Episode grade: 9
Since they both fled Arkadia, Ilian has been stalking Octavia. She's had about enough of him, but he's paradoxically saved by the black rain; she can't bring herself to just leave him to die, so she helps him get to shelter. Once they're in a cave together to wait out the storm (in their skivvies, because their clothes are soaked with radioactive rain), things are just bound to start happening, no matter what we all think about the situation.
I would like to register a small complaint at this point about the unreasonable amount of shaky-cam used in the black rain sequence. We get that this is scary and chaotic. Shaky-cam just makes it hard to follow and a little nauseating, not more intense.
Black rain has yet to reach the island, but Clarke has. After a loving mother-daughter reunion, Abby starts to fill Clarke in on their new plan, now that they don't have enough fuel to make it to space. Again taking a page from the Mount Weather guide to surviving on the ground, she's collected some bone marrow from Luna (willingly, happy to note) and is prepared to test its effectiveness in turning someone to Nightblood.
To test this, they will have to put a person into a radiation chamber and cook them up, then see if they heal. Abby is sick at the idea of using someone as a test subject, but you can tell she's already made up her mind this will have to happen. She's just living through the guilt up front. (Sidenote, this is a nice callback to the book series. If you haven't read it, you totally should--it's different, so you can't get spoiled in either direction, but it's definitely worthwhile.)
Abby and Clarke have an eavesdropper as they ponder the uncomfortable ethical question of whom to test by probably killing. Emori has spent her whole life as a reject, because of her physical deformity. She is used to being the disposable one in any group. She immediately assumes they will choose her to throw in the oven and see whether she grows superpowers.
Back at Arkadia, the black rain has driven everyone inside, but a couple of their people are a distance away when it comes, so they're stuck. They've got partial shelter, but not enough to feel safe; if the rain shifts direction at all, they're toast. Still living through his guilt, Bellamy tries to duct tape a ruined space suit and go for it in the Rover.
The space suit is as useless as Kane thought it would be, so Bellamy is stuck in the Rover...no problem in theory because he can still get to the people and hurry them into the Rover too. But... the Rover gets stuck in the mud partway there. Bellamy wants to risk his life to get the Rover moving again, but Kane talks him into being rational. Bellamy spends a terrible night in the Rover, waiting for the storm to pass, listening to two walkie-talkies, one with Kane trying to reassure him that this is the only choice he could make, the other with his people begging to be saved and eventually going silent.
We get one of the all-time great scenes of the series, here, as Kane (always struggling to be the man he is now rather than the man he once was) tries to offer comfort to Bellamy (actively struggling with his own more recent sins). Kane tells Bellamy he's sure his mother would have been proud of him, and Bellamy reminds Kane, "You floated my mother."
The thing is, of course, Kane is right throughout this situation. Bellamy can't save the others, and trying would probably just get him killed. Kane has settled into a very interesting moral position, where you absolutely prevent death at all costs if you can see that death is preventable...and then when the inevitable is coming, you do what you can for the people who still have a chance. It's basically the same way he had to operate on the Ark, except the vastness of the ground saves him from having to float anyone. Kicking a criminal out of Arkadia to take his chances with the coming radiation is still probably sending him to his death, but it's at least giving him a chance. You get the feeling that Kane would have preferred an ejection option that sent wrongdoers to the ground rather than into the vacuum of space all along. He just didn't have that luxury, so he had to make much colder choices. It's another piece in the wonderful puzzle of this character, who is truly one of the best-written on television.
In ALIE's ridiculously opulent mansion, Emori's trying to convince Murphy to leave, before she's nominated as guinea pig. Then, another scavenger breaks in to raid this amazing place for its food stores.
Emori attacks him in a rage, declaring that this is her kill, because he's done so much to torture her throughout her life. He denies it, but what would you expect, right? And of course, Clarke realizes this is a gift; they now have someone they can test on without feeling quite so bad about it, because he's a bad guy.
Watching the dude get loaded into the radiation chamber, Murphy comments to Emori that if the dude lives, she'll still probably have a chance to kill him later.
"And why would I do that?"
Murphy's moment of realization is beautifully played. From the emotional shock of being so invested in hating this guy on her behalf and now getting freed from that hate, to the tiny bit of sympathy for this guy who got fed to lions on false pretenses, to the deep appreciation for his girl's survival instinct and skills. They are so made for each other, and it's oddly beautiful.
I loved all the character development this week, and I'm excited to see what the test reveals...imagine this guy being the first new Nightblood, with a giant grudge against our team.
What did you think? Where did you come down on all the moral quandaries this week? How do you feel about Ilian and Octavia?