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The 100 Discussion: 'Matryoshka' severs a connection

By Jessica Toomer & Alyssa Fikse

The 100's latest episode proves two minds aren't necessarily better than one, when they happen to both be trapped in the same body anyway. 

"Matryoshka" sees Clarke and Josephine squaring off inside their shared mind-space as they struggle to stay alive and stay off the grid. When they're found by Octavia and Gabriel, a warm and fuzzy Blake sibling reunion takes a backseat to the very real possibility that Clarke might not survive Josephine much longer. While the mind-melding gets messy in the forest, things at Sanctum descend further into chaos as the truth about the Primes begins to circulate and Russell slowly becomes more unhinged. 

We're Jessica Toomer and Alyssa Fikse and we're here to sort through the mind-bending madness and get to the Bellarke of it all. Join us. 


Float Yourself

Jessica: I guess no one explained to Josephine that mind-melding is messy AF because she seemed pretty upset about losing those stacks of memory books to clear space for her and Clarke to cohabitate. As ready as I am to see Josephine go, I have to admit I’ll miss watching her and Clarke problem-solve together. The revolutionizing they could do if they only had a brain (each, not shared).

Alyssa: Well, also if Josephine wasn’t a homicidal maniac. There is that little thing as well. But I agree. Josephine has been a really, really fun character this season, and I also think that she’s forced Clarke to reckon with a lot of things. While Clarke’s pragmatism has kept a lot of people alive, it’s definitely taken a toll. Faced with someone who is all selfish pragmatism, I think Clarke has been forced to reconsider how she operates, while hopefully forgiving herself for a few things, because hey, at least she isn’t stealing bodies in an attempt to live forever!

Jessica: Man, is it nice to see the group hate on someone other than WanHeda this season, am I right? No, I think Josephine has given Clarke permission to grow as a character and given Eliza Taylor room to play — always a fun thing to see in an actor with so much talent who’s had to carry this show for so long. I also appreciated how we got to glimpse more of Josephine’s past in such an inventive way. We’ve talked about it a lot in our Handmaid’s Tale discussions, but this idea of showing, not telling, while not revolutionary, needs to be repeated in every writer’s room for the rest of time. Getting to know Josephine in these small snippets has had a greater impact than giving her bottle episodes to wallow in her self-pity and self-righteousness.

Alyssa: A-freaking-men. Plus, this show has done a pretty great job about explaining Josephine’s motivation without seeming to justify her terrible behavior at the same time. Maybe prestige TV needs to look to the CW once in a while. Honestly, I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t see Eliza Taylor’s name on the Emmy nomination list, but I will never stop hoping! She’s so good! But I digress. Her body is breaking down because it can’t support both consciousnesses any longer, so Clarke gets the brilliant idea to start dumping Josephine’s memories. My question is: what is Josephine without her memories? Isn’t the whole uploading the consciousness deal all about memories?

Jessica: It certainly seems that way. I suppose losing a couple of insignificant moments wouldn’t hurt — I’d love to erase some of my awkward teenage years — but Clarke goes into full spring cleaning mode, wiping nearly all of what makes Josephine, well, Josephine. I get that the mind drive is still there, but it surprised me that Josie wasn’t more critical of this plan. I guess when your host body is seizing in a hole in the ground and your plan of immortality is at risk, chucking the memories of old boyfriends is just an acceptable loss?


Purifying Sanctum

Alyssa: I guess that’s true when death is on the line. Also reconciling with acceptable losses are the remaining primes in Sanctum, who are definitely dropping like flies between Madi’s murderous impulses and people on the verge of revolution. I’m curious about Russell, though, because in the midst of all of the drama with Josephine and the rest of the primes, he still is trying to keep the peace. Or at the very least keep order. That guy has deluded himself so deeply that he thinks that despite lying to everyone about the truth about the primes he is still a benevolent ruler. Yikes, my dude.

Jessica: Rule numero uno of brainwashing an entire civilization into believing you’re some kind of god: Don’t drink your own Kool-Aid. When the show started I thought Russell might be the most open to negotiations, the most understanding of this group and what they’ve gone through, but boy did he flip a switch as soon as his immortality was threatened. That’s the thing with Russell, Josephine, even Ryker who turns on Echo in the end — these people will do anything to survive. Sound familiar? The problem is, they’ve lied to those that worship them, demanded these sacrifices for centuries, and soon, all these nulls are going to know it was just one big con. I’d be terrified if I were a Prime in Sanctum right now.

Alyssa: Especially now that queen of my heart Raven Reyes is back with a renewed sense of purpose. I’ve been worried about how much they’ve sidelined Raven this season, but becoming the new moral compass of the group after the final death of Kane is a great direction for her character. Raven is always the smartest person in the room, so having her back in the fold can only be a boon. That being said, as terrifying as life must be for the Primes, it certainly isn’t any better for what’s left of Skykru. They are running out of bargaining chips at an alarming rate and Madi is getting even more unstable. Clarke needs to get back to Sanctum before her daughter gets even stabbier.

Jessica: That child needs to be brought back in line and quick. Unfortunately for Gaia and the rest of the group, Clarke’s absence has let Sheidheda fully take over our tiny commander’s mind. She’s quick to anger and even quicker to suggest genocide. As worried as I am for Madi though, the fate of the entire group feels more pressing. One must be sacrificed to appease the Primes but when Russell loses his sh*t, it seems all will be burned at the stake. I had a real moment of worry that’d we’d lose this crew, and while I’d be fine with Abby going up in flames, I’d riot if Murphy died. Can we talk about Abby for a sec before we get to the bonfire roasting because boy was she grating my last nerves this episode?

Alyssa: I’m going to be honest: I will be shocked if Abby survives the season, and I am more than OK with it. The writing for Abby has been a bit of a mess for at least two seasons, and it feels like they just aren’t sure what to do with her anymore. Letting her go with some small dignity intact might be the most merciful thing for her character at this point. Give her a moment of sacrifice for Clarke and be done with it. But I am also going to say something potentially controversial: I don’t care that much about Madi either. I care about her to the point where her pain or death would hurt Clarke, but that’s pretty much it. And her Sheidheda-induced darkness certainly isn’t helping. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe! But it’s my truth!

Jessica: Sadly, I have to agree with you there. Again, the writing for Madi this season has been all over the place. I think that has a lot to do with the age of the character. Last season, she was so integral to the story because of her value as a would-be commander. This season, without an army to command, she’s kind of stalled. She’s almost a liability at this point, which just comes with the territory of being so much younger than the rest of the main cast. Between her and Jordan, I’m starting to wonder if adding new faces to the core of this show is smart at this point. We’ve got so many talented actors and not enough screen time for all of them. Let’s lose some dead weight — Abby can be first on that chopping block — and have a leaner Season 7. But first, we’ve got to survive Sanctum and how do we do that? Murphy, of course. Have I mentioned how much I stan this quick-thinking cockroach?

Alyssa: Murphy has proven time and time again that whenever he is backed into a corner, he will come through with a new idea. Using the bone marrow again would be brutal, but it did earn them a day to get their shit together. And boy do they need it. Threatening Russell’s daughter was bad enough, but now his wife is dead too? Something tells me that cool, calm, and collected facade is starting to slip. But yes, after a pep talk from Raven, I think Murphy is back on the straight and narrow, or at least whatever the high road looks like for Murphy.

Missing media item.

The Head and the Heart

Jessica: Okay, let’s cut the crap and get to the beans. By beans, I mean the Bellarke of this episode. Look, I’ve seen many platonic relationships on screen and y’all, this ain’t that. With Clarke dying and Octavia and Gabriel struggling to get her back to camp so Gabriel can remove the mind drive, the Sanctum guards pick the worse time to actually do their jobs. Of course, because this show loves giving Bob Morley something heroic to do in every episode, it’s Bellamy, disguised as a Sanctum guard, who ends up saving the day. Who else got Captain Space Daddy vibes when Bellamy tore that helmet off and gave the group that smug smirk? It couldn’t have been just me.

Alyssa: It was decidedly not just you. Bellamy in hero mode is one of the best things about The 100, so it’s safe to say that this plot threat 100% worked for me. First of all, this was the first Blake interaction of the season that wasn’t openly antagonistic. I’m so ready for Bellamy to recognize the work that Octavia has done and for them to work towards being the siblings we know and love again. I know that it will take time, but I feel in my bones that it’s coming. But all of that was dimmed by his desperation to save Clarke, because duh, he needs her. Jessica, did this scene feel at all platonic to you? Because it did not to me. Cut the crap, Rothenberg, and let these two kiss.

Jessica: Jason Rothenberg has me so hungry for mere scraps that, I kid you not, the scene where Bellamy performs CPR on Clarke felt a bit like foreplay to me. I mean, their lips touched. In my messed up mind, that counts as a kiss. Maybe I’ve suffered this Bellarke drought so long that just a drop of physical contact quenches my soul, but there’s no way a man who reacts that desperately, that violently to the thought of a woman dying, is not in love with her. It just defies all logic. It spits in the face of the laws of the universe. The gods will not allow it. Let. Them. Kiss. You. Cowards!

Alyssa: We know it. Octavia knows it. These two belong together. I am very much looking forward to these three (or four, if Gabriel’s conscience holds) teaming up to save their pals in Sanctum now that the Josephine problem has been dealt with, and honestly, there isn’t a better group to deal with this kind of problem. Bellamy and Clarke are a pretty unstoppable duo, and adding Octavia into the mix is the icing on the murdery cake. Russell doesn’t know it yet, but he should be very, very afraid.


What’s Next

Jessica: I for one am so excited for next week’s episode. It’s directed by Bob, a first, so you know it’s going to be good. So much of the cast and crew have heaped praises on his ability to lead on set and what he’s done with this episode, and I believe every word of it. I’m also ready for Raven to get Sheidheda out of Maddy’s mind and for Octavia to become the savior we know she can be. Hearing her advocate to save innocent lives in that promo gave me chills. This is the girl underneath the floor that we know and love, y’all.

Alyssa: I totally agree. Next week looks like a big one for Octavia, and I can’t wait to see her get her redemption moment. She’s been working towards this all season! It’s time to stop punishing her and move forward. Like you said, I am feeling a little more confident for the group in Sanctum now that Raven is there and ready to kick ass and take names — in a moral way — and she is definitely the person I would want to take the dark presence out of my head. This season is winding down, so I anticipate a real barn burner. Bring. It. On.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors', and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.