Characters were forced to face what they’re most scared of losing in the latest, emotionally charged episode of “The 100.”
Season seven, episode seven, “The Queen’s Gambit” aired July 1 on the CW and was directed by the one and only Lindsey Morgan (Raven Reyes).
I want to preface this review with a couple things that happened off-screen regarding some of the actors. Since I’ve had a difficult time writing this review and gathering my thoughts on “The 100” fandom lately, I’m talking about them chronologically from when the fans first learned this information.
First things first, I think it’s important to note that Morgan really stepped up to the plate. At Unity Days 4 in late January 2020 fans learned that Eliza Taylor (Clarke Griffin) was originally slated to direct “The Queen’s Gambit.” She had to hand the reins over to Morgan last-minute. Taylor and her husband, Bob Morley (Bellamy Blake) had just gone through a miscarriage before the episode began production. Taylor needed to take a break from leadership responsibilities to focus on herself and her husband.
Secondly, there’s been some news about Morley’s ex-girlfriend and their relationship together. I’m not going to go into details about that here, but feel free to read our article to learn more about what Arryn Zech said.
Morley and Taylor haven’t made a statement about that yet, which has been leaving many fans in limbo. I know I’ve been trying to process it and that’s why it’s taken me a while to write this review.
Fandom is an important escape for people, and no matter what’s happened off screen, I think it’s ok to still find peace in these fictional characters. The characters are not the actors who play them, just like how the actors aren’t the heroic characters we see on screen. Separation has been key for me, but everyone processes things differently.
Now, let’s get into the episode.
I really liked this one. It was smart and pieces of the seven-season puzzle finally started to show themselves. 7×07 was emotionally charged, revealed what the characters have to lose and finally showed glimpses at how Books One and Two are connected: Bill Cadogan and the Second Dawn.
Things are finally being pieced together, and it makes me realize we only have nine episodes left to tell this story.
My star rating for the episode is below.
SPOILER ALERT WARNING:
The long game
I cannot explain how excited I was by that ending. Bill Cadogan, leader of the Second Dawn cult, who burned Becca Franco/Pramheda at the stake (which ultimately led to The Grounders as we know them) after the first nuclear apocalypse is the Shepherd. *Takes a breath*
That’s a lot to take in, and if you’re in desperate need of more backstory, Selina Wilken at Hypable explained everything we know about Cadogan thus far.
Was it predictable that Cadogan was the Shepherd? Yes, many fans had predicted that already. But does it make perfect sense for the story? Absolutely.
We don’t always need the crazy and unpredictable. We need the moments and plotlines that feel organic and make the most sense with the story we’ve been told.
Cadogan waking up from cryo in Bardo is one of the many pieces that connect this season to the entire “The 100” story as a whole. It connects The Ark, The Grounders, Polis, Becca/ALIE, Eligius, Wonkru’s bunker, Sanctum and the Anomaly.
It’s the one piece that’s been hinted at throughout the seasons with easter eggs planted everywhere. It’s the one puzzle piece we’ve been staring at but not really seeing. It’s perfect.
I had chills watching Anders walk through the maze of hallways to take Cadogan out of cryo. Also did anyone notice the picture of Polis hanging up in the room outside Cadogan’s cryo chamber?! Such a fun hint at who was waiting (for hundreds of years) on the other side of that door. It was also a fun hint to what’s to come with episode eight “Anaconda” being the backdoor pilot to “The 100’s” possible prequel series.
Cadogan has been waiting hundreds of years on another planet to make his comeback and win “the last war mankind will ever wage.” That’s dedication if I’ve ever heard of it, so props to him.
I don’t know what this “last war” will be, how they know about it or what the “key” means, but he seems ready.
There was another person playing the long game, quite literally, this last episode: Sheidheda.
Sheidheda decided to challenge Murphy to a chess game, and Murphy being Murphy obviously couldn’t say no.
Sheidheda: If you win, I’ll give you what you want most of all.
Murphy: And what is that?
Sheidheda: The chance at being a hero.
Sheidheda kept the game going longer than he needed to but it wasn’t the board game he intended to win. He was playing a game of his own.
The chess game was a ploy to keep Murphy distracted and occupied so he wouldn’t make it to Emori’s event. Without “Daniel Prime” the believers of Sanctum wouldn’t be willing to understand the other groups, which ended up causing a coup. Thanks, Nelson.
Also, while we’re here, can we talk about Nelson’s birth name?! Nelson met his biological parents for the first time and his mother told him they named him Sachin.
That’s not the only time this name exists with this show though. Sachin Sahel plays Jackson on “The 100,” and Nelson’s character was named after him. “It means pure.” It was a beautiful sentiment, and yes I cried.
Alright, let’s get back to Sheidheda. He’s smart. He’s always five steps ahead of our main cast, and I think he has a bigger plan than he’s been leading on.
We don’t really know what Sheidheda’s up to. We know he’s working on widening the rift between the groups at Sanctum, but what else? There has to be more to his big plan, and there has to be a reason we’re focusing so much time on him this season. How does the Sanctum storyline connect to Bardo’s? Well, I have a theory for that.
Sheidheda already has an indirect connection to Cadogan.
After the first nuclear apocalypse, Becca came down from her space station and started administering night blood to help the survivors with radiation and make them AI compatible. At this point, Becca had a chip in the back of her neck, connected to her consciousness that downloaded her memories.
Many scientists had chips like this at that time, so it could record all their knowledge (as we learned in 7×02 “The Garden”). Cadogan’s Second Dawn cult started to look up to Becca and dubbed her Heda, making her the first commander. Cadogan didn’t like this and burned her at the stake. The surviving people then took the “flame” out of her head and it was then passed down throughout the generations to save the memories/code of past commanders.
This brings me to Sheidheda. He was a commander with the flame, so he was able to see all these memories. We already know he’s a patient, strategic person, which leads me to believe he would’ve analyzed all the memories of past commanders to learn what does and doesn’t work. So, it only makes sense that Sheidheda would have Becca’s memories of Cadogan. Becca wasn’t dumb. I’m sure she somehow knew of Cadogan’s plans to use the Anomaly stone to hop to another planet, which means Sheidheda would know that too.
Does Sheidheda know that Cadogan is somehow still alive and the Shepherd at Bardo? Has he been busy keeping Sanctum distracted while Cadogan finds a way to use Clarke as the “key” for this war they keep talking about? Maybe that’s how the Sanctum and Bardo storylines come together.
If all this does end up happening, it would be quite the feat accomplished by “The 100” team. This ending would be years in the making that connects all the way back to season one. That’s brilliant, and I really hope to see this done well.
More, but with feeling
“The Queen’s Gambit” wasn’t just an episode about strategic plans. It was also an episode about feelings.
There were so many snuggles and character realizations that hit the audience. Heck, we even finally got our first flashback to The Ring during those six years and seven days after Praimfaya.
And all these things hit me in the gut with one realization: this show is really coming to an end.
“The 100” doesn’t really like to look at its past. Characters get thrown into an impossible situation, get faced with an “only choice,” people get killed and then the characters have a moment of introspection while they maybe deal with their trauma in one scene (if we’re lucky).
That trauma lingers but hardly gets recognized until an hallucinations’ episode pops up every once in a while, making them face their fears in their mind. Their trauma hardly ever gets discussed with other characters. It’s a big thing that disappoints me with this show, but I digress.
“The Queen’s Gambit” (and part of 7×06 “Nakara”) dives into the problems the characters have faced over the years. They’ve been thrown into things no one (especially kids) should have to endure.
I can’t answer why the show has ignored these conversations with its characters. Maybe they think it will be boring and take away from the plot, but to me, it does the opposite. It enhances the story and validates what these people on our screens have gone through.
They’re tired, broken, and empty but they still find a way to push through it for their loved ones. That takes a tremendous amount of work, and they should be cherished for it.
Yes, we already know this is the final season of “The 100,” but there have been moments where it hasn’t felt like one. Big, new plotlines have emerged and the main characters have been forgotten about. It’s felt like a new chapter, not the end of one.
The latest episode did something the show has rarely done though, which proves it’s really ending (*cries in Trigedasleng*). Characters talked about their feelings and what’s happened to them.
Sachin Sahel swooped in as Dr. Jackson to be our therapist and he was really the first person to ask these characters “How did that make you feel?”
How have we gone six and a half seasons and this is the first time this question’s been asked? Of course they don’t feel alright. They’ve endured trauma.
Normalize talking about your feelings and what upsets you. Mental health is really important and it shouldn’t be taboo to talk to a therapist.
I just really wanted to give Jackson, Madi, Emori and Nelson a big hug and remind them how great they all are.
Madi: Do you mind if I play soccer?
Jackson: You’d be crazy not too.
Jackson spent time with Madi talking about all she’s endured and how it wasn’t right that Bellamy put the flame in her to save Clarke.
Then we spent time hanging out with Emori. She discussed being a freikdrena and how she was left for dead when she was young, just like Nelson and the rest of the Children of Gabriel.
We hung out with Octavia and Echo. There was a flashback of Echo’s first kiss with Bellamy on The Ring and the audience saw her crying on the floor being soothed by Octavia. And then Octavia discussed how much she regretted beating up Bellamy after he sided with Pike back in the season three days.
All the characters finally decided to have a big therapy session to find closure with each other before the series’ end. It struck me that the show is ending tension that’s been between the characters since the earlier seasons and are wrapping it up with a bow.
It was beautiful and now I’m sad.
There’s never enough time or room to discuss all the things I thought about each episode, and that’s true yet again.
I don’t want to skip out on some of my favorite lines from 7×07 though, so I made a list. These are some quotes that I think really sums this show up and what the characters have been learning over the years. We love a good theme and character development.
- Anders to Gabriel: “Winning the last war brings about the final evolution of the human species.” Yes, I know this isn’t some super deep quote about the human experience, but it’s cryptic. Just like how “The 100” likes to be.
- Emori to Murphy: “The road out of Hell is paved with good deeds, John.”
- Nikki Bang Bang to Nelson: “There’s no innocent people at the end of the world. I don’t care what planet you’re standing on.”
- Sheidheda to Murphy: “They killed me because they were afraid of my ideas, like they did to Lexa.”
- Sheidheda to Murphy: “There are leaders and there are followers. How you respond to the loss of your queen proves which one you are…. Avenging your queen. Predictable.”
- Diyoza to Hope: “Doing the right thing the wrong way isn’t doing the right thing.”
- Diyoza to Hope: “Revenge is a game with no winners and we’ve lost too much already.”
“The 100” premieres every Wednesday on The CW at 8/7c.