To say this may be one of the most consequential of episodes might be an understatement. All along we were told that this was going to be a big one, and that we were going to say goodbye to some people. Well that turned out to be the case, and as blood drenched and climactic as it was, there was a twist at the end that I'm not sure anyone saw coming. I know that I didn't. In fact it was so shocking that I feel like it detracts from everything they accomplished in the episode to that point. And let's be clear it was an amazing episode, and a tour de force for Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia. Spoilers for this episode of The 100.
So it's time to fight. The grounder clans and Skaikru each get a champion to represent them, and the winner gets to claim the bunker for their people. Why is the bunker so important? Well, other than the looming threat of Praimfaya (aka radiation storms that will kill everyone), it's not important at all! But the bunker represents the last chance for humanity, and as we saw last week, King Roan has called for a conclave- a tournament of champions- to determine the issue. And it just so turns out that Skaikru's champion is- Octavia. Yes the same Octavia who was almost killed by Echo and then fell off a cliff- she's apparently the best warrior they have. Although Indra did train her- so maybe she is!
So this was done well. It was gritty and violent and the bulk of the episode showed us twelve champions fighting for all the marbles. I was surprised how violent it was given that it's on the CW- but they did warn us it was going to be a bloody affair. And we knew we were going to lose somebody, or possibly several somebodies- and man did we ever. Luna is fighting, as is Roan and Octavia, and Ilian as well. So we have four major characters as well as some other nameless clan champions, fighting it out in the streets of Polis. And there can be only one.
Shannon and I were talking about what a badass Luna was, looking back at that episode last season where Clarke tried to force her to take the chip and Luna pretty much mopped the floor with Clarke. Here her fighting skills are on full display, and she's a one- woman wrecking crew. And she's on a mission too... if she wins, she wants NOBODY to be safe. She's a force for nihilism at this juncture. I thought the fight scenes were mostly done well, and it was inspired to have this play out in a ruined Polis, with garbage fires burning and even the dreaded black rain falling at one point, to make things worse. The city at this point is almost a deathtrap itself, with the alleys and hiding places galore.
To make it worse, someone is cheating. Hard to believe, I get it. Someone is shooting people with arrows and Bellamy realizes someone is helping one of the clans- turns out to be Azgeda who is getting a bit of assistance. Echo, as always, is up to something- but Roan was unaware of it, and when Bellamy exposes her Roan banishes Echo. He won't be dishonored by her treachery. You know, speaking of Roan, I liked him here- he wants to win fair and square, and even though he irritated me when he told Clarke off, I was sad to see him go. And yes- Roan is no longer with us. Taken out by Luna, in a brutal fight in the rain, just after he and Octavia agree to an alliance to take Luna out. Because no one can stand against her alone, apparently.
Setting aside that nonsense, between the carnage and Echo's sniping we soon get down to just Octavia and Luna. Luna's hurt by now but still tough- and Octavia plays it smart, taking her out with a bit of trickery. I was surprised at how Octavia had been built up to be the badass warrior and yet here she avoided most of the fighting- which was smart, and was what Bellamy told her to do- but I thought she would have fought a bit more. But then she might not have made it frankly- it was the smart thing. It might not be a big shock that Octavia walks away although I was shocked that the other three characters- Luna, Roan and Ilian- bought the farm. Yes- we lost all of them. I wasn't expecting that. I thought Luna would make it, and/ or that Roan and Octavia would find a way. Nope.
It was powerful, and at one point Indra tells Kane that if Octavia wins then they would see what she's really learned- not just her fighting skills, but who she is and what she represents. And for all of her embracing the warrior role, she shows at the end that she represents the best of Skaikru- announcing that as victor she won't just save Skaikru, but that all the clans will be saved. Notwithstanding the space limitations, she's determined that all clans will have a place in the bunker. Unfortunately... Clarke and Jaha apparently have other plans. Yup- after Octavia's hard fought victory, the twist- Clarke and Jaha have sealed the bunker, with Skaikru inside. Screw you Grounders! And apparently Kane and Octavia as well, since they're like, still alive you know. So even if Clarke and Jaha didn't have faith in Octavia winning, are they seriously just sacrificing Kane? I don't see that.
You could feel the tension with Bellamy and Kane as champions fell and the candles signifying their clan were extinguished. When the first two went down Bellamy was so afraid one might be Octavia- the guy has to stand by while his sister fights. And I felt for Indra as well when the Trikru champion went down.
I was surprised that Octavia didn't come to Roan's aid when Luna was killing him. And disappointed frankly. Also, sorry to see Roan go. He was a stellar addition to this season.
Ilian- we barely knew thee. A guy who lost it all thanks to Becca/ ALIE, came back to save Octavia, and to go out how he did- an arrow through the neck- that was tough. I've been a little hard on Ilian this season, not always seeing the point of his character, but he won me over here- not only saving Octavia's life when she was outnumbered three to one, but he died well- and that's what a Grounder would want.
The best moment for me might have been Bellamy and Roan. Roan said that he would tell Octavia how lucky she was to have a brother like Bellamy before he killed her, and Bellamy's response? " You tell her I was the lucky one".
The twist. We didn't see much of Clarke after the beginning, when she has words with Roan- and how much did that affect what she did?- but man at the end, when Bellamy asks Clarke how she went along with their plan, and Jaha tells him it was her idea. That hurts. Who would have thought Clarke and Jaha? Does every season have to push Clarke that much further along? What will be left of Clarke at some point?