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The 100 Discussion: 'The Gospel Of Josephine' makes life on Sanctum even more complicated

By Alyssa Fikse & Jessica Toomer

A good rule of thumb to remember when watching The 100: as bleak as things get, things can and will always get worse. Now that Clarke is "dead" and the prime Josephine has the controls to her body, life in Sanctum gets a little more precarious for our band of survivors. Never ones to play nice when darkness gets revealed, it's only a matter of time before everyone is in very hot water.

Will Octavia find redemption while chasing the Children of Gabriel? Will Jordan spill everyone's secrets again in his quest to find true love/get laid? Will Abby ever return from the library? We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer and we're here to walk you through every twist and turn in the latest episode. 

The Return of Josephine

Alyssa: Right off the bat, I am trapped in an utter whirlwind of feelings. Was I absolutely crushed to find out that the dancing, painting, happy Clarke from the trailer was actually Josephine? Readers, I was. However, I think this twist is going to be a blast. Eliza Taylor has done such a great job already at altering her performance just enough to make Josephine uncanny. Her voice is off, her walk is off, how she holds herself is off. It’s Clarke, but it’s also very much not Clarke, and it’s so fun to see.

Jessica: I knew the minute the French rap began blasting that watching Clarke-not-Clarke have some much-needed alone time was going to hurt. If anyone deserves some self-care, it’s our girl. But as much as I’m missing our fearless leader, I am LIVING for what Eliza Taylor is doing with this character. The subtle changes make everything feel more eerie, more sinister. It can’t be easy, after you’ve lived with a character for six seasons, to suddenly switch things up the way she has, but she is selling the sh*t out of this storyline right now and I’m loving the dynamic having Josephine masquerade as Clarke is inserting into our core team. She’s a psychopath though, right? Like, I stan her brilliance and her devil-may-care attitude, but the chick is disturbed.

Alyssa: Anyone who refers to Murphy as “John” is clearly unwell. I think it’s interesting to see her interact with the rest of the group because it immediately drives home how well these people know each other and the real Clarke. Sure, Madi wants to think that Clarke just changed her mind about school, but even if she’s Heda, she’s still just a kid. Gaia immediately knows that something is off, and so does Bellamy. That being said, Josephine isn’t the only one making the group dynamic a little tense. Jordan, I love you, but every single thing you do makes me think of the moment in The Little Mermaid when Ariel yells “I’m sixteen! I’m not a child!” at King Triton. While his instincts about the primes may have been correct, the boy has no sense of subtlety, and if he isn’t careful, he’s going to get them all killed. Sharing all of the group’s secrets the second he got laid was bad enough. He needs to learn to play things a little closer to the chest.

Jessica: Right? Like maybe don’t get your one-night stand flowers the next morning and then accuse her of being an imposter when she accepts them? I know Delilah is gone and Priya is setting up shop in her body, but if the guy I just banged offered me my not-favorite flowers in front of everyone like that, I’d just smile and accept too. It’s what all women would do to avoid a public confrontation, so really, not the best way to determine if your crush has been body-snatched. Still, as clumsy as Jordan is in his investigating, the kid’s hunch is good. I think it’s interesting that, out of everyone, it’s him and Gaia who have the strongest misgivings about these people. They’re both outsiders of the original group in a way that affords them an unbiased point of view. But infiltrating the holiest place in Sanctum in broad daylight isn’t the best way to ensure your continued survival, guys. Cool your damn jets.

Alyssa: Side note: I understand how things work and that not every actor can be in every episode, but I am seriously amused at how they’re explaining where everyone is this season. “Oh, Abby’s in the library.” “Raven, Echo, and Emori are off figuring out how to build a radiation shield.” With everyone in one place, it’s harder to explain absences, and it’s tickling me to no end. But yes, Jordan’s instincts were correct and they found out that Bekka’s work had an even farther reach than they expected. One of my favorite sci-fi tropes is found footage, and The 100 managed to deploy it pretty effectively here. That is some dark sh*t going on, and despite her alleged work in Godot, Josephine does not do a great job of hiding the fact that she thinks it’s all chill as long as she gets to live forever.

Jessica: I too am enjoying the unintended humor of #largecastproblems. I hope the writers just lean into that this season and come up with even more elaborately ridiculous excuses for missing characters. I need someone to tell me Abby’s been trapped in an oil painting or Emori’s at a civil rights rally at some point this season. But yeah, once we find the conveniently-placed operating room adjacent to the crypt decorated with skeletons, sh*t officially hits the fan.

Josephine is devious, but there’s no way she could know Clarke’s history with turning people into nightbloods at this point or her experience with the flame so she can’t convincingly-mimick the horror watching a young girl murdered then used as a vessel for someone else’s consciousness could invoke on WanHeda. It really drives home the difference between these two women. They’re both leaders, they’re both intelligent, they’re both equipped to make tough choices, but Clarke still has her humanity which is something I’m guessing Josephine lost in between bouts of body-snatching?

Alyssa: That’s the difference, isn’t it? Clarke and Josephine share the ability to make seemingly impossible choices, but Clarke always does it out of a sense of duty to her people. Josephine is always self-serving. That’s what really sets off alarm bells in people’s heads about her, too, I think. Abby may be too wrapped up in her own guilt over the dark year and her obsession with healing Kane to notice, but other people are paying attention. Especially Bellamy.

Immersion Therapy

Jessica: Well, while Bellamy’s back at Sanctum trying to not seem jealous about Clarke’s night with the doctor and keeping Jordan from pulling a Say Anything kind of move with Delilah/Priya, his sister is on her own adventure with Diyoza. The two are trailing the followers of Gabriel before they’re trapped in a pit of quicksand, but with weird jelly orbs. Personally, I love seeing this pair work together towards a common goal. They bicker, they challenge each other, but ultimately, they push each other to be better. And if I were on the receiving end of their rage, I’d be terrified because they’re nothing they can’t do, especially if they’re doing it together.

Alyssa: Seriously, I am living for this duo. Again, I have to praise the writers for keeping Diyoza around, because she is serving as such a catalyst for Octavia while also being endlessly interesting on her own. Octavia clearly still has a bit of a death wish, but being trapped in the Crucible (righteous name) really forces her to reckon with what she wants. Does she want to die? Does she want to atone? Does she want to go all in on violence and rage?

Being stuck in some weird goo with nowhere to go is one way to force yourself to reflect, and ultimately I think Octavia decides that she wants to live and do better. I guess facing down a solar flare and getting stuck under some weird crust is one way to create a change. After this episode, I am even more curious about the Children of Gabriel, though. Now that we’ve gotten a look at the OG Gabriel, I want to know why he apparently left the Primes. He seemed pretty tortured in the footage, but there’s more there. Ugh, why must I be patient!

Jessica: You’re right, 25 years of experimenting on people would cause anyone to crack, but he accomplished his goal in the end, so why start your own cult away from the safety of Sanctum? My guess is it had something to do with Josephine. She’s been vocal about her desire to breed more nightbloods and her love of eugenics. She’s written entire books on the subject. Maybe he feared what she might do, or at the very least, disagreed with brainwashing people with some made up religion to cover for the atrocities they were committing? We need a face-to-face with the guy to truly understand his motives, but after seeing how conflicted he was in that video, I’m leaning even more towards the notion that he’s the good guy. Or, at least, the better guy. What did you think of Octavia’s injury after the flare? Her hand seemed I don’t know, petrified? Aged? Do you think that’s going to influence this change we’re starting to see in her?

Alyssa: It was hard to tell quite what was going on with Octavia’s hand under all the jelly, but whatever it was is not good. I’m worried that her exposure will lead to some awful slow death and that she’ll find redemption before she succumbs. I want Octavia to get to live in her atonement, not die to achieve it, you know? Either way, it’s a bad sign. Hopefully, the Children of Gabriel will have a cure for that. Surely someone else has been exposed to the flares and lived to tell the tale?

Breaking Some Eggs

Jessica: I agree, I want O to live with what she’s done and become better because of it. That kind of “hero’s death” always ends up feeling hollow to me. And she still has so much to work out with her brother who, unfortunately, is currently paralyzed because he discovered Josephine’s been using Clarke’s body like a new Ferrari. Say what you will of Bellamy and Murphy’s obliviousness at the beginning of the episode, but personally, I felt like the oldest Blake clued into Josephine’s deception fairly quick. It felt like he was testing Clarke throughout the episode, and his final confrontation with her was just a confirmation of his suspicions. That face that he made when he realized his Clarke was no longer there though? That face will haunt my dreams at night.

Alyssa: Yeah, I think Bellamy suspected the second “Clarke” made the crack about wearing the doctor out. These two are close, but joking about sexual encounters? Not their deal. I didn’t think I would be that excited to hear trig again, but Bellamy using it to test “Clarke” was pretty genius. And yeah, the look of devastation and strangled “who ARE you?!” was a crushing blow to my emotional well being. He knows what having Josephine take over means, and the thought of losing Clarke is too much for him (#Bellarke4LifeSuckers).

Now, deep down in my heart of hearts, I know that somehow they will figure out a way to bring Clarke back. THEY HAVE TO. THERE IS ANOTHER SEASON AND SHE IS THE SHOW. But the prospect of a grief-stricken Bellamy attempting to burn it all down to avenge Clarke and realize that yeah, duh, he love loves her? Call me a monster (it’s fine, I am), but that is something that I am very much looking forward to. What did you think of Murphy’s interactions with Josephine?

Jessica: Ummmm, I kinda loved it? I’ve never seen a romantic pairing between Clarke and Murphy, but they have some great tension and chemistry that keeps this frenemy thing going. To see the show build on that by having Josephine not only “check out” Murphy but go to him for help with Abby was the kind of weird, questionable character growth I hate to love. Murphy’s going through it right now because of his brush with death, so it makes complete sense to me that he’d jump at the opportunity to attain immortality.

The guy is the human equivalent of a cockroach, of course he wants to live forever. Josephine’s shrewd enough to see that about him and she tempts him with it. I don’t think she’ll keep that promise, and I definitely get weirded out anytime she calls him “John,” but it’s a smart move on her part to use Murphy to deceive Abby and achieve her goal of creating more nightbloods. I think Murphy might go along with it for a while, but he’s proven he has a conscience and I think if anything happens to Bellamy or Emori or even Jordan and Maddie, he’ll turncoat on Josephine and do the right thing. At least, I hope he will.

What’s Next

Alyssa: Yeah, I am not 100% certain that Murphy isn’t going along with Josephine as a way to ultimately save the group. Over the seasons, he’s done more than get a better haircut: he’s grown up. Sure, he can snark about how miserable he is, but I really believe that when given the choice, he’ll do whatever he can to save his found family. The rest of the team needs to get back from wherever the writers have conveniently put them because Raven especially is needed. However, as worried as I am for the group, I am seriously looking forward to whatever nonsense Josephine tries to pull next. That is one fascinating psycho.

Jessica: Right? Personally, I’m not worried about getting Clarke back. There’s no way the show would kill her off like that, and her history with the flame offers her protection the other hosts don’t have. What I am worried about is how Josephine will most assuredly f*ck things up for our little family and how Clarke will ultimately blame herself for anything this little monster does. Her plans for Abby and the rest of the group can’t be good, so here’s to more Diyoza and Octavia bonding time to soften the blow of an eventual self-hating Clarke.

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