I love Clarke. I know that she’s flawed, that she’s made some rough decisions on this show, that there are other characters who are more complex (maybe even more compelling), but boy, oh boy, do I love her. I wish we would’ve gotten to sit with her decision a little longer this episode. But this show isn’t big on giving people hero moments that last — just decisions that have immediate, usually dark consequences.
Let’s start with her storyline. Our gang at Becca’s lab is testing not-Baylis to see if the Nightblood cure works in a conveniently haunting radiation tester. It’s complete with a little dial to increase the amount of radiation (that vaguely reminded me of the Milgram experiment). It goes well at first — he’d survive in the amount of radiation in the black rain — but when they up the radiation some more, he starts convulsing on the table, getting lesions, and vomiting black blood. So…back to the drawing board.
Abby and Jackson go over the test and realise that an additive they used to prevent clotting caused a chain reaction with the radiation and that if they just remove that, maybe it’ll work. But that means they need another subject.
No one likes the idea of killing someone else. Luna points out that Baylis was still a person and even had the stones of his ancestors. Then Clarke realises that Baylis wouldn’t have been from that group. The cat is out of the bag: Emori lied to everyone. This guy was just some guy, not Baylis. For her lie, she’s gonna be the next person tested. Murphy and Emori try to break the radiation chamber, but our crew quickly imprisons them.
I think it’s a mistake to look at the next sequence of events as these people deciding how far they’ll go (again). I mean, Clarke killed all of Mount Weather to save her people, so she knows how far she’ll go. Instead, I think it’s a group of people deciding who they want to be in what could very well be the end of their lives. Everything is so hopeless that maybe they’ve moved past the mantra of surviving and finding their humanity later. As death seems inevitable, after failure after failure to try to save everyone, the only thing they can control is what their final actions will be.
Back at Arkadia (and the woods around it), Jasper has already decided. He’s not going to spend the rest of his life regretting what he’s done. “No matter how much you punish yourself it’s not gonna change anything,” he tells Bellamy. He’s been annoying me this whole season, but with ten days left, I guess we should let him have this. He’s maybe also right at this point. Time is basically out, maybe just have fun? They’ve earned it, right? After all the suffering?
The fact that a lot of Skaikru have decided to drink and party instead of suffer makes Clarke’s decision in this episode all the more poignant. It’s not “are we willing to murder people we know to save humankind?” It’s “what’s the one thing I can do to help my people.” Clarke never gives up. She’ll fight until the end. But, there are 10 days left. So maybe the best possible thing she can do now is give her people something to believe in. And if that doesn’t work, she can at least prevent them from feeling the weight of another useless sacrifice.
I cried so much in this sequence. It seems like our crew is going to force Emori into the chamber. They’ve already knocked out Luna (who rejected the idea of killing someone else) to take her bone marrow. But everyone looks destroyed, and Clarke sees that. Abby can’t even inject Emori with the marrow, it’s all too much. They’ve already had to make these kinds of decisions over and over again. They’ve already watched so many people they love die. Murphy tells Clarke, “If she dies, you die.” It’s a threat, but I truly believe it’s how Clarke feels. When her people die, part of her dies. So, Clarke decides where she stands. And she injects herself. “I bare it so they don’t have to.” They’ll test her. I was sobbing, a complete mess.
No one even really thanked her! We don’t get Murphy being like, “I underestimated you.” This was such a big hero moment! They should’ve acknowledged her willingness to sacrifice more. But I guess that’s what makes it a real sacrifice. Of course, it was instantly for nothing, because Abby destroys the radiation chamber. It was more symbolic than actually helpful. Like…most things.
The only reason I was able to cope with this ending was because of the other storyline, which we’ll get to next, and the fact that they played Abby seeing Clarke’s death like some kind of premonition, like she could see the future. You know what? That feeds in very, very nicely to my “it’s a simulation” theory (which I guess the new bunker maybe killed, but whatever, I’m sticking to it, it’s what I decided to stand for). So…onto Jaha.
A Whole Nothing Bunker (A Second Second Dawn)
That’s right, my friends, there was another bunker under their noses this whole time! Incredible!
So that doomsday cult in episode 3 — that everyone else has forgotten about due to the unimaginable horrors that have haunted their every waking moment — Jaha thinks they should revisit it. He believes what they visited might have been a decoy bunker. LOL. This cult sounds like a bunch of jerks. Why build up a big following and then “JK,” a huge number of them in a death bunker? These people!
Still, I’m all in on decoy bunker. I’d be fine if the decoy bunker turned out to be a “decoy decoy bunker” and they go down the rabbit hole of false alarm bunkers for the remaining 5 episodes this season.
Kane, Jaha, and Monty travel to Polis to talk to the Flamekeeper to see if this “real bunker” theory holds any water. They meet Indra (my heart, I’ve missed you so, Indra) who’s fighting to hold the tower and doesn’t really have time for these theories. I wish she’d just said, “I’m mad at you because where the eff is Octavia? Why didn’t you help her?” But, you know, we all know that's what she was thinking. She agrees to let them talk to her daughter when she realises that this could be their one final hope for survival. But she also then kills all the Azgeda warriors around the temple so… I guess even with ten days left on Earth some grudges die-hard.
They realise the symbol of the Second Dawn doomsday cult is at the centre of Gaia’s tattoo. It’s a sacred symbol of their order and it’s on Becca’s crypt. So they go to the temple, remove some debris from the altar, and discover the symbol and the phrase “salvation lies within” on what looks like…a hatch. At this point I was just rocking back and forth going “wait for it…wait for it.” The medallion doesn’t quite work as a key, because it’s level 11 not level 12, and things are getting tight. But then Monty says, hey, maybe ‘from the ashes we will rise’ should be taken as instruction. And they burn the medallion to reveal the key. Okay, are you saying the only thing that separated level 11 from level 12 in this cult was realising you needed to burn the medallion? OMG I love this crazy, insane cult so much.
They open the hatch to reveal stairs leading down to a bunker. At this point I was like “hey this reminds me of another great TV moment” and then I was like “Hey…wait!!!” So, you’ll need to excuse me for a second because: (insert a million alarm signs emojis here) Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on Lost, just opened a hatch and found a bunker on TV. The cycle is complete! I’m about to make a million references, so if you want to avoid them, skip past the video. But watch the video, because it’s one of the most iconic moments on TV. Spoilers for Season 2 of Lost, of course, but ya’ll should’ve watched it anyway. Here we go:
Hey Desmond, shouldn’t you be in that bunker?
Let’s hope Clarke doesn’t have to decide if she should push a set of numbers every 108 minutes. We already know her history with levers.
Who would win in a fight: the Lost island polar bears or that gorilla from The 100 season 2?
Is Indra going to say, “Live together, die alone” at some point?
Okay, that was already too indulgent. Back to the recap.
Indra tells her troops to start guarding the temple instead. We get to see inside the bunker and it looks really hopeful. I was actually shocked we got to see so much. Then I realised there’s a huge hiatus after this episode! Noooooooooooooooooo!
Let’s assess what we know and don’t know before I leave you. I’d honestly be so happy if there was an entire episode devoted to the timeline of the Second Dawn before A.L.I.E.’s attack and the world post-Becca coming back down. Were the people Becca found part of the cult? Were at least some of them part of it? Or not at all and they’re just all still down there, deeper though? I think it has to be that some of them surfaced. After all, the cult symbol became a sacred symbol. Did the cult make up the Grounder religion with clues just in case? Or did the Grounder religion form around the symbol without anyone knowing what it stood for? Also, where is Becca’s body? Do you think she might be… cryogenically frozen?
All these questions make me so excited for what is going to happen next. I’ve been interested in the Grounder mythology and how the different factions formed for a while. It’ll be great if we can find out more about that. But the biggest question I have also makes me the most nervous: how are these fools going to find a way to blow this bunker up too? May we meet again!