The 100 recap: 'Long Into an Abyss'
As the Grounders approach Camp Jaha, Clarke makes one last play for peace.
The Mountain Men are the bad guys—that much has been clear since the season 1 finale when they SWAT team-ed in and put Clarke in a white room. The writers tried to throw us off the scent with chocolate cake and a warm painter president, but smart viewers always knew there was a secret (although, we probably didn’t suspect it was a HARVEST CHAMBER). They play their Big Bad role well, but here’s the thing: People under the ground aren’t that much different than people were on the Ark.
The episode starts with a shot of a girl—named Keenan Mykulak according to the video feed—in her Undergrounder tinged-yellow hospital gown as she awakes in a field. At first she’s shocked to be outdoors, but when she realizes she isn’t immediately dying, she takes in her surroundings. Just like The 100 when the Dropship opened, this is her first time to see the ground. It’s hard to even imagine what it’s like to never feel the dirt on your feet or smell the air, but somehow every actor they hire on The 100 portrays it perfectly. It’s a sweet moment.
Until you realize that she’s just a lab rat. Dr. Tsing and Cage are counting how long she can last outdoors. And it’s only 4 minutes and 10 seconds until she starts to develop the signature radiation burns. Cage wants to bring her back in, but the heartless doctor thinks Keenan won’t be able to keep what’s happened to her quiet, so inside they get “a full reading” as they watch (and we listen) to her die. Cage looks evil, but he doesn’t have the stomach for it like Dr. Tsing does.
Cage: “The blood of The 47 could be our permanent solution, that’s what you said.”
Dr. Tsing: “Science takes time, Cage. There are dead ends and blind alleys on the path to every breakthrough.”
Cage: “You call that a blind alley? She’s one of us.”
Dr. Tsing: “No, of course not. I call that sacrifice… for the greater good.”
“The greater good.” Something we heard one Chancellor Jaha talk about endlessly with the Council when making life-or-death decisions on the Ark. Underground they steal blood from Grounders to live. In space they “sacrificed” a chamber full of people for others to live. The only difference is in the Sky, there were people like Jake, Clarke, and Abby who spoke up, and underground, we only know of Maya, who happens to be missing this entire episode.
Dr. Tsing later tells Cage that the blood of The 47 will never be enough to get them to the ground, but she has thought of another, more permanent solution: bone marrow. Only problem is that they would need so much that it would kill all of The 47. It’s Cage’s job to convince his father that it’s in the best interest of their people to move forward with this plan.
Cage does this in a manipulative, underhanded way: He takes his father outside. He tricks President Wallace into thinking he can enjoy the outdoors, smell the flowers, feel rain on his face… and then drops the other shoe—they have to go back inside. Cage tells him that in order to stay outside, they’ll need to take all of the bone marrow from The 47: “They’ll die so that we can finally live.”
It’s not hard to see the logic—they have hidden underground for 97 years, and they finally have an escape route—but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach what these people are willing to do. The 100 captures the lengths mankind is willing to go to in order to survive with such nuance; and never more so than in this scene. Cage makes another appeal: “This is our world. We deserve this.” But Wallace shuts him down: “We are the keepers of history. What we’ve done to the outsiders has corrupted our legacy. I can’t go down that road any further.”
Good for President Wallace. But his word might not matter as the closing scenes show Harper (who returned so quietly last week I almost forgot who she was) strapped to a gurney while Dr. Tsing extracts bone marrow from her hip. If her people didn’t know she was down there already, I’m sure they would have figured it out from those screams. As we’ve often seen in Mount Weather, the show can easily lean toward horror flick—and that’s not a complaint.
Pre-Harper getting jabbed with giant needles, she met with Miller, Monty, two random kids, and their newly minted leader Jasper. They quickly realized their “let’s wait on Clarke” plan was not the best—although it was sweet that they had faith in her. Instead, they’re going to escape. How you ask? With their criminal skills.
Monty, the computer whiz; Miller, the thief; Harper, the hall watcher; and Jasper, the “mastermind” crack into President Wallace’s office to find proof that Clarke’s alive. They find a password-protected laptop, and Monty starts to crack the code. (Quick aside: My 5-year-old laptop takes longer to flicker to life than that 97-year-old one? Okay, sure.) The computer holds images of Camp Jaha—now that the kids know that their people are alive, they’re staging a break out. Probably minus Harper. Sorry, Harper.
NEXT: We are Grounders …
Last week Jaha was given the message “leave or die” from the Grounders, and he’s taking it to heart. He tries to convince Abby that they need to run, but that would mean leaving The 47 behind, and she doesn’t want to do that. As they continue to argue about this, Major Byrne comes in to say how the people have gotten word of the news and are restless; they need a message from their chancellor. Only problem is they seem to have two chancellors.
Major Byrne—who is always by the book, of course—says that Abby is still in command until a vote can be taken or Abby willingly transfers her authority. But Abby retains her control because she isn’t ready to march her people into the desert. (For a show about the future, it has sure taken a very Old Testament turn lately.) So they decide to approach the people together and tell them the news. A random man in the sea of Canadian extras shouts out my concern: “Where will we go?” Jaha says he’s heard of The City of Light, and he has faith that they will make it because the story of his people must go on. Basically, he’s Moses now.
Bellamy shows up right no cue and says he needs Clarke at the Dropship, where Lincoln has been restrained and sees the results of the Mountain Men’s Reaper-ization. They’ve essentially turned him into an animal—and not a friendly one. Here’s a refresher:
And it only gets worse from there. Because Octavia shot him in the leg, Clarke needs to get out the bullet. But when she gets close enough, superhuman Lincoln rips out his restraints and takes Clarke. There’s a lot of back and forth between the four, but Octavia finally knocks him out—because women are the best in this show. (Also, the makeup department for this show must stay very busy.)
Once they get him strapped back to the floor, Octavia goes outside to get more water … and is promptly captured by Nyko. He wants to warn her that the scouts have already arrived at Camp Jaha and she needs to leave. But when he hears Lincoln, he goes in to help.
Nyko pulls out a little bottle and says something in Trigedasleng before releasing the world’s slowest drop into Lincoln’s mouth. Luckily Clarke remembers the “your fight is over” phrase from when Anya died (clearly O’s language classes didn’t get that far) and catches the drop. Nyko doesn’t deny that he was going to kill Lincoln because he says there’s no way to save the Reapers.
Finn, with the world’s worst timing, comes in to tell them Camp Jaha is packing out. Nyko goes straight for him, and yet another close-quarters fight breaks out. In the midst of it, Lincoln stops breathing—and Clarke saves him with chest compressions. Nyko says he’s never seen anything like that, and suddenly a plan to stop the Grounder/Sky People war is hatched.
She returns to Camp Jaha to tell her mother that she knows what can save them: modern medicine. The Grounders’ biggest threat is from the Reapers, and if they are able to help them detox, they can win the war on the Mountain Men front. As she presents the plan for peace to her mother and Jaha, the grounders approach with their torches. And there are a lot of them. Jaha insists that Abby give him back the authority—but instead she FINALLY listens to Clarke (she must be reading these recaps and my rants).
Jaha has been bordering on the Zen/crazy train line; and he starts to give in to the latter here. He insists that she give the exodus (apparently they haven’t heard of the word “evacuation”) order. Post-rant, Badass Abby reappears: “No. Are you through yet?”
He then goes into full showdown mode: Jaha appeals to Sergeant Miller and Major Byrne to “relieve Doctor Griffin of her command” and place her, Clarke, and Finn in custody. Abby counters by telling them to put Jaha in the stockade. And the major says: “Yes, ma’am.” Maybe you’re not so bad after all Byrny-Byrne. But the best part comes when Abby explains why she’s doing this: “Because I have faith, too… in my daughter.” Music to all of our ears.
NEXT: Race to the finish
The plan is for Clarke to go out to the Grounders alone, and Abby will go with Finn to save Lincoln. If she doesn’t save him, well, that’s not an option. The buildup in these final scenes is almost too much to handle, and I find myself questioning, as I do every week, how they pack so much into the episode while telling the stories so well.
Clarke walks out to the commander among so. many. grounders. Inside Lexa’s glamping apocalypse-style tent (seriously, how did they set this up so quickly? And was it absolutely necessary?), The 100 leader makes her plea. She explains how she escaped from the mountain, which Indra doesn’t believe, with Anya. The Grounders thought Anya died in the fire, but Clarke proves she was with her when she pulls out a strand of her hair (was she just carrying that around?). Indra still doesn’t believe it—turns out she’s just as annoying as Lettie Mae.
It’s a race to save Lincoln as Clarke leads Lexa and her people to the Dropship to prove they can cure Reapers (which probably wasn’t the best idea as they have to walk among the burnt corpses of her warriors). Abby is trying to give Lincoln CPR, but it’s been too long and she finally gives up. Octavia flops onto him in a heap of tears right as Lexa enters and sees that Lincoln’s dead. It’s about to turn into the third Dropship fight of the night when Abby uses the shock baton as a defibrillator—and brings Lincoln back to life. Bad. Ass. Abby.
The Grounders look as if they’ve seen a miracle and all is right in the post-apocalyptic world. Lexa says Clarke can have her truce. The end.
Oh, wait. Lexa isn’t done talking… “I just need one thing in return. Deliver me the one you call ‘Finn.’ Our truce begins with his death.”
As Finn was grappling with the fact of them saving Lincoln, he was reflecting on himself, saying Lincoln wouldn’t be the same even if they saved him. “The things he’s done … they will stay with him.” He still doesn’t quite apologize, but he’s voicing all the concerns that viewers have had with him post-massacre—that he would never be the same. But Clarke doesn’t agree: “Lincoln’s saveable. And so are you.”
It seemed that she only needed time to get over what he had done, but now she won’t get that. All the viewers who called for his death might receive their wish next week; the episode is titled “Spacewalker,” if you couldn’t tell it was Finn-centric from the previews. I would say that there’s no chance he’s going to die—he’s part of the patented CW love triangle, but with this show you just never know. Do you think Clarke will find a way to save Finn? Do you think she should?
And a few more questions:
What do we call Camp Jaha now that it’s not really in memoriam?
Were the Undergrounders all government people? And the people who survived above ground civilians?
Was Lincoln wearing braces at one point?
What’s happening with Kane?
How much do you love that they call their escape route “Raven’s Gate”?
Should President Wallace fear his son?
If we were placing bets, is your money on Finn living or dying?