The fourth episode of The 100, called “Hesperides,” begins to reveal more about the mysterious Disciples as Clarke finally figures out that Bellamy and her friends aren’t solely conducting research. They’re missing and, more importantly, taken. This episode continues many threads begun in the first two episodes and finally provides the plot an opportunity to advance beyond Sanctum’s recycled plotlines, even if it’s done in a round-about way.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DECADE
“Hesperides” begins where “The Garden” (our review here) left off, with a deserted, tender-age Hope struggling with the loss of her family. It’s not long before the anomaly reopens, sending a handsome man, Dev, through. Dev is sentenced to Skyring, or as they call it, Penance, to atone for his sins for ten years. In a montage set to an emotional score with muffled vocals from Hope and Dev, she attempts to ward him away from her home.
But not unlike the way Clarke and Madi’s relationship began, Hope eventually warms up to him and heals him as he eats some berries with adverse side effects. Having to grapple with the fact that Hope won’t see her mother or Octavia for a decade, the two bond, and Dev trains her throughout his sentence in the hopes to help reunite her with her family.
But things never go right on The 100 and Hope’s tragic past follows a trend. When the moment arrives, Hope is frozen. Dev may have trained her, but she’s not a warrior yet, having only interacted with three people her entire life. Hesitation, in this case, leads to death. Dev perishes, taking out the rest of the masked Disciples with him, allowing Hope’s escape from Penance, despite another insurmountable loss.
In another instance of paralleled plots, Hope’s relationship with Dev informs Hope moving forward, as she attempts to recreate this series of events, but with less hesitation and tapered emotions.
The score is helpful during this montage, pulling all of the events together, leading to the current timeline, evoking emotion as Hope loses connection once again. This is not the only time the music informs the mood, but it was a little unexpected, as montages similar to this one are less common in The 100. However, music is an excellent way to influence the audience’s emotions to sell a decade-spanning story in a matter of mere minutes.
It’s hard to be sold on Hope and there are still gaps in her story not yet revealed. However, this is a risk of introducing new characters late in the game (and seemingly promoting them to a protagonist in the same breath). Hope seems to be used to planning and a slower-paced lifestyle, which explains her hesitation and uncertainty when it comes to high-stakes encounters. Echo, however, is the opposite, which will come into play as they attempt to escape the prison-planet once more.
THE ONLY WAY OUT
Picking back up with Echo, Hope, Gabriel, and Orlando, Gabriel and Echo are angry at Orlando and his devotion to his faith causes him to destroy Gabriel’s tablet. Hope is the calmest in the situation, recalling her past, and knowing precisely what she needs to do for their survival.
But it doesn’t come from the same place that her relationship with Dev was rooted in. She plans to lure Orlando to them, develop a close bond, and then he would be willing to help them escape Penance. But, Dev helped out of kindness, caring for a lost child, whereas Hope plans to recreate these events without much care for the man.
“By then, he’ll love us. That’s why he’ll help us,” Hope points out.
It’s smart, calculated, and a perspective that both highlights traits passed down to her by both her mother and father. Hope, and Echo, both seem to place loyalty above conscience and at this point, they will use whatever, whoever, they can, despite the clear questionable morals their tactics involve. But at this point, it’s that, or die on this planet. There is no choice, right?
OH, LOOK. ANOTHER DEAD GUY.
Back in Sanctum, we’re thrown into another seemingly random and sudden plot that comes out of nowhere. It isn’t until partly through the scene that Gaia explains that foragers found the single dead body that Clarke and the others circle. This scene hastily explains that this dead soldier was discovered alone, with no sign of Bellamy or the others, and another live person is waiting outside the Sanctum compound barrier and has asked for Clarke by name.
For a fairly important revelation, minimal reaction displays on Clarke and the others’ faces. The entire group of protagonists in Sanctum show very little emotional response to the disturbing news. Have they simply gone through this enough times they are prepared to handle it without panicking or grieving? Or have their relationships disintegrated due to neglect to the point where an emotional response isn’t necessary in the eyes of the writers?
Whatever the reason, the stoic expressions cause unease when watching, especially considering the way Clarke reacted when Bellamy didn’t return in time from his hunting party. Or the way she reacted upon being separated from Finn and Bellamy after being taken into Mount Weather. Or the way Clarke radioed Bellamy for 2,199 days straight upon him escaping praimfaya. Or the way she reacted when Bellamy didn’t radio into her on time when he was undercover. Do you get my drift?
Especially after a highly climactic reunion and rescue between Bellamy and Clarke last season, an expectation of her expressing more distress at his and the others’ absence is perfectly reasonable. But season seven of The 100 isn’t about ships, or relationships, or characters. Clarke pushing forward to the next task without any emotional moment is consistent for the current season.
Suggestion: If adding additional episodes to a season to incorporate a number of new world-building and plot elements doesn’t allow proper closure while still allowing time for emotional beats from the lead character, then maybe think smaller. Or perhaps don’t spend a bottle episode expanding on a supporting character’s emotional state if that doesn’t also leave room for main characters to grow and exist as well.
Speaking of emotional states, before leaving to meet the mysterious man in a gold mask, Clarke has a quick heart to heart with Raven. While consoling Raven, Clarke does provide quick insight to her coping mechanism: not forgetting the faces of people she lost, but also remembering the faces she saved.
An interesting line from Clarke, and perhaps an extension from grief shared with the missing Bellamy, as he attempted to discern Clarke from Josephine as he told her, “I see the faces of the people I’ve killed when I dream, not in the mirror.”
Is this something that the pair have discussed before? I choose to believe yes, and will gladly accept this as the “Hesperides” Bellarke crumb.
Having Raven begin work on examining the suit belonging to the deceased Disciple, Clarke, and her posse, leave to meet the man at the barrier.
THE DISCIPLES OF A GREATER TRUTH
Clarke doesn’t waste time mincing words upon meeting Anders, but he also brought back-up, and this back-up has the same invisibility cloaking as they did when facing Echo, Gabriel, and Hope. Oddly, Clarke and Company show more of a reaction to this more than the revelation that their friends were missing.
According to Anders, Clarke is “the key to winning the last war that mankind will ever wage.” As if Clarke doesn’t have enough on her plate. But, it’s Clarke, so of course she agrees to hear what these people have to say, as long as she gets her friends back first. Anders agrees to retrieve them, warning her that every second they waste is valuable time for her friends (on Penance).
Unexpectedly, my favorite moment of this scene is when Miller speaks up, demanding to know who these people are. To see him behave in such a hot-headed manner is amusing, as he generally doesn’t say much. Miller’s primary function as muscle with a familiar face is helpful in this dynamic, and it’s nice to seem him protective and vocal. If he continues to remain paired up with Clarke, Indra, Niylah, Raven, and Jordan, his presence will provide a needed contrast, assuming he continues to speak up and act in a similar capacity.
The placement of Niylah and Gaia in these scenes seems odd. Gaia feels out of place, and Niylah in her own essence is superfluous. Meanwhile, Raven and Jordan are investigating The Disciples’ technology in the workshop. Jordan appears to be faring better this episode, as he tries to reminisce about their journeys since happening upon Sanctum. Jordan’s intentions feel dubious in this scene and it’s hard to determine if he is speaking to her as a friend and family member, or if there are implications of him developing an interest in her. This wouldn’t be the first time The 100 has planted seeds for something that is never to come.
The 100, however, has become self-aware this season, with on-the-nose remarks ranging from Hope’s call-outs of Echo to Jordan informing Raven that he was shot. Raven shuts him down, trying to focus on the task at hand as a way to avoid her grief. The conversation is a bit one-sided. In her grief, Raven tends to shut Jordan down, who is reaching out to her.
This doesn’t work as she hallucinates Hatch once the pair remove the deceased soldier’s helmet. Intrigued by their facial tattoos, Jordan is oblivious to Raven’s panic. Thankfully, Clarke saves the day, updating them on the situation and gives Raven another task to focus on.
This seems to be Raven’s coping style, always working so as to avoid the pain and guilt she feels. Not unlike Clarke, The 100 appears to be likening the two women’s struggles and the way they deal with those struggles. While the clear intention of Raven’s current arc is to liken her to Clarke, the execution doesn’t need to mirror hers so similarly. Nobody has told Raven that love is weakness. And nobody has blamed Raven for her decisions the way others judged Clarke as late as last season.
If The 100 is set on achieving understanding by carbon-copying this late in the game, then the least it can do is give Raven a non-romantic soulmate, too.
HOOKING THE BAIT
Meanwhile, Echo is not taking this next time-jump very well. Despite being stuck in space for six years, she still cannot adapt to the calmness outside of battle. Hope and Gabriel, on the other hand, have no issue with this, what with Gabriel living many lifetimes and Hope being exposed to fewer humans than she can count on one hand for the majority of her life. These life experiences provide the two with survival skills.
Echo can’t even garden. She’s ill-equipped for this challenge. Sure, she can fight and make tactical combat decisions, but when it comes to survival skills, Hope and Gabriel clearly have the upper hand, which results in some lecturing on their behalf, and some snark return on Echo’s. Echo is surprisingly amusing, but not in a genuine way. But more so via secondhand embarrassment.
“Just Ice Nation. Not ‘the.’” Come on.
Even throughout Hope and Gabriel’s advice, Echo still resorts to hunting, violence, and force.
Through their banter, Hope tells the others the story of Hesperides, three maidens guarding an apple, or in this case, their garden. And I have to say as it applies to both Hope as a child and Hope now, Gabriel is the prettiest maiden. In a gimmicky moment that feels too out of place for Echo, months pass, and she’s a better gardener than before.
But her tone is too pleasant for Echo, revealing that the three are still keeping up their fake-family façade to lure Orlando in. It works, and while Echo speaks to him in an obviously cautious way, Orlando reveals once again that he’s knowledgeable about Hope and eager to please her as he offers Echo pumpkin seeds for Hope.
Orlando’s offering is interesting for two primary reasons. Firstly, he once again shows that he admires Hope. He knows much about her; he aims to save and protect her. Orlando idolizes Hope in an omniscient way. Hope is in no way The Shepard that he worships as his God. But it stands out as he knows so much about her, and is willing to help and modify his routine for her happiness and safety.
To this point, the ruse of a happy family pulls Orlando in, as he offers her his pumpkin seeds, ones very similar to the ones that Dev offered her to begin developing a relationship. Which brings about the second point: how does Orlando know so much about her?
Hope is a seemingly mysterious character, with much still unknown. As presented to the audience, Hope’s affinity for pumpkins likely began with Dev, as those were supplies given to him to ensure the survival of his sentence on Penance. What could have happened in Bardo to where Dev is aware of this information? What is her role in their society, and why do they want her dead? Is Orlando a plant on Penance, despite the assumption that he spent significant time alone there? Or is he a test for our ‘heroes’?
Who really is Hope? What are the missing puzzle pieces?
Regardless of the answer to that question, it seems that our Hesperides don’t have good intentions. Of course they want to get off the penal planet. To do so, however, Hope bastardizes childhood experiences for their gain. While she formed a bond in the past out of necessity, it naturally transcended into love and family.
Even in Echo’s past, necessity bloomed into more and she became an ally to the delinquents she once fought against. But here, Hope counts on the fact that history will repeat itself. They speak in direct metaphors about baiting Orlando and luring him in.
Orlando isn’t a human like Dev was. For now, he’s a means to an end. Something to be used, a tool. And even when characters in the past made questionable decisions, most of the time, they did not seek out to do this sort of behavior in such a complicated ruse.
Clarke certainly never intended to form a personal relationship in the name of family to manipulate that person for years to save others. The audience bonds with characters because yes, they are grey, but they also try to do their best until they can’t anymore. And when they have gone astray or forced to take life, it’s never without gut-wrenching guilt.
Orlando is a victim of manipulation, like so many others. The 100 tends to attempt to make statements about organized religion and the nature of faith. And now he has to endure manipulation again.
Of course, Bellamy, Octavia, and Diyoza need rescuing, but without any visible internal conflict, it’s hard to view our new Hesperides as people deserving of rooting for. This arc is entertaining, but not conducive to empathy.
REELING HIM IN
Gabriel, having happened upon Orlando, accidentally scaring him off, Echo and Hope come up with a new plan. Instead of waiting on Orlando, they would create an incident that would involve him directly. It’s something he wouldn’t just run away from.
Interrupting his chess game, Hope screams for help, pretending to drown in the anomaly lake (which is beautiful, by the way). Orlando saves Hope, and she continues the lie by saying she wanted to save her family. She does, but they understand the truth to how the rescue needs to occur. Gabriel and Echo comfort her by proclaiming they’re family too and they would rescue them together. Gabriel isn’t the best actor. He actually seems bored by the theatrics.
Orlando’s protectiveness continues as he vows not to allow his people to harm Hope or the others. The four later sit down to eat an awkward dinner, where Gabriel attempts to lighten the mood with humor but accidentally divulges information about Diyoza, information unbeknownst to Hope.
Unfortunately, in the comment, he also discloses information relevant to Orlando: Diyoza, Hope’s mother, was a Navy SEAL. Gabriel and Echo continue to de-escalate the situation, but the little cracks begin to break in their illusion of a happy family. Gabriel tries to theorize about Bardo’s origins, and Hope reiterates her guilt for her hesitation that killed Dev.
But Orlando has been questioned too much and the final pieces click together. He leaves, but not before clearly pointing out that Hope knows how to swim. Her mother is a Navy SEAL. Even though their manipulation is as evident as night and day, the team becomes more convicted to turn Orlando. He is at the 12th level, which, according to Hope, would give them unparalleled access in Bardo.
12 levels. We’ve heard that before: The Second Dawn Cult. But it’s hard to play family when you barely know the people you’re stuck with.
Back in Sanctum’s workshop, Raven and Jordan continue to investigate the suit technology, in a scene where Raven’s intelligence primarily informs the audience and protagonists of details that usually would have taken much more time to come to light.
In short, human minds power the suits and act as a source for navigating the anomaly, which is a wormhole to other planets. When Jordan asks Raven, who is always at her best when she’s geeking out over something scientific, the suit brings up a brief profile on Clarke.
“Is armed and extremely dangerous.” That’s our Clarke.
With Clarke’s target status revealed, Jordan and Clarke need to warn the others, who have already left the center of the compound to meet The Disciples.
Echo is not very good at making friends. Frustrations already rise between the three cabin-dwellers and Gabriel is frustrated with their training. Orlando interrupts, again, and now Echo’s irritability seeps out, as she confronts the man, challenging him to a battle. She wins, he helps them train. They lose, he gets the cabin. She loses.
But, the encounter gathers all four prisoners in the same location with Echo, Gabriel, and Hope conversing at a campfire outside the cabin where they will sleep, with Orlando inside. Echo, still staying on task, opens up a dialogue about one of Bardo’s technologies: M-Cap, or memory capture, a painful process, but only if you fight it. This leads Echo to think about Bellamy, admitting she doesn’t know what she’ll do if she loses him.
Once again, this moment highlights the trap the writers have put Echo in. While primarily antagonistic, Echo had more layers as an adversary for Bellamy and the others. But since the six-year time-jump at the start of season five, Echo has become purely an extension of him. She doesn’t have her own story. Even now, when she has time to develop on her own, she remains trapped in Bellamy’s shadow.
Other characters also have intense relationships with Bellamy, but they aren’t chained narratively by this. Echo rarely has her own agency, and when she does, her goals are purely motivated by her blind loyalty to the person she follows, conscience or any other factors be damned. Echo doesn’t know what she would do without Bellamy because the writers don’t know what she’d do without Bellamy, either.
Even now, when she has five years to expand her character, she doesn’t have anybody she can follow. Hope and Gabriel don’t have the leadership chops for that. And they’re not her people at this point anyway. Echo is doomed to remain in stagnation, chasing after a man who doesn’t chase after her.
Gabriel’s reassurances come off supportive at face-value, but also feel disingenuous due to the display of devotion and theatrics he witnessed when he sacrificed the love of his life to save what probably was and hopefully is Bellamy’s. Who’s gonna tell her?
One of my wishes so far for this season is for Gabriel to reunite with more dynamic characters he had previously established relationships with; the Gabriel, Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia dynamic was a highlight of last season. However, Gabriel comes into his own during his time on Penance. Not only do we have a better idea of who Gabriel is beyond his affinity for the anomaly, but we also look at his humor as well as get a firsthand look at Gabriel’s savior complex.
It’s no surprise that Gabriel wants to save Orlando from the people he believes to have indoctrinated. Gabriel has gone to extensive lengths before to free people from the grips of organized religion, which many times leads to manipulation. Depending on how you look at it, he’s even joined The 100’s genocide club with his destruction of embryos stored for the Primes’ later use. Gabriel formed an opposition group to fight the people he once loved.
To that point, it seems like Gabriel is the only one attempting to absolve Orlando of his blind dedication, instead of only using him to get to Bardo. However, Gabriel does have much lower stakes at this point. He’s lost his soulmate, his family, and his people. Primarily motivated by the pursuit of knowledge, he’s less guided by his emotions, and can perhaps even look at a situation more rationally. Gabriel has life experience.
When Orlando warns him that their plan will fail, Gabriel insists that murder is not what they are after, which launches into a speech about Orlando’s faith as Gabriel inquires the compassion of his ‘Shepard.’
“Would the Shepard that saved you condone torturing my friends who did nothing to you? Would he condone sending a man as devoted to him as you to prison? No. No, men condone those things. Weak men follow their orders.”
Harsh, but not untrue. And not just for the dilemma of The Disciples that have barely been introduced. His words apply not only to them but to the leaders of Sanctum as well. Maybe their followers weren’t weak but were manipulated in the same way Orlando seems to be.
And let’s not forget the grounders, whose entire lifestyle and way of living have in some way become about the people of privilege who had survived Earth’s original apocalypse. Without Becca’s technology and Cadogan’s aversion to Becca, the grounders would in no way be the people they are today. Some could argue if that’s a good or bad thing, but with Gaia’s wavering faith, I usually would bet on season seven bringing that story full-circle. Not to mention the prequel soon to follow, if green-lit.
Gabriel is the MVP of the group, as something in their conversation seems to stir Orlando. He agrees to help them, contingent on them rescuing their families without killing any of his. Of course, Echo makes it clear that she makes no promises. And when she says that, it’s almost apparent she has no intention of genuinely trying, considering the way she’s threatened Orlando’s people’s lives before, as well as her previous comments about doing whatever necessary to save Bellamy (and Octavia and Diyoza). Echo is a warrior, one who doesn’t consider the means when attempting to reach the ends. But, who knows? Maybe this time-jump could do the trick.
In true The 100 fashion, the next time we see Penance is on the day of Orlando’s absolution. He prepares them for their operation, painting the symbols of The Disciples on each of their faces.
The most growth is seen in Orlando, as he genuinely shows love and pride for all three of his trainees. Echo is still more closed off than Gabriel and Hope, even showing a glimpse of thought as he speaks, alluding to the decision that is to come, one that she possibly has already made. All four of them are light-hearted, however, teasing each other gently, and speaking of their futures to come. Orlando still has faith in The Shepard, prioritizing his duty to him over a life he could have with Hope and the others. Though, body snatchers and toxins don’t sound appealing to him, which makes you wonder: what is Bardo’s society like? How does a man like Orlando, who seems caring and loving, decide to stay with a people who peer into people’s memories and steals people with their invisibility cloaks?
But Orlando never gets that choice. He never had an option in the first place, with the dedication on Hope’s behalf to ease him into loving them and sacrificing for them. This wasn’t going to end any other way and avoiding them would have made all of their lives more difficult, and much more likely to end on Penance.
When the anomaly opens, Orlando lures in the Disciples as bait, allowing Hope and the others to get the jump on them. However, one of the soldiers recovers and goes for Echo, causing Hope to intervene and take her out. And I was just starting to like Hope.
She comes full circle at this moment, saving Echo when before she was unable to save Dev. Meant to be a cathartic moment of growth for Hope, it’s overshadowed by the actions of the woman she saved. After exchanging a close moment, Echo assesses the situation. Orlando is in grief, which raises red flags, ensuring Echo makes the decision that is in her fundamental nature. To kill. Excusing her choice with the reasoning of him knowing others in Bardo, Echo doesn’t speak to Orlando, but only judges his emotion. With Bellamy as further reasoning, she moves to slit the throats of the incapacitated Disciples, set hauntingly to a score I would expect to see Darth Vader march to, and not the changed-spy the narrative at times has convinced us to believe she is.
Echo makes the decisions for the group at this moment. While Gabriel is distraught over the entire slaughtering and plans to leave Orlando behind, Hope primarily speaks up upon Echo’s insistence of abandoning their friend. Even in killing someone to save someone Hope cared for, the person who saved her would once again be sacrificed for Hope’s own survival. The hesitation didn’t matter.
I do believe by the Absolution Day, Hope cares about Orlando. The others too, to a degree. But it’s hard to consider this when their intentions were manipulative and vindictive to start, albeit for personal reasons.
Echo spares Orlando, but it brings the question: was this the humane thing to do? Due to time dilation, Orlando could remain on Penance for the rest of his life. He would die alone and live every day with the knowledge that the friends he gained, including the woman he looked up to for so long, left him to die.
Echo leaves him with nothing but his life and despair, as they travel through the anomaly to Bardo. Still angry, Gabriel eventually concedes and leaves with the rest, and while this bothers me slightly due to Gabriel’s elevated moral compass, I also understand that he had little choice. He would either die on Penance with Orlando or continue to Bardo to continue his pursuit of answers. It seems like an easy decision, but it will prove to be disappointing if his conflict with Echo and guilt for leaving Orlando behind doesn’t color his arc moving forward.
THE ECHO OF IT ALL
I know I’ve said enough about Echo so far in this review, but for some reason, with a character never held to the same standards as the rest of the characters, I feel it necessary to examine her thoroughly.
As for a character claimed to be a master spy, this is not the first time I have doubted her abilities. Not only was she discovered in the conclave, Echo also failed to help when her friends were about to be executed in Sanctum, leaving Murphy to save the day, which eventually led to Abby’s death.
Even here, I wonder how smart she is. Not considering the lack of empathy or responsibility she feels towards Orlando, slaughtering his people did next to nothing except increase his grief. Without their technology, they would be found at the same time, regardless of dead or alive. By slaughtering Orlando’s people and betraying her friend, she had already ensured he would divulge information about their actions. Maybe that would have no been the case if the only victim was Hope’s kill. These deaths were unnecessary.
Even so, leaving Orlando also puts their team at a significant tactical disadvantage inside Bardo. Having not prepared for him being left behind, Orlando probably didn’t inform them of all of his knowledge. Will this affect their mission going forward? Would having a high-ranking Disciple increase their likelihood of success? Probably.
Even upon invoking Bellamy’s name, this is not a move he would approve of. However, whether he will learn of this is a different story. This isn’t what happened with Finn, however, though this is a popular parallel to draw upon. Finn lost himself in losing Clarke. But without Bellamy, Echo reverts to who she actually is.
She’s a warrior. She’s violent. She’s a killer. She’s cold. And Bellamy and the others being able to taper that when they’re around doesn’t make her changed. Last season, this was juxtaposed as she needlessly killed Ryker when at the very same moment, Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia attempted to save Sanctum with the smallest loss of life.
And maybe this is the problem with Echo. Yes, her moral compass is largely misaligned with the majority of the other protagonists of The 100. But it’s always been that way. While previously, the narrative attempts to persuade viewers that Echo’s time in space, and largely with Bellamy, changed her for the better, another time-jump proves that she hasn’t. This is becoming glaringly obvious.
The difference between Echo and the others? She never changes. Octavia, Bellamy, Clarke, Raven, Murphy – they all have developed and become different people because of it. Bellamy sought redemption after his mistake of following Pike in season three. Raven currently seeks redemption after coming to terms with her own culpability. Clarke goes through so much change and adaptation that I won’t even name a specific example. And we just witnessed Octavia help raise a child, pushing her to understand how she’s harmed Bellamy throughout her life.
Echo makes the same choices or attempts to. A character without change isn’t compelling. Echo will never exist on the same plane as the other protagonists. Echo knew Monty wanted them to do better. So far, she’s the only one who isn’t trying or even considering the attempt.
And maybe her stagnation can be dressed as change with shifting leaders and loyalties. But no matter who her loyalty is to, Echo’s perception of the world just never changes.
This concept forces the narrative to introduce strange concepts, such as chasing after Bellamy (despite him not showing the same devotion to her) and introducing contextually unsympathetic backstories. And none of these attempts to integrate her character feels genuine or organic.
This season Echo’s arc began with her inner fears reminding her that she is nothing without someone to follow. So, when is The 100 going to follow-through with anything regarding her character?
But The 100 isn’t attempting to make her sympathetic. Otherwise, they wouldn’t continue throwing her into situations where she even has an opportunity to choose the violent option. Not without a prior massive change in her personality. The optics are clear. Maybe Echo will forever be the elephant in the room.
AND THE PLOT BEGINS
Finally, we get to the final sequence, one that pushes the plot into action, rather than stalling around in Sanctum and telling backstories. Granted, the fourth episode of season six was also when Clarke became body-snatched, launching that story into action as well.
In a lovely call back to Bellamy rescuing Clarke from Eligius in season five, when Clarke meets Anders and he insinuates he’s aware of her back-up, she raises her fist and Gaia, Niylah, and Miller train their sights on him. But he has more back-up, so that’s a bust.
Anders fills Clarke in on the Penance arc from this episode and Clarke doesn’t believe him. She doesn’t know Bellamy isn’t with them. And Bellamy wouldn’t betray someone he’s come to know for many years. He also adds that Orlando died by suicide after their betrayal, making the events of before much more gut-wrenching.
Whether he did or not remains to be revealed, as generally I don’t trust a ‘death’ unless a body is seen, or the body is destroyed in a nuclear apocalypse. As the two groups stand-off, Jordan bumbles into the situation, much to Clarke’s surprise. He warns Clarke and the others to cover as Raven takes out the Disciples, including Anders.
Jordan attempts to console Raven, but her grief only heightens as she’s forced into more situations she’s claimed to have avoided in the past. She’s still wracked with guilt which continues to push her, and the plot, forward.
What is this season doing with Jordan? In “False Gods,” he preached about a better way of doing things, attempting to continue the message of his father. So, it’s jarring to see him tell Raven, “It’s okay,” when she kills more people. The 100 clearly doesn’t know what to do with Jordan, and it shows as he services whatever opposing dynamic is needed at that moment.
Advancing to the anomaly stone, Clarke, Raven, Gaia, Niylah, Jordan, and Miller, access the anomaly system. Raven picks a planet to begin with, upon Clarke’s instructions. It’s a dangerous task, so Clarke gives everyone the opportunity to back-out. Only Gaia does so, opting to protect Madi and the others. Clarke appreciates this and gives her a friendly goodbye hug. She also takes a moment to think about Madi upon Gaia mentioning her, clearly also facing guilt of leaving her child behind, but Clarke isn’t prepared to lose anybody else and Gaia has become a friend she can trust.
Unfortunately, when the others leave, Gaia encounters a remaining Disciple who deactivates Sanctum’s anomaly stone, rendering it offline, but not before the two disappear into the anomaly through their scuffle.
The episode ends with Clarke and the others stepping onto a new ice planet, completely under-dressed for the weather. What’s more, they now need a way off, as the anomaly transported them to a location without a stone, which is needed to access the anomaly. Really, they should have taken the suits before they left. Why did they not think about that?
My favorite time of the review where I get to throw out wild theories and speculation for the plot elements to come! Firstly, I would like to point out how timing plays out. In Sanctum’s time, Octavia reappeared on Sanctum from the anomaly just a few days ago. A day later, Bellamy disappears. A few days later, Anders comes to retrieve Clarke.
The progression of this leads me to believe that Octavia underwent memory capture when she first entered the anomaly, providing The Disciples with introductory information. It is not until after Bellamy disappears that The Disciples initatie contact with Sanctum at all.
In Clarke’s profile, she’s labeled as Wanheda. Anders tells Clarke, “It seems our intel on you was correct. You’re smart, brave, willing to risk your own life, too bad you’re not willing to risk the lives of your friends.”
While I could believe that Octavia could have these perceptions of Clarke, if you take into account the timing of the situation, this is much more likely to be Bellamy’s memories of her, rather than Octavia’s. Bellamy views Clarke more highly than anybody else and if they wanted to get more information about Clarke, after viewing Octavia’s memories (including that CPR incident), Bellamy would be the logical next target to acquire more information.
Not to mention the image they have on Clarke comes from when Bellamy fed her the chip to destroy the City of Light. Octavia was not present for this, and the moment carries significance for Bellamy and Clarke as a pair. It would make sense that Bellamy’s view of Clarke would inspire others to believe she is the solution to the last war that mankind will ever wage.
After all, she continuously inspires him, as their relationship transcends most labels one could put on them. If I saw firsthand the way he views her, I would probably think she’s a deus ex machina, too. This tactic could also be reminiscent of chess, using the different pieces to achieve the ultimate end goal. Afterall, chess is a recurring game on The 100, played by both Orlando and Sheidheda.
But what if it’s not that simple? It’s relevant, though. But, the picture The Disciples possibly extracted of her could be meaningful, too.
When Raven views the planets accessible, she pinpoints six. One of which is Sanctum. However, one is offline. Thanks to Russell in the season six finale, we know Eligius traveled to this sector of the galaxy to explore five planets. What if this sixth offline planet is Earth?
One planet in the image is next to a sun, and another planet appears dark, perhaps due to destruction that multiple nuclear events has left on the planet. The clues are there.
Orlando prays, “The shadow of the Shepherd for all mankind. He saved us from the fire that consumed the Earth.” Does the fire that consumed the earth sound like the first nuclear apocalypse to you?
And knowing that Cadogan was a cult leader on Earth in the time before ALIE’s devastation, would it make sense that he could perhaps be The Shepard? After all, intensely religious rhetoric is a staple of cult activities.
Cadogan and his followers were still on Earth after the devastation, long enough to where they burnt Becca at the stake. The depth of the reason is still unknown, but there’s clearly a little bit of bad blood there. Or bad nightblood. Whichever. Also spotted in the title sequence is Becca’s Lab from season four. Having a concealed compartment for the rocket that saved Bellamy and Company, could anything else have been concealed there? Perhaps an anomaly stone?
Also considering the map that Orlando drew, we know there is a cryochamber for The Shepard on Bardo, which would make it possible for Cadogan to still be alive. And this would also make it possible for this war between him and Becca to still persist today.
Becca may be gone, but Clarke isn’t. Being that she is the key to this war, Clarke is special in one manner that nobody else is. Clarke has had all of Becca’s technology fixed into her brain at one point in time or another. The chip, the flame, the mind drive. We know that traces of these can be left behind. And after all, the image The Disciples pulled from her highlights the moment she was integrated with both the flame and the chip.
Could Clarke end this battle as an extension of Becca? Could The 100 be touching on the debate of pure or integrated human consciousness? And this backstory could be a way to tie in the prequel to the current season. This is all just spit-balling.
Also, I highly recommend checking out Yana Grebenyuk’s TV Fanatic review as she touches on more Bardo theories and assisted in fleshing out this theory.
WELCOME TO BARDO
The 100 returns next week on Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW. What did you think of “Hesperides”? Did you sympathize with Echo’s choice to take out the Disciples? Are you ready for Bellamy to come back? Where do you think Gaia went? Why is Clarke the key? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @theyoungfolks!