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It’s choosing to die vs. choosing to fight on The 100’s ”DNR”

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Hey, The 100 fans—I’m back filling in for Kyle and I’m sure the regular readers will be pleased to know I enjoyed this week’s episode far more than the last one I reviewed. So let’s dive right in to “DNR.”

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Choosing death

The juxtaposition of Raven’s storyline and the Harper/Jasper plot was a great way to look at people choosing to die but coming at it from very different perspectives—it was also an interesting contrast in a storyline that makes you feel something and a storyline that doesn’t. Both groups are basically too tired to keep fighting in face of death, but Raven has a much stronger argument than Jasper and Co.

Raven’s life is basically over. Her brain is overloading and for a genius techno-wizard, when that goes, it feels like there’s just no point in living. So instead of waiting out her days degenerating into an increasingly worse state, Raven chooses the rocket and one last spacewalk. It’s kind of a beautiful ending for Raven and I’ll be honest, I hope the show doesn’t pull back on it with some last-minute deus ex machina to save her.

It’s not that I want Raven to die (or that I don’t love Lindsey Morgan), but constantly saving the core group of actors from death takes the stakes away from this show and also stretches the boundaries of believability. So killing off a main character in such a lovely and organic way feels right.

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What doesn’t feel right is how suddenly back at Arkadia, Harper is drinking the Jasper Kool-Aid and has decided not to go to the bunker but just give in to the radiation rainstorm because it’s easier than continuing to fight these life-and-death battles they constantly face.

That’s a perfectly legitimate perspective, but Harper going this way came out of left field for me. What it actually feels like is that the writers realized Jasper is tap dancing on everyone’s last nerve and so they had to put some other tertiary character in harm’s way in order to get us to care. Just me?

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From a personal, moral perspective I don’t really agree with just giving up when you aren’t facing imminent death like Raven is. But it’s also hard to imagine weathering all that these kids have been through since the show started and not feel at least partially the same way, so it’s easy for me to say they’re “giving up.” I don’t think I would feel the same way, even if I were in their shoes, but it’s definitely a perspective some people would have and who can blame them?

It would be a perfectly fine—even poignant—storyline if I cared about any of those choosing to stay behind. But it’s hard to care much because Jasper has gone from a character I cared a lot about to a one-note whiner. Harper also hasn’t been enough of a presence for me to care about her that much either, so as long as Monty gets out safely, I’m kind of shrugging at the whole nihilistic bunch of them.

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So while Raven’s scenes were heartbreaking and wonderful, the only part of the Jasper storyline that stirred any pathos in me was his goodbye with Bellamy, which was largely due to Bob Morley, whose does great work on the show.

Choosing to fight

What was actually much more interesting, in the sense of what it sets up for the final few episodes, is what’s going down in Polis.

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Clarke becoming Commander after she made herself a Nightblood seemed inevitable after the last episode, and I didn’t have a problem with it. It would have created a great dynamic between the moral compass who will do anything to keep the majority of people safe and the other clans’ leaders who resent this Skaikru woman taking over.

However, the show zigged a bit by having Roan get the clan leaders and flamekeepers to disavow her as Commander solely because she’s a Nightblood now. That was an interesting twist, but makes total sense because with all the stock they put in the mystical, Clarke becoming a Nightblood by injecting herself with bone marrow would definitely seem like cheating.

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This Hunger Games-like conclave is actually so much better than Clarke merely taking over, because the stakes are that much higher. I have so many questions about next week and I can’t remember the last time I was so stoked to see how an episode of this show would play out.

First off, who is going to fight for Skaikru? Clarke? She’s not a warrior. Bellamy? That would be cool, because Octavia will surely fight for Trikru. And what if her new boyfriend Ilian is the warrior for Trishanakru? It cannot be a coincidence that Octavia found out he was a warrior right before the conclave.

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What about Ice Nation? Will Roan fight for them? I could easily see a final four of Octavia, Bellamy, Ilian and Roan, which should make for some great character action.

Furthermore, along the way to the big showdown, there should be some epic fight scenes where the representatives from the other clans are taken out. The 100 has always been strong when it comes to fight scenes, so that should be a lot of fun.

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And then you have the showdown between the proposed final four, which obviously will have to have a different outcome than winner take all, because there’s no show if only one clan gets to go in the bunker and everybody else dies in the black rain. So I’m trying to piece together what I think will happen. It seems like Skaikru has to emerge victorious so that Clarke can then decide to save all the clans, but it also seems very farfetched that Skaikru can win the conclave. Is there any chance Octavia fights for Skaikru? Hmm.

I agree with Kyle’s assessment of the last new episode that it was totally bogus for Abby to smash the radiation chamber when it was her daughter on the line, but I do appreciate the direction the show is now heading. It’s certainly more exciting than getting the injection down pat and lining everyone up like flu shot day at school.

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It should also provide some meaty material as we head into the final four episodes. This season, while a good bounce back from Season 3, has been a little uneven, but I’m optimistic it’s going to end with some strong episodes.

Stray observations

  • “Who needs food when you have love, right?”
    Murphy and Emori continue to be one of the most delightful aspects of this show. They’re so perfect for each other and they’re really cute together, which is not something that can be said about a lot of couples on this show.
  • Murphy: “What do you want me to tell the others?”
    Raven: “Tell them… tell them I floated myself.”
    But speaking of Murphy, I should also note his goodbye with Raven was beautifully done. He perfectly displayed his disappointment but acceptance in her situation and managed to convey how much she’ll be missed without getting all un-Murphy-like on us.
  • Clarke: “I’m trying to save us, your highness. You know that.”
    Roan: “Because you think we’re savages in need of saving?”
    This rang a little false for me, so I’m going to assume Roan only said it to turn the clans against Clarke and make them more inclined to follow his idea of the conclave. Because he knows Clarke far better than that. The dynamic between the two of them has actually become one of my favorite things about Season 4, so I hope if he fights for Ice Nation he survives the conclave. The bunker will be much more interesting with Roan and Clarke in it together.
  • “I’m here for the war.”
    Octavia’s such a bad ass. She really should be the one who wins the conclave. Maybe she will be if the other fighters are all non-consequential characters. It would still create quite the conundrum, since I can’t see her agreeing to let all of Skaikru die outside the bunker, even if she fought for Trikru.
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