Let’s just get this out of the way now: “The 100” is one of the best shows on TV.
It’s said every week, but that’s because The CW’s hit show keeps on delivering fantastic, compelling, shocking, dark and thrilling episodes, full of action, character-building, and yes, even romance. The stakes are high — literally anyone can die and no one is safe from death or torture or terrifying viruses — and the threats are real and promises are kept. The first half of the freshman season has consistently grown and gotten better and better with each episode (and the pilot started off setting the bar pretty high to begin with), and Wednesday’s (May 21) episode 10, “I Am Become Death,” was no different.
The big cliffhanger at the end of last week’s episode with the drop ship crashing to Earth was dealt with right away: There were no survivors. The wreckage is just burnt pieces of metal and scorched skeletons. There’s no hope for anyone that was on the ship and the 100 are truly alone after they pick their way through the crash site. Clarke believes her mom was on board, and so do viewers, but could she have perhaps gotten off the ship on the Ark before it left? Is there still hope for Abby? We don’t know, since all the action this week happens on Earth. The Ark’s fate is still a mystery.
Back in camp, one of the most heartbreaking things to see is Monty and Jasper fighting. There is trouble in paradise for these former-BFF’s. Jasper’s getting a little too cocky for his own good after killing some Grounders, and Monty tries to get him to see the truth about Octavia, and how she and Jasper are never happening (“She likes her Grounders alive.” Ha!). Jasper, of course, doesn’t like hearing the harsh truth about his crush, so he kicks Monty out of his new, bigger tent. Out of all the relationships being “shipped” on this show, this breakup is the hardest one to watch and this relationship is the one we’re most invested in. Monty and Jasper, you guys need to work things out!
After the peace treaty gone wrong, Bellamy knows the Grounders are going to retaliate to Jasper’s act of war, and they do … with biological warfare. The Grounders let their captive Murphy go, after they tortured him (Clarke can tell he isn’t lying based on his torn-off finger nails … ouch) and infected him with some earth-born, contact-spread virus that the 100 don’t have an immunity to. The fever kills some of them slowly, and no one knows how to cure it. Murphy just thought the Grounders forgot to lock his cage and he “escaped,” but Clarke knows better: It’s biological warfare, and Murphy’s the weapon. It’s smart, and shows that the Grounders aren’t as primitive as they seemed at first. Just how advanced is their technology and weaponry and education?
Even though Octavia was the first person to touch Murphy, she doesn’t display any symptoms, so Clarke has her sneak out to see Lincoln to get the cure. But Lincoln tells Octavia that there is no cure. Some people are strong enough to resist it naturally, and those who aren’t will die. But that’s not the extent of the Grounders’ plan. They use the fever to “weaken the battlefield,” and are planning to attack the camp at dawn while all the teens are sick. Lincoln is planning on leaving his clan since they see him as a traitor now, and wants Octavia to come with him across the sea to another clan. He calls them “Allies of the woods,” and this is one of the few small-yet-huge pieces of info Lincoln drops throughout the episode about other Grounders out there. Is the whole country — heck, the whole world — still populated? The Ark pretty much had everything wrong about Earth.
Back at camp, the fever doesn’t last long, and those who don’t die from it do get better. Murphy, the first infected, is already feeling better and starts helping the other sick teens by getting them water and comforting them. Is he a changed guy? He’s even helping the guy who hung him, ready to let bygones be bygones. It’s a mature move, and clearly one brought on by all the horror he had to endure at the hands of the Grounders. Who would have thought Murphy would be the forgiving and helpful kind?
When Octavia tells the camp about Lincoln’s warning, Finn has the idea to slow the Grounders down from attacking to let the 100 get better enough to fight. Murphy had to cross the same bridge they met the Grounders on to get back to camp, so Finn asks Raven to build a bomb with explosive liquid from the drop ship wreckage to blow up the bridge. It’s smart, and (hopefully) has no casualties. A very Finn-like plan.
Raven makes the bomb, but she says it needs someone to shoot it from far away to ignite it. Bellamy is going to be the one to do it but then he gets sick. Jasper is the only shooter left that isn’t sick, so it’s up to him to do it or else they’re all going to die. No pressure, right? That’s a sobering thought for the increasingly-jerky Jasper. Maybe this is what’s going to finally bring his ego back down to normal.
Even though Finn volunteered to bring the bomb to the bridge, Raven sneaks off with the bomb to plant it herself instead of risking Finn’s life. But on the way to the bridge she starts showing symptoms of the fever, too. Uh oh … She can barely walk, and sets the bomb up on the bridge just as the Grounders arrive to cross it. She collapses, and Finn runs to drag her off the bridge while Jasper tries to shoot the bomb. But he misses and runs out of bullets. Talk about the worst situation ever.
As the Grounders start to cross the bridge with weapons and war drums, Monty shows up and literally saves the day by saving his BFF. He brings Jasper another gun with three bullets and tells his friend that he’s got this. With Monty’s support, Jasper makes the shot and blows up the bridge. Even though Clarke and Bellamy didn’t believe he could do it, they see the giant smoke cloud in the distance, and Clarke quotes Oppenheimer to Bellamy, who recognizes the name (he was the scientific director of the Manhattan Project). It’s a truly profound moment, and shows that both of these leaders are wise beyond their years and recognize the ramifications of their choices.
Back at Lincoln’s cave, Octavia arrives to find him packing up after drawing the mushroom cloud on the wall. He’s clearly upset about how some Grounders lost their lives, but Octavia tells him they had to protect themselves. He says that it only resulted in making the “mountain men” — the drawings in his book — angry, and they will kill them all. Lincoln says they have to leave now, but Octavia tells him she’s not leaving with him. She needs to stay with her people. She gives him his book back and kisses him on his cheek, and it’s with a clear message: They’re over.
Another relationship that dies? Raven and Finn. After he brings her back into camp and into a bed, she tells him why she took the bomb instead of him. She noticed how he hesitated before offering to take the bomb to the bridge, even if that meant Raven had to do it in his stead. But he didn’t hesitate when Clarke fell earlier. He knew she was sick but didn’t hesitate to pick her up and help her, risking his own health and life without a second thought. She breaks up with him, because he’ll never love he
r like he loves Clarke or how Raven wants to be loved, and Finn doesn’t protest it.
Bellamy and Clarke have a conversation about what to do with Murphy now. Bellamy still wants to kill him, but Clarke says they should pardon him. He might have more information about the Grounders, and they need all the help they can get when the Grounders do attack. It’s an important conversation, made all the more meaningful by the fact that they have it standing next to the graves of their fallen teens. Death count so far: 14 graves.
… make that 15. Turns out, Murphy was lying when he said, “Bygones,” earlier, and when no one is around, he kills the guy who put the rope around his neck. It’s malicious, and shockingly evil even though we knew what kind of a guy Murphy was when he wanted to murder a little girl (to be fair, the little girl had just murdered someone in cold blood, but still) as he smiled as he walked away. He smiled after just committing murder. Yikes. Clarke’s going to regret pardoning Murphy, because it’s pretty clear he hasn’t learned a thing from his time out in Grounder territory.
– Will Lincoln really leave? Or will he stick around to ensure Octavia’s safety?
“The 100” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.