The 100 Season 4, Episode 9 Recap: "DNR"

Photo: Courtesy of The CW.
Thought experiment: there’s a bunker that can save everyone in your community. Is there anyone who you’d let die? Or expand that thought, even: a bunker that can save everyone in your country, same question. Just let it really sit with you for a bit, but remember: if you don’t decide, everyone will be dead in 6 days. You guys know what this means: The 100 is finally back from its hiatus.
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That “too good to be true” bunker from the last episode is, actually, everything they’ve been looking for this season and more. The catch is that these fools can’t get out of their own way for a few days to all share it, so here comes some more fighting. Kane made a deal with Trikru so that only their two clans will be in the bunker, no Azgeda, except for Roan. Roan counters this alliance by having his army surround the bunker so that nobody can get in. It’s the end of the world, but six days, to all these people, is still enough time for one final war.
Clarke, being Clarke, does her best to convince the clans that they can live in harmony. When that doesn’t work she realizes that what these people need is a Commander like Lexa. We all knew what was coming next. Clarke tells Gaia that she is a Nightblood now so she can be Commander.
They begin the ascension ceremony. Honestly, how exciting was this moment? Didn’t we all kind of feel like, “This is right, we’ve been leading to this for a while”? Well, we have to keep waiting. Just before Clarke is about to become Commander, Roan steps in and says that Clarke became a Nightblood through science. Abby confirms it. (This is two episodes in a row that you’ve messed everything up, Abby!) Roan says Clarke mocks their religion by doing this, treating them all like some savages.
I have to give the show a lot of credit for this moment. As much as Clarke has always been the lead (a lead who I’ve profusely stated my love for) it is true that she and Skaikru are outsiders. In many ways it would feed into a rough colonization narrative for Clarke to become the high ruler of them all. And there are obviously so many important ethical questions that come with trying to understand and respect someone else’s religion. Skaikru often just comes in and says “Our ideas are best” and obviously that’s got to grate on these people. This show always does an amazing job of making you ask questions about who is actually in the right.
However, I do think something is missing in terms of how the Grounders see their religion now. Like, sure, Clarke became a Nightblood because of science, but… if that’s possible at all then who’s to say it’s not something their religion would allot for? I mean, these guys should already know that the first Nightblood was Becca, who also made herself a Nightblood through science. And again, I still don’t understand why not even a faction of these people are like “Our God tortured us all last season in a virtual reality, maybe we don’t believe in God anymore.” Just think about it: if archeologists suddenly found like, a third testament of the Bible, don’t you think a good portion of Christians would adopt that into their religion (even if some would maybe deny it). I don’t understand why 1) This new bunker, 2) What they learned about A.L.I.E. last season, and 3) Nightblood being a thing they can replicate, wouldn’t at least throw them into some serious, serious questioning. I mean, this show has so many moral dilemma plates to spin that I get that occasionally one gets less of a twirl. But again, I’d just love to learn so much more about this religion.
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But instead of reckoning with the new realities of their religion and concluding that Clarke seems to be the only person who has the best interests of everyone in mind like a real Commander should…they just decide to have one last Big Battle. One last Conclave. Each group will nominate one warrior. Whatever warrior is left standing, his/her tribe will get to stay in the bunker. It’s a battle throughout the whole city. I mean, it should be tons of fun next week. But, ultimately shouldn’t it be that whoever wins gets to decide what they do with the bunker? And that person could maybe still decide whoever wants to live in peace gets to live? Just a thought. Anyway we’ll get to that, but first let’s talk about the rest of Skaikru.
Everyone’s been running around all season wondering if they were going to be saved and now that bunker ex machina has appeared they’re starting to wonder: do I want to be saved? Jasper’s known for a while his answer is no, and he’s recruited a few followers along the way. Why chill in a bunker for 5 years having to listen to an authority figure if all it means is you won’t face a fiery, painful death? Y'all know what side I’m on. But sure, many of these kids have had enough horrors to last a thousand lifetimes and they’re definitely right to assume something is going to go wrong in that bunker too.
Harper and Jasper decide to stay and die, Monty decides to wait and hope that Harper changes her mind. Harper is one of my favorite “characters who we haven’t explored enough yet” so I really hope she has a change of heart. She’s a fighter, so it’s particularly devastating to see her give in and, as Monty says, turn off her survivalist instincts. Since this is basically suicide, I wonder how this show is going to navigate these characters’ decision in the coming weeks.
Props to The 100 for paying homage to another classic Lost scene this week with Jasper holding his hand to the window. Except in that Lost scene, Charlie was using his one last breath to warn his friends of danger, whereas Jasper is just kinda being Jasper. When Bellamy, who was very chill about this whole “leaving these guys to die” thing, says goodbye to Jasper he uses the famous “May we meet again” sendoff and Jasper says “We won’t.” Come on, man!
But okay, I’m being harsh to these people because at the island science lab, I can kinda see Raven’s side of things. Although I’d be furious if Raven actually died (oh please, please give us some alternative, show!), her strongest survival tool is her brain and she’s starting to lose that. If death is actually inevitable for her, maybe she should get to choose how she goes out. And her choice for now is floating around in space on one final spacewalk. It’s kind of beautiful and poetic (and again. oh please please, showrunner gods, just cure her) that she’d go out doing what she loves. Well, if she can launch herself into space by talking to Becca quickly enough.
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Murphy, Emori, and Raven stayed behind to collect tech they could use in the bunker, but the whole episode Emori is skeptical anyone will actually return for them. She’s too used to being let down by people. So darn it, didn’t it tug at your heart strings when Murphy and Emori were planning on going it alone, only to see Jackson and Miller return? The look on their faces was just so happy, so shocked that someone cared for them, and so grateful. It made me feel like “See! This is what these people are fighting for! Survival is important and being part of a team is important!”
As Raven tells Murphy her plan to die in peace and says that Murphy should “Tell them I floated myself” I started crying and just kept crying to the end. Is it hypocritical that I hate what Jasper and Harper are doing, but can understand Raven’s justification for dying on her own terms? I don’t really think so but this is a very, very complex debate. And since it’s a dystopian show that is now airing in a time that feels increasingly dystopian, and since it’s for young people, it’s all like hitting a raw nerve to me. This show is all about fighting to live and doing what it takes to survive! I guess I would just like it to stay that way.
In many ways this episode felt like a big prelude to next week especially when it came to Octavia. After doing some useless hoeing (not a euphemism, sadly) with Ilian, Octavia realizes that she’s no farmer, she’s a warrior. This discovery comes as she mutilates the skulls of some people who came to threaten her and Ilian.
As Clarke and Bellamy worry that there’s no way they have a warrior strong enough to beat the other clans Octavia comes riding into camp. “I’m here for the war.” LOL, LOL. But also, thank goodness!
I’m excited for the next episode but I also don’t think my nerves can handle it. May we meet again!
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