The latest episode of “The 100” gave us almost everything we’ve grown used to this season: another time jump explaining the cliffhanger from the previous episode, learning about Bardo, Sanctum still dealing with Sheidheda and our leads still without screen time.
“The 100” season seven, episode nine, “The Flock” aired on The CW July 16. Coming from the high of 7×08 “Anaconda,” which I gave five out of five stars in my last review, I was disappointed.
This was episode nine of a 16-episode final season. How are we still dealing with the same things week-after-week? I’m tired. I just want answers, more story and character development.
Yes, “The Flock” was interesting. Yes, I cared about Sheidheda making his mark. And yes, I was very much invested in Octavia and Levitt’s relationship (Octavia really has a thing for men on the opposite side whose names start with “L,” huh?). Those were two very compelling components of it, along with the serum-induced hallucinations going on at Bardo that made me question the validity of the storytelling. Very fun.
However, the episode marked the tipping point of the season. The final season is officially over halfway done. This is the last story these characters will tell — the last time we will see them. I know “fan service” often gets a bad reputation, since the show’s creators should get to tell their story how they planned. However, fans are the ones who pour themselves into the story.
They keep the show’s ratings up even when they’re tired of what they’re watching. They speculate and predict, tweeting their thoughts. They get the show trending every week. Many write reviews and other articles weekly without pay. They promote it for free. I’m not saying fans should get things handed to them. I’m saying they should be taken more seriously and given the pay-off they deserve after years of pouring themselves and promoting someone’s work.
That’s the opposite of what happened with the latest episode. I feel incredibly let down by my favorite show.
My star rating for 7×09 “The Flock” is below.
It was a fine, average episode by itself but a letdown when looked at its place in the season as a whole. Let’s get the story moving along. There’s too much to get done in just seven episodes.
SPOILER ALERT WARNING
Real or not real
I’m just going to dive into this section by pointing out the biggest thing that stood out to me in the episode: The simulations and tests Octavia, Diyoza and Hope experienced on Bardo. It was definitely cliché , but it worked and I loved it.
“But first we need to break them of their bonds, or they’ll keep choosing to fight for each other instead of all mankind. They need to have faith in the cause above all.”– Anders to Levitt
If you’ve read or seen “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” (I’m definitely missing others), then the latest “The 100” episode may have felt like déja vu. It did for me.
Our Bardokru experienced culture shock, got a tour of a new society, had to endure strenuous physical fitness tests, were forced to undergo simulations of their worst fears and had one final test that would reveal their “true” loyalties. This final test would either promote their status within Bardo or punish them by being kicked off the planet.
Diyoza’s fear simulation to break her bond with Hope was definitely like Peeta Mellark (the male lead from “The Hunger Games”) being hijacked by the Capitol in “Mockingjay” (amiright??). Luckily for Octavia though, she had a “Divergent” Four/Tobias Eaton of her own who would check-in with her if she got slightly hurt and who even went out of his way to warn her of the final simulation test.
Ah we love a good romance between a girl in a new futuristic society with her brooding, protective instructor. It was like I was reading a young adult dystopian book all over again, and I’m not mad about it.
These scenes were done really well. They didn’t just give me all the nostalgia for the stories I used to read but they also made me question who I can trust.
I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t when I watched “The Flock.” My mind was all over the place, and that’s a good thing. I love when I don’t know whether or not I can trust the narration.
I’m also at a point where I don’t know what characters to trust. I’ve had a rollercoaster of emotions regarding Hope this season. At first, I liked her. Then I grew weary. But after 7×09, I saw her resisting Bardo so much where she couldn’t even learn to get her emotions in check. Do I trust her now? I just might.
Then there’s Echo. I was annoyed with her in this episode at first. She took to Bardo so easily. She was their star student after all, according to Anders. How could she turn her back so easily on people she spent years living with?
But after thinking about her more and watching the episode a second time, it’s so clear to me that Echo was faking her allegiance to Bardo. She’s playing the long game. Fans who don’t like her could use Echo’s history of flip-flopping between leaders to follow against her (I did when I first watched it).
But, I think she’s smarter than that. Her need to be a follower isn’t a weakness to her right now. It’s a strength. She’s been taught to hide her emotions her entire life (remember that Echo isn’t even her real name — it’s Ash). So being placed in a hostage-type situation where she needed to hide her feelings and identity was where she could soar.
Yes, on the outside it looks like she betrayed Hope by sentencing her to five years alone on Penance, but this is a game. It’s a facade so she can work her way into the ranks and take them down from the inside out. I can’t wait to see where her story goes.
Then we have the big ol’ question of whether or not to trust Levitt. I had the opposite reaction with him as I did to Hope. I started out not trusting him, then I loved him, but now I’m not so sure.
“And now you’re a trainer? You always have so many jobs?”– Diyoza to Levitt
I want to trust him, but Diyoza has a point. Levitt is always just there. He started work in M-Cap, then he was a janitor and now he’s a trainer? How is he always positioned between Octavia and her way out of Bardo? Then he clearly started playing favorites with Octavia, which was very cute to me at first (the dude was the exact equivalent of the heart eye emoji).
Their relationship went to the next level with a steamy sex scene, but now he also has her trust and is romantically tied to her. Does he really have feelings for her or is he just emotionally manipulating her to trust him? Whatever happens though I’m definitely Team Octavia.
Also, while I’m still on the topic of Bardo, I wanted to bring up a potential parallel I see happening. After Bardokru’s little venture to the surface we learned that GEM9 is the substance in the air that caused the original Bardoans to calcify and turn into crystal giants. Later, Hope saw a door with a big warning sign on it and Levitt explained that Bardo managed to secure a little bit of GEM9, which could wipe out everyone there.
We know “The 100” likes throwing our characters into similar situations season-after-season to see if they make different decisions. Now that Clarke’s finally on Bardo, do we think she’ll have the opportunity to release GEM9 on everyone there to save her friends like she did with the radiation lever in Mt. Weather? I would assume she would take a page from Monty’s manifesto “to break the cycle” and not release the substance. Who knows with this show though.
Sanctum: different day, same problems
I’m not going to dive deep into the Sanctum plot from 7×09, because it’s getting a bit tiring to me at this point. I do want to quickly touch on Sheidheda though.
The people of Sanctum finally know Russell Lightborne is dead and Sheidheda bodysnatched him, which is beautifully ironic.
“There is an ancient saying — what is a king without his subjects? But I ask, what are subjects without a king? They are but lost sheep — confused and scared, needing guidance and protection from the wolf who delights in their slaughter.”– Sheidheda
Sanctum has been dealing with trying to maintain the peace between different groups of people for nine episodes now. It was like a volcano about to explode from all the underlying problems and tension. However, Sheidheda revealing his identity was the catalyst we needed for the eruption. There was no way Sanctum wouldn’t implode at some point, and this was a case that showed things need to get messy before everyone can finally be at peace.
The characters can’t try to hide and cover up their problems. They need to face them and deal with them. As villainous as Sheidheda is, at least he’s making our main characters face the problems in their culture. Also, as a fan of the show who’s very tired of this slow Sanctum storyline, I’m very grateful he’s speeding things up now.
This isn’t me saying I’m ok with him killing all those people at the very end though. That was obviously very immoral. I’m just excited to see the end results from his long game come to fruition. What has he really been up to this entire time? What is his one true goal?
I also want to give a big round of applause to JR Bourne’s acting as Sheidheda — captivating.
“The 100” took a three-week hiatus after season seven, episode nine. The next episode, “A Little Sacrifice,” airs Wednesday, Aug. 4, on The CW at 8/7c.