Well here we are again, back where we started. This was a genuinely stunning episode, filled with real, visceral moments of characters grappling with their own will to survive. Usually this show is so big picture about survival that I kind of love that they are slowing it down (a lot) in these final episodes, to focus on individual character moments in addition to the whole “will humanity make it?” question.
So let’s start with these individual stories. First, we have Monty trying to convince the two people he loves most to let their survival instincts kick in. He’s walking around in a hazmat suit telling them it’s go time, enough fooling around. I genuinely cannot believe that Riley died! I mean, I thought he was gonna bring some kinda big final plot twist, but nope. Like I’ve said repeatedly in these recaps, this show should be retitled “The Kid Dies Anyway.”
Well, I guess you could argue what Riley brings is a way out. He overdosed, he didn’t die of radiation, and Jasper realizes that all these people can die that night, on their own terms. Monty makes one final plea to Harper, please, come with him. She heartbreakingly says that she doesn’t love him enough to survive for him. But, she’s a fighter, so, we hold out hope.
As Jasper and Monty stare at the red moon through the ship, Jasper hauntingly remarks that for all its faults, the Earth was a very pretty place. Sometimes, I’ll confess, I get very frustrated with this show, but nothing makes me just start open sobbing more. Monty realizes that Jasper overdosed and is slowly (peacefully) dying. He desperately tries to stop it, jamming his finger down Jasper’s throat, but Jasper grabs him and asks Monty to just say he loves him. When Monty realizes Jasper’s gone, he says it, maybe too late, but still, so powerful.
Then Monty realizes that everyone must’ve overdosed as well. He runs to see everyone who stayed is now dead. It’s striking and heartbreaking and just so dark that I didn’t even know how to process it. I guess that’s pretty typical for this show. But when Monty looked up and saw Harper wearing a hazmat suit, not among the dead bodies, my heart soared. That little shrug she gave was everything. It said, “guess I’ll try this living thing some more,” basically.
And over in the lab, Raven too, was trying this living thing. The death count on this show has been so crazy and the show will often try to honor the dead (to various degrees of success). One character who I’ve always felt died unceremoniously was Sinclair. But, you know, he’s not the one people complain about. So, again, let me tell you that I was open sobbing when he came to Raven in a vision, to help her chose to keep fighting. Of all the ways to honor a dead character, this is really one of the best. He was her mentor in life so of course he’d be the person fighting hardest for her now, even if just in her mind.
Sinclair comes to Raven like Becca and tells her that maybe instead of junking her brilliant mind, they can look under the hood and try to fix it. He’s Raven’s voice-of-reason and support against Becca. And they played this all very nicely, so it never felt too aggressive, like an angel and a devil. It was seeing the personification of someone’s brain trying to reconcile their reason with their hope, their doubts with their desires. They decide that the way to get the program out of Raven’s head is to reboot her, which means killing her for 15 minutes so that all electrical activity in her brain stops. She figures out that she can maybe survive that if she’s frozen (or in really cold water) and she rigs a defibrillator to shock her after 15 minutes and bring her back to life. Before she goes under Sinclair says if it works he’ll be gone and she says he’s with her all the time. :’( She presses the button to flat line, in a tank of ice water, and looks over at Sinclair as she dies, touching her hand to the glass. :’(
But ya’ll know our girl survives! The shock brings her back and she scrambles to jump out of the tank and to the defibrillator to shock herself one more time and steady her heart (because of her murmur). These scenes are just about saving the life of one person, but they do such a great job of examining any one person’s will to survive. They explore how hard you would fight, how much you could overcome, the risks you would take, knowing that on the other end, is life.
But, as with The 100, and with life, the decision to survive is not always up to just your will. So let’s talk bunker. Honestly, I think it was a masterful move to let us know right away that the “mistakes” of Clarke and Jaha could still be undone. See, Jaha and Clarke allow Abby and Bellamy to call Octavia on the radio and say goodbye. And Octavia tells them that she won, she said all the clans get to survive (100 people from each one), and no one knows about the Skaikru betrayal except her and Indra and a few others now. She also later says that Skaikru isn’t her group anymore. LOL. How amazing that Clarke’s always said that they’re all her clan, but Octavia has always shown it.
With this news Jaha and Clarke…still decide to lock up Bellamy and not open the door. Dammit, guys! It’s sort of confusing why they think that everyone in the bunker will die if it’s open, when like, Octavia has clearly said that that is not the case. Clarke snuggles with Niylah later (who calls her on her “they’re all my clan” BS) and lays it out a little more clearly. Basically, she’s worried that if Skaikru dies they’ll be no one to man the tech and that’s means that humanity won’t survive.
But obviously Bellamy isn’t going to let them sacrifice Octavia (oh, an interesting thing is that they did try to grab Kane and Octavia so they’d be sealed in the bunker too, but couldn’t get to them). He makes his wrists bleed fighting his chains and when Abby comes to dress his wounds, he convinces her to open the bunker door. He says that Kane said they deserve to survive if they’re better today than they were yesterday. Man, Abby has really been the game-changer in a lot of these episodes.
We’re back to knocking people out with those sticks again! They knock out Murphy, then Abby knocks out Jaha, then she moves to open the door in the office while Bellamy goes to the actual door to open it (it requires two people). Clarke realizes what’s up when she sees Murphy knocked out and runs after Bellamy. She points a gun at him! He tells her that with the other season finales (lololol, JK he doesn’t say it like that) they knew what they were stopping by pulling the lever, but this is the unknown. She can’t make the kill shot and that’s the only way he’ll stop, so he opens the hatch.
He’s finally reunited with Octavia and they hug. And, you know what, everything’s kinda fine. Octavia is in charge! The clans come, she says this is their home now, welcome home! Earlier, Echo was going to tell everyone that Skaikru betrayed their trusts, but then Octavia expertly was like “Girl, you do not want to go there, or we can talk about who snuck on the field with those arrows!” Then once the bunker is open she tells Echo “hey, you know what, you’re dead, but Azgeda can survive.”
So one thing I really loved about this bunker being opened was that it happened, with like 20 minutes left in the show. That’s some smart pacing. Also, I complain about how this show handles suspense a lot, and so I have to commend them on what they did here. Almost always on this show when a problem is presented it ends up so much worse than you think, or it’s solved only to cause another bigger problem. They almost never use the device “this was a problem, now it’s not.” So I loved that that’s what this whole “Skaikru stole the bunker” thing became. For now at least. It didn’t escalate how it seemed like it would last week, which is exciting and rare.
But like I said at the beginning, we’re back where we started. Just as Clarke had to make a list of the 100 people she thought should survive earlier in the season, now too, they need to make a list. In the trailer for next week they show a lottery that…well, doesn’t go according to plan.
This brings us to an interesting point. At the end, all the clans are making their home in the bunker. The other clans have picked their 100. Octavia says that Skaikru has 12 hours to pick theirs, Bellamy has to be one of them. Obviously we are on Bellamy’s side this episode (well, I assume), but it is important to point out that in either scenario he survives, but in this new one he’s condemning over 300 of his people to death. I mean, again, he was right, and more people in general survive this way, but if Clarke has to deal with the consequences of every “weigh the odds” decision she’s made, I hope that he has to bare the weight of his actions too, not just ride the wave of being just.
I also think focusing on Raven and Monty this episode did a good job of setting up some justification for how these Skaikru people are probably going to act next week. Sure, every clan has had to face sacrifices, but Skaikru thought they were going to survive and had the rug pulled from under them again. Plus, Skaikru doesn’t believe in the religion that’s condemning over 300 of their people to death. I guess what I’m saying is that as annoying as it’s going to be that everyone’s back to fighting next week, it makes sense. People want to survive, against reason sometimes, against logic, against fairness. When the show is at its best it’s exploring that desire.
So goodbye Jasper and Riley and everyone back at camp. For its flaws, Earth really is a lovely place. May we meet again!
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