There’s a reason The Hunger Games is such a compelling book series (and decent film franchise)—it raises all kinds of moral questions and packages them with white-knuckle action and compelling human interest. So it’s no surprise that The 100’s version of the games is no different. “Die All, Die Merrily” is easily one of the best episodes the series has done, and it sets up what promises to be a strong ending to Season 4 over the next three weeks.

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The conclave begins with 13 representatives—a bunch of no-names, plus major players like Octavia for Skaikru, Roan for Ice Nation, Ilian for Trishanakru and Luna for herself. If she wins, she vows to let no one have the bunker.

The writers wisely chose to keep the action on the conclave, scarcely leaving Polis, which allows for a very contained, almost claustrophobic feel to the episode. It ratchets up the tension of what is already an event fraught with danger, but it would have been hard to stay in the action if the show kept cutting to other plots outside of the conclave.

Within the fight, there are a couple interesting storylines happening. Octavia is trying her hardest to be a lone wolf, but both Indra and Ilian go a long way in showing her that people still do care about her—and not just her own people. That’s important later.

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Meanwhile, Echo so desperately wants Roan to win that she secretly enters the field of battle to fire arrows at other champions. You can hardly blame her, with such a literal life-and-death prize at stake. But if she gets caught, she and Roan will be executed and all of Ice Nation dies. Also, it’s totally cheating and when Bellamy figures out what’s happening, he covertly goes after Echo. But Roan finds them both and banishes Echo from Ice Nation, then lets Bellamy go because at least Bellamy wasn’t trying to cheat.

It’s a nice moment between Roan and Bellamy, bonding over their shared views and an admiration for Octavia. I actually typed in my notes, “Bellamy and Roan have good chemistry together. Should they both survive this season, I’d love to see more scenes with them.”

So… that’s a bummer.

I’ll confess, I was holding out major hope that Octavia and Roan would defeat Luna together and arrive at the conclusion Octavia eventually announces on her own, i.e. sharing the bunker with every clan. Roan has been a fascinating character this season, he has great chemistry with a number of the major players and Zach McGowan is also just a peach of a guy. I’m sorry to see him and Roan go.

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It was a great death, choosing to fight in the black rain to save humanity, but still—bummer.

But it leaves Octavia to defeat Luna and win the conclave, then announce that everyone is saved because she has realized that she was fighting for humanity too— only to discover that Clarke and Jaha (!!!) have taken the bunker for Skaikru by force and have all their people safely locked inside.

I’ll confess, that was a jaw-dropping turn of events for me. I know we’ve seen both Jaha and Clarke do whatever it takes to save their people, but I thought if anybody tried to pull something like this, they would at least wait until after the results of the conclave. Of course, that’s not great strategy—better to do it while everybody’s attention is focused elsewhere.

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But it turns the show back to when it is most definitely at its strongest, asking the hard moral questions about who to save and how to go about doing it. Octavia had the right idea, weathering the impending storm together as one clan. But Kane did make sure to point out to her that there isn’t enough room for all their people.

Now, it seems to me the simple answer here is that because Octavia won the conclave, Skaikru gets to put everybody in the bunker. Then the remaining spots are divided up equally between the other 11 clans (Luna’s clan is gone, remember) and every clan then gets to have at least have some surviving members.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing for the clans who all lost the conclave.

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Unfortunately, Jaha and Clarke think they know best (as always) and now we have a fight on our hands. What I’m most curious about is what gets them out of the bunker to engage with Indra and whoever else. Because the logical thing to do is just stay holed up until everyone else dies in the black rain—write off Kane and Octavia as acceptable losses and just ride it out.

However, that doesn’t make for a very compelling show for three more episodes, so what will the big face-off be now going into the season finale?

Stray observations

  • If you’re as big of a Zach McGowan fan as I am, Black Sails is worth a watch. It’s a fun show and has a terrific cast.
  • “I am not my mother. I’m not willing to cast aside honor for power.”
  • Luna: “Last time we fought, I was wounded. Not this time.”
    Roan: “Last time we fought, I wasn’t trying to kill you.”
    Roan got the truly bad-ass death he deserved, even if I wish he hadn’t died at all.
  • I love Octavia’s journey this episode, going from “Lincoln would be ashamed of you” and “I’m not the girl you want me to be,” to her big speech at the end and “Lincoln would be so proud of you.” For me, it’s a dead heat between Octavia and Clarke for best arc throughout the series. They’re both so well written and have become these warrior women (not that they were weak to begin with). But a face-off between them seems to be a long time coming and the way this episode went, we might finally get it by season’s end.
  • It completely jibes for me that Clarke would come up with the idea to simply take the bunker when no one’s looking and that Jaha would be more than happy to oblige, but my one quibble with the episode is the kidnapping of Bellamy. Were they monitoring the conclave? How did they know where he would be? If they were monitoring it, wouldn’t they see that Octavia had a good chance of winning at that point and maybe wait to see it play out? As much as I love that the episode hardly broke away from the conclave action, there was still a lot happening back with Clarke and Jaha that I wish we could see. I would actually not be at all mad if next week’s episode began with 10 minutes of flashbacks to show us how this all happened, maybe framed by Clarke and Jaha filling Bellamy in or something. I’m just really curious to see the conversation they had about this decision and then how they managed to pull it off.

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