How does Clarke move on from this? (And how do we!?)
“If you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you — you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
These words are from another sci-fi series: C.S. Lewis wrote it about the children in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but the description comes to mind when watching the last shot of Clarke in “Thirteen.” She is staring at a bloody, empty space; she looks emotionally spent, lost. She’s endured death before — even the death of a loved one before — but this could be the one that finally breaks her.
But though Clarke (and the Pevensie children) might feel as if nothing will happen again, we know it will — lots and lots of things will happen. Because this is the Ground. A war is still coming, and with Lexa’s death, peace may no longer be on the table. Clarke will have to find a way to move on without her.
And we must, too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little emotionally spent myself. But this was an amazing hour of television. As hard as that death was, it’s one of my favorite episodes of The 100 so far, and I want to talk about it with you. So let’s get to the recap…
We start where we left off, with Murphy in Titus’ dungeon. As the flamekeeper prays to the infinity symbol flag on the wall (“you pray to garbage,” Murphy tells him), it’s clear this is more of a temple than a dungeon. Well, a temple where torture happens, at least. Murphy spills all he knows about Jaha and A.L.I.E. and the end of the world.
Cut to 97 years earlier, where we see A.L.I.E.’s creator, Rebecca, in the sky working on a piece of tech. She is aboard Polaris, a ship she owns, which she launched into space so she could work away from A.L.I.E. But even space isn’t far enough away from A.L.I.E. Chris (the man who shot himself in the bunker) video-chats in to tell Rebecca that A.L.I.E. got out and is on the grid; he’s already attempted the failsafe with no luck. She’s cracking nuclear codes in order to reduce the world’s too-high population.
Watching from space, Rebecca, her assistant, and the commander of Polaris, see dozens of missiles heading to and from the U.S. As the world explodes, Rebecca says, “What have I done?”
Two years later, Rebecca is still working on her tech aboard Polaris. She’s injected herself with something black — we’ve seen that before! — when the commander comes in and tells her to stop. See, today is Unity Day, when the 13 ships dock to one another, and now that he knows that Becca caused the end of the world, he’s not going to let the second (potentially genocidal) AI she’s working on go with them.
Becca explains that A.L.I.E. 1 didn’t understand what it meant to be human, but A.L.I.E. 2 will. The assistant, ignoring her, tells the commander they’ll need to round up and float the hard drives and prototypes to truly get rid of 2.0. But Becca isn’t ready to give up her life’s work, and she seals them outside of the lab.
She pleads with them to listen — “let me save us” — but the commander would rather die than let the AI dock. Alpha Station, the U.S. station, informs them that Russia and China have stopped docking maneuvers because Polaris isn’t also going along, and if the rogue station doesn’t get in place in 60 seconds, they’ll fire. (I am not an aerospace engineer, but I have seen The Martian, and I feel like docking 13 units at the same time maybe isn’t the safest? A.L.I.E. 2 probably would agree with me.)
With 10 seconds left, Becca jumps into a pod and tells Polaris to go on without her. The commander tells Alpha they’re beginning maneuvers, but Alpha says 200 years in space will require extreme measures and they want Polaris to becomes a lesson to the rest of humanity — and Alpha blows up Polaris. So begin the strict consequences of the Ark.
Luckily, or not luckily depending on how you look at it, Rebecca made it out just in time. She lands on Earth and cracks her helmet. I was hoping she had seen The Martian until she just rips off the helmet anyway. Apparently, she doesn’t mind critical radiation levels. She sees people walking toward her and yells, “I’m here to help!” And fun fact: She’s wearing a spacesuit that says “Commander.” (!!!!)
NEXT: So how does this tie into Polaris…