There are truly no problems that a good pair-up can't fix.
Unless you're Ryker, then you just learn to kill or be killed.
During The 100 Season 6 Episode 11, Bellamy and Octavia end up getting to talk after their long seperation. But Octavia doesn't get what she bargained for in the process.
Meanwhile, Sanctum is falling apart with Russell using Madi for bone marrow and trying to turn Echo into a nightblood.
Then there is Clarke, Gabriel, Bellamy, and Octavia having to team up with the Children of Gabriel to take down Sanctum. But with Murphy appearing and working for Russell, Clarke's plan to become Josephine is put into action.
"Ashes to Ashes," written by the lovely Charmaine DeGraté and directed by the unbelievably talented Bob Morley in his directorial debut connected relationship driven storytelling with beautiful imagery.
The underlying emotions drove the episode and it was a visually stunning journey to go on with the characters, all of which set it up for a final showdown.
Bob Morley took Charmaine DeGraté's attention grabbing episode and allowed the story to transcend on our screens, drawing focus on the details and the weight of all the actions happening in between the dialogue.
It was a real masterpiece because of the way that the driving force of the entire episode destroys us with words and then with the chosen framing.
There doesn't need to be a choice between showing or telling when both working together looks so iconic and revolutionary.
Clarke Saves The Day Once Again
There is Clarke Griffin, and then there is everyone else.
For all the time that may not have been spent mourning her, she comes back and is ready to save everyone who ended up in danger. There is no hesitation in the way that she once again risks it all, putting her life on the line as if she doesn't know how fragile it is.
It is hard to even remember a time when she was accused of not caring about her people because in a blink of an eye nothing else matters to her.
This isn't news but it is a reminder who exactly Clarke Griffin is.
She might have been tortured in her own mind, and yet the second she has full control of her body again she is halfway through the next plan that will make sure no one else has to go through that.
Posing as Josephine is an even bigger threat than before because there is no way she will survive this horrible mind drive stuff twice.
But it doesn't matter to Clarke.
People are in trouble and suddenly she is Josephine, turning away from her daughter so she could play the role that will make sure she stays alive.
It is a difficult job but no one else is better suited for it.
The advantage for some fans about not having the lead around is that all of a sudden her choices and sacrifices that she makes along the way. Much like the characters, there is time to dwell on the impact Clarke makes and what not having her there means for just about everyone involved.
There is no show without Clarke, and there is no hope without her heart beating.
She shouldn't have to come back and right away start planning how she might risk her own life for everyone else's, but would she ever do it any other way?
This is the person that has always existed, even if she had to find her way back to who she was. At the end of the day, Clarke was always this extraordinary lead and having her back is like falling in love with her all over again.
None of us are worthy of Clarke Griffin.
Except for Bellamy Blake.
Then you have Eliza Taylor, who had to play just about every version of Clarke and Josephine and the crossovers in between. But Clarke pretending to be Josephine is a reminder of how much she can handle, constantly taking on these challenges and blowing everyone away.
Just when it feels like there is no other scenario that Eliza didn't tackle, she surprises us all by handling something new and making it remarkable to experience.
All the kudos to her for the way she has seamlessly transitioned from one character to another, showcasing a wide range of skills in a blink of an eye.
Even the way that there were hints of Josephine having an impact on Clarke's behavior, it was subtle but so very strong. All the praise being sent her way is beyond deserved.
Like actor, like character.
Ashes To Echo
Sanctum is not the only place that comes equipped with secrets.
Echo ended up sharing with Ryker as she prepared to become a nightblood, and it is probably safe to say that no one saw that coming.
After Echo shared with Bellamy about a hint of her past during The 100 Season 6 Episode 4, it felt like this was the beginning of a more honest side to the character.
For someone who never felt much, opening up after all this time was encouraging.
Hesitation is death.Echo
Instead, Echo blinded us with the twist that no one ever really knew her. They don't even know her real name, a huge defining portion of who she became and a side that no one was worthy of hearing about.
The only one who got to know the truth was Ryker but was he really special for that?
He was right when he mentioned that she was buying time, but it was more time for him and not for her. All of this was meant to humanize the character to the audience, but within the narrative, it was more about teaching Ryker a lesson that Echo lived by before she even earned that name.
Her truth is something that no one is actually aware of, and the one person that was ended up buried like Ash and the real Echo.
Reflecting on her past doesn't mean this was Echo learning from it for her future, instead, it was one last attempt to bury who she could have been and continue to play the role she has always known.
That girl in the forest who wouldn't choose the real Echo's suggestion to fight fairly to the death, and instead went for the kill shot when the other person didn't see it coming.
Echo killing Ryker in that exact same way, waiting for weakness and taking that hit to use it to her advantage, it was all circling back to that day when she became this other person.
Ash in a way died that day, with Echo leaving the shell of her original life in the knife that she used to take over her new one.
This was a choice she made for herself, one that she continues to make to this day without regret.
But the question becomes, what is the truth?
Echo didn't lie to Bellamy and her "family" in space but omitting the truth is a lie nonetheless.
There is something cathartic about Echo believing that this persona is the real her now, the person she was meant to become even if the details of how that happened are a little gruesome.
Maybe she doesn't need to tell the truth because this is her truth now. She became who she needed to in order to survive, and there is no Ash left to account for.
Still, there is just something about how much of her past she didn't share that weighs on us.
It boils down to the fact that Bellamy doesn't know anything about her, especially if he only heard about one piece of her past after how many years together?
There is no emotional depth that these two seem to share, with Bellamy maybe holding back because of Echo and Echo not sharing because then she would have to account for a whole lot that she buried that day in those woods.
This reflects on the SpaceKru too, questioning how close is this group? There was all this talk of how they are family and how they grew together but one of them wasn't even able to be all of herself with them.
Much of Echo is very much still guarded, locking in the formative moments that built the person that she became. It's a heavyweight to have with you as she heads into an even bigger looming threat.
Because once a character turns into a nightblood, something is bound to happen and none of it sounds promising.
Pushing through with making Echo a nightblood means she will be of use in some way, however sinister and worrisome. It isn't safe for Echo anymore, and yet if that was introduced then there has to be some follow-through about what comes next.
This walks hand in hand with Murphy's reward, putting them both at disadvantages that they might not be able to avoid for much longer.
Bellamy and Octavia's Colorful Distance
These two needed the time to reflect on where they wanted to be when they saw each other again.
And even though Bellamy wasn't on the same journey as Octavia, that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to want to keep that distance.
Bellamy's experiences and relationship with Octavia were so toxic that there was no way around it. He was abused and the struggle was removing himself from that situation.
Bellamy: What do you want me to say, O?
Octavia: Say I'm your sister.
Bellamy: You're my sister. But you're not my responsibility. Not anymore.
By allowing Bellamy to stand his ground and make it clear that he wanted to cut that responsibility that he held for Octavia's actions felt like a way to give those that have been abused a voice.
This was a clear cut example that you don't have to forgive everyone in your life.
If someone abused you in any way, you are allowed and you are right in looking for some space. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to go back to the way things were, and Bellamy vocalized that in an unexpected turn of events.
The road for Bellamy and Octavia came off very obvious, they would venture off and return to one another with some experiences and an interest in going back to the way things were.
So it was the best switch up to have Bellamy not just give in and move on when he wasn't at that point.
During this time of reflection, Bellamy grew away while Octavia grew back in his direction.
That is the thing though, as much as Octavia wants redemption she is still reasoning some of through Bellamy. Her choices are still not her own, they are affected by her brother and until that changes nothing good could come of it.
It is a slippery slope allowing yourself to count on someone and then blaming them if those choices of yours aren't something you are happy with.
Bellamy emotionally removed that weight, giving himself permission to choose himself for once in his life.
It is an empowering decision that validates putting yourself first.
In that same way, Octavia now has to answer for all of her choices and gets to be an independent person in a way she never was. She was always still looking back, whether to get help or to blame Bellamy.
Now that he cut that off, reminding her that they are still family but that won't be driven by one another that same way,
Octavia has room to grow on her own.
There is redemption that she can find for herself, but it has to be something she does for her own sake.
As long as it is for someone else's validation, the progress will only go so far.
This emotionally heavy scene was a long time coming, not just going back to what the series knows but instead breaking the cycle and starting over.
Russell's Crumbling Empire and the Last Minute Hero Crew (also Murphy)
Russell is the Everything is Fine meme right about now and we should all be living for it.
Who can blame him though, he losing his family and his fellow Prime friends left and right. It is a miracle he can still be his threatening self when everything is falling apart.
On the other hand, Russell has no one to blame but himself. Choosing to make Clarke a host for his daughter was the choice that guaranteed he would never have true peace again.
But there is nothing worse than making enemies in every corner of the moon you live on, only to have all those enemies come together to take you down.
There is a storm brewing, but Russell is dangerous because he can only be fooled for so long.
Him trying to create an illusion of perfection for Clarke was the perfect mask for how calculated he is.
There is no way he is giving up easily, and he hasn't even been set off yet. Once Russell knows that his daughter can't come back because her memory drive is wiped, it will become a race for who has the resources to survive longer.
And with Ryker's death comes the validation that the other Sanctum people who have the knowledge about the Primes won't keep it to themselves.
Because in a way all of these people didn't become godlike only from the general population seeing them as such, Russell sees himself in that role. He is a God who can't be compared to his people, and that is possibly where it will crumble for him.
Not accounting for the power in numbers will turn Sanctum into a community that doesn't trust their leader. And a leader is only as strong as his support system, once the people stop trusting in him then the real threat kicks in.
On the other end of the spectrum, Murphy could be facing that exact same issue.
He has turned on his people this season and now that is what he is known for. There is a difference between not trusting a person and not knowing how much trust to put in them.
Murphy was always on his own side, but now he is officially a person who is chosen because he can be trusted to sell out the other side. It makes for a wonderfully fascinating character, but it also changes the relationships that he has.
Russell will be defeated, there is no way he will conquer in all this.
So all of the work that Murphy put in becomes useless, and what the survivors will remember is him switching sides.
That look that Clarke gave Murphy when he got his drives said it all.
For someone who lectured Clarke on the choices she made during The 100 Season 6 Episode 1, there is nothing more damning than watching him sell it all away for the chance to become what she was tortured with. It also hints at what Clarke could actually see while Josephine had control.
The bottom line is that Russell and Murphy will both have a lot to account for.
Their people will come with questions and they need to prepare their answers.
The Bellarke Corner
An adjustment period comes with a side order of excessive touching apparently.
Bellamy and Clarke may have spent the season wrapped up in one another, with Bellamy's focus straying only as far as Clarke's soul did.
Now though they have to return to the real world, in a way shutting down that honeymoon period to focus on the aftermath of their decisions.
It isn't that Bellamy made the wrong choice because saving Clarke is the only thing that will always make sense in the narrative. But now she is back and their focus has to return on those they left behind.
And yet it was wrapped up in the way that they worried about one another.
Clarke's choices again leave her at risk, something Bellamy has to accept if they save the others but at the same time, he is working at hyper speed to prevent as much as he can.
Honestly, it might be business as usual again but that only lasts as long as their next shared touch.
There has been a shift, even if the show can't focus on it, because the way those two interact with one another is just soft.
Bellamy: What do you want me to say, O?
Octavia: Say I'm your sister.
Bellamy: You're my sister. But you're not my responsibility. Not anymore.
It is like there isn't time for emotions but they spill over anyway, Bellamy and Clarke being one of the few people that can find time to just be with one another.
But what else is new?
That has been obvious for a while now, what isn't obvious is the usual question of where we go from here.
The momentum was created this season from the way that Bellamy and Clarke's relationship was the larger focus.
Within the bigger plan to save Clarke, all of it always came back down to how much Bellamy would do to make that happen and what that looked like.
Hitting pause on that will only last so long because every scene the two now share is read as romantic.
They may be trying to do better for Monty, but part of that better is dealing with what is right in front of them. Denial is no longer an option because all the cards are on the table now.
It is also hard to ignore how as soon as Bellamy and Clarke are reunited, suddenly it all comes together. Saving the rest of the group can only happen once Bellamy and Clarke are on the same page, again reminding the audience that things only work when they work.
So from here, it does look like their relationship changed.
There was this cautious place that they found themselves in, Bellamy struggling to figure out where he fits with Clarke and Clarke trying to make it clear that he holds importance in her life that she will never forget again.
Life and death have now amplified that, with the two of them seeking each other out again. Their silent conversations and their touches, everything that was holding them back isn't anymore.
Now the two of them are on that same page again, and that page includes no more boundaries between them.
No one is asking them to be this soft, this is a choice that they are making and it is obscene.
The dust has to settle from the Sanctum destruction, but once it does, those two need to talk.
Clarke coming back doesn't mean that everything is back to the way it was. Both of them changed from this experience because both of them were forced to reflect on their feelings.
The mind space was a way to point a mirror at Clarke, reflecting her feelings and her worries back at her.
At the same time, the potential loss of his soulmate woke up Bellamy to how not okay that was.
That may be the usual setup for these two, but the conclusion to all this can't be the usual story arc.
Nothing is like that anymore and those two need to admit it because things are changing. Emotions are being expressed and hearts are being put on the line.
All of this is a big not very platonic mess, and the fast those two face the music, the faster they can truly be happy.
There needs to be a stray thought dedicated to Bob Morley's extremely hard work when it came to starring in and directing this episode. He already has his own distinct look and it is truly incredible. The way the framing defines the relationships that get explored, the way the camera positions itself to further the storytelling, and the intrigue that only grows with the cinematography are all examples of someone with a gift.
It was an honor getting to see Bob's vision come together and it made the episode stand out. The way he sees the show is a story I want to see more of, and luckily we will get exactly that.
Does anyone else wonder if next season Bellamy and Clarke will just start having platonic make-out sessions? No?
So before my inquiry into Jordan's safety was simply that. Now, this isn't a question of when will Jordan come back, this is now a demand to bring back a main character who seems far from that.
I understand that there is a struggle when you have this much of a story being told across the board and so many pieces of the game to connect. Not everyone can always be involved in a large role, and Jordan isn't the first to deal with that this season even. But this is a new main character whose story was teased in a way that made it more vital to the show.
It feels far from that, with Jordan disconnected from the storyline and even most of the characters on the show.
And then there is Diyoza. There hasn't even been a hint of her location since Octavia came back. Now it sounds like she died and we are all going with that as if it's okay? Nope.
Octavia obviously thinks the Anomaly isn't a big thing and based off the synopsis for the finale it has to be. It will loop back around and Diyoza has to come out the other end, but for now, it is just disappointing that no one thought to wonder where she is or even how her child is doing.
The greatest mystery remains how did Gabriel give Bellamy his cardigan? Was he shaking after having to literally bring his soulmate back to life? Was he cold during the night as he watched over Clarke? Did Gabriel just want to form a bromance as much as I wanted to experience it so he tried by sharing clothes? These are all very important questions!
- How do you think Russell narrowed it down to Echo being his new wife? Did he just glance around at all the women and felt drawn towards Echo? Or was this a more "the first traitor who walks through that door" situation?
Lola Flanery as always delivers a chilling and yet stunning performance all at once. It is difficult to wrap your brain around who this Madi is, a dark and unfeeling presence that just doesn't fit into what our hearts were used to. It isn't even all about what the Dark Commander brings out, even though he does push Madi to a dark place.
It is all about the way Madi individually is able to become a stranger that we want to recognize again. She is going through so much and an adult needs to figure out a way to give her a freaking break.
That scene between Gaia and Miller was the best surprise in the episode. There isn't time on The 100 to linger on the past, only letting it play enough of a role where the characters don't have to discuss it. But Gaia and Miller got to reflect on who they were and the point that they reached.
Having Gaia validate Miller helped them get out, but in a way, it validated Gaia too. She continues to lay blame on herself and remembering that sometime's things are out of their control can add a shift to the way she looks out for Madi. She can't continue in the position that she is in and she frankly deserves that change at the same time.
- That shot of Russell standing over Echo and the red lighting that hit his face? That was only the tip of the stunning cinematography iceberg.
Xavier's sister is amazing and now she has to stay forever. She steals her scenes all on her own, but there is also the sibling guilt that rains over Gabriel here that makes us want to know more. He has lived plenty of lives but this path to true redemption for him is not at all easy.
It is no wonder that Octavia got paired off with him, this is a guy who never forgets his past in a way that shapes him and it isn't a real-life when so much of it is in hiding.
Maybe Gabriel saw the same potential in her, and he is guiding her so she doesn't end up as far down as he did. The Children of Gabriel no longer truly have the power but the hold they have comes more from distrust than anything else.
That foursome in the woods was arguably the strongest team in a while. It felt realistic the way that they fit, and the cracks were clear too. Following them along as they planned how to take down Sanctum was natural and light. There were also different dynamics across the board, with everyone finding time to speak to everyone else, and each interaction was an individual experience but it all came together so well.
This is me officially confirming that Bellamy, Clarke, Gabriel, and Octavia should always come together and save all the problems each season.
- All these different versions of parent and children relationships, but it is Gabriel and his children that are the most interesting.
What did you think of the episode? Is Clarke safe or should we be more worried than ever? How long will Russell take to figure out that Josephine is gone? Will he realize faster than Abby did?
What about Madi? How scared are we for her now that she let the Dark Commander control her emotions in the name of Clarke? Will Echo become a Prime now? Or do we call her Ash now?
Who else needs Jordan and Diyoza back in their lives? Will Murphy have to explain himself to Clarke?
How much did you love Bob Morley's directorial debut? How excited are you for his next one and Eliza Taylor's first one during Season 7?
What did you love most about the episode? What did you not love as much about this episode?
Let us know what you think below!
The 100 airs on Tuesdays, at 9/8c on The CW.
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Yana Grebenyuk was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in April 2021.