Almost exactly a year after Lincoln’s death, the Arkadians become an angry mob again, and someone ends up on their knees, waiting to be executed. This time, Octavia is the one holding the gun, and she’s forced to confront her dependence on violence and killing as a coping mechanism. Almost exactly a year after Lexa’s death, a stray arrow seems to kill the hope of creating more night bloods. It’s another disappointment in the long line of disappoints suffered while trying to find a way to survive the radiation.
It’s starting to rain as the Ark is burning. Jaha watches as the rain dampens the fire, and Arkadians start to salvage what they can. Jasper notes that it’s not Black Rain. This prompts Jaha to give us the show’s definition of Black Rain, because we are undoubtedly going to see it before long. Jaha says:
“When it comes it’ll be colorless. [Jasper: How will we know?] Pain. Chaos. Death.”
Jasper gives Jaha another of his patented nihilistic speeches and wanders off. Jaha hasn’t given up hope yet. I prefer Jaha to Jasper at this point, and that frightens me. Jaha looks down at the seal from the doomsday cult with the bomb shelter that wasn’t sealed. Jaha, I’m glad you’re still thinking about alternatives. Shouldn’t they be considering building bomb shelters, or looking for deep caves? Virginia is riddled with cave systems.
Ilian is being held in one of the Ark’s surviving cells. An angry mob comes for him, but Kane is able to stop them. He fires his gun in the air and threatens to shoot anyone who touches Ilian. The mob isn’t happy, but backs off.
Raven is running test simulations with Becca’s rocket. The hydrazine that was buried around the Ark is only 75% of the fuel required for the journey into space to make night blood serum. She’s trying to find a way to make that amount work, but every test run ends in a crash.
Niylah and Clarke are in Clarke’s room. Niylah’s still in bed, but Clarke gets dressed. She needs to take the hydrazine to Becca’s island. Niylah tries to get her to rest for a few more minutes. Niylah tells Clarke that Lexa would be proud of her. With the loss of the Ark as a survival option, everyone’s survival chances are equal. They are all Clarke’s people now, as Lexa believed. She tells Clarke that Lexa lives on through her.
Clarke asks Niylah to stay on at the Ark while she’s gone. Niylah says that she’s not asking for a relationship. That’s not how she lives. Clarke wants to be sure that Niylah gets the night blood serum. Niylah agrees to stay. They kiss before Clarke leaves.
Monty updates the status of the Ark for Bellamy, Kane, Clarke and Roan. Half of the living quarters survived, and back up power will keep the lights on. The server room and processors were lost, and there’s no life support, heat or running water. But no one died. They still have a place to live and work, but no shelter from the radiation.
The secret of Prime Fire is now out, so Roan sent Echo back to Polis with his army to keep peace. Half of the soldiers deserted on the way, and have been attacking Trikru. The woods are a war zone. Roan and his security detail will go with Clarke and Bellamy to protect the hydrazine.
Kane wants to go too, but Clarke stops him. He’s worried about Abby. She understands, but one of the respected leaders has to stay at Arkadia to keep the peace.
Bellamy tries to say goodbye to Octavia. She gives him the cold shoulder, and blames him for killing Lincoln. She’s only letting him live because he’s her brother.
Monty gets more exposition as they prepare to leave for the island. The hydrazine is their only hope, it’s volatile, and the conditions they’re traveling under are dangerous. As Roan says, “What could possibly go wrong?”
Clarke can tell that Bellamy is upset, and guesses that he talked with Octavia. She reminds him that Octavia will forgive him, but it will take time. He replies that they don’t have much of that left.
They are stopped by a Trikru group blocking the road. They have a wounded old man with them. He was injured when Azgeda soldiers attacked their village. Clarke can’t help him. A Trikru boy wanders close to one of the trucks and sees Roan and his soldiers. He warns the others. They attack. The Arkadians make a run for it.
They get away, but soon come to an unexpected river created by spring ice melt. Bellamy and Roan take the Rover to find a place they can cross, leaving Clarke and the truck carrying the hydrazine with Roan’s soldiers. When they find a spot to cross, they radio Clarke. She doesn’t answer. It’s panic time. They rush back to the rendezvous point, where they find the body of one of Roan’s men. They assume it was Trikru who attacked and kidnapped Clarke along with stealing the hydrazine. They race back to the spot where they met the Trikru band earlier. The group is still there, but it becomes clear that they didn’t take Clarke and the hydrazine. Roan’s men must have done it. Bellamy and Roan drive off to find her.
They see the hydrazine truck driving across an open field. Roan jumps into the back of the truck to fight the guard who’s riding there and threatening the hydrazine. Bellamy pulls around in front of the truck to cut off its path. He shoots the kidnapper riding in the front with Clarke in the head. Clarke stops the truck just short of ramming into the Rover with Bellamy in it.
Clarke and Roan continue on in the hydrazine truck. Roan feels guilty that he is running an errand instead of taking care of his people in Polis. Clarke reminds him of the bigger picture. He worries about what will happen to everyone even if Clarke saves them. Clarke is so focused on the radiation that she keeps forgetting that people still have to live now, and still have all of the issues they’ve always had. This will continue to derail her plans if she doesn’t take them into account.
As they’re waiting for the boat to the island to pick them up, Bellamy tells Clarke that he’s going back to camp. He needs to try to work things out with Octavia, even if it makes him seem pathetic. Clarke understands. As his sister, Octavia is important. Bellamy starts to say goodbye, saying, “If I don’t see you again…” Clarke interrupts and tells him that he will. They are interrupted by Roan, who has discovered that a Trikru arrow pierced one of the hydrazine barrels. It’s empty.
Raven has run the simulation dozens of times, but has failed every time. Murphy was assigned to watch her, in case her stroke worsens. The frustration, and Murphy’s jokes, finally get to her, and she attacks him. Luna runs over to calm her down by restraining Raven and repeating one of her people’s chants. Raven goes back to work.
After Raven goes back to work, Murphy storms off to brood. Luna finds him and they talk. She tells him that she doesn’t think Raven hates him for injuring her leg, so much as he hates himself. He asks why she cares so much, since she’s the miracle who will survive the radiation. She says that maybe she doesn’t want to be the last person alive. Luna says that she knows what it’s like to hate yourself. Because of the color of her blood, she was raised to be a killer. She killed her own brother. She’s found peace, so he can, too. Murphy replies that he thinks peace is overrated. It’s the fighters that survive.
Raven is driving herself crazy trying to figure out a perfect plan. Murphy says it doesn’t need to be perfect, as long as Raven and Abby walk away with the serum. Luna suggests they land in the water, so that it doesn’t matter if it’s a crash landing. The computer won’t let Raven program a water landing. Murphy tells her to take manual control.
The water landing scenario works in the simulation. Both the passengers and the night blood serum make it out of the rocket intact. When Raven tells Luna and Murphy this, they tell her that Clarke and Bellamy just sent word that they lost one barrel of hydrazine. The shock from hearing this causes Raven to have another grand mal seizure, probably a stroke.
Niylah is working in the med bay, helping Octavia with physical therapy. They notice that Ilian’s guards are missing. Niylah goes to find them. Ilian tells Octavia that he’s glad she’s alive. Octavia tells him that he’ll be dead soon, because he’s killed everyone. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t intend to kill anyone. Ilian says that he didn’t know about Prime Fire.
When Niylah gets to the mess hall, the leader of the mob is loudly ranting to the rest that Ilian must die for his crime. She tells Monty that Ilian is unguarded in the med bay. Monty asks Jaha, who is sitting at the bar, to stop them. Jaha says they’re just blowing off steam. Monty asks if that’s what the 100 were doing when they tried to hang Murphy for killing Wells? Jaha thinks for a second, but won’t intervene. Monty is disgusted with him.
Kane, Miller’s dad, Monty, and a few other guards arrive in the med bay just ahead of the mob. The lock the doors. Miller’s says he thinks they should just give Ilian to the mob, since he would have been floated if they were still on the Ark. Kane and Monty refuse to give in to mob rule. Octavia unlocks the door, saying it’s the end of the world, they might as well give in to darkness. Kane still tries to hold off the mob, because he’s Skaikru Jesus, but Miller’s dad tazes him. Octavia tells the mob leader that they can have Ilian’s blood, but she wants the kill.
Ilian ends up on his knees in the mud outside the Ark, with a gun to his head, just like Lincoln. This time, Octavia is the one holding the gun. Monty begs Octavia not to murder Ilian. Ilian tells her to get it over with. Jaha has the campwide warning sounded, which cues Kane to yell that Black Rain is coming. Everyone but Octavia, Ilian, Monty, Jaha and Kane runs inside.
Kane reminds her that this is exactly how Lincoln died. We see parts of Lincoln’s execution, which is as powerful now as it was a year ago. Kane says that if Octavia kills Ilian like this, she’ll be no better than Pike. Octavia breaks down, drops the gun, pulls away from Kane, and runs from the camp into the woods. Kane asks her where she’ll go, but she ignores him. He’s so wise sometimes, but he’ll never understand that she can’t ever truly be one of them. Jaha, who’s used to being reviled, and has learned to accept it, understands much better. He unties Ilian and tells him to run. Ilian runs a few steps, then turns to look back for a moment. Maybe Skaikru isn’t what he thought it was.
When Jaha goes to release Ilian, Kane asks what he’s doing. Jaha replies that he’s saving their people, the same as Kane. They look deeply at each other, as Monty watches them. Leadership is complicated. This scene is one of the most powerful that The 100 has ever done. Octavia comes full circle, realizing that by using violence to cope with Lincoln’s death, she is becoming the thing she hated. Jaha finds some redemption, and proves that he still has value to his people, especially as an elder stateman guiding the other leaders.
Jaha says to Kane, “From the ashes, we will rise.”
Ilian came to Arkadia looking for revenge for the murder of his family that ALIE forced him to commit when he was in the City of Light. Jaha brought the City of Light and ALIE to everyone, but he also saves Ilian from Octavia and the mob. Now Ilian has become the potential murderer who destroyed the hope of survival for entire families. Mercy and death can come from the same people.
Jaha symbolically died in episode four when he was floated. This week he says, “From the ashes, we will rise.” He himself is much like a phoenix, having been resigned to death over and over, but narrowly escaping it in the end. I can’t help but wonder if this resurrection will be the beginning of healing from his past wounds and mistakes. He’s pointedly not trying to take over as leader this time, only stepping in to help when things get out of control.
Kane has also risen from the ashes of his mistakes and near deaths, as have all of the main characters, and Skaikru itself. Now they need to rise from the ashes of the Ark burning, and find a way to survive the literal radioactive ashes of nuclear fallout. Skaikru also needs to rise from the ashes of their repeated descent into their worst selves, whether it was entering the City of Light, following Pike, or joining the mob that was ready to kill Ilian.
As Niylah and Roan pointed out, Skaikru has no claim to a higher moral ground over the grounders. They are just trained to think more logically and strategically, and more used to sticking together through hardship. Everyone’s survival may depend on the clans’ ability to rise above their differences and cooperate on some giant project. That’s what happened when the Ark was created. It would make sense for that to be the solution now. Becca rejected that solution and came back to Earth to save people here. Now everyone will need to be rejoined to take humanity any further.
Clarke is happily sleeping with Niylah while Bellamy and Roan put her in the middle of a love triangle that she doesn’t know she’s part of. Or, maybe an intense co-leader/BFF triangle? This part of the show is totally working for me. I hope the boys haven’t even noticed that she’s already involved with Niylah, because I want to see their faces when Niylah kisses her or comes out of her bedroom in the morning. Then again, we know Bels is up for a threesome, and I doubt Roan would have a problem with it either. Could we convince them to stop arguing and go for a permanent power foursome?
We really need to keep Niylah, whatever happens. She is that sweet, peace-making, practical type that Clarke tends to go for, but so far she doesn’t seem to have Finn or Lexa’s flaws. She’s also someone to back up Monty and Kane on their positions. Hopefully the scene where the mob almost killed Ilian didn’t put her off of Skaikru for good.
Monty is the MVP of this episode. He keeps everyone around him on track, with an assist from Niylah.
Where are Indra and her daughter? Is there a secret Flamekeeper group that they’ve gone to be with? Maybe they live in the caves and worship the bomb, like in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Somebody’s got to be smart about the freakin’ caves. Mount Weather didn’t control all of them. Head for the Blue Ridge Mountains, people!
I’m not still not enjoying the overarching nuclear meltdown plot for the season. It feels like they keep repeating the same basic story line over and over. They spend most of each episode working on something that’s important to surviving the radiation, only to lose it near the end of the episode, making the events that we just watched a waste of time.
The doomsday scenario is too limiting. It was probably supposed to make the show more exciting because the stakes were so high. But all it’s done is make it extra depressing and repetitive. It’s never been a happy show, but it was at least a show with a future that allowed the characters to scheme and act and hope. Certain death coming for them quickly unless they find a miracle is just too much.