That radio scene is a lot
That radio scene would be significant anyway but what really
makes my hair stand on end is that not only is it decidedly shippy, but it is
the last thing we see this season. The last scene/shot of the season works as a
kind of launchpad for the season to come – setting up both the big bad and
giving a general indication of our heroes’ character/relationship trajectiory.
The last scene of season we’re left with is Clarke, missing Bellamy, calling out into the void and hoping he’ll come back. It’s Clarke trying to reconnect with a Bellamy she no longer knows, tethering herself to his memory to keep herself sane. And Bellamy is the great unknown. He’s unknown to her after 6 years, and perhaps to us too. We don’t know where he’s been or what he’s done, but she’s still there, irrevocably changed herself, and waiting in hope that he will return.
If that’s not shippy then I don’t know what is.
I probably need to calm down and manage my expectations but apparently learning from mistakes is a thing only other people do so let’s have a look at the final shots of the past seasons and see how they relate to the following season.
The last scene of the season is Octavia killing Pike, and walking out the door. As she leaves, the camera pans to Bellamy and Clarke. Clarke is angsting about Praimfaya but is watching Bellamy, her face filled with concern. But Bellamy is not looking at her, his eyes are following Octavia’s back as she marches out the room.
That for me, really sums up Bellarke in s4. Clarke, watching Bellamy from a distance as she worries about his emotional state and tries to save the world. And Bellamy, not really looking at Clarke at all, instead focussed entirely on Octavia and her breakdown, with Praimfaya a secondary concern.
I wish I had something to say about how Octavia killing Pike related to season 4 but I don’t and you can take from that what you will.
The last scene in s2 is Jaha meeting ALIE, which is obviously a platform for s3. From Jaha’s POV, she’s scary but enticing, but the previous scene – in which Murphy watches one of Becca’s partners kill himself – shows us that she really is to be feared. The scene ends with Jaha staring wonderingly at the nuclear tech ALIE has pilfered as a show of power, while in the bunker we know Murphy is sitting witnessing the truth about her. And as promised, Jaha is the sincere purveyor of ALIE’s lies in s3, while Murphy the cynic is the unexpected sage.
It’s probably noteworthy that Bellamy and Clarke, the show’s backbone, were off-stage-right for these final scenes, considering what came to pass in s3a. Both of them deferred to others in those early eps, and it took some time for their agency to return. ALIE was the big bad, and Jaha and Murphy the protagonists and antagonists respectively of that story before the others weaved into it.
And because I can’t resist talking about Bellarke and the s2/3 bridge: For those who need reminding the final Bellarke scene of s2 is basically a Raign-fuelled cryfest in which Clarke bids farewell to her friends, culminating in an emotional goodbye with Bellamy. After he pleads with her to stay, he pulls himself together, pushes down his feelings and lets her go, before turning his back on her to walk back inside. The scene ends with Clarke walking away with her back to him and Arkadia.
And s3 Bellarke launched like this: Clarke, back turned in her self-imposed isolation, trying to find peace away from her people and refusing to draw on Bellamy’s strength or her friends’ support, while Bellamy bottled up his angst and tried to pretend that everything was fine, absolutely fine.
The last scene of season 1 was Clarke waking up in Mount Weather, uneasy at the cleanliness and the tech, before looking out of her window realising she’s trapped. Then, she sees Monty across the hall, also trapped. And so it continued in season 2 – Mount Weather is the big bad, Clarke trapped, but separate from her friends, who are also trapped. Clarke trying to save herself and to rescue her friends. The sound editing on that scene is awesome, all we hear at the end is Clarke’s panicked breathing, letting us into her headspace and feel her fear. Season 2 was such a great Clarke POV season.
Season 4 ends with Clarke putting down the radio to welcome the newcomers and wake up Madi, before having that hope replaced with fear. The final shot is of Clarke sending Madi to safety and half crouching, ready to fight but unsure if she needs to. So if I were to wildly speculate, then the sequence of that s4 scene – hoping for Bellamy’s return, followed by fear for her and Madi’s safety, sets up the Eligius Corporation is the big bad obviously, but it also sets up the framework for this new Clarke and her new priorities. S5 Clarke has taken on board the lessons of her time before Praimfaya and she is now very much a head AND a heart person. What’s more, that heart is populated by someone new, someone who Clarke wants to protect. But it also establishes that Bellamy still lives in her heart. Her friends still live in her heart. But Bellamy is…where? With whom? Doing what? Was she right to hope? Was it a fatal error to invest her faith and hope in someone she hasn’t seen for 6 years? Could that come at the cost of the survival of the person right in front of her?
And just… radios are about connecting. It’s about Bellamy and Clarke, the backbone of the show, reconnecting, literally and figuratively, when the frame of reference for their relationship has changed.
Someone throw a bucket of water over me.
Aside: St Eligius btw, is the patron saint of metalworkers. And horses. Hmmm.