‘The 100’: Why [Spoiler] Had to Die

     May 3, 2017

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Well, that just happened. Have you recovered from tonight’s bloodbath on The 100?

If you haven’t watched “Die All, Die Merrily,” please turn away and return after you have watched this brutal hour. Major spoilers follow! 

The 100 has a history of building up to a major event or death and not taking the usual TV route of a last-minute save. The culling happened on the Ark. Finn (Thomas McDonell) was killed. Clarke (Eliza Taylor) massacred all the Mountain Men. Pike (Michael Beach) and his army took out an innocent Trikru camp. Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) was executed. That’s just a few of the tragic deaths that have occurred on the post-apocalyptic series.

The only surprising last-minute save that really sticks out was during the fight to the death between Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Roan (Zach McGowan). As the fight went on, I wondered, “Neither of them can die, right?” Yet, I knew that option rarely occurred on The 100. But in that case, the writers took the unusual route of a last-minute save of sorts. Instead of killing Roan, Lexa took out his mother, the Ice Queen. While it was an unexpected ending with a bending of the rules, a death was required and a life was taken.

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Image via The CW

When Clarke’s quest to become Commander failed and a conclave was called, I hoped that there would be another save. The 100 couldn’t– wouldn’t — kill off all but the victor, right? How could the series only find one survivor out of Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), Roan, Luna (Nadia Hilker) and Ilian (Chai Hansen)? With Praimfaya coming, someone would stop the battle before it ended, surely. They had to!

The 100 writers had a different plan. “Die All, Die Merrily,” written by Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntrye, was as nearly perfect as an episode like this could be. If anything, it all played out too perfectly. It was brutal and heartbreaking, yet the deaths had to happen, as painful as they were to witness. The most devastating death was avoided, however, when Octavia came out the victor.

Even though The 100 is a story of survival and about all the clans, Skaikru is the core and heart of this tale. Once again, Skaikru came out on top due to their wit, quick thinking and perseverance. Bellamy’s (Bob Morley) advice to Octavia helped her survive, as much as Octavia’s own survival instinct and fighting prowess. Octavia has gone from the girl under the floorboards to a warrior with a conscience and heart.

While her victory shouldn’t have been presumed, her death would have been too devastating. She still has a role to play in humanity’s survival. The brilliant unfolding of the conclave allowed Octavia to win the battle with her integrity and heart intact. She didn’t have to kill her ally, Roan, or her friend and lover, Ilian, for her own survival and victory.

Echo’s (Tasya Teles) decision to illicitly help Roan, while troubling overall, helped Octavia to victory. It would have been difficult for either Ilian or Octavia kill the other in battle. While they may not have been in love, they grew to trust and care about each other. In the end, Ilian and Octavia shared a brief, touching prayer before she killed him out of mercy. It was a sad, yet beautiful moment.

The most surprising death was Roan’s. He was the most formidable known warrior on the battlefield with undeniable strength, smarts, and perseverance. Those traits, plus his usual alliance with Skaikru, made him the most likely to partner with Octavia and make it out alive. A Hunger Games-like ending was not in the cards though. There was no last minute compromise or save.

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Image via The CW

In the end, it was Roan’s commitment to his people and resolve that led to his death. The factors which made Roan and Luna’s fight so perfectly written were planted throughout the season. There was no love between these two, and Roan taking out Luna was necessary to not only save his people, but to save humanity.

Instead of seeking safety from the Black Rain, Roan took his shot at Luna and didn’t give up. Unfortunately, he never had a chance. One-on-one, Roan likely could have taken Luna out, but she had an advantage that he couldn’t overcome. She was a Natblida, which left her unaffected by the Black Rain, so she was able to use the contaminated water to overcome and take out the King. That was only way she could have defeated him.

Octavia put her brother’s advice into action to kill Luna by hiding and setting a trap for the Natblida. Instead of attacking Luna, Octavia tricked her into letting her guard down and impaled her from behind. Luna was Octavia’s battlefield kill to victory.

All the death was heartbreaking to endure, but these warriors put their lives on the line in the conclave to prevent hundreds of their own people from dying in a war and in an attempt to save them from Praimfaya.

Octavia’s victory was a win not only for Skaikru, but for all the clans when she proclaimed that the Crypt of the First Commander would be shared by them all. Lincoln would have been proud of her. However, Skaikru had different plans.

Were all those deaths on the battlefield for naught? Octavia risked her life to save Skaikru and in return, they stole the bunker and left her (and Kane!) on the outside to die from Praimfaya. After all the lives saved by the conclave, did Skaikru bring death upon themselves if the bunker door is opened? As always, The 100 is about survival and that leads people to make unimaginable decisions.

The deaths were tragic and will forever alter the dynamic on the series, but they were necessary. This is a story of sacrifice, death and survival. All three of those were present on the conclave battlefield. In typical The 100 fashion, there wasn’t a last-minute save and that’s what makes this series special and devastating to watch.

With three episodes left and Praimfaya on the way, it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last deaths of the season. May we meet again!

In honor of the dead: Your fight is over.

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