‘I Am Become Death’ starts with the kids examining the wreckage of the crashed Exodus ship and bickering over the events of the night before, when they had a deadly altercation with the Grounders, before the previously banished, and now heavily mutilated Murphy reappears.
It offers up one of the first true ‘grotesque’ moments of the series, as they are confronted with an infection that could easily kill them all.
Despite a constant preoccupation with hooking up with someone of the other sex, there is now, for the first time, a genuine feeling of dread and tension among the youngsters. While the camp teeters on the edge of either haemorrhaging to death or killing each other, Octavia finally faces her own choice to run away in earnest, as has been teased throughout the series.
There are several refreshing things about ‘I Am Become Death.’
It’s refreshing to see an episode where Taylor, Avgeropolous and Lindsey Morgan all get something more to do than simply aid the men’s journeys through the plot. When Taylor gets to approach her character from a position of strength and a self-interested motivation, she instantly becomes a lot more relatable than before, and the same applies to the hardened Raven.
It’s refreshing to not be perfectly secure in the knowledge of exactly who will make it alive through to the closing credits.
It’s also refreshing to see the series slowly start to abandon its high-school dramatics in favour of the gritty survival drama this should be.
It’s no less refreshing to see Morley show weakness as Bellamy. His character, who has held a firm grip on proceedings so far, shows the first signs of not being the undisputed centre of the camp’s fate. It comes at the right place in the series for us to wonder about his fate, and that The 100 might survive as a series, even if he won’t.
And it’s especially refreshing to see the writers and director trust the audience enough to not explain the episode’s title to them.
Most of all, it’s endlessly refreshing to see Thomas McDonell finally loosen his jaw and shoulders, settle into himself, stop trying so hard to be dark and brooding, and deliver not just a line, but several of them.
The 100 is growing up, and that’s a great thing.
The 100 is airing now on E4 in the UK. For the latest US TV news, subscribe to SciFiNow and save 30% off the cover price.