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The 100 Discussion: 'Nakara' sends our heroes onto very precarious ground
What is even happening on The 100? As we reach the sixth episode of the final season, the core group is still scattered to the space equivalent of the four winds and the show's endgame is increasingly murky. While we still love these characters and are invested in this world, we're struggling to see the direction and message of this final season. Do the tough decisions that the group make matter, or is it all permissible in the service of the greater good? This is a question that the show has reckoned with time and time again and it still seems no closer to an answer.
Still, some underrated faves get their time to shine in "Nakara," but we still don't see hide nor hair of the elusive Bellamy Blake. We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we're renewing our memberships to the We Stan Diyoza Club.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 6 of The 100.
The B*tch Is Back
Alyssa: We finally check in with Diyoza, and wow the episode wastes zero time in reminding us that she is the goddamn best. The use of Interpol transported me back to my dorm room in 2007, but "Evil" was perfectly deployed and made me wish that The 100 used more actual songs instead of a score. I get that it would be anachronistic, but it really worked for me. Diyoza vacillates between kicking asses and dealing with the mind-melting side effects of the brain-scrambling they do in Bardo, but through it all, she reminds us why she is the baddest b*tch to ever grace the screen on The 100. I love her, I would die for her, I'm glad we got to spend some real time with her.
Jessica: Same. I loved this opening montage and the early aughts Green Day music video vibes it was putting off. Such a clever, inventive way to remind us that Diyoza is still kicking, still ripping out the throats of weak men, still toppling entire societies with just a spoon and her know-how. In fact, all of what happens in Bardo continues to be the most interesting fragments of this show for me. Not only do we see Diyoza barreling through guards and fighting her way to freedom, we're jarred back to the sobering reality of time travel and how it f*cks with just about everything when she sees Hope for the first time — you know, after she launched a throwing knife at her skull. This whole intro was confirmation that the writers must really enjoy the challenge of new storytelling avenues because they're crafting the hell out of these Bardo scenes and really stumbling everywhere else.
Alyssa: Yes! The Bardo stuff is really working for me, but it feels like a whole different show! Or at the very least a season arc that should have happened a while ago. It deserves more room to breathe than being added at the very end. They tell Diyoza that Bellamy is dead (I refuse to believe this is true) and she immediately comforts Octavia. I loved that small moment between Diyoza, Octavia, and Hope. They really sold me on the bond that they built during their idyllic farm life. Octavia also runs into Levitt, who gives them the 411 on how to escape through the oxygen farm. He's been demoted to janitor for helping Octavia, but he told her that it was all worth it since he got to see "another way to live." Cue up The Princess Bride's grandpa saying "what he really meant was ‘I love you.'" I was waiting for Octavia to tell him to escape with them, but alas, all we got was a stroked cheek and a punched jaw. Have to keep up the ruse after all.
Jessica: The same issue with timing probably prevents O from exploring this romantic development, but I do hope we'll see Levitt mopping the floors again soon. It's nice to know there are good people in this alternate dimension. Bellamy's almost certainly not dead but for anyone hoping we get a glimpse of him this episode, it's only right we let you down gently now. Where he blasted off to and when he'll come back is anyone's guess but the idea of his demise is enough to push Echo — already prone to fits of mindless stabbing — over the edge. The group, realizing they can't use the Stone to escape because it's guarded by kamikaze-minded security officers take's Levitt's advice and heads for the surface, but they accidentally run into a resident of Bardo, an old man who warns them they'll need more gear to survive on the surface. Is Bardo Earth, but in the future? Like after the second apocalypse? Because if not, it's a bit weird we're dealing with multiple radioactive planets on this show. Still, Octavia accidentally mentions Levitt's name so Echo knifes the poor man, horrifying Gabriel who's just not down with this whole, "We might die but it's our only way out" plan. He stuns the group before being taken prisoner by the Bardo Robocops. Gabriel's officially on my sh*t list again.
A Queen Gets Her Due
Alyssa: Echo really needs to chill with the stabbing. I'm getting echoes (ha) of Finn, and I feel like they're laying the groundwork for a "she's too far gone on the path of hate!" exit for Echo, and they've already done that. However, let's move onto better things, namely Indra. Indra has been a mainstay on The 100 for a while, and I feel like the writers have never fully given her her due. NO LONGER! With Clarke off on an ice planet — more on THAT later — Indra is doing her best to keep the different factions settled on Sanctum from tearing each other apart. It is not going well, especially now that a ton of guns and ammunition are missing. Greaaaat. Can Indra get a break for two seconds?
Jessica: Answer: No, no she cannot. Along with discovering this new wrench in her plan of living peacefully in Sanctum, she has to deal with an increasingly brazen Russell (aka Sheidheda) spouting off trigedasleng in front of what's left of Indra's army. She decides his punishment should come from someone in desperate search of justice — know any Followers of Gabriel who fit the bill? — and heads to the tavern to seek Murphy's help in finding who stole the weapons. We all know it was Nikki. Girl's husband was microwaved like a bag of human popcorn while fixing the pipes and preventing a nuclear meltdown just a couple of episodes ago. But she doesn't straight up admit it, instead threatening Raven and the tentative calm in Sanctum. Poor Indra.
Alyssa: It really is not going well. Indra is worried that if WunKru finds out that Russell is Sheidheda that they will follow him. Sure, he's evil, but he's had the Flame, and that will always be the core of their ethos. So she's got that to worry about, on top of the now heavily armed prisoners and whatever the Sanctum natives are all about at the moment. Nelson — is it just me or was this rando given a lot of narrative weight out of nowhere? — sneaks in to attempt a little murder, but he underestimates Russell/Sheidheda. He is unsuccessful, but Russell shows him mercy while swiping his knife. He informs Nelson that no, he isn't Russell, Russell's mind is dead and gone. Nelson climbs aboard the Sheidheda train pretty damn quickly, ready to unite the different groups under this sinister banner. The key to their success? Taking out Clarke.
Jessica: Someone please cue up Mariah Carey's tea-spilling joint "Obsessed" because it should be playing in the background every time a random villain mentions destroying her. Of course, Clarke has left the building… er, planet right now so the most immediate threat comes in the form of discord between WonKru and the convicts stealing those guns. Indra's plan to fix things isn't great: she wants Madi to pop on that cultural appreciating Bindi and get to playing commander again, but luckily, Madi has enough courage to eventually say no and Uncle Murphy is there to back her up. You love to see it. Instead, after a pep talk from Emori, Indra realizes she's been the leader she needed all along and after beating some ass, she earns that title in the eyes of her people. More of this from Indra, please!
Alyssa: Listen, WunKru should know by now that it isn't the Flame that makes a leader. Indra has gone to the mat for them time and time again, and she's never lead them astray. Indra deserves all the recognition and all the praise because she has continually taken on all of the responsibility. I'm still worried about the insurrection that Russell as Sheidheda is almost certainly going to cause, but I am feeling a bit more confident knowing that Indra is running things now. I love Clarke, but she isn't really a tactician.
I've Got a Bad Feeling About This
Jessica: Clearly, because she's delivered her people, not to the promised land, but to some rogue planet where they're forced to trudge through mountains of snow and ice to find a damn Anamoly Stone. Clarke, honey, being a tour guide to multiple universes just isn't your strong suit. The team lands on the ice planet and immediately uncovers a body frozen there with a familiar-looking symbol attached. Remember those Second Dawn bunker nutjobs? Yeah, they're back. But before we can dwell too much on this, Raven's helmet finds the stone they need to travel to a different world so they set off into a sinister-looking cave that made me claustrophobic just looking at it on screen. Has no one seen a Ridley Scott sci-fi flick? Do they not know some alien creature is awaiting them?
Alyssa: Yeah, crawling on my belly through a tiny "cave" while getting attacked by spider creatures is definitely on my list of nightmare scenarios. I've always felt that The 100 has missed the opportunity for crazy creatures (TV budgets, I KNOW), so it was fun to see this descendent of Shelob causing a little terror. Raven's helmet is damaged in the scuffle, but they press on and finally get to stand upright in a larger part of the cave. However, immediately, their way in/out closes up mysteriously, complete with acid covered boulders. Yikes. They're trapped, and the cave is moving around walls at will. Clarke and Raven get trapped away from the rest of the group and they realize that the cave is alive and that they're slowly being digested. I got such huge Exogorth in The Empire Strikes Back vibes that I was half expecting a mynock to come flying out of a hidden corner.
Jessica: It's a George Lucas-approved nightmare. I loved the sci-fi horror vibes. It reminded me of a couple of seasons ago with the earthworms. Remember that, Alyssa? Happier times. Still, other than the much-needed heart-to-heart between Raven and Clarke, I was confused as to why we spent so much time in the belly of this particular beast. Do the writers realize this is the last season? That's a serious question. I need Jason Rothenberg to look me in the eye and tell me he knows things are ending after Season 7 because otherwise, I'm starting to worry that we've got a real pacing problem. That chat with Clarke and Raven could've been done literally any other time. Maybe the stakes would've been lowered. Maybe the threat of death wouldn't be imminent. But they could've had some quality girl time before a monster's acid slowly broke down their organic matter, no? It's sad that even their long-awaited "moment" felt overshadowed by the weird storytelling choices this episode. But hey, maybe that's just me?
Alyssa: No, I get it. The relationship between Clarke and Raven has been a trouble spot for the writers since the beginning, and while I liked the heart to heart, you are completely right that the pacing felt off. I'm not sure I loved Clarke's conclusion that it's OK that they killed a lot of people because they did it for the people that they loved, but Clarke has been an extreme pragmatist since episode one. It makes sense for the arc of her character to still be beating the "ends justifies the means" drum. But I'm with Raven on this one. It isn't OK. The cavernous stomach was clearly moved by this emotional moment because it decides to open up and let Miller, Niyah, and Jordan join in the love fest and they all reach the Anomaly Stone. Raven's helmet has some glitches, but she's eventually able to punch in the code that will hopefully bounce them to Bardo. But alas, that is for us to find out next week.
Jessica: Speaking of, after the chaos of this week I just have one request: Bellamy Blake. Not in flashbacks or bite-sized glimpses but a full 10-15 minutes, at least, with Space Daddy. I need a grounding, comforting presence right now because we're steamrolling towards the end of this thing and my hope for a Bellarke happy ending is slowly dwindling.
Alyssa: I am definitely delusional because I will not give up on Bellarke until the final frame of the final episode. What I want from the upcoming episodes is to bring everyone back together. I realize that there are a lot of divergent storylines to fit in, but one of the best things about this show is the chemistry between the cast, and I feel like we're seriously missing out on that this season. They're stronger together as a team! Let them be a team before it's too late! They can't survive on the strength of Clarke's outerwear alone!