The 100 recap: Russell Prime's fate hangs in the balance
It says a lot about a show when a literal nuclear meltdown isn't even the A-plot of the episode. That’s The 100 for ya!
Although, it certainly didn’t feel like a B-plot to Raven, who got a little taste of what it’s like to be Clarke Griffin. Let’s start there: We learn there’s a nuclear reactor powering Sanctum, and it’s not doing well. James, whom we met briefly in season 6, just wants to get busy with a pretty Sanctum lady when it malfunctions. He thinks he can fix it — he can’t, and they both end up dead.
When the power goes out, Raven and Emori go to figure out what’s wrong and quickly see the problem. In layman’s terms: There are four rods that need to go down, and because they’re stuck up, two pipes are leaking. Temperatures are rising, and if it hits, 1,500 degrees, “Bye, bye, Sanctum.”
The good news? Raven has a plan. The rods are in the inner room, where radiation levels are incredibly high. They will need to be pushed down by someone who can handle that amount, a.k.a. a nightblood. Luckily, they have three: Clarke, Murphy, and Emori. They’ll also need four people with welding experience to help fix the burst pipes. Those areas aren’t as high in radiation, but the exposure will leave whoever does that job puking for a few days. Raven wants to use Wonkru for the job, but when they disband (more on that later), she goes to the only other option: Eligius III prisoners.
Cut to the prisoners, who are grumbling about their arrangements. The prison couple we met last episode, who I refer to in my notes as Nikki and Paolo, are arguing about what’s really going on: The guy, she calls him Hatch, says he trusts that they’ll be able to enjoy the new compound they’re building, but the woman says they’re just being used. But maybe he doesn’t mind being used if there’s a reward: For all the “jo juice” he can drink, he agrees to bring his crew to help Raven.
Down in the radiation room, Raven lies and tells Hatch that he and his men will be fine and there’s no radiation. Murphy and Emori give her side-eye, but she says that’s the only way to get them to agree. But they can’t think about that for long: Emori goes into the radiation room to lower the rods. She has a minute to get all four down, and she does it with no time to spare.
As soon as she gets out of decontamination, she starts vomiting. And then Murphy does, too. Just as Raven realizes the radiation is leaking at a higher level than she thought, one of the prisoners goes down. Hatch asks her what’s going on, and she says it’s xenon gas making them dizzy. Emori doesn’t want to leave them in there to die, but Raven says they’re already dead if they don’t stay in to finish the job — and she doesn’t think they’d do the job if they knew the truth.
Hatch tells her he needs more nitrogen, and when Murphy takes it in, Raven locks him in. “Go be a cockroach,” she tells him. As he helps Hatch weld the final leak shut, we learn the prisoner’s story. (If you were screaming, “quit talking, get working” at the TV during this, you are not alone.) Hatch is no dummy: He knows xenon gas isn't taking out his fellow prisoners. He also knows that if they don’t finish, his wife won’t survive either. “No matter what, we get this done,” he tells Murphy.
Oh, and his wife? Her name just happens to be Nikki. HER NAME IS ACTUALLY NIKKI. The writers must have done this on purpose, right!?
Anyway, he tells Murphy they were bank robbers … until they turned into murderers. Nikki shot two cops during a robbery, so they decided to execute the hostages to eliminate witnesses. You guys. Nikki and Paolo were diamond thieves and murderers. And may I remind you that a HATCH played a big role in that other show I can’t stop talking about in this recap. These 100 writers are either very intentionally paying homage to Lost or I’ve been recapping this show too long and have lost my mind.
Back to Hatch and Murphy: They seem to be taking their time welding while Raven shouts out the rising numbers, getting wildly close to 1,500. After hearing Hatch’s story, Murphy says this could make up for his past sins. “There’s no making up for it,” Hatch says. Outside the door, Raven watches the dial hit 1,500 before starting to drop. “You’re welcome,” Hatch yells at her before dropping dead.
Raven is devastated as she drags all the bodies out. “Welcome to the world of gray,” Murphy tells her. And just then, Nikki comes in and sees her dead husband. She snaps and beats Raven to a pulp. I have a feeling we’ve got a new rivalry on our hands.
But let’s talk about our main rivalry of the episode: Clarke and Russell. After Clarke and Gaia bury Abby’s rings and the commander’s Mind Drive, Indra tells them they have to prepare for Russell’s execution. They’re being “generous” and letting him choose his own method of death for that evening. He says he’d like to burn in a pyre — he doesn’t want a fast death because he wants his people to feel and understand his death so they can move on.
Sure, he’s all harmony and kumbaya on the outside, but on the inside, we know he’s Sheidheda. But his followers don’t, and that’s why they’re planning to do something to stop the execution. Jordan gets wind of it and tries to convince Russell to tell his people to step down. But Sheidheda as Russell is conniving: He tries to appeal to Jordan’s “do better” nature and make him feel guilty about what Clarke is doing.
Clarke has other things on her mind at the moment though, like getting Wonkru to help Raven with the nuclear reactor. Indra speaks for Madi, saying the commander needs volunteers, but they’re not buying it. Indra says she’ll go find Madi, but Gaia decides this is the moment to come clean. She has faith in her people to handle the truth, but that faith may have been misplaced.
When she says there is no longer a commander, Wonkru demands to know why. She explains how Sheidheda had taken hold of Madi and she couldn’t let “that monster” destroy her, so she eliminated him and the chip altogether. Well, that angers Sangedakru, who says that he was their greatest commander ever and storms out.
Wonkru falling apart is not great. If a revolt breaks out over Russell’s death, there’s no longer a united front to stop it. Because of this, Indra says they should let Russell speak to quell his own people. Clarke agrees, but tells him if he says one thing out of line, Indra will put a bullet in his head. She’s not subtle.
“Russell” is again all about peace. He tells his people to let his death heal this place and not to take revenge. “Either we live together or die apart,” he says. (I MEAN.) He doesn’t get to finish his speech, though, because someone from the crowd shoots him. Jackson rushes him to medical to save him. And Indra is all business: She tells Clarke that they can’t execute him now. If they did, the faithful would have a martyr and Sanctum would implode.
And that’s exactly what Sheidheda wants: As he gets treatment, one of his faithful brings him a cookie for healing. (My kind of medicine!) She whispers, “You were right about Jordan. He did exactly what you predicted he would.” Getting shot to thwart his own/Russell’s execution was always his plan.
Only time will tell what the rest of his devious plans are — and if they will cause Clarke to abandon her resolution to stop the cycle of fighting and killing. But one thing’s for sure: Sangedakru is going to be psyched to have their long-lost commander back.