With the Grounders calling for blood, the Sky People must decide what—and who—is worth sacrificing for a truce.

The 100
Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW
S2 E8

If you’re still in shock from The 100‘s midseason finale, don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place. We can get through this together.

Where do I even start? This show quietly premiered back in March with the patented CW formula firmly in place: beautiful young actors, equally beautiful adult actors, a love triangle, shirtlessness, hashtag-primed moments, and a catchy angle (in this case, space). The premiere was good, but not great. Those of us who stuck it out saw it quickly became more than its CW predecessors. By the third episode, one of the vertices of that signature love triangle was murdered by a 12-year-old girl. That was the moment I, along with most viewers, realized this show was not messing around.

In case you forgot that The 100 is willing to push it—with Harvest Chambers, village massacres, and babies in space, I’m not quite sure how you could, but if you did—Jason Rothenberg and his band of merry writers reminded us tonight. They did it again. They murdered one-third of their CW love triangle. This show is not messing around.

“Spacewalker” picks up exactly where “Long Into an Abyss” left off: Clarke is returning from Lexa’s haute war tent with very troubling news. And because she forgot how much these Sky People love a to form a mob, she shares the news in front of the crowd: “If we want a truce, we have to give them Finn.”

And we’re off. If you were hoping to get answers to Reaper Lincoln, Mount Weather, or even the City of Lights, it became clear from the start that this episode had one purpose only. And that’s not bad: It speaks to the quality of the show that the writers can take this one concept—to save or hand over Finn—stretch it out over 45 minutes, and still make nearly every minute interesting.

No one handles this news well, but all for different reasons. Most want to give him up, and Raven ends up punching Byrne in the face in her struggle against the crowd. (If this hadn’t been such a somber episode, I would have cheered that someone finally did that.) One man from the mob starts yelling how they need to hand over Finn, the spacewalker who burned up three months of oxygen from the Ark. See this isn’t the first time Finn’s been responsible for a mass killing (remember all the people who volunteered for the culling to save oxygen on the Ark back in season 1?). But wait. The boy we’ve known as the spacewalker isn’t actually the spacewalker.

In flashbacks, we see a younger, cleaner, sweeter Finn helping Raven study aboard the Ark. She’s about to turn 18 and get Zero-G certification. Here, he gives her the raven necklace as an early birthday gift. A few days later, she aces her test, but of course there’s a catch: She failed the physical because of a heart murmur, which means she’ll never get to spacewalk. Happy birthday, Raven.

A week and a half later in Ark flashback time, Finn has yet another gift for Raven: a piece of tape with her name on it. It goes with … a spacesuit. Aww, Finn, before you killed a village, you were a sweet guy. He helps her take her first—and only—spacewalk. She experiences “freedom” for the first time in her life. But as we all know, freedom always comes at a cost.

As she re-enters the Ark, the outer door doesn’t seal, and Finn has to flip the manual override in order to get Raven back inside safely. This triggers a support team to come; and all the section doors will be sealed—thereby making it impossible for them to escape.

But Finn thinks on his feet and makes Raven give him the suit; since he’s 17, he’ll just go to the Skybox, whereas Raven will get immediately floated. He sacrifices himself for the woman he loves.

NEXT: Well, that won’t be the last time that he does that.

In my interview with Eliza Taylor before this episode, she said Clarke would do everything possible to find an alternate solution to giving up Finn. And she did.

The first solution comes in the form of “keeping him inside.” Yes, this will keep him safe right now, but it’s not really a long-term solution. Clearly, Clarke isn’t thinking straight: She then proceeds to blame Murphy for not doing enough to stop Finn at the village. And Murphy throws it right back to her: “You want to start blaming people, Clarke? He was out there looking for you.”

Solution 2: Intel from Lincoln, who is no longer a Reaper but is being restrained just in case. Abby thinks she can talk to Lexa and come to a truce without any more bloodshed. But as Lincoln points out, in the “blood must have blood” world, trading one death for 18 isn’t a bad deal. In theory, it’s a good tradeoff, but when he starts to explain how Finn will be killed (it starts with fire and then his hands, tongue, and eyes, get taken), no one in the room can think of making Finn endure that.

Abby then goes to make peace with her second daughter, Raven, and gets a little advice from Jaha while she’s in the makeshift brig. He, like Lincoln, advises her to take the easiest way out of the situation. When she says she refuses to send a child to his death, Jaha counters: “We sent 100 of them to the ground.” And Abby: “That was another time… and another chancellor.” Oh, snap. Abby’s getting quite good at this commander-in-chief thing.

It’s a tense situation, with no one having enough time to fully think through the situation, including Finn himself. When Clarke finds him later, he’s about to run because he thinks escaping will allow the camp to have peace. She tells him that would lead to the same result: The grounders killing him. “Maybe that’s what I deserve for what I’ve done,” he says. Clarke insists that he was doing it to save their people, but he says what we’ve all been thinking: He did it for her. He tells her he loves her and that he just wants her forgiveness. All she can say is “Don’t leave.”

And that’s when the “blood must have blood” chanting starts. Abby wants to pull everyone inside the station, but Clarke says they must show the Grounders that the Sky People are not afraid. “What if I am?” Abby asks her oh-so-wise daughter. “Fake it,” says Clarke as they grab hands. Abby is finally listening to the council of her daughter, and it’s only making her a better leader.

Sidenote: There are so many great lines in this episode I could probably just throw the script up here, and it would still be interesting to read. (But that’s recap cheating.)

Abby goes to the gate, but doesn’t have time to tell the Grounders on horses much—though after saying, “We’re ready to fight if that’s what it comes to,” what else needs to be said?—when they retreat and Kane comes out from the woods. The Grounders think he’s there to convince his people to turn over Finn, but he’s really there to give Abby different advice: They should try Finn for war crimes among their own people.

She doesn’t like this solution: “So instead of letting the Grounders kill Finn, we would execute him ourselves?” Kane says this could be the most merciful option for Finn, and he’s right for once (the pain of 18 deaths does not sound merciful).

After this Chancellors’ Club meeting, Bellamy runs into Abby. When she isn’t upfront about what’s happening, he decides that the adults are going to give up Finn. Without thinking through the situation, he rounds up Finn, Raven and Clarke, and the four set off for the Dropship. This is one of those moments when you remember these are kids. What exactly were they going to do at the Dropship? Hide Finn there forever? It’s not a well-thought out plan, but they’re grasping at anything to save their friend.

Meanwhile, Abby is trying to do the same… by meeting with Indra, who Lincoln said stands in the way of Lexa’s progressive vision. It doesn’t go well—but at least she didn’t stab Abby, which I was worried would happen—and Indra says, “Only the boy can die for what the boy did.” (If you had hopes that Finn would come out of the episode alive, this is probably where you started getting extra nervous.)

NEXT: The end for Finn.

On the way to the Dropship, Clarke gets knocked out by a Grounder, but Finn is able to get her to the rendezvous point, where he’s met by Raven, Bellamy, and the last-minute add of Murphy. While Clarke is still passed out, Finn makes his peace with Raven. (In TV writing world, this is basically the kiss of death for a character.)

Clarke wakes up, but the Dropship is surrounded by Grounders. Raven, who invited Murphy in the first place, says they should offer him up as the one who led the village massacre. She’s clearly desperate to save Finn, her first love, the man who helped her spacewalk and then went to jail for it. Also, Murphy did shoot her once.

But Finn does the right thing; he stops Raven and says instead they’ll all defend the place. He says he’ll take the lower level, Murphy upstairs, and the other three at the front gate. And somehow they all fell for this. Finn hugs Raven and says “may we meet again”; again, should have raised a red flag.

They’re all in place to fight off the Grounders. These kids are now warriors who don’t even flinch when they’re up for a losing, incredibly outnumbered fight. They’re ready. Except for Finn, who is walking out and surrendering himself to the Grounders.

It’s something that his character arc desperately needed—but it doesn’t make watching his sacrifice any easier. At Camp Jaha, the Arkers watch as the Grounders build a stake for Finn. When Abby tells Raven that they can’t do anything anymore, Clarke formulates her own plan. Again, it’s not at all well-thought out, but neither Bellamy or Raven stop her. In fact, they help her escape—and Raven gives her a knife. She tells Clarke that if Alexa won’t give up Finn, then she should kill her and in the chaos, they’ll save Finn. Again, terrible plan.

Clarke walks out to the Grounders. Lexa says she can’t stop what’s already set in motion—which, really Finn himself set in motion—but Clarke says she can: “Show my people how powerful you are. Show them you can be merciful. Show them you’re not a savage.”

“We are what we are.”

Abby and Clarke want to stop this war without any bloodshed, but that’s not how things work on the Ground. Blood is life underground; and blood is justice above ground. Lexa may be a visionary, but she knows that won’t change anytime soon—as much as Clarke wants it to.

But Lexa does let Clarke say goodbye: She runs to Finn, kisses him, and when he says, “I’m scared,” she takes the knife and sacrifices him herself. All he can say is “Thanks, Princess.”

The Grounders go to attack, but Lexa says, “It is done,” as Raven’s wails reverberate throughout the whole area.

Finn’s massacre changed him, but his death and sacrifice is going to change everyone else. The costs of war are high, and the Arkers—teenagers and adults alike—are just starting to understand the depth of that. They expected to return to an uninhabited Earth; instead they came to a place still very much at war, it’s just less subtle than nuclear bombs. I can’t wait to see where the show takes these characters next.

Questions that will have to wait until 2015:

How will this change Clarke? And is there still a truce since Finn died at her hands, not the Grounders’?

What’s going on in Mount Weather? Jasper, Monty, Harper, Miller, y’all still okay down there?

Can Lincoln be triggered into being a Reaper again?

Where the hell is Wick?


Follow me on Twitter: @realdalener.

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