‘Praimfaya’

In the words of Clarke Griffin, survival is a team sport, and The 100’s season four finale made sure that team sport was realised as an exciting, thrilling and brilliantly entertaining race against time. As the Death Wave gets ever closer, ‘Praimfaya’ begins with Raven listing all the ways the characters could die today – as well as all the reasons their plan to live on the Ark for five years will likely fail – before enforcing a 90-minute time limit on turning the odds in their favour. It delivered a never-ending stream of obstacles, problems and heartaches, and it wouldn’t be The 100 if there weren’t a few difficult decisions to make too, but what it gave us was a tense, gripping episode with superb character interactions – and a strong enough finale to end this season on a real high.The episode wastes no time in outlining its mission goals and giving everyone a job to do, so the character’s split up to perform each task and tackle each new problem as it arises. Murphy and Monty’s pairing to get the oxygen scrubber from the bunker was an interesting one, not least because the last time either of these characters spent a decent amount of time together was back in season one, when Murphy wanted to kill Jasper after he was hit by the spear. It’s the kind of throwback moment The 100 has loved this season, but it did give Monty and Murphy some big dramatic moments, as well as a touching payoff later in the episode as Murphy goes back to save Monty.

Echo, too, was given a bit more of an opportunity for development in suffering a crisis of belonging, choosing to kill herself on the ground rather than go into space where she feels like she doesn’t belong. In the grand scheme of the episode, it was a moment that felt a little too rushed and not altogether important enough to justify, but it was a side to Echo we haven’t seen much before, and it did also give Bellamy another big leader moment.And, really, it was Bellamy, along with Clarke and Raven, who was the strength of this episode. Bellamy and Clarke in particular have been through a lot to make it to this point, and as Clarke begins to believe Abby’s vision that she won’t survive the radiation, it paves the way for a lot of touching moments between the pair, as well as a quick-paced series of heart wrenching decisions playing out against each other at the episode’s pinnacle. The early talk between the pair, with Clarke encouraging Bellamy to use his head as well as his heart, was something that had to quickly be put into action upon the pair’s separation, made all the more heartbreaking in the light of everything that came before it – and the fact that Bellamy and Clarke usually always make better decisions together.But Clarke has been heading down this road of self-sacrifice for a while now, so her telling Bellamy and Raven not to wait for her as she climbed up the satellite tower to manually operate the dish wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a sad inevitability, heightened by the race to launch the rocket, meaning the rest of the gang had to leave her behind. It did, however, give Bellamy the chance to think with his head, putting the survival of his people above his own desire to stay and wait for Clarke.

In the end, what we’re left with is Bellamy and Raven leading the group in space, hoping and praying that Clarke manages to send the signal that turns the Ark’s power on before they run out of oxygen and die anyway, resulting in a nerve-wracking sequence of Clarke racing against the Death Wave on the ground, and the gang in space racing against their depleting oxygen supply. And you can’t talk about the end of The 100’s world without mentioning that truly gorgeous moment where Bellamy and Raven stare out the Ark window at the destroyed earth, promising to make sure Clarke’s sacrifice was worth it and vowing to work together and do everything it takes to survive, as always.Praimfaya’ was one of the series’ most focused episodes, and it was a decision that helped produce a tightly-plotted storyline with everything to play for. But it did also touch base with Octavia and the bunker at the very beginning in a very bittersweet gratifying moment for the Blake siblings with Octavia finally telling Bellamy she loves him right as their connection cuts and they’re separated from each other for years to come. There was also a wonderfully self-aware comment from Octavia about her story coming full circle too. “I’ll be waiting,” she says. “Under the floor.”When The 100 sets up a storyline that leads to the end of the world, we should expect them to follow through, so not only did we end season four with the literal end of the world as the Death Wave hits, but the epilogue also set up a very new world for future episodes too. Clarke’s survival was pretty much a certainty, but the fact that it was six years and seven days (or 2,199 days to be specific) that had passed since praimfaya and that those in the bunker haven’t emerged or those in the ark haven’t returned were intriguing new developments with plenty of material to explore in the show’s fifth season. And then, of course, there was the arrival of the prisoner transport ship at the very end, bringing the series more or less full circle from the pilot, only this time Clarke is the grounder, and the Eligius corp transport ship are the invaders from space posing a threat, and it shifts the show’s entire perspective.Praimfaya’ wrapped up a run of brilliant episodes for The 100, and proved to be a thrilling conclusion to an exciting – and deadly – season. There were still a lot of questions left unanswered by the season’s end, mainly to do with the situation in the bunker, and a lot of threads to pick up on when the series returns, especially with a six year time jump to contend with too. But as far as season finales go, or even episodes of TV shows in general, The 100’s season four finale was an action-packed and exciting one, complete with poignant and notable character beats and interesting new developments for everything to follow.

★★★★★