The 100, Season 2, Episode 12, “Rubicon”
Written by Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyre
Directed by Mairzee Almas
Airs Wednesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
On this week’s The 100, Clarke is forced to make a hard sacrifice, Jaha and Murphy continue toward the City of Light, and Bellamy enlists the help of Jasper and Dante.
The 100 is no stranger to throwing heavy, morally-ambiguous situations at its characters and then watching them struggle with the decisions they’ve made; “Rubicon” gives Clarke perhaps her biggest ethical dilemma yet (even more so than mercy-killing Finn), and this is only the beginning of the war against the Mountain Men.
Eliza Taylor, as per usual, absolutely slays in this episode. Taylor clearly understands the nuances of Clarke, and she expertly displays Clarke’s internal conflict as Clarke moves from one hard decision to the next. However, the aftermath of the Mountain Men’s attack is when Taylor truly gets to shine; “Rubicon” closes, rightly so, on Clarke’s expression of abject horror and shock as she stares down the fatal cost of her decision-making. Welcome to leadership on the ground, Clarke. The other star of the episode is Paige Turco, whose expression of utter disbelief and, yes, horror, as she realizes what her daughter’s done is traumatizing and brilliant. The final five minutes of the episode are just insanely good, and it’s mainly because of the performances of Turco and Taylor.
Like Clarke and Abby, Jaha and Murphy have a very fascinating dynamic. The pair work well together, but there’s clearly some push and pull over who’s actually in charge–for now, they seem content with remaining teammates. The 100 has always done a great job pairing off different characters for maximum character development, and Jaha and Murphy are one of the best pairs currently together on the show. Plus, the shot of Jaha, Murphy, and the other Sky People framed by the moon as they climb a dune is a lovely shot, and a nice reminder of the hope and wonder they feel toward the City of Light.
While not the highlight of the episode (that would be Clarke and Paige and the missile), Bellamy, Raven, and Jasper’s cautious attempts to ignite a war are almost as intriguing. Bellamy’s proving himself to be a very capable and determined soldier–he’s good at making logical decisions and pushing through emotional trauma (like his worry for Octavia’s safety) to get the job done. Bellamy, like his sister, has perhaps developed the most since the show’s pilot, and it’s been very satisfying to watch him organically transform into who he is becoming. The Sky People are lucky to have him. Jasper and Raven, too, are turning into assets in their own rights (though Raven has been an asset since the pilot, thanks to her technical know-how and her drive). Some of the best leaders are born under pressure, and Jasper is slowly growing into a smart and headstrong leader.
“Rubicon” succeeds by doing what The 100 does best: challenging and pushing its characters to do what they must to survive. The character development is especially rich right now–as the characters gear for war–and it’s a treat to watch them navigate their harsh world and the situations that arise from living in it.