This season begins moments after last season ended. Everyone is waking up from the City of Light, assessing injuries, finding missing loved ones, and seeking to lay blame. Octavia is climbing down the outside of the Commander’s tower to find Indra, who is being taken down off of her cross. Octavia gives Indra the news that the City of Light has been destroyed, and Pike is dead.
Clarke and Bellamy arrive on the ground and survey the damage. Bellamy feels guilty about the City of Light because he’s so used to being wrong and feeling guilty at this point that he’s starting to feel like everything is his fault. This one’s on Jaha, though. Certainly not on any of the 100. Jaha is the one who let himself be seduced by ALIE’s promises to the point where he lost his common sense and unleashed her on everyone else.
They move on to their typical argument about whether to tell everyone the truth now, or to wait. This time the subject is the nuclear reactors that are going to melt down and produce enough radiation to make 96% of the earth uninhabitable in 6 months. Clarke thinks they should speak up now, because she never learns. Bellamy thinks they should wait, because he’s learned how to read a room. He can see the Grounders circling, looking for someone to blame for their current losses. They don’t need more bad news from Wanheda right this minute. And he needs a nap before he has to act as her knight in shining armor again.
Clarke realizes that a man has died because Lexa killed him in the City of Light, so the Grounders realize that everything is obviously Clarke’s fault.
Monty, Harper, Jasper, and Raven are drinking and listening to music as they make repairs back in Arkadia. Raven kicks the other three out so that she can work on the radio. She lets her pain show on her face for a moment before she starts trying to raise Bellamy and the others in Polis. She told Jasper it’s not weird for him to miss the City of Light – it seems she’s missing it, too.
Skaikru is gathering in the street in Polis, getting ready to leave for Arkadia, when Raven gets Bellamy on the radio. They exchange information.
Then, King Roan is found alive, but gravely injured from a bullet wound. Abby wants to treat him, but Echo takes command of the Ice Nation Guard, and of the city. She refuses to let Abby near Roan. One woman tells Echo that if she wants control, she has to take it by force. Echo promptly slices her throat. Was that woman new to dealing with Ice Nation? Or grounder culture in general? Don’t argue with Ice Nation unless you at least have your weapon drawn. “You’ll have to take it by force” doesn’t sound like a problem to Echo, just a quick piece of instructions on how exactly to go about reaching her goal.
Jaha tries to help a woman who’s holding a dead baby, then gets arrogant with Murphy. The woman spits in Jaha’s face, and Murphy reminds Jaha that he’s the cause of the whole crisis. Will anyone else hold Jaha accountable as more than just Patient Zero in the City of Light? That he made an active choice to take the chip, with less coercion than anyone else?
Murphy finds Emori scavenging for food to take with her when she leaves the city. It’s not safe for her to stay since people with birth defects are forbidden. We learn that she took the chip because Jaha said that he would bring her to Murphy if she did. (MEMORI FEELS 💖) Murphy asks her to go to Arkadia with him, where they’ll both be safe. Emori asks how safe they could really be, given how many times Murphy has been cast out of Arkadia. She agrees to give it a try, but they might as well gather some more food, anyway. Smart girl.
Skaikru is getting everyone they can out through the flamekeeper’s secret tunnel. Indra approaches and gives Kane a big hug, because they are warrior soulmates. Abby, his lover soulmate, examines his stigmata wounds, just to remind everyone that he is Skaikru Jesus. Bellamy, Octavia, Indra, Kane, Abby, and Clarke have a war council on how to deal with the Ice Nation. Clarke finally has to tell the others about the nuclear disaster that’s coming in 6 months, because it means they can’t afford to get bogged down in a war, or in any plan that takes very long. Clarke says they’ll surrender instead. Octavia looks like she doesn’t even know who Clarke is any more. (“Seriously Clarke? You’re denying me the chance to fight 1000 Ice Nation soldiers???” – Octavia)
Jaha brings a shrouded body to Echo and says that Ontari belongs with her people. Echo orders that Jaha be beaten and the body be taken inside. Then she goes out to negotiate the terms of surrender with Bellamy. Indra and Kane give Bellamy advice before he goes to haggle with Echo, then the negotiations begin. Echo’s first play is to remind Bellamy that not killing him when she helped kill everyone else in Mt Weather actually counts as having saved his life, which is some twisted thinking right there. But it was just business, you know? No hard feelings? She’s sorry about Gina. You win some, you lose some. As long as the ones you lose aren’t from the Ice Nation.
Murphy approaches while Kane and Indra are coaching Bellamy. They suggest he take a guard post and hand him a gun. Murphy looks the situation over, and decides that he and Emori would be better off on their own. Skaikru can’t protect Emori while they’re busy surrendering to Ice Nation.
Meanwhile, inside, Octavia, Skaikru ninja warrior, cuts her way out of the shroud and takes down all of the guards in the room. She lets Abby and Clarke in so that they can treat Roan. They get the bullet out, but Roan doesn’t wake up as expected. Negotiations breakdown outside. Octavia tries to get Abby and Clarke out, but they won’t leave, since Roan is their only hope for a peaceful resolution. Echo and her guards enter Roan’s room and find the three women there. Roan finally wakes up, just as Echo is about to cut Clarke’s head off. Both Clarke and Echo try to get Roan up to speed on the situation and convince him to take their side. He’s not happy that Ontari’s dead and he was shot. At least somebody finally cares about Ontari’s death, which was horrible, gruesome and unfair.
Monty and Harper share a sweet coupley moment before Raven busts into the bedroom to tell them to get dressed, because they’re all gonna die. Like that’s an emergency on this show. Please.
(Bets on the likelihood of Monty and Harper ever having sex without Raven bursting in while they’re still naked? Maybe she’ll just get into bed with them eventually. She could use some good cuddles.)
Jasper is setting up his suicide, including putting plastic down for easier clean up, which is very considerate of him. Monty knocks on the door just as Jasper’s about to go through with it. He takes Jasper to engineering to hear what Raven has to tell them.
Raven explains that, “after the second Fukushima disaster Panacea Power patented a failsafe system with multiple redundancies. By 2048, two dozen megareactors were built to withstand any disaster, even a nuclear attack…The plants were built to be self-sustaining for 100 years.” Monty: “So the warranty just ran out.”
They examine the radiation meter in the room. Right now, it’s in the yellow, and has been since they landed. It’s been increasing, instead of falling like it should be, and when it gets to the red they all die. Life will be bad way before that, though, and there’s no way to stop it. Jasper bursts out in a dark, ironic laugh, leaves the gun he was going to shoot himself with on the table, and goes to watch the sunrise.
Echo tells Roan that the members of Skaikru who were still in Polis have been locked up. She questions his decisions and suggests people might think he’s weak. Roan cauterizes his wound with a red-hot knife without flinching, and tells her to call him weak again. (Cauterizing seems to be his go-to intimidation move.) Echo reminds Roan that he’s been outside of the Ice Nation for three years, and he doesn’t have the respect or loyalty of the war chiefs or the army. Echo, however, wants to serve him and help him rule everything. She wants to take out Skaikru and Trikru immediately, including cutting off Wanheda’s head. Echo is one manipulative spy.
Roan has Echo bring Clarke to the throne room. He’s wearing the Ice Nation crown. He dismisses everyone else so that they can talk alone. Roan says, “It’s always something with you.” He gives her the chance to tell her story, so she tells him about the nuclear power plants. He says that he doesn’t have the political leverage to let her go. She offers him the flame, even though it’s all she has left of Lexa. If Roan is the Flamekeeper, he controls who becomes the next commander. That’s enough to give him the extra power he needs. He lets the people know that he will honor Lexa’s coalition and Skaikru as the 13th Clan.
The Skaikru council are splitting up. Indra, Kane, Abby, and Octavia are staying in Polis to support Roan’s rule. Bellamy and Clarke are going back to Arkadia to develop a survival plan. Echo brings them a token they can use for safe passage across Ice Nation lands. Bellamy and Echo share a long, intense look when she hands him the token. She asks if he thinks they’ll ever be able to trust each other again. He says he doubts it. She doesn’t look happy to hear that. I don’t think she’s one to back down from a challenge. There’s some intense chemistry between them. Not an OTP, happily ever after chemistry, but she’s someone who can take care of herself. They could have a fantastic fling to give Bellamy a break from the intensity of his relationships with Octavia and Clarke.
They all say their goodbyes. Kane takes a moment to encourage Bellamy to forgive himself, and to keep trying to deserve forgiveness. Best surrogate father ever. Everyone has their mission, and they head out to try to keep themselves and each other alive.
In Egypt, the first of the reactors melts down, taking the pyramids, the Sphinx, a human couple, and a bird with it. Everything is charred, then disintegrated. Just in case we weren’t sure what the stakes are this season.
-Luna’s oil rig is gone from the opening credits. It’s been replaced by the side of a mountain, reminiscent of Mt. Weather, underground nuclear bomb shelter. Will the Arkadians be able to find another facility that’s close by and protected enough to use until the radiation dissipates enough to survive again? Could they make it as far as Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, where there’s a huge underground military facility?
-What kind of information is stored in the commander’s data bank that might be helpful in solving this problem? If ALIE had access to nuclear codes, then she had access to everything the military knew. Did Becca give the commanders access to modern knowledge should they need it to avoid disaster? Can the Arkadians access ALIE’s space technology using the escape pod so that they can get up to date photos to use, for example?
-Indra said Echo was an extremely loyal spy, but I don’t think we’ve seen her be loyal to anyone yet. Maybe Roan’s mother. She certainly wasn’t trying too hard to save Roan, or particularly respectful once he was awake, so it’s not loyalty to the Ice Nation itself, or to the crown. If anything, Echo was very quick to grab power for herself, and then point out to Roan that the people and the military didn’t have much loyalty to him. That’s how you stage a coup.
-Jasper has an odd relationship with death. It could be a meta post all on its own. He’s cheated death multiple times, but watched some of the people he cared about most die, leaving him with survivor’s guilt, and depression. He can never seem to find death when he goes looking for it. He gets interrupted when he thinks about suicide. His near misses are accidents or from someone trying to kill him. He’s become obsessed with the death he’s seen since the 100 landed on the ground, even though they were surrounded by death on the Ark as well, and they’re surrounded by so much more life on the ground. But he’s stuck in a feedback loop of grief and obsession with death, so that he can’t see any of the good things around him any more.
-Some serious subtle growth on Bellamy’s part in that first conversation between him and Clarke. Clarke assumes that he’s worried about Octavia as usual, but he tells her that his concern isn’t for his sister exclusively, but for all of the people on Earth (possibly just the sky people; he doesn’t specify who exactly he means by “we”). This is exactly what Kane was urging Bellamy to do last season, to expand his circle of who he cared about to the whole human race, not just his few closest people. I have a feeling we’re going to see a very altruistic Bellamy this season.
– Indra’s description of Echo: “She’s part of the Royal Guard. Spies. That’s why she’s not marked. Very dangerous, very loyal.” This feels like the writers telling us that there are more spies like Echo out there, and she’s not the last one who’ll show up pretending to be someone else.
-It’s ironic that the Grounders blame Skaikru for ALIE, although they do tend to blame Skaikru for everything they possibly can. ALIE came from Becca, their beloved Prom Heda. Becca came down from the sky, it’s true, but she left because she didn’t want to become part of the Ark/Skaikru.