'The 100' Boss Explains Mid-Season Finale’s Heartbreaking Death

by Philiana Ng 7:00 PM PST, December 17, 2014
Photo: CW

[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Wednesday's winter finale of The 100.]

Did that just happen?

The 100 said goodbye to one of its main characters in Wednesday’s heartwrenching winter finale – and boy, was it emotional.

For much of the episode, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Co. attempted to find a way to spare Finn (Thomas McDonell), who was wanted for killing more than a dozen Grounders. Clarke never found a feasible Plan B. Instead of letting the Grounders have their way with Finn, she was the one who made the fatal cut –killing him with one stab of the knife in the abdomen.

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“We were trying to figure out the most emotionally impactful way to do it,” The 100 executive producer Jason Rothenberg told ETonline. “Part of the reason that it hit so hard and worked so well was because it happens in the same episode where we do flashbacks that tell you how much of a great guy [Finn] is.”

Rothenberg spoke to ETonline about the difficult decision to kill Finn, how his death changes Clarke and Raven for good and whether we’ll see him again (hint: don’t count on it).

ETonline: Tonight’s episode was brutal, especially with Clarke being the one to bring Finn to his end. Why was this the right time to kill Finn off?

Jason Rothenberg: He is [dead]. Sadly, in this show when they die, they’re dead. You come into a season and you know certain things, and I knew this season that I wanted to explore a dark place with Finn. The massacre was something I knew [was going to happen] going into the season, that he was going to have to die. Thomas and I sat down and talked about it in New York before we started filming the season, and I knew it was going to be Clarke who did it.

Bruce Miller, who wrote this script and did a beautiful job with it, figured it out. The thing that worked so powerfully was it was there the entire episode – they were coming up with ways to not have it happen and thinking of something that they could do and we were driving toward that moment. The reason that most people are going to be surprised is that in most broadcast programs, someone saves the day, the heroes figure it out and that’s not the way things roll in this show. We essentially say what we’re going to do. This is an episode about Finn being killed and then we do it.

VIDEO: 'The 100': Has Finn Finally Hit the Breaking Point?

Photo: CW

ETonline: How much guilt does Clarke have? This is something that will stay with her forever.

Rothenberg: Yeah. At what point have you gone too far? Can you wash your hands when you do these things for the right reasons? In this case, she was obviously trying to save him from a horrible, horrible death. She was also trying to save her people from being slaughtered from the Grounders, and now she’s taken this thing on. And it’s not going to go away. It’s going to change her and it’s going to haunt her forever. She will never be the same. She will not be bouncing back from this being able to pretend that this didn’t happen, and the show is not going to let her. It really does inform everything she does moving forward.

ETonline: This was also a huge episode for Raven, and we learned the truth about that space-walk that ostracized Finn to Earth and kept Raven on the Ark. How will Raven handle this?

Rothenberg: First off, it’s a huge riff between Raven and Clarke, so that stays with us for a while. We revealed the truth about what happened with the infamous space-walk that everyone thought he took from the beginning of the show, but in fact it wasn’t Finn. He was doing something quite heroic. He essentially went to prison so the woman he loved wouldn’t get killed. They’re family and they’ve become – it’s not romantic anymore – more familial, and they’d say that. That’s something that, for Raven anyway, is devastating. We’ll see [Finn’s death] affecting her for a long time going forward. It’s going to be a process for her to accept that what Clarke did was the right thing to do. If she had done what Raven wanted to do, that would not have ended well. If Clarke had taken that knife and killed the commander Lexa, the Grounders would have attacked and everybody would have been dead. But she’s not going to see it that way for a while.

ETonline: We saw Wells re-appear in hallucinations earlier this season. What are the chances for Finn to come back, maybe in flashbacks?

Rothenberg: We do flashbacks on the show and it’s a tool in our toolbox we can go to. There’s no plan right now to do flashbacks. Thomas has moved on and going to have a really great career and we’re going to miss the heck out of him, but you never know. The Wells return wasn’t in the cards last year and then I came up with that storyline for Jaha, and Eli [Goree] was kind enough to come back and help us for that one episode. Things like that can come up but dead is dead, sadly.

Are you heartbroken over Finn’s death? Do you think he could have been spared? Sound off in the comments below!

The 100 returns in January on The CW.