‘The 100’ Season 7 Premiere: Identity Crisis (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The 100 Season 7, Episode 1, “From The Ashes.”]
“Tell me, Clarke… how do you go on after you lose everything?” Though it isn’t obvious on first listen, Russell Prime (J.R. Bourne)’s question to Clarke (Eliza Taylor) bears many of the themes present in The 100’s seventh—and final—season premiere.
Going on? Yeah, Team Clarke as a whole is struggling with that, considering they’re trying to build a functional society with four factions of people who want very different, and very opposed, things. There are also several members of Clarke’s own kru, so to speak, who are grappling with who they are at present; most notably Gaia (Tati Gabrielle), who doesn’t have a job without a Flame to keep, and Murphy (Richard Harmon), who’s dealing with some serious guilt and doesn’t want to play pretend at being a Prime.
Losing everything? That’s Clarke’s biggest and (literally) most explosive burden. She’s not over her mother’s death, and while she tries to put on a brave face for her friends and the rest of her people, the cracks in her fearless leader façade are starting to show. It all culminates in a fiery finale that sees her make a choice with her heart rather than her head—a choice she’ll definitely regret later.
Oh, and a bunch of wacky stuff is going on at the anomaly, too. Let’s break it down.
New World, Same Problems
Because what would The 100 be without at least two groups of people trying to kill each other? But anyway, let’s back up a little. An indeterminate amount of time has passed since the Season 6 finale, and Clarke, Madi (Lola Flanery) and the rest of the good guys are moving into a big house outside the Sanctum grounds. It comes complete with a dog named Picasso. Sounds cheery, right? Wrong.
Just because they’re breathing the same air doesn’t mean there’s no bad blood between ‘em. Jackson (Sachin Sahel) makes it abundantly clear that even though Clarke forgives Murphy for the part he played in Abby’s death, he most certainly does not; Murphy can’t talk about Abby without tearing up. Madi, meanwhile, is straining to balance pretending to be Commander in a post-Flame world with normal kid stuff like going to school. She’s also angry with her adoptive mom for not opening up about her grief, and having random visions from the other Commanders even though they’re not technically in her head anymore.
Keeping the Peace—or Lack Thereof
On top of all of this, Clarke’s still trying to keep the peace in Sanctum. It’ll be two years at best—“So, three years,” Raven (Lindsey Morgan) figures—until their new compound is ready. Until then, the Children of Gabriel, the Prime-following Sanctumites, the remaining Eligius prisoners and the remnants of Wonkru are all sharing space. It’s rioting, trying-to-kill-each-other-constantly levels of bad.
The source of the commotion seems to be Russell Prime—the Children of Gabriel want him dead, while his followers want him freed. Surprisingly, Russell himself agrees with the former camp: after losing his whole family, he just wants to die. No amount of talking-to from Jordan (Shannon Kook), who’s been “adjusted” and is now firmly on the Sanctumites’ side, will convince him otherwise. Well, surprise! By the end of the episode, Russell gets what he wants. Be careful what you wish for…
A Gift for Clarke
All the angst about Russell forces Clarke and pals to move him to the palace—along with Murphy and Emori, who have to play at being Daniel and Kailey Prime in order to placate the worshippers. This sounds like a decent plan, except for the fact that the Sanctumites then camp outside Russell’s room and demand his release, while the Children of Gabriel continue to demand his death.
Clarke neutralizes the situation by saying she’s going to get Russell to tell his followers to hit the road, but when she tries to get him to follow orders, he’s not too keen on doing so. Instead, he says he “has something for her”: Abby’s clothes, complete with her wedding-ring necklace.
Burn it Down
Clarke’s rage turns ferocious then, as she kicks and punches Russell into a torch. Even when the palace starts catching fire, she doesn’t relent. And while the last true Prime is getting the golden-flaked snot kicked out of him, Sheidheda (you remember the creepy Commander that took over Madi’s mind last season?) makes a reappearance and kills Russell, taking over his body. So that explains his change in tone from begging Clarke to end his life to begging her to spare him.
It seems to work, until Clarke drags him out onto the balcony in full view of all three groups. She gives a speech about how they’re the last of the human race now, and they’ve all made mistakes. But she ends it with a verdict: “Tomorrow, Russell Prime dies for his.” Since he’s Sheidheda now… yeah, probably not.
Trust Bellamy… If You Can Find Him
The B-plot this episode revolves around Gabriel (Chuku Modu), Echo (Tasya Teles), Hope (Shelby Flanery) and Bellamy (Bob Morley), for the five seconds he appears sobbing over Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos)’s mysterious disappearance before the air knocks him out and drags him toward the anomaly. Yes, you read that right.
Okay, it’s not just the air. Turns out some invisible, random guys with crystal-textured helmets—think Spaceship Earth at Epcot—were tasked with bringing that whole group, minus Hope, through the anomaly. Quick thinking on Gabriel and Echo’s part spares them from being captured, although they don’t get there in time to save Bellamy. That’s unfortunate for Hope, because she’s lost her memory of where, and when, she is. All she has is a note covered in symbols that reads, “Trust Bellamy.” Oops.
Now, because they’ve lost Bell, they’ve gotta go find him. Team Echo holds hands and steps through the glowing green light. That’s all fine and good, but shouldn’t they have at least told someone they were doing that? Clarke’s going to be stressed about this, now, too? Alas, maybe the happiest version of Clarke we’re ever going to get was last season’s dancing, singing, painting Josephine.
- Murphy was the best thing about this season premiere. You cannot convince me otherwise. His character development is just phenomenal. If you went back and watched the Season 1 premiere and then watched Season 7, it’s clear just how far he’s come. He really cares about his friends and feels genuine remorse about his role in what happened to his semi-adoptive mom. Not clear whether his spelling’s improved, though.
- Raven leaning on Madi when they walked to Sanctum made me wonder whether something’s going on with her leg again; we’ve seen Raven move plenty of times unassisted. Either she’s the “cool aunt” and they now have a bond, or we’re in for another Raven-in-pain storyline this season. No. Please, no.
- That was an interesting Lexa reference with Madi’s drawing of “Wanheda bowing to Heda.” It’d be cool to see Alycia Debnam-Carey again at some point—maybe as a Clarke hallucination if she ever heads toward the anomaly? Echo did see Roan (Zach McGowan) and her friend, so nothing’s impossible. Probably best not to get one’s hopes up on that, though.
- Is it bad that I’m kind of bummed Russell Prime is dead and replaced by Sheidheda? It’s nice that JR Bourne is still around, since his scenes with Eliza Taylor this episode were epic. But just once, I wish we were done with all the Commanders and the Flame stuff. Hopefully this storyline doesn’t last the whole season.
- Raven’s note about the reactor makes me wonder if the whole place is just going to blow up at some point.
- More screentime for Indra is never a bad thing. I’m not sure how she ended up being in charge of so much of the rebuilding efforts, but if it means Adina Porter gets a larger part to play, I don’t even need it explained.
The 100, Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW