Is exactly how I felt after watching the latest episode of “The 100.” It’s a near-perfect word to describe all the feelings I had from start to finish.
“Bang” is also the perfect word to sum up the plot. Shots were fired (literally *tries not to cry*), a group of people were killed, Nikki Bang Bang had a showdown and many actions were just bang out of order (in all its glory).
Season seven, episode 12 “The Stranger” aired Wednesday, Aug. 19 on The CW with a stunning “The 100” writing debut from Blythe Ann.
This was my favorite episode of the season character and emotional-wise. It had me screaming at my TV while still empathizing with all the characters — all besides Sheidheda and Cadogan who have been the simple, clear-cut “bad guys” the entire season.
With just four episodes left of the series after this episode, there’s still so much more the show has to accomplish before the finale. “The Stranger” had all the beautiful, character moments I look for in poignant storytelling but I think the weak point of it was the plot, which was lacking on Bardo and could’ve been stronger on Sanctum.
I’m stressed we won’t get to see the entire story of “The 100” fully actualized, because this final season feels both dragged out and rushed at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong, I seriously enjoyed this episode. It had all the potential in the world(s) to be five stars. Two notable things were missing, however, that would’ve automatically made me give “The Stranger” all the praise.
A longer M-Cap scene that dove into Clarke’s memories to make Bellamy fall back on his individualism mind-set would’ve added a deep character-driven layer. (I timed the scene we got and it was only one minute and 15 seconds *sighs*).
Sheidheda acting on his memories of the Anomaly (which I predicted he would have) when he saw the Anomaly stone at the end of the episode would’ve finally added a complexity to his clear-cut villainous ways, along with a deeper plot for Sanctum’s storyline. It also would’ve been much more interesting to have him fully aware of the Anomaly stone. He could’ve used it to his advantage instead of him just bringing it into the castle because it looked pretty. No depth there at all.
Both of these things could’ve easily heightened the show on multiple levels, but season seven, episode 12 was cut short plot-wise. However, we shouldn’t be dissuaded from what was there, which was a beautifully written episode by Ann.
“The Stranger” had the best, most honest dialogue of the entire season thus far. I was blown away. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time either anxious about one of my favorite characters dying (Murphy gave me ANXIETY) or I was sobbing into my blanket (i.e. almost every conversation on Bardo).
Because of these things, here’s my star rating for 7×12:
Sitting on a throne of lies
There’s no way I could dive into this review without discussing the first thing that happened in the episode.
Sheidheda killed all the Children of Gabriel — besides Madi’s friend — and shot Sachin (aka Nelson) when they refused to kneel.
Sheidheda: Nelson —
Nelson/Sachin: My name is Sachin. My people and I swore an oath. Better to die free than worship at the feet of false gods. I will not kneel tonight or ever. …
(Sheidheda shoots all the Children of Gabriel, leaving Sachin for last)
Sachin: Death… is life.
(Sheidheda shoots him)
Sachin may have led his people to their deaths, but he kept their souls clean much like what Diyoza did for Hope in 7×10. They died for their morals and principles in the hope that humanity can do better, can be better and can break the cycle.
Sachin was a straight-forward “good guy” who lived and died for his morally ethical beliefs, the complete opposite of Sheidheda.
Sheidheda is a standard “bad guy” who just wants to kill people who stand in his way for leadership. How he wants to lead and govern a society has never been explored and neither has his motives. There’s no complexity there, which is odd for “The 100.”
The show’s first five seasons were dedicated to the morally gray (“There are no good guys”), but now it’s a clear-cut black and white. You’re either on the side of our main characters (who apparently can’t do anything wrong this season) or you’re on the side of all the evil characters recently introduced (who apparently don’t have any motives for their devilish ways).
I think a big reason why this final season feels off is because it’s lost that moral ambiguity between all the characters that’s made “The 100” so enticing.
It’s now the world of false gods and everyone who believes in them are considered part of the problem.
Sheidheda’s followers made him a throne from the skeletons the Primes kept in their creepy dungeon/lab, both of whom have been false gods these last two seasons. It’s such a wild visual as he’s literally sitting on a throne of lies.
Sticking with the Sanctum storyline, who else was terrified Murphy was going to die in this episode? At least one of the original 100 dies every season, and I believed in my heart-of-hearts that Murphy was going to join that list in 7×12.
There were so many lines pointing to this.
Murphy’s pal: I was right to believe in you.
Emori to Murphy: I’m proud of you too.
Indra: I’m proud of you, Murphy.
Murphy: Yeah? Get in line.
Murphy: I’m starting to miss being a live coward.
Murphy’s character has fully developed from the selfish antagonist he was in season one. He’s now become someone others can depend on and look up to for help and compassion.
He somehow made it through the episode unscathed from the lines pointing to his death and from Nikki Bang Bang and Sheidheda threatening his life. I’m still scared for him though.
The heart’s still beating
Now’s the part where I talk about Bellamy. It’s about time, ‘amiright??
His scenes in this episode were a long-time coming and were understandably heavily theorized by fans. If you’re wondering how long it’s been since he had a scene with his once co-leader Clarke, then I have an answer for you.
The last time these two shared a scene (besides their super brief hug and little betrayal in 7×11) was when they hugged it out during a sunset in the season six finale Aug. 6, 2019. The two original leaders finally had a full-fledged scene this year in 7×12 Aug. 19. That’s 378 days, folks, which is a very long time to make fans wait to see them interact.
It’s a complete blindside to the fans, especially during the final season. It’s even more disappointing when the heart of the duo is reduced to a villain.
Bellamy still cares and worries about his friends though. That part of him isn’t gone; it’s just changed.
He has a larger group of people he cares about now. So instead of being hyper focused on the lives of the few, his intentions are to save as many people as possible. He’s still the same person, but his “people” is a larger group now.
It’s a shifted loyalty, but this isn’t anything new on “The 100.” Season five was the epitome of shifting loyalties. Octavia betrayed Clarke and Bellamy for Wonkru. Clarke betrayed Bellamy for Madi. Bellamy betrayed Octavia and Clarke for Spacekru.
The only reason why season seven is making such a big deal out of this is because Bellamy’s group now includes this season’s “big bad.”
Bellamy tries desperately to get his friends to see his side in “The Stranger” because he knows they’ll be tortured and executed if they don’t. Yes, it’s an extreme, but this show’s always been extreme. He wants to save his friends and all of humanity through the transcendence The Shepherd has been preaching.
He first makes this intention known to Echo.
Echo: You’ve lost yourself, Bellamy. This isn’t you.
Bellamy: I’m trying to save all of you…. What do you do when you believe in something with all your heart that people you love think is crazy?
Then he spills his heart to Clarke and Octavia.
Clarke: Today, I’m standing in front of my best friend, who I thought was dead, and I don’t even recognize him.
Bellamy: Clarke, I am the same person who brought you back from the dead, who refused to give up on you. There is so much more at stake here than you know, and I know you don’t believe in transcendence, but I’m telling you it’s real and I am asking you to believe in me…. Dozens of Disciples are dead….
Clarke: Yes, and everyone of them has tried to keep up from saving our friends.
Bellamy: And now I am trying to save you, all of you. Clarke, if you don’t tell me where it is, they will execute all of you. Please let me help.
Clarke: Go float yourself.
Bellamy is desperately trying to save his friends, especially because he believes transcendence — a higher power — is the only way to save humanity once and for all, putting an end to the cycle of absurdity. Bob Morley’s acting shows how urgent this situation is for Bellamy. He’s terrified he won’t save his friends from themselves on time, and that’s been his intention since season one.
His scene with Clarke and Octavia was intense. It made me cry (like a lot).
The writing and acting made the Bardo scenes sing.
I loved how the characters were separated on Bardo in the episode. Raven and Echo shared a cell; Niylah and Miller; Hope and Jordan; and Octavia and Clarke.
Raven and Echo both spent six years with Bellamy on the Ring, so they would be able to see the shift from the person they were used to. Niylah and Miller are loyal to Clarke, and I wish we would’ve had a scene between Bellamy and Miller like we were shown in the promotional photos. Hope and Jordan are the two outsiders who grew up alone, hearing stories about these people they’re not friends with. Octavia and Clarke are arguably the two most important people in Bellamy’s life he’s always worked so hard to protect, and it was with those two women that he tried explaining his motives the most.
“The Stranger” was smart, action-packed and emotional. The dialogue hit-home from all the characters as their hearts were revealed to us.
Some people may think the heart of the show has grown cold, but Bellamy’s heart is still beating and remains his biggest motive.
I would also like to add that Hope laying down on a bed crying about her disappointment and loss of hope (hehe) was a big mood.
I think we could all learn something from Hope’s journey this season, and it’s that we all need to learn how to lower our expectations. The characters we’ve spent years learning about and becoming emotionally invested in aren’t going to have the endings we hoped for them. Their endings are confusing, disappointing and hollow.
If only we could each have our own Jordan Jasper Green to comfort us with soothing words and a nice hug.
And so we begin the descent of the final leg of the race. With just four episodes left of the series, everything (hopefully) will come into play and run its course. The nerves have set in (more than usual), and I want closure and storylines wrapped up if nothing else.
“The 100” season seven, episode 13 “Blood Giant” airs Wednesday, Sept. 9 on The CW after a three-week long hiatus with the Red Sun making its return. People can also watch the last five episodes on The CW’s website to catch up or a refresher.