The 100 Season 4 Finale Recap: "Praimfaya"

Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW.
Sometimes the constant setbacks at every turn, the “list of people who get to survive,” all the animals dying, the shelter exploding, the decoy bunker, the Nightblood cure not making it through trials, and just the general lack of hope that comes with an apocalypse made this season a real slog. But we’ve reached the finale and honestly this episode delivered in spades. First: we needed a big win! After weeks of grueling choices and holes in buckets, finally, finally, everyone worked together and it didn’t end in complete disaster. Second: we needed a compelling reason to keep watching next season. I was legit mad at how great this ending was. I mean, I have been feeling like I needed this upcoming hiatus from The 100 after all the emotional turmoil it put me through this season. Now I’m like, “GIVE ME MORE EPISODES THIS INSTANT, NOM NOM NOM!” So let’s dive in.
First things first, we get a great scene of Bellamy saying goodbye to Octavia. “I’ll be waiting, under the floor” she jokes to him. She’s worried about being a leader to all these people now, but Bellamy, and later Indra, assures her that she has what it takes. It’s a sweet, natural scene that feels so intimate even though they’re so far apart. And finally Octavia is able to tell Bellamy, “I love you, big brother.” If you weren’t crying by this point, you are stronger than me. But of course, Bellamy gets cut off before he can say he loves her back (we all know what show we’re watching). Then Octavia gives a rousing speech to what’s “left of humanity” (more on the quotes later) and uses the phrase “From the ashes we will rise” one last time.
And then the death wave just hits Polis. Subtle is the wrong word for this episode, but I will say that as inevitable as some of these events felt and as spelled out as they had to be, I did feel like the show really utilized the power of small realizations as much as big, sweeping action pieces. Polis is gone, this place we’ve known for seasons, and the thrust of the action has barely started.
Raven details everything that needs to happen for them to safely get on the ring and there are a billion things that could go wrong. They have to be off the ground 20 minutes before the death wave hits, they have 90 minutes to run the simulation. The cockpit is supposed to hold 2 people, it has to hold 8. They need to figure out how much food they need to bring with them before they can start making their own food. They need to get the oxygen generator. Basically, at this point it feels like there’s no possible way everything could go right. Raven keeps listing things and saying “That’s not the hard part” which leads to Clarke uttering maybe the funniest line of the night when she firmly asks, “What is the hard part, Raven?” It’s that they need to use supplemental oxygen tanks that only hold an hour of air each (once they’re on the ship). And so multiple clocks are ticking!
Everyone has their jobs. Everyone is so sweaty this episode, such a perfect detail to show how pressing it is that they get off Earth, fast, their bodies are being taxed to the extreme. Murphy and Monty go to retrieve the oxygen generator, bickering along the way. When they get to the panel Monty springs into action, but he needs to make sure all the wires are connected to the generator and his gloves are too big to fit behind where it is connected to the wall. So he takes off his gloves and instantly his hands start to burn. Once he gets the generator free, he tells Murphy it’s too heavy to carry alone, so even though his hands are so wounded, he helps carry it, grunting and moaning. Monty will always and forever be the biggest (underappreciated) badass on this show. Murphy tries to be so kind, talking about how loving someone can change everything. Still, it is all too much exertion for Monty and he passes out. Murphy has to leave him and carry the generator by himself. But when he gets it far enough back for someone else to take over he goes to retrieve Monty (with Bellamy’s help). Monty’s recovered by this point and he hugs Murphy for making the right decision and saving the generator first, then him. More tears!
Back at the ship, Raven’s realized another huge issue. The communications system is down, which means they can’t contact the ring to make it turn on once they’re in space. She thinks there’s no solution, but a pep talk from Bellamy helps her remember that A.L.I.E. was on the Ark, which means that there’s a way to communicate with it from down here. She realizes that if they can turn on the ring through a satellite that should allow them to open the hangar door and get in.
So let’s get to it guys: sob city. I think we all knew that not everyone was making it on that ship and I think we all knew the person left behind was probably going to be Clarke. LOL I read so many tweets about the Bellarke hug in the trailer and I cannot believe it delivered and was A BETTER HUG THAN I COULD’VE IMAGINED. Clarke keeps trying to say goodbye to Bellamy, assuming her mother’s premonition is true. She tells him that he follows his heart and that’s what makes him so dynamic, but he has to listen to his brain to.
As Bellamy goes off to help retrieve Monty, Raven says that the satellite job only requires one person, Clarke can go, plug one thing in, and then run back. There are 25 minutes left before they take off, the satellite is less than a mile away, and Clarke needs 10 minutes to get back.
When she gets to the satellites she has a little over 11 minutes left and we basically all know, this is it. I mean, if it took her so long to get there, it’s obviously going to take her about that long to get back. She does exactly what Raven said to do and it doesn’t work, it needs to be done manually. As she looks at her watch and it ticks to 9:59, basically telling her she’s going to die, it was such a perfect, tiny, devastating blow. She realizes all she has left to do (in this life) is help her friends one more time. As she climbs the satellite tower to manually move that dish, she tells herself “my fight is over.” I audibly wept and basically didn’t stop until the end.
The clock ticks down to zero in the lab too. They can’t wait any longer. They have to leave Clarke behind. There was something especially heartbreaking about Emori asking if they could give Clarke more time. She hasn’t even known Clarke her whole life, but she knows the weight of what they are doing. The directing this episode was stunning. I was particularly drawn to the shot of Bellamy looking back at the door, willing Clarke to run up, even though we all know she wouldn’t.
Instead, she watches them blast off from the tower. Now the race is really on. As they enter zero gravity they look at the ring and realize Clarke hasn’t turned on the power yet. Bellamy promises that she will. Raven prepares for her spacewalk and there’s nothing quite like the look on Emori and Echo’s face when they see her floating. Grounders in space!
On Earth Clarke is frantically trying to get the satellite aligned. She plugs in what she needs to, then climbs a little more to readjust the dish by hand. She pulls and pulls, as we watch our friends in space start to lose heart. Bellamy says a version of my trademark second title of this show: “I left her behind and we all die anyway.” Clarke finally gets the dish to align, then looks at the screen telling her it’s transmitting… but then that screen dies. She throws it and then hurries to try to get to the lab. Praimfaya is hitting.
But, you see, Clarke did in fact get the dish aligned and that’s what really matters. The ring’s power turns on, our gang is saved* (kinda). Clarke’s helmet breaks, another great shot, and as she gets to the lab and takes it off her skin is covered in sores and she vomits black blood. Is this it for our beloved character?
Well no time to think about that because our gang in space is still running out of oxygen. Their reserve tanks are low and they still have to get the generator working. (There was this whole thing earlier where Echo got cold feet and tried to kill herself, but Bellamy stopped her. It basically just proved that now Bellamy would have to be a leader in the absence of Clarke and also that everyone does have their role on the ship.) Echo beasts off the panel covering where they want to connect the generator and Monty walks Bellamy through installing it. Things are looking pretty dire as Emori and Murphy share their air with Raven and Harper and Echo and Monty try to conserve their air. Everyone’s passing out from lack of oxygen as Monty utters the final step: flip the breaker. Bellamy does it before also succumbing. And then we see the air pushing through the vents. Everyone wakes up and breathes in. They’re safe! This is some much needed “everything goes right” on a show where normally “everything goes wrong.”
Raven and Bellamy look down on the destroyed Earth realizing that Clarke saved them one last time and now they have to fight hard to make her sacrifice worth it.
So… what now?
Cut to 6 years and 7 days later. Who else balked at that number? Clarke was sickly this whole episode but now, we see her open her eyes, their color looks stunning, her skin looks great, she seems, peaceful. She’s waking up on Earth, on the rover. She sort of looks like Peter Pan, outfit-wise. OK SIDENOTE: Maybe if Abby hadn’t effing destroyed the test lab they could’ve distributed the Nightblood solution and Clarke wouldn’t have been alone (basically) for 6 years and a ton of people wouldn’t have died. UGHHHH! Anyway, I still love this ending.
Clarke has a radio and she goes through what has become a daily ritual of trying to contact Bellamy. Maybe it’s crazy, but it reminds her of who she was. All the props in the world to Eliza Taylor for the way she plays these final scenes. You can tell it’s still Clarke but there’s simultaneously something more mature, more broken, and yet also calmer about her. She says that she hasn’t been able to contact the bunker either (she says they “went silent” though which is interesting) and that “we” tried to dig them out but there was too much rubble. It’s been over a year since it was safe for him to come back, where is he? She still has hope. And then, a ship.
And y’all, I know this was ruined in the promo but I do not care. The promo editors deserve a billion raises for how compelling they make every single episode look. And plus Clarke seeing the ship is one of the most stunning shots of the episode. She goes to the rover and wakes up her little Nightblood (Maddie, I think). Here again, an instant relationship is established (teacher and student, protector so much love), because Eliza is so good.
And then, the final knife twist. This isn’t the lab ship, it’s another, bigger, cooler ship! And it’s labelled “Eligius Corp” and “Gargarin Prisoner Transport.” Clarke tells her Nightblood student to get her gun, hide the rover, and unpack all the weapons. END OF EPISODE!?!?!
Ohmygod you guys, what could this be? Are these our new 100, prisoners sent down to test the land? Are Bellamy and Raven and everyone going to be part of the prisoners? Did they survive 6 years in space? Why haven’t the people in the bunker tried to get out? Can they get out? Does anyone have a baby now? Is anyone married or in a new relationship?
I know I’m going to be searching Reddit nonstop for answers. I have no idea what “Eligius” or “Gagarin” are. Is it something I’m not remembering that has been referenced? Who else was up there? How long were they up there? The one thing I will say is that I googled Gagarin and got this guy Yuri Gagarin, the first person to travel in space. So are these guys… the Russians? I guess this show loves to be timely.
It’s been such a pleasure recapping this show you guys. One last time: may we meet again.
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