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‘The 100’ Review: ‘Matryoshka’

The 100 -- "Matryoshka" -- Image Number: HU610b_0113b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Tattiawna Jones as Simone and JR Bourne as Russell VII -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

They almost had me, guys. It was so close. I thought that this episode was going to ruin our streak of “Oh good! The plot isn’t stalling at all, we’re steadily moving along!” After all, until the last few minutes Josephine and Clarke were still sharing a body and brain, floating the nightblood solution was useless since now they’re just making more, Madi is still being controlled by the dark commander and acting like a literal demon child, and they didn’t take out Russell which was the big plot of the episode. But, the last ten minutes or so did what I needed it to and pushed the plot forward. That’s really all I ask from these people.

Once again, there’s nothing I didn’t like about this episode but there were a few things I was ‘Meh’ about but also a lot of stuff I loved so let’s dive right on in!

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

The 100 Review: “Matryoshka”
Season 6, Episode 10 | Airdate: July 16, 2019
Directed by: Amanda Tapping | Written by: Drew Lindo

Things I Loved

*Madi’s Plot Finally Moving Forward: Like I said, up until the last few minutes there it seemed like nothing was going to move this particular story forward. But! After our Earthlings who remained in Sanctum were granted a reprieve from their death by fire Raven tells Gaia to go get Becca’s notebook out of the mechanic shop so that they can delete the dark commander from the Flame. Finally. Because, yes please? All I want to do is put that child in a time-out with her current behavior. She’s been killing folks and acting mouthy and I am beyond ready to have the non-evil Madi back. Speaking of killing folks, where’s Jordan? Is he still alive? Because I miss him and want him back. After all, if Murphy can survive a slicing of the femoral artery, Jordan can survive that stabbing. Right? Right?!

Priya: She’s a sass monster and I kinda love her? While the remaining Primes are enjoying  a nice tension filled lunch, Simone snaps at Ryker to stop his sanctimonious behavior, more or less. Now, Priya being a Prime gives her certain royal advantages but it’s not like she can actually snap off at the Queen of Sanctum. That would be like an empress telling a queen to fork off. But she did her best with what she given. In a sass attack she tells Simone, “We’re all upset with what happened, Simone. Hopefully next time, the two of you will involve us in your decisions before they spiral out of control.”

Despite his chickening out of letting Echo kill Russell and knocking her out instead, I stand by Ryker and Priya being the ones to attempt to right the wrongs of Simone and Russell. Obviously seeing Simone get killed triggered Ryker’s  sudden obligation to his ‘family’ but he still has his gut instinct telling him it’s wrong. Also, with Jordan risking his life to save Priya/Delilah she too can still be on the path of reversing the damage they’ve done. After all, we know that episode 6×12’s synopsis says that there’s another naming day and it’s changed forever. But more on that under theories.

Russell, Simone, and Grief: Listen. I was not happy to see Simone go. However, I did appreciate her being in white for symbolic reasons. Also, it’s fitting that the “head” version of Rimone (is this their ship name? Sussell? I don’t know, we’ll work on it) should die as Clarke comes back to hers through the help of her heart. It’s all a big parallel y’all. But more on that later. Before the Prime’s tragedy filled lunch occurs, Simone returns to Sanctum with Abby and Raven. She tells her husband that Kane killed himself wasting a mind-drive and that they also can’t create more nightblood because of it. He informs her that Miranda Prime is dead, killed by Madi, and Josephine is missing. What little composure Simone had left quickly left the building and in her rage, grief, and as a punishment to Abby she tells her that her daughter is dead.

Russell basically telling Simone that she was mean and that that was in poor taste was pretty funny. He’s still focused on basic niceties when he has a literal war and potential uprising on his hands. In his own way, he’s still trying to be a good guy. But what is good to these people? When Simone is berating Ryker she says that all of his previous hosts didn’t deserve to die but he suddenly has a problem with killing a criminal. But….why are they criminals for striking down the Primes when the Primes themselves have essentially struck down their hosts? I’m not saying that Madi was right to kill Miranda or Priya, but I am saying that the remaining Primes need to take a long look in the mirror before condemning others to being criminals. Maybe use that Tai Chi time they’re so fond of to do some serious self-reflecting.

At the beginning of the episode, Ryker lets Blythe Anne and Tai in on the secret of the Primes thanks to a little blackmail from Gaia and Echo. Because of this, overcome by his own grief at offering up his son at Josephine’s urging and later losing his wife to suicide via the offering grove being for nothing, Tai murders Simone all the while screaming “Death to Primes!”  This alone proves that the Primes fear of an uprising is a sound one. This is one man who lost loved ones, what about all of the others? Chances are they would all deflect to the COG mindset and want to take out those who have lied to them for centuries.

As Russell cradles a dying Simone to him he promises her that it’s not the end, that he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back. We see his own grief take-over when he decides to follow her initial wishes to kill everyone but Madi, his heart overuling his head once more. In his own way, he was living for her. He proves to be a man of his word because when Murphy, Abby, and Raven offer him a way to bring Simone back via making the nightblood via bone marrow, he lets his desire to keep his promise to his wife bring him back to sanity and lets them all go. Except poor grieving Tai. We hardly knew you bro but RIP.

Gabriel, Josephine, Bellarke, and The Blakes: The section you’ve all been waiting for and also probably the longest section because there’s so much to unpack here. You can fight me but these five characters are what made this episode as amazing as it was. Those are just the facts. Sorry, I don’t make the rules except it’s my review so I actually do.

Clarke finally has control over her body again and frankly, she’s not having such a hot time dealing with it. While driving the motorcycle towards Gabriel’s hideout Clarke’s vision goes blurry and she crashes the bike and the radio. Things are obviously not off to a good start. Before she can gather her bearings she and the leech inside her head (who I also adore, don’t get me wrong. But let’s call a spade a spade) hear motorcycles approaching. Josephine again tries to get Clarke to give her control of their body even offering to give Clarke her body back if she just allows her to return to Sanctum which Clarke doesn’t buy for a single second. Instead she tells Josephine that they don’t know that it’s the Sanctum guards because after all, they kinda suck, and is Josephine really willing to lose their head?

Josie leads Clarke to an underground bunker so they can hide out until whoever it is passes even bragging to her that her guards don’t suck since it was actually them. The two have a little girl talk about her relationship with Gabriel to which Clarke mentions that she hopes he loves Josephine enough to not wipe her mind-drive. Before they can go much further in the conversation Clarke begins seizing again, collapsing on the ground as the barriers between the two girls minds is g-o-n-e. Clarke wakes back up in her mind-space but here’s the thing. Josephine doesn’t have control either; they’re both trapped inside the brain they currently share and their memories are merging together. As the two take a stroll through their shared mindscape they see Josephine’s second host, Tai and his wife giving up their baby to her sixth host, David shooting himself in the head….again, and a bunch of other Josephine memories. Summoning a gun, Clarke tells Josephine they will either figure out a way to separate their minds or she can just shoot her now. When Josie smarts off and tells Clarke to go float herself, the idea comes to Clarke.

You all know I’ve been on the memory loss train for awhile now. I was sort of right, I guess. I’ll take that .28% win. Clarke begins floating out Josie’s memory books to buy them space in their brain and a little bit more time. Josie agrees to allow her to do this as long as she gets to pick the memories that go. The audience is treated to a sweet scene of Josie and Gabriel 2.0 slow dancing in her room after she brought him back. It’s clear even from this flashback that Gabriel never wanted this life. The question that remains is if he was willing to go so far to bring Josephine back why did he think she wouldn’t do that same for him?

Regardless, their brain starts melting down again so Clarke makes the executive decision to float everything that is coming in to her side of the mindscape. The audience again sees that Josie does have some control in the mindscape because just as Clarke was able to summon that gun she’s able to transform the memory book of her father killing her in to the machete in which he did it with. Kinda creepy but okay. Here’s where it gets confusing though. Clarke floats everything and the wall is back up between their minds. But Josephine was able to take control of their body once more. Why? I’m not entirely sure if I’m being perfectly honest.

Either way, Josie wakes up in Clarke’s body and she’s just about to be a goner due to those murderous vines crushing her to death when who should come knocking but Gabriel and Octavia? The two cut her loose and for a moment Octavia thinks she’s talking to Clarke when Josie locks eyes on Gabriel and breathes out his name. Octavia demands to know what happened to Clarke-something I’d still like to know the answer to-but we’re robbed of the answer when Josie greets her with a, “Bloodreina. Hi.”

The trio make their way above ground and Gabriel forces them down and tells them not to move otherwise the still lurking Sanctum guards will hear them. Josie promises him that she won’t let him die and calls for the guards to rescue her. She tells them to take Gabriel prisoner, kill Octavia, and take her home. Remember how she bragged to Clarke how her guards obviously didn’t suck? Well, obviously they do since Bellamy Bradbury Blake swooped in and saved the day. He managed to disarm a guard, put on their clothes, and join their search party for hours without them realizing who he was. They suck.

We also got to see the Blakes reuniting. Octavia was relieved to see her brother and ran to hug him to which she received a side-eye and a pat on the back. Don’t be too hard on Bellamy though. He doesn’t know that she’s on the path of redemption and has seemingly learned the lesson he told her he wanted her to earlier this season. Remember? He told her that until she realized that taking lives wasn’t something she should do like taking a shower and he couldn’t be around her until she figured that out then she needed to stay gone. And obviously last episode Pike drilled in that same lesson, “Taking someone’s life in cold blood, even someone you have reason to hate isn’t the answer.” She’s not redeemed but she’s trying and again, that’s all we can ask for as an audience.

Bellamy tells Jade to return to Sanctum and tell Russell that if he hurts any of his people then he’d never see Josephine again before running off to join Gabriel in saving Clarke. Here’s where things get so delicious I can barely stand it.

Josephine wants to spend the rest of her life with Gabriel. She tells him that she knows she’s done bad things even if she can’t remember them all and she knows he hates her for it to which he angstly refutes, stating that he could never hate her.  She even agrees that if he lets her keep Clarke’s body, she’ll grow old with him and take out the drives when it’s time for them to die. She just wants to be with him. In theory, she was remembering Bellamy’s oath to save Clarke no matter what the cost last episode and thought that she and Gabriel shared the same type of love. Gabriel however is too moral to sacrifice Clarke just so they can be together and happy.

“I’ve loved you for centuries. We had our time. I have to let you go now.”

He could not have been clearer than if he said, “We had our time, now it’s time for them to have theirs.” Seriously, it’s what the screen was screaming at me the entire time. He injects the “death serum” in to JoseClarke’s veins and their heart stops. Inside the mindspace we see Josephine’s door disappear as the mind-drive is removed. After Bellamy and Octavia stick a bandaid on Clarke’s neck, Gabriel injects Clarke with the medicine to re-start her heart only….nothing is happening. Why? Because Josie, sneaky little thing that she is, has imprinted on Clarke’s neural mesh and hasn’t left like she was supposed to. Does that mean that she’s not actually in the drive?  Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, she slits Clarke’s throat with the machete pick axe thing that her own father killed her with and says, “Sanctum is mine.” In her own weird way she was trying to protect Sanctum and her people from Clarke as her dying act.

We see in the mind-drive that everything is dark as Clarke is dying the only light coming from her metaphorically slit throat. We also see Josie’s evil little grin as they both hear Gabriel telling Octavia and Bellamy that he’s sorry but there’s nothing he can do since both minds are still alive inside of Clarke’s brain and it can no longer support the both of them.

“But once the head stops telling the heart to beat, it’s over, okay?”

Once again Bellamy proved himself to be the heart to Clarke’s head but in the most tangible way to date. She was locked inside her own head, her actual heart refusing to beat, so as her metaphorical one, he took over and did it for her. After all, one can’t live without the other. As he’s chanting “the head and the heart” and giving Clarke CPR, Octavia observes her brother and sees him falling apart. She tries to get through to him but he refuses to listen to reason because as I said last week: these two have a love that defies reason. Period. He was not going to lose her again, not after he just got her back, however briefly.

Finally, after begging and crying and demanding that she wake up and come back to him, he finally filter through. With a hard slam to her chest his voice filters in to her head as the mind-space lights up.

“You’re a fighter! Now get up and fight!”

It’s beautifully poetic that just a few episodes ago it was believing that Bellamy had given up on her that had Clarke accepting her own death and letting Josephine take over and in this episode it’s his voice that brings her back to life. Also in a moment of storyline tying beautifully together, remember how in 6×02 under the influence of the Red Sun, Bellamy told Clarke that he didn’t need her anymore? We knew it wasn’t true then but this episode really drove home just how untrue it was. It makes one wonder, if Clarke hadn’t killed Josephine in the mindspace and woken up, just how long would Bellamy have continued pumping her heart for her with his unwillingness to let her go? He said it himself in what was probably the most heartfelt, emotional, devastating line of the episode, “I’m not letting you go!”

It was also a nice touch to have Octavia first witness their embrace and then turn away from the intimacy of the moment to give them privacy for such an emotionally charged reunion. While Gabriel did not turn away, he was obviously in his own world mourning the loss of his own love while watching the pair: from the ashes we will rise, indeed.

I’ve said for awhile now that this season is the point of no return for Bellamy and Clarke and their relationship. Bellamy’s emotional responses to losing Clarke, getting her back, and almost losing her again just solidify that further. There is nothing familial or platonic about their reactions to one another or their desperate desire to make sure that they never leave the other one/the other one never leaves them. I don’t want to jinx it but I think the writers have finally settled on a path for these two and it’s the one where it was always organically and naturally leading. It seems they’re just finally trusting their own story. Can I swear that this season will end with Bellamy and Clarke’s lips touching for a reason that isn’t because they’re saving the others life? No, I can’t. But….this might just be the season we get confirmed romantic feelings coming from the pair themselves instead of everyone around them commenting on it instead. Again, no promises but it just feels right.

The Meh Things

Raven and Abby’s Lack Of Reaction To Clarke Being Dead: I have been waiting weeks, literal actual weeks, for them to realize that Clarke was gone and it just fell so flat. It’s possible that Abby is just all cried out from losing Kane but not one single tear for your daughter? I mean, sure, she slapped Murphy and that had some form of maternal rage in it but I just wanted and expected more. Meanwhile Raven has a look of shock and then jumps immediately in to trying to comfort Murphy. Once upon a time my Murven heart would have rejoiced in that but I’m just so sickened by both of their actions this season that I can’t even muster that up. Here’s hoping a more emotional pay off comes in the future but frankly, I’m not holding my breath.

Everything About Madi and the Way The Adults Around Her Are Reacting To Her Cray: Sure, she’s got a murderous psycho in her head but why is nobody stepping up and telling this child where to sit down at? Instead, when Gaia steps in to the room where everyone is being held captive Miller just says, “I thought you were banished.”


And? You think you have to listen to her? Sure she’s the “commander” but what exactly is she in charge of? Earth is gone. The coalition is gone. Wake up Wonkru and tell them that she’s being controlled by the dark commander and they won’t follow her either. Sure, death isn’t the immediate option, Gaia but this whole thing about listening to somebody who now has an obsolete piece of tech in her head is a little absurd given the circumstances, don’t you think? Basically, every single time they bend to her will and do what she says because “she’s the commander” it makes me want to scream, “GROW SOME BALLS AND PUT THAT GIRL IN TIME-OUT!” Though I will give credit where it’s due and say that the shot of a manically smiling Madi with Sheidheda basically wrapped around her like a scarf was appropriately creepy so kudos on that.


You know what kills me about this section? I try to remain as objective as possible so I’ll scream about certain theories in the dms but won’t put them in this section because they seem to “shippery.” Kinda like we predicted and discussed at length Bellamy’s voice bringing Clarke out of her mind-space back around episode three or four and that came to fruition but the stuff I put here like Ryker siding with the Arkadians or Clarke losing her memories comes true in a super roundabout or not quite right way. Oh well. At least I’ll always have Xavier actually being Gabriel under my belt.

  • During “the naming ceremony that changes everything” of 6×13, Ryker, Priya, and possibly Gabriel will tell the truth to the citizens of Sanctum and remove their mind-drives, thus giving their hosts back their original names.
  • Clarke will pretend to be Josephine to get in to Sanctum and back to her people.
  • The finale will be Bellamy, Clarke, Octavia, and a few others going in to the anomaly and the cliffhanger will be us not knowing what the hell happens to them until season seven. (I am also not convinced that season seven is why Eliza Taylor is now brunette.)
  • They will get the Flame out of Madi’s head and possibly destroy it? Working theory, check back on this one.
  • “By fire we purify Sanctum” seems ominous and a bit like foreshadowing. Will Sanctum be the next land that is burned to the ground?

That’s it for now! What did you guys think of the episode? Love it? Hate it? Didn’t want it to end? Sound off below or let us know on twitter @TVSource

Watch The 100 Tuesday’s at 9/8c on The CW!

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

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