This review contains spoilers.
2.16 Blood Must Have Blood (Part 2)
Clarke tried to be the good guy – that’s what she says at the end of this episode but, if we’ve learned anything from this excellent second season of The 100, it’s that those arbitrary categories of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ are actually pretty useless when you’re fighting a war, and there’s really only whatever gets you the win with the fewest casualties.
There have been plenty of casualties, but Clarke’s decision to wipe out the entire population of Mount Weather is definitely the most morally troubling we’ve seen yet (a tough call). With Finn’s death, we had been told of what would happen had Clarke not gone through with it and, with the Tondc bombing a few weeks back, it was painted very much as Lexa’s decision that Clarke was simply – reluctantly – going along with. This was different.
This was her decision as leader of the Sky People. It was one made with strategy in mind and the humanity of the situation necessarily pushed aside, but it was a decision that nonetheless secured the safety of the rest of her people, even if it was at the expense of a lot of innocent lives.
At the beginning of the episode, we see Clarke beginning to buckle under the pressure of leadership, her emotions pushed to the surface following Lexa’s unexpected betrayal. Lexa wasn’t in this episode, which surprised me, but the ramifications of her choice in Part One of the story were clearly a part of everything Clarke did leading up to its conclusion. I hope it wasn’t the last we’ll see of her, and somehow I doubt it is.
Making us all glad that this finale was conceived as a two-parter in the first place, many of the characters’ journeys were left either unfinished or kept on the sidelines this week, with characters like Raven and Octavia having already had their chance to shine in Part One. That’s not a criticism at all, because one of the worst tendencies of season finales is to attempt to stuff them with every single character in an ensemble, and I’m glad The 100 didn’t do that.
No, this was Clarke’s episode through-and-through, and it was the culmination of everything she’s been through since landing on the ground all those episodes ago.
Despite getting Bellamy, Jasper and Monty out of Mount Weather, the capture of almost everyone else ensured that there’s still a rescue mission to be had, and Clarke’s desperation soon turns into a willingness to play by others’ rules. This group have always been defined by their efforts to do things differently – differently from their parents and the Ark’s rules and differently from the Grounders – but Clarke may finally have dropped those ambitions.
It’s them or her, and strict morality tends to go out of the window with stakes like that. The consequence is her exiling herself from the group after saving them, leaving Bellamy to effectively lead in her absence. For me, I’d kind of love it if Jasper took charge – possibly incompetently given likely long-lasting trauma from his experiences at Mount Weather – as I never really bought Bellamy’s ambitions as leader, being so much more effective as second-in-command.
While all of this is going on at Mount Weather, we’re also treated to the ‘comedic’ adventures of Murphy and Jaha at strangely placed points in the episode, but by the end of the episode it’s clear that this was what we should have been paying attention to the whole time. It’s the set-up for season three while season two is still being wrapped up, which is a slightly different tactic than what the show tried with the jarring final moments of the previous season.
This storyline might have seemed a little pointless at times, but it’s also been one of my favourite distractions from the hard, emotionally-draining parts of the A-plot each week. Murphy has become one of The 100’s most valuable players, balancing out the crazy of Jaha perfectly, and their joint discovery (each with opposite halves of the mystery) of the hatch – which is what I’m calling it, sue me – and Ali was a beautifully chilling way to cap off this run of episodes.
So there’s a nuke on this new island, and it’s being held by a rogue, potentially evil AI? Awesome.
The 100 has been, since the middle-point of its first season, a show that steadfastly refused to play by the rules. It’s a show that began as a typical product of the CW before shaking off the restraints and going for the jugular on emotional intensity, graphic violence and moral complexity.
It’s a special little show, with people starting to realise that going into the hiatus, and long may this kind of creative, brave television flourish. See you in season three, when I’m sure things are going to get even crazier.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Blood Must Have Blood (Part 1) here.
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