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Welcome to hell ... er, we mean Bardo.
Because that's where most of the action on the latest episode of The 100 takes place. Octavia's being tortured, Echo, Hope, and Gabriel are launching a rescue mission, and another Blake is stirring up chaos on the foreign planet. Honestly, things in Sanctum aren't much better either.
We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer and we're trying to contain our excitement because, you guys, The 100 just figured out how important Bob Morley is to the success of this show. As if we all didn't know already.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 5 of The 100.
Jessica: In the year of our Lord Clarke Griffin 2020 can I just say how much I did not need to see Octavia Blake being tortured, again. Like, I get it. We need angst. We need stakes. We need a reason to really dislike this new group of blindly faithful Robocops. But also, I'm just really tired and I would've fully supported a final season that was just about Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, and the rest of the group learning how to make sourdough bread and grow avocados. Instead, we're opening on a time in the distant past/possible future — time is just a construct on this show now. It's been 45 days since Octavia was knifed by Hope and sent back to Bardo and she's spent most of that time being interrogated with a brain microwave. She makes nice with the technician charged with extracting her memories for information about her friends — primarily Clarke — and he eventually proves to be a pretty chill dude. Still, he's got Octavia Black strapped to a chair muttering nonsense so I don't trust him, or this starkly white room, or this whole new planet.
Alyssa: Right? Octavia Blake is meant to have a sword in her hand and compassion in her heart. Strapped to a chair in a lab is just not where she deserves to be. As Levitt interrogates her — and is won over to Team Octavia in the process — we also get a glimpse of the leader of Bardo, Anders. He's played by one of those quintessential "that guy from that thing" actors, and he's got a real cult leader vibe. They're digging through Octavia's brain looking for information about Clarke and the stones, so we got some fun callbacks to past seasons. They were all so young! Babies! Also, I gasped seeing Lincoln again. Still, to me, the most devastating death on the entire show. Using a pretty scary looking spike, they dig through her brain despite her resistance, and they stumble across Bellamy and get to work collecting as much intel on the MIA Blake. Octavia does her best to resist, but it's hard to do when a lobotomy is on the line.
Jessica: He's Marissa Cooper's dad on The O.C. and he is not to be trusted! I also have a pretty strong suspicion that he's the mysterious Shepherd everyone keeps talking about. Like, is he just posing as Anders to protect his identity and spy on his own people? Maybe. Still, Octavia's at his mercy which isn't a good thing. Eventually, Levitt gleans a bit of information about Hope so to protect her from these pristinely dressed creeps, she makes a deal with him — erase any trace of her kid and she'll give him anything he wants on Clarke and the rest. Levitt becomes an Octavia stan fairly quickly, even managing to convince her that though she did bad things and killed a lot of people, her heart is pure. Man, I know this dude will probably die but I'd love for O to have a friend at some point. Not a brother or a co-parent or a kid or someone who needs her but just someone who hangs because they like her. You know?
Alyssa: For real. I feel like O has been short on actual friends since day one, and I hate that for her. She has so much to offer and he recognizes that! As Levitt tells Octavia that she isn't a killer, a rough-looking Hope arrives to save her. The timeline is a little tricky (this was a pre-Echo and Gabriel team up Hope), but she's here in an attempt to break Octavia and Diyoza out of Bardo. It might be the fact that so many things right now are demanding space in my brain, but I honestly had a lot of trouble following the time travel in this episode again. This Hope was after the death of Dev but before Echo and Gabriel show up, right?
Jessica: Correct. If we must assign meaning to time now, then this was right after Dev died and Hope took the suit to save her mom and Auntie O. She succeeds, partially. She manages to get O to the Anomaly Stone but she can't give her the helmet because she needs it to navigate Bardo and find her mom. Without the helmet, when Octavia travels through the bridge, she'll lose all her memories of the place and what happened to her. So Levitt scans Hope with a sinister-looking Men in Black knockoff device and imprints her code onto Octavia's back — to pull Hope through the portal at some point? I'm still not sure. But that's why O had a gnarly tattoo when she hopped back to Sanctum, and why she looked like death. Of course, that leaves Hope still stuck in Bardo which doesn't go well, but maybe we'll take a break from this brain-frying time continuum sh*t to visit another disastrous civilization. Sanctum.
A Prime Problem
Alyssa: Honestly, despite everyone's hard work, no one on any of the potential planets is thriving right now. The Faithful are pissed about how things are going with Russell and are demanding to see Clarke. Since Clarke and her pals hopped their way to an ice planet (could that planet be Bardo? That would explain why they're in that Hunger Games-esque dome on Bardo). Indra is holding it down on Sanctum with an assist from Murphy and the still-recovering-from-radiation-poisoning Emori. Trey and his cronies are still demanding the release of Russell despite the fact that Clarke decided to let him live instead of making him a martyr. The Faithful truly do not know how to compromise. Indra is also dealing with Nelson and the rest of Skykru who are still mad that Madi isn't the commander anymore. Basically, Indra has to deal with multiple messes left behind by Clarke's decisions. Not a great look.
Jessica: Again, a quick radio check-in before jumping dimensions is just basic time-travel etiquette. Come on, Griffin! Still, Indra's doing her best and her best right now is … Murphy? God, we're screwed aren't we? To keep The Faithful from literally lighting themselves on fire — though, I have to agree with the cockroach on this one. Kind of crappy solution to a bigger problem, isn't it? — Indra forces Murphy to put on his Prime hat once again to keep the peace. He goes to the Tavern to negotiate and discovers the group slathering their own children in gasoline. These people really are the worst. The one thing that can get Murphy to feel some type of way is kids being mistreated so he abandons the plan and enters the lion's den, not a good idea in hindsight because Daniel Prime's former lover is in there and he knows Murphy's just posing as a God at this point. Even when Murphy tries to do good, it just goes wrong, doesn't it?
Alyssa: Murphy does his best Daniel Prime impression, but he never finished the homework. Trey, alerted to the fact that Murphy might not be who he has pretended to be — which, you know, he's not — test him on the four pillars of the Primes and he fails. Always do the reading, Murphy! He just wanted to save some kids and now Murphy's the one getting oiled up. Luckily, Emori continues to stand by her man and she and Indra show up with Russell to quell this particular rebellion. Russell convinces everyone that Murphy is indeed Daniel Prime, and while demanding that everyone kneel or die, Indra recognizes that phrase from her childhood. She pieces together the fact that Sheidheda has taken over Russell as if she didn't have enough to deal with.
Jessica: Indra is always the smartest person in the room and really if she can't manage this mess, no one can. I was shocked she figured things out so quickly but even though Russell's confirmed his real identity, she still can't kill him. Because then he'd be a martyr. But people are already lighting themselves on fire for him? And The Faithful look to be a small group of weirdos who still believe for some reason. So can't we just kill Russell, let them do their thing, and then move on from this whole storyline? I don't understand why we're mining so much conflict here when you've got a group of ex-convicts and a disenfranchised WonKru to stir up trouble if trouble's what you want.
When Are We?
Alyssa: Exactly. We've got plenty of fuses that are at various stages of being lit at this point, so it might be time to wrap this one up. Something tells me that digging the chip out of Russell's head isn't the answer either. But there are bigger things to worry about! Timey wimey things! After Hope sends Octavia through the portal and out of the Anomaly, we jump to a different point in time. Post-haircut Hope, Echo, and Gabriel make it to Bardo, and Echo immediately starts stabbing people. Again. As they try to make their way to find Diyoza and Bellamy, they get escorted into a sort of planetarium to listen to Anders drone on and on about how they will be victorious. It's not clear who or what they are fighting at this point, but they're darn sure that they're going to win because the Shepherd is on their side. Orlando clearly left some things out in their training.
Jessica: Right. So these dudes are not Eligius crew members but people from Earth before the first apocalypse. Apparently, there was an Anomaly Stone there the whole time? Or at least, Gabriel thinks there was. After Echo convinces a pissed-off Hope not to kill Anders — he's the one who forced her to tag Octavia to save her mom — the group finds O still strapped to a chair. Echo wants to know what happened to Bellamy (don't we all) and a tech who is definitely not Levitt probes Octavia's mind for the answer. It's not pretty. Apparently, when Bellamy was dragged through the bridge he made a mess of his guards which meant Anders needed Octavia to come talk him down. Did I love seeing Bob Morley on my screen again? 100%. But it was heartbreaking to watch the two Blake siblings once again forced to sacrifice themselves for each other. Octavia makes a deal with Anders: Send her brother back to Sanctum and she'll cooperate fully. He takes it, I suppose not realizing that Bellamy would be a much better prisoner if he wants intel on Clarke, and opens a portal for the eldest Blake to jump through. Of course, Bellamy isn't going to just leave Octavia behind but he doesn't have much of a choice because one of the "dead" guards wakes up and sets off a bomb and now Bellamy might be dead but he's definitely gone. This show is the worst sometimes.
Alyssa: I refuse to believe that after four episodes of absence they brought Bellamy back just to die. There's no way. THERE'S NO WAY. He was blown through the portal to another planet or SOMETHING, because if Bellamy is going to die, it's not going to be like that. I am a firm believer that if we don't see a body that someone isn't dead on television, so I am certain this is just a fake-out.
Jessica: It better fu**ing be! But on a more serious note, I feel a bit icky about how the show has handled Bob Morley's story this season. Like, we're in the endgame and we've completely sidelined Iron Man. It's just weird and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm hoping the back half of this season is heavy on the Bellamy Blake heroics but I just needed to put it out there. Space Daddy deserves better.
Alyssa: Yeah, I read in an interview with Jason Rothenberg that Bob wanted a break and that's why he's been so MIA so far this season, but I still can't help but be disappointed! Plus, no Clarke this episode! I've said it before and I'll say it again: all I care about in this last season is wrapping up the storylines of our favorites that we've stuck with over seven seasons. I feel like they're cramming in too much worldbuilding at the last minute and it just isn't working for me. This is already a lore-heavy show, and I feel like they're kind of losing the plot. Can't we just have an episode of everyone all together, talking about their experiences over the last couple of centuries while they garden and bask in their own hotness? No? Not that kind of show? Damn it.