My AIM away message in high school read “Dum spiro spero” a Latin phrase — I just learned it’s the state motto of South Carolina — that means: While I breathe, I hope. It’s also, basically, what Bellamy tells Clarke at the end of this episode after they’ve reached what feels like the darkest of dead ends. How do you maintain hope when everything seems stacked against you? In this episode alone all the insects and fish started dying, which meant that, instead of the Earth being inhabitable for six more months they now only have two months, a kid died, and we saw the mass grave of a bunch of believers who had hoped to ride out the first apocalypse in a secure bunker. Yet, even after inundating us with darkness, this episode still accomplished a truly remarkable feat and ended on something that felt like hope. Real, sustainable, hope. Unless it’s a sham too. Let’s start in Polis because it’s another great Octavia episode and also because, although the apocalypse is nigh, these people still have to deal with faulty alliances and unrest in the government. Wait, come to think of it: is this the bleakest storyline? Anyway, Roan lost the Flame while working out, LOL forever. The fact that the women on this show constantly have to clean up the men’s mistakes is maybe the number one reason I love it so much. He thinks the newest Flamekeeper, Gaia, stole it. So Octavia goes to kill her. Apparently they’re calling her the Skairipa now. Side note: does anyone watch The Vampire Diaries? Boy, the CW sure loves a ripper. Back to the show: Indra looks worried and it initially seems a little confusing that she would be, but then we get one of this episode’s big reveals. When Octavia fights Gaia, it seems like she might’ve bested her, but Indra steps in because… Gaia is her daughter! Indra wanted her daughter to be the leader of the army and the ruler of their people, but instead Gaia decided to devote herself to religion, to searching for Nightbloods. I loved this scene because this kind of conversation in most shows is reserved for fathers and sons, not mothers and daughters. It’s also incredible how instantly Octavia becomes loyal to Gaia. It seemed like there would be a rivalry, but instead, Octavia just makes a plan to help Gaia like she’s her sister. She straight up beheads some guy to frame him, switches out the tech so that Ilian (who’s pursuing them) destroys Gaia’s necklace instead of the actual Flame, and helps Gaia escape. Octavia’s still MVP this season! Ilian attempting to destroy the Flame seems like a logical step to take after what happened to everyone because of tech. Sure, the Flame is a powerful religious symbol to some, but it’s great that the show is exploring the fact that all the terribleness with A.L.I.E. would definitely cause people to lose their faith. Equally amazing is the fact that Gaia still feels so devoted to the Flame, the infinity symbol, the whole thing, even after all the destruction it caused. “What would you do if your Gods betrayed you?” is a question a lot of the Grounder have to grapple with this season, especially as they all face the end. One thing that will probably deepen everyone’s faith is what we learn at the end of the episode, so that brings us to Arkadia. Jaha realizes that only 100 people can survive with their current plan and offers a potential alternative: a private bunker. I had a lot of complaints about their plan last week, but their conversation about this bunker did a good job of establishing that a lot of research had been done at some point! And this private bunker that hypothetically exists — but it’s unclear because the person who built it ran a doomsday cult — is so smart and perfect that I didn’t even care how convenient it was, I was all in. But also I did write in my notes, “Oh god, is this just gonna be a massive grave?” Which it was! So, I had it both ways! You can basically predict what will happen on this show by asking yourself “What’s the worst possible thing that could happen?”
Still, I allowed myself to get my hopes up, because, as Bellamy says, if anyone deserves a lucky break, it’s them. Does that make me the fool or, perhaps, the bravest of them all? LOL of course the fool. Because again, when they get to the bunker, they realize the leader, Bill Cadogen, was a fraud, and that it wasn’t sealed that well and everyone died fast (and probably in misery). This felt classic The 100. Dangle a delicious nugget of hope in front of us and then it’s actually a poison pill. It was perfect. I loved it. Also like, doomsday cult leaders out there: build better bunkers. So while Bellamy, Clarke, and Jaha were exploring a futile lead, Luna, the Nightblood who refused to become the commander in season 3, shows up at Arkadia with her remaining people, all sick. They have ARS, Acute Radiation Syndrome, because they ate some contaminated fish. Abby wants to treat them with medicine, but Raven, who is in charge of rations now, says no, they can’t waste it. Here again, we get a classic The 100 ethical dilemma. If they give these sick people the medicine they’ll be out of a good chunk of their radiation medication and also it might not even cure them. But… it seems pretty inhumane to deny people medical treatment. Now I reveal myself to be a heartless monster: I really saw Raven’s side of this. Maybe thinking long game on this show is futile, but someone has too. Otherwise we’d just be blowing up hydrogenerators, murdering an army of Grounders, or shooting a dope-ass leader (RIP Lexa). But to err is man and Murphy steals the medicine after Raven tells Abby she can’t have it. They give the medicine to the sick little girl first, testing to see if it will even work. Now, here’s another bias: I don’t like Murphy. I get why he’s an intriguing character, because he does begrudgingly help people but also is constantly looking out for himself and his own survival above all else. But that also means he doesn’t really have any moral high ground to stand on at this point, in my opinion. Also, one thing this show keeps establishing is that someone has to think logically over emotionally. The show really makes it seem like Murphy did this amazing thing by stealing the medicine (like his father did to save him), but I wasn’t really convinced. And also, guess what happens anyway? Use my “how to predict things on The 100” logic. That’s right: the kid dies. I know they killed kids in season 2 in Mount Weather, but this death still hit really hard. See, I’m not completely heartless! “The kid dies anyway” could maybe be another name for this show. It was another striking example of how as hard as you fight it’s not always enough. This moment also showed Murphy that he needs to make himself valuable enough so that he can be one of the 100 that survives. Ugh, you know he’s gonna survive (“Once a cockroach, always a cockroach.”). Sorry if you’re a Murphy fan, I’ll be nicer next week! I do fundamentally get why he’s so compelling. I just like almost every other character better. I’ll also say if you like these kind of ethical dilemmas but want them in a lighter, easier to digest form, with fewer kids dying, watch The Good Place. So, with all roads pointing towards “Abandon All Hope” Clarke writes her list of the 100 people she thinks should survive. Bellamy earlier said he doesn’t want to be on it, but Clarke can’t bear that and adds him at number 99. He adds her name at 100. It was a great moment (especially if you’re a Bellarke shipper). Still, part of me thought it would have been perfect if you zoomed out on the list and saw Clarke’s name at #1. Come on, you gotta have a little levity in this darkness. So the final twist felt like two twists to me. First you see Luna, somehow still alive even though all her people have died. She looks up in a way that I thought was kind of malicious and I screamed, “She took the medicine!” Except, that’s not what happened. Instead Abby realizes that Luna’s body is rejecting the radiation on its own, because of her nightblood. And just like that: hope. Great ending! Even since we saw Becca (A.L.I.E’s creator) inject herself with something that I assume gave her nightblood, I’ve wondered why they couldn’t just make people Nightbloods (fulltime, not like how Clarke was through transfusion). Now we’ll finally know if they can! But even more than that we’ll get more information about the mythology of Nightbloods which is very intriguing. So, for the first time, I feel some sense that everything is not doom and gloom. I guess that means I’m still breathing. May we meet again!