After a long, long wait, The 100 finally returns tonight, though nothing is quite the same as it was when we last saw it.
It's been six years since the death wave of radiation that sent a few people to space, nearly everyone underground, and left poor Clarke (Eliza Taylor) stranded on the surface all alone.
In the last moments of the season four finale, we saw that Clarke had survived that wave for six years and was still waiting for everyone to return, but she hadn't been alone all that time. She had, at some point, befriended/adopted a little girl named Madi (Lola Flanery), and most of tonight's premiere is spent on Clarke and this relationship that will become a crucial one throughout the season, according to showrunner Jason Rothenberg.
In those final moments, we also saw that someone was coming to earth, and it did not appear to be a ship carrying friends. It was actually some far more sinister visitors, and that's pretty much where we are as the season really kicks off, with a whole lot of questions to be answered.
While we obviously don't want to spoil any of the excellent premiere, there are a few tidbits we will share, courtesy of Rothenberg.
First of all, that time jump is a big deal, particularly for one reason: it's more time than every character originally spent on earth in the first four seasons.
Rothenberg estimates that those seasons spanned about 10 months. Now, six years later, a lot has to have happened.
"It gives you the freedom of giving you almost anything that you want to do, because you can justify it in the sense of, you know, they had enough time for that to develop," he tells us of the time jump. "Really, we could do anything. Now the trick also, of course, is to have it feel like they're different, but they're not. They're still the same people that we've come to love, so there has to be that sort of consistency."
Clarke is still Clarke, Bellamy (Bob Morley) is still Bellamy, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) is still Octavia, but they've all done some growing and some changing in the past six years that everyone (including us) will still have to get used to.
Clarke is essentially a mom now, with a kid she's been raising for years. Otherwise, they've been completely alone, unlike everyone in space or in the bunker, and Clarke's number one priority is her family, Madi.
Similarly, the space kru is a family, and the bunker is (kinda) a family.
"So when these sort of rings of the circus collide, of course everyone's going to be emotionally thrilled to see each other alive and surprised in some cases to see each other alive, but very quickly, those priorities shift, those changes are going to be the source of conflict when everybody's new family is not a priority for everyone else."
Promos for this season have declared "No good guys, no bad guys, only survivors," which could also sum up any other season of this show. But in the same way that no other season has been the same as one before, this season will be unlike no other season of The 100.
"The thematics of the show aren't different, the story is totally different," Rothenberg promises, and having seen the first four episodes, we can tell you he's very correct. It's also totally good, and there are some moments everyone is going to truly die over—both in the good way and maybe even a more literal way.
The 100 premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on the CW.