On the D/L – The 100
Season 2 Episode 8 – “Spacewalker”
The 100 is over with for 2014 and the focus is on resolving Finn’s storyline as well as setting things up for the next part of the season.
“Spacewalker” opens with Clarke returning to Camp Jaha armed with the knowledge that the only way to prevent a shooting war is turning Finn over to them for execution. There’s not much time to do this as Grounders stand outside the camp chanting “blood for blood”.
This naturally produces some friction between the residents of the camp but Finn seems to be protected by the rest of the “kids” who believe in making sure he doesn’t die at all costs. I appreciated the sentiment in this regard but it’s a continuation of the existing problem that Finn’s murder spree has been all but shrugged off by everyone despite the fact that it happened really recently. It’s maybe a symptom of the fact that The 100 has a shorter run of episodes than many of its contemporaries but it’s still something that had a lot of dramatic potential and I wouldn’t have minded seeing it play out for that little bit longer.
I did appreciate that the decision was not something that was taken lightly. To simply turn Finn over without any sense of remorse wouldn’t have been realistic but neither would flat refusal. I liked that it was an issue that was debated extensively by all concerned and I found it interesting that the “kids” weren’t included in the discussion. Abby did recently learn that Clarke should not be underestimated but that hasn’t yet extended to involving her in leadership discussions.
By extension that would apply to Bellamy and the others. This was played as a slap in the face and rightly so since they have all gotten used to making their own decisions, defending themselves and looking out for each other so to have someone step in and exclude them from that process would be frustrating.
On the same token it would be a bit neat if Abby suddenly accepted Clarke and Bellamy as community leaders and talked to them as equals. This will take time to develop and it’s great that the writers seem to be aware of that. It’ll be interesting to see how this divide will grow across the rest of the season.
The episode is under absolutely no illusions over what it is. Finn is on his way out here and this is made blindingly obvious pretty early on. We are reminded of his good qualities through flashbacks that he shares with Raven. It’s a refreshing change of pace to see The Ark again and by comparison it definitely feels like a more innocent time and there’s some genuine warmth to the scenes.
One thing that is shown very well is Finn’s altruistic nature and the relationship he once had with Raven. In the first flashback Finn is supporting her as she prepares to take the Zero G test. Everything Finn does and says is completely focused on supporting Raven and putting her at ease when she’s nervous.
My favourite scene was probably when Finn broke the rules to let Raven experience a spacewalk after she failed the medical examination and was prevented from achieving her dream. The spacewalk is a visually striking scene and brings a rare sense of wonder to the show as well as being wonderfully serene. Moments like this are few and far between due to the nature of the storytelling but they do exist. I like that they are used sparingly because it makes them more effective. It was great to see Raven so excited and in awe of what she’s experiencing. As I said above it evokes a more innocent time and a reminder of the beauty that exists in life. I do hope to see more optimistic moments like this.
Unfortunately the serene moment ends pretty much the opposite way. Something goes horribly wrong and the only way to bring Raven back on board is to let out a significant amount of oxygen which of course is classed as pretty much the worst crime that exists in this society. Raven being 18 at this point would have been instantly put to death so Finn offers to take responsibility since he is only 17 and has a better chance of survival. He does this without hesitation and won’t take no for an answer. Again this is an obvious attempt to remind audiences that Finn was once a really good guy and deserves some sympathy for what he’s about to go through. I’m not complaining though as I think it worked really well and was a nice callback to the Finn we saw in the early episodes. Seeing how futile this sacrifice was when the decision to exclude Raven from Zero G work was overruled was a great knife twisting moment.
Eliza Taylor’s performance in this episode was fantastic. She was playing Clarke burdened with lots of responsibility and a real sense of desperation about everything she did. She spends the episode towing a very thin moral line and searching frantically for the right answer but being unable to find it. There’s a subtle arc towards her acceptance of the situation that there’s nothing she can really do but she holds out hope until the very last minute, even going so far as to offer herself to experience the same fate due to her being responsible for lots of Grounder deaths as well. She needs more time to help Finn work through the consequences of his actions but she’s simply not going to get it from The Grounders.
All of the different elements culminate in an emotionally wrenching final scene which has Finn strung up for a ceremonial Grounder execution. Lincoln explicitly states earlier in the episode what that involves and how prolonged a process this will be. It’s also interesting to note that Lexa doesn’t necessarily want things to end this way but has to go through with it to retain the respect of her people. Lincoln’s use of one of The Grounder mottos “If death has no cost, life has no worth” particularly resonates here. It’s clear that on a cultural level The Grounders see this as something that is almost sacred.
The complexity of Lexa’s views on this is shown through her conversation with Clarke when a last ditch attempt is made to beg for Finn’s life. Naturally the answer is no but Lexa is clearly conflicted over this decision but feels that her hands are tied by tradition. It was great that she offered what compromises she could by letting Clarke say goodbye.
Clarke’s goodbye to Finn has so much finality too it and I thought it was really good how she chose to lie to him about the extent of her feelings in his final moments and give him some kind of comfort. The revelation that she had actually killed him was quite shocking but also completely in character. It was clearly something that Clarke had been preparing for and was even a little unsure that she could actually go through it. Seeing her hand and shirt stained with Finn’s blood was a really powerful image showing just how connected she is to this and how much of a stain it will leave on her. As well as the obvious symbolism of her literally having Finn’s blood on her hands. Finn’s understanding that this was as merciful as it gets was a nice ending to his character.
There was some awkwardness in how Finn’s exit was handled. Most of it was to do with the reveal that he took the fall for a crime to save Raven’s life. Murphy referred to Finn as “Spacewalker” which I think was the first time he had done so despite the fact that it’s such a casual namedrop implying that everyone calls him that. Also, the mention of Finn being responsible for The Ark losing a significant amount of oxygen before we see it in the flashback is somewhat clumsy. It seems to be the first reference of this that I can remember so it does seem to come out of nowhere. In the grand scheme of things these are really small but they did stand out slightly.