What happened in the Bunker on The 100?

The 100 -- "Red Queen" -- Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR
The 100 -- "Red Queen" -- Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR /

Fans of The 100 have been eagerly awaiting a glimpse of what’s been happening in the bunker over the past six years. In episode four, titled “Pandora’s Box,” we see that it has been a dark and bloody time for the remaining members of the 12 clans

In The 100 season, episode 2, forty-six days after Praimfaya, Octavia is still reluctant to take on a leadership role, and once Abby and Kane discover they are trapped underground thanks to the collapse of the temple, tensions escalate. The already optimistic timeline of everyone emerging in five years and finding an inhabitable planet (has anyone heard of Chernobyl?), is obliterated. With limited resources, squabbles over stolen blankets evolve into an all-out rebellion. which tends to happen when people learn they are going to eventually starve to death.

Octavia’s hopes for a more diplomatic solution are dashed (there are always a few bad apples in the bunch), forcing her do what she does best anyway — kill some folks. She does give them an out, “You are Wonkru, or you are the enemy of Wonkru. Choose.” Octavia identifies the real obstacle to mankind’s survival as their inability to work together. Octavia’s focus becomes singular — anyone who threatens the solidarity of Wonkru dies. This is a kill two birds with one stone kind of situation: Octavia thins the herd, while implementing a new and highly effective form of justice.

She throws the traitors into the rotunda, aka “the arena,” for a Fight Club to the death The last man or woman standing could earn their freedom, harkening back to the gladiator fights in Ancient Rome.

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When we revisit the bunker six years later, the walls of the rotunda are covered in blood which means either a lot of people chose incorrectly or power has gone to Octavia’s head. The battles in the rotunda no longer strictly serve as a way to enforce law and order, they’ve become daily blood sport, recreation for the masses. When Kane wins a battle, Octavia doesn’t absolve him. Instead she denies him his freedom because he fails to engage the crowd (are you not entertained?)

Octavia whose own mother was floated was initially not a proponent of population reduction. But she’s had a change of heart.  Her previous stance that she “didn’t save us all, so we could just kill ourselves” is now a long-forgotten promise by the “Red Queen.” She’s really embraced this Caesar thing, and her new title means that whatever delegation may have existed those early months in the bunker is long gone, and it’s Octavia calling all of the shots.

We also learn that Kane and Abby are prisoners because of Abby’s nasty drug habit — an addiction which is the result of those A.L.I.E.-related headaches. She and Kane have been beaten down over the years and both have apparently been active participants in some pretty heinous acts, or in the very least, complicit about them. It used to be Abby who questioned whether survival was worth sacrificing her morals, values and compassion, but she’s way down the rabbit hole (yes, Clarke’s mom is a clingy junkie), and now it’s Kane who is deep in the throes of an existential crisis, willing to sacrifice his own life for the greater good (this appears to happen to all of the main characters on a rotating basis.)

There are still lingering questions about the “dark year.” Whatever occurred during that time is so horrific, Octavia refuses to even speak of it. A few things spring to mind: cannibalism, widespread disease, die offs due to starvation, mass suicides or another uprising. Could the dark year be responsible for Niylah’s noticeable absence? It’s likely everyone who survived the bunker, particularly Octavia, Kane, Indra and Abby will be dealing with the aftermath of this dark year for some time to come.

The 100 — Katie Yu/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
The 100 — Katie Yu/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

Octavia has earned the complete allegiance of most of Wonkru, but judging from Indra’s furrowed brow, her loyalty to Octavia could be wavering. And even though Kane gives Octavia props for holding things together, he’s had enough of this new world order, believing that Octavia has spent much the past six years robbing everyone of their humanity. She’s gone off the rails and taken all of her acolytes with her.

When Diyoza and her men open the bunker, we catch a glimpse of the old Octavia as she reunites with Bellamy who takes one look around the rotunda and surmises Octavia has some explaining to do. This becomes even more evident when Octavia reveals that nearly 400 members of Wonkru died during their stint in the shelter.

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There’s no doubt that Octavia is the threat that her brief appearance at the end of episode 1 foreshadows she would be. But there was more going on in that bunker than Octavia’s gory social experiment. Where do things stand with Gaia and Indra? Indra never approved of her daughter’s choice to dedicate herself to the flame. Gaia is continues to dedicate herself to finding new novitiates and worships at the feet of Octavia. Are Nate and Jackson still a couple? How has Octavia’s reign affected other members of Skaikru? Just how sick is Abby? How close are Ethan and Octavia — the boy Octavia promised Jaha she would look after? Why does Indra feel compelled to look out for Kane? Is it because she shares his opinion of Octavia’s leadership skills?

Yes, the fighting pit is overkill (pun intended), but Octavia has succeeded where many others have failed. She’s managed to create a loyal, cohesive clan from what remained of a dozen warring factions. Could she have accomplished the same outcome with gentler methods? That’s a question Bellamy asks, but, so far, Octavia is unapologetic about her choices.

The blood splatter, the stains on the floor and the almost perceptible stench of death and decay (where are the bodies?) provide clues to understanding Octavia’s and anyone else’s mental state who was stuck in that bunker, but the carnage is just one piece of a puzzle still waiting to be solved.

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What lingering questions do you have about those six years in the bunker? Will the events that transpired during the dark year be revealed? What are your theories? Do you think Octavia is a good leader? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.