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SYFY WIRE the 100 discussion

The 100 Discussion: 'Nevermind' stages a mind-bending battle between Clarke and Josephine

By Jessica Toomer & Alyssa Fikse

The 100 takes a mind-bending journey that ends with an explosive face-off between its two most powerful women in its latest episode

"Nevermind" sees Clarke, still alive in her subconscious, taking on Josephine, who wrestles with her for control. While Clarke's forced to face some of her darkest memories in order to outsmart the psychopath who's stolen her body, we learn some shocking information about Josephine that hints at a larger belief system held by the Primes. 

We're Jessica Toomer and Alyssa Fikse and we'll be raving over Eliza Taylor's performance this episode, so join us if stanning Clarke Griffin is your thing. 

A Father's Influence

Jessica: This is most definitely Clarke’s episode, and we’ll be gushing about Eliza Taylor’s performance for most of this recap, I’m sure, but can we take a second to appreciate the return of Jake Griffin, a man who ages like fine wine, a Zaddy who’s still got it even after being floated in Season 1? I know he’s not really back, he’s just a projection of Clarke’s subconscious meant to help her figure out this complicated, shared mind space with Josephine, but damn, he’s looking good, right?

Alyssa: If you’re saying that even a projection of Jake Griffin would be enough to make Abby forget about Kane, I would have to say that I agree. Hot dads aside, I can’t decide if being trapped in a mind space would be terrifying or rad (both is definitely an option). Sure, once she gets the hang of things, Clarke is able to manipulate her surroundings, but being stuck in there with that homicidal maniac Josephine certainly puts a damper on strolling down memory lane.

Jessica: I think, if you’re Clarke Griffin, being trapped in a mindscape is definitely terrifying. We’ve seen this show drag her over the coals for seasons now, punishing her for her mistakes, having her friends and family blame her for their problems but it broke my heart to see her internalize all that negativity this episode. I can’t imagine anything worse than being stuck with the worst memories of your life for eternity. It makes me want to hunt down every person who’s done our baby Griffin wrong and give them a stern talking to. That said, what did you think of the mind space and the drawings that made it on the wall? Lots of Lexa, lots of Bellamy, lots of feels.

Alyssa: I really loved all the drawings because it was a great way to acknowledge how much the show has changed since the first season. It all feels so low stakes now looking back. Like, I’m not going to lie to you, I had mostly forgotten about Finn. But that was really the first truly terrible decision that Clarke had to make, wasn’t it? Killing him was a turning point for Clarke and how she operated in the world as opposed to the relative comfort of space, so it was good to be reminded of where she started from and how she got to where she is now. I also really enjoyed all of her interactions with Josephine. They really are two sides of the same coin: two young women who were forced into difficult ways of life that required painful choices. However, while Clarke’s life made her competent yet kind, Josephine turned into a grasping psychopath.

Jessica: One whose hair-twirling tick is seriously grating my nerves. I agree though, those drawings really hammered home a truth we’ve all known but one that’s easily pushed aside when we’re worried about war and impending apocalypses: Clarke Griffin has been forced to do some messed up sh*t for her people. It just makes the beliefs that Raven and others have about her — that she’s an egomaniac who likes being in a position of power — even more heartbreaking. Clarke’s not perfect. She’s made some selfish choices, but the welfare of her people has been a burden she’s carried since they first landed on Earth. I doubt anyone else’s mind space would look like hers and I hope, when this is all over, she can find forgiveness for herself and acceptance, if not respect, from the people she’s sacrificed everything for.

Alyssa: That sacrificial nature is really what sets her apart from Josephine and that is especially apparent in this episode. Now, that doesn’t mean that Clarke isn’t above beating Josephine “to death” with a door, but it certainly sets Clarke off on an interesting path of self-reflection. Despite spending a century in cryo, Clarke is still deeply exhausted. I’m not sure there’s enough rest possible to get Clarke some true peace of mind. However, reckoning with her past choices is a good start on the path to forgiving herself, even if Raven and Octavia may never accept that she did what she had to do.

Back To Mount Weather

Jessica: Speaking of Octavia, she’s one of the subconscious memories that show up as Clarke tries to flee from Josephine to protect the secret that’s keeping her alive post-body-swap. It turns out A.L.I.E. was good for something after all and while Raven and Abby had their chip implant EMPd seasons ago, Clarke never did. The mesh from the implant is what’s interfering with Josephine’s ability to fully integrate with Clarke and take control of her body. So, thanks A.L.I.E.? And no thanks to Octavia who shows up as Blodreina in the fighting pits bringing up old memories of Clarke abandoning Bellamy to die. She said she was sorry Octavia! Move on!

Alyssa: Yeah, I never thought that I would be grateful to A.L.I.E., but here we are! Thanks, you manipulative robot! But yes, even in her subconscious, Octavia refuses to forgive Clarke. While I can almost understand Raven’s refusal to forgive Clarke — she did kill her boyfriend — it seems to me like Octavia would be one of the few people who would really understand the choices that Clarke has had to make. I mean, you would think that forcing your people into cannibalism in order to survive would make you a little more understanding of some light genocide.

Jessica: Octavia’s inability to self-reflect never surprises me but what did shock me this episode was the return of another figure from Clarke’s past: Maya. Jasper’s ex suffered from radiation poisoning after Clarke eliminated the Mountain Men, and while I know that decision still weighs on her — she cringes anytime someone mentions the nickname WanHeda — I didn’t envision Maya as being the physical manifestation of that guilt. It makes sense though, seeing as her death not only represents the deaths of hundreds but also ties back to Jasper’s suicidal depression and ultimate decision to stay above-ground during the second apocalypse. Is it just me or do all the mind space scenes that take place inside the Mountain, with those sterile, white backgrounds just feel so sinister? I’m so glad we’re free of that particular hell.

Alyssa: VERY sinister. Season 2 is still my favorite season of this show (as much as I love the rest), so I was glad to be reminded of what made that season so great, and part of it was definitely the creeping dread that a sterile hospital room can inspire. I agree that Maya was not someone that I expected to return, but you’re right. She’s definitely a locus of Clarke’s pain. No matter how hard Clarke fought in the mind space, though, Josephine was pretty good at exploiting her pain in order to get her to quit. Clarke’s bearing so many burdens and sometimes you just want to put that sh*t down for someone else to deal with.

Jessica: Josephine is a master manipulator — she’s had 200 years to perfect that part of herself — so watching her wear Clarke down was brutal. I have to admit though, as terrible as she is, I literally laughed out loud when she casually told Maya she had something on her face in that scene. You know I love that kind of dark humor and it makes me as giddy as a schoolgirl when The 100 gives it to me. I also loved seeing Josephine get her due with that damn shock collar. Not only did Clarke finally suss out how to control her own mindscape, she weaponized a painful memory to her advantage. My thoughts on the electric chair aside, it was fun to watch Josephine fry.

Giving Up Isn't Being Better

Alyssa: As enjoyable as it was to watch Josephine pay, she certainly wasn’t done torturing Clarke. She really had a skill for it, following Clarke into the forest, to Lexa’s chair, and finding Clarke’s chip. Clarke may have locked that away, but our girl is TIRED. As much as she wants to keep fighting for her people, the thought of allowing Josephine to kill her to take full possession of her body doesn’t completely repulse Clarke as long as her people are safe. As long as Madi and Bellamy are safe. *sob*

Jessica: I knew as soon as Josephine pulled the Bellamy card, letting her see the memory of him agreeing to work with Russel, that Clarke would cave. If her partner is pushing aside his hurt and loss for the greater good, she will too. Honestly, there was a moment where the thought of Clarke sacrificing herself for her people felt like the right way for her character to go. I never want Clarke to be killed off this show — she’s so integral to this story and Eliza Taylor is a phenomenal talent — but if that day comes, I hope her death is as emotionally fulfilling and as in-character as this choice was.

Alyssa: Agreed. However, that level of self-sacrifice was not the order of the day, because there was one more Ghost of Seasons Past left to visit our hero: Monty, the ultimate self-sacrificer. That precious cinnamon roll was always one of my favorites, so I got a little choked up to see him again. Monty was always very pro-Clarke even when that wasn’t the most popular of positions, so I was so delighted to see them working together again, even if it was just for a short while. The whole point of reaching Sanctum was for them to get a second shot to do better, and Monty was the one who gave them that shot. Of course he wasn’t going to let our girl end it all before the work was done.

Jessica: I forgot how much I missed this team-up. It makes me want to revisit the first few seasons when things were simpler and Monty and Clarke were best buds just trying to keep a group of delinquents alive on Earth. Good times, ya know? I loved that Monty was the one to snap Clarke out of her hopeless state, partly because it meant we got to see Christopher Larkin again, but mostly because she was using Monty’s motto of “Do Better” to justify her decision to give up, so no one but Monty could’ve convinced her to keep fighting for that same reason. Doing better means not starting a war, sure, but it also means standing up for people who can’t fight for themselves. Clarke’s always done that for her people, but it’s more than just “her people” on this new planet and I hope, going forward, that us-versus-them mentality is challenged more. I think it’ll only help the development of our favorite characters on this show. Until then, hurray for Monty and his unique ability to cut through Clarke’s bullsh*t in the sweetest of ways.

Alyssa: Honestly, Monty with his no-nonsense kindness is probably the ideal person to have on your side when you’re going into a tense situation and breaking into Josephine’s mind space definitely counts as a tense situation. I definitely need to see more of her time on Earth because the newspapers with Diyoza and A.L.I.E. on the cover were both very intriguing. Also the idea that while they were rationing water there was still a fully functioning diner, but I digress. They did make me feel for Josephine because YIKES that guy really killed himself as a way to manipulate her when she didn’t want to date him. Gross move. While I want Clarke to kill Josephine and take control of her body again, I am definitely interested in peeling back more of the layers to understanding how Josephine became the way that she is.

Jessica: I agree. I know Josephine is the villain this season (at least, one of them) but that scene in the diner really gut-punched me. How many brilliant women have been left traumatized by entitled man-babies like that dude? No matter what Josephine did, she did not deserve to watch a man commit suicide like that, after blaming his decision on her refusal to what, go on a date with him? Grow up, buddy. You can’t just get a gun and shoot something every time a girl says no. I wish more men knew that. And I think that’s why I ended this episode really feeling for Josephine. She’s a monster, sure, but monsters are often made. I just wonder if they can ever be unmade. Now that Bellamy knows Clarke’s still alive in there — thank you to Pike’s earth-building skills class — how do you see this battle between Josephine and Clarke playing out? Do you think Josephine will die her final death this season?

Alyssa: While The 100 is definitely the show to rehabilitate former monsters, I don’t see that path for Josephine. In all of the flashbacks about her, she is shown to be ruthless and self-serving, so I think I see other Primes disavowing the system before her. I just don’t know! However, I do know that she’s in trouble now that Bellamy knows that Clarke is still alive. He is a man on a mission, and that mission is saving the love of his life. (Ignore my projection, you know it’s TRUE).

What’s Next

Jessica: Now that Clarke’s embedded herself in Josephine’s mind space, I’m assuming getting rid of her is going to be even more tricky for this psycho-genius. The promo for next week’s episode teases more Murphy/Josephine time — at least, I’m assuming it’s Josephine because she’s still in control of Clarke’s body. What’s interesting though is why Jo seems to be wearing Clarke’s old outfit. Now that most of the original group know who she is, why keep up the charade? Unless maybe Clarke has found a way to momentarily take back control of her body? And why go to Murphy to fix the issue of two minds in one body instead of Russel? Why do that operation in the bike shop instead of the creepy lab next to the room full of skeletons? It makes me think Clarke and Josephine will continue their struggle for dominance, and we might see Clarke return to the world of the living, if only temporarily.

Alyssa: I was curious about the prominence of Murphy too, because he would be an odd choice for Clarke to make as well, right? You would think that if Clarke had fought her way to the surface, Murphy might not be the first person she would ask. However, with Abby MIA to try and save Kane, her choices of tech-savvy allies are a bit limited. That being said, we’ve spoken at length about how much we enjoy the Murphy/Clarke dynamic in all of its forms, so I think we have plenty to be excited about for next week.

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