The first few episodes in Season 1 gave me the impression that all the typical American characters are given a spot in the series – a victim, a hero-to-be, an aggressive bully, the typical nerdy Asian and another nerdy friend, damsel-in-distress and so on. First season introduces the descend of the 100 young exiles to Earth, and introduction to the Grounders, remaining survivors of the last apocalypse. Grounders is portrayed to be savages bent on violence in protecting their turf. Ultimately, the remaining inhabitants of The Arc (where the first 100 young exiles were from) also descended upon the Earth. Personally, I felt that the first season was a little draggy, but laid down the foundation for development of the future seasons.
Season 2 introduces Mount Weather and its inhabitant who did not have resistance to the radiation. Mount Weather portrayed sinister intention, especially with their too-helpful inhabitants. Slowly but definitely, secrets below the mountain laid bare the menacing intention of Mount Weather to use Grounders and Skycrew (the exiles & subsequent inhabitants of The Arc who descended to Earth) to aid their survival through bone marrow transplant. The season also introduces ALIE and the City of Light, artificial intelligence & technology amidst the now barren Earth after apocalypse. The season ends with the explosion & collapse of Mount Weather.
Season 3 is a fuzzy & confusing chapter of the storyline. Alliances are made between Grounders & Skycrew, broken and mended multiple times. The theme of trust is not a strong premise among human being. The fight to control the Grounders is intertwined with technology, which is portrayed through the Flamekeeper accessing & embedding a small microchip which can only survive in a Nightblood (ultimate Commander of the Grounders). The main villain in this season is portrayed by the run-away artificial intelligence known as ALIE, with the main objective to “convert” all the remaining human being into her City of Light and maintain a sustainable survival for human being. ALIE’s definition of sustainable survival is premised on fewer human with the revelation that ALIE is the reason for the apocalypse with automated launch of nuclear explosion a century ago.
Season 4 starts off with a bleak realisation that another apocalypse with the melt-down of existing nuclear power plants in the next half year is imminent. Even with such desolate information, humanity soldiered on to find ways to survive through 2 routes – ground and sky. The main characters experimented & investigated with casualties along the way towards their survival. The season ends with the apocalypse known as Praimfaya befalling Earth with 1 majority group moving into the ground and 1 minority group ascending towards the sky.
Season 5 commences after 6 years post-Praimfaya. The season introduces new villains in the form of miners cum prisoners cryogenised returning from their successful mission, only to find Earth totally decimated. The new group fought for a small habitable valley which survived the Praimfaya, with the remaining Grounders. The season also exposed the changes in personality upon the various characters due to the experiences each endured. The fight became more violent with new weapons available from space, and finally humanity has outdone themselves to destroy Earth once more. A small group managed to escape into the sky once more and went into hibernation through the cryogenic chambers. The season ends with their arrival to a new habitable planet with 2 suns.
Recurring characters are quite a lot, with 1 group consisting the younger generations & 1 group of adults. Somehow, I was actually rooting for the younger generation to take over as the adult group seems to be too weak.
Clarke : As the main character through the 5 seasons, I didn’t like Clarke’s personality. It is too hopeful & naïve. The series seems to portray her as a leader, but I could not see any leadership in her actions. She is whiny at best when trying to convince people to follow her directions, and she got lucky in many situations. Her relationship with Finn was on superficial but it hurt Raven the most. Her relationship with Lexa is baffling at best, I could not understand what Lexa saw in her. Her “protective” mothering of Madi just made her seem redundant.
Abby : I could not relate to Abby’s character. She is a doctor, but she is also one who incite sacrifices from others the most. Her actions & decisions are not consistent, and she has different standards for different people. She did everything to save Clarke and Kane, at the expense of others. She made Octavia a scape-goat for goading everyone towards cannibalism. She became addicted to drugs to drown in her sorrow, and condoned killing when she was not in control. Her actions were contradictory to all that she desired, giving the character total contradiction. Frankly, a despicable character who disguised as an angel but too weak to make decisions & standby them.
Kane : Considered as a commander, the character lacked leadership. The only consolation for the character – I truly believe he thinks he is doing all he can for the good of others. His character was difficult to like in the early seasons, but toned down significantly at the end.
Bellamy : The character started off on the wrong foot with me as the character is just too rebellious and selfish at the beginning. As the seasons go by, his genuine love for his sister Octavia and his desire to help those close to him endeared him slightly. His journey and regrets along the way, laid bare his weaknesses but he accepted them and made amend subsequently. His strength is his ability to assess the strength of people and make best use of it.
Octavia : I have a love-hate relationship with O throughout the series. Her story arc is interesting. In the first 2 seasons, she blended easily with the Grounders and I admired her sense of self-righteousness as a warrior. As she grew in her journey, she has her own strong opinion but does not impose on others. When she lost Lincoln (in the stupidest way too), it was difficult, sliced through her heart and embedded a wall between her and Bellamy. When she took over as leader in the ground during Praimfaya, I hated her character development. She was a hesitant leader, but was pushed towards certain decisions which changed her fundamental beliefs. “If you are not with us, you are an enemy of OneCrew”. Instead of making amend, her reactions were to cling on to power & insistence that her decision was for the better good. Her enlightenment came but I was not sure whether it was for survival or she was really repentant.
Jaha : As the Commander of the Arc, the character is weak. He wanted the Arc to survive, but was not ruthless in managing out the enemies. He can’t even differentiate who are the enemies (~ rolled eyes). His character especially as ALIE’s puppet defined him as a preacher but was too weak to influence nor manage.
Raven : At first, when Raven’s character is introduced, the triangle between her, Clarke & Finn is ackward. Raven’s character is spunky, reliable and tenacious. Her mental strength and tolerance for pain showcased her as a potential main character. Somehow, these did not materialise to translate her into a “leader” for the series. She is almost always relegated as the mechanical expert to fix problems. I like the pairing of her and Miles, clearly she had him at the middle finger on the screen. 😀
Murphy : This character is difficult to stomach. He is the typical bully, and will do anything to survive. He loves being in the centre of attention, and suffers jealousy (gasp!) when Emori (love interest) wanted to do something else! Preposterous! He performs best under pressure to “save” himself and/ or others.
Jasper : This character is one I hated the most. Always on cloud-nine, trying to be positive but always the naivete clouded his decision-making ability. His character could have been cut short after Season 2. His character is dead after he lost Maya in Mount Weather. The constant whining grated, and his ungratefulness for his remaining friendship & survival is a stark contract to Monty’s character.
Monty : As a farmer with technological skills, Monty is almost invisible in the early seasons as the sidekick to Jasper. His character started shining only in Season 3 onwards when he met his love-interest Harper. His fundamental understanding of plants provided him an alternative to fighting. When Octavia burnt his thriving plant at the ground basement, his look of horror was classic. His beliefs & hardwork to make farming a reality as an alternative to fighting is destroyed. I loved the fact that he chose to live on instead of surviving to fight another war, taking in his own beliefs in living for the moment especially in peace.
When watching the series, it was put on continuously while I go about my daily life whereby I sometimes missed out a big part of the stories. The storyline is nevertheless interesting, as I am hooked to know what will happen in the next episode.
There were questions at the back of my mind, questioning the logic of the science touted behind the story. Eg is it really possible for someone to survive close proximity with significant radiation? Is a few years adequate to make Earth habitable again after the nuclear melt-down? Can an amputee able to bounce back in such a short period to physical work & aggression?
The constant fight amongst humanity seems to be a key theme, ultimate destruction at every point when human being is around. After a while, it became draining to see the same theme all over again. The series seems to thrive on violence.
Taking these aside, there were growth in the characters and the storyline is interesting enough with some logic for me to chase for the next episode. As you can see from the analysis of the characters, none of which I like in particular. The series is slightly interesting enough to catch your attention to want to know what happens at the end.
Recommended only if you are not too particular about details & if there is a lot of time to kill.