The title of The 100 Season 2 Episode 11 is interesting. "Coup de Grace" typically refers to a death blow dealt to end someone's suffering when they are too weak to make it. Clarke mercy killing Finn comes to mind.
So why the choice to use this title tonight, when Bellamy's adventures at Mount Weather were most definitely more about strength than weakness?
Figuratively, a coup de grace can also refer to a final move that brings about another type of ending — and there were a couple power shifts at play tonight that resulted in pretty devastating final blows to the reigns of both Abby and President Wallace.
But how did we get here? It all starts with Bellamy Blake.
We finally get inside Mount Weather tonight. And after The 100 Season 2 Episode 10 fiasco at the intake door, we know things are not looking good for Bellamy. The harvesting process is pretty brutal, and while very few will complain about a shirtless Bellamy, we'd prefer he not be hanging unconscious from the ceiling, full of tubes.
Maya comes through big time, recognizing Bellamy as an Arker and saving his life. When they are discovered by Mountain Man guard Lovejoy, the inevitable fight results in Bellamy strangling the guard to death with his bare hands. In this moment, the violent act was necessary in order to save himself and his friends. He did what he had to do.
Bellamy: I need to get out of this cage.
Grounder Prisoner: And then what?
Bellamy: And then I kill everyone in this mountain.
Later, as Bellamy and Maya pass by the Mount Weather Preschool. Bellamy interacts with a little boy who comments on his security uniform and talks with pride about his dad, also on security detail. As the little boy turns away, we read the name on his backpack: Lovejoy.
It was an excruciating moment, but one that shows the constant struggle to remain strong, to make tough decisions, to do what needs to be done. In this moment, one reflects back on Lexa's leadership mantra, and it can be said, that to make the tough calls, she isn't wrong.
After quite the journey through Mount Weather, Bellamy finally makes contact with Clarke, and this moment was everything. It calls up their similar interactions in The 100 Season 2 Episode 9. He finds validation in her approval and respect. While this is clearly mutual, it means more to Bellamy since the last person to trust him was Octavia on the Ark, and although he had the best intentions, he let her down.
Having someone instill this level of trust in him is a motivating factor, and having it be Clarke — someone he respects just as much — makes theirs an even more important relationship.
You came through. I knew you would.Clarke
Speaking with Bellamy also gives Clarke a rejuvenated sense of purpose. To save him and the others, she is willing to do whatever it takes — even challenge her mother's leadership.
In a standout scene, she releases the Mountain Man prisoner and approaches the gates flanked by Indra and Octavia, who has adapted quite fantastically to the warrior life. Her plan to divert the attention of the Mountain Men with the potential of an outside attack, while Bell organizes an internal takedown, is a solid example of her leadership ability.
Clarke delivers this coup de grace to her mother's Chancellorship, publicly challenging her authority and asserting the power that she holds with the Grounders and Arkers.
You may be the Chancellor, but I'm in charge.Clarke
This power shift is doubled in the coup happening at Mount Weather. President Wallace, unable to stomach the harvesting of innocents — a move that can be read as weakness to those seeking power — is overthrown by his son.
"Coup de Grace" is another step towards the inevitable confrontation at Mount Weather, which is sure to be tragic, bloody and soul-shattering. With all of these power dynamics at play, the most important one seems to be within each individual.
Clarke: He's not going to talk.
Kane: He will if we open the door.
The power to lead comes at a cost, and the battle will be won by those who can find a middle ground between protecting the greater good and not losing their foothold in humanity.
Who will make it through the battle at Mount Weather physically and emotionally unscathed? (Not me!) What does Clarke's insurrection mean for Sky People leadership? What did you think of "Coup de Grace?"
There is plenty of time to catch up before next week, so be sure to watch The 100 online at TV Fanatic.