A ship filled with prisoners hell-bent on using force to gain control of survivable land on a post-nuclear apocalyptic Earth and eradicate all others who claim some kind of ownership of it. People arrive from the sky with superior weapons and technology are antagonistic toward the ‘native’ population in a thinly veiled analogy for colonialism. “There are no good guys.” “We did what we have to do to survive.” The leader of the native population doesn’t believe in love. Multiple factions including sky people, bunker people, and people who lived on the ground struggle over how far they’ll go to get what they want. Fanatics cross a desert in search of hope and new life. Inevitable war.
No, I’m not talking about the last four seasons of The 100. I’m talking about what the newest trailer for S5 promises us is in store for this upcoming season. At this point, I’m not even annoyed so much as puzzled. Given how much criticism the show has taken in the past two seasons (and not just from my reviews) for its poor pacing, poor character arcs, blatant (and ultimately boring) shock and awe tactics—not to mention the Lexa debacle—the retreading of old ground seems an odd choice.
Now, to be fair, I’ve been open and honest in my criticism of the show for years now, and not just because of the choice to kill off a prominent LGBT+ character in one of the most blatant examples of Bury Your Gays to date. But this isn’t even about my dislike of the persistent colonialist perspective, the brutalization of female characters more than male ones, or the horrific treatment of Lincoln. This is about learning when to not reuse the same plot over and over and over again.
Because if one’s things for sure when watching this trailer, it’s that we’ve literally seen every single scene before. This feels like a cut and paste from the previous four seasons all into one, and that’s not encouraging. If the end of last season felt like a reset to where we were when the show started, this feels like a retread of S1-3. I suppose I could give it the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re trying to fix some of the worst aspects of the colonialist narrative of the first three seasons by positioning a clearly antagonistic team of Sky people in the position of invaders. But that just implies that the only reason we can (or should) relate to Grounders is if our protagonists are a part of them. It doesn’t really fix the issues so much as dig the hole deeper. Our heroes are now the ‘natives,’ so it’s safe to identify with them.
At least we’re getting more Gaia? And from what Tasya Teles has implied, we are likely getting a Becho arc, which I like. Plus, I’m always here for Octavia, even if her arc last season did feel rushed.
At the end of the day, I’m left scratching my head at this trailer and wondering what could possibly be any different about this coming season that we haven’t already gotten in the past four.
The 100 will return for its fifth season on April 24.