By Dalene Rovenstine
May 28, 2019 at 10:00 PM EDT
Sergei Bachlakov/The CW
S6 E5
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As Priya settles into Clarke’s body, Skaikru starts to realize what’s really going on in Sanctum.

In movies and TV, people who are immortal are often depicted as lonely. They’ve outlived their friends and family and even brief acquaintances. But in Sanctum, that’s not necessarily the case. As long as there are enough nightbloods, friends and family can live on alongside each other. The Primes love their immortality and are willing to take others’ lives for it.

Case in point: Josephine doesn’t spend a second feeling bad about taking over Clarke’s body. She has other things on her mind … like getting revenge on her best friend/murderer Kaylee, who pushed her off a cliff to her death. Kaylee says was trying to protect Sanctum; Josie repays her by slicing open her throat. Then she steps over her body and goes to take a shower.

Her parents check on her later to see how she’s adjusting to her new body—and the fact that she just killed her best friend. Nothing seems to faze her, though. She’s dancing to music and painting. Russell and Simone tell her she needs to keep her identity a secret. Not only do they want to avoid backlash from the space visitors, but they don’t want the other Primes to know that Josie skipped the line for resurrection. She says that if they ran her “breeding program,” there wouldn’t be such a long process. Her father reminds her that humans aren’t cattle and that consent is important. (Of course, he didn’t care too much about Clarke’s opinion when he decided to bring back his daughter.) To keep all of this quiet, the Lightbournes have placed Jade as Josie’s bodyguard and tasked her with finding out how many other hosts they could steal from Skaikru.

You’d think this would be a difficult task for her since she knows nothing about Clarke and her people, but it’s not… like at all. When Josie walks into the tavern, she seamlessly slips into convos with Clarke’s friends. Even when Gaia speaks to her in Trigedasleng, Josie figures out how to fake it. She then okays Madi going to school and tells Bellamy to “chill out.” She doesn’t really raise red flags with Clarke’s people. Although, she definitely should.

Jordan can be excused because 1) he technically just met her and 2) he’s too concerned with what happened with Delilah/Priya. She doesn’t seem to know Jordan or *gasp* what her own favorite flower is. The guys give him a hard time about caring so much about a one-night stand. Gaia, on the other hand, says this naming thing is part of their religion and they should all respect it.

Squirreled away in the medical library, Abby has no idea any of this is going on. She’s spent all her time trying to find a way to save Kane. Josie/Clarke spies on her for a little bit before walking in and talking to her “mother;” she deduces that at least Kane isn’t a nightblood. Abby tells her she’s read this book on eugenics. “You thought what we did in Becca’s lab was bad?” Abby asks. “That woman was a monster.” Little does she know, that woman is currently in her daughter’s body. And red flag alert: “Clarke” writes with her right hand. Abby just dismisses it, though, when Jossie shows her a bug that could help with Kane’s surgery.

Back at the tavern, Murphy and Bellamy realize Jordan is missing, and they know where he must have gone: the palace. They sneak out after him, but Josie sees and follows. And Gaia pops in, too. They all find themselves in a room full of skeletons, which is totally not creepy. Gaia notices the mark of the flame on all of the skulls and thinks they must be commanders. “Clarke” warns them that this is Sanctum’s holiest place and that they should get out. But then Jordan finds a secret door…

They are now in the room where it happens, so to speak. Jordan opens up their computer and finds a file that shows the first successful resurrection. After 25 years of trying on test subjects (a.k.a. children), Gabriel and her dad, Russell (the first version of Russell we saw, the one who killed almost everyone under the first red sun), have a teenager strapped to an operating chair. (Oh, and “Gabriel” is the original Hot Doctor! So many pieces falling into place.) The group watching realizes that these people aren’t creating “commanders;” this tech pre-dates the flame. They watch as this chip overwrites a young woman’s brain and Josie comes forth in her first resurrection.

Murphy is enamored by the fact that the people in Sanctum are immortal—something Josie picks up on—while Jordan says they’re murderers. Gaia says it’s worse than that because they manipulate people into thinking they’re giving their lives for a higher purpose. Bellamy asks Clarke what she thinks, and she says the people of Sanctum don’t pose a threat to them. He points out that they pose a big threat to her—and to Madi.

Josie relays all of this to her parents immediately. She’s ready to give up on being Clarke, but they tell her she needs to do it long enough so they can figure out how to revive all the Primes so it won’t matter that Josie went out of order.

Madi hears about this Sanctum revelation later and isn’t thrilled. She says by staying in Sanctum, they’re condoning this behavior. (Smart girl!) Murphy thinks there isn’t an alternative, but Bellamy says they just need to build another compound. And another red flag alert: Clarke says, “I agree with John.” They all give her side eye before Gaia says what they’re doing is a perversion of everything Bekka Pramheda stood for. Murphy says Becca wasn’t a god either, and Abby proved that when she turned Clarke into a nightblood. Obviously, Josie takes note of this.

Meanwhile, Priya walks into the tavern and Jordan publicly tries to shame her. Delilah’s mother tries to smooth things over, and Josie uses that public outcry as an opportunity to sneak out. Bellamy follows her and speaks to her in Trigedasleng. Josie is smart, though, and figures out he wants her to ditch her bodyguard, Jade. They duck into a private area, where Bellamy finally, finally, finally realizes something is wrong. But so does Josie. She injects Bellamy in the neck and says, “Josephine Lightbourne, nice to meet you,” before he passes out.

Meanwhile in the woods, Diyoza and Octavia are chasing after Xavier, who leads them right into a trap: this planet’s version of quicksand. He tells them not to fight or they’ll die faster. Of course, O fights like crazy and sinks down fast. Diyoza says she reminds her of herself when she was younger. She says that Xavier won’t let them die, that he’s watching from nearby. And he is … he says he just wants to know how many nightbloods there are in their group. But before they can give anything away, a temporal flare begins. Google doesn’t really help me explain what this is, but basically, there are orbs of light shooting down from the sky.

Xavier quickly pulls Diyoza out, but they can’t get Octavia in time. She goes under the quicksand just as the light hits where she is. It’s burned out the forest and turned her sand into … glass, maybe? Anyway, Diyoza rushes back, beats at the glass-like-stuff and is able to yank Octavia out. Only problem is O now has the hand of a 90-year-old woman. Things are not going great for the Blake siblings today.

Back in the medical library, Josie oversees Jackson and Abby having an argument about her new addiction: trying to save Kane. Abby says it’s not about replacing the pills, it’s about saving the one person who was good. He never gave in during the Dark Years and she thinks he deserves to live. Josie knows Abby is the key to Sanctum’s survival, but that’s not the person she needs right now. She needs Murphy.

When “Clarke” calls Murphy “John” for the second time and says pennies are something from her time, he puts two and two together. Someone else is in Clarke’s body. “Before you freak out,” she says to him while posing a single question. “How would you like to be immortal, too?”

“I’m listening,” says John Murphy.

Yikes. Josie’s secret clearly isn’t going to be kept a secret from everyone for too much longer, but just because people will know—what can they do, and whose side will they choose? Despite everything they’ve been through, I’d like to believe that most of them, Murphy included, would fight to get Clarke back… if they can.

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