The 100 is no stranger to an explosive finale, and after this week’s intense penultimate outing, it’s probably time to start placing bets on your survivors. As skaikru prepare to pick their 100 survivors, ‘The Chosen’ launches with a deliberately bewildering crowd scene that showed the sky people being denied their chance to survive and set the stage for a whole other world of chaos and rebellion with it. With Bellamy and Clarke setting out to save Raven from Becca’s lab and Kane and Abby in charge of picking the 100 members who will survive, just like all the grounder clans before them, this episode quickly became a race against time and the dramatic stakes could not be higher, continuing with the show’s new trend of delivering one brilliant episode after another as we head into the final stretch.And so, we should start with the chosen themselves – Abby, Kane and Jaha, and just how exactly you go about choosing which quarter of your population gets to live. It’s a position they’ve been in before – in season one with the culling, earlier this season when Arkadia was their only viable solution – but they’re still left with the same dilemma of whether to be practical or hold a lottery and let chance decide. Either way, skaikru are angry, arguing (rightly) that they’re the ones who found the bunker, they’re the ones who know how to run it and they should get more places, which puts them in direct opposition with Wonkru’s new leader Octavia, who gets some brilliant moments here as she settles into her leadership role. Between protecting Niylah in a nice throwback to the scenes they shared earlier this season and delivering some harsh truths right back at Jaha when he urges her to ‘do right by her people’, Octavia is learning to become a champion and a leader in her own right, and it sets the stage for some fascinating bunker politics over the five years they’ll be living there.But as brilliant as it is to see all of Octavia’s badassery, there’s no getting around the pure, human emotions of the skaikru people as they learn they’re about to lose the safe place they thought they would survive the Death Wave in – and The 100 isn’t shy about delivering those poignant moments either. Abby’s emotional decision that she doesn’t deserve to be saved after all the things she’s done was beautifully done and played out devastatingly well against Kane’s pleas for her to change her mind, while the fear and anger of the people rose in a short-lived and ill-planned rebellion that you can’t help but empathise with. But the most heartbreaking moment of all was when David Miller gave up his spot in the lottery for his son Nate, effectively signing his own death warrant in the process, and then wrenching hearts further when Nate is picked after all and his dad tells him: “It’s going to be wonderful, Nate. You’re going to rebuild the world.”Also heading out into this brave, new, nuclear winter-draped world is Bellamy and Clarke, on a mission to find Raven and bring her back to the bunker as one of the Skaikru’s ‘essential personnel’. There are 23 hours until the Death Waves hits, and it takes 20 hours to get to the lab and back, leaving no room for error amidst a team where tensions are close to breaking point after Clarke pulled a gun on Bellamy and Bellamy cut Murphy and Emori’s chances for survival considerably when he decided to open the bunker door. There were some big character moments here – Abby and Clarke’s goodbye and Murphy confronting Bellamy for starters – but Bellamy and Clarke’s dynamic is always the most compelling, and their big discussion this week was long overdue in the grand scheme of things.This episode alone Bellamy calls out Clarke for being willing to let their friends outside the bunker die and Clarke reflects on her favourite no-good-choices argument, while later on Clarke chooses to test her nightblood by giving Emori her helmet to protect her from radiation exposure, leaving Bellamy visibly concerned. Bellamy and Clarke have proved time and time again that they make the best decisions when they work together and last week’s blip aside, their partnership tends to prevail. Which is how we end up with rag-tag group of Grounders and skaikru in Bellamy, Clarke, Monty, Harper, Emori, Murphy and Echo rallying together to join Raven and try and find a way for all of them to survive, despite missing the window to get back to the bunker safely – because, as Bellamy says, you can’t let a good rocket go to waste, so they’re going back to the Ark.It’s a very dramatic lead-in to the season 4 finale, and a brilliantly exciting way of bringing the series full circle at the end of a season that has devoted a lot of time to calling back to seasons past. With the problem of choosing the skaikru survivors more or less solved by the end of ‘The Chosen’ thanks to Clarke’s list, the Mountain Men’s gas canisters and Kane’s appealing to Jaha and preventing a bloodbath, the finale feels free to focus on the desperate plan to get to space and solve the problems of food, water, oxygen and finding the fuel they need to get back to Earth again.
It’s clear that The 100 is setting up a whole new world here, and the whole idea of saying goodbye to what we’ve known for four seasons is both daunting and invigorating. ‘The Chosen’ delivered another fantastic episode of high drama, high stakes and tough choices – and if the past lot of episodes is any indication at all, The 100’s finale is going to be another wonderful thrill ride from start to finish. In the words of Raven Reyes: “That Death Wave can kiss my ass.”