Photo: The CW

Hey, The 100 fans. I’m filling in for Kyle this week—longtime reader, first time writer. Thanks for having me.

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Let’s dive right in to “The Tinder Box,” shall we? For me, I’m in agreement with Kyle that the first time episodes of Season 4 were really solid, followed by two episodes that felt a little weak and aimless. Episode 5 continues in that vein—a whole lot of tension is built up for no payoff and some absurdly poor decisions are made. Let’s start with the most far-fetched of the three main plots.

Octavia’s return

Look, Octavia is great, but buying that she survived the stabbing and that enormous fall into a rocky river is a hard one to swallow.

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But add to that Ilian happening upon her in the woods—which she later says was “no coincidence”—so that he can conveniently get into Arkadia to destroy it? And the fact that no one thinks to keep an eye on him after Clarke gets Octavia breathing again?

And then Ilian manages to blow up the Ark, which, even if he is mad with grief over the City of Light, still doesn’t make a ton of sense. It’s all just too ridiculous.

The endpoint is mildly interesting, insofar as the “where is Skaikru going to live now?” part, but really it just ups the stakes for the nightblood cure, something that already seemed like an inevitable solution anyway—because what else is there?

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Big thumbs down to this plot.

The tinder box stand-off

Here too are so many ridiculous decisions. First of all, Roan has proven himself to be a smart, calculated leader, so it rings a little false that he would suddenly decide Clarke is double-crossing him and just charge for their camp with an army.

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That definitely feels like something he’d do eventually, but talking to Clarke to find out what is going on feels much like step one that Roan would have taken—with the army as back-up, of course.

But even if he’s worried about a coup in the form of a new nightblood commander, isn’t it worth exploring the cure that might save everyone? As Miller says at one point, “The radiation’s our enemy, not the Ice Nation.” The radiation is problem No. 1 and everything else is a distant second, because if you don’t solve the radiation problem, nothing else matters.

Roan seemed to have understood that earlier this season, so this about-face feels unearned. Maybe if hadn’t been so rushed it would have felt more organic.

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But then the stand-off is compounded by the insane decision to let Riley come along. Harper even says, “He shouldn’t be here, not after what they did to him.” UM, NO KIDDING.

How did he possibly make it into the guard for this mission? I mean, at least make him some kind of stowaway hell-bent on revenge or something, as opposed to a decision to include him whose stupidity is pointed out in the dialogue at least twice. That’s just sloppy writing.

And in the end, the entire outcome is “we’ll share it” and then “oops, nevermind, because now the ship is gone.”

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It’s maddening when it feels like a show just wasted your time for 45 minutes and that is what two-thirds of “The Tinder Box” felt like in the end.

Raven & Abby go Limitless

The only mildly good plot of the episode is what was going on with Raven and Abby in Becca’s lab. Sure, it’s awfully convenient that they now have super-powered brains with Becca’s code still in their heads, but at least there’s an explanation in the form of how their chips were deactivated. At least that makes a modicum of sense.

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It also makes sense that Becca would have been in space trying to create nightblood immunities to radiation poisoning—that definitely tracks.

And it adds some tension to the season in terms of who might die working out this solution. The 100 does not shy away from killing main characters—not too many, but here and there—so now both Raven and Abby have the tiny brain lesion of Damocles hanging over their heads.

And it won’t be as easy as Raven thinks. Did you catch her line about how they need hydrazine to power the rocket, but there’s plenty of that back at Arkadia? Um, not anymore. So now the new problem is how do we fuel the rocket to get it into space to make nightblood?

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Stray observations

  • “It is a trap. We’re already in it.”
    See, this is the pragmatic Roan we know and love. He knows the Ice Nation is at the mercy of Clarke and her people in this particular scenario, so he agrees to talk to her. He has not really been shown to be a stupid, impulsive leader, which is why his decision to charge Clarke down over the Ark feels so out of left field.
  • “Ain’t we a pair?”
    Clarke and Roan really are an interesting pair of leaders, so let’s hope that dynamic continues throughout the season. Though we disagree with his assessment that she can’t think past saving her own people. All Clarke ever thinks about is how to save as many people as possible.
  • “Slow down?! Abby, we have to go to space and make nightblood! It’s a two-seater by the way — I drive, you cook, sound like a plan?”
    Manic, stroked up (like coked up, only without the cocaine) Raven is delightful.
  • Speaking of pacing, you know what could have been trimmed a bit to allow more time for other things? That montage everyone watching the Ark burn. It went on for-eh-ver. Like, we get it. Everyone’s in shock. You’re just making us giggle with the never-ending montage of shocked faces.

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