Well, it looked like The 100 was going to have another “fight to the death” “fight pit” episode, if the preview for Season 5 Episode 10 is any indication. (Thankfully, after watching the episode, it wasn’t quite as bad as I expected…) This time, it was Bellamy, Indra, and Gaia. I realize this is a big part of The 100’s storyline. Octavia created the fighting pits (kind of an homage to the Final Conclave) in order to keep people in line while they lived in the bunker, and now she’s still doing the same thing. But even knowing this is integral to the plot, I can’t help but yawn a little. Pretty much Every Single SciFi Show that I watch requires a fight-to-the-death type of episode (or, in The 100’s case, 20000000000 of them.) (Yes, I’m exaggerating.)
I don’t typically like Fight to the Death episodes. They tend to get boring. There’s always the “How can we avoid killing each other and still get out alive?!” moment while they are pitted against their best friends. The “will they/won’t they” questions. Some people love that stuff (see Hunger Games.) My husband, Derek, will argue with me and might even write a counterpoint post about why they’re necessary. But I just start yawning because I’ve seen them so many times and there’s really not a good way to make a fight-to-the-death-fight-pit episode unique (unless you’re Game of Thrones.)
Yes, I know there was Mad Max and there was Hunger Games. But on TV shows, it’s rare that fight-to-the-death gladiator-fight-pit episodes are really that interesting. At least tonight there will likely be enough additional plots to make it entertaining.
Here’s some of the fight pit episodes I’ve watched on TV. I’m listing them in an annoyingly long list just to prove my point:
The 100: Season 4 finale for crying out loud. The Final Conclave.
Battlestar Galactica: This is one of my all-time favorite shows. They didn’t have a “fight pit” per se. But they had that awful boring episode, Unfinished Business, where Apollo and Kara boxed foreeeeeever. It was fight pit light.
12 Monkeys: I haven’t had time to rewatch this, but wasn’t there some kind of Ramse-vs-Cole fight to the death?
Agents of SHIELD: I’m counting this as post apocalyptic because part of the most recent season was post-apocalyptic. It was really good, but yes, they did a fight-to-the-death too. 🙁 This one involved Quake.
Game of Thrones: This show does fight pits well. I have to give them this, and feel bad including them in this list at all. The Mountain vs The Viper was freaking amazing. And then there was Jorah’s fight pit episode, which was mercilessly brief. Neither pitted someone against a best friend either, so that was nice.
The Walking Dead: Jadis throws Rick into a fight pit in Season 7, but at least in this case it was a massive zombie, so he wasn’t fighting his best friend. But that’s nothing compared to The Suicide King episode, where Daryl and brother Merle were forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of the Woodbury residents in Season 3.
Altered Carbon: Kovacs and Ortega were put into a fight pit, but at least they didn’t have to fight each other.
Star Trek: Amok Time: In the Original Series, they pitted Spock against Kirk. But I’m guessing fight pits weren’t as common back then, so it wasn’t an over-used trope at that point in time. Maybe this was the one that birthed all the rest.
Star Trek Enterprise: Archer and Shran had a fight-to-the-death in United. Yay. 🙁
Star Trek: Voyager: In the episode Tsunkatse (Season 6 Episode 15), Seven of Nine participates in an arena fight (but she’s not fighting her best friend, she’s fighting The Rock.)
Star Trek: TNG: Yar vs Yareena fight to the death in Season 1 “Code of Honor.” No best friend deal here, but we did have the poison-coated-weapons.
Babylon 5: Season 3 – “Grey is Missing.” Marcus was involved in a sort-of-fight-to-the-death.
Stargate SG-1: Carter is in a fight to the death in Season 1’s episode “Emancipation.” Written by the same writer who brought us TNG’s fight-to-the-death episode.
Stargate SG-1: Season 9 episode called “Babylon” involves a fight to the death with Mitchell. Yes, Stargate SG1 did this TWICE.
Farscape: Crichton is pitted against Crais in a fight to the death in Season 1 Episode 8. (So hey, you get to the see the same actor in two fight-to-the-death episodes from two different series!)
Know of an episode I’m missing? Let me know in the comments below.