As we are at the beginning of the end for The 100, it feels a little sad to go a full episode without checking in on most of the core characters. After the chaos in Sanctum in the premiere, "The Garden" feels extremely removed from the action. However, we do get some answers about what is actually in the Anomaly and what lies beyond. Octavia's fate, in particular, was quite mysterious, so getting some answers (some soft, domestic answers straight out of fanfic) about what the most tumultuous Blake has been up to was quite welcome.
Still, the lack of Clarke, Bellamy, and Raven stings with so few episodes left. Still, we soldier on and once again have to deal with the legacy of Becca. We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we don't quite have a handle on time travel, but we're doing our best.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 2 of The 100.
Welcome to Sky Ring
Alyssa: If I'm being honest, I'm not sure what to do with this episode. Sure, we got some answers about where Hope came from and what Diyoza and Octavia were up to for a decade, but hoo boy, was this one hard to follow. We open on Octavia after she followed Diyoza into the Anomaly, coming up out of a lake on a mysterious new planet. Her arm is healed, so that's a plus, and she finds Diyoza about to give birth. Because of the insane way that time works in the Anomaly, Diyoza has been here for three months despite going into the Inferno just a few seconds before Octavia did. But, there's no time to parse the details of that now! A baby's coming! The cleanest newborn baby of all time!
Jessica: Woof. This one was a doozy. Time travel plot devices rarely work for me, usually because I'm too lazy to figure out the science of it all and boy, did The 100 really want to give us a whole-ass college-level course in general relativity and quantum physics. But I digress. O bonds with baby Hope after the stress of labor takes its toll on Diyoza. She just gave birth in a hut on a foreign planet. The girl needs a nap! And because the concept of interdimensional travel isn't enough, this episode plays loosey-goosey with flashbacks too which means we flit between Hope's birth and her emergence from the same lake Octavia once popped out of, except she's 20 years older and accompanied by Echo and Gabriel.
Alyssa: Hope informs Echo and Gabriel that the planet is called Sky Ring (she named it as a child), and she takes them to her old home, long abandoned. Echo worries because she lost her gun in the lake, but honestly, that's the least of their worries. Apparently Sky Ring is just a stop on the way to Bardo, which seems to be where most people who enter the Anomaly end up. However, the travel through the Anomaly wipes away Hope's code, so they can't get through to Bardo. From the sound of things, the disciples in Bardo are bad news, and Hope has had to tangle with them before. She explains to Echo that the only reason she tagged Octavia was to save her mother, and that Octavia understood. This found family had a lot of complex dynamics to work through, and the wonky time differences between Sanctum and Sky Ring certainly didn't make things easier.
Jessica: So true. Hope seems to take the news that the code is lost in stride, especially when the group discovers a deranged man living in her home. Apparently, from the time she left and spent on Sanctum to the time she returned, 100 years had passed? My head's hurting already. Hope and Gabriel have a chat about how this whole thing works as he tries to decode the piece of paper. The code opens the bridge to other time dimensions and every person has their own unique mind code. When Hope went through to Sanctum, she wasn't trying to kill Octavia, she wanted to tag her with a tracker, which is another way people can travel through the Anomaly without having their body explode into millions of tiny pieces. It's all beginning to give me a headache so I'm glad when the episode decides to focus on how over all this sh** Echo truly is. She wants to know more about the word guy squatting in Hope's house, and I want to know more about what happened with Octavia and Diyoza 20 years ago.
Alyssa: Yeah, it's a lot to take in. Echo wants to swim to the bridge at the bottom of the lake to make it to Bardo and save Bellamy, and you can tell that Hope is a little tired of hearing Bellamy's name after years of Octavia trying to leave. She snaps "What is it about Bellamy that makes otherwise sensible women willing to die for him?!" Honestly, I think it's the freckles. Hope fills Echo in on the Disciples, who are religious fanatics who live in Bardo and use Sky Ring as a place to leave prisoners who aren't devout enough. The man squatting in Hope's house is one of those prisoners, and he is on a five-year sentence. The tattoo on his arm is counting down to when the disciples will come and collect him again, and Hope tells Echo and Gabriel that they better settle in for a long wait. When the disciples come back, they can fight them, take their suits, and swim to the bridge to Bardo. They just have to wait a few years, so they might as well plant some vegetables. This… doesn't seem like much of a plan.
Jessica: It's really not, but it's also all Hope knows. We get plenty of flashbacks sprinkled throughout the episode, but we'll cover the bulk of them here because Echo's desperate need to get off this planet and out of this timeline reminds Hope of how Auntie O spent six years … SIX YEARS … swimming in that lake, trying to dive deep enough to get to the Anomaly. In that time, she also helped Diyoza raise Hope — who was adorable as a kid and rocked some strong bangs — teaching her to garden and sew … you know, totally domestic life skills we never thought we'd see Blodreina do. I'd be fine with just living in this timeline for the rest of the show tbh.
Alyssa: Right? I couldn't help but wish that the rest of Skykru could just come over and they could form a little commune on Sky Ring, mostly because Farmer Bellamy is something that I would very much like to see. Octavia and Diyoza do their best to raise Hope the best they can, and even though Diyoza forbids it, Octavia and Hope do some covert fight training on the side. In between flashbacks, Echo and Gabriel follow Hope into the woods, and they find a truly macabre chess game set up in the woods. Apparently the deranged prisoner dug up some dead bodies to keep him company (yikes), but lucky for them that he did because surprise! Eligis III was here. This is Planet Beta. Gabriel pulls the mind drive from the dead man's head and sticks it into his handy space iPad. Wasn't there a Black Mirror episode like this?
Jessica: This whole thing is a Black Mirror episode. Planet Beta is where this group called The Disciples sends people who don't pull their weight — read: aren't devout enough — because prisoners can spend 20 years on Sky Ring and only be gone a day or two in their own time. It's very efficient, according to Gabriel. Hope seems to recognize one of the dead corpses but there isn't enough time to make sense of that because Echo's pressuring Gabriel to read the damn chip. We see Becca (I always have a small PTSD flashback when her face pops up on this show) and we learn that Eligis III crash-landed here and only one scientist managed to survive. Gabriel spends the rest of the episode binge-watching his memories while Hope and Echo do their best to bond over their shared concern for the Blake siblings.
Alyssa: Sure, they had no way to escape and no other people around, but the Octavia and Diyoza homestead was pretty idyllic. That is until they dug up one of the guys from Bardo in their garden. As much as she loves Hope and Diyoza, Octavia has been pretty desperate to find her way back to Bellamy so she can apologize for everything. This dead guy seems to have a relatively functional suit on his person (handy!), so Octavia sees this as her ticket to the bottom of the lake and into Bardo. She shares a heartbreaking goodbye with little Hope, but her plan hits a snag when Diyoza strides up to the house with a broken helmet. This was a deeply uncool mood. She claims that she destroyed the helmet for Octavia's good, but part of me can't help but think that Diyoza just didn't want to be left alone with a kid for the foreseeable future.
Jessica: But she does have a bigger point which is that because none of us really understand how time travel works on this planet so if Octavia left, she might not return for decades, which means Diyoza would be dead and Hope would be left alone. I see both sides honestly, but I love that Diyoza made a point of telling Octavia she was her family now too. It's what O's needed for a long time — someone to fight for her, to tell her she matters and is loved. I think there's too much hurt and history with Bellamy to ever fully mend that relationship but I'm happy she could find a new bond that fills the hole somewhat. Instead of telling Bell face to face, she writes him a letter, letting him know she understands all he did for her because she'd do the same for Hope, and wishing him well. She seals it in a bottle and tosses it in the lake, where it will hopefully get sucked up by the Anomaly and somehow find him. One of those things ends up happening.
The Trouble With Time Travel
Alyssa: The sweet letter may have inspired a touching voiceover apology from Octavia to Bellamy, but unfortunately, it had a dangerous outcome. The letter did somehow make it to the bottom of the lake and into Bardo, but it just served as a way to alert the disciples that someone was living on Sky Ring/Planet Beta. They send a team of soldiers to take Diyoza and Octavia away, but luckily they were able to hide and save Hope. We get the original scene between Octavia and Hope that served as her hallucination in the last episode, and we really get a sense that Octavia would do anything for her new family. It's devastating that it had such a rough outcome, but thank God Octavia was able to get some space and heal with people who love her. Unfortunately, it didn't last long at all.
Jessica: Good things rarely do. Hope is clearly devastated after reliving this trauma and we're left to wonder how she even survived all those years on her own — if she was on her own — but not for too long because the crazy man is back and he's spouting some cult-ish bullsh** and breaking Gabriel's iPad as soon as he got to the part where his scientist bro was figuring out the code for the Anomaly. Will our faves ever make it off this damn limbo planet? I'm just not sure.
Alyssa: While I am certainly glad that they filled in some of the gaps with what happened to Octavia, I'm a little sad that we didn't get a check-in with the team on Sanctum. They are in peril! I need to know how they're doing! That being said, I was surprised at how interested I was in an episode without most of the core cast. That really shows how much Echo has grown on me, because I really cared. However, I will never care about her as much as I care about Bellamy and Clarke, so please return to us soon.
Jessica: Like Octavia, I respect Echo but I'm not sure I'll ever truly warm to her. I am down with her mission to "save them all" though so I'll be cheering her on in that regard. I appreciate the sci-fi of it all, but I'm far more interested in the character development of our faves at this point. We got that with Octavia, now I want that with Clarke and Bellamy and the rest. They were the ones in limbo this episode so I hope we see some moves being made at Sanctum next week.