Episode Grade: 8
Octavia must have enjoyed her roll in the cave with Ilian because she’s hanging out on his farm. He has a weird hippie notion that there’s a purpose to planting crops, because the world might eventually be reborn from the ashes, and these seeds could have a chance to thrive. This seems kind of dumb, but everything Ilian says and does seems kind of dumb to me. Octavia is willing to play along for a little while because she’s got nothing better to do, I guess, and maybe because she thinks pacifism could be worth a try, after everything.
Of course, that won’t last long, because some of Ilian’s clan show up to kill the legendary Skairipa. That goes about as well for them as you’d think.
Did you want Skairipa? You got her.
Murphy and Emori stayed behind on the island to keep an eye on Raven, whose visions of Becca are getting more and more intense. As Raven talks to her imaginary friend, Emori talks to Murphy about her suspicion that his people have abandoned them and won’t be coming back to see them across the water to the bunker. Because Murphy is as accustomed to being unwanted as Emori is, and Raven’s deteriorating condition makes it less certain the others would return for her, this rings true to him.
When Miller and Jackson actually do show up, apologizing for the delay, the look of hopefulness that dawns in Emori’s eyes is genuinely touching.
What kept Miller and Jackson so long on the journey, of course, is our A story. They’d been on the mission to return to Polis with Abby, Clarke, and Roan. The Polis mission was about the bunker, and both Clarke and Roan believed this journey would end with an equitable and honorable agreement on the clans’ sharing the bunker, which is large enough and sufficiently equipped to house the entire human population as it stands.
As you may have guessed, it’s not going to be honorable, equitable, or an agreement. Kane and Indra had apparently agreed in advance that Azgeda must be shut out. Kind of disappointed in Kane for betraying the alliance with Azgeda, but I get it, Trikru holds the bunker entrance, so they have the upper hand.
At least Clarke’s reaction is legitimate surprise at the change of plans, so Roan doesn’t immediately stop trusting her. They arrange a meeting with Indra, hoping to work this out. No such luck, naturally, but it brings Clarke face-to-face with Gaia. She confronts Gaia with the secret that the Flame still exists, then reveals her new Nightblood status. Gaia’s whole purpose in life is to see the Flame bring a new Commander into being, so she’s in.
It’s a good plan. Clarke recognizes that a Commander’s proper Ascension will reunite the clans, at least to the degree they’ve ever been united, and then she would have the authority to keep them from killing each other over a survival plan that could save them all in the first place.
But of course, it won’t go down that way, because Abby’s an over-protective mother (and tbh, kind of a bitch). Roan challenges the Ascension, and Abby’s only too happy to help him because she’s not 100% sure that her Nightblood gene therapy would enable Clarke to survive the Flame… but I think she doesn’t want Clarke to be the Commander because that’s a deadly job.
Abby announces to the gathered clan leaders that the Nightblood therapy was a scientific achievement, not a natural phenomenon, and because they’re a bunch of superstitious religious fanatics, this is blasphemy. Never mind that Becca Pramheda did the same thing to herself and the earliest generation of Nightbloods! Which is also, of course, evidence that Clarke would have been just fine if she’d received the Flame. Abby, you suck.
Roan declares that there must be no Ascension, but there can be a final conclave instead. Past conclaves have been about eliminating Nightbloods until only one is left standing to take the Flame; this conclave will be a battle royale in which each clan sends a champion to fight for that clan’s right to survive. The winner gets the bunker, and the other clans all just die outside. Azgeda, you’re the worst.
Back at Arkadia, Jasper has gathered a suicide squad to party while the end comes. They’re not interested in going to the bunker, and Bellamy prevails on Jaha to walk away, pointing out that Jaha sent these kids down to die anyway, so it’s not up to him to tell them they can’t die now. Harper joins them, and Monty sticks around to be with her and try to talk her out of it.
Raven’s Becca visions have encouraged her to go into space and breathe her last in zero-g. It seems that she’s going to die, either way, so she might as well seek a final moment of comfort and peace. She tells Murphy how hard it is to live in pain, and he honestly apologizes for his part in causing her chronic pain. She kindly absolves him and sends him away with a hug and a smile.
This episode was kind of frustrating, honestly. It had some great moments, but it also had a bizarre amount of completely unnecessary shaky-cam (did this episode’s director used to work on Colony, for Pete's sake?).
Are you as glad to see Octavia return to her true self as I am? I admit, there’s serious Ilian distaste informing my opinion there, but also, she’s a complete badass. Pacifist Octavia would be the ultimate waste.