All season, it has felt like prime fiya was just around the corner, and now it really is. Although The 100 has wavered with some of its subplots, the urgency of this central story line has been fully felt in the characters’ actions and desperation. “The Chosen” begins in a state of chaos and anxiety that carries through the rest of the hour. Many of the interpersonal tensions and conflicts of the season — and even the whole series — are escalated in this penultimate episode.
After various solutions to the impending death wave failed, Skaikru is back to the problem of having to choose just 100 lives to save. Clarke couldn’t stop Bellamy last episode, so Octavia’s plan to share the bunker equally is back in action. Skaikru gets 100 slots just like everyone else. Kane, ever the diplomat, proposes a lottery. Jaha is naturally opposed, always advocating for his own people above all else, which doesn’t jibe too well with Octavia’s whole “one clan” proposal. When Kane proposes the lottery, Skaikru pushes back, just as Jaha warned. They turn on Niylah, attacking her and declaring that she shouldn’t be allowed to have one of their spots. This builds on the ever-evolving, persistent conflict between Skaikru and the Grounders. Niylah has been more of a plot device than an actual character all season, but it’s a telling scene that heightens the stakes even more.
Octavia intervenes, saving Niylah and promising her one of the slots. When Jaha incredulously points out that Octavia is “one of us,” she throws back in his face the fact that she had to hide under floorboards because of him, that her mother was floated because of him. Again, this builds on character work that has been unfolding since the beginning. Octavia has never felt like a part of Skaikru given the way she lived for the first 16 years of her life. Her ascension to a leadership position, her mission to unite the clans — she’s not doing these things just because of Lincoln. She’s doing them because, at her core, she doesn’t believe in drawing lines between “us” and “them.”
Meanwhile, Clarke, Bellamy, Murphy, and Emori set out to retrieve Raven. Good-byes between Clarke and Abby happen a lot on this show, and they’re always intense. This one is no exception, although I’m not totally sold on the redemption Abby offers Clarke. She tells her daughter that she was wrong when she said there were no good guys, assuring Clarke that she is one of the good guys. Their eventual conclusion that there are no good choices at the end of the world resonates, underscoring the precarious moral positions each of these characters constantly find themselves in as they fight to survive. But it also just seems like an easy way to excuse Clarke’s selfish behavior. The 100 is still weirdly touting Clarke as a hero, even as it’s becoming more and more clear that there are no real heroes in this story, so pushing Clarke as a “good guy” doesn’t work. Still, Clarke does have a genuine moment of redemption later on: When Emori’s suit is torn, Clarke takes off on her own despite not knowing if the nightblood will protect her.
Murphy and Emori’s ongoing story line also comes to a head when Murphy accuses Bellamy of sentencing them to death by opening the bunker door. They had spots when Skaikru took the bunker by force, and now they doubt they’ll be part of the 100 saved — especially since they aren’t part of the essential personnel who automatically have spots. Murphy and Emori have been fighting side-by-side all season, and their story has become increasingly compelling because it essentially reflects classism. Murphy suffered because of his parents’ lack of resources on the arc and that struggle has continued on Earth, where he and Emori are both treated as expendable.
The Raven rescue mission hits a bump when rogue Grounders attack the rover and try to steal their suits. Echo swoops in to save their lives, hoping to secure a spot in the island bunker alongside Murphy and Emori. Monty and Harper also arrive to help out the team, bringing everyone’s paths together, but Bellamy still doubts they’ll all be able to make it to the island and back with Raven in time, especially with more potential assailants out there. Clarke gives her suit to Emori, finally following through on the sacrifice she attempted to make a few episodes ago before Abby stopped her. Bellamy argues that they should abandon Raven and head back to Polis to have Abby try to generate more nightbloods in order to save more people. Clarke exhibits symptoms, but Luna did, too, taking several days to recover from the radiation when she was exposed. There isn’t enough time to fully test it. As they all know, time is finally running out. This entire season has felt like a ticking time bomb, but “The Chosen” layers it on thick.
Back in the bunker, Jaha leads an insurrection once the lottery begins. The Grounders easily choose 100 survivors, but Skaikru wants more and Jaha is prepared to give it to them. He tells Kane he wants to threaten to gas the Grounders in order to incapacitate them and then threaten to destroy their crops if they don’t make more room for Skaikru. It’s a terrible plan, and a part of Jaha knows that. Kane urges him to seek salvation, to maintain his humanity, and he eventually gets through to him. Jaha and Kane use the gas on their own people, seconds before Octavia and Indra lead an army of Grounders to take out her own people if necessary. (“My people, my responsibility” is a brilliant evolution of Bellamy’s “my sister, my responsibility” mantra.)
With the finale almost in sight, The 100’s fourth season has followed more of a circular path than an arc. The show has burned through failed Hail Mary after failed Hail Mary, just to end up where the season began. It’s a simple, satisfying story structure: It all comes back to Clarke’s list of 100 survivors. No matter what they tried to change about their fate, they’re stuck where they started. Prime fiya has left humanity with little control over what happens to the planet and to the human race. It’s the ultimate villain because it can’t be manipulated or stopped.
Of course, “The Chosen” still manages to throw in a final twist that changes everything. Bellamy, Clarke, Echo, Emori, Murphy, Monty, and Harper arrive at the lab, but they aren’t there to save Raven. They’re there to go to space. The 100 is going back to the beginning in an even bigger way. This crew is headed to space, hoping to use the remnants of the Arc to survive. The plan is a stretch, but it’s exciting nonetheless. While these last few episodes have been a little too redundant, the space mission intensifies the momentum heading into the finale by shaking things up. The idea that such a colorful team of disparate — and, in some cases, actively warring — characters are going to space together to save humanity feels very true to this show and its voice. If next week’s finale manages to accomplish the same, the season will save itself from a middling ending.