By Dalene Rovenstine
July 15, 2020 at 09:35 PM EDT
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Colin Bentley/The CW
S7 E9
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  • The CW
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Remember last week when Clarke jumped to Bardo and found her three friends as Disciples for the Shepherd? I wondered how much time had passed since we first saw Octavia and the rest agree to be warriors. And in “The Flock,” we get a quick answer: three months. It’s been three months since they started their training, learned how the Disciples live, and potentially gave up all their personal attachments in support of the cause?? Seems unlikely, but here’s what we know:

From the beginning, Anders tells Octavia, Diyoza, Hope, and Echo that he wants to show them what’s really going on in this war-to-end-all-wars thing. He takes them in the elevator to the ground of Bardo and tells them to put on masks because the particulate matter in the air is lethal to humans and will calcify your insides. Yikes! When the doors open, they see an eerie wasteland with crystalized bodies all over the place. Octavia says that Bardoans were 10-foot aliens with superior technologies — and they’re supposed to fight whoever did this to them? Yes, Anders says. “I do love me an unwinnable war,” Diyoza replies.

So they begin their training, with Levitt as their head trainer. Diyoza is immediately suspicious since he sent them to the surface where they could have, you know, crystalized and died. He explains that you can live up there for an hour or two and he was trying to buy them time until he found out another plan. He’s been made their trainer because of how well he knows Octavia from her time in M-Cap. He clues them in to what they’re in for: lots of messing with their minds.

Anders comes in and brings four other trainees who will be their partners. He tells them to spar and the four women immediately drop all these people on the ground. Anders has them go again, one by one, and Levitt points out that these are already trained warriors. He thinks in order for them to get on board, that Anders should show them their way of life.

And he slowly does, but first, he wants to do things his way: with a fear simulation. We see Diyoza tied up back in the cabin while someone tries to kill a crying baby Hope. Anders swoops in to save the baby, but he says it’s not Diyoza’s baby. “She’s all of ours,” he explains. “She belongs to the cause.” And he takes the baby away. Diyoza wakes up in a simulation room screaming. Anders says she failed this test, just like O and Hope did. And then he throws out what’s on the line if they all fail: They’ll be sent to Penance one at a time to grow old and die alone.

So, they all give in to the process and get to learn about the Disciples’ way of life, starting with the conception of life. They see human babies growing in a lab. This way of birthing takes women’s health out of the equation and they can correct any birth defects before they’re born. (Sounds a little… master race to me??) Octavia asks why they don’t just raise up a huge army to fight their war, but Anders says they don’t have the resources. Diyoza asks what happens once the children are born. Simple! A team of people raises them so they won’t learn any selfish bonds that people learn in a normal upbringing.

Cut to the four of them observing an early childhood classroom where the kids are learning about the Shepherd’s journey. When one can’t answer a question properly, the teacher says it’s okay to be nervous, and that’s why they do training exercises. Anders himself guides them through this one: deep breaths and citing a prayer about the Shepherd. As the foursome walks out of the room, Hope is appalled at how they’re brainwashing the children, but Echo says these kids had it better than she ever did.

Back in their room, Echo says the Disciples are always watching and Hope needs to play along. She shouts back at her, but Octavia agrees: Hope needs to get her anger under control. Diyoza says all the Disciples want to see from them is single-minded devotion. If she can bury her feelings down, they can all get through.

Next, they get to start training with the suits and weapons. In the weapons room, Levitt explains what’s in the biohazard room: An isolated compound of the substance used to wipe out the original inhabitants of Bardo. The small amount they have could wipe out the whole planet again. They call it Gem 9, and I’m sure it won’t come up again!

Next up on the agenda is learning to shoot while blindfolded, you know, a totally normal thing to learn. Their partners are supposed to guide them on where to shoot. Before the exercise starts, Echo asks Anders if the weapons are lethal. He tells her no. So, while everyone else is trying to find their target, Echo shoots them and then hits her own target. Her partner is so confused he can barely tell her how to aim. “Following rules isn’t how you win a war,” she says, and Anders is unbelievably impressed with her control. Echo is either really good at faking being a loyal soldier… or she’s becoming a loyal soldier again. It’s hard to say.

After training that day, Levitt comes into O’s quarters to explain to her that the last part of training is coming soon and she has to pass — and to do so, she’ll have to keep her emotions under control. And you know who isn’t keeping their emotions under control? These two! They have a hot and steamy makeout, and I have to say I’m a fan of this for Octavia.

Hope has other things on her mind, namely revenge. She comes into Echo’s room with a flame thrower and says she has a plan. They will torch the oxygen farm and kill everyone on Bardo before leaping through the Anomaly Stone. Echo follows her to try to talk her out of it, but Hope tries to convince her to join her, saying this is revenge for what they did to Bellamy. Echo says they at least need to get O and Diyoza on board. Not willing to waste her shot, Hope goes out to the trees and is about to start flame-throwing. So, Echo throws a knife at her knee — and when that doesn’t stop her, she throws a knife in her throat. Echo wakes up in a simulation. It was the final challenge, and she passed.

So do Diyoza and Octavia, who also kill Hope in the simulation. But Hope can’t do it: In her simulation, she doesn’t kill her mother, and so she doesn’t make it through. As Anders gives the three women their level 2 tattoos, he tells Echo she fared best, so she’ll get to decide Hope’s fate. And Echo doesn’t flinch: “We have to break her spirit,” she says before sentencing her to five years on Penance.

Y’all, I hope that Echo has a plan because I did not just spend the past two seasons getting on board with her only to hate her again. And, also, I really just want to see three badass women take down Bardo from the inside all on their own.

So there’s all that, and then over at Sanctum, we have the Nikki and Nelson problem. They’ve taken over the Palace and are holding people hostage. Emori is trying to comfort Madi when Nelson drags her away. Nikki speaks into a loudspeaker to announce to all of Sanctum: Russell, Daniel Prime, and Raven Rayes have 20 minutes to show up or they’ll kill the hostages, starting with Kaylee Prime. Emori tries to yell out that Murphy shouldn’t do anything, but Nikki cuts her off. And Murphy won’t hear it anyway. He’s ready to go over and present himself, and that’s when Indra returns from her search to Gabriel’s camp. She says there was no one there except dead bodies she didn’t recognize. And since Raven was with the missing group, there’s no hope of getting her to the palace in time. Murphy says they only have one option: to get Sheidheda to go with him and buy some time.

Sheidheda gives in to this plan — as long as they give in to his demands. He wants 20 minutes a day outside and someone to play chess with. When Indra relents, he even offers them some advice (hello red flag!!). Thanks to being Russell’s body, he knows about a secret tunnel under the palace. Alyssa, his faithful servant, can take Indra and Wonkru through as Murphy and “Russell” present themselves.

“I feel like this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Sheidheda says in a not ominous way at all!

So, Russell and Murphy walk into the palace. They have to immediately explain that Raven is at the second compound, which Nikki isn’t buying. But Nelson gets to business: He wants them to tell the room who they really are and that there are no more Primes. Murphy spills the beans first, then Emori does. The room erupts in chaos, but Nikki only cares about Raven. She says she has one minute to show or she’ll shoot Emori. Then Sheidheda reveals that he also isn’t Russell Prime and things really get crazy. Murphy is trying to explain to Nikki that it was his idea to send in Hatch, not Raven’s, so that she won’t kill Emori — but Indra and Wonkru get in through the back door just in time.

Indra orders Wonkru to get everyone out of the room, except the Faithful. Her plan is to lock Sheidheda in the room with them, and she thinks that they’ll be angry enough at him for stealing a Prime’s body that they’ll kill him. Problem is he has Alyssa so wrapped around his finger that she brought him the keys to his shackles. Indra tells Wonkru to stand outside the door no matter what and she walks away. But Murphy stays and hears that lots of people are screaming inside, and not one of them is Sheidheda. He yells at the guards to open the door, but they won’t — until he says “Sheidheda is killing them.” And just then from inside, the Dark Commander bellows, “Open the door,” in Trigedasleng. The guards open the door and find him standing in a room full of bodies. He’s murdered them all, and the Grounders bow to him. Uh oh.

Indra, I know I said I was excited for you to lead, but NOT LIKE THIS. Hopefully, with her, Jackson, Madi, Murphy, and Emori all working together they can figure a way out of this because, with everyone else trapped on other planets or MIA entirely, there’s no help coming.

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