Saturday, June 15, 2024

Hints and Speculation Gleaned From Unity Days 2018

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Warning: Spoilers for The 100 season 5 ahead

Unity Days 2018 was above all else one hell of a good time. Now in its second year, the 100-centric convention fosters a sense of community between the show and its fans. Not only is it a small and intimate con, since it takes place in the same city where the show is filmed, us lucky attendees got to hear from a boatload of cast and crew members this year. And they had a lot to say.

Some were better at giving vague and spoiler-free answers than others. Sachin Sahel had a refrain he kept returning to all weekend: “There are lots of relationships, and some may progress, some may regress.” He wasn’t dropping any bait or hints, but some of the actors were a little more generous. I couldn’t attend every panel, but based on the ones I did, I gleaned enough to come up with several predictions.

Let’s take a look at what may be going on with each of the various groups our characters were split into in the wake of praimfaya. Since all my faves are in space together, I’m personally invested in what the hell has been going on up there for the past six years and in all the space orgies. So I’ll start with them.


The “Grounders in Space” have changed a lot

Echo and Emori are bound to be especially challenged by their stay in space, being the newcomers to the Ark and to the group. Emori seems fascinated by the idea of living in space and by the technology involved, so maybe she will fare a bit better. Indeed, when questioned about this, Luisa d’Oliveira pointed out that Emori had already started to become adjusted to the group by the end of season 4. She said she loved that moment where Emori wanted to stay and wait for Clarke and that it was already a sign of growth for her character. That’s very true—all you have to do is go back to episodes 7 and 8 to see Emori’s (rightful) paranoia that she was expendable to Skaikru and first on the chopping block. Perhaps also working in her favor is the fact that she no longer holds that position.

That dubious honor belongs to Echo, and everyone knows it. Bellamy even coaxed her onto the ship by joking that they might need someone to throw overboard to lighten the load. Despite being the outsider, she showed her willingness to work with the group by sharing oxygen with Harper and ripping Bellamy’s helmet off so he could breathe. When asked about Echo’s development, Tasya Teles said that by the time the six years is up, her character is more at ease on the Ark than she has been in a long time and that she is much sassier now. Teles also said she had to put in a lot of effort to make the necessary adjustments, claiming she didn’t even know how to walk as Echo anymore and that it was a struggle to “relax the character without…” At that point, she slouched and put her feet on the table and said, “Wazzuuup?”

Spacekru on The Ark in The 100 season 5

They’ve updated their looks

Most of these characters have been wearing the same clothes for the majority of their run on the show. Not including the Mount Weather murder underwear, unfortunately. At Unity Days the actors portraying Spacekru confirmed their characters have found new clothes on the Ark and repurposed their wardrobes. The three men in the group all sport sexy new haircuts too. I have a feeling I’m going to be a little less gay by the time the first episode is done.

Becho is rising

Probably the biggest spoiler of the convention was when Marie Avgeropoulos said that if she played Echo, it would get weird later on in season 5. Given the longstanding tension between Echo and Bellamy, brother to her character Octavia, the audience immediately assumed this meant Becho is actually going to happen. (Excuse me while I go shriek with delight in the corner.) This is a big deal, considering many think of the much-maligned pairing as a long shot crackship. Sahel jumped in and tried to quiet the whistles and laughter by saying that maybe Avgeropoulos was just trolling us. He tried a little too hard, to be honest.

When asked whether we could expect Octavia and Echo to still be holding grudges or to have buried the hatchet in season 5, Avgeropoulos answered more vaguely, saying that things would inevitably get worse before they could get better. So only time will tell how Octavia will react if this does indeed happen, but we can assume she will react badly when she finds out Echo survived her banishment and has been living with Bellamy this whole time.


Octavia has grown up a lot… or has she?

The last thing many people would associate with Octavia Blake is stability. No offence. Our girl is a little off her rocker, and we love her for it. But it isn’t really a quality one wants in a leader. However, that is the position Octavia now finds herself in, having won the final conclave. She confided in both Bellamy and Indra in the finale that she isn’t a leader and doesn’t think she should be in charge, and they both assured her that she could do it. The last we saw of her, she was giving an inspirational speech to the survivors in the bunker. Wonkru, as she calls them. One clan. It looked promising; one thing Octavia does have in spades is charisma. With Indra helping her out from behind the scenes, we had high hopes for her.

Avgeropoulos’s eerie comments about Octavia finding a brutal way to keep the peace in the bunker proved unnerving leading up to Unity Days, but she settled our nerves. A little bit, anyway. Though she claimed Octavia has settled in as Wonkru’s leader and has grown up a lot by necessity, she hinted again at the unconventional peacekeeping tactics. More surprisingly, she implied Octavia still holds a grudge against Marcus Kane and will target him in some way.

There was a string of jokes among the panel about the various terrible ways Octavia could punish dissenters. The overall consensus was that she should lock Kane under the floor for some sweet revenge. And that she would probably have a bad day and just lock people up at random for old grudges or because they were annoying her or she happened to feel like it. It’s hard to say how reflective those comments are of the truth, whether Octavia is still that unhinged or the cast just likes to pick on her. With these mixed messages, we will just have to wait and see whether Octavia has indeed mellowed with age.

Niytavia is not a thing

One of the more unexpected new friendships last season was between Octavia and Niylah, Clarke’s not-girlfriend. Niylah cared for Octavia while she was recovering from her stab wound and fall from the cliff, showing her tenderness and also touching her a lot. Octavia is definitely in need of some tenderness and a calming influence, so this ship immediately became popular. Niylah is like the cool stoner aunt of the younger characters. Calming them, validating their feelings, and teaching them how to safely ingest drugs. Octavia threw fuel on this bonfire of speculation when she came to Niylah’s aid and gave her a spot in the bunker. Then she came to check on Niylah and, well, there was more intense eye contact and weird touching.

Jessica Harmon as Niylah kom Trikru and Marie Avgeropolous as Octavia Blake in The 100 4x12

But based on Jessica Harmon’s comments at Unity Days, this doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a romantic pairing in season 5. She said she loves the connection between those two because they were really there for each other. And that while Niylah has been a support to many people, Clarke in particular, that was the first time anyone had really had Niylah’s back. She said she felt there was a good balance there. But she also revealed that the reason she and Avgeropoulos were not looking at each other during that infamous physical therapy scene is because they couldn’t make eye contact without cracking up. She said she’s cool with the ship but doesn’t think they’d be able to make out without laughing their asses off. While it’s possible she said this to throw us off the scent, it definitely implies Niytavia is not a thing… yet. I’m still pulling for it to be endgame, though.

Gaia and Octavia are getting along better

Octavia’s most obvious rivalry last season was with Echo, given all the times they almost killed each other. But a subtler rivalry also unfolded throughout the season between her and her mentor Indra’s daughter, Gaia. The two of them had only one notable fight scene, when they first met, but there was still tension between them after that. Gaia seemed jealous of Indra’s connection with Octavia, who she saw as the daughter Indra had always wanted. Indra disapproved of Gaia’s life choices and career path, because that’s what mothers do she wanted her to follow in her footsteps as a warrior. Indra obviously still cares for her daughter, though. She convinced Octavia to spare Gaia when Roan ordered whoever had stolen the Flame killed and then returned Gaia’s hug when Trikru was eliminated from the conclave.

When questioned about whether her character will still have this rivalry with Octavia or if they will have settled into something more amicable because they both care for Indra, Tati Gabrielle vaguely suggested it would be the latter. After all, they’ve had six years to work out their differences. Chances are, Indra didn’t want to deal with their teenage BS and told them to grow up and get over it. I would pay to see that.

Same, Indra. Same.

Mackson’s bromance continues, but that may be all it is

That scene in the truck last year sparked a lot of speculation about whether Dr. Jackson was going to be Miller’s new love interest. They did have some more scenes after that, including the adorable fistbump in 4×12 after Miller’s name was pulled. But in the end, the whole thing was left open-ended and ambiguous.

Sachin Sahel and Jarod Joseph mentioned they have a number of scenes together, but were characteristically mum on the nature of the relationship. They did pretend to make out, though, and when Chris Larkin and Joseph made a move to do the same after a mention of Minty, Sahel stood up to show his disapproval. The two backed away from each other and the audience roared with laughter. The fan service was cute, but as for indications as to whether this actually becomes a thing, we were left in the dark.

Grounders 2.0

Clarke’s loyalties have changed

After so long being first the mother hen of the delinquents and then the self-appointed leader of Skaikru, Clarke has had to weigh the needs of various people in her clan to keep the peace. Early on, she also realized the need to balance the needs of her people with humanity at large, a theme that came to the forefront in season 4. After six years on earth with only Madi to worry about, Clarke’s been able to relax a little and just focus on providing for her adopted daughter, said Eliza Taylor. When Clarke and the Blakes reunite, Taylor claimed, Madi is still going to be her top priority.

Eliza Taylor as Clarke Griffin and Lola Flanery as Madi in The 100 season 5

The three allies (and two siblings) now leading different groups and holding conflicting interests looks to be one of the most interesting aspects of the upcoming season. Bob Morley said he personally had been hoping for a return to the Bellarke dynamic of season 1, with a lot of tension and disagreements and learning to work together again. He and Taylor pointed out that they have now been apart and had new loyalties for six times longer than they were working together on Earth. Meeting a new version of someone, they said, can be disorienting and disappointing. Maybe that person you thought you cared about is now a totally different person and you need to discover anew how you feel about them. Sounds like a lot of feels are on the horizon.

Clarke will not reintegrate so easily

Showrunner Jason Rothenberg had already teased the shifting of loyalties, but another aspect of this that has been discussed less is how Clarke’s absence will impact her position in her previous group of friends and allies. Taylor pointed out that this meant Clarke will have now lost her position of influence. That now if she tries to make a decision, she might get shut down. Taylor seemed excited about this development, saying she loves whenever Clarke comes up against someone who doesn’t immediately listen to her and how that always seems to surprise her. She brought up the long (and tragically) parted Anya as an example, how Anya basically said, “Who the hell are you?” when Clarke showed up and started making demands.

The final word…

It looks like we’re in for a doozy of a season. The shuffling of the deck and shifting of alliances is sure to cause a lot of conflict and disorientation. The show doesn’t even really need the Eligius storyline to cause tension, to be honest. But with that wrench thrown into things, our characters will now need to find ways to rediscover their common ground and work together to ensure their mutual survival. Sahel said this is easily the craziest of all the seasons and also one of the darkest. The person who asked the question gave him an incredulous look and he said that yes, as impossible as it sounds, it’s true.

Seems the old adage holds true: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The 100 returns to The CW on April 24.

Cover image courtesy of Unity Events Canada. All others courtesy of The CW.

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