Well, this is the rare week where this show could not be renamed “The Kid Dies Anyway” but instead “Well, the Kid Survives, But His Dad Doesn’t Make It.” At the end of this episode I’m left feeling exhausted and confused. Exhausted: because like… really? Again? Being this cyclical is exasperating. I guess it proves that people don’t learn from their mistakes. Maybe they’re all in some Nietzschean loop (or…again…a simulation…I’m gonna be ride or die for that theory). Confused: because so much and yet so little happens in the Clarke storyline.
OK, let’s start at the beginning.
So just when they thought it was safe to let their guard down, Skaikru once again is on the brink of destruction. Only 100 of their people can survive and the rest will die horrible, violent deaths in the radiation. The Grounders pack everybody into a room to make their decision (Octavia gave them 12 hours). Our leaders, who decides everyone’s fate like a bunch of Gods always, say that after children under 16 and “essential personnel” they have 80 spots left. So it’s lottery time…again.
Here’s the thing, as hard as it is for the 364 people who have lived the past four seasons at the whims of these overdramatic and flawed people, it’s also, clearly, impossible for Kane and Abby and Jaha and Bellamy and Clarke to live with all the things they’ve done. They are all so haggard this week. Bellamy believes he did the right thing, but he still gets chastised for it, and I mean, he still has to watch it slowly dawn on his people that they’re not safe anymore (and know it is because of him). Abby, has lost it. When Clarke volunteers to go on the mission to get Raven she just lets her. LOL. Remember how Abby fucked everything up in terms of “finding the Nightblood cure” because she didn’t want her precious daughter to die? And now, now she just decides to let her go off less than 24-hours before the death wave hits? Really? I guess it’s just because everyone is tired of all the sacrifices they’ve made. Abby tells Kane later that she doesn’t want to take a spot and is just gonna die. Here’s the thing: you’re a doctor Abby, you don’t get to just decide to die. You and the engineers are maybe the only actual “essential personnel.”
So, the lottery’s a huge bummer, obviously. We follow a dad (he gets sent to die at the end…why bother with suspense, the only shock is his cute kid probably is going to survive) who is still trying to fight to survive with his son. We see the terror and despair and confusion in these peoples’ eyes as they realise that their leaders have once again, let them down. Names go in a bowl, Nate’s dad puts Nate’s name in twice, basically, every thing crushes you with the weight of how bleak it all is.
But Jaha still wants to fight. He tells the dad that he has a plan. If the dad can get the Grounders to open the door, he’ll get some leverage. As Kane is reading names from the lottery, the dad starts protesting. He gets heated and starts a chant that everyone needs to fight. Kane realizes that Jaha is up to something and follows him as this almost-riot is starting to break out. He sees Jaha with gas canisters. Jaha’s plan is to gas the Grounders, get to the crop supply, and threaten to destroy it if they don’t let all of Skaikru survive. They sort of tussle here but like…it’s all just so pointless, they realise. Saving humanity has caused them to completely lose all optimism and hope and at this point it’s like they’re really just surviving so that another generation, maybe like, three generations removed from them, can have a good life.
While all this is happening, Octavia and the Grounders are debating using force against Skaikru. Octavia already had to intervene once, to stop them from tearing Niylah apart (but hooray, Niylah survives!), but she’s afraid of having to go to extreme measures against Skaikru.
Octavia is a perfect example of how frail loyalty can be on this show, because legitimately everyone has betrayed everyone else at some point. Jaha tells her early in this episode that these are her people and she rightly responds that she had to hide in the floor and they killed her mother, so… you know, they haven’t always been her people. But then, when Indra tells Octavia that she’ll do the dirty work with Skaikru, Octavia says she’ll do it because, “My people, my responsibility.”
The Grounders have guns and they hear Skaikru chanting that they need to fight, so they open the door to the main room where Skaikru is deciding their fate. And…everyone has been gassed. Yep, these poor souls who never get any say in their fate once again are at the hands of Kane and Jaha’s absolute rule.
Kane and Jaha decide to just go off of Clarke’s list. Remember, from earlier in the season? The Grounders drag the unconscious bodies of people around, based on who can stay and who has to go. It’s so eerie and horrifying. Kane saves Abby, against her will, and begs her unconscious body to forgive him. But also, he has snapped. He says “this is how we save our people” like a madman in an insane asylum. He might not recover from this.
The dad asked Jaha earlier to please watch over his kid if he didn’t make it. And sure enough, he’s not on the list, so Jaha grabs his son and holds him tight. That moment, and when we saw all the unconscious bodies, being picked over, with a close up on the “From the Ashes We Will Rise” sign were genuinely heartbreaking emotional images. I guess this is as good a time as any to remind you guys that Isaiah Washington isn’t returning as a regular next season.
So now onto all the other teens. Bellamy, Clarke, Murphy, and Emori all go to rescue Raven. I really wish they’d have done the Star Trek thing and had one random guy, like a Joe or something, go, just so we would know Joe was for sure gonna die. But instead what we got was a very strict timeline. The death wave is coming in less than 24 hours, it takes 10 hours there and 10 hours back, nothing can go wrong.
Ok ya’ll, so how long did you think they were gonna get before the car crashed? If you guessed “almost instantly” you are correct. Someone jumps out in front of the car, Bellamy crashes it, then they all have to fight to live and also to not rip their suits. This scene looked so stunning, the night, the white of the snow, the red of the blood and suits. They’re all ultimately saved by Echo, who heard Emori and Murphy say they were going to try to stay at the other, not supplied bunker, because at least they could ride out the initial wave there.
Everything in this storyline happened too fast for me, which is funny because it all happened in a very short period of time. They talk to Monty and Harper and tell them to get to them as fast as possible. They give Echo a suit. Emori realises there’s a tear in her hood. Clarke sacrifices her hood for Emori, thinking that the Nightblood will save her. Then Bellamy thinks they should go back to camp and save everyone if it’s proven that the Nightblood will work. Then Clarke starts coughing up blood. Then Clarke says that there’s no way the people in the bunker will let her back in with the radiation poisoning, but she has a way for them all to survive. So I laid it out like this because I legitimately had no idea what they were getting towards in these scenes or who they were saving.
But anyway it all lead to our big final scene. Raven’s waiting in the lab, thinking her friends gave up on her, when they all arrive in those suits looking kinda…like astronauts. The big plan is space. They’ll go to space, ride out the radiation on what remains of the Ark, then, I guess, return. There are a billion things that could go wrong, but it’s the best chance they’ve got.
OK so I complained a lot this recap, but I’m very excited for the space race next week. Who will survive? What will go wrong? Is it all a simulation (lol OK, I think this theory has prob been debunked)? It’s the final countdown! May we meet again!