Extraordinarily bad decisions are made on both sides of this war.

Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
S2 E12

Season 2 of The 100 has been all about war—but just talks about war. Sure, there have been deaths, but that’s just been about people protecting their borders and lands… and in one case a guy being crazy love struck. But even with all the death, it’s still just been talk—a lot of talk. Until tonight. With one push of a button from Cage Wallace, we finally have our first real act of war.

But, of course, The 100 isn’t about the catastrophes, it’s about the characters. So just as the character of Cage grows darker for pushing the button, so too does Clarke as she runs away from it. With only four episodes left this season, it seems like everyone is spiraling deeper and deeper into the darkness (aside from Murphy who is off inexplicably finding redemption), and it’s almost hard to watch. “Rubicon” wasn’t necessarily a fun episode in the bonkers way we like from this show, but it also wasn’t a sad episode such as “Spacewalker.” Instead, tonight’s episode just gave us a lot to think about…

It begins with Emerson running—being tracked by very awesome point-of-view shots, by the way—as his oxygen gauge drops low, mostly thanks to Clarke. He gets to a hill (that looks an awful lot like the hill where Dr. Tsing and Cage left Keenan Mykulak to die); he’s gasping for breath as a bare hand reaches down to help. It’s our favorite suit-and-combat-boot-bedecked president! Cage is now fully Ground ready thanks to bone marrow treatment. “The Ground is ours,” he says while surveying what he believes is his kingdom. (And oddly this reminded me of what it must have been like for the first European settlers in America, but that’s a whole other recap…)

It’s a one-and-done treatment for the Undergrounders to develop the radiation tolerance needed to go surface level. Unfortunately, it’s also a one-and-done treatment for The 47, who are being killed off for their marrow. We see them huddled in the dormitory as they discuss how Jasper saw Bellamy. But they don’t have time to chat about it because Dr. Tsing and her goons are coming back for more “donors.”

The kids pitifully try to say no; Jasper even mentions how President Wallace had said they could go. “That President Wallace is no longer in command,” Tsing counters, before adding: “I’m sorry it has to be like this. I hope you know, you’re incredibly special to us.” And a blond boy is ripped from the crowd—which immediately caused me to wonder what I’m supposed to call The 47 now?

The next time the goon squad comes, The 46 (?) link arms because apparently they think this is a game of Red Rover. Of course the guards rip them apart instantly. One has Jasper pinned against the wall, except—surprise!—it’s Bellamy. He’s so beautiful that he can wander the halls of Mount Weather and no one questions it apparently. He arms Jasper with a gun and tells him to fight back harder next time. This round a blond girl is lost to the Undergrounders.

The third time Tsing and her men come for The 45, the kids have armed themselves with bunk bed rods and a single gun. Jasper aims straight for the Kevlar vest, so it becomes useless. He is taken, and just when all hope seems lost the guards and Dr. Tsing start developing rapid radiation burns. There’s a containment breach on the floor, so while all the kids run to take control of the level, the guards and Tsing burn alive.

The good doctor tries to get to the elevator, but Jasper blocks the doors from closing. And as Jasper and his crew watch her scream and die, he says, “I hope you know that you’re incredibly special to us.” These kids are ice cold.

NEXT: Just say no, Clarke.

Now the whole reason The 47/46/45 were able to make their great dorm breakout was thanks to Raven, Clarke, and Bellamy. Bellamy can move around Mount Weather while staying connected to the Ark because Maya brings the right supplies for Raven to walk Bellamy through how to make a Bluetooth. Okay.

Bellamy is able to use their navigation to find where the Ark kids are being taken after they are ripped from the dorms. I’m not exactly sure how Clarke’s rudimentary map gets him there when Maya’s stolen one doesn’t, but nonetheless—he hears drilling as he’s crawling in air ducts and finds the dead donors.

Not having many other options, Bellamy makes a Hail Mary pass to Wallace Senior. He sneaks into his cell—the very one that Clarke was in when this season started—by delivering his lunch. Once in there, Bellamy tells Dante that his son is killing the kids. Dante says he can’t help them escape… but he can buy them some time. Hence, the reason floor 5 was eradiated. Dante is clearly disapproving of what his son is doing, but he doesn’t even know the half of it.

While Bellamy, Raven, and Clarke were eavesdropping on the bone marrow lab, they also heard Emerson and Cage discussing the leadership meeting at Tondc. The very meeting that Clarke had just sent Kane to in her stead. The problem for the Mountain Men: They only have one man watching over Tondc, and Emerson says he’s not that good. Cage fires back: “Which is why we’re going to use a missile… This time we’re not going to miss.”

Of course there’s no way to get in touch with the crew at Tondc, so Clarke takes off with her newly minuted bodyguard, Ryder. She wants to warn everyone there—everyone including Octavia, who is the first to greet her when she arrives. But Clarke stays mum on the missile front and asks to go straight to Lexa.

Down in the jail/dining hall/war room/subway station, the two fearless leaders talk about what to do. Clarke wants to evacuate everyone, but as Lexa points out, then Mount Weather will know there’s an inside man. Bellamy hasn’t disabled the acid fog or let the Grounder army out of their cages, so he’s still essential to the plan. Lexa says letting the missile hit while the two of them run out the back is the only option. I call Clarke saying yes peer pressure; Lexa calls it “true strength.”

As they run for the hills—literally—Clarke tries to come up with other solutions. Lexa tells her it’s too late to return, but as Clarke looks back, she sees that her mother decided to come to the leaders’ meeting in Tondc after all. Clarke may be turning into a ruthless leader in the likes of Lexa, but she’s not a monster, so she runs back to grab her mother.

Luckily around this time we see Indra and Kane go to the woods to look for Lexa and Clarke, and Octavia is off with Lincoln, so we know all of our main characters are safe and accounted for. As Clarke begs her mother to come with her, we see Cage giving the “fire” command. It doesn’t seem like anyone gets far enough away from the blast of a missile to be safe, but I’m not an expert.

When Clarke and Abby awake after the blast, the realization in Abby’s eyes is downright painful to watch. “You knew and you let this happen?” she spits at her now very foreign daughter. She demands an explanation, for Clarke to place responsibility on Lexa, but Clarke can’t do that; she says it was necessary to win the war. “You crossed a line,” Abby says. “Their blood is on your hands. And even if we win, I’m afraid you won’t be able to wash it off this time.”

Clarke was essentially the voice of reason in season 1. When the adults came to the Ground in season 2, she was the voice they most needed to hear. But now she’s decided she’s the only voice that matters. She is 17 years old. Sometimes a girl just needs her mother to tell her when she’s wrong. And Abby definitely delivers one whopper of an “I’m disappointed in you” speech.

But right now all Clarke can think about is what will happen if people find out she and Lexa knew about the missile; her precious alliance would fall apart. She asks her mother to keep her secret. Abby says she will—but I’m worried that Clarke won’t be able to. She’s had a moral compass for too long to stay quiet even after this.

And Abby’s not the only disappointed parent: When Cage goes into his dad’s cell to question him on who helped the kids on Level 5, he also brags about using the missile on Tondc. Dante loses it, saying that the silo was installed for protection only. Then he gives his son another terrible version of the “I’m disappointed in you” speech re: Cage’s actions to get his people to the ground: “It only cost you your soul.”

However, Cage doesn’t seem to be fazed. He calls in his men and has them inject his father with the bone marrow treatment. “You’ll thank me someday,” he says smugly while exiting the room like the evil genius he’s become.

NEXT: Elsewhere, in the desert…

Thanks to Abby reading Jaha’s note and informing Kane about it, we know that Jaha took off with 12 people and 12 guns. We catch up with them in The Dead Zone, where Jaha is rocking an awesome, apocalyptic-chic scarf. It all looks like sand to me (how did they find this awesome location in Canada?), but Jaha knows they’re near where he stayed before.

The tent is gone, but in its place is a cart with a woman inside. Emori, the stranded woman, says she and her brother were traveling to The City of Lights when Wastelanders attacked, took everything, and killed her brother. They were kind enough to leave her with the cart, but no water.

Murphy goes to share his (look at this character growth!) when Caspian, a fellow Arker, tries to stop him. Murphy’s response? “Touch me again, and I’ll end you… in a non-criminal way.” Okay, maybe he hasn’t grown that much.

Emori joins them on their trek to The City of Lights; along the way Murphy catches up with his new romantic love interest. He wants to know why she would leave her village and risk her life in this “beach from hell” that is The Dead Zone. They have some playful banter about not revealing their pasts, but in the end they share stories: We know, of course, Murphy is a murderer, but we learn that her only “crime” is a deformed hand—which the Grounders see as a stain on the bloodline.

And just when you’re starting to feel sorry for her, she goes and pulls a knife on Murphy while her brother/partner-in-crime holds up a handheld rocket launcher against the group. It was all a con to get their goods. But just before Emori knocks out Murphy, she whispers “due north.” How romantic.

Jaha uses that faith he’s so fond of to trust Murphy’s belief that Emori was telling the truth. So Jaha gives the rest of the group an option: stay with him and maybe find the Promised Land or die OR turn back and live. And then there were six. As they climb a sand dune in one of the most beautifully shot scenes of this show, Jaha says to Murphy: “I believe this is what they call having faith, John.” The ever-witty one replies, “Nah, I just have nothing better to do.”

Questions, Notes, Things to Watch for:

  • Wick was mentioned! Is there a Twitter campaign for his reappearance? I will sign that… or whatever you do with Twitter campaigns.
  • Clarke lying to Bellamy about Octavia being in Tondc seemed like a plotline that was dropped too easily. I suspect it will come up again.
  • The Ice Nation: Where is this?
  • Do we know any other tribes besides them and The Woods Clan?
  • “We are at war. And a warrior does not mourn the ones she’s lost until after the battle is won.” —post-apocalyptic life lessons from Indra
  • The Arkers/Grounders have two high frequency tone generators… and some Ark guns plus Ground bow and arrows. And now they’ve been hit by a missile. This does not seem like a fair war—and it’s just started.
  • What do you think provoked the off-target missile before Lexa’s birth?
  • Octavia found Reaper Lincoln trying to eat a man, and then she yelled at him in Trigedasleng. I’d say these two are having a rough patch.
  • So how long before everyone knows Clarke and Lexa’s secret? My guess: 1-2 episodes.
  • And what do you think our City of Lights timetable is? It feels like a finale reveal à la Mount Weather.

Episode Recaps

The 100

After a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people who have been living in space return to Earth—and quickly learn they’re not alone.

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