The 100 Season 4 Episode 5: The Tinder Box Recap


Okay, let’s all breathe. This episode was a tough one. Arkadia’s Mama Bear and Science Genius are facing threats to their lives, and the Ark is gone. We knew it was coming, based on the Season 4 poster, but the enormity of the loss didn’t hit me until it was actually burning. They haven’t just lost a potential lifeboat. They’ve lost their homes, their possessions, their medical supplies, their computers and all of the generations of knowledge stored there, their weapons, their farming equipment that wasn’t outside, their food supplies, everything. I don’t understand why someone hasn’t already shot Ilian between the eyes, but, based on the fact that they cast a cute young male actor to play him, he’ll probably be with us for a while. Cute boys can be forgiven anything in the CW world, and often in our own. 😡

Abby, Jackson and Raven have taken over Becca’s lab to try to recreate night blood. Raven hallucinates herself floating, then has a grand mal seizure.

Back in Arkadia, Niylah has brought the food she dries for the group. The hunters have been less successful than usual, probably because the increasing radiation is killing off the bottom of the food chain. Clarke has given Niylah a radio, and makes sure she has it charged.

Ilian finds Octavia and Helios in the forest. He brings her back to Arkadia. She’s near death, but Clarke revives her. Octavia warns the others that Roan and his armies are coming. The Arkadians create a strategy to surprise Roan in a canyon before he reaches Arkadia, to force him to talk, rather than fight.


Clarke appears in the middle of the canyon like a spector. They don’t call her Wanheda for nothing. Roan and Echo take a moment to argue about how Clarke knew where to find them. Roan’s mother would have turned and sliced Echo’s head off, so she should be grateful he’s the king. They realize after a minute that they shouldn’t argue in front of the kids, and pull out their hostages instead, as both sides go through the required posturing and brandishing of weapons. We’re all friends here, except maybe Echo and Riley, so the standard ritual hurling of insults is waived.

Clarke asks for a conversation alone with Roan. Roan is used to Clarke’s strange demands, so he gives up and goes along with it, despite Echo’s sputtering about security risks and traps and such. He points out that they’ve already walked right into the trap, they might as well find out what it’s about.

As Roan follows Clarke to the cave where they’re going to negotiate, all of the Skaikru snipers stop aiming at Roan except for Riley. He can’t get past his trauma at the hands of Azgeda and wants to shoot Roan now. Monty talks him down, but it’s close.

Echo orders her troops to be prepared to fight as soon as Skaikru fires a shot. Kane tells her that she’s outgunned and her people will all die. Bellamy realizes that Octavia must have survived her fall and warned Skaikru of the attack.

Roan and Clarke reach the cave. Roan tells Clarke the he intends to take the Ark, since Skaikru betrayed their agreement and is only trying to save themselves. Clarke tells him that the Ark is just a back up plan. She asks if Kane told him about the night blood solution. Roan said that it sounds like Skaikru wants to find a new commander, which also violates their deal.

Roan says that Clarke needs to learn from the part of Lexa that rose above her clan to be the leader of the entire coalition, without favoritism. Building a ship that will hold only her own people sets a terrible example and wastes energy that could be used to find a solution for everyone. I’m with Roan on this one, since I’ve said the same things since the beginning. She’s only put a tiny bit of effort into finding a solution for the entire coalition, even though the Ark isn’t a great solution for her people, either.

They threaten each other again, and remind each other of what they’ve already given up. Finally, Clarke offers to share the Ark between the people of Skaikru and Azgeda.

Monty notices that Riley has left his sniper’s post with his rifle, but has left his radio behind. Riley’s going to try to kill Roan when he comes out of the cave. Monty goes down to the canyon floor to talk to Echo. First, he reassures Bellamy that Octavia is alive. Then he explains what Riley’s doing. They make a plan for Echo and Bellamy to go stop Riley, in exchange for Monty becoming a hostage. Echo is totally up for a plan that involves her wandering around alone with Bellamy.

Echo and Bellamy chat on the way to Riley. He tries to get her to see beyond the clans to the bigger picture. She tells him she’s glad he’ll get to see Octavia again before they all die, which is probably an apology in Echo’s world. He tells her he would have killed her himself if Octavia had been dead, which I’m sure she sees as him accepting her apology.

Roan and Clarke come to an agreement to split the spots on the Ark 50/50. They seal the pact with blood. Echo and Bellamy find Riley as Clarke and Roan are leaving the cave. Bellamy frantically tries to talk Riley out of killing Roan, and Echo out of killing Riley. He succeeds, and Riley drops his gun in tears. The scene is only a minute long, but it felt like 10.


Raven finally wakes up from her seizure. Abby wants to do a brain scan. Raven remembers her hallucinations, which leads her to have a breakthrough. The night blood process needs to be finished in a zero G environment to work properly. Becca left a two-man rocket that they could use to create a new batch of serum in space.

Raven’s brain has been working overtime ever since ALIE was disengaged from her brain, but now it’s at hyperspeed. She’s making scientific connections at a manic pace, but she’s also having the beginnings of a stroke. They figure out that it’s because of the EM pulse that was used to disconnect her from ALIE. Some of ALIE’s code is still in her brain. Raven decides that she’d rather keep working so that everyone else has a chance to live, than stop so that she can live for a few months but then die with everyone. Jackson is worried about Abby because she was disconnected from ALIE the same way as Raven. Abby says she’s fine for now. Poor Jackson, stuck trying to doctor two of the most stubborn women on the planet by himself, without any of the people who normally can get them to see reason.

Octavia wakes up and tries to warn everyone again, but Niylah is with her and tells her she’s already successfully warned them. Octavia asks how she got to the Ark. Niylah describes Ilian, and Octavia knows that Ilian must be there to destroy the tech in the Ark. She and Niylah quickly begin to look everywhere for him.

Ilian has collected the supplies he needs to blow up the Ark and brought them to the server room, which is above the engine room. His choice of location is meant to do maximum damage, though how he understands the tech well enough to guess that, I don’t know. Maybe something left over from ALIE.

Octavia and Niylah find Ilian in the server room and beg him to stop, but he refuses. He tells Octavia that if she was never in the City of Light, she’ll never understand. Then he drops the torch he’s holding and sets off the explosion. Thing is, hundreds of people who were in the City of Light live in the Ark. The Ark wasn’t the cause of the City of Light, and it’s ignorance of how technology works that causes Ilian to blame it.


Clarke, Bellamy, Roan and Echo see the explosion in the distance and immediately set out for Arkadia. Ilian doesn’t want anyone to die when he sets fire to their home and destroys their means of maintaining a standard of living and knowledge beyond stone age level, so he drags Octavia and Niylah from the Ark. Outside, it’s chaos as hundreds of people evacuate and try to save what they can. Ilian wasn’t worried about those lives when he dropped the torch.

The Azgeda representatives and the rest of the Arkadians arrive in time to see the Ark collapsing and Ilian saving Octavia. Octavia tells Clarke and Bellamy that Ilian set off the explosion. Ilian watches serenely while the Ark crumbles to the ground.

Later, Abby is working alone in the lab when she hallucinates seeing Clarke there with her. Abby runs to Clarke, whose back is turned. When Clarke turns around, she is covered with lesions from radiation poisoning. Hallucination Clarke tells Abby that time is running out.


Monty cites Pike as his inspiration for the surprise waylaying of Roan. Harper calls him on it, but it shows that Monty has a great tactician in him. He’s objective, and willing to use whatever means will work, but able to repurpose a terrible plan to suit his peaceful goals. The guy who was able to put the greater good first in order to kill his mother, twice, can do anything.

The actor who plays Riley totally sells his part, even though he’s just lying on his stomach, aiming a gun. With his talent, looks, charisma, and voice, he’ll have his own CW show in a few years.

Clarke tries not to react outwardly when she hears that Bellamy’s truck has been found with no sign of him, but her lip quivers and her eyes flicker and shine as if she’s trying not to panic. Bellamy tries not to show how happy he is that Octavia’s alive, but he gets a tiny smile, then goes misty. Both actors are masters of the microexpression that says everything.

When Roan’s army enters the canyon there is a distance shot with a rainbow in the background. Is Roan really a leprechaun? Will the sun come out tomorrow?

Look for the rainbow in the upper left corner.

If there were so many people in the ark, why were Niylah and Octavia looking for Ilian by themselves?

Something is up with some of the people who were in the City of Light. Abby and Raven seem to be getting messages from Becca/ALIE, and Ilian knows more than he should, plus he seems to be on a mission as well. (More on that in a minute.) While Clarke was in the City of Light, Becca/ALIE 2 communicated directly with ALIE in front of Clarke, and Lexa, Becca’s agent, ran off to fight ALIE’s people out of Clarke’s sight, so ALIE was being changed in ways Clarke couldn’t see. There may be a kill switch override and ALIE/ALIE 2 are up in space in the City of Light satellite, ready to work with people again to force find another solution.

What is up with Ilian? He knew too much about how to blow up the Ark. How did a rural Azgeda farm boy know which chemicals to choose and where to place them for maximum damage? How did he even know what the servers and the engine room were? Either this is bad writing, or something more is going on. He walked around collecting things like he was in a City of Light semi-trance. Or like his mind has completely snapped from being forced to kill his entire family, which is what we’re supposed to believe right now. But his reactions are weird, and very specific. He sounded like ALIE when he said that no one needed to die. ALIE would also probably still want to destroy the Flame, even with an upgrade to make her less murderous and more cooperative. Ilian was far away from everyone else when ALIE was turned off. Could she be hiding in him somehow? Or have figured out a way to maintain her connection with him? Or is Ilian just criminally insane now, incapable of telling right from wrong?

Where is Indra? Not that it made sense for her to show up in this episode, but I’d still like to see her to know she’s okay after the Trikru massacre at the embassy. She probably followed her daughter at the end of episode 3.

Bellamy and Echo had some interesting interactions in this episode. Echo tells him that war makes people into murderers, and later he repeats that sentiment to Riley. Bellamy says that he let war turn him into a murderer and urges Riley not to follow the same path. As Bellamy says this, he and Echo share a meaningful look. In addition, Echo listens to Bellamy and refrains from killing Riley, despite how badly she wants to. Then, when Roan asks her what happened while he was gone, she tells him “Nothing, sire,” after sharing another meaningful glance with Bellamy. Those two seem to be influencing each other, maybe even beginning to trust each other again? I can’t wait to see how their dynamic progresses.