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‘The 100’ Review: ‘Ashes To Ashes’

The 100 -- "Ashes to Ashes" -- Image Number: HU611b_0113r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Bob Morley as Bellamy and Eliza Taylor as Clarke -- Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Did you guys catch all those great directional shots in this week’s episode of The 100? Did you? Well, you should have because they were filmed by none other than Bellamy Blake himself, Bob Morley. But if you’re reading this than you probably already knew that. Congratulations on a job well done, Mr. Morley. I am, in fact, impressed. A few shots in particular stand out- Russell standing formidable and intimidating before Echo, the zoom in on Murphy’s face when he realizes Emori could be killed, Gaia and Miller being the ones revealed to the “guards” Ryker was calling for. So well done.

Anyway, let’s go ahead and get started on this weeks review of The 100.  As per usual, it’s split up between the things I loved, the ‘meh’ things, and the things I didn’t like, with a special section for honorable mentions and theories.

[This review contains spoilers for the “Ashes To Ashes” episode of The 100.] 

The 100 Review: “Ashes To Ashes”
Season 6, Episode 11 | Airdate: July 23, 2019
Directed by: Bob Morley | Written by: Drew Charmaine Degrate

Things I Loved

Jordan Is Alive: This was literally a blink and you miss it moment but when Russell is talking to a tied up Echo he tells her that because he tried to protect Priya from Madi he showed loyalty and Priya has personally been seeing to his recovery. Bless. Can the audience see to his recovery now too because it’s been a few weeks and we miss him.

Russell’s Plan Is Actually Kinda Genius?: Sure, first reactions to Russell telling Echo that they’re testing the nightblood on her and if it works then she’ll have the honor of being the next Simone is squicky (seriously, have all of these people just been scooping them out like, “Yeah, you can be in my family tree next.” Ew?) but after further reflection, it’s actually the smartest move he could possibly have made. Say the nightblood solution fails and ends up killing Echo then oh well, because it’s not like it’s one of his own people. On the other hand if it works, then not only does he get Simone back but there’s also a lowered chance of the Arkadians squaring up to kill her since they probably wouldn’t want to hurt the body of their friend. This doesn’t protect Russell himself, obviously, but say he made all of the people he’s got as hostages into hosts and actually manages to resurrect all of the other Primes before Bellamy, Clarke, and Octavia got back then they’d be at a loss as to what to do-however temporarily.

Miller and Gaia: This is the brOtp I was never aware that I wanted. It’s easy to forget that both Miller and Gaia were in the bunker and right hand man’s to Bloodreina and her reign of terror. Yet, they were and it would appear that they bonded over that in some ways. In a touching moment, Miller asks his friend if she ever considered disobeying Bloodreina so that she could transcend, expressing in his own way the guilt he still harbors from their time below the ground. Gaia cups his face in his hands and tells him sincerely, “Mistakes are allowed. Not learning from them is not.”

This seems to have struck a chord in Miller because the next thing you know he’s blatantly provoking the Sanctum guards who have come to bring them food-and again, can I just say how funny it is that they’re still so concerned with niceties, even to their prisoners? It’s actually nice to see-so that he can get close enough to not only distract them but also swipe a knife. Realizing what he’s done, Gaia tells him to hide the blade and she’ll call the guards back so that they can escape but Miller says no. He wants to use the metal twine surrounding the handle of the knife to pick the lock on the roof so they can escape that way. It would seem as though Miller has had enough of killing when he doesn’t have to and if there’s a peaceful alternative, he’s going to do better. That’s how he’s going to learn from his mistakes.

“You’re my sister. But you’re not my responsibility. Not anymore.”: I’m….so proud? Is this finally the beginning of what can turn the Blake siblings in to an actual functional family unit and not a toxic, co-dependent mess? Listen. Bellamy loves Octavia, it’s probably the defining fact of his life. But he has always taken on an unhealthy amount of responsibility for her, her actions, her behavior, and more than that, he’s excused them. Octavia has had more than her fair share of trauma, I will give you that, but blaming her brother for every single thing that’s gone wrong in her life is not fair to either of them. It’s hindered them both. So, yeah. I’m happy that he’s not immediately buying in to her sudden change of behavior.

There’s been so much damage done in this relationship that it’s not going to be-and it shouldn’t be-resolved in an episode or two. It’s going to be a tough road but the end result might actually be two siblings, on even footing, who love and respect each other, without the underlying bitterness and resentment.

That being said it still wasn’t fair of Octavia to say that Bellamy has always been her compass and without him there to guide her she messed up. Sure, it’s taking responsibility for her own actions but it’s also placing an unfair amount of guilt on to Bellamy. But like I said: Maybe she will grow from using her brother as a crutch or a scapegoat and the two will eventually be able to move on to something better than they ever had before. (Also, shout out two Gabriel who made the joke that it was too bad that they gave the siblings the anti-toxin because if anybody needed a drugged out heart to heart it was them. That was just funny.)

Bellamy, Clarke, Gabriel, and Octavia: The A Story of the episode and if I may say so, my personal favorite. There was a lot of plot movement with these four and it has my excited for the final two episodes, which as we all know, are always incredibly intense. While not as emotionally intense as last weeks episode these four still managed to deliver some charged moments together:  Clarke trying to absolve Bellamy’s guilt for leaving everyone behind to save her, Bellamy snapping at Octavia that he didn’t need advice from the queen of the cannibals, Clarke and Gabriel hatching a plan to save the innocent people inside of Sanctum, and coming to a head when the Children of Gabriel tracked them down and held them at gun-point.

Gabriel finally reveals himself to his people as not Xavier but as the old man they’ve all been waiting to return to them. This is particularly hard on Xavier’s sister Layla who has been interacting with who she thought was her brother for the last ten years but was actually Gabriel. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine finding out that one of my sisters wasn’t actually my sister but instead someone I had built an entire religion around and they’d been lying to me for a decade. My brain really can’t wrap around that one.

Upon finding out that Gabriel is alive and well, Layla pleads with the other Children to allow her to kill him since he was a Prime and a traitor. Thinking on his feet-or rather his knees since he was still being held at gunpoint-Bellamy devices a plan: use a red sun toxin bomb to create chaos in Sanctum allowing the COD to enter and kill the Primes and Bellamy, Clarke, and O to save their people. It’s a good plan and one the COD is going to allow them to do…but only if Gabriel kills his ‘long lost friend’, Josephine. They don’t know that Josie is dead and they don’t believe Gabriel, Bellamy, or Clarke herself when they tell them she is. Alas, the COG back-off when Gabriel says that if they hurt one little blonde hair on Clarke’s head then he won’t help them and they’re screwed. The COG agree to let Bellamy and Octavia gather the plants needed to make the toxin and Clarke and Gabriel stay behind to prep the bomb and devise another plan because neither of them are big fans of the one that Bellamy came up with. We love a planning, scheming, think quick, foursome.

It’s also important to point out that Bellamy was emotional this entire episode wanting to basically destroy Sanctum before Sanctum could destroy any more people he loves. He had already almost lost Clarke, he wasn’t willing to risk anyone else and he certainly wasn’t on board with her plan to impersonate Josephine, like he had a choice in the matter. But both Clarke and Octavia, arguably the two most important women in his life to him, were both able to talk him down from his, “Screw everyone else, it’s our people, the rest can rot.” plan and in to the saner and more empathetic, “Save the innocents because they haven’t done anything wrong and this is how we do better.” plan. It’s an opportunity for Octavia to show that she’s really changed or at least is trying to and for Bellamy to witness that. And with Clarke’s plan to play Josephine she parallels what Ryker asked Echo earlier in the episode, “If you could save a lot of people by sacrificing just one, would you do it?” And for Clarke it was a resounding yes.

Admittedly, there were some moments there where the audience questions if Clarke is really Clarke or if she’s actually Josephine pretending to be Clarke again-hair twirl, anyone?-but we can all heave a sigh of relief that Clarke does actually appear to be Clarke, just with some Josephine quirks. For now, at least. Guess that’s what happens when you spend a few days with your mind melting in to someone else’s.

 The Sanctum guards create a distraction for the COG and they leave Layla in charge of watching over our favorite foursome who are bound and gagged. When gunfire erupts she goes to investigate allowing Murphy and Jade to sneak in and untie who they think is Josephine while Clarke plays along. At this time, it’s still not 100% clear if Clarke is who we think she is, especially when she slips so easily in to the Josephine persona.  When Jade is about to shoot Layla, Clarke takes the gun and says that that kill is hers and sends Jade and Murphy to get a head start to their escape and as she points the gun to the floor and pulls the trigger we knew for sure that Clarke was back. She rushes to Bellamy, unties him, removes his gag-awww, 3×02 flashbacks-and agree to meet back up in Sanctum as soon as she lowers the radiation shields. Layla herself realizes that Clarke is in fact, not Josephine, and her proud ~platonic~ husband lets out a, “And thank God for that.” Not really, but he does say quite forcefully that, no, she’s not.

Next we have Clarke, Murphy, and Jade returning to Sanctum and “Josephine” reuniting with her father. He was so relieved to see her that he didn’t seem to push too hard on the details on how she managed to kill off Clarke but that’s okay because she offered up the details to him anyway. It is funny that when she asks where her mom is, Russell says that he was just on his way to resurrect her but that it could wait since Josephine was back. Priorities, my man. Maybe if you had gone to get your wife back sooner you’d have realized that your nightblood was missing and another one your Primes was dead. But that’s what next episode is for, I’m sure.

Russell leads Clarke in to the medical lab where they’ve been drilling Madi for bone-marrow to harvest more bone marrow. She wasn’t kidding when she referenced Mount Weather before, was she? She sees Madi and while there’s an extremely brief flicker of horror, she slips back in to Josephine quickly and passes what I can only assume was a test from Russell. She asks him how many times they can drill Madi before she dies before scoffing that it doesn’t matter, that she wants her mind-drive back because being mortal sucks. Once again, Clarke is going to have a piece of tech shoved in to her head and honestly, kill it with fire, but whatever. I’m sure there’s going to be a relevant reason in the next two episodes that will somehow save the day.

Now, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least touch on the cuteness of Bellamy and Clarke in this section. As I said before, while their scenes weren’t as emotionally charged as last weeks, they were still pretty adorable. There’s a casual intimacy to their interactions now that was never there before. Holding hands, stroking wrists, hands on shoulders/arms when speaking. It’s almost like almost losing each other for the 232552 time has made them particularly tactile and I don’t hate it. I can see how wanting a physical reminder that, “Yes, you’re here/I’m here, you’re real/I’m real.” can transform itself in to wanting to be in consistent contact with someone you almost lost for good. Let’s hope it continues because my eyeballs are a fan. Also, the heart-eyes they consistently give each other are even stronger than the ones I give them and that is a feat.

The Meh Things

Madi and Sheidheda: These scenes didn’t really go with the plot of the overall episode and really wouldn’t have made much of a difference if they had ended up on the editing room floor. I feel it would have fit better in maybe the next episode depending on how that one goes. Not to say it didn’t have its subtle moments that we should pick up on, such as the chess board they’re playing with. Madi is playing with the dark pieces while the dark commander is playing with the white pieces because they are, in fact, toying with each other.

Also, “I want you to rule this world like I did the last.” Um. How about no? Because she may be a demon child right now thanks to your Palpatine influence but we do still love Madi and want her back to normal and you were murdered so how about can we not?

Also x2, Jackson, use your brain. You’re a doctor for forks sake, I know you have one. You know she’s possessed, you know she’s trying to get out of giving bone-marrow, why did you even untie her, you goon?! It’s like these characters don’t even think sometimes, I swear to God.

Things I Didn’t Like

Echo’s Backstory…But Not For Why You’re Thinking: If I’m being perfectly honest, if it wasn’t for this one little (big) thing that is bothering me, this moment would have probably ended up in the “Meh” section with the possibility of it being bumped up to “loved.” Because while the moment didn’t truly add anything to this episode there was foreshadowing that it could lead to something pretty interesting in the next two episodes which I’m actually looking forward to.

That being said: I am not here for the torture porn of children.  I didn’t like it when Charlotte killed Wells in season one, I definitely didn’t like it when Madi was killing Primes just a few episodes ago, and you know what? I don’t like it now.

 It’s arguable that this show has always been about children fighting/murdering for survival, but guess what? With the exception of Charlotte these have been people in their late teens/early twenties and it’s much more watchable than literal children killing people/each other. This is not an example of “Good television should make you uncomfortable.” it’s an example of making me want to vomit. It goes so far beyond being “uncomfortable” that it’s ridiculous. Let’s leave the killing to the older ones, okay? I really could have gone without seeing blood dripping in to the mouth of Ash from her first kill which was another child.

Moving on. After pleading with Ryker to let her go after he discovers that the nightblood solution actually worked, she tells him how, in a way, she’s been wiped before. She was originally named Ash-likely not even her real name, actually, probably a name bestowed upon her by Nia after burning down her home-and became Echo after the childhood friend she was forced to kill. (Bleh.) Ryker has finally gained a brain and realized that a peaceful resolution is not going to come from telling the Sanctum residents the truth about the Primes like he originally thought it would. He goes to inject the paralytic in to her-which, Echo points out is a loyalty test from Russell-but she’s squirming too much to let actually be able to do it. He opens the door to request the guards assistance but they can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because they’re…well, they’re probably knocked out because I’m firmly on the train that Miller doesn’t really want to kill people right now. It’s Miller and Gaia to the rescue!

Gaia goes to untie Echo and notices the nightblood dripping from her wrists and stares in wonder. Another instance of ‘Use your brain’ because you know they were planning on making more night-blood so the next logical conclusion is that they made her in to a nightblood so please don’t get all starstruck and weird and start worshipping her too, okay? Just don’t.

Upon being released from her restraints Gaia immediately stabs Ryker in the stomach and direct quotes Nia, “Hesitation is death.” An obvious switch has been flipped in Echo with this line. Was it rehashing her past and dragging up old wounds? Was it killing someone again? Has she slipped back in to her “spy mind” that everyone has been accusing her of being all season? And is the switch permanent? Time will tell.

RIP Ryker. I had higher hopes for you than what you delivered.

Miller and the Commander Talk: Okay, I know I’ve mentioned this so many times in my reviews throughout this season but I don’t even care. I’ll keep bringing it up until it either starts making sense or until they stop doing this crap. The people who grew up on the Ark should not be buying in to the Commander culture. They know it’s tech. There was an entire storyline around it in both seasons three and four. Enough is enough. If I see one more Arkadian acting like Madi is making perfect sense because of a chip in her damn head AND KNOWING THAT SHE’S BEING CONTROLLED BY AN EVIL ONE, I’m going to be the one to burn Sanctum to the ground. Insert angry huffing emoji here, tbh.

Diyoza Is NOT Dead: That’s it. That’s the entire section. I will fight everyone.

Honorable Mentions

Red Sun Toxin Effects: We learn from Gabriel that Simone and Josephine were interested in a particular reaction of the citizens of Sanctum during the eclipses. There was a recurring theme of the devout killing the less devout. “Believers killing non-believers.” I’m not sure if this is going to make a comeback but it’s interesting regardless.

Demons: The concept of demons was brought up twice this episode. First, Gaia says that Madi is being controlled by a demon aka Sheidheda and second, Gabriel says that being burned at the stake is what you do to demons. Will the two play in to each other? I’m not sure, but I noticed it immediately which makes me think it’s going to relevant later.

The Children of Gabriel: Here’s the thing. “Gabriel” has been missing for ten years. They thought he had abandoned them. However, they’ve been referencing him as the “old man” for so long that shouldn’t they have just assumed that he died? More than that, they worship this man. Was there plan always to just let him die? Or was it always to resurrect him so that they could continue to worship him and go to him for guidance in their cause? And if that was their plan, then wouldn’t it be similar to how Russell and Simone have people willing to “become one with the Primes?” Further, do the COD even know the full truth of the Primes and what it does? I have a lot of questions about this particular storyline.

Theories

Man. I really don’t have a lot. I have more questions than anything but I’ll take a stab in the dark and see if anything sticks.

  • Echo becoming a nightblood was not for nothing. It’s always for something on this show. They made a super big deal of the shield this episode so it might be tied to that or hell, she might get the flame put in to her head for all I know.
  • Russell will find out Josephine is dead super quick.
  • Bellamy and Octavia will work together to help their friends in Sanctum
  • Next episode is “the naming day that changes Sanctum forever” which may or may not be Gabriel telling the truth to the Sanctum residents.

That’s it for now! What were your thoughts? There’s only two episodes left, where do you think the season is going? As always, feel free to sound off below or to come scream at us on twitter @TVSource.

Watch The 100 Tuesdays on The CW at 9/8c.

About the author

Heather Mason

Heather Mason joined the TV Source Magazine team in December 2017 with plans to cover The CW's 100.