The 100 season 4, episode 6 saw Clarke, Roan and Bellamy embark on a road trip of truth while Octavia finally reached the point of no return.
First thing’s first: Did y’all see that we got renewed for season 5? JUST CHECKING. Because I’m still kind of on a high about the fact that we can now enjoy season 4 without worrying about imminent cancellation!
It’s been two weeks since the last episode of The 100, but what an episode to return with. I think season 4 has been strong overall, but “We Will Rise” is definitely one of my favorites so far, both because of its obviously Mad Max: Fury Road-influenced car chase scene and because of the many significant emotional beats and developments.
Action-packed as it was, this episode was heavily character — and relationship-centric, and I predict it’ll be the episode we’ll look back on later when it comes to determining where, exactly, something significantly shifted in the dynamics of (to name a few) Raven/Murphy, Clarke/Kane, Octavia/Bellamy, Monty/Jaha, and Clarke/Bellamy. There’s clearly a lot to get into here, so let’s jump right into it, Roan-style!
Niylah, Clarke, and Lexa’s legacy
At the beginning of the episode, we see Clarke and Niylah having reconnected, the pair sharing a bed and an intimacy that definitely leaves the door open for more. Are we heading towards an epic Niylarke romance? Not necessarily, but not all romances need to be huge, complicated, epic things, and for now, I’m really liking this sweet relationship for what it is.
Niylah is a wonderful presence in this episode (not just for Clarke), and I appreciate how completely understanding she is of Clarke’s lingering feelings for Lexa. She even vocalizes the way in which Lexa’s legacy will be secured directly through Clarke: “Lexa would be proud of you. We’re all your people now. She believed that too. She lives on through you.”
I really like this spin on Clarke’s grieving and healing process, and the way in which the show solidifies Lexa’s importance while moving forward.
Ever since she was first introduced in season 2, Lexa was an important presence on the show because, while she didn’t always practice what she preached (see her decision to leave Clarke at Mount Weather to secure peace for her coalition), it was always evident that Lexa had a vision that few others (Grounders and Skypeople alike) shared. She wanted to see past clan divides, and she tried to open her coalition to all, something we’re told no Commander before her tried to do. I think Clarke really connected to this sentiment because (despite what people keep saying) Clarke has always been willing to transcend the ‘tribalism’ of these factions, but Lexa gave her some tools and ideas to how this was actually possible.
Both before and during the show, Lexa made so much headway, uniting the Grounders and even striking peace with Azgeda and the unknown entity of people that fell from the sky. She may be gone now, but Clarke — motivated by the universal threat of humanity’s imminent extinction — is there to pick up where she left off, and characters like Niylah and Roan clearly recognize that potential in her.
Hopefully one day Clarke can see that, too, and be at peace with it, even if she might not yet be ready to hear someone like Niylah say it.
But in a way, I think Niylah was the only one who could say it. Niylah and Luna are a lot alike in the way they’ve managed to let go of their traumas and found an inner peace that seems so unattainable in this world, and just as Luna was able to help both Raven and especially Murphy in this episode, I think Niylah could be really good for Clarke.
Of course we have no idea if this was a one-time thing or if we’ll see more Niylarke later in the season, so all this speculation might be for nothing!
But at least Clarke wants Niylah to be safe, which is why she asks her to stay in Arkadia to get the Nightblood more quickly. It’ll be interesting to see if and how this relationship is revisited in future episodes.
For now though, Clarke wants to push ahead with their new plan of delivering the hydrazine to Abby and Raven. A part of her is clearly relieved that Arkadia is no longer a viable back-up plan, because saving 100 people was taking up way too much time and attention when really, the only solution to Clarke is the one that saves everyone.
She joins the all-boys strategy session (did that throw anyone else off for a second? A room full of men is a rare sight on this show!), where Roan explains that the Azgeda army are deserting to be with their families, and burning Trikru villages as they go.
So tl;dr, Roan is losing control of his people, and, as usual, Trikru are the ones bearing the brunt of the damage. Sigh. No one suffers on this show like Trikru suffers.
At least it’s nice to see Roan back in action this week, finally on the same side as the others; he’s no longer just a precarious ally but a fully fledged member of Team Save the World, even sharing a little nod of acknowledgement with Kane.
Sending his love
Not that the rest of the episode wasn’t great, but it may have peaked for me when Kane and Clarke shared this beautiful, payoff moment that’s been in the works for a long time.
First, Kane wants to join her on the journey, clearly eager to see Abby again, knowing what a dangerous mission she’s about to embark on. Clarke talks him out of it, claiming that he’s needed at Arkadia (whether that’s true, well, hold that thought), but promises to “send her your love” — rightly guessing that this is exactly where Kane’s head is at.
This is extremely adorable (and I’m not at all worried that it means that Kabby will never get to say it to each other, nope, shut up), but it gets even better when Kane pulls Clarke in for an unexpected hug.
Clarke is thrown for a moment before allowing herself to give in to it, and, MY FEELINGS. This was SO BEAUTIFUL.
It may be brief, but this is a huge moment for the two of them, both based on who they are individually and their relationship to each other. It’s a kind of acknowledgement of the connection they have through Abby, and promise of a future that I don’t think either of them ever really allowed themselves to consider (or at least Clarke didn’t): a future in which they could maybe kind of be a family.
Kane is obviously happy and relieved that Clarke has acknowledged and ‘approved’ of his love for her mother, but for Clarke, accepting Kane into not just her mother but her life — as more than a co-leader and strategist, but as someone who hugs her and wishes her good luck — it’s kind of the first step to moving on, not from Lexa this time but from her father.
For Clarke, that arc of allowing herself to love and be loved again is about so much more than romance, and even though this was a small moment, it was very moving to see that she is, still, capable of letting people in — of letting this pseudo-father figure in, no less. A tiny bit of hope for Clarke, who has been so glum and downtrodden this season, I was beginning to wonder if she had any left at all.
She is become death
Meanwhile Bellamy goes to see Octavia, ready for the Blake family reunion we’ve all been waiting for. Unfortunately for Bellamy, and for all of us fans who secretly just want The 100 to be one long group-hug session, Octavia is nowhere near ready for that reunion.
Octavia’s heroic return to Arkadia last week and her attempts to stop Ilian really made it seem for a moment like she’d finally reached the proverbial and literal bottom and was beginning to make her way back up and out of the darkness, but we should have known that one measly fall off a cliff wouldn’t be enough to reset Octavia Blake to factory settings.
There’s been a lot of talk in fandom about why the writers shoe-horned Octavia’s fake-death plot into an already busy episode, and why Bellamy had to think she was dead for a hot second, but I think we’re seeing the emotional significance of that development right here: If Octavia’s death wasn’t enough to mend the wounds between them, nothing will be (or so it seems! They’re still breathing = hope). And we needed to reach that extreme, along with what happens next, to facilitate her journey moving forward.
Octavia may not have literally died, but she may as well have; like I touched on in my season premiere review, she ‘died’ with Lincoln and resurrected herself as a stone-cold warrior. Bellamy’s relief that she’s not dead means nothing to her — or, rather, she wants it to mean nothing — so she hurts him deliberately, partly to turn him away from her and sever the last emotional tie to the ‘old’ Octavia and give in to the darkness, and partly because he is the only one she has left to blame for Lincoln’s death other than herself.
Part of her does blame Bellamy, certainly, because he did side with Pike and it did take him way too long to realize that he wasn’t doing what was best for his people. But for all that, Bellamy didn’t kill Lincoln, and even in the depth of her despair, Octavia knows this.
For all that she can push all the blame on Bellamy, for all that she can refuse his love and affection and declare herself dead, I think that what she is really doing is trying to shut off the little voice in her head whispering: ‘But if you hadn’t chained Bellamy up, Lincoln might still have been alive.’ Because Bellamy wasn’t there when Lincoln died, but Octavia was.
Of course we can rationally say that Octavia deserves none of the Blame for Lincoln’s death. And neither she nor Bellamy actually killed Lincoln — Pike did that all on his own — but by Octavia’s grief- and guilt-twisted, self-flagellating logic, it’s not a far leap for her to feel like she’s the one who let it happen, which means that she may as well have pulled the trigger herself.
And that brings us to the darkest part of her story, where she stands where Pike stood, a loaded gun in her hand, Ilian unwittingly playing the part of Lincoln as she seeks to complete her transformation into Lincoln’s true killer. Aside from being an expression of guilt, killing ‘Lincoln’ herself is also a way out of her grief: She doesn’t want to remember Lincoln; she wants to kill off the part of him that lingers with her — her version of taking the ALIE chip, if you will.
But she can’t do it. Being in that position, reenacting Lincoln’s murder and coming so close to completing the circle and becoming Lincoln’s killer rather than his mourner, exposes all of that pain and guilt she’s tried to Skairipa her way out of. If she could only do it, kill Lincoln, become Pike, then she could truly lose herself and everything she was, she no longer had to contend with what Lincoln would have wanted or would have thought of her actions; could become the murderer she already feels like because she killed Lincoln, she sees that now — but she can’t. Grief wins, emotion beating back the darkness, and Octavia is left naked to the pain of losing Lincoln, and to what losing Lincoln has turned her into.
So, yeah. Wow. What an episode. Where can Octavia possibly go from here, now that darkness is not the only thing she has left after all? Certainly not into Kane’s forgiving arms (I feel so bad for him, he was so close to being 2/2 on adopted daughter hugs this week), but away, sobbing, into the nothing.
Ilian goes, too, and my guess is their paths aren’t done crossing. I’m also guessing the imminent black rain will send Bellamy out searching for her, which really makes me hope that now, finally, we can begin to see Octavia reclaim some of her vitality. I have to admit that I really love this visceral, heart-wrenching portrayal of grief and guilt, but it really hurts to see Octavia so destroyed, and I think we’ve earned that phoenix moment for her now. Let her rise from the ashes of her own broken self!
‘We’re not so different after all’
More than any other season, season 4 has really been cannibalizing itself in an effort to show new sides of the characters we (think we) know so well, showing how far they’ve come by paralleling or flipping past situations.
A key example this week is the Arkadian mob that turned on Ilian, which feels like a culmination of similar moments from all past seasons: in season 1, mob mentality drove the delinquents to string up Murphy (as Monty specifically calls back to in this episode); in season 2, the Grounders marched on Camp Jaha to demand Finn’s life in a coordinated effort to ceremoniously torture an individual for his crimes, and in season 3, the same anger and bloodthirst ultimately drove the Arkadians to reject Kane’s peace agenda and vote for Pike’s anti-Grounder agenda.
All three times, we saw different variations of an angry crowd acting out of fear and desperation, and all three times, they were guided by the same (spoken or unspoken) war cry: ‘Blood must have blood,’ a saying so brutal when it was associated with the violent, unknown ‘other’ that the Grounders represented at the time, but which we should now realize actually just sums up the universal craving for vengeance that all humans might be driven to feel.
At its core, ‘blood must have blood’ is just a variation of what they called ‘floating’ on the Ark: A death sentence, determined by a higher authority and carried out in the name of justice. Significantly, the only thing that separated the Arkadians’ laws from the Grounders’ was the ‘blood’ part — or, at least in Kane’s view, what separated justice from vengeance.
It’s important here to remember that, in season 2, Kane wanted to ‘spare’ Finn from the Grounders by letting him have an Ark-style trial, which might have led to him being executed anyway. That wasn’t ‘blood must have blood’ (vengeance) to him, that was justice. And that key difference is what he expects his people to understand and respect, in turn.
But this episode proved two things: 1) Arkadians are at least as blood-thirsty (and less respectful of authority) as the Grounders, so we can dispel with any lingering notions that the two peoples are somehow fundamentally different, and 2) Kane is simply not the best person to lead these people during times of war, because he doesn’t fully comprehend that they’re not as good as he is.
Kane wants peace and order, and he expects his people to want this, too. They don’t, and he is continuously perplexed by this. Sometimes people want chaos; in season 2, they weren’t ready for the peace he wanted to make with the Grounders and rejected him for Pike, and now, he is at a complete loss when faced with an angry mob that wants to tear Ilian apart. Both times, Kane’s way was the ‘right’ way (at least in terms of what we would consider right), and both times it doesn’t matter, because he can’t will his people into agreeing with him.
As Winston Churchill once said: “Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.” Once again, this is for all intents and purposes a war, and once again, the peaceful leader is not equipped to win it.
A leader that does understand the nature of his people? Thelonious Jaha.
Monty turning to Jaha for help is a direct consequence of what happened in “A Lie Guarded,” where Jaha was able to calm the crowd turning against Clarke and convince them to follow him. And once again, Jaha knew exactly what to do, saving both Ilian’s life and preventing his people from becoming killers.
He may be a fanatic, unhinged, whatever you want to call him, but Jaha has always been able to connect to the Arkadians in a way Kane has not, and I expect/fear that this will lead to Kane once again losing control of his people to a more compelling leader, whose words are honey but whose actions will lead them down another very dangerous path.
Bellamy’s less-than-ideal conversation with Octavia leaves him super cranky when he goes on the road trip. Clarke’s Blake-senses are tingling though, and she immediately sees the problem.
“I told you it would take time,” she tries to soothe, but he bites back, “well, we don’t have much of that left now, do we?” It’s a good point, which I also think ties into their later conversation. Bellamy is keenly aware that every interaction he has with someone might be his last, and I’m honestly very excited for more characters to begin thinking along these same lines, because imminent death usually = big personal declarations and emotional revelations, and there are so many dynamics on The 100 that could benefit from a big moment of truth right about now. Anyway!
As they’re driving along they come across a scattered band of Trikru (who may very well be the last survivors of their clan, seeing at the rate at which they’re killed off). And Clarke, being Clarke, of course leaves the car to check on them. I love this moment, because for once, someone actually seems excited to see Clarke! That doesn’t happen very often anymore, does it?
They pick up an interesting little nugget of info here: specifically that ‘Radley from Plainsriders’ (did I get that right?) is moving against Azgeda, which suggests that a coup against Roan and big power-shift in Polis is imminent… unless the black rain gets them all first, of course.
They get away and reach a river, after which Roan and Bellamy go on a quick little side-quest, which basically serves two functions: It leaves Clarke alone with Azgeda so they can kidnap her, and it lets Roan and Bellamy have a conversation about how great she is. (they are vying to be president of her fanclub, after all.)
And thus ensues the moment I can’t believe we had to wait two years for after the rovers were first introduced: A sweet-ass car chase, during which Clarke and Bellamy execute a ridiculously cool coordinated stunt while Roan performs his own even cooler solo show. THIS. WAS. AWESOME. The rovers are officially my favorite characters on this show.
“If I don’t see you again…”
……………Seriously though. Has The 100 finally reached the point where it’s having to deus ex interrupt these two fools from saying how they really feel?
Of course ‘what they really feel’ is still up for debate; as many amazing moments as this pair have shared in the past, and however much any viewer might read into those moments, I think the subtext has always been intentionally ambiguous from the show’s part: Certainly, anyone can speculate about the nature of their relationship, but nothing has ever been confirmed, and we’ve never been led to believe they’ve been less than completely devoted to their other love interests (barring Raven-ALIE’s dig that Bellamy was “never that devoted to Gina”).
But Clarke telling Bellamy how “special” he is, followed by Bellamy gearing up to make some big proclamation we don’t get to hear, but are clearly meant to speculate about…? Honestly, to me, this feels like the first deliberate textual acknowledgement that the Bellamy/Clarke relationship will eventually move into romance territory.
Maybe I’m wrong though. You tell me. Bellarke shippers will of course say that their relationship has been building to a romance since the beginning, while non-shippers will say that any romantic reading of their scenes is inferred, not intended on the writers/actors’ part.
Personally, I feel like there’s always been a deep (special, if you will) connection between these two characters, but it’s always been played just safe enough that the writers/actors could claim plausible deniability, all the while building up a wonderful dynamic that (in my opinion) will continue to be wonderful whether or not they become romantic.
But after this episode, it seems an admission of feelings, on Bellamy’s part anyway, feels kind of inevitable, right?
I guess we’ll see! Whatever happens happens, and I’m in the lucky position of being open to seeing where the story goes without any hopes or expectations. As far as The 100 is concerned, as long as the characters are happy and the romances feel earned, I’m probably gonna be good with it.
But I’ll be interested to hear everyone else’s readings of this scene (whether you’re a Bellarke shipper or otherwise). Did you read it like I did, or totally differently? Tell me in the comments!
First thing’s first: The 100 has never made me laugh harder than when Murphy tried and failed to speak Trigedasleng. LOVED IT.
The rest of this storyline didn’t offer much to laugh about though, but I loved it all the same, mainly because of the incredible insight it gave us into Raven, Murphy, and their extremely complicated relationship.
Raven is balancing on the head of a pin for most of the episode, pushing herself way beyond the safety limit as she tries to figure out how to go to space, make Nightblood, and come back down safely.
Murphy is ‘watching her’ while Abby sleeps, which I take to mean ‘making sure she doesn’t short-circuit,’ but in her agitated state her annoyance with and lingering distrust of him is amplified to the point where she physically assaults him, calling him names, her filter completely gone as she basically confirms the worst things Murphy has ever thought about himself.
Luckily Luna is there, using her water magic first to calm Raven down and later to read Murphy’s mind and connect with him as a fellow broken soul.
Luna shares a piece of her backstory with him, specifically that she killed her brother, and that she’s lived with that same anger and self-hate that she recognizes in Murphy.
She identifies that however much Raven hates him for (accidentally) shooting and crippling her, he hates himself for it more. Raven is a walking reminder of Murphy’s worst version of himself, and while a part of him wants to lean into that and just be the ‘villain’ everyone expects him to be, another part clearly craves some kind of absolution or forgiveness from her.
That, of course, all feeds into the beautiful moment between them when he returns (because Murphy will almost always come if he’s told he’s needed) to help her and, tapping into her way of thining in a way Luna couldn’t, helps identify the problem. Between them Luna, Murphy and Raven finally figure out the rocket solution, and Raven finally tells Murphy, “Thanks.” One word, but it made all the difference.
Of course the next moment, they learn about the hydrazine, and Raven collapses in a second, harrowing seizure. I am EXTREMELY worried for Raven, but I think this moment probably doesn’t mean imminent death — but it might mean ‘grounding’ her, so to speak, from participating in any more science experiments!
For your consideration
- God I loved that rover scene. Did I mention that?
- During Broan’s heart to heart, Roan asks a very good question: What happens when they’ve all gotten Nightblood? Does the killing just continue? Whatever happens this season, it seems clear that The 100 is getting ready to move beyond the Skaikru-Grounder skirmishes… so what comes next?
- Monty mentioning Wells was an unexpected, welcome little dose of pain/nostalgia.
- Speaking of pain… I really hate seeing that Lincoln death clip. Ugh, I just, ugh.
- “From the ashes we will rise” was once again uttered without context, and without a HINT of Bill Cadogan and all the secret agendas we’ve all theorized that he had. I’m SO ready to learn more about what this all means!
- All through the episode I had somehow managed to convince myself that at least some of Raven’s interactions with Luna and Murphy were hallucinations, so I was weirdly disappointed when that turned out not to be true.
- When is Gaia coming back? I miss her.