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The 100 Discussion: 'Ashes To Ashes' sets the stage for a bloody finale
The 100 is barrelling towards its season's end, and everyone is converging on Sanctum for that final confrontation. Now that Josephine is gone and Clarke is once again in her body, she faces a new risk: using her wits to convince Russell that his daughter is still alive in there in order to bargain for the rest of the group's freedom. An increasingly reflective Clarke isn't willing to go in guns blazing, casualties be damned, like she has been in previous seasons, but that raises its own set of problems. Will she be able to free her people, overthrow the Primes in Sanctum, and rid Madi of Shadeheda? The girl just got her body back and she's already got one hell of a to-do list.
With The 100 heading towards its season finale, there are a ton of loose ends to tie up. We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer and we're here to dissect every character interaction and questionable choice made.
The Return Of Clarke Griffin
Alyssa: As much as I enjoyed Eliza Taylor’s performance as Josephine, I am so happy to have Clarke back for good. I loved Josephine’s homicidal sass, but having Clarke fully herself and working with Bellamy will always be better. It’s no contest. With Skykru largely scattered at the moment, it’s hard to believe that they’ll ever be a united team again, but here’s hoping the Clarke/Bellamy/Octavia dream team can get sh*t done. I am really curious to see the ultimate role that Gabriel is going to play, too. He’s obviously been a huge help to Octavia and to Clarke, but I foresee him having a major role to play in Russell’s downfall.
Jessica: The only thing better than seeing Bellamy Blake rock a chunky knit sweater is seeing Clarke Griffin back in action. I think we all feel a bit safer with WanHeda at the helm of whatever scheme this group is cooking up. Plus, it gives us more chances to appreciate the puppy-dog eyes Bellamy throws her way and their kick-a** co-leadership skills. Wins all around. Unfortunately, we don’t have long to celebrate because the group in Sanctum is still being held prisoner and Bellamy seems intent on killing whoever he has to so they’ll be set free. What a role reversal from last season, am I right?
Alyssa: Listen, you know that I am ALWAYS Team Clarke. However, seeing a more moderate Clarke intent on living up to Monty’s legacy (poor Harper, always forgotten) is an interesting new facet. Clarke has had to make some difficult decisions in the past — seemingly impossible decisions most of the time — but sometimes I think that she’s gone for the kill option a bit too easily. But she’s grown up now. She had her time alone on Earth to meditate on the things that she’s done, and I think this decision to not kill everyone right away is a direct response to that growth. She still has that Clarke Griffin edge, but she’s a little more reflective over her choices now.
Jessica: Agreed, and can we just admire the restraint needed to not automatically pull the kill switch on everyone back at Sanctum after the Primes commandeered her body and Josephine tried to take over her mind? The amount of zen that requires is unfathomable. Instead, Clarke is busting her butt to figure out a way to save her people and the people of Sanctum while taking out Russell and his crew. Bellamy’s not being too helpful, but it was nice to see Octavia on Clarke’s side. I love when these two strong women work together for the greater good, and I also appreciate the dynamic between Gabriel and Clarke, who probably knows the guy better than most of his so-called followers at this point. I don’t know if this plan to trigger an evacuation so the rebels can infiltrate Sanctum and kill the Primes will work as neatly as Clarke hopes, but hey, at least we’re trying to minimize the bloodshed. That’s definitely a new look for The 100.
Alyssa: There is no way that it’s as neat as the original plan, because hello, this is The 100, and chaos almost always reigns. But I appreciate that they still make plans anyway! The interruption by the Children of Gabriel did throw a bit of a wrench in things, but at least it forced Gabriel to finally come clean. No more living in exile. He was honest, he faced Xavier’s sister, and he’s ready to take responsibility for a choice that was essentially forced on him. That’s a tough pill to swallow, I’m sure. As each episode goes on, I am more and more certain that he’s not surviving the season, but I’ve been enjoying Gabriel’s addition to the show more than some of the other clearly sacrificial temporary characters in past seasons.
Jessica: Again, we are in agreement. I think Gabriel represents a bit of hope for what Clarke, Bellamy, and the rest of the group can be. Even after hundreds of years and so much blood on his hands, he’s still trying to do the right thing. He’s so much like them, I can’t help but root for him to survive — but I put no emotional stake in that hope because The 100 has taught me better. I do wonder though, now that Gabriel has been exposed, who’s leading his followers? It seems like a bad omen for the success and survival of that group that their former leader seems doomed to die at some point and no one has stepped up to take his place. Maybe Xavier’s sister? I’m just trying to picture how this ends for the nulls in Sanctum and the Children of Gabriel, who have been at war with each other for so long. Will the death of the Primes really solve that kind of long-standing feud?
Not My Responsibility
Alyssa: Listen, if the Blakes can take the first few steps towards reconciliation, I have faith that anyone can. Octavia has done the emotional labor this season to overcome her trauma and guilt — the Anomaly is like a therapist on steroids apparently so where can I get one? — so, of course, she’s dedicated to making amends with Bellamy. I also think Octavia is smart about it, allowing Bellamy to take the time that he needs to reach a place where he’s ready to forgive her. Gathering toxic mushrooms together is just the first step. Octavia is firm in her conviction that she has changed and wants to be different, and she knows that Bellamy is a part of that process. However, I think she also realizes that it’s going to take him a while to come around. He, unfortunately, didn’t get the extreme clarity that comes from a trip through the Anomaly.
Jessica: Only the chosen among us can, it seems. The Blake sibling dynamic is such an interesting, vital part of this show that I’m glad the writers are digging deeper into their rift than just tossing the idea of reconciliation in the trash and focusing on building the action for the season finale. Because that’s not authentic is it? Siblings fight and feud and hurt each other in profound ways but there’s this indestructible bond there that just can’t be ignored — especially when it’s the only family you have left and you’re stuck on a foreign planet trying to rescue your friends from ancient beings body-snatching innocents so they can achieve immortality.
Octavia and Bellamy have both wronged each other — though Octavia has inarguably done more damage to their relationship — but neither of them ever really taken a step back to examine their choices, how they’ve treated one another, and how they should treat each other moving forward. They’ve apologized, fought for, and saved each other, but they’ve never had the kind of heart-to-heart I saw in that mushroom cave. Maybe it’s the toxic vegetation but I’m hopeful that this episode paved the way for an even stronger Blake sibling bond at some point — though I doubt it will happen this season.
Alyssa: I agree. Octavia has a lot more to atone for — throwing him in the fighting pits, leading her people into cannibalism, destroying their crops to ensure a war, wow this is a rough list to see written out — but I anticipate a classic Blake hug by the finale. Another person who is really doing her all to atone for past mistakes is Gaia. Despite Madi giving in to the power of Shadeheda, Gaia is still there to protect and serve her commander. The scene with her and Miller made me even more convinced that these two are being seriously underutilized by the show. These are two great characters that have been around for a while now, and I feel like there is so much more that they could be doing. I understand that it is a crowded cast but for the love of God, give us more Miller and Gaia.
Jessica: You can’t have Tati Gabrielle and Jarod Joseph in your cast and not put them in every episode. It’s just not right. And I love that these two had that quick heart-to-heart in the cell. It’s easy to forget, because so much of the blame rests with Octavia, that Miller and Gaia also aided Blodreina’s reign in Season 5. The guilt of that doesn’t just wash away, and I love that the show is using their mistakes to teach them both a lesson. You can believe in leadership and support them wholeheartedly, but that shouldn’t blind you to their faults or prevent you from challenging them when they make problematic choices. Questioning people in power doesn’t mean you’re disloyal or a nonbeliever, it means you have the courage to stick to your moral compass, to confront hard truths instead of taking the easy way out and just ignoring them. Wait … is The 100 teaching us a lesson too? Guys, mind BLOWN.
Alyssa: Exactly! I think there’s some unexplored territory with these two tied in with Octavia’s guilt. Speaking of guilt, I can’t wait to see where they’re going with Murphy. This guy has been playing a complicated game of survival all season, but it’s definitely clear that he’s not just looking out for number one. He’s doing his best to keep Emori alive (even if she’s hardly ever onscreen), but he’s not the same Murphy, you know? He may not want to admit it, but he’s not completely comfortable f***ing over everyone else to get what he wants anymore. Still a cockroach, but a slightly heroic one when the chips are down?
Jessica: It’s an interesting point because I questioned why Clarke wouldn’t have revealed herself to Murphy in that tent. I get he’s untrustworthy, so the logic of not exposing such a dangerous secret just as she’s about to infiltrate Sanctum is sound, but I do think that Murphy is struggling to straddle both sides of the fence and I can’t help but worry this decision to leave him in the dark is going to have consequences. My worst nightmare is that he has a moment of clarity or just anger and lashes out at Clarke believing she’s Josephine, putting Clarke and this whole plan in jeopardy. Call me crazy, but an in-the-dark Murphy feel much riskier than an in-on-the-plan-but-may-betray-us Murphy.
Alyssa: Oh god, I didn’t even consider that risk with Murphy, so thank you for the anxiety! Another rogue element right now is Echo, who has been turned into a Nightblood. I suspect that this will be essential in saving Madi at some point, and honestly, Echo is a pretty good choice for this role. It was interesting to get a fuller view of her backstory with that flashback to her brutal upbringing with Queen Nia. We knew that she was a child spy, but seeing as opposed to just hearing about something makes a ton of different. Being forced to murder and then assume the name and mission of your best friend? That is ROUGH.
Jessica: Echo’s been through it, y’all, which makes me regret my initial dislike, and then all-out disgust of the character once she was paired with Bellamy in Season 5. Let’s be clear, Becho should’ve never happened, for a myriad of reasons, but it’s been easier for us to hate on her than to take a step back and realize how tough her life has been and how limited her choices were. Seeing Echo as a child, one so hated by her Queen, thought weak by everyone else, and forced to murder her best friend to survive was just heartbreaking. The to learn she basically assumed her identity, not just for one mission, but for the rest of her life … the amount of therapy this woman needs is incomprehensible. Chuck her into the Anomaly now! I’ve truly come to appreciate Echo as her own character, not as one-half of a couple that’s been a roadblock for another canon romance. She’s one of the group’s strongest assets and their best chance at survival at present. Which makes me believe we might see the end of Echo before this season is over. I’m as shocked as you’ll be by these next words, Alyssa, but here it goes: I don’t want Echo to die.
Alyssa: Dang, Octavia isn’t the only one growing! Honestly, separating Echo and Bellamy for most of the season was a really savvy move, because it allowed her to grow into her own individual character instead of just being one half of a disliked couple. I am also rooting for Echo to make it through, but I worry about her longevity if she keeps stabbing Primes. Now that Clarke as Josephine is back in Sanctum, I think the Primes’ days are numbered, but I anticipate plenty of bloodshed before that. Did your heart crack open when Clarke had to pretend to be Josephine in front of Madi? Because mine sure did.
Jessica: It broke me. Clarke is so much stronger than us limp flowers will ever be. The steel she needed to treat Madi so indifferently in front of Russell, the sheer will-power … The Primes might not be gods but Clarke Griffin damn sure is. Again though, I’m worried that, with a homicidal Madi out of the loop, Clarke’s identity theft might put her in danger. I mean, if Madi frees herself of those restraints, who’s our tiny murdering commander coming for first? I know they won’t kill Clarke but it feels like irreparable damage could be done the longer Madi stews in her anger and Murphy feels like his back’s against a wall. Question: How do you think Clarke’s going to help Madi get rid of this psychopath in her head? 'Cause that needs to happen, like, yesterday.
Alyssa: Seriously. I’m ready to see the Primes pay, but I am really ready to get Shadeheda out of there. Never trust a white man with dreadlocks. I think this episode did a really great job of setting the table for the final act of the season. Everyone is converging on Sanctum and sh*t is going to go down. I’m beginning to lose faith that we’ll get canon Bellarke this season, but I am close to making my peace with it. We’ve made it this far, so what’s a few more episodes, am I right? One thing that we haven’t really seen in a while is how Jordan is doing. I worry that he’s going to end up on the opposite side of Skykru out of his loyalty to Delilah/Priya, and how heartbreaking would it be to see the son of Monty going against the group just when they start to live up to Monty’s charge to be better? Stab me in the heart, it would hurt less.
Jessica: Jordan’s broken the number one rule on this show (and in life): Never catch feelings. Whatever happens to him is out of our hands now, Alyssa. What I’m worried about is Russell discovering Clarke’s deception and exacting revenge for the death of his daughter. In the promo for next week’s episode, I swear I saw a glimpse of Russell in the Skeleton Room, injecting what might’ve been Abby with the same toxin they use to kill hosts before inserting their mind drives into them. What if, and I’m really running with my doomsday scenario now, Abby is turned into a Prime? What if Clarke is forced to kill her own mother? What if everyone on this show dies and we never see canon Bellarke? I can keep going with these horrific hypotheses all day, you guys.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors', and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.