Okay, I saw it coming, you saw it coming. The foreshadowing in the last few weeks was so thick we were constantly wiping it from our faces. The clues were obvious, Finn would pay for his actions one way or another with his life. He even said it in last week’s episode after Lincoln was cured. “He won’t be the same. The things he’s done, it’ll stay with him.” Finn was clearly referring to himself, but Clarke still gave us some hope when she said that if Lincoln could be saved, and so could Finn. I guess in a way, if you really think about it, Finn was saved. Yes, it was totally heartbreaking and many tears were shed, but there is bittersweet in this tragic scenario.
Yes, deaths like Finn’s are supposed to hurt, and as attached as many of us have become to him, it’ll sting for a while. But that was exactly the point of “Spacewalker,” to show how one death can have such an impact. As Lincoln said at Camp Jaha, “If death has no cost, life has no worth.” For Finn, those he touched will truly mourn his passing, but they will be carrying on the fight. It can be said that Finn’s legacy and memory have given their lives plenty of worth.
I love how this episode carried on triumphantly with one of the major themes this season. Actions are defining these characters, and this week they weren’t limited to all that’s happened since that drop ship hit the ground. For Finn, it all goes back when the Ark was still floating in space. We finally got to see what did get Finn send to prison and ultimately to the ground, and the story suddenly fits with everything we’ve seen from Finn so far. He’s never seemed like the reckless type that would go out on a spacewalk for no reason. The fact that it was Raven who went on the illegal walk and Finn covered up the mess that resulted from it (a breach in the door seal that let out valuable oxygen) because he was a minor and she wasn’t, reinforces for us the good gentle soul behind the man. Raven would have been floated, so at least Finn gave them both a chance. But by taking that action, a different set of consequences emerged, ones that no one could have possibly guessed. Seems to be a common problem among our characters this season, don’t you think?
Look what happened because Finn was sent to earth. He was instrumental in the fight against the grounders and helping others survive, but it all took its toll on this otherwise mild mannered being. His dedication to others, especially his love for Clarke, led to his own unraveling. But in the end he stood up and did what was right, surrendering himself at the drop ship to save his friends. He was even willing to save Murphy, not buying into Raven’s twisted plan to give Murphy up instead of him to the Grounders. Sure, we know that ultimately he surrendered to save Clarke, but I’d like to think he had the others in mind as well. His act has given his people and the Grounders a chance at peace. He knew the countless lives he was saving by living up to his terrible act.
Whether that peace holds will all play out in future episodes, but Finn left an indelible impression that others will never forget, especially Clarke and Raven. His loss may surely define them. Even Bellamy and Murphy will take something away from his sacrifice. He won’t be forgotten, and he went out earning forgiveness from the one person that mattered most to him. I predicted that Clarke would use that knife on Finn instead of the commander like Raven had wished, but the way the entire scene was framed was nothing short of a masterpiece, so it didn’t matter. The lighting, the gut wrenching acting by both Thomas O’Donnell and Eliza Taylor, the total tenderness between the two as Finn slowly slipped away, leaving a devastated Clarke in tears but with assurance that she had saved her people, so bittersweet. I can’t think of a more sensational way to send out a character. There’s no senselessness in the act.
Finn: I’ve killed so many people.
Clarke: Finn, the things we’ve done to survive, they don’t define us.
Finn: What if you’re wrong? What if this is who we are now?
Did Clarke tell the truth and kiss Finn in that tender goodbye because she truly did love him, or was she doing it to grant the last wishes of a man about to be executed? I think that she truly did love him, even though she realistically knew it would never work out between the two of them. Clarke is barely holding things together for her own sake and inviting another into her world is a luxury she can’t afford. But none her true feelings mattered because she had to make the hard choice and spare Finn a horrible brutal death, taking it upon herself to give him a peaceful one instead. She was the only one that could do it. Her act of mercy (and likely love) is arguably the best possible outcome for Finn given the circumstances, but no doubt it’s going to haunt her through all her days. Is this what she’s truly become? Has she accepted that this is who she is from now on?
It’s interesting, but of all the characters the one that’s come closest to seeing things the way Finn did is Kane. He too realized that in order to earn favor with the Grounders, an act of sacrifice was in order. Remember his conversation with Jaha in “The Fog of War?”
Kane: If we truly want peace, they told us how to get it.
Jaha: Through murder?
Kane: Through sacrifice.
Finn eventually saw what Kane did (even if the motivations were different), sacrifice was the only answer. Without it, people will keep dying. Unlike Finn though, Kane was spared. He still has things left to accomplish. His fight isn’t over. His people will definitely need to benefit from his wisdom and new found appreciation from the Grounders. The fact that there is a fracture in the ranks of the Grounders means that the having allies with people like Kane might benefit Lexa when there’s a revolt in her own ranks. But, I’m getting way ahead.
Even though the outcome was pretty obvious, I couldn’t help but hold out hope that Finn would somehow make it out of this. Clinging onto that hope left my stomach in knots the entire hour. I felt the agony those characters felt, knowing that despite all efforts, the inevitable couldn’t be stopped. Even Lexa, the leader of the Grounders, couldn’t stop what must be done, even though her humanity told her otherwise. It’s again glimpses of all the horrible choices Jaha and Kane had to make in season one. Parallels galore! I adore how her character is being written sympathetic. Humanizing the enemy makes the complexity of the fight more real. We see this with Dante Wallace too. They must do what’s right for their people, even if it’s morally wrong.
This theme of actions defining them has stretched to all the characters, both primary and secondary, and each one is a fascinating study. Abby is facing the tough choices and learning about the no win situations. She refused to back down and surrender control when Jaha arrived, and she didn’t give in when Kane did either (who else squealed happy noises when Kane stepped out of that forest?). She refused this time to sacrifice others for the greater good. It’s a new world and floating people because of limited resources isn’t a choice that has to be made anymore. In the end though, despite her resolve, she accepted the inevitable, just like the leader of the Grounders. That’s the mark of a great leader, knowing when to back down. It’s something Clarke and Raven still need to learn. Clarke certainly gets a lot of her resolve from Abby. She constantly fought for Finn, even though she couldn’t give him forgiveness until the end. She didn’t see eye to eye with her mother, but the scene of them holding hands as the Grounders surrounded them was a gorgeous show of solidarity. They’re both terrified but their resolve is true. They will do everything they must to survive.
All in all, I can honestly say that “Spacewalker,” written by writer extraordinare Bruce Miller, is one of the best damn things I’ve seen on television all year. It had the whole package. His skill of layering the themes perfectly in between the complex character interactions is mind boggling considering how it all came together and unfolded so seamlessly. We were too gripped and emotionally involved in the story to notice episode construction and production quality, and that’s why this episode was that good. That’s how it’s supposed to be. I’m devastated over the loss of Finn, but given what happened a few weeks ago, this scenario sends him off in the most peaceful was possible. His fight is over. Now we get to see others carry on in his name. His death will not be in vain. Life does have worth. Man, I love this show.