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The 100 Discussion: 'A Sort of Homecoming' brings the team back to Earth
Spoilers for the final season of The 100 throughout.
The 100 continues to limp towards its finale, and "A Sort of Homecoming" refuses to deal with the fallout of killing off Bellamy Blake. In earlier seasons, this show would have dealt with this crushing blow with levity, but now it's skirted past with a few empty platitudes and some hollow, dramatic music. It's hard to imagine how a show that was once so sharp could stumble so badly in its race to the finish line, but here we are.
Clarke is embracing her worst instincts this week, unilaterally making decisions for what's left of the group with absolutely zero thought given to other opinions. This goes about as well as you'd expect. We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we're wondering why we used to love this show in the first place.
Back to the Beginning
Alyssa: Can we just write “PRIMAL SCREAM” and then call it a day? Because that’s how I feel about this episode and how this show has wasted so much of my time. However, I suppose we must carry on through the final stretch. We get to relive Bellamy’s death again, really driving home the fact that there was no logical reason for Clarke to straight up murder him. She could have taken him down with a shot in the leg or something instead of the killing blow to the chest, but no, that would be too logical. She grieves Bellamy for about two seconds while she makes the jump through the bridge, but that mourning comes to an end when she arrives at their location: Earth. Yep, they're back in the Second Dawn’s bunker. Cadogan somehow f***s off back to Bardo and leaves them all behind. Luckily, they find Gaia who has been stuck there for a few days (I think? Time is a mess on this show this season) and she tells them that the stones default to the planetary origin of your DNA if you aren’t explicit about where you want to go. So yeah, they’re back on Earth. It’s had a couple of centuries to heal and it seems to be doing OK.
Jessica: I guess when you don’t have warring factions of humanity blowing your sh*t up all the time, life gets pretty green. I love that we’re introducing random bits of time travel theory in the final few episodes but I’d also like to know how anyone remembers anything after they jump. I thought you needed a helmet or the right coordinates for that? Honesty though, that’s the least of our storytelling worries because after Gaia tells Clarke that Echo and Octavia are above ground with Niylah and Jackson, she’s determined to beg forgiveness for what she did to Bellamy — ya know, the whole unnecessary murder thing. Eliza Taylor is a terrific actress but even she couldn’t sell the bullsh*t Clarke spewed about trying everything she could to save her best friend. What shocked me about the whole interaction though is how kosher Echo and Octavia both seemed to be with the news that the man they love is dead. O gives her a pat on the back, Echo claims the real Bellamy died when Cadogan got to him, and we’re suddenly all good again. The sheer disrespect towards Bellamy Blake this season never ceases to amaze me.
Alyssa: I understand that everyone has done some emotional work over the seasons, but yeah, Octavia and Echo’s responses were completely hollow. Echo was ready to burn the world down just a few episodes ago, and now after a few weird conversations with Bellamy, she’s over it. The hug between the three most important women in his life felt like such a farce. Anyway, Raven’s got the magic helmet, and she finds a stone in order to get them back to Sanctum and save the others, but Clarke snatches it away from her and immediately smashes it. Yikes. She claims that everyone they care about is here and that she isn’t going to lose anyone else, so they just live here now. I see that Ms. Griffin is back to making unanimous decisions for the group without any thought to other people’s needs and feelings.
Jessica: I mean, I guess if we’re looking for a bright side to this, at least making your main heroine revert to her problematic ways means you actually remember something about your show’s storylines and characters from seasons past? Everyone’s shocked and a little pissed that Clarke has now stranded them on Earth but they try to make the best of it for a time. Niylah leads some of the group to her surprisingly spacious bedroom complete with a piano and stocked bookshelf. I guess being Blodreina’s bestie had its perks? While she’s getting everyone drunk off Monty’s makeshift moonshine and Gabriel’s “tickling the ivories” Murphy gets Raven to start fixing the helmet. Who knew that in our final season, John Murphy would become the selfless voice of reason?
Alyssa: While everyone adjusts to the 500th version of their new normal, Cadogan is trying to work out a deal with Sheidheda. Somehow the eye patch and deranged haircut look even more absurd when you’re stripped down and strapped to an M-Cap machine. Sheidheda has been healed by the medicine/magic in Bardo, and he wants Sanctum. He doesn’t care about Cadogan’s Last War (does anyone?) and he honestly thinks the idea that they’re all going to ascend is bullshit. Still, he wants Sanctum in order to build… whatever it is that Sheidheda wants. It is all pretty vague. Cadogan basically thinks that he’s a fool but indulges him, so Sheidheda rats out Madi, natch, and offers to be the one to go and get her because he’s been inside her head and knows how she’ll react.
Jessica: This dude must have nine lives or something because the idea that he survived a gut wound he’d been bleeding out from for over an episode while Bellamy succumbed to Clarke’s bullet is just preposterous. You’re telling me there’s no device up in Bardo that could’ve helped Mr. Blake? Or that Cadogan and his men would’ve even cared to bring Sheidheda back to their planet to stitch him up in the first place? The plot holes, Alyssa! Anyway, Cadogan proves how completely blinded to reality he truly is by buying all of Sheidheda’s B.S., giving him a helmet and sending him to the bunker to retrieve Madi. But he’ll have to find her first, which might prove difficult because she just got into a major blowup with her mom about missing her friends on Sanctum and just wanting to be a normal teenager. It all felt forced and weird and honestly, I can’t be sure that Rothenberg didn’t just fire his entire writing staff and ask some rando on the street to jot down ideas for this final season. The continuity? It’s not there, fam.
Alyssa: It’s just so disappointing because The 100 used to nail these emotional beats. You understood why the characters made the difficult decisions that they did and everyone had to reckon with the aftermath of those choices. It was one of the things I loved most about the show. Actions had consequences, sometimes really long running ones. But yeah, Madi misses her dog and that cute boy she was befriending, so she’s over it. Luckily Raven gets the power on so Madi can peace out and get some space from her increasingly overbearing mother. But the kid is right: Clarke puts too much pressure on her. I understand that she would move heaven and earth to keep her daughter safe, but how is anyone supposed to handle the mentality of “it doesn’t matter who else dies as long as you live.” That’s pretty f***ed up.
Jessica: For sure. Clarke means well, but she isn’t winning any Mother of the Year awards this season. While those two are on the outs, Indra heads above ground to help Octavia deal with her demons. Being back in the bunker is dredging up some ugly memories for everyone, but Indra gives O a nice speech about all of them being complicit and all of them needing to face what they did to survive down there. Again, these tiny nuggets of character growth are really what we’re holding onto at this point. Even Gaia has a reconciliation moment with her mother, acknowledging her jealousy over Indra’s relationship with Octavia and apologizing for not being the warrior her mother wanted. Of course, Indra shuts that shit down and all three women come together for a brief second before the Stone wakes up and Sheidheda comes through. He’s got an invisibility cloak on so that’s gonna give the trio some problems.
Alyssa: Some problems indeed. Hope and Jordan and navigating having a crush when you’ve spent your life with just your parents as company, Gabriel is being a piano-playing babe, and Echo is dealing with her sadness over Bellamy with a little help from drunk Niylah. However, I was pretty bummed to see Bellamy’s death framed as an opportunity for Echo to do a little soul searching. She tells Niylah that her real name was Ash — I had honestly forgotten about her brutal backstory up until this reminder — and that she never told Bellamy about that part of herself. Despite six years together on the Ark, nothing. Bellamy’s death has basically just been an emotional catalyst to the women around him, so I guess this is a sort of reverse fridging? Is this how it feels when female characters die all the time???
Jessica: I guess? It’s a sh*tty plot device regardless of gender though and I could care less about Echo’s new persona at this point. She had plenty of time to have this inner reckoning on the Ark or Sky Ring. We’re too far gone into the season now to dig into any of this. While all this is happening, Octavia finds Clarke and warns her about Sheidheda so the two race around the multi-layered bunker for a bit trying to find their wayward child before a creepy old man can kill her. She’s safe with Gabriel, learning Beethoven after Hope and Jordan run off to flirt some more. The piano lesson doesn’t last long though because Sheidheda spears Gabriel through the chest and comes for Madi, telling her his orders for Cadogan before explaining he’d rather gut her like a fish than send her back to Bardo for this final war. He nearly does, but Gabriel rallies from his chest wound long enough to keep him distracted so that Madi can find Clarke. And just like that we’ve killed two men of color over the span of two episodes for really no good reason. The optics are just not good.
Alyssa: It’s REALLY NOT GOOD. The 100 has a pretty problematic history with the treatment of its men of color — Wells and Lincoln deserved SO much better — and they are really doubling down for the final stretch. Sheidheda gets away, leaving behind his helmet somehow, which is convenient because Raven couldn’t fix the one Clarke smashed. Clarke is insufferable now, going on and on about the importance of getting their people and their army. MA’AM, YOU ARE THE REASON THEY ARE IN THIS MESS. They try to find a way to move Gabriel, but he stops them and tells them that he is ready to die. His time has ended. He gets the “may we meet again” farewell that was denied Bellamy, which I will admit rankles a bit. I liked Gabriel a lot and thought he was an excellent addition to the show, but Bellamy was THE MALE LEAD from the jump. It felt like this death should have been his.
Jessica: Yeah, Chuku Modu did wonders with this character. Really excited to see what he does next, but it’s kind of a slap in the face to the fans hoping to see some respect and care given to the male lead they’ve spent years rooting for. Anyway, no point in crying over spilled nightblood now. Everything’s gone to hell, we must press on. Madi is done seeing the people she cares about die in her name. She can’t take the magic beans Cadogan sent to get her through the portal so she shanks herself instead, sending herself to Bardo before Clarke can stop her. So now Cadogan has the sketchbook and Madi and Bellamy really died for no reason. Alyssa, please insert that gif of the dog drinking a cup of coffee in a burning building muttering “It’s fine,” because that is how I feel right now. Once Madi goes through the stone, and bomb travels back in her place. Miller is quick to shut it away in an air tight room so no one gets injured but the blast does warp the foundations of this bunker that’s already been through two apocalypses so the episode ends with Emori and Murphy being buried under rubble when the thing starts to collapse. Woof.
Alyssa: Listen, I understand that it’s been 200 years or so, but are we really supposed to believe that after several end of the world events, it is a SINGLE BOMB that causes that bunker to crumble? Really? I can’t anymore, Jessica. I can’t. I’m glad that Madi finally asserted herself and made a choice, but I can’t imagine that this is going to make things any easier for the group.
Jessica: I love Madi, but if the date of humanity is in the hands of a hormonal preteen, I think we should all just call it a day.