No one was safe this week as Wonkru seemed to finally be meeting it’s end, following a merciless attack from McCreary. With everyone at risk, it was all down to Clarke once again to single-handledly even out the playing field, but will it be enough?
From the first few scenes of episode 12, “Damocles – Part One”, it begs the question “Were Diyoza and Kane just stressed when they decided to help McCreary at the end of the last episode?” Diyoza, being the mother of McCreary’s unborn baby, clearly knows McCreary is a psychopath. Surely? It’s not hard to believe that he wants to dictate and doesn’t want to share the last survivable valley on Earth with people who don’t think like or worship him. Diyoza is clever enough to know this and therefore not persuade Kane to betray WonKru on their battle plans. It could be that Diyoza is focused on the survival of her baby and that’s the motive for her actions, however it seems more likely that the writers just needed an obstacle for Wonkru for the climax of season 5. Let’s be honest, Octavia would have dominated that battle if she had the chance.
This season has not hesitated to show how Octavia’s people are skilled, intelligent warriors, who lived through 6 years of hunger and mutiny, who are wholly devoted to one goal. The prisoners of the Eligius Corporation, on the other hand, are reckless criminals with their own goals, and their own tactics who favour adrenaline-induced blood and murder rather than strategic battle formations. This is represented in Vinson’s role in this episode. Vinson hasn’t been an important character in my opinion however there has been that sweet relationship with Abbie whereby he’s been supplying and fuelling her drug addiction. What a cute friendship! In order to keep the arrangement going, Vinson attempts to kill Kane in some strange bid to push Abbie back off the rails in distress, so she is forced to rely on him again. I mean, what is the purpose? The war on McCreary’s side is almost won, all of the prisoners have been cured of their disease by Abbie, so why Vinson still wants Abbie to be using is beyond me. It’s clear the writers needed to put Kane’s life at risk, and, as I’ve mentioned, Vinson demonstrates the position of every single prisoner in the valley and how they fight brainlessly and live with no responsibility. Vinson literally starts eating Kane, showing how monstrous and mad the character is, before Abbie manages to use his shock collar to kill him.
As much as I think Kane’s actions were pretty stupid in this episode, I do love his character and this season he feels like the outsider as he doesn’t really belong to any one group. Even though he is Wonkru and lived through the horrific events in the bunker, he’s spent this whole season dissociating himself from Octavia. Even though he was in there, he doesn’t truly feel a part of Wonkru and doesn’t agree with their practices or goal. Kane is also the only character to really bond with Diyoza throughout this season, even whilst her own people stood against her. Her and Kane appear to have a strong connection and similar aspiration to create peace and community. His strained relationship with Abbie has also isolated him even more, and he has become somewhat of a Jaha character who turns up during pivotal moments as the voice of a sole solution.
Speaking of Jaha (god rest his soul) he does get a mention in this episode, believe it or not. Ethan, the boy Jaha promised to watch over before he was killed off and custody reverted to Gaia and Octavia, randomly pops up before he is shot by McCreary’s men, revealing to Octavia that their get-in was a trap. Did you forget this boy existed? I certainly did. Ethan was, in general, pointless and re-appeared in this episode purely for shock factor, and I guess also to ensure nobody could criticise the show for leaving any loose ends. It’s possible you didn’t even recognise him which is why Octavia exclaims “Jaha would be proud,” to help jog your memory.
I was expecting a bit more of an action-packed battle scene, but it did successfully create a sense of hopelessness for Octavia’s army. I’m sure the show is saving all the best fights for the finale next week, and I think the focus for this episode was the suspense. Bellamy and Octavia, having been through a bumpy, confusing set of emotions this season, must trust each other as they play dead on the battlefield to avoid being shot by enemy lookouts. Octavia watches as her injured people get shot one by one and it’s at this moment she finally admits that she had brought the downfall of Wonkru. Stranded with three people she had recently sentenced to death, Bellamy, Indra and Gaia do not hesitate to present Octavia with the blunt reality. All of them are pushed to their mental limits as they await a rescue, which leads Octavia to attempt to sacrifice herself in order to save the others. Now that her people are either dead or stranded in the wastelands and she’s stuck with the three people who disagree with her the most, she no longer has to be this strong leader who must maintain her brutal image. I always love when the writers bring back old lines from past seasons because the dialogue is so poignant and memorable, so the modified “My brother, my responsibility,” did make my heart tug a little bit. This season is the first time we have seen Bellamy and Octavia completely on different sides, and yet it’s clear that they still care for each other which is what makes everything so intriguing.
Octavia will always have that instinct to put herself before others, even in the way she takes ownership of Wonkru and makes the tough decisions that sometimes turn her into a monster. Even the march on the valley is sparked by her passionate devotion to her people and wanting the best for them. Realising that she’s led her people into a bloodbath, she gives the last thing she can to them by giving up her position to the enemy shooters. This is when the squad (Echo, Murphy, Emori and Madi) intervenes and they are rescued. I definitely want more scenes of Murphy next week because he does bring the comedy for me and I live for it.
Another massive theme of this episode, besides the fighting, was Clarke and her never-ending battle to keep Madi safe, by… electrocuting her to keep her from running into the warzone. Huh? It does seem counter-productive at first however this symbolises how Clarke’s character has developed. Before Season 5, Clarke hasn’t had anyone who depended on her like Madi did during the 6 years they were in the valley together. The pure amount of time they spent together overrides any connection Clarke had with Bellamy, as she already abandoned him at the hands of Octavia this season. Clarke still maintains, throughout most of this episode, that she’s on McCreary’s side in order to keep Madi from being killed or used by Octavia. Madi’s role in this beautifully creates a link with Lexa in so many ways. The reason Clarke is so paranoid and fearful that Madi will be in danger because of her possession of the flame, (Becca’s artificial intelligent chip imbedded in Madi’s head) is because she saw Lexa get killed, and then had to be constantly reminded of her through her consciousness in the flame, and even reunited with her spirit in Season 3 when she herself connected to the flame. The idea that Madi, being a target to so many enemies, could be murdered and then having to be constantly reminded of that in the form of Becca’s AI, haunts Clarke. Lexa and Clarke’s relationship, as well as the Mount Weather storyline back in Season 2, are obviously well-loved stories because they are both heavily referenced in this episode, as a reflection on what is happening. For the past few episodes, it’s apparent Clarke has gone too far with her protection of Madi, but this only strengthens her still-existing love for Lexa. There are some emotional scenes between Clarke and Madi, at which point Clarke decides to finally do the right thing and rejoins her friends to help get Wonkru into the valley.
Clarke’s devotion for Madi is one of many relationships touched upon during this episode, and the romance is heating up. It feels this season has been so fast and so heavily focused on war and interlaced with different subplots and disagreements, that it has been hard to keep connected with the romantic relationships. I don’t feel we were given much description on how the affairs developed on the arc; how Murphy and Emori drifted apart, whether Harper and Monty’s romance got more intense, or how Bellamy and Echo grew closer. However, in this episode I enjoyed the nod to each of these relationships in their own way. Every single line from Echo throughout this episode is catered to her main priority which is to find and save Bellamy. When they do reunite, Bellamy discreetly rests his hand on Echo’s shoulder, showing off every emotion he’s feeling, from relief to admiration to appreciation, which I really loved. The couple are so mature, as they have both experienced so much, and can be relaxed with each other. This is very different to Murphy and Emor’s relationship which needs to be dramatic and messy. In the same reunion scene, Murphy is the only character to feel calm enough to shout in excitement at their successful rescue mission, and Emori presents a slight smile which I also thought was cute. This dialogue from Murphy is actually the last line of the episode and it does present a sense of community and empowerment now that everyone is back together, ready to kick ass for the last episode of the season.
Raven, having been 6th-wheeling on the arc, surrounded by three couples, has now quickly fallen for Shaw and they share a moment together when they are captured by McCreary. They are very similar characters in that they put their all into whatever project they’re working on which is what I always found so admiring about Raven. Gaia has some heart-breaking moments as she lays severely injured in her mum’s arms, and then even Miller and Jackson’s bond is acknowledged when Miller collapse in the wasteland from his injuries. Jackson’s short performance is one of complete distress as he holds Miller, and bless Miller for his incredible loyalty to Octavia! I really do love his character and I feel he is always overlooked. This season he has shown so much strength and loyalty to Wonkru, such a massive change from when we first meet him in Season 1, and it just shows how valuable he is.
Despite Miller’s best efforts, it seems Wonkru have completely lost all faith in Octavia and the idea of living in the valley. Will Madi reunite their efforts and lead them to victory? Will Octavia allow her to? Can Wonkru even live in peace after everything they’ve been through?