Although every character on The CW’s dystopian drama The 100 has suffered heartbreak, nobody has lost as much as Octavia Blake. Over the course of the show, she’s transformed from a sheltered girl who grew up confined to a tiny room to a fierce warrior out for blood. And after an uneven third season, it’s the “out for blood” part that infuses the show with a renewed sense of fun.
After the events of Season 3, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) is mourning the unjust death of her partner Lincoln (Ricky Whittle). Although most of her peers have also lost lovers — Clarke, Bellamy, Abby, Jasper — Octavia’s situation is unique. In Lincoln, she found not just a partner but a way of life. Her unusual upbringing and status as a second child rendered it so her Sky Person identity never quite fit, but her transition into the ways of Lincoln’s people enabled her to find an identity that did.
So far in Season 4, she’s shown that the way she plans to cope with Lincoln’s death is to become a killing machine who is more badass than ever. And while it might not be the healthiest response, she’s been more productive than any other character thus far. While it might be unorthodox then, embracing life as an assassin could be the best move for both Octavia and the show.
In the second episode, “Heavy Lies the Crown,” the newly ascended King Roan is struggling to maintain his shaky power. His decision to offer protection to the Skaikru is not exactly popular.
Although Octavia and Marcus try to help him keep his throne, they aren’t able to talk disgruntled challengers out of their plans. Taking matters into her own hands, Octavia visits Roan’s would-be challenger at night and straight-up murders him in cold blood. “Long live the king,” she says softly, drawing her hood up before she leaves.
It’s a chilling scene, but it’s also an unbelievably badass fist pump moment. For all that The 100 explores, with themes like the weight of leadership, the cost of war, and environmentalism, it also doesn’t shy away from action-movie style moments that don’t try to do anything more complex than make the audience say, “Fuck yeah!” By mixing thoughtful themes with pulpy action, the show has managed to create its uniquely addicting alchemy. But that was largely lost in Season 3. There were a handful of scenes approaching fun, like Roan and Lexa’s fight, but in sending Bellamy and Clarke down such isolated dark paths while weaving together the complicated story of A.L.I.E, the show didn’t have time to balance out its darkness.
Though Octavia, the stone-cold assassin, is also not what one would call “light” entertainment, there’s a certain joy to watching her kick ass, take names, and low-key run Polis better than anyone else.
Where before her fighting was erratic and needed guidance from Indra, she’s now able to work alone. Her new path is giving her a sense of purpose that’s fun for the viewer to watch — and in so doing, does the same for the show.
The 100 airs Wednesdays on The CW at 9 p.m.