Hitting the ground running, 'Echoes' confidently ushers in a new era returning The 100 to its former glory.
Picking up directly from the closing moments of the season three finale, ‘Echoes’ hits the ground running, confidently ushering in a new, mature era for The 100.
Whereas previous seasons relied on action, ‘Echoes’ is much quieter. Whilst this may rankle fans who enjoy the bloodier aspects of this series, ‘Echoes’ provides much needed closure for the action-packed finale of the previous season. In a lot of ways this premiere is the calm before the storm, as Clarke (Eliza Taylor) wrestles with the realisation that the world’s neglected nuclear power stations are nearing meltdowns. To make matters worse, tensions in Polis are rising as grounder clans prepare to battle for power and leadership in the wake of Lexa’s death.
‘Echoes’ expertly sets up the conflicts to come, shifting focus back to the core characters and their internal struggles, all the while establishing a huge external threat. Although it’s refreshing to have a dialogue-heavy episode, there are occasions where ‘Echoes’ bites off more than it can chew, but its strength lies in the smaller moments, which demonstrate how each individual has evolved over the course of the series.
Coming to terms with loss and learning how to move forwards is clearly a major theme this season, and there is a glimmer of hope in the form of one of The 100’s strongest aspects: Marcus Kane’s (Henry Ian Cusick) transformation from cold pragmatist to passionate optimist. In many ways he represents hope as he relentlessly works to make things better, making his moment with Bellamy very fitting as he encourages the younger man to work past his guilt and move forwards.
“You turn the page and you don’t look back. You do better today than you did yesterday. Before you know it, you’ll deserve to survive.”
Elsewhere, Jasper’s (Devon Bostick) grief over Maya continues to overwhelm him. In a heartbreaking scene that plays mercilessly slowly, Jasper locks himself in his bedroom, staring at Maya’s favourite painting and listening to her Walkman, all the while moving a revolver to his head. Jasper ultimately decides not to go through with his suicide, only to discover the end of the world is imminent, an irony that is not lost on him. As difficult as Jasper’s storyline is to watch, I commend the writers on their decision not to bump him off or to give him a quick fix for his guilt and grief. His narrative is likely to be one of the most engaging of the season as it explores how a person can carry on when they are past the point of choosing death.
Of the myriad of characters, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) has undergone the most drastic transformation, developing from an innocent butterfly-chasing child to stone-cold killer. Lincoln’s death in season three broke Octavia, and it is clear from the promotional material that this season she will deal with her need for vengeance in a cycle reminiscent of Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark.
Clarke experienced a lot of trauma last season and ‘Echoes’ finally gives her a chance to come to terms with her grief. In a powerful and beautiful moment with her mother, Clarke breaks down and confesses her love for Lexa. The relationship between Clarke and Abby (Paige Turco) is one of the most dynamic and important to the series, and this moment affirmed The 100’s commitment to sexuality never needed justification or explanation as Abby simply replies “I know.”
The 100 has always played to its self-assurance, tenaciously burning through plot at a hundred miles an hour, and this did result in a slightly disjointed and crammed Season 3; so it’s brilliant to see the show returning to form as it heads into its fourth season.
The 100 airs on E4, Wednesday nights at 9pm.