The 100 Season 6 Episode 2: Red Sun Rising-Review and Recap
A rare episode that was as terrifying as it was exciting laid everyone’s sins bare as Red Sun Rising revealed their deepest fears.
Courtesy of CW Network LLC
What The 100 does better than any of show on television right now is reinvention. It builds worlds from the ground up. The writers do it in short order too, without the use of a ridiculous exposition bot. It is one taut moment after another that reveals details and secrets that are important not to miss. Season five reset the playing field with Praimfaya. It was a completely new set of circumstances and settings yet each was familiar. I doubted the writer’s ability to reboot The 100 on an entirely new planet. I should not have. This new world is just as rich in mystique, culture, and danger. It is precisely what the series needed.
A cold open answered some of the many questions about the Lightbournes and Alpha/Sanctum. Josephine Lightbourne portrayed by Sara Thompson(Burden of Truth) is one part of a loving family of three. Her father is the leader of the exploration and a bright family man before the madness hits. The Eligius III mission was just three weeks into the mission when disaster in the form of the eclipse struck. By the end of the short sequence, none of them were in good shape. That explains who they were, but not why they went on to be so important. They appeared to be Nightbloods like Clarke which is very interesting. I have a theory about the primes, and it includes nanotechnology. With the masked invaders worrying about the bodies of their dead fellow invaders you can be sure the proof is somewhere among the blood and bone. A hint is given when the woman says the” trees will have eaten the bugs by now”. If A.L.I.E’s code was input into the nanites, it could be a new scenario playing out with only Madi and her Flame being capable of defeating it.
Red Sun Rising is one of those unique science fiction episodes that is genuinely scary. There were moments that we felt the search parties fear as much as we saw it. It was as visually stunning with the distorted camera work, as it was emotional. Bob Morley(Bellamy) in particular did an excellent job on land bringing the mania while his sister Octavia(Maria Avgeropoulos) delivered the goods in space. The siblings both had essential duties to do with regard to character development and story continuity.
Bellamy has settled into a comfortable role as a calm, fair leader. It is an easy position for him to take and the others to concede. It is a job won over time. This was something he matured into, not something that was thrust upon him as in his female counterparts Octavia and Clarke. As such he got the chance to develop into a respected leader. O and Clarke did not have that luxury and are some might say unfairly paying the price.
Octavia, for all her bluster and righteous anger, is really just one raw nerve. She condemns herself more than anyone else could. Her verbal sparring with Abby only proves this. Abby admits to making the same decisions with Octavia but explains it all away by saying she felt terrible about it. It is a convenient way for Abby to wash her hands of the whole cannibalism subplot without taking any responsibility. Octavia was no more than a young adult at best making the kinds of tough decisions by herself I might add that people with much more experience make. It is not fair for Abby to forgive herself without forgiving Octavia. For Octavia, there can never be absolution though as there was no victory. If Wonkru had defeated the prisoners and taken Shallow Valley everything she did would be justified. It would not be right, but it would have a purpose. Without victory, she is just a monster. Her words are filled with venom even to poor Jordan who displays compassion well beyond his years, thanks I’m sure to Monty and Harper’s upbringing. She is an open wound looking for salt. Abby lets her pick fights and be physically abused because that is what Octavia wants. She needs to punish herself. She does a better job of it than anyone else ever could.
Down on Alpha, Clarke is suffering from similar self-doubt. She became Wanheda out of necessity, not out of a desire to be in charge. This moniker became a burden she would have to carry as the Commander of Death left a line of dead bodies in her wake. Guilt is a powerful emotion. It can often be stronger than love. She made decisions that got people killed, and it is eating her alive. The rest of the search party, Spacekru members, lived a more peaceful existence and had time to develop mutual admiration. Even Murphy is accepted. Everyone seems to forget he was exiled for betrayal clear back at the beginning of the series. Clarke, on the other hand, was left all alone after courageously deciding to sacrifice herself. As much as I love Murphy(I do), he has no right to chastise Clarke for the choices she has made. Many of those decisions benefited him as well. Her disgust with herself is only amplified by the eclipse psychosis. Despite once delivering so much death, she is no danger to anyone but herself now.
Murphy is a chameleon again this week. Last week, we got a lover of life, but this week he is the voice of reason. He has become as enigmatic as he is fun to watch. Richard Harmon has finally been allowed to flex his muscles and show a multi-layered complex Murphy that is not just a survivor. The group and the series are better for it.
The remainder of the search party had little to do this week beyond drive the tension and solidly their positions in the group. Emori fell into the plants in the first episodes and as a result, was the first to succumb to the madness. Jackson and Miller had their scientific minds preyed on, and Echo as tactical as ever managed to resist the urge for paranoia and knocked herself out. Moving forward I wonder how long she will be needed with so many cunning minds on the show. Clarke, Diyoza, and Murphy already fill that need on the series. Bit players have a tendency to be jettisoned on The 100 when they cease to be useful. Bellamy did the most damage under his mania because he is both the physically strongest, and the most trusted of the group. Whether he actually succeeded in killing Murphy remains to be seen, but as it has been pointed out many times, John Murphy is a cockroach. He is also too important to the show. As long as he has a pulse(a weak one), he will pull through. I am curious what the black goo running through his veins is though? Why did the Lightbournes have the same veiny pattern? Was he able to distinguish Clarke’s inward-turning madness from Bellamy’s because he also is filled with self-loathing? He may not have been affected as much by the psychosis because he is the most honest with himself. He accepts the good and the bad, and that may have given him the ability to take on Bellamy ultimately.
After the ship was taken by a small contingent of woefully ill-prepared invaders, Raven wakens the best strategic minds in Diyoza and Madi. Diyoza has proven time, and again she thinks logically without emotion. Madi is a tiny warrior with The Flame residing in her brain. The knowledge of all who came before her is crammed in her pint-sized head. How she chooses to use it should influence her relationship with Clarke and the overall arch of season six. For now, just her ferocious spirit and diminutive size are all that is needed. In very little time the ship is back in their command, and all but one of the marauders is dead. The last woman standing takes the group back to the planet and right by Shaw’s grave. Even though very little of her grief is shown, you can be sure that she will blame Clark. Why the group wanted the ship and where they were going in it is a mystery for another day.
The children arrive just as everyone is recovering from the effects of the eclipse and ask one eerie question. “Are you here to take us home?” Naturally, Clarke is confused. The vivid colors and strict symmetry would suggest this is the children’s home, but maybe not everyone is digging the mandalas. The mythos of Sanctum is just starting to come into focus. The Children of Gabriel should bring that picture into more focus next week.
As the Television Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.