Ashes to Anomalies: Where We’re at After the The 100’s Final Season Premiere

Compared to The 100’s last two season premieres, which jumped forward (respectively) six years and 125 years in time, it’s a little jarring that the premiere of the seventh and final season picks up just one beat after the end of last year’s finale: Sanctum in figurative ruins, its gods either dead or dethroned; Octavia pulled into the anomaly, replaced by an impossibly-aged Hope Diyoza; Clarke still mourning Abby while trying to take care of a Flame-less Madi. As a result, “From the Ashes” feels more like an epilogue than a standalone episode—which makes sense, since we’ve now entered our final 16 episodes, and time is of the essence. But it also means that the action ranges between smaller moments of tying up loose ends and big narrative leaps that hint at where the season is going, even if there’s no way that we can possibly predict the end of The 100.

With that in mind, let’s take a high-level look at where everyone’s at, physically and emotionally, at the start of season 7.

Spoilers for The 100 7×01 “From the Ashes”

 

The Blakes, the Diyozas, and the Anomaly

The 100 season 7 premiere From the Ashes Sanctum anomaly Russell Lightbourne Clarke Abby Bellamy Octavia

Screenshot: The CW

It’s no secret that this final season will be all about Sanctum’s mysterious swirling anomaly; the new opening credits trade the usual scanning of territory for what looks to be dips in and out of reality. It’s also the most urgent storyline, as the episode opens with Octavia (having been stabbed by Hope) disintegrating in Bellamy’s arms…and then an invisible force grabs Bellamy and begins dragging him toward the anomaly. Echo and Gabriel chase after him, but whatever’s towing him away trips them up, so that they seem to be fighting with mysterious supernatural physics.

Or, because there’s always a scientific explanation on The 100, it’s invisible assailants. When lasers begin blasting at them (or rather, their position in the forest), Echo has the idea to shoot into a specific spot and see what, or who, they hit. Unfortunately, the anomaly is scattering its psychedelic pollen all around, making Echo hallucinate both King Roan (!!) of the Ice Nation and her childhood best friend, whose life and name she took in order to survive.

Even plagued by ghosts, Echo lands her shots because she is a goddamned professional, revealing their attackers to have Mass Effect-looking helmets and some sort of light-reflecting/invisibility shield. It would appear that they too came from the anomaly, and while a brief POV shift to their helmets lets us see that Echo and Gabriel pose no threat, they have orders to kill Hope on sight.

The 100 season 7 premiere From the Ashes Sanctum anomaly Russell Lightbourne Clarke Abby Hope Diyoza

Screenshot: The CW

Yes, Hope, who up until last season was the fetus in Charmaine Diyoza’s womb before she and Octavia went into the anomaly, with only Octavia emerging. Hope, who has strange markings on her face that match Gabriel’s anomaly stone; who embedded a piece of paper inside her arm with more markings and the message “TRUST BELLAMY”; who stabbed Octavia then immediately forgot why, and is only just recovering her memories…like a pollen-induced vision of Octavia telling her to be quiet and mentioning her “mommy,” i.e., Diyoza, who seems to have been captured by someone.

Echo kills the anomaly attacker before they can murder Hope, but she wants answers. With Bellamy taken, Diyoza presumably alive (though who knows for how long), and Gabriel along for the ride to learn as much as he can about the anomaly, the three prepare to enter the swirling green vortex. But here’s an interesting detail: They have to do it hand-in-hand, because stepping in even seconds apart could throw them months apart on the other side. Octavia and Diyoza entered separately—wonder how much that affected their fates in there!

For now, I’m happy to be like Hope, i.e., with no answers, because it’s clear this season’s mythology will focus on what’s on the other side(s) of the anomaly.

 

The Ashes of Sanctum

The 100 season 7 premiere From the Ashes Sanctum anomaly Russell Lightbourne Clarke Abby

Screenshot: The CW

If you can believe it, the weirdest detail in this episode was the aggressively normal-looking house that the remainder of Wonkru has settled in. Russell had built it for his family (complete with a golden retriever, because sure?), but with the Primes mostly wiped out, Clarke and co. have taken it for themselves. Which is not to say that there aren’t tensions within these idyllic walls: Jackson has no interest in sharing the space with Murphy, blaming him for Abby’s death (since he was the one who told Russell that Abby could transplant Nightblood). Gaia is struggling with a loss of purpose, as she’s a Flamekeeper without a Flame—or, specifically, without a Heda to bear the Flame, as they removed it from Madi after last season’s fight with Sheidheda.

Then there’s Clarke, who is staunchly in denial that she’s coped with Abby’s death. She kicked the body of her mother through an airlock, but she’s fine. Raven makes a joke about mothers and daughters, then nearly bursts into tears at her own obliviousness, and Clarke smiles. It’s fine, she tells everyone watching her warily, she already got closure before she spaced Simone-in-Abby’s-body. (Narrator: She did not.)

What Clarke is right about is that even if she needed more time to process her loss, they don’t have that luxury. Sanctum is a shitshow, with the Primes’ carefully constructed mythology torn to shreds and various groups jockeying for control of the palace. There are still pockets of believers who don’t seem to realize how corrupt the Primes were, with their reincarnation-via-body-snatching, and seem to want to maintain as much of the prior status quo as possible—preferably by seeing Wonkru’s prisoner Russell Lightbourne, so he can assure them that everything’s OK. The Children of Gabriel are thisclose to their sweet, sweet revenge; they just need Russell to be handed over so he can finally die for his crimes. And the Eligius IV convicts just want to squat in some fancy new digs.

The 100 season 7 premiere From the Ashes Sanctum anomaly Russell Lightbourne Clarke Abby

Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW

Clarke won’t give Russell up, because just this once she would love to found a society not based on the principle of an eye for an eye. But right as tensions look like they’re going to explode into an all-out riot, Murphy and Emori step in to calm Sanctum’s loyal followers by pretending to be Prime siblings (hah) Daniel and Kaylee. Even though the Children of Gabriel aren’t fooled for a second, it helps soothe things long enough to get Russell transferred to the palace. This plotline seems more like a stop-gap than anything else; I find it hard to believe that anyone will really go along with the Primes’ mythology anymore. Murphy obtained the Daniel and Kaylee personas last season as insurance that he and Emori would get to live forever, beyond the Wonkru/Sanctum clash. Now he’s suffering the consequences, namely Abby’s death, and immortality is pretty useless to him.

At any rate, Russell seems pretty ungrateful for Murphy’s help, as he ironically has a death wish. In some truly despicable moves, he taunts Clarke to kill him by handing over Abby’s last change of clothes and Clarke’s father’s wedding ring on a chain. It’s not even that Russell seems to have remorse for how he tricked Wonkru into perpetuating the Primes; he’s acting more out of nihilism, having lost Simone and Josephine forever and deciding that he no longer wants to go on.

Which is why it’s so satisfying when Clarke finally decks him.

 

The Flame and Sheidheda

The 100 season 7 premiere From the Ashes Sanctum anomaly Russell Lightbourne Clarke Abby

Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW

But before we return to Clarke giving Russell a well-deserved ass-whooping, we have to talk about the Flame. Clarke removed the device from Madi’s brain when Sheidheda seemed ready to kill her, before his consciousness disappeared into some system. But even though Madi recovered, they’re not ready to tell the rest of Wonkru that they don’t technically have a Heda anymore. I’m unclear on whether the Flame is permanently damaged and they’re worried that choosing a new Heda will just provide Sheidheda with a new host, or if they want to move beyond the notion of Hedas forever.

While this seems like a secondary plotline to both the mystery of the anomaly and the mess of Sanctum, it’s the Grounders’ last enduring piece of culture. I hope that the series will examine what the Flame means and how it might continue to evolve—not in the way of the Primes’ Mind Drives, but into some other form of immortality.

For now, we find out where Sheidheda went: into Russell Lightbourne’s Mind Drive! When Clarke gives him a good pistol whipping, it seems to knock something loose in his head; we’re transported to the same table where Sheidheda appeared to Madi and then proceeded to take over her control. This time, Russell doesn’t stand a chance; Sheidheda metaphorically slits his throat and takes over.

The 100 season 7 premiere From the Ashes Sanctum anomaly Russell Lightbourne Clarke Abby

Screenshot: The CW

Sigh. Try as they might, this series cannot make Sheidheda happen for me. I’m still salty about the fact that last season they played up this idea that Madi would be visited by the spirits of past commanders, and then instead of any of the incredibly memorable Grounders, we got this entirely new character who is just too cheesy. I am still intrigued by what it will mean for Sheidheda to have taken over Russell’s body, and how that might affect his allies versus his detractors… especially because Clarke finally gives in to her grief and need for revenge and announces that Russell Lightbourne will die for his sins. Too little too late?

 

Other Thoughts

  • I’m hoping this episode’s hallucinations sets the precedent for lots of visions of The 100’s many dearly departed characters.
  • I need a GIF of Indra drinking her tea out of a normal-looking cup.
  • After watching the extended trailer and seeing WORMHOLES, all I can wonder is: Are we gonna go full Avengers: Endgame for the end of the series?

 

What did you think of The 100 final season premiere? How do you think the series will end?

Natalie Zutter can’t help but hold out hope for a Lexa cameo to kick Sheidheda’s ass. Make your guesses about how The 100 will end (the wilder, the better) with her on Twitter!

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