It’s not easy for a television show to present a serious moral dilemma, one that actually feels realistically consequential. Every show, in one way or another, certainly explore ideas of morality and compromise, but few of those manage to actually make such an exploration meaningful. Even when a protagonist chooses to compromise their beliefs, it’s usually pretty clear that that was the only choice they had. Very few shows manage to really push the boundaries of moral compromise in a way that feels legitimately difficult. Breaking Bad did it. The Sopranos did it. Game Of Thrones has done it. Those shows never back down from the philosophical murkiness of their worlds, refusing to provide a tidy, happy ending if it doesn’t feel right. With “Blood Must Have Blood, Part Two,” The 100 has done the same, presenting a finale that doesn’t shy away from the morally complex stakes it’s spent a whole season building up.
That complex morality is evident right from the get-go. We catch up with Jaha, Murphy, and the two other Sky People who have been rowing for who knows how long while chasing down the drone that Jaha hopes will lead them to the Promised Land. Just as they spot land, their boat rocks and one of the redshirts (because, really, that’s what they are) drops a paddle into the water. When some sort of crazy water demon thing starts to pound the boat, and one of the redshirts goes overboard, it’s clear that the group won’t make it to the island. Jaha thinks quickly on his feet though and throws the other redshirt (who we later learn is named Craig) into the water. Jaha and Murphy watch as the beast, which is way more deadly and ugly than that water snake from the first season, devours Craig whole. It’s a disturbing scene; to see Jaha act so heartlessly seems out of character, but perhaps that’s because he is acting out of character. He’s a man with nothing left but his vision of Paradise, making him reckless at best, and dangerously delusional at worst. How else to explain his sudden propensity for murder, and his abandonment of Murphy once they land on shore?
By going back to Jaha and Murphy’s shared storyline, the show does a good job of balancing the two necessities of a finale: wrap up the events of the season while sprinkling in enough mystery to hook us for the next. This storyline has been fairly stagnant for the last half of the season–there’s been a lot of walking–but pays off wonderfully in the finale. First, there’s Murphy, who finds an abandoned bunker that automatically plays Warren Zevon when you walk in and is stocked with alcohol and a pool table (don’t worry, I already used my Desmond joke for Twitter). While hanging around and enjoying his new digs, he activates a video on the TV, where a man talks about how a mysterious “she” was the one responsible for, presumably, the end of the world, but that it was all his fault. He shoots himself, and that’s it, that’s our first mystery. Then there’s Jaha, who finds his way to a giant mansion–“curioser and curioser” he says when he sees it–where, once inside, he’s greeted by a hologram named Allie. Jaha is stricken that he hasn’t found the place where he belongs, but Allie assures him that he has. She’s been waiting for him ever since she received his gift. She takes him into a back room and shows him the “gift”, the nuclear warhead. The show hasn’t done much to get us to care about the City of Light, other than it’s provided Jaha with some needed character direction. Now that there’s two central mysteries tied to that story, it’s instantly more compelling, and sets up the next season perfectly.
While Murphy and Jaha are busy exploring the past and the future, Clarke, Bellamy, and the people inside Mount Weather are making decisions that have immediate implications. Clarke, frantic and flustered after being abandoned by Lexa, stumbles upon Octavia in the Reaper tunnels moments before Bellamy, Jasper, Monty, and Maya come back to the entrance and find them. With their plan now abandoned, they decide they need to seek help from Dante Wallace. Maya needs to head back to level 5 before she loses her oxygen, so the team splits up, with Bellamy, Clarke, and Monty heading out to find Dante.
Once they do, and he proves to be uncooperative, they head to the control room to use him as a bargaining chip, and everything goes off the rails. Clarke radios Cage and tells him that if he doesn’t let her people go–all of whom, including Kane and Abigail, are being harvested one after another–she’ll kill his father. It’s the first in a series of decisions that underlines the episodes exploration of the gray area of morality. It’s a theme that’s harped on too many times–I counted at least three instances of characters mentioning something along the lines of “nobody’s innocent” or “there are no good guys”–but is still gut wrenching in terms of execution. Clarke kills Dante, but it doesn’t do them any good. The people of Mount Weather, and Cage specifically, have only ever wanted to get to the surface, and harvesting the Sky People’s bone marrow is the only way they can do that.
Thus, Clarke is presented with two options: she can trust Jasper, who thinks he can get close enough to Cage to kill him and then free their people, or she can irradiate Mount Weather, pulling in the air from the outside and killing everyone but their own people. It’s an impossible choice to make, but Clarke and Bellamy make it together. They put their hands on the lever and irradiate Mount Weather. The soldiers, along with countless innocent men, women, and children, all die an excruciating death from exposure to radiation. It’s a difficult scene to watch, and one made all the more emotional by the fact that Maya is amongst the dead. Clarke may, in some way, be able to justify her decision in terms of military strategy, but Jasper may never truly understand or forgive her.
With that decision made, the Sky People are free of Mount Weather. They can return to their home (Camp Jaha), Jasper gets his goggles back, and Abigail and Raven both survive some close calls on the harvesting table. Clarke, on the other hand, still has to reckon with what she’s done, in this episode and the season more generally. She tells Bellamy that she’s not going into the camp, that she’s going to find somewhere else to go. With an utterance of “may we meet again,” she calls back to an interaction from the first season. These aren’t the same people that said those words so long ago though. As much as The 100 is an ensemble, it’s largely a show about Clarke, and this finale drives that point home. She’s the stand in for the changes, compromises, and atrocities that are necessary in the world of The 100. She bears it so they don’t have to.
Much of this season has been spent establishing that Earth isn’t the Promised Land that so many seem to think it is. The Sky People, back in season one, held out hope that Earth would once again be livable, and that they could return to their home and start anew; similarly, the people of Mount Weather viewed living on “the surface” as the only way to get back to some sense of normalcy. What this season has established, and what “Blood Must Have Blood, Part Two” verifies, is that there is no normal; or perhaps, rather, that this is a return to normal. War, greed, and compromised morality is all the human race knows.
- Before getting into some more thoughts on the episode, a HUGE thank you to everyone who read, commented on, and shared these reviews each week. It’s been a blast seeing this show find its footing and deliver what will surely be one of the best seasons of television in 2015, and it’s been all the more rewarding because of the dedication you readers have shown. Keep your fingers crossed that this show stays on the TV Club roster so that we can all dive into the hologram craziness that is sure to make up season three.
- So, with that unbelievable takedown of two Mountain Men, Octavia is the newest inductee to the Badass Hall of Fame. She now takes her rightful place alongside Clarke, Lexa, and Raven.
- Watching Lincoln get his revenge and kill Cage was perhaps the only satisfying death in this episode. I cheered very, very loudly. There may have been fistpumping.
- Clarke has spent this season learning from a bevy of leaders, be it Kane, Lexa, or Dante. She’s learning how to cope, how to analyze, and how to best serve her people. Now she just needs to learn how to best serve herself.
- Any thoughts on what might happen next season? This finale gave us a lot to work with, so feel free to discuss the finale and any predictions for next season in the comments. Thanks again for reading along, and hopefully I’ll see you all back here at the beginning of season three!