Major spoilers ahead for The 100’s mid-season finale. Venture no further if you have not yet watched tonight’s episode, Spacewalker.
If last week’s episode, Long Into an Abyss, was a tale of two chancellors, tonight’s heartbreaker of an episode is a tale of two Finns. A lot of viewers felt Finn’s turn to the dark side was sudden and disingenuous, a real 180 from the soulful, peace seeker from season one. But as we learn from a series of flashbacks, a lot can change in a short period of time.
It’s funny how life aboard the Ark, which was certainly no picnic, seems so idyllic compared to the grim realities faced by the survivors on the ground. At least in orbit, no one was trying to kill the last of the space-faring humans. A year ago, the struggle was against attrition—of supplies of oxygen, of hope. Sending the 100 to the ground was a bold, desperate move. Much was lost along the way, whether it be the loss of life or of innocence—neither of which can be regained. Survival itself began to seem more and more like a punishment, rewarding the fittest with a crippling guilt that simply compounded itself with every morally gray choice or action. In this season’s Human Trials, based on what could be considered circumstantial evidence, Finn made a bold, desperate decision that led to the deaths of 18 Grounders. Not only did this massacre consume the would-be diplomat, it came to define him, too. And, in the end, his slaughter of the Grounders led to his demise. How did we even get here?
The issue here that many viewers have with Finn’s transformation is not the act of murder itself, but the events leading up to it. Would the Finn we were presented with in season one really become so hardened so quickly? I say yes, it’s possible, and I personally don’t have a problem with the sudden shift in his character. That doesn’t mean I condone what he did, either, but it’s an important distinction to make. Clarke, who was horrified by what she thought he’d become, immediately distanced herself from Finn. But there were still those who believed in him, including Bellamy and Raven. Murphy, too, did not give up on Finn. Their support mattered little to him; his broken heart belonged to Clarke.
Which brings me to these flashbacks to the relative paradise of the Ark. We’re presented with a boy who would do anything for the girl he loved—even if it meant taking the fall for an unauthorized spacewalk. Taking the blame goes well beyond chivalry; by donning the suit, Finn saved Raven’s life. As I said, I don’t have an issue with the Finn who pulled the trigger in that Grounder village. No, my bigger issue is the Finn, who would suddenly abandon what he had with Raven (who was left in orbit) to be with Clarke (on the ground). One could argue he thought he’d never see Raven again, but the true love he seemed to have with Raven ceased to exist the moment he made Clarke her own origami raven.
The case has been made by The 100 numerous times that people often make poor decisions in moments of duress. Sometimes mob mentality overrules common sense. Sometimes sane people are blinded by passion. But for Grounders, justice is more absolute. Sins are not pardoned away and forgiveness is not offered. Blood for blood is the code they follow, taking ‘an eye for an eye’ to a whole other level. The blood they seek now is Finn’s. He killed 18 of their own, and now he must be made to suffer 18 deaths. And, as Lincoln explains to Abby, Finn’s death will be slow and gruesome. No one wants Finn to die, especially Raven, who desperately stares into her own abyss to save him. That she would gladly sacrifice Murphy in place of Finn again speaks to how passion can blind anyone. To me, this was one of the darkest moments in the episode, watching Raven justify why Murphy deserved to die over Finn. Surely there were many viewers who would have preferred to see Murphy die, but it simply wasn’t his time. But for all his friend’s best efforts to protect him, Finn ultimately gives himself up to the Grounders to spare anyone any further harm.
As to whether or not Clarke had any room in her heart for Finn, the question is answered not by her confession, but by the act of mercy she shows Finn in his final moments. Diplomacy may have failed, but mercy finally wins out. If Finn must die, it may as well be at Clarke’s sure hand. It’s the ultimate act of love that will surely cause so much heartbreak for those who remain—including this show’s faithful viewers. We’ve lost a lot of people over the course of two seasons, but the show (and life) must go on.
Some closing thoughts:
I wonder how much longer Abby will remain chancellor. I know this may sound crazy, but in some ways I think Clarke would make for a much stronger leader.
Will Finn’s death really bring peace to the survivors and the Grounders, or will his death be in vain? More importantly, will Raven ever forgive Clarke for taking Finn’s life?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but poor Murphy. He deserved better than almost being thrown to the wolves. I wonder how Raven’s betrayal will play out in the latter half of season two.