Hello friends! ‘Tis I, Meg, back from the wars. I’m sorry to leave you hanging on the last few episodes but 411 pushed some buttons I don’t deal well with having pushed and it left a lingering taste of salt in my mouth that was kind of a dampener. If you’re looking for coverage of those episodes, I recommend Toni Maggio’s hilarious photo recaps, Selina Wilken’s beautiful reviews or Claire and Erin’s brilliant, in depth podcast as they are all my favs.
Anyway, fear not! Praimfaya happened and not only is the salt backburnered, but my skin is clear, my crops are watered, my Sims are collecting Pokémon or whatever it is the kids say these days.
WHAT AN EPISODE. How’re you guys doing? Do you need hugs? Chocolate? Booze? Personally I went for the trifecta.
I am so, deeply in love with the choice to do a real time, delinquent focused episode. It ratcheted up the tension immediately and gave the finale room to balance some incredibly moving character work with balls to the wall, unrelenting stress. I’m not going to lie, it was super upsetting to realize we weren’t going to learn Kabby’s fate (Jaha who?), but by cutting off radio contact three minutes in, the show dumped me straight into the delinquents head space of oh shit we’re entirely on our own and that was a neat little trick.
Brace yourselves guys, this is probs going to be a long one because I loved every detail of this episode (except one) and I want to highlight them all. Onward!
You used to be better at pep talks.
The episode starts out with the feelings turned up all the way as Bellamy and Octavia say goodbye over the radio. The newly reunited siblings are also feeling all the things as they grapple with both their upcoming estrangement and the trials before them. Octavia’s pretty understandably freaked out at the idea of leading 1200 people for five years. Bellamy tries to give her a Prometheus metaphor as a pep talk and Octavia points out that it’s crap. I adore the nod to their childhood and Aurora Blake’s influence.
Then, right as they tell each other they love each other (and wow seriously? Am I supposed to take away that this is the first time Octavia’s ever said that to Bellamy? Man their childhood was messed up and tragic), the radio connection drops. While it’s super sad that Octavia didn’t get to hear Bellamy say it back, if only one of them got through I’m so glad it was Octavia. She knows exactly how much Bellamy loves her, it would’ve been nice to hear at the end but she didn’t need it. Bellamy, apparently, has never heard it before from her and he really, really needed to.
How are we less than two minutes in and I’m already a wreck? Witchcraft, clearly.
So, yeah, the radio’s dead. Clarke comes in to take her turn saying goodbye to her mom and when Bellamy tells her the news and her face crumples, he rushes over and pulls her into a hug (first Bellamy initiated hug for anyone keeping score). It’s totally not anything special and I’m definitely not experiencing anything remotely like cardiac arrest at the way she clutches him closer and he rocks her as she cries.
This is fine, I’m fine. (source)
We get one last look at the bunker as Indra comes in to give Octavia a pep talk of her own (have I mentioned how much I love Octavia and Indra’s relationship and how glad I am that they’re together in the bunker? If not, the answer to both is SO MUCH), telling her the times of commanders and flames have passed and it’s Octavia’s time now. But then Octavia steps out to give a Blake Motivational Speech™ to the awaiting crowd wearing the Commander’s cloak and bindi, so I’m getting a little bit of mixed messaging there. If the time of the commanders has passed, I’m not seeing any good reason for the bindi (that many Desi fans have pointed out the gross cultural appropriation aspects of) to still be in play.
Checking back in with the future spacekru, we get to watch them watch Polis get destroyed. I’ve made no secret of my opposite of attachment to Polis (though the sets are very cool) but seeing everyone’s faces as the tower came down made me feel an unexpected amount of things. Not only are their friends and family now buried under a massive pile of rubble but it drives home that there is absolutely no going back. Sure they already knew that but knowing isn’t the same as seeing and it underscores that it’s space or die time.
Raven powers activate
Luckily, it seems nothing focuses Raven quite like trauma and she snaps into high gear with a list of all of the things they need to get done or they die. It’s one hell of a list and I’m a little hyperventilatey just thinking about it. Also, Lindsey Morgan’s delivery was A+++++. Her frantic energy did more to ramp up the tension than all the flashy visuals and dramatic action strings. I’m not the only one freaking out about Raven’s list but right when everyone’s starting to wig, Bellamy steps into demonstrate that not all Blake Motivational Speeches™ have to be lengthy. Sometimes all it takes is a confidently spoken sentence to get everyone in gear.
OH MY GOD HOW ARE WE ONLY NOW HITTING THE CREDITS I FEEL LIKE I’VE LOST A YEAR OFF MY LIFE.
Murphy and Monty head off on a side quest through the woods to retrieve the whatever it’s called that’ll make oxygen. Monty reminds us all that he and Murphy haven’t actually spoken since season one, which, wow, right, I forgot, and Murphy makes a suuuuuuuper off color quip about Jasper committing suicide that Monty (reasonably) wigs out about. This scene is mostly just a quick little reminder of how their relationship hasn’t developed at all in three seasons and serves as an amazing platform for some stuff that comes later and really helps it land.
Buuuuuut I’m getting ahead of myself. When they hit the lighthouse, they run into some trouble getting the whatever it’s called unhooked. Monty strips off his gloves to unhook it and while I applaud his heroism, given that he’s one of two engineers in an all engineers on deck or you die situation, personally I would’ve gotten Murphy to do it. Sure, Murphy’s only tentatively experimenting with acknowledging the concept of altruism as a thing that exists for some people, but just remind him SPACE OR YOU DIE and I’m sure he would’ve snapped to it, doing stuff so he doesn’t die is kind of his thing. Ah well, water under the bridge, radiation all over the knuckles.
Back in Becca’s lab, Echo and Emori are prepping the rocket and I both love and have a lot of emotions about the contrast between the two. Echo is so very obviously so far out of her element her element hasn’t even been discovered yet and has been steadily losing more and more of her shit as they get closer to take off. Emori, on the other hand, is just as survival focused as ever and seems almost perky to be surrounded by and working on all of the tech she’s spent her life ferrying around to the island and her most likely doomed to forever remain a mystery other buyers. I love it. She’s totally going to end up being Raven’s assistant up in space.
Meanwhile, Clarke and Bellamy have another totally no big deal, I am 10000000000% fine, moment where they banter about oxymorons and Bellamy wipes sweat off Clarke’s forehead and that wailing sound you may hear is just the sound of me being fine. Things then get serious and Clarke reveals how much she’s been secretly freaking out about Abby’s vision and tries to prepare Bellamy to take over if she dies. Bellamy is a billion percent not trying to hear it but Clarke is nothing if not persistent. She tells him they’ve come along way and she thinks he’s the bees knees and they would’ve been lost without his heart but he’s got to be prepared to use his head. He tells her he’s got her for that and if you’ve noticed the wailing sound has intensified, I told you I’m fine, don’t worry about it.
I just, god, I love these two so much? It frustrates me a bit (a lot) that it seems to be rather difficult to talk about their relationship without people dismissing it as you just want to know when they’ll have sex (*stares into the camera like on the office*).
While watching for the possibility of future canon romantic bellarke is totally legit and god knows I wouldn’t be sad if they smushed their faces together and got naked, I love them exactly as they are and think that sometimes the overwhelming hype around what they could become leads to that getting sort of pushed aside and it’s frustrating. What I’m trying to say is their relationship this season was kind of downplayed and distant after the first few episodes and I get that there was a lot going on but regardless of anything else, they’re each other’s best friends and I struggled a bit with the idea that they wouldn’t lean on each other and check each other at the end of the world. It’s seemed inorganic in the same way Bellamy and Lexa being unable to exist on the same page of the script in season three felt inorganic.
The point is, I’m really glad we got this moment both because it was heartbreaking and mushy and so them (Clarke: I will do this unpleasant thing and no one can stop me, Bellamy: NUH UH) and because I’ve missed them being who they are to each other happening on screen and not just in my greatest hits memory bank.
Unfortunately, because bellarke has been cursed by someone I’m not going to call out to be always interrupted, something blows up on the rocket and whoops turns out they might be even more screwed than they already were. I’d say it’s impressive how many layers of screwed these guys have uncovered but honestly it sounds like a fairly typical engineering project just with a touch more fiery death on the horizon. Or maybe that’s standard too, I don’t know, I’m not an engineer.
Anyway, the comm systems are toast and that’s a problem because they need to somehow remotely power up the Ark to get into it. Raven has a minor meltdown and briefly loses her mind, telling everyone she’s not smart enough which is just, fundamentally wrong. Clarke tries to talk her down with no luck and tags Bellamy in. He reminds Raven that she’s pretty much the key to all plot and they’d have died a whole bunch of times without her and also he believes in her to solve everything.
“What the shit is this? Emotion? Put it back in your pants, Bellamy”
Raven, being Raven, totally ignores all of the really sweet stuff he just told her and latches onto an offhand joke about not needing Alie on the Ark (classic!). She realizes Alie actually is on the Ark and they can use her connection to get in and bonus points, she gets to spacewalk after all (do you think a subconscious part of Raven’s brain was trying to figure out how to logically work a spacewalk into all of this the whole time? I do). The only hitch is it means they’ll have to make a trip to a nearby satellite tower to turn something on. Bravenlarke saddles up and the audience resigns itself to the fact that this will obviously go wrong seeing as we still have 25 min left in the episode.
Back in the woods, Monty’s hands are basically raw hamburger with nerve endings and boy does that seem like it sucks. However, as he is a totally in your face badass, he refuses to let Murphy carry the super heavy magical oxygen making device (SHMOMD) alone and earns a hefty amount of respect from Murphy all in one go. As they stagger back to Becca’s lab, Murphy tries to distract Monty from the pain by asking about Harper and their relationship status and I don’t know if I’ve ever loved the show more. Unfortunately, Murphy has not leveled up enough to unlock girl talk with Monty and Monty passes out to get out of the conversation. Naturally, even though he’s really sorry about it, Murphy leaves him.
He makes it back to the lab just in time to run into bravenlarke heading out for their mission. After handing off the SHMOMD to Raven, Bellamy and Murphy sprint off to get Monty leaving Clarke to make her way to the satellite tower alone. At the point my heart has sunk to round about my knees because something is super a billion percent definitely going to go wrong. Come on, guys! Splitting up guarantees disaster! What is this? Amateur hour? How have none of y’all seen a horror movie before? What did you even do on the Ark?
Everything’s picking up speed now, including the score and the shaky cam, as the clock ticks closer to the point of no return. Raven suits up for her spacewalk as Emori and Harper load the SHMOMD and Echo hides in the office, quietly losing her shit and painting her face to be brave (this is maybe a weird reaction but I love her so much?).
Murphy and Bellamy find Monty staggering through the woods and Monty hugs Murphy with all his might when he realizes Murphy chose the SHMOMD (and therefore Harper’s life) over Monty and Murphy busts into the biggest, most surprised smile and check it out that wailing noise is back. Hats off to Jason for organically catching Monty and Murphy up on four seasons of development in three brief scenes. This is the kind of A+++ character-oriented follow through and emotional payoff that’s only been sporadically present this season and GOD HOW I’VE MISSED IT.
(I cannot believe we’re only halfway through the episode, THIS IS SO MUCH)
Clarke makes it to the tower with a minute and half to accomplish her mission only to discover that the ipad Raven said just needed to be plugged in can’t connect which makes perfect sense because all Apple products break in your hour of need. She starts to panic, hitting the machine and frantically trying to radio Raven. As her timer ticks past the point of no return, she realizes to accomplish her mission she’s going to have to climb the tower. She stops, steels herself and tells Raven and Bellamy if they can hear her, don’t wait.
I’m all wailed out and the crying has started. I’m not fine, none of this is fine. Remember when I totally lost my shit over Clarke taking on the risk herself back in 409? It’s like that but exponentially more (and I love how I was all THIS IS CLARKE’S BUFFY ON THE TOWER MOMENT dramatics and Jason was all oh no, we can be far more literal than that). After four seasons of impossible choices and horrific sacrifices, after a season of dead end after dead end, Clarke plays the only card she has left and gives up her life to get her friends to safety. Clarke Griffin, Buffy Summers reincarnated, climbs the tower to give the people she loves most* the chance to be brave and live.
Don’t look at me, don’t touch me.
*the people she loves most not including Abby and the rest of the people in the bunker, obvs. I was being dramatic and precision would spoil the effect, don’t judge me
Back in the lab, everyone suits up and prepares to board the rocket. Bellamy (after noticing Clarke’s not back yet and Raven assuring him she’s on her way, GOD) realizes Echo’s missing. He finds her up in the office preparing to check out, totally unable to deal with everything that’s happening. I retroactively appreciate a lot of the Echo development this season (while maintaining it could’ve been more smoothly worked in but whatever). We’ve been shown that she’s a deeply traditional person who’s dedicated her life to her people and is deeply entrenched in the world as she understands it. All of that has been stripped away and now she’s facing the complete upheaval of everything she’s ever known and it’s too much for her.
Bellamy bursts in just in the nick of time and tries to talk her down, confessing he’s scared too and telling her they need her in case they need to throw someone overboard to lighten the load. It works and Echo’s back in and I’ll spare y’all my mild becho meltdown and stick it in the additional notes because I know it’s a ~controversial topic.
Alright, who’s ready for the really upsetting stuff? Hahahahaha not me.
This is just rude
As the seconds tick down to zero, Bellamy waits until the absolute last second before accepting Clarke’s not making it back and shutting the rocket door (yes, yes, I see you s1), making the decision with his head, not his heart, like Clarke wanted. Emori, outraged, asks if they can give her another minute and have I mentioned how much I love Emori? I really really really love Emori. Bellamy tells them this is what Clarke would want (the hardest thing in this world is to live in it) and spacekru takes off. We’re then treated to a Clarke POV shot of the rocket launching as she climbs the tower and I didn’t know it was possible to be this upset and this stressed out at the same time.
CAN YOU BELIEVE WE STILL HAVE 15 MINUTES LEFT? THIS EPISODE IS NONSTOP IN ALL THE WAYS.
Somehow the episode is not done with finding new and improved ways to stress me the fuck out and spacekru gets up into orbit to find that the ring is still dark and they’re running out of oxygen. Huzzah!
Suffocating on nothing is a smidge of a phobia for me so this next bit is a tad excruciating and let’s take a second to appreciate Emori and Echo’s faces when Raven takes off on her space walk before I get into it.
I love them so much? Like I knew I liked them before this episode but now I’m at I will fight bears for you levels of devotion.
Okay, back to business. On Earth, Clarke scrambles to align the satellite and connect to the Ark as the death wave (lol) races closer. While she works, the spacekru braces themselves for their looming demise by coupling up (poor Echo all alone) while Bellamy quietly freaks out about leaving Clarke behind only for them to die anyway and speaking of dying that’s where I’m at.
Clarke finally gets the dish in place only for it to die before she can see if it works because see above re: Apple. As spacekru’s oxygen reaches critical levels and RAVEN PULLS THE LEVER (I see you Jason) that lets them into the Ark. Clarke races back to Becca’s lab, cracking her suit on the way. The girl cannot catch a break. She makes it back a hair ahead of the wave and collapses on the floor, covered in blisters and coughing up black blood and we fade to black with her all alone because this show is SO CRUEL.
In the Ark, Monty and Bellamy scramble to hook up the SHMOMB after Harper shoves them aside and rips the panel out of the wall as she is both the best and totally jacked. Murphy and Emori argue over who gets to give Raven the last of their air because their priorities are ON POINT but everyone’s supplementary tanks run out and they start to pass out, reaching out for their loved ones as Bellamy races to save them all. Obvs, because these are half the fan favorites, they get the air on at the last second but even knowing that was going to happen this was SO STRESSFUL and SO EMOTIONAL and I AM AN UTTER WRECK.
THIS WHOLE SEQUENCE WAS SO MUCH. It managed to be incredibly tense, traumatic, sweet and a tiny bit funny all at once in the span of what? Seven minutes? and I am so impressed with the show for pulling it off. I also extend major kudos to the special effects department because the much touted Praimfaya did not disappoint when it arrived and that’s always hit or miss with lower budget shows.
Then, because we still have 5 minutes left and that’s pleeeeeeeenty of time to pulverize my heart a few hundred more times, we cut to JAHA’S BOTTLE OF BOOZE SITTING ON THE WINDOW OVER EARTH WHERE HE LEFT IT. This was such a great callback that neatly ties in the parallels between Clarke and Jaha this season and highlights that now Bellamy is stepping up (the bottle is literally labeled the baton and now it’s been passed to Bellamy’s, if it weren’t such a tiny detail from such a long time ago I’d say it was heavy handed but instead it totally works)(does it? I don’t know, I’m so emotional right now I can’t believe I’m making words happen)
Right, back to the pulverizing. Bellamy steps up to the window (identically framed to where Octavia stood when she got her first look at Earth) and looks out at the fiery storm engulfing the surface of the Earth. Raven steps up next to him and some delicate piano starts to play and I really don’t know how one episode can be so rude.
They wonder if they can do this without Clarke and Bellamy vows to make it work because if not, Clarke died in vain.
He asks Raven if she’s with him and she replies always and the curtains close on the spacekru.
Can this show chill for like, 5 seconds? Lmao, stupid question.
That’s right folks, the much speculated time jump is here and I’m entirely too emotional to coherently make sentences so here’s a shrieking bullet list of everything that went through my head while watching:
- Omg Clarke is SO PRETTY
- OMG HER HAIR
- I LOVE IT SO MUCH
- CLEAR RAIN
- SHE LOOKS SO HAPPY AND PEACEFUL
- SHE HAS A SKETCHBOOK SHE’S BEEN DRAWING
- THIS SCORE IS SO BEAUTIFUL
- Y’all, real talk, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so attracted to Clarke and it’s breaking my brain a little
- She looks SO. GOOD.
- SHE’S TALKING TO BELLAMY
- SHE STILL DOESN’T KNOW IF HE’S ALIVE
- IT’S BEEN 2199 DAYS
- SHE’S TRIED TO TALK TO HIM EVERY DAY
- WITHOUT AN ANSWER
- IT KEEPS HER SANE
- (HE CENTERS HER)
- HELP ME
- HEEEEEEELP MEEEEEEEEEEE
- THEY’RE A YEAR LATE
- SHE’S SO WORRIED
- SHE’S TRYING SO HARD NOT TO BE WORRIED
- THE BUNKER’S BURIED
- OMG SHE HASN’T TALKED TO ANYONE
- OH CLAAAAAAAARKE
- WAIT WE?
- SHE STILL HAS HOPE
- (SHE’S STILL BREATHING)
- I SEE YOU
- HER FACE HER FACE HER FACE
- GOD THIS SCORE
- OMG SHE HAS A KID?????
- A NIGHTBLOOD KID????????
- THIS IS SO CUTE?????????
- (AND SHE WASN’T ALOOOOOOOOONE)
- THE KID KNOWS ABOUT HER FRIENDS
- OH GOD SHE’S TOLD HER KID ABOUT ALL OF THEM THIS IS SO MUCH
- LIKE OBVIOUSLY A LOT BECAUSE THE KID IS JUST AS EXCITED AS SHE IS
- WHILE PROBABLY NOT JUST AS BUT YOU GET WHAT I MEAN
- WAIT THAT’S NOT THEM
- GODAMMIT SHOW
- THE MINING COMPANY
- FULL CIRCLE, PRISONERS COMING DOWN AND CLARKE’S A GROUNDER NOW
- YES YES JASON YOU’RE VERY CLEVER
- GODAMMIT I NEED SEASON 5 NOW
Aaaaaaaaand we’re done. My god this episode was all the things. I know I keep saying it but it was. The cast was on fire, the direction was A+, the story was both incredibly cruel and also perfection. This episode was hands down the most solid of the season and I loved it SO MUCH. The characters and the plot found much needed balance and Clarke was finally allowed to be vulnerable for more than a split second which drove home how much I need that to connect with the show.
I also love love LOVE how the time jump has totally reset the show and broken the world open for so many new stories. I can’t lie, one of the issues this show has had as it’s gone on is piling more worldbuilding onto shaky foundations and this was a brilliant way to wipe the board clear and start over. I’m so into it and cannot wait to see where this goes.
Also, no one knows who is alive and they haven’t talk to each other for six years and GOD I AM SO UPSET.
Gratuitous happy Clarke to calm us all down:
Y’all, she doesn’t have her forehead wrinkle for the first time since maybe the pilot. (source)
- Octavia telling Bellamy “I’ll be waiting under the floor” fucks me up SO BAD
- Bellamy telling Octavia she did what he and Clarke couldn’t do and gave people hope when there was none fucks me up SO BAD
- The way Octavia’s voice breaks on Bellamy’s name when the radio cuts out FUCKS ME UP SO BAD
- EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SCENE FUCKS ME UP SO BAD
- I’M SO GLAD GAIA IS IN THE BUNKER
- Marper’s low key background casual affection did more than anything else this season to get me aboard this ship
- Sometimes the little unspoken things are infinitely more moving than the Big Prominent Things. Their lack of prominence makes them feel more like part of the tapestry of the characters lives and that makes them feel all the more real.
- Point of order, I feel like Clarke’s line about Alie being right and there wasn’t any solution is supposed to be a nod to the show always following up on its promises and maybe a blink and you missed it attempt to justify the number of failed attempts to find a solution this season has spent all its time on. Assuming that’s true, okay, I get it, except there is a solution, it’s the bunker and space. I know that Clarke doesn’t live on the fourth wall with Jaha and damn I forget who joined him (whatup metastation) and she doesn’t know how this is all going to turn out but as an audience member I’m not satisfied.
- I’m probably making that WAAAAAAY deeper than it actually was but you may have noticed that’s kind of a thing with me
- “Wouldn’t it be easier to walk outside?” I LAUGHED WAY TOO HARD CONSIDERING THE CONTEXT OF THIS LINE
- When Echo tells Bellamy she belongs nowhere I legit shrieked. Y’all I am stupid invested in the idea of Bellamy and Echo being bffs (who maybe bang, whatever, it’s optional) and when she said that my entire brain went OMG SHE’S JUST LIKE OCTAVIA AND HE’S GONNA ADOPT HER AND SHE’S GONNA BE HIS GRIEF DISPLACEMENT PROJECT AND HE’S GOING TO BE HER SECURITY BLANKET AND SHE’S GOING TO FIND A PLACE TO BELONG AND HE’S GOING TO SAVE AND TAKE CARE OF SOMEONE.
- I’m just saying, they both really need those things right now and I am super into seeing what their relationship has developed into
- Idk how many of you have watched The Expanse (though all of you should because it is AMAZING), but Erin from metastation proposed a Naomi/Amos-esque relationship and I want it so bad my teeth hurt
- Anyway, I know everyone’s all ZOMG BECHO/ZOMG BRAVEN but I am team #SpaceOrgy all the way
- I gotta say y’all it’s a true testament to how emotionally overwhelmed I was that I only laughed at how ridiculous people looked running around in their radiation suits like, once. Maybe twice.
- They’re really funny looking suits I’m only human.
- Speaking of clothing, did….did anyone bring a change of clothes to space?
- GoSci’s gonna smell so bad after 6 years of concentrated BO build up
- p.s. did y’all catch that Clarke’s rifle strap is etched with the names of everyone she’s lost?
- But not anyone from the bunker or space crew because she still has hope they’re alive
- I’m fine
- I’M FINE I SAID
- I’m not fine
- I want y’all to know that it took me over four hours to rewatch and write this recap just because I literally watched every scene at least three times
- Some of them a lot more than three times
- Listen I really liked this episode leave me alone
HOW’RE YOU GUYS DOING? What’d you think? Can you think anymore or are your hearts and minds as fried as mine? Who’s ready for hiatus? Hahahahahahahahahaha fuck.