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The 100 Discussion: 'From The Ashes' marks the beginning of the end
We're in the endgame now.
The 100's premiere marks the beginning of the sci-fi hit's final season, but there's still plenty of dramatic storylines to wrap up before we say goodbye to our favorite Earth-bound delinquents and "From The Ashes" sets it up nicely.
Clarke spends the episode trying to keep the peace at Sanctum as new factions war for dominance while Gabriel and Echo fight off a new enemy intent on taking Octavia and Bellamy back through the Anomaly.
We're Jessica Toomer and Alyssa Fikse and we're ready to send one of our favorite genre shows off in style for SYFY FANGRRLS. Join us.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for The 100's Season 7, Episode 1: "From The Ashes."
Rebuilding a Broken Society
Alyssa: And we're back! I have missed our favorite idiot space babes so much in the offseason, and while I recognize that it's definitely time to wind down, I am not quite ready to say goodbye. Luckily, we have a whole season of campy goodness to enjoy before the final curtain, so let's get into it. This episode starts off pretty much right where the finale ended, with Octavia taken by the Anomaly, Bellamy desperate to find her, and Diyoza's daughter Hope magically grown up and ready to rumble. Right off the bat, some invisible enemy takes Bellamy into the Anomaly and Echo and Gabriel go after him. I have to address this right now: that is ALL WE SEE OF BELLAMY FOR THE ENTIRE EPISODE. I swear to God, if they decide to keep Clarke and Bellamy separate for episodes on end again, I am going to lose it.
Jessica: It is Jason Rothenberg's way. I know there are some fan rumblings over the lack of Bob Morley in this season's promos and I'm hoping that's just to keep his fate in these early episodes a secret because if Bellamy and Clarke aren't endgame, we're burning The CW to the ground! But yeah, whoever's come through the Anamoly got their hands on an invisibility cloak and they're not using it in a way Albus Dumbledore would approve of. While chaos is erupting in the woods, back at Sanctum, Clarke's determined to grab a slice of that Little House on the Prairie life, complete with a farmhouse and a dog. She plans to live away from the palace with Madi — who's still pretending to be Wanheda to keep the peace amongst Wonkru — Gaia, Raven, Indra, Jackson, Nathan, Emori, and Murphy — who are playing the parts of Daniel and Kayleigh Prime to keep the peace with those zealots Jordan's been hanging out with. Alyssa, why do I get the feeling that all this "keeping the peace" isn't going to work?
Alyssa: Jessica, you know I will ship Bellarke until the end of time, but I think we need to prepare ourselves for the very real possibility that we will never get what would surely be a life-altering smooch. Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I think Rothenberg has decided that he doesn't want to give that to fans (despite ALL of the bread crumbs over the years), and he's digging his heels in. But I digress. Can we talk about how weird it was seeing everyone just hanging out in a fancy little farmhouse like some normal people who got an especially nice B&B for Bonnaroo? Because it was incredibly weird to me, even if I don't hate this new level of comfort for our tired antiheroes. However, while their digs are cozy AF, the vibe is still incredibly tense. Clarke just wants Madi to get a shot at being a kid, Indra and Gaia are at odds about how to handle Madi's new life of deception to keep everyone calm, and Raven is, of course, thinking strategically and wondering where Shade Heda's code went. He obviously wasn't going to be taken care of that easily.
Jessica: Everyone's so on edge, no one can even enjoy the damn lawn picnic and homemade veggie soup that Raven's prepared! It really is a travesty. Of course, there's bad blood within the group as well, mainly thanks to Murphy who worked to help the Primes for most of the show's previous season. Jackson hasn't forgotten that or how his deception led to Abby's death. Clarke seems uncharacteristically cool with the whole thing though so we let it go to focus on bigger problems. If Clarke says she's fine, she's fine, right? (Narrator: Wrong. She is NOT fine.)
Alyssa: Clarke is definitely not fine, but when has the commander of death ever been good at feelings? Pretty much never. Instead of dwelling on (i.e. dealing with) the loss of Abby, Clarke is focusing on getting Madi into school with the opportunity to just be a kid. I think that possibility was lost the second that Madi became Heda and there's no going back from that, but Clarke is going to try her damnedest anyway. If you thought things were tense at the farmhouse, a quick look at the state of Sanctum makes that place look like a wellspring of tranquility. Despite the revelations about the true nature of the Primes, there are plenty in Sanctum who still view them as gods and are desperate to see Russell. Add to that the Children of Gabriel who are out for revenge and what's left of the space convicts, and this little compound is a powder keg.
Jessica: No one said rebuilding after a revolution would be easy. Luckily (or unluckily) Jordan has an in with the Prime groupies — because he was once brainwashed into becoming one — so he acts as a mediator between Clarke and the group. They want proof Russell is being treated well so Jordan pays him a visit and we learn the former leader of Sanctum is officially off his immortality bullsh**. He wants to die, like now, but Clarke isn't giving him that. Jordan hands him a chip to... remind him of what he lost? I really don't know where this boy's heads at, but that ends up sparking a conversation between the two about the visions Jordan had while under the influence of those drugs the Prime followers forced on him. It all comes back to the Anomaly, y'all.
Answers From the Anomaly
Alyssa: Speaking of the Anomaly, Hope is struggling right now. Her memories are fuzzy at best, and she has an absolutely gnarly wound on her forearm. Jessica, did you have to look away when she pulled the scroll out of her arm because I sure did. That being said, I loved this reveal. The tiny scroll has a familiar-looking code on one side, and a scrawled "TRUST BELLAMY" on the other, neither of which mean a lot to Hope at this moment. Echo and Gabriel catch up to her and the women brawl before Gabriel realizes that the code looks just like the one on Octavia's back. This new discovery leaves them with more questions than answers (classic The 100 style), and they all set off together to find Bellamy and catch up to this invisible enemy that keeps taking terrible shots at them.
Jessica: There's a line Gabriel delivers later that I absolutely love, and one that probably sums up this particular storyline better than we ever could: "None of this makes any sense but by God, it's incredible." For some reason, both Blake siblings mean a hell of a lot to this Anomaly and whoever's controlling it. The trio chase after Bellamy, coming to some surprising conclusions along the way. First, these invisible enemies seem to be trying their best not to kill them for some reason. Second, the importance of taking your prescribed antitoxins before entering a forest filled with radiation cannot be overstated.
Alyssa: Truer words! Echo and Hope start to hallucinate at the least opportune moment, and we get a glimpse of Roan! Remember Roan? The 100 has truly been a wild trip from start to finish, so it was really fun to get a look at a character that was so underappreciated in his time. Roan and another Azgeda woman — the ghost of Echo's childhood best friend — speak to her in her altered state, reminding her of who she was and seemingly shaming her for the person that she's become. Meanwhile, Hope has a vision of Octavia, who tells her to stay hidden and that "Mommy and Auntie" will be back for her. I would really love to get an episode or two solely about what happened with Octavia and Diyoza while they were in the Anomaly because the thought of those two badass women raising another badass woman is deeply appealing to me. Echo is able to work through the hallucination and take the shot at the invisible enemy, who turns out to just be a bunch of guys with invisibility technology who have apparently been given the order to kill Hope on sight. Echo, Gabriel, and Hope decide that the only way to figure out what the hell is going on and save Bellamy is to go into the Anomaly, so they stride hand and hand into the towering green inferno. Drama!
Burn It All Down
Jessica: Pfff. Drama? The real drama is happening back at Sanctum. Honestly, a trip through the Anamoly sounds like the kind of idyllic vacation our group needs right now. Murphy is drinking his guilt away at the local dive while the Children of Gabriel plot to kill all the remaining Primes — so, him, Emori, and Russell. Raven wants to use their deception to appease the followers of the Primes, which sounds like a good plan until you realize this puts a huge target on the couple's back. But hey, they get to move into a palace so, Emori's down. Clarke moves Russell to those new digs too in order to better protect him, which ends up backfiring because now the convicts, the Children of Gabriel, and the Prime groupies are all clamoring to lay claim. It's almost as if this whole "saving humanity" plan is doomed because humanity just plain sucks.
Alyssa: To say there is a lack of collaborative spirit would be quite an understatement. The believers are trying to get Russell out of his imprisonment, the Children of Gabriel want him dead, and the convicts want their own space in the compound. Lots of conflicting goals going on here. Clarke is determined to avoid "an eye for an eye" because she wants a better world for Madi, but Madi being the preternaturally wise child that she is, encourages Clarke to first work through her feelings of loss over Abby before she tries to fix the world. Madi reminds her that she too has lost a mother (a jarring reminder for Clarke), so she knows the toll that grief can take. The relationships between mothers (both natural and surrogate) and daughters have always been one of the most interesting aspects of this show for me, and that is particularly personified in Gaia and Indra. They have a common goal — keeping their people safe in this dangerous new world — but very different views on how to accomplish it. Still, there is such a level of mutual respect there at this point that even when they're arguing, there is a foundation of trust. You love to see it.
Jessica: I'm just thankful we're getting more of Indra this season. She seems to be stepping into a bigger leadership role and I think that's going to bring up challenges within the group. But yes, the emotional undercurrent of this episode is strong and we see the consequences of burying one's grief explode — quite literally — when the Prime followers set up shop outside Russell's room in the palace. Nathan calls Clarke because he wants to avoid starting a fight with these weirdos so she offers to talk to Russell to get him to order his people to stand down. It does not go well, mostly because Russell's a d-bag who admits regret over not killing Madi and brings up Abby's death by handing Clarke her mother's old outfit. Clarke snaps, beats the sh** out of Russell, sets the palace on fire… ya know, full Daenerys Targaryen mode. She tells her people that actually, she's changed her mind and Russell's gonna die, because nothing solves discord like a public execution, but what she doesn't realize is that her Fight Club moment has given Shade Heda a chance to commandeer Russell's body. So yeah, Russell probably won't be dying anytime soon and now, we've got a snake in our already compromised hen house. Oh, The 100, how you toy with us!
Alyssa: There were definitely positives and negatives to this premiere. I am not pleased with the decision to remove the Blakes from the main action and to give them both limited screen time because Bellamy and Octavia have been some of the most interesting characters from episode one. However, I am loving how they're handling Clarke's emotional trauma already. She has been through so much over the course of seven seasons, and I feel like she hasn't properly worked through any of it, and I think the loss of Abby will be a real tipping point for her. Someone get this girl into THERAPY.
Jessica: I want Clarke to find peace. If that means leaving all this leadership sh*t to someone else and learning to churn butter in her farmhouse, so be it. But mostly, I want to know what's going on with Bellamy and Octavia's storyline. I know this Anomaly plot is full of sci-fi potential, but I think it's a mistake to separate the cast and major storylines this close to the finish line. Hopefully, this subplot will be over in a couple of episodes because The 100 works best when its core group is on the same team.