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Spoilers ahead for the backdoor pilot of the potential prequel spinoff of The 100, called "Anaconda."
The 100 went on a blast way to the past with "Anaconda," the episode that serves as the backdoor pilot for the potential prequel spinoff. "Anaconda" only featured Clarke and Co. for a couple of minutes, with most of the hour taking place in the past on Earth, shortly before A.L.I.E. 1.0 set off the nuclear apocalypse to several years after, when the survivors who made it to the bunker left either via the Anomaly Stone or to survive in the radiation with nightblood. By the end of the episode, I found myself wondering: is the spinoff skipping the best part of the apocalypse in The 100?
In "Anaconda," The 100 filled in the blanks about Bill Cadogan, Second Dawn, and why the bunker was empty when the survivors found it back in Season 4. The nuclear apocalypse happened courtesy of A.L.I.E. early in the episode, sending Callie Cadogan and her mom to meet with her brother and father, Bill, in the Second Dawn bunker, where they and his other followers were meant to wait out the fallout of the end of the world. Everything changed when Becca arrived in her escape pod and brought the ability to create nightbloods who could leave the bunker as well as A.L.I.E. 2.0, a.k.a. the Flame, or what the Disciples came to call "the Key."
Of course, The 100 fans already knew that Bill Cadogan would burn Becca at the stake but the Flame survived, with following generations seeing Becca as the first commander. Becca entrusted A.L.I.E. 2.0 to Callie, who took off into the radioactive post-apocalypse world to find survivors, safe thanks to her nightblood. Callie took with her the means to create more nightbloods courtesy of what Becca left behind. "Anaconda" ended with Bill and his faithful followers going through the Anomaly Stone to Bardo while Callie and her group stayed on Earth.
The spinoff will presumably follow Callie and her friends as they build what will become the Grounder culture from the first several seasons of The 100, complete with the language Callie created, nightbloods, and the Flame. That is definitely interesting, and a way to fill in some of The 100's blanks even after the parent series ends. That said, "Anaconda" also churned through a lot of plot for a backdoor pilot, and it mentioned some stories that would have been great for a potential series to show rather than tell.
Callie and her ill-fated best friend were recovering from injuries they sustained at a protest that was broken up by the authorities, and Callie had dropped out of MIT to pursue a higher cause. She'd had a falling out with her father over his Second Dawn beliefs, and used to fight with her brother in the basement. Her best friend had potential. She invented the language first introduced by the Grounders. "Anaconda" could have spent time on the lead to the apocalypse, and built the pre-apocalypse society to the point that the end of the world would have felt more tragic.
The end of the backdoor pilot feels to me like it's setting the prequel up to be The 100 2.0, with a group of young survivors trying to endure on the ground when everything was upside down. It could have been something newer and fresher.
I actually liked "Anaconda" and think Iola Evans would make for a compelling star of a show. But I feel the same way about "Anaconda" as I did about the first season of Fear the Walking Dead: why rush through the end of the world and downfall of society when that downfall could be so interesting, and hadn't been done on the parent series?
Obviously Fear the Walking Dead rushing through the fall of society didn't prevent it from becoming a hit, as the zombie apocalypse series has already run for five seasons and has been renewed for a sixth. If Anaconda is ordered to series, it could be a hit as well, and I very well could watch it. I'll just wish that viewers had gotten to see more of what Callie and the others lost before they start their mission to restore humanity.
At this point, there is no guarantee that the100 prequel spinoff will get that series order. While the expansive Arrowverse may give the impression that The CW is the place to be for spinoffs, non-superhero shows haven't been so fortunate with launching spinoffs. Supernatural failed on the spinoff front on two separate occasions, and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene recently got the axe. Even Arrow's potential spinoff is currently in limbo. We can only wait and see if The CW gives the go-ahead for the 100 universe to continue even after The 100 itself comes to an end at the close of Season 7.