‘The 100’: Lindsey Morgan Talks ‘Bellarke’ & Echo’s Sky Ring Backstory
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The 100 Season 7 Episode 7, “The Queen’s Gambit.”]
To say things are getting interesting on the sci-fi drama The 100 would be a vast understatement. In the final moments of this week’s episode, several fan theories proved to be true; we learned cult leader Cadogan (John Pyper-Ferguson) is indeed alive and gearing up for a mysterious war, thus linking the mythology explored throughout the past four seasons to one of the show’s last major storylines.
Just before that, a moment plenty of fans had been eagerly anticipating arrived: Clarke (Eliza Taylor) learned that Bellamy (Bob Morley) was (supposedly) dead. Turns out, that was one of costar and episode director Lindsey Morgan’s favorite scenes from the episode— although it wasn’t her initial idea.
“In the beginning, I wanted to make it more of a moment,” she said. “I wanted to make it so she fell to her knees, or it was in slow motion. I talked to [Eliza] about it and she, of course, was game.”
But, in talking with showrunner Jason Rothenberg and the writers, that vision shifted. “[Rothenberg] was like, ‘You know, Bellamy is her best friend. We need to convey more shock than desolation,’” Morgan said. So, the tone of the scene changed: it was less an overt display of mourning and more one of quiet heartbreak, as well as confusion.
“[Clarke] doesn’t quite know for sure [whether Bellamy’s really gone],” Morgan said. “She’s hearing this from Gabriel, and Gabriel’s one of [the cult group Disciples] now. He’s in all white, he’s got tattoos on his face. Can we even trust him?”
In the end, Morgan said she loved the simplicity and complexity of Clarke’s reaction; she also made sure to mention that Taylor, whom she called “amazing,” did it in one take. “Clarke has no words and it’s not melodramatic, but it’s a pure pang in her heart—that this could happen, but maybe it didn’t—she doesn’t know, but she has to figure it out,” Morgan said. “I loved how simple it was and how she played it. I think Bellarke has such a dynamic relationship, so I was glad it got to be a simple moment full of complexity.”
The other Bellamy-related ‘ship got a moment this episode, too, as the show set aside time to explain the beginnings of Bellamy and Echo’s (Tasya Teles) relationship on Sky Ring. If you thought that was old footage (or if you, like the interviewer, were confused by Echo’s hair because neither of those styles looked like a wig), you’ll be surprised to learn it wasn’t: that Bellamy and Echo scene was written and filmed for this episode.
Morgan said she thought it was important to show more of that time the people on Sky Ring spent together as a family — especially Echo’s time there, which sharply contrasts with who she is now. Morgan says she’s on a “reign of terror.”
“I feel like Echo’s storyline has taken quite a turn,” Morgan said. “She’s no longer Echo, and that’s what we tried to make it seem like with her physical transformation and her haircut and scarring her face. The Echo we know and love is dead and gone.”
Looking back on the experience of directing, Morgan said the biggest challenge was the decisions she had to make; it was a little more fast-paced than she’d expected, and sometimes—as with the Bellamy and Clarke scene—her vision had to change. But that collaboration was one of the things she most enjoyed about sitting in the director’s chair, and she said it was fascinating to see the episode evolve from the product she’d had in her head.
It’s no surprise, then, that her favorite part of being a director was working with the actors and crew members and seeing her suggestions help them.
“If I could give an actor a note or piece of direction that brought them to a new level in their acting, and it was awesome and they felt good about it, that was so gratifying for me,” she said. “Acting is sometimes very solitary but directing is very collaborative. I felt very proud when I could help others.”
The 100, Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW