In “The Queen’s Gambit,” The 100 opts to use pairings to tell its story, but continues stalling plot progression in Sanctum while focusing on characters with little connections to the audience in Bardo. The moments that stand out from a generally lackluster episode are not the moments fueled by dramatics and boisterous acting choices, but ones that remain quiet and restrained.
Even in the relationships that remain difficult for the audience to connect to, Lindsey Morgan’s directing stands out. As someone involved with the show from the beginning, Morgan’s awareness of the characters and changes the show has undergone the past six seasons are evident in her storytelling, and there’s a love present that is unseen in previous episodes.
And while this remains the weakest episode of the season in terms of overall believability and intrigue, Morgan breathes fresh air into the season necessary for the viewers to remain on board until the narrative shifts back to core characters and long-developed dynamics.
As an essential piece in the game, the bishop has risen through the ranks of the church. The bishop plays a significant role in the lives of everyday people, as a prominent religious figure, and has a substantial amount of power behind the Queen and King.
After ending the last episode with a somewhat controversial decision, Gabriel bookends the meat of the episode. Having been isolated in lock-up away from the others, he is brought to the stone room upon Anders’ behest.
As he’s escorted through hallways, Gabriel asks about his friends, confirming his concern for the people he bonded with on Penance. Even if Echo believed he only cared about science, this is clearly not the case. Gabriel, while driven by a pursuit for knowledge, consistently has shown his care for people since his introduction last season. Even through exposition, Gabriel committed arguably heinous acts to save the morality of his people and preserve their lives. While Echo and Hope don’t give Gabriel as much consideration (they kept vital information from him regarding Levitt), he still shows concern for both of his comrades.
In fact, Gabriel has been dragged around by both of these characters, left in the wake of their murder. Gabriel does not believe in taking life when it can be avoided. He still attempted to support his friends, even as they went to extreme lengths, and he did not agree with to achieve their goals.
While their primary drives appear to be more emotional as they are rooted in family, Gabriel has also known what it’s like to go too far to save the person he loved, Josephine. He may not choose that route anymore, but he can sympathize. Gabriel shows empathy for his friends, opting to hope they could survive a surrender, rather than let them go to the unlivable surface against his gut feeling.
“Echo! Hope! I’m sorry!” – Gabriel calls out to his friends as he’s taken away from the cellblock.
However, The Disciples taking him in do not have this context, pointing out his evident betrayal. They bring him to Anders, who divulges more information about their beliefs and society.
“The Shepard teaches us that winning the last war brings upon the final evolution of the species. I thought you knew that?” – Anders
Given that they consider Clarke the key to this war, it’s very likely that this final war is related to Becca’s integrated technology. Perhaps, the Shepard wants to use her technology to improve the human race by integrating it with human consciousness, as seen in the mind drives, the City of Light, and the Flame. Anders references their belief that the Bardonians have ascended through their technology. While this is somewhat contradictory to his earlier speech in “Welcome to Bardo,” this statement strengthens this theory.
Orlando didn’t teach them this, however, which may give Echo a little wiggle room in her decision to abandon him. And maybe he didn’t have much reason to trust them either. Anders has his body bagged in the stone room and Gabriel looks guilty. After all, his death may have been prevented if Gabriel had decided to stay behind on Penance instead of following Echo.
Neal McDonough plays a magnificent villain and his subtle voice inflections prove how manipulative he is as he urges Gabriel to say goodbye to the man he left behind. “Death is life,” Gabriel tells Orlando’s body in Spanish (and it’s so lovely to hear Gabriel speak Spanish). It’s a much-needed break from the overused trigedasleng. After saying his final words, the anomaly takes Orlando’s body, sending it to Nakara, confirming the planet’s role as a graveyard.
This mantra Gabriel has concerns me, however, as his story appears to be leading to his death. This ending would make sense for the character. Still, Gabriel is one of the more nuanced characters introduced in recent seasons, and Chuku Modu plays the role strikingly well, incorporating many facets into the centuries-old man. Gabriel’s guilt is subtle but evident and it’s fitting Gabriel should be the one to say goodbye. On Penance, Gabriel was also the only one who attempted to reach Orlando and teach him about the horrors of indoctrinating religion. Echo and Hope only related to Orlando on a face-value level, more focused on what Orlando could do for them. It will be sad to see him go, having such little time with Gabriel.
Anders knows Gabriel’s fascination regarding the stone, which could mean that the tactic Levitt provided her with in “Welcome to Bardo” was legitimate. Before, he had only accessed her memories through her murdering Pike. Perhaps Gabriel was right not to trust him. Regardless, Anders uses this knowledge to entice him to work for him to learn more about the anomaly stone.
“Why would I help you?” – Gabriel
“Because you don’t want to be executed.” – Anders
“I don’t want my friends to be executed, either.” – Gabriel
“Well, that’s up to them.” – Anders
Gabriel has no choice but to oblige, but not before Anders gives him one more stipulation. Gabriel has to tell Anders everything he knows about Clarke Griffin and his future work on the stone would tell him why.
Gabriel, of course, asks the important question: does he get a robe?
Rooks are also known as the Castle or the home. These pieces help support the advancement of the pawns and can be useful in cutting off the other player’s King.
Emori drives the plot in Sanctum and her presence is a breath of fresh air. Early in the episode, she sends Murphy off to feed Russheda. They are now tasked with someone with the upkeep of their prisoner since they know his true identity.
“The last thing we need is for him to get into someone else’s head.” – Emori
While Indra has been a strong, needed, and anchoring presence for the Sanctum conflicts, she’s now looking for Clarke and her team, leaving Emori and Murphy in charge. Murphy cares less, but Emori has taken up a cause near to her heart: reuniting the families torn apart by Josphine’s prior eugenic system. Kaylee, the personality Emori masquerades as, also wanted to reunify the Children of Gabriel with their families, so her goals are in character.
She also needs Murphy’s help and tries to encourage him, but with the wrong colloquialism, their conversation reveals Murphy’s fear of going to Hell has continued past last season, perhaps explaining some of his more selfless and helpful behavior. Murphy feels like he still has much to atone for. Here’s to hoping he stays on that same track, but perhaps reasons that extend beyond another version of self-preservation.
Miranda’s Kwok writing of Emori is excellent and a much-needed exploration into Emori’s past and how it affects who she is today. She’s a multi-faceted character and as the audience watches her plan the reunification ceremony, we see another field in which she excels. While it’s enjoyable to watch, and one of the highlights of the episode, it also makes you wonder what type of possibilities there could have been if she were explored and utilized past Murphy’s partner earlier than the final season.
As Emori heads out into Sanctum, we overhear a therapy session between Madi and Jackson. As he attempts to work through her trauma, he discerns that her fear of leading Wonkru once more stems back to her fear from taking the Flame in the first place. It’s where Jackson seems to place the blame on Bellamy even when he doesn’t deserve all of it.
It’s disappointing that one of the few mentions of Bellamy so far is to demonize his actions. While I don’t agree with them, I don’t think it’s Jackson’s place to paint them in the way that he does, especially since Jackson seems to have forgotten his physician’s oath of “Do No Harm.” He doesn’t have a lot of room to talk about taking the wrong actions for the good of the whole.
While this scene is filler, it’s important to note we get another glimpse of what looks like is a drawing of the anomaly stone, once again reinforcing the connections between possibly Becca and Bardo.
Jackson also tries to shrink Emori, pointing out the obvious. But how does his ability to treat physical wounds manifest into an ability to treat emotional ones? He addresses the fact that Emori was cast out, not unlike the Nulls of Sanctum, and she expresses her desire to give people the peace she never had the opportunity to have.
“If I can give these people peace, and yes, heal myself at the same time, how is that a bad thing?” – Emori
Later, as Emori is preparing for the ceremony, she witnesses a conversation where Nikki attempts to convince Nelson to join her and her convicts. This is now the second person who’s had Nelson’s ear. Emori interrupts the conversation, provoking a very loaded comment from Nikki.
“Look at you, all perky and pretty. I guess Raven knew you’d bounce right back, huh? Or is it palace life that’s giving you that glow?” – Nikki
Now, with those comments and the excessive amount of time that Emori and Murphy spend in that bed in the castle, there’s a good chance we could see an Emori pregnancy in the near future. All the clues are there, so it would not be surprising. Emori acts considerably maternal in “The Queen’s Gambit” as well. As much as people may be rooting for a Murphy-Raven relationship, it looks like Murphy and Emori, and possibly a child, are here to stay. Maybe there’ll even be a wedding since Memori is the most consistent and stable relationship currently on The 100.
When Emori approaches Nelson, he’s angry, but keeps up the façade of Emori’s identity. This is understandable behavior from him, as he’s being pulled in every which direction, lost without a cause upon the revelation of Russell’s true identity. He’s genuinely prey for all the vying powers in Sanctum. While having the Children of Gabriel on Emori’s side is tactically a good idea, Emori has a deeper connection to Nelson.
“I know how you feel. Because I felt it too … When I was a child, on Earth, people like me were seen as a stain on the bloodline. They called us Friikdreina, not Nulls, but it’s the same thing. I know what it’s like to be thrown out like garbage by the people who should love you the most.” – Emori
As Emori speaks to Nelson, she shows him her hand, relating to the struggle that Nelson feels as he too was cast out from his family. Emori would give anything to prove to her family how worthy she was. Although she’ll never get that chance (apocalypse problems), Emori’s doing everything she can to give others that chance she wishes she had. Nelson is hard to get through to, but she doesn’t give up on her cause yet, taking the cup Nelson drank out of to match his DNA to his parents.
In the most engaging scene of the episode, Emori and Nelson play off of each other magnificently. While both characters have similar pasts, they have somewhat different goals and they’ve ended up in different places in their lives. While Emori has found family, love, and acceptance, Nelson has lost his place in the world and is searching for a place he can emotionally call home. Even with these differences, the chemistry that Luisa D’Oliveira and Lee Majdoub have is impressive and refreshing. Luisa plays Emori with such conviction and season seven has used its opportunity effectively to show the character’s progression and development from a self-preserving thief to a realized woman who wants to share with others what she was able to find in Murphy and the others.
Later, Emori is proud to be at the reunification ceremony and is endearing as she looks over the work and the success of reuniting separated families. Though not all of the residents trust her, and a creeping unease settles as Murphy is missing, part of Russheda’s plan.
Nelson arrives, however, even though he initially refused to participate. Emori planned ahead and found his parents. Nelson’s meeting with his mother is touching and emotional, but the tables turn when he confronts his father, who still sees him as an “abomination.” His father’s anger manifests violently as he puts his son in a chokehold, causing Nelson to stab him to save himself.
Things get even worse as Nikki enters the ceremony, guns blazing. Nelson, distraught from the rejection and killing of his father, turns from Emori and goes to Nikki, committing the Children of Gabriel to her cause. Emori is now hostage, with an angry Nelson holding a gun to her.
Interestingly enough, Nelson doesn’t out Emori for who she truly is. So, while he appears to be on the side of Nikki, something more complex may be brewing. There’s no doubt Nelson is angry and hurt, understandably so. But, like most of the arcs this season, there may be something brewing under the surface yet to be revealed. Majdoub kills it in this scene and his complex emotions shine through, with the possibility of something waiting beneath the surface to complicate Sanctum even more.
Luisa D’Oliveira also does exceedingly well, proving that she is a character to be utilized with complex development and good intentions. Her fear of being turned on by Nelson is heartbreaking, as she never meant for anything horrible to happen. Still, she wanted to give him and others the opportunity she never got to have. Longing for a family is an integral part of her character, and as she finally finds her place in this new, chaotic society, it’s ripped from her.
The knight’s role is to protect the more important pieces of the game. Even as they are more important than pawns, however, they still can be sacrificed.
Russheda likes his cookies. As Murphy enters Russheda’s lair, he delivers his food with a note hidden inside a cookie. And it’s not a coincidence that Russheda manages to stall Murphy after, keeping him from Emori for the remainder of the episode. He does this by laying out the cards, admitting who he is, so Murphy will know that he knows. Russheda loves to play mind games and chess games, as he entices Murphy to a match.
Life is a chess game of sorts to the Dark Commander and Emori is the queen he needs to take down for him and his followers to take control of Sanctum. It furthers his goals which, beyond chaos and power, aren’t exactly clear at this time. Murphy is just a pawn.
“Well, fear has always worked pretty well for me, so.” – Murphy
“Being feared works better.” – Russheda
Perhaps from his knowledge of sharing the Flame with Madi and the others, or possibly from intuition, he calls out Murphy pretty well. Russheda knows he wants to be a hero, or he wants to atone for the things he’s done, which seems spot-on for Murphy’s behavior so far this season. Murphy matches him with his intuitiveness and he stays, knowing that something is about to go wrong and he needs to figure out what it is. If not for his sake, for Emori’s. So, they play, and Murphy begins with the Queen’s Gambit, a sacrifice meant to protect the queen. It’s symbolic.
Murphy and Russheda get on with their game of chess and Russheda stalls as long as possible, using veiled metaphorical threats regarding Emori to get the best of our Murphy. Murphy fights back, however, pointing out that while he has Emori, Sheidheda’s mother gave him up to the conclave. He even mentions Lexa, saying that she was the favorite commander, which isn’t something Murphy should necessarily know about. The comment is entirely meta, referring more to the fandom than to anything relevant within the conversation. Lexa seems to have no place in season seven’s narrative so far, so the comment seems unnecessary. Her only current connection to the story is her previous presence in the Flame and her memory’s utilization of reminding Clarke of her pain and past failures, as seen in the finale of season six. But perhaps, maybe her memory will come into play later as Russheda reacts poorly as he wants credit for the unification of the clans.
“There are leaders and there are followers. How you respond to the loss of your queen will tell me which you are.” – Russheda
Time passes as they play and Murphy realizes how Russheda is stalling to keep Murphy from assisting Emori at the ceremony. Russheda bests Murphy, putting him in a chokehold, preventing him from running to Emori’s anticipated rescue. Russheda lets Murphy go when Nikki’s gunshots ring out across Sanctum, knowing that he’s won both games of chess.
While the interactions between Russheda and Murphy mostly fill the empty spaces needed in the episode, JR Bourne once again elevates his scene partners, keeping the scenes intriguing, even if they aren’t necessary. While this chess game doesn’t add much to the plot, it does keep consistent thematic elements regarding Sheidheda’s storyline. Russheda controlling Sanctum with no help from outside to save Murphy, Emori, Madi, and the others is something to look forward to after a lackluster number of conflicts within the least engaging arc of the final season.
The king is the most important piece on the board. If you lose the king, you lose the game.
Flashbacks exist to inform the story and provide much-needed context. It’s a shame that Bellamy’s only screentime this episode, and a good half of his screentime this season, is wasted on a flashback that comes too late. Once again, Bellamy’s utilization comes at the expense of his own storyline and he exists purely to fuel Echo’s. When there have been narrative issues and an evident disconnection between the Bellamy-Echo relationship, adding a flashback doesn’t help the situation. In fact, it fosters more annoyance, as this flashback puts holes in previous canon comments.
Echo and Bellamy have their first kiss. Three years after arriving on the Ark. It’s weird considering that it was previously stated in season five that it took three years for Bellamy to even forgive Echo for all the awful things she put him through on Earth.
It’s incredibly hard to believe that Bellamy hopped from forgiving her to being attracted to her when it took him three years for the former. And as well-directed the intimacy is, it’s still frustrating to see Bob Morley’s presence wasted on a scene that doesn’t provide us with anything new.
They had a first kiss. We know that clearly. If the show is wasting time on flashbacks in the final season, it should be to explain the process of Bellamy’s forgiveness, and what Echo did to drive him to this. Instead, The 100 offers a scene that gives slightly more context to Echo’s unraveling, but not information that is necessary to understand her current arc. Her arc is evident with the context of Roan haunting her and her actions in “The Garden,” “Hesperides,” “Welcome to Bardo,” and “Nakara.”
And while their kisses are heavy-handed, their conversation is slightly noteworthy, albeit redundant — the two talk about their weaknesses. We know Octavia is Bellamy’s weakness, but Echo doesn’t think he has any. All the while, Bellamy can still clearly state her shortcomings and he does, even if he prompts a kiss a mere minute later.
“[Your weakness] is tricky. You don’t talk about yourself much, and you’re a shapeshifter. Loyalty. Loyalty is your weakness.” – Bellamy
“Loyalty is not a weakness.” – Echo
“It is when it causes you to do something you know you shouldn’t.” – Bellamy
Ding, ding, ding, ding! The fact that Bellamy, Echo’s boyfriend, has pointed this out and three-plus years later she has not learned this lesson is indicative of their incompatibility, and her hopeful trajectory for this season. He forgives her for the things she’s done, but if her loyalty weren’t to him and only him, she would do the same thing over again. She has killed people time and time again without thinking of the repercussions for anyone but herself. She has wanted to use violence to solve her problems, only to be tapered down by Bellamy’s superior morality.
However, Bellamy does use this to his advantage, asking her for her loyalty before they kiss. While this flashback scene attempts to strengthen their relationship, it doesn’t. Like most scenes that attempt to expand Echo’s backstory, it falls flat, and that’s not just because Bob Morley carries the scene entirely.
This scene also reiterates how unbalanced their relationship is. Bellamy Blake is a strong character, but his scenes alone with Echo always seem off, and it’s not just because he’s shaven again. Bellamy and Clarke have an even relationship. They’re on equal footing and they both give something to each other.
Bellamy almost continually talks down to Echo, not unlike the way Gabriel has this season when he pleads with her constantly to not to stab yet another person in the neck. He almost has to parent her in a way. In this scene, Bellamy talks to her, telling her things that are obvious. In past seasons, he’s also talked down to her, continually guiding her to stray from violence. Things that Echo has the opportunity to learn, but hasn’t.
Bellamy provides Echo with guidance and potential growth. I still have yet to see what Echo offers Bellamy in return. Maybe the reason it feels like nothing is because it is nothing. Bellamy’s relationship with Echo does nothing to further Bellamy’s growth and arc. We didn’t even see him forgive her. Bellamy exists in this relationship to further Echo and to integrate her into a group of people she wouldn’t fit in with otherwise, six years in space or no. After all, she doesn’t fit in with her new group of people she spent a time-jump with.
The way this flashback scene highlights the lengths Bellamy must go to to help Echo reiterates their incompatibility and is a reminder of how Bellamy doesn’t exist for Bellamy anymore. He hasn’t in a long time. Bellamy exists for her story, for Octavia’s story, and for Clarke’s. It’s an especially glaring issue for a leading man of color on a network television show.
Not to mention it’s jarring to see him talk down to her only to lean in to kiss her moments later. This flashback does nothing to explain his story, but it does explain Echo’s grief. Looking past these narrative issues, the biggest takeaway from this moment is Bellamy’s call-outs of her priorities, as they are more relevant than ever. She continues to let her loyalty to an assumed dead man shake up the lives of the people around her, including Gabriel, Octavia, and Hope. Echo has no control, no purpose, but she can’t say she didn’t have any warning.
As the moment she pointed out that she and Bellamy weren’t real, he kisses her. Maybe because he felt something, or perhaps to hide from that very fact she pointed out. After all, she’s not Gina, and she’s not Clarke. She’s what he had in that moment, which is perhaps the saddest part about it all. Or maybe the saddest part is that no matter how much the writing attempts to lean into Bellamy and Echo, it will never have the desired effect, which is why The 100 will never head in the direction that makes narrative sense and that’s Clarke.
The pawns are the lowest ranking pieces on the board, frequently unprotected. They can be used as a diversion, or easily sacrificed for the more powerful pieces.
Echo is sad. And Octavia tries to help her, but Echo doesn’t want help. Echo calls Octavia out for making her the monster in Hope’s bedtime stories, but Octavia echoes Bellamy’s words from the flashback. They’ve all done things they regret. Finally, Octavia acknowledges the things she had done to Bellamy that she regrets, which is a moment that’s been highly anticipated for some time now.
“When Lincoln died, I beat my brother. He let me. Because he thought I needed it. I wish I could take that moment back. I wished I hugged him instead … you’re my family, too.” – Octavia
Octavia hugs Echo and she fights, but Octavia doesn’t let go, putting all her effort into comforting the spy. But the framing of this scene is suspect.
Much of this season has shifted from focusing on Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia, to using these protagonists to inform the stories of the new protagonists of the season so far: Hope and Echo. There’s no issue with giving supporting characters their own stories and spotlight, but this season has wholly neglected the core three characters of The 100.
Clarke mainly exists to move the plot and comfort other characters, yet the series hasn’t shown any of her own perspective. Even her breakdown in “From the Ashes” primarily existed to kill Russell for the Sheidheda plot. Even the script from “Nakara” focuses only on Raven’s emotions and doesn’t show any idea of how her backhanded compliments affect Clarke. Bellamy has only existed to provide additional context for Echo’s story – even his apparent death is for her.
Octavia has just lost her brother, one who she had spent years trying to get to so she can make amends. Her grief is subtle and even when she had lost her brother, the person who raised her, her existence is to assist with Echo’s loss. Granted, Octavia does have more of a support system in Hope and Diyoza than Echo does, but it’s important to note that no matter how far you extend your family, that does not make the grief of loss better. Octavia losing Bellamy isn’t okay because she has the Diyozas. Octavia doesn’t somehow feel less pain because she loves additional people. Her bond with Bellamy was strong and nobody can change that.
This moment feels forced, but there’s an apparent reason for this. The non-linear storytelling of her growth is incredibly hard to follow. Last season, Octavia emerged from the anomaly. Still, while this season tells us it was her time with Hope that changed her, season six wasn’t aware of this, and instead made her hallucination with Pike the guiding force to ask Bellamy for forgiveness.
The emotional payoff from The Garden, in terms of Octavia, was already given last season. This also makes Octavia’s feelings for Echo confusing, as she attempted to be more forgiving last season. The disjointed and unplanned storytelling makes her attempt to comfort and bring Echo into her family harder to receive, as we most recently saw Hope’s negative opinions received from Octavia, even though more recently Octavia and Echo worked together.
Confusing, right? But even if the audience manages to follow and consider the chronological timeline of Octavia’s past few months, the problem of Octavia existing for Echo still is an issue. Her grief deserves exploration, and she should get to feel just as much as Echo is allowed. Octavia has been one of the lead characters for the entirety of the show, and even if you disagree or agree with her actions, she deserves an emotional payoff that doesn’t just change her mood but guides the story similarly to Echo. Octavia is changing for the better, but I do miss the fight in her and her complacency is frustrating as her story deserves focus more than Echo’s. Especially as Marie Avgeropolous is an incredibly talented actress and can carry the emotional weight of the content easier than Tasya Teles, who is more skilled in constrained scenes.
Octavia, Bellamy, and Clarke deserve to exist for themselves and their personal arcs, not just to guide previously supporting characters along theirs. Both can exist, but right now they don’t.
Meanwhile, Hope and Diyoza have a heart to heart as Diyoza has to face that the ten-year-old she was taken from is now a grown woman. Hope fills her mother in on what happened after she left, referring to Dev as her father. Hope is a flighty character and she wants to get out, but Diyoza calls out her lousy plan. The big argument begins when Diyoza is upset that Hope came to rescue her, as Diyoza feels it was not her duty as her daughter.
“You’re my child. It’s not your job to rescue me. I was coming for you. And now you’re going to rot in here with me until they rescue us, but hey, at least we get to die together.” – Diyoza
“You’re just mad I turned out to be a killer like you.” – Hope
Later on, Diyoza inquires more about what Hope knows about her, knowing that Gabriel would know the most about her past, also having lived on a pre-apocalypse Earth. Diyoza hates that Hope knows about her darker past and hates even more that she’s living a life Diyoza didn’t want for Hope. Diyoza knows how other people see her and she can’t bear that look from her daughter. They continue to engage, however, about Diyoza’s past and Hope’s present.
“Doing the right thing the wrong way isn’t doing the right thing. I know that now.” – Diyoza
The quote resonates and is poignant, not for just Diyoza’s story, but Echo’s, too.
Shelby Flannery keeps up with Ivana Miličević well and the scenes in which they attempt to consolidate the odd development of their mother-daughter relationship fares better than the other pairing in Bardo. Both of their pleas to each other resound well, even if the choice to have the two reunite is an unexpected one. Surely, the expected journey would be for Hope not to reunite with Diyoza, but the fact that they do present an interesting dynamic as Diyoza still sees her little girl in the woman who has killed to return to her family.
McCreary comes up (remember him?), which leads Diyoza’s conviction not to let Hope die in another war that shouldn’t have been fought. The two clash; Hope doesn’t share her sentiment after training for fifteen years, five of which were with her childhood boogieman.
As the conversation progresses, Hope’s immaturity shines through, which Flannery portrays well. Hope has been exposed to few people throughout her life, and her over-confidence shows. Really, with no real-word exposure, she has no awareness of the conditions. The four of them are not enough to win a war and it’ll take Diyoza to prove that to her daughter. She wants to fight, and Diyoza, hardened by many wars, knows better. Diyoza confronts her to convince Hope she was not ready, and Diyoza easily wins. She’s a Navy SEAL, after all.
“Violence and rage will only destroy your soul. Revenge is a game with no winners. And we’ve lost too much already.” – Diyoza
More poignant words applicable to more than just Hope and Diyoza’s situation. Hope breaks down in a therapeutic moment, which is what she needed. The scene is heartfelt and more intriguing than the other conversations across the hall. The dynamic between two war-torn souls and their attempts to come back to peace will, of course, easily be foiled, but in the end, these solemn, intimate moments are going to be all that’s left when all is said and done.
Across the hall, Echo has lost it again. Proving that without anyone to follow, she reverts to her Azgeda ways. Unsurprisingly, Echo has mutilated herself. It’s the Ice Warrior version of war paint (even though we’ve seen different war paint in seasons past) and a signal that her wound is healed. It is not healed. Once again, she is not changed. Echo is stagnant, as she always has been.
I know I’ve said Echo had lost it before, but I think this is the moment she’s truly lost it. Her actions are extra, even for her. But as Octavia tries to reason through the Disciples’ intentions, Echo goes back to what she knows, violence. Deducing they want them as warriors, Echo calls for a Disciple.
“We’re not prisoners; we’re recruits.” – Echo
Echo grabs Hope and Diyoza along the way and confronts Anders, acknowledging their awareness of their purpose, and dedication (though the sincerity is questionable) for their cause they don’t even understand.
This entire sequence and conception of this is beyond the suspension of belief even for me. Every time Echo takes things a step farther, it’s unsurprising, but still shocking. However, all the signs point to Echo having to face who she is at the core and perhaps her family having to come to terms with this as well.
Afterall, her boyfriend called her a shapeshifter.
The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, and in this case, the key.
Gabriel, now having become a level-two member of the code-breaker team (Levitt is suspiciously absent), has been working on the team for three months. That’s right, it’s another time-jump. Gabriel doesn’t really enjoy his new role; it’s a more of a guessing game and less of the scientific method.
Clarke and her jump-team enter through the anomaly, proving that Nakara moves on yet another time-speed than the other planets. Just so we get this straight: Sanctum moves the slowest, then Nakara, followed by Bardo, and lastly, Penance.
Gabriel expresses his happiness to see Clarke, which is nice considering how much Clarke has served for other people, and not many people have reached out to Clarke. This may be bittersweet, however, as Gabriel has been working with The Disciples for three months now, so it’s difficult to discern if Gabriel is happy to see her due to their camaraderie. Or, it’s due to her being the key that The Disciples have been yearning for. How much does Gabriel know? To be determined. Could he know that Bellamy is alive? Or does Anders not trust him with the pertinent information. He has to know something to keep him interested, but I’m hoping he is as straight with Clarke as he can be. She does not need any more lies or manipulation right now.
Happiness dies quickly. Gabriel divulges that Octavia and Echo are alive and on Bardo, but admits that Bellamy has apparently died. The focus narrows in on Clarke, as it should, and her face is wrecked with constrained grief and distraught. Raven and the others are aware of what a blow this is to her, and as they looked to Bellamy when Madi revealed Clarke was alive, they look to her when Gabriel reveals Bellamy is dead.
While this is not an over-the-top reaction as Echo reacted, this is a big reaction for Clarke, considering how restrained she generally is, and how we only have a few seconds to focus on her response.
The way the music swells, and subtly reminds me of Tree Adams’ Bellamy and Clarke theme from season four packs the emotional punch, and while her grief may not be enough for some viewers, it says everything it needs to say.
It’s Bellamy and Clarke. They are (were) the core of The 100, and showrunner, Jason Rothenberg, has consistently teased that much of Clarke’s drive this season is to save everyone close to her heart. Who is closer to Clarke’s heart than Bellamy?
Clarke has been in the belly of the beast to find her best friend (and arguably more), and Eliza Taylor plays the devastation of his death magnificently. Though, that can’t be hard after the development of their relationship for six seasons, including the journey Bellamy took to save his life, willing to sacrifice everyone, including his girlfriend, to save her.
That’s how important they are to each other. They defy the world and the odds of survival to come back to one another. And they always do.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gabriel was the one who told Bellamy Clarke was dead and now told Clarke that Bellamy was dead. Was this by accident? Gabriel has seen how Echo has reacted to her boyfriend’s death, but he’s also seen how Bellamy defied life to bring Clarke back. Hopefully, Clarke will have a similar reaction and defy odds to get her person back.
Eliza Taylor plays Clarke in such a nuanced and powerful way in this moment, and perhaps it’s the moment that stayed with me the most upon reflection of “The Queen’s Gambit.”
Can Bellamy return now, please? It hurts to see Clarke like this, and we haven’t even seen more than five seconds of her world turned upside down.
Finally, the big reveal that everyone saw coming. Anders moves to the thirteenth level, which is a cryo-chamber reserved for The Shepard. Anders wakes him up, and it’s revealed that Cadogan is The Shepard! Who knew?
“Have we cracked the code? Has the war begun?” – Cadogan
“No, not yet, Sir. But we have the key.” – Anders
Cadogan is very please by this news in a perfectly evil and corny moment, aided by Neal McDonough’s consistently conniving presence. This short sequence is less a part of The Queen’s Gambit and more an introduction into next week’s backdoor pilot episode, “Anaconda.”
Catch The 100 airing next week at 8/7c on The CW!