The 100 season 5 continues strong with the second episode, titled “Red Queen,” all about Octavia’s reign in the bunker.
After spending the first episode of The 100 season 5 in the deceptively peaceful company of Clarke, Madi and SpaceKru, it’s time to meet Blodreina.
On Tuesday, May 1, the second episode of the season, “Red Queen,” will fill in some of the blanks of those six years Octavia’s ‘Wonkru’ has spent underground.
This is a highly significant, thought-provoking episode, that might just surprise you. It definitely surprised me.
How Prometheus stole fire from the gods
Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos) has had one of the most turbulent journeys since landing on the ground as one of the original 100 delinquents sent to Earth to test its survivability.
In fact, even before the series started, her story was perhaps the most turbulent: she had been born in secret, forced to hide under the floor, and for the first 16 years of her life, the only people Octavia ever interacted with were her mother and brother.
Unsurprisingly, she took to the freedom of the ground like a fish to water and immediately fell deeply in love with the Grounder Lincoln, who represented the kind of life she wanted to lead, and opened her eyes to a society in which she might carve a place for herself by her own merit.
Not quite Grounder and not quite Skaikru, Octavia existed in the in-between space with Lincoln until season 3, where Lincoln was executed by Pike and Octavia lost her entire world. The loss of the only ‘home’ she had ever known destroyed her, and sent her spiralling into grief, anger and darkness.
In The 100 season 4, we followed Octavia as she tried desperately to find some kind of purpose after losing Lincoln, avoiding her grief by trying to make herself into a monster. Her actions early in the season earned her the nickname of “Skairipa” — death from above — and she did her best to live up to that title.
But in the massive, expansive action-packed episode “Die All, Die Merrily,” Octavia became something new. Looking for a war to fight and die in at the end of the world, Octavia ended up winning the conclave not by being Skairipa, but by being ‘the girl under the floor.’
As she began to reconcile the misfit pieces of herself — Lincoln’s tattoo, Indra’s sword, Bellamy’s love, the sigils of the 12 clans — she recognized that she herself was neither Skaikru nor Grounder. And when she won, she honored Lincoln’s belief that humanity could all be ‘one clan,’ deciding to split the bunker between the 12 clans equally and unify them under the ‘Wonkru’ banner.
In the penultimate episode “The Chosen,” we saw the first bitter consequences of this choice, as Skaikru — who had believed the bunker was theirs, and that they were all safe — had to reckon with the fact that they would only be allotted 100 spots like everyone else.
Octavia, hesitant to lead and understanding full well that she might not have what it takes, told Bellamy in the season 4 finale that, “I’m not sure I’m up for this. They look at me like I know what I’m doing just because I won a fight. I’m not a leader.”
Bellamy, much more confident in her abilities than Octavia herself, tried to reassure her with some good old nerd!Blake Greek mythology: “You gave people hope when there was none. You’re Prometheus, stealing fire from the gods and giving it back to the human race.”
(Of course, as fellow nerd!Blake Octavia pointed out, Prometheus was ultimately caught and punished by Zeus, who chained him to a rock and made an eagle eat his liver. So exactly how much comfort Octavia would be able to take from this comparison remains unclear.)
After finally telling Bellamy that she loved him, their connection was interrupted as Praimfaya raged over Polis and buried the bunker in the rubble that we saw Clarke trying to clear in the season 5 premiere.
And, in The 100 5×02, “Red Queen,” we will find out exactly how Octavia fares as the hesitant leader of her self-made clan. We will also see how everyone else inside the bunker adapts to their new reality.
“Red Queen” is written by Terry Hughes Burton, who also wrote the season 4 episode “Gimme Shelter.” It is directed by P. J. Pesce, whose credits on The 100 include “Murphy’s Law,” “Demons” and “The Four Horsemen.”
Where the season 5 opener was in many ways thematically connected to the season 4 finale “Praimfaya,” the second episode feels like a companion piece to last year’s “The Chosen.” Rewatching this episode ahead of “Red Queen” is advised.
While Octavia is obviously a major player in the episode, “Red Queen” is not only about her. In fact, the episode nicely balances several different interconnecting character arcs, and sets up more than one season-long storyline.
You are about to watch an immensely powerful hour of television. While “Eden” was a fantastic start to the season, dare I say that “Red Queen” will take your breath away even more — and not for the reasons you might think.
Here are five teasers for “Red Queen” for you to chew on until Tuesday…
5 teasers for ‘The 100’ season 5, episode 2 ‘Red Queen’
GUIDANCE – Octavia is forced to take guidance from an unlikely ally when future of the Bunker and all those inside it is jeopardized.
- In this episode, Octavia makes a powerful new enemy that not even she can defeat. (But that doesn’t mean she won’t try.)
- This is a very big episode for Kane and Abby, for several very different reasons.
- “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” -Albus Dumbledore
- When you think about it, this is all Niylah’s fault.
- So… who’s hungry?