Grounders and Reapers and Mountain Men … oh my.
“The 100″ Season 1 finale achieved a hat trick with all three big bad clans of enemies on Wednesday (June 11) as each group made their move against the 100, but only one emerged victorious. With the long-awaited arrival of the Mountain Men, it became clear that the 100 never really stood a chance against Earth’s inhabitants. After Clarke and the rest of the teens thought the battle against the Grounders and Reapers was over, the feared Mountain Men came in with their science and technology and changed everything we thought to be true about The CW’s hit series.
Season 2 is going to look a lot different. But before we look ahead to next fall, let’s discuss what went down and who made it out alive in “We Are Grounders — Part 2,” both on Earth and on the Ark (which by the end of the hour actually means one and the same thing).
As “Part 2″ of the finale began, The 100 are ready to move out and leave camp, Raven toted on a stretcher, to follow Lincoln’s advice to get to the ocean and meet up with another clan of Grounders. Bellamy doesn’t like the plan, because he wants to stay and fight to defend their home (he even wonders if they can get the Reapers to help them out) but Clarke and Finn know the truth. There’s no way they can win against the Grounders, and approaching the Reapers is not an option. Though he doesn’t like it, he goes along with it after Clarke convinces him. It’s a great moment between these two co-leaders. They may not be together romantically, but they do make a good team.
As the 100 leave their camp, guns at the ready, the music choice is perfect (according to EP Jason Rothenberg, the song is “The Other Side” by Woodkid), with a drumline and haunting choir voices in the background of the pop song, making it almost look like a march towards their death. It strikes the right balance of doom and despair and grief. This is not a happy hike, and as Bellamy leaves, he remarks on how he led 18 to their death at their camp. But Clarke forces him to see things from an optimistic point of view: There are still 82 others alive. “You did good, Bellamy,” she says. “You did good here.”
But the 100 don’t make it too far. Out of the darkness of the woods, a blade comes flying and hits one guy right in the face, making the first brutal kill of an ugly battle. Though they can’t see any Grounders, everyone runs right back to camp and they close the gates. Clarke realizes their attacker was one of the scouts Lincoln warned them about, and the 100 did exactly what the scouts wanted them to do: Retreat. It’ll be easier for the Grounders to attack and kill the 100 that way, but it’s too late to do anything else but stand and fight. Looks like Bellamy got his way after all.
Since Murphy used up most of the gun powder in his escape, the 100 aren’t left with much for bullets or bombs. Bellamy’s plan is to cause enough casualties and hold off the Grounders long enough so they decide to turn back. Not the best plan, but it’s the only option they’ve got. Until, that is, the women once again step up to save the day. Clarke gets the idea from Raven to use the fuel in the rockets to “blast off” and barbecue the Grounders when they get close while the 100 are safe inside the drop ship. Raven just has to configure all the wiring down below so it can work.
Since Raven’s injured, she coaches Finn and Clarke on what to do down below, but while they work, she starts to lose feeling in her legs. Clarke realizes the bullet in Raven is in her spine and she’s bleeding internally, and she’s running out of time. Desperate to help her, Finn gets the idea to steal some of Lincoln’s coagulant to slow her bleeding, and plans to run to Lincoln’s cave to get some.
At the camp, the Grounders finally approach, but are running sideways, not towards the camp. The 100 realize their strategy is to get them to waste all their bullets before they actually attack, and they stop shooting at the shadows. At least their mines are working!
Down under the drop ship, Clarke finds the right wire, but it’s fried, meaning they’re back to square one, since Clarke doesn’t know how to splice a wire. But Jasper does! And once again, it’s Jasper to the rescue, since he was also the one to realize the Grounders are running laterally on purpose. He leaves his fox hole and gets to the drop ship to get to work.
However, the Grounders stop their distraction tactics once Jasper figures that out, since Tristan has Murphy hostage and is using the radio Murphy stole to listen to the 100’s plans. Karma came back to punish Murphy, but it’s also punishing the 100, as Tristan orders the Grounders to finally attack.
Once the Grounders make their move, it’s chaos. Blood is spilled on both sides, and the entire second half of the episode is intense, movie-caliber action. This must be one of the most complicated, complexly choreographed battle scenes shown on TV ever. In the fray, Octavia saves Bellamy’s life but gets hit with an arrow. The Grounders breach the camp, and everyone gets inside the drop ship while Jasper continues to configure the wiring after Raven passes out from the pain.
Finn successfully makes it to Lincoln’s cave and surprise surprise, Lincoln’s there! Unsurprisingly he couldn’t leave without knowing Octavia was safe. Lincoln gives Finn the medicine for Raven and decides to come back with Finn to help with the battle. On the way out, Finn gets a really bad idea after spotting one of Lincoln’s drawings, and listens to Bellamy’s earlier advice to use the enemy of their enemy … the Reapers. They bait the Reapers and lead them to the Grounders, and instead of attacking the gate, the battle becomes the Grounders vs. the Reapers. It’s risky, oh so risky, but incredibly clever.
Lincoln finds Bellamy and the wounded Octavia stuck outside the gate while the battle rages on, and tells Bellamy he’ll help Octavia get out of there. Bellamy agrees to let Octavia go, and the two siblings share a beautiful moment together before they say goodbye for who knows how long or if they’ll ever meet up again. Lincoln carries Octavia away, and Bellamy rejoins the others just as the Grounders defeat the Reapers and resume their attack the gate once again.
Jasper finishes configuring the drop ship wires just as the Grounders breach the gate, and Clarke orders everyone inside while using the grenades to keep the Grounders at bay for a few minutes more, buying time for Bellamy to make it inside. But Tristan blocks Bellamy, and beats him up, and Finn runs to help save him. Clarke tries to wait for both of them to get back, screaming their names over and over, but she can’t wait any longer, as the Grounders keep getting closer. In tears, she closes the drop ship, with both Finn and Bellamy both still stuck outside.
Anya slips through the door before it closes, and is ready to fight to the death inside the ship like the true warrior she is. Everyone gangs up on her, beating her and kicking her, while Clarke desperately tries to stop it, shouting that they aren’t Grounders like Bellamy said earlier when trying to rally everyone. During the commotion, Jasper blasts the rockets, killing all the Grounders and Reapers outside … including Finn and Bellamy?!
Up on the Ark, the adults finally figure out a way to actually bring the Ark down to the ground. By separating all 12 stations from the ring that
holds them together, they can launch the entire ship down to Earth. However, the re-entry into the atmosphere will break the Ark back into its original stations, exploding some at random, so all the survivors split up into the 12 stations for better odds of making it down alive. They’ll try to land as close as they can to the 100, and once again, it’s not the best idea, but it’s the only one they’ve got.
Jaha is in a separate station from Abby and Kane, and when the explosion meant to separate the stations from the ring malfunctions, he heads to the ring before Kane can once again sacrifice himself to detonate the explosions manually. Watching Kane make his way out of the station to head towards his own death was a beautiful and powerful moment, but one that was unexpectedly cut short by Jaha’s own sacrifice. That means Jaha will stay in space, with only enough oxygen left for two weeks, while the Ark heads down to Earth.
The Ark plummets to the ground, and some parts do indeed explode, and watching the fire engulf some stations with people trapped screaming inside with no way to survive or escape is disturbing and incredibly tragic. Meanwhile, Kane and Abby sit in their station, waiting for certain death to come for them at any second. Will their station explode too?
After the launch, Jaha tries to get any survivors on the radio, and hears Abby calling on the radio that her station, Mecca station, made it to the ground safely! She’s the first one out of the station, and with overwhelming wonder on her face as she sees nature for the first time, she describes what she sees and smells and feels to Jaha, who listens with tears in his eyes. It’s beautiful work from both Paige Turco and Isaiah Washington, but the joy and heartbreak from both is cut short by Kane, who joins Abby outside and immediately sees the huge smoke cloud that’s coming from either another station, or the 100. Either way, there’s sure to be destruction and lost lives when they get there.
Alone in space, Jaha takes off his earpiece after giving Abby one last order — to find the rest of their people — and finally uncorks the bottle of 97-year-old scotch passed down from chancellor to chancellor, the Baton, to be opened on Earth. “This will have to do,” Jaha says to himself, as he pours a glass and cheers to Earth outside the window. Is he really going to die? It seems like there really isn’t any hope for him, but if we lose Jaha, we lose the entire space storyline which makes up half of the show’s DNA. Something tells us Jaha will get a reprieve in some way next season.
The next morning, Clarke opens the door to the drop ship to survey the damage around them, the burnt forest and bones turned to ash, in a stark and chilling juxtaposition from the pilot when the drop ship door opened for the first time on Earth and the 100 walked out with wonder and excitement. This time, it’s with dread as they take in all the destruction they caused. But before they can say anything or search for any survivors, cans of red smoke are thrown over the fence, and as the 100 choke and pass out, Anya ominously says, “Mountain Men” before passing out herself. Lasers are seen shooting through the smoke from assault rifles, as the Mountain Men close in, wearing haz-mat suits and masks.
The next scene seems like it’s almost out of a dream. Clarke wakes up in a stark white room, on a comfortable and sterile white bed, clean and mostly healed from all her wounds, wearing white pajamas and with an IV in her arm. The room looks like a cross between a hospital room and science lab, with futuristic technology everywhere and furniture and a bathroom that clearly state she’s not getting out anytime soon. There is light piano music being filtered in to the room, with van Gogh’s “Starry Night” hanging in pristine condition on the wall, and cameras monitoring her, the footage labeled with her name. She walks to the door and sees Monty in the room across from hers, but they’re both locked in their rooms, unable to get out.
As she’s looking out the window, she notices a sign on the wall in the hallway: Mount Weather Quarantine Ward. What is going on?!
The journey the 100 were on all the way back in the pilot has finally come to fruition in the season finale, though not in the way we could have ever expected. The 100 are prisoners, possibly sick (?), captured and being monitored by the Mountain Men, who clearly have not been living primitively like the Grounders. This huge, game-changing reveal obviously raises so many new questions in addition to the ones posited earlier in the finale:
— Why did the Mountain Men attack and capture the 100 instead of helping them?
— Where did the Mountain Men come from? Who are they? Why are they hostile?
— Why have the Mountain Men let the Grounders live without any science or technology or medicine?
— Are all the Reapers dead, or did some retreat back to the caves?
— What is up with the bodies in the carts in the Reaper caves?
— Are Finn and Bellamy dead, or did they retreat far enough to escape the rocket blast?
— If they did escape, did they also evade capture from the Mountain Men, or are they in Mount Weather now too?
— Are all the 100 in Mount Weather, or did the Mountain Men only capture some?
— Were the Mountain Men able to heal Raven like they did with Clarke’s injuries? Or did she succumb to her bullet wound?
— Will the Mecca station find any other survivors from the Ark’s descent?
— Is Jaha doomed to die alone in space?
— Where did Lincoln take Octavia? Did they escape alive, or did the Mountain Men catch them too?
— And finally, the most important question: How many of the 100 are left after the bloody battle, drop ship blast and Mountain Men invasion? Are we finally down to less than 50?
“The 100″ Season 2 premieres this fall on The CW.