By Dalene Rovenstine
July 01, 2020 at 09:00 PM EDT
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S7 E7

“Home” is a relative term on The 100. Most of these characters have never really had one: They’ve lived on rings in the sky, bunkers under the ground, or bounced around between the two. Home to them is the people they love; they find identity, comfort, and acceptance in their clan. That’s why it’s so difficult for Emori and Nelson to trust people. That’s why Diyoza and Hope cling to each other so tightly. That’s why Echo may never love anyone again. In “The Queen’s Gambit,” these tensions in relationships and struggles of self-worth are on display across the planets.

Sanctum

Indra has gone looking for Clarke, Gaia, and all the others who are missing, so she put Emori and Murphy in charge. (Do I believe Indra would really do this? No, but episode budgets are a very real thing.) Murphy’s big role for the day is giving Sheidheda breakfast as no one else is allowed in there.

Emori, on the other hand, has big plans: She’s hosting a Unification Ceremony. She’s collected the Nulls’ DNA and is reuniting them with their families. Apparently, this was one of OG Kaylee Prime’s plans, so no one should be the wiser that this is actually a deeply personal endeavor for her. If you’ll recall, Emori was also considered a “null,” or a “frikdreina” as the Grounders referred to people with deformities, and was tossed out as a child. She relays all this to Nelson, who is refusing to join the ceremony. Although Emori would jump at the chance to reconnect with the family that abandoned her, Nelson isn’t feeling the reunion vibes. “They can burn for all I care,” he tells her. Not to be deterred, Emori swipes his drinking glass from the tavern like she’s Olivia Benson and passes it off to Jackson, who's doing all the DNA testing.

Jackson is also playing psychiatrist this episode as he talks Madi through her panic attack. Her whole life, she’d been hidden away to avoid being forced into the conclave for Commander. So, when Bellamy told her she had to become the Wonrku leader to save Clarke, she was terrified. Indra doing that again brought it all back, but she’s talking it through with Jackson and finally getting to play soccer for the first time in her life. Probably the most important part of that exchange was seeing Madi’s drawings, which look a lot like an Anomaly Stone opening up. She says she’s drawing people and things she’s never seen. Could Madi be the real key??

But back to the main action: When Murphy gives the Dark Commander his breakfast, he unwittingly delivers a note (baked into a cookie — c’mon, Murphy!) that says, “Unification Ceremony Today.” Sheidheda is getting intel from someone on the outside, and now he just has to keep Murphy there, which he does by challenging him to a game of chess. Murphy knows something bad is about to happen, but Sheidheda says if he plays and wins, he can be a hero. If he loses, people will die. Good thing Murphy knows how to play chess!

Murphy is trying to keep his head down and play this game, but Sheidheda wants to taunt him and talk about power and being a survivor and yada yada yada. He even says that Murphy should be a god who has numerous women, not just a “frikdreina.” Murphy says the Dark Commander just hates women because his mother gave him up to fight in the conclave, and then Lexa became everyone’s favorite Commander after him. (You love to see a good Lexa reference!) And that’s when the Dark Commander says that a real survivor would get on his good side on the off chance he gets out and reclaims the throne. Y’all, JR Bourne plays evil so well!

Over at the Unification Ceremony, Nelson’s parents, who Emori tracked down, have shown up. His father isn’t too sure about this, though, and wants Daniel Prime’s blessing. “Kaylee” assures him he’ll be there soon. Cut to Murphy, still playing chess. The game is taking forever, and Murphy is just catching on that Sheidheda is ­purposefully dragging it out. Sheidheda says that Kaylee is too soft and the ceremony will fail without Daniel. Then he grabs Murphy and holds a sharp chess piece to this throat.

Just then, Nelson walks into the ceremony and Emori introduces him to his parents. Things seem to be going well at first. His mother cries, hugs him, and tells him they had named him Sachin, which means “pure.” His father holds back. Nelson tries to hug him, but he shouts out, “No, we did the right thing! You’re an abomination — all of you are!” And then he starts to choke him, so Nelson pulls out a knife and stabs his father to death. Then Nikki and the rest of the prisoners enter the room with guns and arm the Children of Gabriel.

Sheidheda lets Murphy go, and Nikki lets Emori get away as well. They’re alive now, but things are definitely not looking good for the Primes. With the Children of Gabriel and the prisoners aligned, it would just take one little revelation from the Dark Commander for Wonkru to fall in line as well. This is why Indra should never leave.

Bardo

After his betrayal, Gabriel awakes in a cell before guards drag him out and take him back to the Anomaly Stone. Anders is there and knows all about Gabriel’s work and research on the Sanctum stone. He explains that the Shepherd teaches them that “winning the final war brings about the final evolution of the species.” And they’ll find “transcendence through the stone.” The Disciples' leader wants Gabriel to join the cipher team to help them understand how to unlock it. Instead of being like, “No way, you’re nuts!” Gabriel agrees. I think one too many Mind Drive swaps may have fried his common sense.

Echo and Octavia are put into a cell together, and we’re treated to an Echo memory: The first time she and Bellamy kissed on the Ring! Bellamy is being classic Bellamy, telling Echo that he forgives her for the things she’s done in the past and that they’re a team now. Then he kisses her. It’s a sweet memory that gives us a bit more insight into their relationship, which was (let’s be honest) thrust upon us initially.

But forget that touching moment: We’re ripped back into the present, where Echo is deeply grieving Bellamy’s loss. And Zen, wise Octavia is there to take up her brother's mantle. She tells Octavia that they’ve all made mistakes in times of grief, but Bellamy’s death isn’t her fault. And she forces a hug on her before saying, “You’re my family, too.” Echo is sobbing. I’m sobbing. It’s a whole thing.

Next door, Hope and Diyoza are having their own family reunion. Hope is trying to bang down the door and come up with a battle plan while Diyoza is content to sit back and watch her struggle. She asks if Echo taught her to fight, to which Hope says, “No my father did that…Dev.” She explains that he showed up six months after Diyoza and Octavia left, and she did everything she could to get back to them. Diyoza tells her daughter that it wasn’t her responsibility to rescue her; it’s the other way around. “You’re just mad because I turned out to be a killer like you,” Hope says.

And that’s when Diyoza wants to know what Gabriel told her: Diyoza hears her daughter describe her life and her mistakes…like mass murder. As a mother, she only wanted Hope to see her as her mommy — not a killer. And she definitely doesn’t want Hope following in her footsteps. “Doing the right thing the wrong way isn’t the right thing,” she tells her. But Hope isn’t hearing it. She says she trained for 15 years under two different Disciples just to save her mother. She wants to take on an entire army to get them all out of there now.

Diyoza wants to see her fighting skills: If Hope can beat her, she’ll help her. But, of course, Hope can’t…Diyoza grabs her and tells her she has to stop fighting with revenge. Hope starts crying about how she lost her mother all those years ago. “All I want to do is go back to the way things were, but we can’t,” she says.

Next door, Octavia is reading a book while Echo is being very…Grounder. She cuts scars around her eyes, telling Octavia that Azgeda warriors do this to “symbolize the pain is over, the wound is healed.” Echo understands that the Disciples only care about the war — which means they’re all recruits, not prisoners. She yells out that they’re ready to fight. The door opens. And then Diyoza and Hope’s doors open, too. Anders says their training starts tomorrow. I do not know about Anders or this war, but I am all about this badass female army they’re building.

Back at the Anomaly Stone, Gabriel and his cipher crew are working. It’s been three months. A man on the team says the last discovery they had on the stone (when they discovered the 10-digit code that allows them to power the anomaly) happened before he was even born. Just then, they get an alert that someone is coming through from Nakara: Enter Clarke and her team (with guns, obviously). Gabriel tells her that they’ve been waiting on them. He then tells her that Echo and Octavia are there, but that Bellamy is dead. The look on her face when she learns this will haunt me all week… it’s a brief moment, but it’s brutal.

And then the episode ends with Anders: He heads to level 13, where he puts his hand on a Second Dawn triangle symbol and says, “From the ashes, through the bridge, the Shepherd will rise.” If you remember, there were 12 levels in Second Dawn before the First Apocalypse. So is level 13 only for the Shepherd? As Anders lifts the enclosure, you can just make out that it says “William Cadogan” underneath the triangle. You know, the leader of the doomsday cult who also burned Becca, the mother of the First Apocalypse, at the stake. Inside the cryo chamber is ‘ol Bill himself, who Anders calls “Shepherd.” Bill assumes he’s being woken up because they’ve “cracked the code and the war has begun.” Anders says no, but they’ve found the key: Clarke.

What in Nakara is going on? Bill’s presence on Bardo proves that there was an Anomaly Stone on Earth (could it have been in Blodreina’s Bunker all along?) — or it further validates my theory that this is Earth. Hear me out, “From the ashes, we will rise” later becomes a Grounder prayer that expanded to “Old life and new. From the Earth, we will grow. From the ashes, we will rise.” FROM THE EARTH, WE WILL GROW?? We know Bardo is underground… potentially very far underground, so far that neither the Mountain Men nor the Grounders knew they were there all along??

In any case, I’m completely stumped about what the final war could mean and how Clarke could be the “key.” Thoughts and theories welcome below!

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Episode Recaps

The 100

After a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people who have been living in space return to Earth—and quickly learn they’re not alone.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 6
rating
genre
network
  • The CW

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