“From the ashes we will rise” has been the tagline for The 100’s fourth season. As Monty discovers in this week’s episode, titled “God Complex”, it’s also a clue to reaching salvation. He puts Jaha’s coin in the fire, which melts and transforms it into a key, allowing access to the newly discovered fallout bunker.
“God Complex” explores the concept of faith in a time of crisis. What better crisis is there to explore than the end of the world? Jaha’s mission to find the fallout bunker begins after he overhears a member of Arkadia repeating a prayer. This prayer features the very same line, “from the ashes we will rise.” This sets off a string of clues for Jaha to find the bunker’s location. To reach it, he must venture into hostile territory, but he doesn’t want warriors for his trip. Instead, he recruits Kane and Monty, “thinkers not fighters.”
As we’ve seen with the endless cycle of war, fighting will only get you so far in this world. Jaha instead chooses to rely on faith. He’s done so in the past with his search for the City of Light, which certainly did not end well. But strong faith will persist in the face of failure and increasingly poor odds. Jaha’s resolve is a testament to that. From his unlikely landing on Earth in season two, to his latest game-changing discovery, Jaha continues to persevere – not through fighting, but through believing.
Before Jaha and his group open the hatch, they notice a line of text on the door. It translates to “sanctuary lies within.” This is also more than just a motto. It’s a sentiment that Jasper, of all people, has lived by all season long. In this episode, he forces Bellamy to follow him out into the forest beyond Arkadia. The purpose is to help Bellame let go of his guilt. Jasper wants him to stop making justifications, and give up trying to fix the past. Jasper tells him, “at the end of the world, nobody gives a damn about your reasons.”
During the trip, Jasper recalls another motto, this one from the series’ very first episode. He reminds Bellame that he can do “whatever the hell he wants.” According to Jasper, the world is still beautiful. Of course, this seems like an absurd statement given everything we’re witnessing on screen. A funeral takes place in Arkadia with a row of bodies lined up outside. The skies are still dark in the aftermath of the black rain storm. But Jasper refuses to see any of this.
In season one, when the prisoners initially landed on earth, every breath of fresh air was taken as a luxury, and appreciated to its fullest. As of late, Jasper can often be a frustrating character to watch, as his moods and actions conflict with the current state of the world. By essentially giving up on survival, and accepting his own demise, he’s able to strip away all of the devastation that surrounds him and appreciate the world one last time for what it used to be. Jasper’s salvation lies within himself, and for at least a brief moment this week, Bellame finds his own salvation too.
Meanwhile, Clarke makes a dramatic leap in the faith when he injects herself with Nightblood. Earlier in the episode, she and Roan discuss the burdens of leadership. Clarke grows increasingly uncertain about her decisions, as lives continue to be lost and the possibility of a cure seems less likely. Clarke and Abby contemplate testing the Nightblood cure on another subject once a new variable is discovered.
It’s a similar scenario to last week, only this time it becomes more personal and less ethical. Emori’s lie is revealed to the group, making her the next person in line to become a subject. Murphy begs and pleads on Emori’s behalf, while Raven reminds everyone of the parallels between their current situation and the events of Mount Weather.
Roan tells Clarke that “certainty is a luxury leaders don’t have.” No difficult moral decisions carry certainty, or else they would not be difficult. Leaders make choices for the greater good, and Clarke has always had this understanding. Abby, on the other hand, is unable to resort to the same measures as her daughter. She breaks the testing machine before Clarke can put her life in danger, squandering yet another chance for a cure.