Frustration. Sadness. Confusion. Overwhelmed. These are all emotions characters experienced in the The 100’s season seven premiere. Oddly enough, they’re all emotions I experienced right along with them as I watched the story unfold from the comfort of my own couch.
But there’s one word in specific that comes to mind when I think of this particular episode: disappointment.
The 100 kicked off their seventh and final season last night (May 20, 2020 at 8/7c.) on The CW with an episode titled “From the Ashes”. It was the first in a long-run of episodes that didn’t include much of Bellamy Blake (played by Bob Morley).
For me, this is where the majority of this disappointment stems from. With Bellamy gone within the first five minutes — all the clips of him had already been shown in the trailer — a hole was immediately put in place, leaving me confused and upset.
Both the audience and characters (Gabriel Santiago played by Chuku Modu, Echo played by Tasya Teles and Hope Diyoza played by Shelby Flannery) were facing the question: #WhereIsBellamyBlake. Characters were also left asking, who do we become after losing what identified us?
These two questions seem to be what is driving the story forward this season, along with a Lord of the Flies-type chaos in full brew at Sanctum.
SPOILER ALERT WARNING
Addressing the Bellamy-shaped hole in the room
Going into this episode, I was fully aware of the rumors from other TV reviewers that Bellamy would only be in the first part of 7×01 and would not be around for 7×02 through 7×04. That being said, I still could not be fully prepared for how that absence would affect me and the other characters.
Him being kidnapped and pulled into the Anomaly in the very first scene left me confused and dazed for the rest of 7×01.
“From the Ashes” started with an event that would normally be saved as a cliffhanger, and the story didn’t calm down afterwards. The audience was thrown into yet more action with Gabriel, Echo and Hope on a journey to find Bellamy. And, SanctumKru was left dealing with the chaos of having Wonkru, the Children of Gabriel, the Eligius prisoners and Sanctum believers all fighting for their beliefs.
I was still trying to process what happened to Bellamy when we were thrown into action scene after action scene. The episode felt suffocating and didn’t leave any room for the story to breathe.
Sachin Sahel (who plays Jackson in the show) has a tweet that sums this up really well.
While Sahel meant that as a good thing, I saw it as the opposite. Episodes and big plot-points need to have room to breathe and be fleshed out in order to fully have an impact. After the events of the first five minutes, I was left not being able to focus on anything else. It wasn’t until I rewatched it that I was able to comprehend the episode.
I saw Bellamy’s absence as part of the reason there was so much unrest in Sanctum. I know it’s not directly related, but hear me out.
During the season one dropship days, Bellamy and Clarke worked together as leaders to calm everyone down. They enacted rules and a schedule for people to follow. But without Bellamy’s fire to unite people, Clarke was left trying to reel them in and calm them down. Bellamy’s absence was not only felt by fans but was indirectly felt by Clarke as well. Yes, his absence affected Gabriel, Echo and Hope’s journey. But it also made Clarke use different leadership strategies in Sanctum.
It looks like Bellamy’s disappearance will be the driving force of the plot this season. And while I like seeing how vital his presence is, I am saddened to see the person of color (POC) male lead reduced to a plot device to further everyone else’s stories but his own. Doesn’t he deserve better than that?
If there’s a positive side to all this though, it’s definitely Hope’s note she left for herself that said “Trust Bellamy.” Fans got #TrustBellamy trending on Twitter because of that.
We just met her and already her character is off to a great start. Also, I don’t know about all of you, but that moment of her blindly trusting him without officially meeting him yet definitely reminded me of Madi trusting Bellamy right away when she first met him in 5×03. It also reminded me of when Jordan met him and Clarke in 5×13. There’s a silver lining to everything, I guess.
Question is, who are we if we lose what identifies us?
I spotted a theme! Who are we if we lose what identifies us? This was a question every single character was asking themselves in this premiere.
This theme really got its start at the picnic in front of the farmhouse. As all our main characters — besides Echo, Gabriel and Bellamy — were popping a squat on a neat little blanket, they held their drinks up in honor of Abby. As Murphy was just about to take a drink, Jackson swatted the glass away.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not just going to sit here while he [Murphy] drinks to the woman that he got killed,” Jackson said right after spilling the
Jackson and Abby were always a package deal. We first met him in season one because he was her right-hand man. Then, we continued to see him back her up. His identity was tied into hers and now he’s left wondering who he is now that she’s gone.
Next up are our groups of people: the Children of Gabriel, the believers of the primes and Wonkru. All three of these groups have had their own messy dynamics. Throw them together in a place where leadership seems nonexistent and rules aren’t put in place and you get non-stop chaos and fights.
The believers in the primes just found out the people they believed were gods are frauds who have just been using them to steal their bodies to live forever. They just lost their faith and are being told to watch the last remaining god they have burned at the stake.
The Children of Gabriel want Sanctum back because that’s their home too. They had a mission to take down the primes, and now that that’s done, they’re left wondering what to do next.
Madi’s identity from the end of season five and all the way through season six was as Heida (the Commander), but now the flame is gone and she’s trying to learn how to be a normal girl again. Wonkru just lost their leader and their faith — much like the believers of the primes — but they’re not aware of that yet. And, connected to that, Gaia just lost the biggest identity she’s ever had: the flame keeper.
“Question is, who is the flame keeper without the flame?” Gaia said to Clarke and Indra.
This paralleled what Clarke said in a radio call in 5×01.
“Question is, what happens to the Commander of Death when there’s no one left to kill?” Clarke said in that episode.
Now, every other character has caught up to her internal struggle: finding an identity after you just lost your biggest one.
Murphy is feeling that too. All last season, he gave up his relationships with SpaceKru in hopes of becoming a prime. Now, the people of Sanctum believe him to be one, but it’s not worth it anymore because of all the losses that pursuit caused.
Echo had an hallucination of Roan after she had lost Bellamy.
“Without Bellamy, who will you follow?” Roan asked her in the hallucination. “Without someone to follow, who are you?”
Russell, the man who killed his family and convinced an entire society in believing he was a god so he could bodysnatch them, even felt the guilt.
Russell to Clarke: “Tell me, Clarke. How do you go on after you lose everything?”
Clarke’s answer back: “You take a breath and then another. That’s it.”
Mr. Lightborne has lost the very thing that excused all the bad things he had done: the fight to keep his family alive. Now his entire family is dead and the people who held him on a high pedestal are starting to realize who he really is.
Once again, Sachin Sahel explained this really well in a tweet.
All these characters have been fighting so hard for what they believe in. However, now they’re learning that things aren’t always what they seem and that they may have been fighting on the wrong side.
They’re losing what has kept the guilt off their shoulders and are now having to face their demons. Clarke had been slowly building up to this realization in this episode. She wanted to do better by giving Russell mercy, but as soon as he — now being possessed by Sheidheida since the Dark Commander’s code was uploaded to Russell’s chip! — gave Clarke her mother’s things, she snapped. She has always fought to protect her loved ones, but that battle has proved useless for her over the years.
“Sanctum is free,” Clarke said as the ending line of the episode. “There are no kings or queens or primes here. We have no use for a palace. We are the last of the human race and we’ve all made mistakes. Tomorrow, Russell Prime dies for his.”
It’ll be interesting to watch this progression and to see if the characters genuinely want to do better and put more thoughts into their actions.
Positive things about an episode I gave 2 out of 5 stars
Out of five stars, I give 7×01 “From the Ashes” two. It felt rushed and hard to comprehend. As someone who prefers character-driven stories, this was too much plot forced into one episode. And, according to my dad who is very much a plot-driven person, this episode was too confusing for him.
Anyway, I like looking for the silver lining to things, so here’s a list of the positive things this episode brought.
- Hope’s trust in Bellamy. The very fact that she cut her arm open to leave herself a message to “Trust Bellamy” is everything, especially when the fans made #TrustBellamy trend on Twitter. Let’s not forget when she said, “We need to get to Bellamy.” I stan. She is now the official voice of the fandom. There, I said it.
- Gabriel and his cardigan is my favorite ship, and I’m happy to see they were together in this episode.
- Madi gets to keep doggo Picasso!
- Clarke and Raven have a beautiful friendship again! YES!
- Raven’s red bomber jacket makes an appearance for the first time since season four and so does her storyline!
- Emori’s intelligence! Love to see her brilliance shining through!
- Alaina Huffman makes her badass appearance.
- Murphy rejected being a prime. This was really what he wanted last season, but now he realizes the pain to get there wasn’t worth it. We love to see that character development.
- Roan makes an appearance as Echo’s hallucination. Gosh, I missed that man.
The 100 premieres every Wednesday on The CW at 8/7c.