Where to Watch: Netflix, The CW
Pilot: March 19, 2014
Most Recent: June 19, 2018
Season 5, Episode 7: Acceptable Losses
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Action
My Rating: 7.9
Overview: 100 years ago, the world was destroyed by nuclear missiles and every human was believed dead, except for those on space stations. The stations united, and have been surviving and waiting for the Earth to be habitable again. They send down 100 juvenile criminals to find out, and the show follows those kids, the adults still in space, and the people who have been surviving on Earth already.
- The plot: 8
- The plot is definitely thought-out, and there’s tons of it to go around. The show delves into dozens of characters, and at any given time, there at least 4 active story arcs going on. That being said, they aren’t so separate that it makes no sense how they came to be, and they do affect one another. On one hand, sometimes it can be a bit slow to move forward, but oftentimes when the plot is slow, the characters are doing more exploration and exhibition of the world. Furthermore, every major plot-point has been, at the very least, alluded to before it occurs, so nothing feels completely random or like the writers obviously reached for extensions. For example, in Season 2, we meet both the Commander of the Grounders and the Mountain Men, both of whom were discussed by Anya and other Grounders. Another example is A.L.I.E., who Thelonius meets on his separate story arc, but later brings into the fold as a major plotline.
- The characters: 7.5
- Most of the time, the characters are developing and actively reacting to the world and events around them. Now at the end of season 3, I barely even recognize the personalities presented in the Pilot, because they’ve all suffered loss — and remember it! For example, I’m a hardcore Bellarke shipper, and as frustrating as it is, I think it’s good that they aren’t immediately falling into bed together. They are both such guarded, intense personalities that it would seem uncharacteristic and awkward, rather than the slow, but natural, progression we see. This area does lose a few points because, at times, I think the character change gets a bit too drastic and they react to something more than it seems to fit. However, I’m sure I would go crazy in a post-apocalyptic world too, and what’s a good drama without a little shock?
- The setting: 9
- I really think they’ve nailed it here. This seems to be the one post-apocalyptic show that remembers that it literally has the entire world to explore. And explore, they do. There’s a city, there’s villages and territories, different regions of ocean and forest and desert, even weather like acid fog and an anticipated winter. And all of these are recognized by the characters, and even drive parts of the plot. And it has to be like this, because you can’t really drive home the “we’re trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world” if it’s constantly sunny and 60 degrees Fahrenheit all the time.
- The details: 8
- Most of the time, they’re consistent. The people are never fully clean when they’re on Earth, which makes sense because if you’re barely surviving a nuclear-ridden planet, you don’t have a shower and good water pressure. Or much soap. They all have greasy hair, stained and ripped clothing, old scabs and freshly bleeding cuts. And most of the physical wounds, you can pinpoint exactly when in the episode they got them. And, again, they remember everything that has happened to them. Spoiler alert: when they return to the dropship site after Season 1, the charred bones are still there! Occasionally, i do think they misplace some crate or something like that, but for the most part, there’s no magical cleaning services.
- The logic: 7
- I deduct points because they say that the nuclear apocalypse happened 100 years ago, yet the Grounders have an entire civilization, language, and social conduct built seemingly from scratch. It seems a bit too fast for me, especially when we finally learn more about that event. The Grounders act like they’ve never seen electricity or technology before — which, yes, many of them haven’t, but I would think that the survivors 100 years ago would have at least passed the info down via word of mouth. Especially with the events of Season 3. Otherwise, I think the characters stay in their own bounds of reality — they even have the problem of running out of bullets, which I rarely see even in war movies.
- The reflection of reality: 8.5
- I reference this in the very description of what this rating entails. We aren’t kids thrust to a nuke-soaked ground and pissing of belligerent Stone Age-like civilization, but many of the core issues are ones that we are very familiar with. Clarke often struggles with conflicts between what is right and what is easy; following your instincts and your own senses versus following authority and what others tell you; and how to calculate and deal with the costs of success. The kids face realizations that I think all teens and young adults go through: the moment you realize your parents aren’t perfect, the time you have to start making your own decisions. Similarly, everyone deals with how to function in society, and what kind to have — a dictatorship with a council like the Grounders, an democracy-more-like-oligarchy like in space, or something totally new. Whether to go to war to defend our autonomy, or to strive towards peace even at the loss of some pride. If none of this sounds familiar, I recommend you read a book. Literally, any book.
- The cast: 7.5
- Definitely a fair amount of diversity in characters and cast, and I think for the most part every character’s ethnic features make sense. I do think Bellamy and Octavia, despite being siblings, have very different complexions from each other and their mother, but I think both actors are Greek, and I don’t look exactly like my siblings, so I think they just get away with it. Though, I still think Bellamy and Raven are rather tan for people who have never been directly exposed to the sun. The Grounders look very ambiguous, which I think is awesome and makes a lot of sense for them. Even the people from space fit, since the story is that there were multiple stations from multiple countries that merged together, so it makes sense that most of them look mixed. I’m just being a bit nit-picky here.