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[Warning: The following contains spoilers from The 100's fifth season premiere, "Eden."]
The 100 is back and the premiere definitely does not disappoint.
Having already left fans on the hook with the massive Season 4 cliffhanger, the Season 5 premiere decided to up the ante and drop another massive bomb on fans. After spending the hour giving viewers updates on how Clarke (Eliza Taylor), Bellamy (Bob Morley) and the others in space spent the six years in the wake of Praimfaya, the episode ended with a quick glimpse of what Octavia has been up to - and more importantly, who she has become.
In our only look at the bunker so far, we see that Octavia has turned it into the friggin' thunderdome! Done up in red war paint, Octavia sits regally on a skull-riddled throne as she watches over a brutal gladiator-style fighting pit. It's definitely the kind of jaw-dropping moment that is going to make the wait until the next episode that much harder, which is exactly what creator Jason Rothenberg was going for.
"Obviously we saved that for the end as a big holy sh-- moment to tee you up for the story we're telling in [Episode 2]," Rothenberg tells TV Guide. "It was really important to me for that environment, for that fighting pit that we see in [the premiere], to feel believable and to tell a story in the next episode that explains how we got there."
Next week's episode will be focused entirely on how Octavia went from winning the Conclave into becoming this Mad Max monarch, and while Rothenberg doesn't want to give too much away about that journey, he does reveal that Octavia's intentions were never anything but to keep her people safe. "We realize ultimately that Octavia needs to find ways to keep her kru, her new people, Wonkru, together. And she kind of forges this clan in her own image, in a sense," he teases.
What is The 100 if not a tale of people doing terrible things with good intentions? But as the show has reminded us time and time again, good intentions don't always mean these actions are just. And after six years of peace, discovering this culture of violence that Octavia has created in the bunker will come as a huge shock to Bellamy and Clarke when they eventually reunite.
"It will be mind-blowing, to say the least, because it's not at all what they expect. Bellamy will definitely understand some of it based on his knowledge of his sister and what they read together as children and things of that nature," the showrunner says. "But certainly, they have no idea what to expect when they open that bunker. They don't know if anybody is going to be alive, let alone strong. And so it could have felt like opening the doors of a concentration camp where everyone was wasting away and barely hanging out, but instead there's a powerful fighting force down there."
While Bellamy and Clarke will be understandably horrified to learn of the fighting pit, the fierce warriors Octavia has cultivated in the bunker will prove to be quite useful now that there's another war on-hand. But whether that justifies what Octavia did to create these warriors will be the question that plagues both Octavia's friends and family, but also the fans this season.
"It's fairly remarkable that she was able to keep that, to create that, to forge that steel in the fire of what they lived through down there," Rothenberg says. "So ultimately that's all due to Octavia. And the question for people will be, 'Do we like her or do we hate her or fear her?' But I think ultimately, we have to respect that she did it, she made it happen. And they will too."
The 100 airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)