The 100: His Sister’s Keeper review

Whether it's via flashbacks or character development in the present, the 100 delivers one of its best episodes.

Tonight’s episode of the CW’s dystopian series The 100 is by far the strongest of the season. It raises the stakes by serving up a lot of important character development, plenty of lethal action, and some real emotional drama. So let’s jump right into tonight’s aptly titled episode, “His Sister’s Keeper.”

One thing I really like about this show is its use of flashbacks. These prisoners, and the people still aboard the Ark, are more than walking, talking tropes (Clarke, the selfless one, Raven, the rebellious one, Finn, the wild one, and so on). Tonight’s flashback takes us back 17 years—to Octavia’s secret, forbidden birth. His sister is literally only minutes old when a very young Bellamy is told, “Your sister, your responsibility.” This is something that the newly minted big brother immediately takes to heart. He will do whatever it takes to protect his sister. Over the next several years, their mother makes certain sacrifices as well to protect Octavia—sacrifices that don’t sit well with Bellamy.

A young Octavia sacrifices a lot in the name of survival, too—namely her freedom. She has never ventured outside their cramped quarters, and must hide beneath the floor during random room searches. It’s no way to live, but it’s all the Blakes know. That is, until Bellamy becomes a cadet Guardsmen, made possible by one of their mother’s less desirable sacrifices. Bellamy is able to smuggle a masked Octavia out of the room so she can not only view her first-ever moonrise, but attend a dance as well. Finally, Octavia is able to interact with people her own age, and to truly feel free.

But then things go awry when Lt. Shumway unmasks Octavia and the Blakes’ secret is finally out. Bellamy tells Shumway he would do anything to protect his sister, but more on this in a bit.

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Back in the present, down on the planet, Bellamy has finally realized that Octavia is missing. Worse, she’s been on her own for 12 hours. Bellamy quickly forms a search party to find her. But before they head out, the camp witnesses a bit of a light show in the night sky. What looks like a meteor shower, though, is a mass funeral as the Ark returns 320 bodies to the Earth. It’s clear now that the Ark did not see the signal rockets—which means more people will be killed to save oxygen. That is, unless contact can be established with the station. So Bellamy, joined by Jasper, Finn, and about a dozen others, set out in search of Octavia. Meanwhile, Clarke and Raven head out to the bunker to scavenge parts to fix the radio. Both quests are easier said than done. As I said, the stakes are high in tonight’s episode—the fate of humanity basically rests on Raven’s ability to repair the radio. For Bellamy, the stakes are more personal—he can’t bear to think of Octavia on her own in the wild.

As it turns out, Bellamy should be worried. Octavia’s leg was injured when she fell into the ravine. At the end of last week’s episode she was captured by a grounder, but perhaps “rescued” may be more accurate. The same grounder cauterizes her wound but leaves her in a makeshift cell underground. This is familiar territory for her, figuratively and literally. She doesn’t take her confinement lying down, and quickly effects an arduous escape.

Meanwhile, the search party has been scouring the woods for her. It’s worth noting Jasper hasn’t left the camp since being rescued, but for Octavia he was willing to join the search. He demonstrates a different kind of bravery as the search party comes upon rotted corpses presumably left as a warning by the grounders. Says Jasper: “I’d walk into hell to find her.”

And hell is exactly what they stumble into as they cross the boundary into grounder territory. The grounders make short work of them, killing three prisoners in a matter of minutes—and bringing the remaining prisoner count to a sobering 90. Ultimately the search party tracks down Octavia, who has managed to knock her mysterious captor unconscious. Bellamy wants to kill him, but he’s stopped by Octavia, who insists the grounder saved her life. The grounder returns the favor by stabbing Finn in the chest. Bellamy knows the only person who can probably save him now is Clarke.

As for Clarke and Raven, things get awkward between them pretty quickly in the bunker. At least they do for Raven, who has been slowly piecing together that there’s something between Clarke and Finn. It’s not until Raven finds the origami necklace in the bunker (not unlike one Finn made for her back on the Ark) that she realizes she’s become a third wheel in her own relationship. She finally confronts Clarke, asking her if she loves Finn. Let it be said now that Clarke is a go-to person—she’s level-headed and responsible. She reins in her emotions and desires and fears—all in the name of the greater good of the 100’s mission. So the response she offers Raven is an honest one—she hardly knows him. The answer proves heartbreaking for both of them.

The heartbreak continues back at the camp, as Bellamy confronts his sister for defending the grounder. Octavia doesn’t take kindly to this, and blames her brother not only for Finn’s being stabbed, but for getting their mother floated. Like Clarke, Bellamy’s reaction is honest, and blunt. He tells Octavia, “My life ended the day you were born.”

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Which brings us to Lt. Shumway, who is now a commander. As for Bellamy, the former cadet is now a janitor. As it turns out, it’s Shumley who makes Bellamy an offer he can’t refuse: he can get Bellamy on the drop ship if he assassinates the Chancellor. And we all know what happens after that.

Some closing thoughts:

– What the heck was up with the light flares in the flashbacks?

– How did Octavia’s mom manage to hide her pregnancy?

– We find out from Raven that the prisoners have been on the planet for ten days.

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4.5 out of 5