'The 100' Sends Us Back to the First Time the World Ended (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The 100 Season 7 Episode 8, “Anaconda.”]
It’s here, The 100 fans — the fabled backdoor pilot episode. The hope that even once this show ends, the world it inhabits will remain. And, honestly? It’s pretty darn compelling, and certainly worthy of its own series.
We only catch a couple of glimpses of Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and her pals at the beginning and end of this episode, as their story provides a frame to showcase Callie Cadogan (Iola Evans) — yes, she’s Bill’s daughter! — and her trials and tribulations at the end of the world. Callie’s a rebellious, social-justice-minded gal who wants to turn down her acceptance to Harvard to protest with the group she founded, called Trikru. Sound familiar? It should.
Of course, she’s not going to Harvard anyway, because the apocalypse happens. Trapped in her dad’s Second Dawn bunker, Callie’s embroiled in family drama, survival drama and even some scientific drama, thanks to Becca (Erica Cerra). Here’s how it all breaks down.
Just returned from a protest, Callie’s bandaging up her friend, Lucy, when her mom enters her room; she’s been summoned to speak with her father about the whole “not going to college” thing. She talks to him, but it’s clear they’re not close — her parents are divorced, and it appears she’s close to her mom while her brother, Reese (Adain Bradley), wants her dad’s approval. Their unpleasant chat is cut short when her father, interrupted by an assistant and then aghast, utters a fateful word: “Anaconda.”
Her mom hurriedly gathers supplies while Callie tries to get answers, eventually learning the world is ending and they’re going to her dad’s cultish bunker. Unfortunately, Callie’s pal isn’t in the Second Dawn, so her mom sticks Lucy with a sedative and leaves her to die. Yikes. Did The 100 get into “no good choices” scenarios this fast?!
They take a helicopter to the bunker and settle in, as much as settling in is possible when one’s crammed in enclosed quarters with a thousand other people. Cadogan, for his part, is pretty chill (he’s “a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies,” according to Callie’s mom, so none of this bothers him). He’s continuing his experiments on the Anomaly stone, but he can’t get the combination of symbols right to open the portal through space.
And that’s where Becca comes in. Two years later, a group of suited Second Dawn scavengers — Callie included — watch as Becca lands on Earth and takes off her helmet. She can breathe the air! She can do a whole lot more than that, though; she saves a radiation-exposed guard named Tristan by making him into a Nightblood, and she opens the portal through space by pressing the infinity symbol on the Anomaly stone. Cadogan decides that the portal is how they save the human race, and Becca keeps working on the science.
That science leads her to go through the portal later on, pressing symbols that have no sound (thanks to the Flame, she can hear the others). When she gets back, she’s terrified. “I have to shut it down,” she says, to Cadogan. She tells him she saw judgment day and asks him to trust her when she says no one’s ready for what’s coming. Needless to say, he does no such thing.
Bill orders her to be locked in “the box,” where she stays for five days until Callie comes to see her. Reese found her notebook, so he knows about the Flame, and Becca says they’ll kill her. She gives Callie the instructions to get the Flame out of her neck and says that if Cadogan gets it, he’ll use it to find the code, go through the portal and as a result of his actions, the human race will be wiped out. She tasks Callie with choosing the next person to take the Flame, and then she’s hauled away to be burned alive.
Except Callie doesn’t get the Flame, Reese does. When he and his crew get back from burning Becca alive, he’s met with a crowd of people who want to leave the bunker and a very, very, very angry sister. They decide to “settle things like they’re in the basement” and they go to fight each other, but before Reese can raise his hand, Callie shoots him in the shoulder. She gets the Flame and barely escapes, but she and her team — who have all been made Nightbloods, thanks to Becca’s science and Callie — make it to the surface, because her mom enters the passcode to unlock the door.
In the bunker, Reese volunteers to go after Callie and get the Flame: Tristan, who was made a Nightblood earlier in the episode, says he’ll go with him. The Cadogan crew heads through the space portal, sans Callie and Reese’s mom, who, for her betrayal, he leaves behind to either go to the surface in a suit or die. And on the surface, Callie stands alone, holding the Flame, waiting for her group’s fire to draw more survivors.
At the end of the episode, Clarke holds Cadogan at gunpoint and demands he give her friends back, or she won’t tell him how the Flame works. He does, and Echo (Tasya Teles), Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) and Diyoza (Ivana Millecevic) walk into the room, dressed as soldiers, and remove their helmets. Clarke looks stunned and confused.
- Why can Clarke see Callie’s memories? I guess it’s the same principle as how Madi keeps drawing things she’s never seen, even though she doesn’t have the Flame anymore. So maybe the Flame alters the person’s brain who has it, and those alterations remain after the AI is gone?
- Unless… Clarke is lying to Cadogan. The things she knows about him and Trikru and Trigedasleng, she knows through other means, but he doesn’t know that she knows that. If they do memory capture on her, they most certainly will know that. Cadogan is undoubtedly going to want to get his hands on the Flame at some point, and she’s not going to have it in her head.
- Was Callie the second commander? If her memories are in the Flame, she had to have had it in her head. But from the way it sounds at the end of the episode, Callie’s serving more of a Flamekeeper role. It’d be interesting to see how that developed if this gets ordered to series.
- Comparing this to The 100’s Pilot episode, I almost find this one better overall — it’s not quite so cheesy and so riddled with teen drama stereotypes. Although now, given how dark the show ended up being, that’s just part of the original Pilot episode’s charm!
- The only nitpick I have about this as a backdoor Pilot is that I don’t feel the characters we’ve seen so far are quite as compelling as the “originals.” In the original Pilot we got Clarke and Wells (Eli Goree)’ disagreements, Jasper (Devon Bostick) and Monty (Chris Larkin) being best friends, Bellamy (Bob Morley) and Octavia’s sibling relationship being set up, etc. plus the drama on the Ark with Abby (Paige Turco), Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and Jaha (Isaiah Washington). All of those characters were interesting in their own way, with their own motivations, likes, dislikes and flaws — and those things were explored to varying degrees in the first hour. Here, it’s really just Keeping Up With The Cadogans. I assume Tristan and August would be fleshed out eventually, but right now, they don’t have the staying power as some of their counterparts in the original. With all of that said, if this gets ordered to series, I'm sure there will be more characters explored in-depth.
- I almost hoped “Radioactive” or another Imagine Dragons song would play when Callie and her group got to the surface, just to keep the trend going. But the song they had, “Into the Black” by Chromatics, fit well.
- Clarke. The names starting with C and ending with E can’t be a coincidence, can they? Especially with that fade transition at the end, from Clarke to Callie. Oh, and they both have doctors for moms.
- Not going to lie, I’m really bummed that we got Becca back for 20 minutes and then she died. I was hoping Erica Cerra would stick around for longer in the prequel series, since Becca is such a compelling character. Well, maybe she will — if the Flame ends up in Callie’s head, we might see her again.
- Rating: 4.5 out of 5 — Aside from some clunky dialogue, “Anaconda” was a fun ride. It told a refreshingly straightforward story in the middle of a season with plots that keep winding around and through each other like a tangled pair of headphones.
The 100, Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW