or firing full-auto one-handed – serves the narrative, looks cool, both impractical).

Well, as long as I’m nitpicking over production details: much of the cast has been beaten, slashed, and burned – looking at Bellamy & Echo’s (Tasya Teles) freshly gashed faces, I’d think there’d more scarring to them all.

In any case, it all facilitated a face-to-face, for Clarke & Roan, a redemption, of sorts, for Monty, and some team-up time for Bellamy & Echo. A reason to get Bellamy & Echo even talking to each other might’ve been a thing to do; but kid-gloving Riley, when he didn’t even have a target in his sight yet, was really unnecessary. Just bop him on the head, already, and hide him behind your backs with a grin, when Roan comes out. Thing is, Bellamy does often need to give speeches of reason, in order to remain defensible to his fans.

I had once considered Octavia as having gotten past that sort of thing; but wouldn’t you know it – Ilian was made to hesitate (from the major undertaking no one at Arkadia saw him going about), just so she could talk reason at him, too. For what it’s worth, given the outcome, I actually look forward to the reception any Ilian redemption effort gets from Linctavia fans.

Personally, I’m just going to stew over how a blind spot, big enough for three people to wander around in – during a high alert, at a crucial, should-a-been-secured location – made any such redemption even necessary. That, and the sight of all the people pouring out of the aftermath, who couldn’t be bothered to be anywhere near this spot, at the time.

While ‘The Tinder Box’ was certainly a game-changer of an episode, with a decent handshake fake-out twist to it, it took too many convoluted paths to getting us to the money moment. This sudden development should make haggling over seats at the table interesting. The other sudden developments, revolving around the nature of Arkadia’s Genius Bar upgrade, left me shaking my head, a little. The worst time to throw a curve can be when you’re trying to turn a corner too fast.

All-in-all, a great twist; but just wrung badly.

So how many Grounders does it take to finally take down Arkadia? Just enough to give me a headache – leaving me thinking about the odds I might be having a stroke….

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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