The 100 season 5 episode 12 review: Damocles Part One

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During “Damocles Part One,” Wonkru finally marches on Shallow Valley. But even after things go awry, McCreary isn’t willing to accept their surrender, leaving them in quite a predicament.

This week’s episode of The 100, the first of a two-part season finale, follows Wonkru as they finally reach Shallow Valley. Despite being prepared for battle early in the episode, they soon realize that conditions aren’t in their favor. McCreary’s men are waiting for them, and Wonkru walks right into a massacre.

The episode opens with Spacekru’s realization that they’ve been betrayed. No one appears when they attempt to create a distraction to draw McCreary’s men away from the gorge — and Octavia’s army. Instead, McCreary’s men remain at the gorge, using their advanced weaponry to take down the Wonkru forces. By the time the series’ intro comes on, things are already looking dire.

In Shallow Valley

While Octavia’s forces are slaughtered, things remain relatively calm inside of Shallow Valley. McCreary delights in listening to the violence he’s caused, and he invites Kane to take in what he has done. Kane seems to realize he’s made a mistake, especially given the fact that McCreary won’t accept a surrender — not even from useful members of Wonkru, like engineers or farmers.

McCreary also imprisons Diyoza, overlooking the fact that she returned to help him. When she sides with Kane’s pleas for peace, he tells her, “There is only one reason you’re still alive. And once she’s born, you won’t be.” He makes it clear that he’s bored of her manipulation, and though fans can’t stand him, his stance does make sense.

Perhaps the greatest struggle within the valley during “Damocles Part One” is the one between Clarke and Madi. Ever since she took the flame, Madi has been insistent on returning to help her people. Clarke has been equally adamant that they made the right choice in returning to the valley.

But Madi makes it clear that this was Clarke’s choice alone, and she continually attempts to sneak away to fight. Abby advises Clarke to do “whatever it takes” to keep Madi here, leading Clarke to put one of Eligius’ collars on her daughter. It’s a low point for Clarke’s character, and it really drives home her desperation.

Wonkru’s side of the battle

When we finally return to Wonkru’s forces, we realize that most of them either died or returned to the wasteland. Octavia and Bellamy lay among the dead and wounded, unable to move. Anyone who did survive the blast is gunned down by McCreary’s patrols, eagerly searching for any movement on the battlefield.

As other survivors are gunned down around them, Bellamy tells Octavia that this is her fault. “You led them here, you burnt their farm, and you made them march,” he says. “These people are dead because of you.” His words are a testament to how strained their relationship has become this season.

Bellamy also tells Octavia that they need to wait until it gets dark. Once they have cover, they can use it to return to her people. Then they can get the radio and surrender. But when a few stragglers attempt to surrender, it becomes evident that McCreary’s men have no intentions of bargaining with them. “So much for surrender,” Octavia mutters, as more of her people are added to the dead.

Too add to that, Wonkru isn’t exactly awaiting their leader’s return. When Miller returns to their camp in the wasteland, he insists that they can still win, despite being harshly wounded himself. His outcries meet deaf ears. The grounders refuse to go back into the gorge, telling him that “no one else is dying for Blodreina.”

Sadly, the fact that the grounders are unwilling to go back for their leader is bad news for Indra and Gaia. When Bellamy and Octavia do make a run for it, they discover the two huddled behind rocks. Gaia appears to be fatally wounded, and Indra refuses to leave her daughter. The group decides to wait for Wonkru to return for them, a decision that soon proves itself futile.

Making sacrifices

“Damocles Part One” ends with a number of emotional scenes, forcing many characters to make difficult decisions that rail against everything they’ve done this season.

Kane and Abby are finally reunited during the episode, but their time together is short-lived. He’s pleased to see that Abby is currently clean, but he struggles with the decisions they’ve made to get there. Abby repeats what he said to her seasons ago: “First, we survive. Then we find our humanity again.” Unfortunately, the words are of little comfort to him.

And when Abby leaves to assist the Eligius prisoners, Vincent shows up to speak with Kane. After a discussion about conscience, Vincent attacks him. By the time Abby shows up to stop him, Kane is nearly unconscious. He keeps muttering, “Octavia killed those people. It was Octavia.” And when he passes out, it seems likely that he’s the first major casualty of “Damocles Part One.”

Spacekru also ventures into Shallow Valley, asking Madi to lead Wonkru into the gorge. They manage to get her collar off, but Clarke interrupts, once again proving that she’s willing to betray everyone she’s ever cared about to keep Madi safe. She notifies McCreary of their presence, and he quickly whisks Raven and Shaw away to fire missiles on Wonkru.

He wants to kill Echo, but Clarke attempts to keep her alive by insisting that they need information from her. While they talk, Echo attempts to convince Clarke that she made the wrong choice in betraying everyone she loves. But Madi truly steals the show.

During a touching scene, with many callbacks to Lexa, Madi reminds Clarke of the time Lexa betrayed her outside of Mount Weather. Madi tells Clarke that Lexa doesn’t want her to “make the same mistake she did.” She also reminds Clarke that “life should be about more than just surviving,” the words prompting the return of the Clarke we know and love.

Clarke finally lets go of Madi, remaining behind to ensure that McCreary can’t bomb Wonkru when Madi leads them back into Shallow Valley. “We will meet again,” she tells the girl, who is rightfully terrified of what she’s about to do.

The end of Blodreina

Perhaps the greatest sacrifice during “Damocles Part One” is Octavia’s. Finally accepting that she has failed Wonkru, she tries to redeem herself in the only way she can. She offers to create a distraction, while Bellamy, Indra, and Gaia run for it. If she can’t protect her people, at least she can protect the only family she has left.

“My brother, my responsibility,” Octavia tells Bellamy, before running into the search lights. She takes down as many Eligius prisoners as she can before kneeling to them and accepting her fate. But just when viewers think this is Octavia’s end, Echo and Madi show up to save them.

And though Octavia doesn’t die during this episode, it seems that Blodreina finally has. Octavia’s humanity seems to have returned, and it will be interesting to see how she responds to Madi’s arrival.

The episode ends with the group heading toward the wasteland in the Rover. Hopefully, Wonkru will be open to following Madi in to battle. It’s their only chance at survival.

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We’ll soon discover how this war ends. “Damocles Part Two” airs Tuesday, July 7 at 8 p.m. EST.