In 2016, The 100 went into a metaphorical bumhole. In the span of a few episodes the show murdered one of its most prominent Black characters in a brutal manner and then murdered its most high profile lesbian. The audience fled in droves, the show was critically panned, a national conversation about the wanton killing of lesbians on TV was had (again), and then... the CW renewed the show.
And then, the network renewed it again and again. Over the last four years, The 100 has shed its glossy CW origins and become more cautious about the murder of regulars, and become a fun little space opera full of wormholes and time travel. That brings us to literal alien bumholes.
I don’t think the fact that The 100 has become a fun show excuses what it did in the past. I know that I have zero desire to revisit the early seasons of the show, when it was about 100 teen space refugees on a nuclear war-ravaged Earth. When I picked it back up in season five I made zero effort to look up the season and a half of the show I missed after dropping it in season three. (I’m told what I missed involved a lot of weird AI stuff.)
Season five picked up five years later with a much more grounded cast of characters (for the most part). Clarke Griffin and her adopted daughter are the only two humans living on the surface of the Earth; Bellamy and a small group of survivors are seemingly well adjusted and mature people living on a ruined space station; and Clarke’s mom, Abby, and Bellamy’s sister, Octavia, are... cannibals who live underground. Also, Ivana Milicevic is Charmaine Diyoza, a space marine turned convict from before the Earth was ravaged by nuclear war who spends most of the season battling Clarke and Octavia to claim the last speck of green left on the planet.
But by the end of season five, the entire cast is on a space ship and planning on sleeping for 125 years in the hopes Earth will revitalise itself. Instead, they wind up abandoning Earth to colonise a less desolate wasteland, Sanctum, that Monty and Harper found for them while everyone else slept. What they find there is a group of humans who are descendants of a colony created before the nuclear war, a handful of humans who download their minds to chips that effectively make them immortal, and a big green glowing maelstrom known as the Anomaly.
In season seven (the current season), the Anomaly is revealed to be a wormhole that anyone with the right equipment can use to travel between multiple worlds, including one known as Skyring where time moves much, much faster. Another, known as Bardo, was apparently previously inhabited by crystal giants who created the wormhole network, and is now home to human refugees of the nuclear war who live underground and are some kind of religious fanatics who call themselves Disciples.
The latest episode, “Nakara,” starts on Bardo where Diyoza is being questioned and held prisoner after she and Octavia were stranded on Skyring for 10 years and then dragged to Bardo as prisoners. The character has spent most of her time on the show being accused of being a badass, highly trained soldier, but we haven’t seen her in action much until this episode. She rips a man’s jugular out with her teeth, uses his bare eyeball to escape her Bardo prison, and proceeds to ruthlessly murder jailkeepers until she reunites with a small faction of regulars – including Octavia and her daughter who, thanks to the timey-wimey stuff, is now an adult.
Diyoza is on the left, the blond is her daughter Hope that she and Octavia raised together on Skyring. Octavia no longer eats people or paints her face with their blood, and she and Diyoza are clearly in love even if (like the alien bumhole) no one will acknowledge it. Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)
It’s a bright and fun, if violent, sequence of events that sets up just how capable Diyoza can be. And you will want to cling to the fun of the sequence because most of the episode is about Clarke, Raven, and friends using the wormhole to travel from Sanctum in an effort to rescue their friends on Bardo. Only instead of landing on Bardo, they land on a frozen wasteland planet the Disciples use as a giant graveyard for their dead.
When Raven realises the next Anomaly is underground and they’ll need to go spelunking to get to it and off the planet, Clarke and the others happily crawl into a hole they all note smells really bad, and keep crawling.
The hole makes noises.
And they keep crawling.
A spider monster attacks them and the hole behind them closes up.
And they keep crawling.
They find themselves in a room dripping with acid. And they keep going.
Raven notes that the acid is similar to digestive bile. And no one acknowledges it.
Raven knows what she did. Photo: Dean Buscher (The CW)
These fuckers spend an ENTIRE EPISODE in the belly of some kind of rock monster alien. And yet. They do not. Even ONCE. Acknowledge that they climbed down the anus of the monster and straight into its intestinal tract. Not one damn acknowledgement that they are in the bumhole of a beast. At the very least, they finally realise they are about to be digested.
What do they do instead? Talk about whether they deserve to die. Raven notes they’re going to be digested and says it’s karma for all they’ve done. Clarke insists she doesn’t believe in karma – which is fair because given how many peoples she’s murdered, she’s absolutely due for karmic retribution if such a thing exists. But again, neither they nor the three others they’re travelling with say a word about how they clearly are spelunking in the arsehole of an alien.
The 100 might have climbed out of its own arse to be a better and more thoughtful show, but it’s still capable of diving face-first into alien arse.