By Dalene Rovenstine
August 19, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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If there’s anyone worse than Bill Cadogan taking the test/fighting the last war to determine humanity, it’s Sheidheda. And it’s starting to feel like that’s a very real possibility. Don’t you love it when a season has two Big Bads and they finally meet? I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with what’s been going on in Sanctum…

Sheidheda is basically having a Game of Thrones wedding episode — but acting as if people have a choice in the matter. Well, I guess they do: kneel or die. Emori and Murphy kneel so they can live to see another day. The convicts from Eligius IV have no allegiances, so of course, they kneel as well. But Nelson — or as he goes by his given name now, Satchinn — swore an oath to never kneel to a false god. “I won’t kneel tonight or ever,” he tells the Dark Commander.

And just like that, Sheidheda grabs a machine gun and takes out all of the Children of Gabriel, except Satchin. He gives him one last chance to kneel. “Death is life,” Satchin says moments before he’s shot in the head. If you thought Sheidheda would take any time adjusting to life in command again, well, you were wrong.

His No. 2, Knight, comes in and says everyone has kneeled, but Sheidheda knows that’s not true. Madi and a few others are missing, including Gaia and Clarke. They do have Madi’s notebook, though, and Sheidheda says he recognizes the Anomaly Stone drawings from the Flame — which has me very concerned that he knows the code for the final war. Anyway, as they clean up bodies from the palace, Indra notices Madi’s friend Luca is actually still alive. She whispers for him to play dead and drags his body out with the others.

Indra takes Luca to the garage, where Murphy and Emori are staying. Sheidheda spared their lives so that they could care for the nuclear reactor there. What he doesn’t know is that they’re hiding a bunch of people in the reactor room, including now Luca. But Sheidheda isn’t fully trusting of Indra: He sent Nikki to follow her, and that’s how she ends up knocking on the door to the garage as soon as Indra leaves. Murphy opens the door and immediately gets a gun in his face. Nikki forces him to enter the code for the reactor room. Luckily, Emori has been watching this on the cameras downstairs and knocks her out as soon as they enter. Their secret is safe.

But it doesn’t last long. A moment’s rest would be too much to ask for! In the palace, Knight presents Sheidheda with some gifts: a throne made of skulls (cool, cool), the Anomaly Stone (uh-oh), and the fact that he had someone else follow Nikki to follow Indra. That’s how they know she’s gone missing at the garage. Sheidheda shows up there with his army. Murphy locks Emori and everyone else in the reactor room. Sheidheda is trying to make Murphy open the doors down there when Emori radios from down below. She tells him that if anything happens to John, they’ll blow the reactor. Knight thinks it’s a bluff, but as Murphy puts it: They’re dead either way. Sheidheda loves chess so much, he knows a stalemate when he sees it.

Speaking of really terrible men… over on Bardo, Bill Cadogan is furious that Clarke doesn’t have the key. He’s pissed at Gabriel for not ever revealing the truth, so he locks him up with all the others. But Bellamy, his new disciple, he sits down with to share a cup of broth (gross). Bill says very plainly that Bellamy’s friends will have to pay for their crimes. Bellamy thinks there is another way: They help find and repair the Flame so Bill can finally have his war. And not only that, but he can find out if his son Reese was killed by his daughter Caliope, a thing he thinks happened — which is super dark!! Anyway, Bill agrees: IF they find the flame and IF they can repair it and IF it contains the code to the last war, he’ll let them go.

Bellamy goes to Echo and Raven’s room first to tell them the good news. They are not pleased. Raven says she’s not even sure where the Flame went after she took it out of Madi — and even if she did know, she wouldn’t tell her former friend. Bellamy tells the guards to take her to the M-Cap to find out. “So much for family,” she spits at him as she leaves the room. Echo is less angry and more… completely distraught. She doesn’t believe this is the man she loved, the man she spent literally years fighting to get back to. She thinks that she spent all this time trying to get back to him and he spent his time forgetting them. He babbles stuff about “for all mankind,” and then leaves her to be super depressed about this new Bellamy. (Okay, maybe that’s me and not Echo.)

Bettina Strauss/The CW

In the next room over, Jordan asks Hope if she wants to talk about what’s happened. She says they’re not friends, so no. And he points out that neither of them really have friends: They both were raised alone and grew up hearing stories about these people they’re now with, who aren’t actually friends. Hope opens up a little, saying the only “friend” she ever had was Dev, and she let him die because she was too scared to kill. She vowed to never let that happen again, but then she wound up killing her own mom. (Oof, sometimes I forget how totally dark this show can be!) “She didn’t do it to save your life, Hope,” Jordan says. “She did it to save your soul.” It’s enough to make her weep and fall into his arms — and I’ll say it, I ship these two.

The last room of prisoners contains Clarke and Octavia. They’re reminiscing about how they’re kind of the same now: Clarke fighting for Madi; O fighting for Hope. But the girl time ends when Bellamy busts in with two guards. They are both furious that he told Cadogan about the Flame, and he tries to explain his experience on the mountain, but it doesn’t matter. He’s clearly drawn the line in the sand and they’re not going to his side.

“Today, I’m standing in front of my best friend, who I thought was dead, and I don’t even recognize him,” Clarke says. If it wounds Bellamy, it doesn’t show. He just keeps pushing to learn where the Flame is. “Go float yourself,” Clarke says right before Bellamy has the guards take her to M-Cap. (Remember the good ol’ days when things were as simple as fighting over rations from the Drop Ship??)

Never one to give up easy, Clarke is fighting the M-Cap with all her might. They can’t get the neural link to engage and she’s close to hemorrhaging. Cadogan says to stop it and instead he’ll send everyone to Penance. That’s enough for Clarke to break: She says she’ll take him to the Flame after all her friends are safe.

They all meet up in the Stone Room, where Cadogan sends through Miller, Jordan, Echo, Octavia, and Hope. Then he turns off the machine with Gabriel and Raven still there. See, he doesn’t trust Clarke. He didn’t actually send her friends back to Sanctum. Gabriel and Raven couldn’t go through because they know how to operate the stone, which leaves the others stranded wherever they are. Once Clarke gives him the key, he’ll free them. (Or so he says.)

And before you know it, the Anomaly Stone on Sanctum — newly relocated to the palace — opens up. Raven, Clarke, Gabriel, Bellamy, Bill Cadogan, and (I assume) The Man in White jump through.

“What the hell happened here?” Clarke asks as she takes off her helmet and sees an eye-patched Russell running an evil pack of Grounders and Indra while playing chess with Murphy.

“Gee, where to begin…” Murphy replies.

Sheidheda vs. Bill Cadogan is the matchup I’ve been waiting for all season. Who will win and determine the fate of humanity?? Hopefully neither of them! See you all back here in a couple of weeks!

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