‘The 100’ Review: “Etherea”

The 100 -- "Etherea" -- Image Number: HU710B_0011r.jpg -- Pictured: Bob Morley as Bellamy -- Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW -- 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Finally. Finally. Bellamy Blake is back on my screen and I have missed him so damn much. Sure, this episode once again focuses on world-building and Cadoganness and is all about a cult that I literally just do not care about but whatever. At least I have Bob Morley’s talent back in my eyeballs where it rightfully belongs.

That being said, as talented as Bob is and as much as I have missed Bellamy, the story still wasn’t really about him as much as it was about the plot point of getting him to turn into a Disciple. Frankly, the last five minutes is what truly saves the episode (and the aforementioned talent of one Bob Morley as Bellamy Bradbury Blake). Maybe it’s because we’re eleven episodes into the season and this is the first time that we’re actually seeing the main three together again, all in one place, everybody alive, at least for the time being. It feels like the season can finally start. Which is incredibly disappointing given the fact that there’s only five episodes left.

I can’t believe this is the final season of a show I once loved and now all I can think is, “God, I can’t wait for this to be over.” The amount of apathy or downright dread I’ve felt this season is truly astounding. I just want it over with so the chips will fall where they may and I can move on, hopefully with the good memories, leaving the bitter ones. But man, are there some bitter ones (for example, doing an Inside The 100 on a character centric episode while not mentioning the character or the actor even once. But hey! Congrats on your trip to Arizona, dude. Super interesting. Exactly what everyone watching wants to hear insights about). I’m not exactly the poster child for professionalism, but hey! I also don’t get paid to do this! Jason Rothenberg on the other hand…dude. Are you serious? You couldn’t even say the name Bellamy Blake? Just when I think that there is nothing that can surprise me, I’m proven wrong, yet again. And not in the good way. I literally don’t care what beef you guys have, I just don’t. When it effects the people actually watching your show, you know–the people you’re at least supposed to pretend to care about–, you fake it. It’s literally what everyone who has ever worked customer service can tell you. At least pretend for the sake of your audience. Not even saying the characters name….I just cannot get over that….

Ugh. Anyway, on to the episode!

[This review contains spoilers for the ‘Etherea’ episode of The 100.] 

The 100 Review: ‘Etherea’
Season 7, Episode 11 | Airdate: August 12th, 2020
Directed by:Aprill Winney | Written by: Jeff Vlaming

Things I Loved:

Bellamy Bradbury Blake: My sonnnnnnn! I’ve missed you! The snark, the genius, the ‘Bellamy Blake has never done anything wrong in his entire life’-ness of it all! Welcome back, love.

The episode starts off with Levitt throwing some serious attitude around MCAP before looking at the memories of this rando Disciple that was showing signs of PTSD after the explosion in the stone room that “killed” Bellamy. And the thing about this particular dude is that he had a different angle of the explosion than Octavia did so he was able to see (even though he didn’t process it) that Bellamy jumped through the anomaly. Remember how at the end of 7×05 we all rewound and zoomed in on the stone and the explosion to see if he jumped through? Well, that’s what Levitt did, just like the fanboy we all know him to be.

Then we are all thrust on to Etherea, with Bellamy alive and well, if a little disoriented. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one that came through. The Disciple that he was holding at knife-point at the end of ‘Welcome To Bardo’ , Duccett (I think?), has come through too. And wow, can that man fight. Bellamy does eventually break the dudes leg and knock him out and almost kills him but doesn’t.

And Echo thinks she knows that Bellamy would want? I think not, ma’am.

Bellamy leaves the unconsciousness man who may or may not be named Duccett and goes exploring a little bit and finds an obstacle he can not overcome. While Bob Morley may be a rock-climber, Bellamy Blake definitely isn’t, but man, did he try his best. Realizing that he can’t escape this planet unless he works with Duccett, he goes back for him but lo-and behold he’s gone! He finds him passed out in a cave and goes to check on him but alas, he was just faking and attacks Bellamy again. As he’s being choked out, Bellamy slams his hand down on the dudes leg getting him to release him. Duccett starts reciting the Disciple’s prayer which Bellamy finds pretty annoying and tells him that the only way they’re going to make it off this planet is together.

Interesting word choice that I have a theory about in honorable mentions.

Bellamy fixes ol dudes leg, it was gross, and next thing we know, Bellamy is talking to himself and playing doctor while Duccett is passed out. As time passes and he’s talking to himself, we learn that he learned how to sanitize wounds using tree sap as an antiseptic from Pike, that he loves Octavia, Echo, and Clarke, he refers to himself in the third person (which was ADORABLE by the way), and he still likes to read just like nerd Bellamy in all of the fanfics I have ever read. He also sews! We love a self-sufficient man.

When Duccett wakes up he and Bellamy have a little chat about religion and beliefs since Bellamy read Duccett’s book of “pocket propaganda of another false God.” Bellamy says the logic doesn’t add up for the Disciples because if transcendence and peace is the next level/ultimate goal, a war makes no sense, that war only leads to death, pain, and more war.

Poor baby has been through so much. Lemme give you a cuddle. Wait, Duccett does that later.

Duccett tells Bell that he knows who he is and what he’s done and his selfish believes makes him sick. Which, rude. He claims that Bellamy only cares about his people, his sister, and that the Shepherd teaches that they’re all smaller in the grand scheme of the universe. Which….as an aside, if they were all smaller than the universe, why save humanity from apocalypse one? Why go into cryo just so he doesn’t die? Seems pretty damn selfish to me, but what do I know?

Bellamy tells Duccett that the only reason he is alive is because of him, which Duccett replies, “You, you! It’s all about you!”….

As it should be, sir.

….then turns his back to pray. Bellamy very gently smacks him on the back of the head and tells him to do that later because they need to focus on getting his leg stronger. Flash forward a week and the two set off to climb the mountain. Duccett tells Bellamy to boost him up first and he’ll drag him up. Skeptically, Bellamy does it and then waits for him to throw down the rope. And then, the most manipulative thing, Duccett takes his sweet as time and makes Bellamy think that he’s abandoned him and then throws down the rope telling him to have some faith.

THE MANIPULATION, I CANNOT.

We learn that when Cadogan took his journey on Etherea he had climbing equipment. Duccett says that it’s true that he had prepared for his pilgrimage but to explore the universe he had to and that they two of them are on a pilgrimage of their own. Bell says that he’s heading for the exit. They reach a clearing and see the glow of the anomaly at the top of a really large mountain and Bell wonders if his Shepherd isn’t laughing at them.

The two continue on and as their climb gets steeper the snow is getting worse. Duccett wants to stop, find shelter, and wait it out while Bellamy insists that they can make it if they get pass the clouds. Duccett tells Bellamy that if he continues on he’s going to die to which Bellamy quips, “Well, at least I won’t have to hear about the Shepherd anymore.”

Bellamy continues on alone, chanting, “I’m not afraid.” (my heart) and fights so hard against the snow that’s just coming down heavier and he’s getting colder and finally, he collapses. Luckily, Duccett went after Bellamy and dragged my poor frost-bitten, practically dead baby to the safety of a cave, and cuddled up behind him. When the two awaken in the light of morning, Bellamy learns that Duccett found the cave their currently in and then went back for Bellamy. He throws Bellamy’s own sarcasm back at him with “What? They don’t say thank you where you’re from?” but Bell is Bell and says they’ll just call it even.

As Bellamy explores the cave a bit, Duccett decides to try and build a fire. Bellamy looks around and sees all of these items including a picture of Cadogan and his family. A glowing light illuminates the cave but….Duccett hasn’t started the fire yet. They track the ethereal light and see some yellow glowing lights that kinda look like people who are raising their hands to the sky or maybe they kinda look like trees. Either way, the realize they’re the in the Cave of Ascent. Duccett says these are the lights of those that have transcended, of who knew that the Shepherd’s way was the right way.

It’s pretty obvious that despite what Bellamy’s mouth is saying (No, this doesn’t make sense, etc) he’s starting to doubt his belief that the Shepherd is a lying pile of garbage who started a cult. He has a slight reprieve from this doubt when Duccett says, “From the ashes we will rise.” and he realizes that the Shepherd is actually Cadogan, a cult leader. Duccett retorts that he predicted the apocalypse and got his followers across the stars, that he spoke of the beings in the cave, that he saw them himself! Bellamy maintains that he doesn’t know what he saw but that whatever those things are, they didn’t ascend; that the book says that civilization has to have the tech know how to work the stone and that the beings of light lived in a cave. Duccett replies that all they know is that transcendence is born from civilizations core/soul. Are they pure enough, are they worthy enough.

The way I know Bellamy Blake is pure and worthy and is going to transcend after he dies in a brutal, horrifying, gut-wrenching fashion in the next 1-3 episodes. Let me stock up on wine and kleenex now, actually.

Bellamy says he believes in what he can prove and Duccett tells him to prove it.

Sir, what do you think he’s been doing for the last seven seasons? Everything he has ever done has been because of the love he has for his family and friends and I will fight you.

Duccett then tells him that he has a shroud of death and dispair around him, a consequence of his selfish love and that while love is not the problem, it’s how he loves that is. He prioritizes the love he has for his people rather than for every human like the Shepherd teaches. Bell digs his heels in a little bit more but then…

Another flash-forward and again, the guys are looking….rough. For sure at least two months have passed, leading me to believe that time on Etherea goes at a similar or identical rate as Bardo. Bellamy questions how Duccett can be so happy when they’re going to die in this cave and Duccett again tells him that the obsession (love) he has for his sister and his friends is what drives the darkness inside of him and that his love for all man-kind is what makes him lighter than ever.

How him croaking is beneficial to all man-kind is a mystery to me, but whatever.

Duccett invites Bellamy to pray with him and Bellamy is like, “Sure, what the hell ever. What else do I have to do?” and recites the prayer with him. He reaches a deep meditative state and while he doesn’t think it’s working we see that it actually is. He first sees Cadogan who tries to lead him to the beings of light but Bellamy refuses. Cadogan motions around them where they’re surrounded by weapons and tells him that he thinks these things can save him but faith is the true weapon’ he’s come far, his eyes are opening, but there’s still so much more to see.What’s interesting here is that Bellamy is seeing Cadogan as Duccett views him: a man all in white, who believes that everything in the universe connects them together. Then we see the woman who started it all…Aurora.

It’s no secret that Bellamy feels responsible for his mothers death since she was floated at the discovery of Octavia, who Bellamy brought to a party on the Ark. But what isn’t more deeply explored within the context of the show is the impact Aurora and her choices negatively affected Bellamy. She chose to have another child and forced her six year old son to not only keep this secret, but to actively sacrifice himself to protect it. He had to give up food, it kept him from creating significant relationships lest he reveal Octavia to anyone, had to do a specific career to protect her, took away his choice in anything he would ever have to do for the remainder of his life at the age of six, because of her choice. So, to me, it’s an interesting decision to once again have Aurora being the one to put Bellamy on yet another new path for his life, to be the one to “guide him to the light.” when it’s arguable that she’s the one who made him the way he is to begin with.

With the ghost of his mother whispering in his ear Bellamy reaches for the light even though he looks scared to do so. And then he awakens from his trance to see that the snow has finally stopped. Duccett theorizes that they both must be worthy since the storm broke the first time Bellamy chose to pray.

Manipulative, but okay.

The two are super close to the top now but Duccett is worried about trying to make it then because if the sun is down while they’re on the top, they’ll freeze to death. Bell tells him that this is their best chance and to “have some faith.”

Uh-oh.

Further proof that he has maybe sipped the tea is when Duccett loses his footing climbing the mountain. He tells Bellamy that he wrote the stone codes in the book and the book is in Bellamy’s bag and to cut him loose. Bell refuses saying that they’re going to do this together.

There’s that word again.

He looks to the heavens, looks like he’s losing one last piece of himself and what he believes, and starts reciting the Shepherd’s prayer while dragging Duccett to safety. And finally. Finally, they make it to the top. Duccett taps in the anomaly stone code and the anomaly comes down (and down and down and down to the bottom from which they just climbed) and…Bellamy takes a leap of faith. Literally.

He jumps into the anomaly and comes out in Bardo where is greeted by Cadogan….and he kneels to him. He calls him his Shepherd. My baby has officially drank the tea and has been converted. As a huge supporter of void!Bellamy, I’m not mad at it. But is it legit? Well…

Reunions: Eleven episodes later and there is finally a Bellamy and Clarke scene to be seen. Eleven. Episodes. Eleven. 11. Eleven episodes for the female and male lead to share the screen at the same time. That’s fine. This is fine.

Anyway, Clarke, Octavia, Echo, and Gabriel are chilling in the Shepherd’s quarters and Clarke has decided she’ll make a deal with Cadogan. She’ll use “the key” in her head, which she doesn’t actually have, for him if he agrees to send the others back to Sanctum. The others aren’t exactly cool with this plan but before they can argue the point, Cadogan comes strolling in. Before Clarke can even get a full sentence in Bellamy enters and the words die on her lips. We’re treated to extreme close-ups of the three women most important to Bellamy and their reactions to seeing him again after thinking he was dead. Clarke chokes out a, “Bellamy?” as Echo asks how, since they saw him die, and Octavia, in all her fierce pride, says that it’s tough to keep the Blake’s down.

That was cute, not going to lie. It’ll hurt when he dies soon though.

When the three make moves to get closer to him, the Disciple’s all raise their guns stopping them in their tracks but Clarke said, “Fuck your guns, it’s time for my annual Bellarke hug.” and hugged him anyway. She knew they wouldn’t shoot at her because she ~has the key. She whispers at a still silent Bellamy who has just been looking at everyone that they think she has the key and to not say anything. When she pulls back from him, she looks so happy, guys. She looks just so so so so so so happy. Then…Bell speaks his first words of the reunion to Cadogan. He calls him, “My Shepherd!” which is enough for the others to all look at each other in surprise and trepidation, and then tells on them. Not cool, dude. But I also maintain that you’ve never done anything wrong in your entire life.

But, yeah. My babe is definitely a Disciple now.

Honorable Mentions:

The 100 — “Etherea” — Image Number: HU710B_0191r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Bob Morley as Bellamy and Jonathan Scarfe as Conductor — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Together: We all know what the word means in relation to Bellamy and his relationship with Clarke. They basically built their entire relationship around the word. But now, it’s being used from Bellamy to Duccett and….it makes sense.

Bellamy needs someone on his side, someone to have a partnership with, to have an established bond with. Maybe he didn’t mean it when he first said it to Duccett but the second time, he definitely did. His relationship with Duccett took on a very similar journey as his partnership with Clarke did though in a much more condensed time frame: adversaries, reluctant allies, friends/partner. Clarke wasn’t around to be the other half to Bellamy, he was isolated, in constant near-death conditions, starving, freezing, could fall to his death at anytime and he needed someone on his side that believed in him. Basically, given the extreme conditions he was constantly slapped in the face with while on Etherea, he experiences transference. He imprinted the relationship he had with Clarke on to the only person around who was available to fill that role for him, something he has also done in the past. I get it.

void!Bellamy: For all the reasons listed above it’s not surprising that Bellamy has been more or less brainwashed into believing in Cadogan/The Shepherd/The Disciples. Even if he didn’t have his vision he was went through a lot on Etherea and sometimes when there is no hope, you grasp on to the one thing that might give you some. That’s what faith is and what it provides. Just like Bellamy needed someone to be on his side, he needed to have something to believe in again. Factor in all of the things he couldn’t explain and then his (manipulative, even if it was his own subconscious) vision and it’s easy to see how he got there. What he feels is real to him because of the circumstances he just escaped from. He doesn’t see this as a betrayal to his friends but rather as a way to save “all man-kind” which he’s been hearing about for months and months while doing his best to just survive. The man is beautiful and brainwashed and doesn’t know up from down anymore, even if he thinks he does. Mostly, I just feel sorry for him and want to give him a snuggle…after he’s had a bath though.

I will say that if this was a way to make the audience turn on Bellamy, make him the villain and we’ll all hate him, then I don’t think that plan is going to work. He’s never done anything wrong in his entire life. He’s right and everyone else is wrong, I said what I said.

Again though, I am looking forward to next weeks episode and the fallout from all of this. Again, it feels like the show is finally beginning, (so sad), and I’m ready to see how this particular plot line plays out.

DNRs:

DO NOT REVEAL – “Etherea”

  • Anything about Bellamy conversion
  • Anything about the light imprints or Bellamy’s vision
  • Bellamy’s betrayal and allegiances in the end

What did you think? Comment below or hit us up on Twitter @TVSource

The 100 airs on The CW Wednesday’s at 8/7c.

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About the Author

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