'The 100' Honors the Power of the Head & the Heart in 'Matryoshka' (RECAP)

Emily Hannemann
Spoiler Alert Diyah Pera/The CW

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The 100 Season 6 episode 10, "Matryoshka."]

The 100 fans (and fans of a certain pairing in particular) might need to take a deep breath—or two, or three, or four, or five—after watching this episode.

"Matryoshka," directed by Amanda Tapping, just might be one of the most suspenseful hours in a season where every episode has been pretty incredibly pulse-pounding. Pretty much everything that can go wrong is going wrong; Clarke's mind is deteriorating faster than ever, many of the main characters are imprisoned and waiting to hear whether they'll live or die, Madi's given her brain over to Sheidheda and war with Sanctum seems imminent.

There's a plan, of course, to stop some of the bad things that seem destined to happen from happening. But of course, as always happens on The 100, nothing goes according to plan... and, as always happens on The 100, that leads to some pretty huge deaths and some even bigger plot twists.

Floating Yourself

Clarke’s not such an expert driver, as it turns out. She crashes and breaks her radio, still hallucinating Josephine. Jo guides her to a hatch in the forest to escape the Sanctum guards, and she ends up in Josephine’s old study blind. They talk about Gabriel. She says he left because he wanted to be able to die, but Clarke figures out the truth—he lost his taste for body-snatching, and she hopes he’ll still be willing to take out the mind drive without killing Josephine so they can trade it for her people’s safety. She collapses and starts seizing on the floor.

Clarke wakes up in her mindspace and finds Josephine’s stuff, and projections, on her side. In order to wake up, she has to “float” some of Jo’s memories to lighten the load on their shared brain. That ends up not working so well when the blurs between their minds get worse. Clarke floats everything to wake up, but that seems to erase Josephine, since she evaporates. Clarke awakens in the clutches of those nasty tree-roots.

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Gabriel and Octavia find Clarke, who's really Josephine. They get her out of the blind, but the Sanctum guards find them. It seems like things are going sideways until one of the guards riots, killing all but one of his comrades, then takes off their helmet—it’s Bellamy! (“Because of course it is,” Josephine snarls). Bellamy lets the last surviving guard go, telling her that if any of his people are harmed, Russell will never get his daughter back.

Death to Primes

Ryker tells some of the parents of the Primes that their kids aren’t one with the Primes, hoping to start a revolution. His plan won’t be fast enough, which is why Echo—who he’s hiding, along with Gaia—says he needs to get her a room with a view of the execution, so she can kill Russell and make it stop. Ryker points out that if she misses, one of her people dies. “I won’t miss,” she says.

Later that day, Ryker’s eating lunch with his family when one of the people who he told about the Primes enters. The man tells them he now knows the truth, and he stabs Simone in the throat. Rusell holds her as she dies and says, “I’ll bring you back.”

We Choose You

Earlier, Abby was given the worst news possible on the heels of enduring one of the worst things possible. Though Russell didn't want her to know it, Simone broke the news that Clarke was dead. Simone wanted to execute one of Clarke’s people to set an example, but Russell says that’s a bad idea. His insistence otherwise didn't change her mind.

So things are about as happy as could be expected with the captive group from space, which is… not at all. When Madi calls Murphy a traitor, Abby wants to know why. Emori tries to argue for him, saying he thought Clarke was already dead and when he learned she wasn’t, he did the right thing. That doesn’t change Abby’s mind: She slaps him, then says he’d better hope Echo finds a way to get them out, because the group chooses him to be executed.

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Gaia gets thrown in with the rest of her group, captured. She tells them about Echo’s plan, and Raven tells a worried Murphy that the path to avoiding Hell isn’t immortality, it’s morality. When the time comes, the guards say plans have changed—now, Russell wants them all to burn at the stake but Madi.

I’m Sorry for My Family

While Russell gives a speech to Sanctum, Echo takes aim. Just as she gets a good opportunity, Ryker knocks her out. “I’m sorry for my family,” he says.

All hope seems lost, but with a little quick thinking, Murphy saves them all. While they’re all tied to stakes, he tells Russell they can still make Nightblood using bone marrow. That intel manages to save their lives, but Russell says they have 24 hours and they’ll use Madi as a test subject. That’s just fine with Raven, who says as long as they have access to a computer and Becca’s notebook, they can get Sheidheda out of Madi’s head.

The Head and the Heart

Gabriel takes Josephine to remove the mind drive, and while she tries to argue for her to stay in Clarke's body so they can be together, Gabriel eventually says they had their time together and removes the drive. There's a problem, though: Clarke isn't waking up. In her mindspace, Josephine (who used the neural mesh to stick around after the drive was removed) attacks her with an ax, saying the same thing as her father—"Sanctum is mine."

This appears to kill Clarke in the real world, but Bellamy won't accept that. Crying, he tells her, "I need you! Madi needs you! You're a fighter, so get up, and fight!" He does CPR, and—despite all odds—vanquishes Josehpine Prime and brings Clarke Griffin back once and for all.

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Other Observations

  • So... how about that last Bellamy and Clarke scene? Whether or not you want to see them as a romantic couple before the show ends, it's impossible to deny how much they mean to each other. What an incredibly touching scene to honor one of the show's strongest relationships.
  • Bellamy and Octavia’s reunion was heartbreaking and wonderful. It felt like a callback to their reunion after the time jump, except this time when she jumped into his arms, he didn’t hug her back. Now that she's advocating for innocent lives to be spared next episode and seems to have truly turned over a new leaf, maybe they can finally mend their relationship?
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Whether they love or hate each other (and throughout the seasons, they've done both), Octavia and Bellamy will always be family.

  • As great as it is that Clarke is back, it's not great that they don't have Josephine's mind drive. That was kind of their last bargaining chip in avoiding an all-out war with Sanctum, and now it seems like she's gone for good. When Russell learns that, he's not going to be very happy—though this might bring a pretty great plotline in which Clarke has to pretend to be Josephine. Might she kill Russell when she gets back to Sanctum?
  • I went from kind of liking Russell—sure, he's a bad guy, but he's a moralistic-ish bad guy—to straight-up not liking him at all this episode. (Testing on Madi? Really?) Though I'll say that the scene when he was holding a dead Simone and the look in his eyes, as well as that speech he delivered in front of the palace, gave me chills. Though I doubt Russell Lightbourne makes it out of this season, I wouldn't mind JR Bourne sticking around for a bit.
  • Where is Diyoza? Is she okay? Is she safe? Is she happy? I can't believe I'm this emotionally invested in her survival, but the show made me care about her this season, and darn it, they'd better deliver.

The 100, Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW