Doing better has never felt more timely.
With things heating up in the Anomaly, it is up to Sanctum to cool things down.
But the central message of The 100 keeps coming up as everything is happening, so you have to wonder if doing better is really in the cards anymore.
During The 100 Season 7 Episode 3, a reactor is overheating in Sanctum, and it is up to Raven to figure it out before everyone is killed. But she makes a choice from which she can't retreat, risking lives for the greater good and finding herself in a place she never thought she would be.
Meanwhile, Sheidheda is enjoying his new body and the havoc he can wreck by using those around him. He creates a fake assassination plot so that he can stay alive, and it all goes exactly as he planned.
Also, Gaia decides to reveal that there are no more Commanders, which puts the future of the grounders at risk as they break off from following orders.
"False Gods," written by Kim Shumway, pushes obstacles for the sake of obstacles in an episode that had more questions than answers. It was a far cry from a show that found pride in always introducing high-risk situations that didn't have simple solutions.
Instead, this episode focused further on the weaker aspects of its story.
It also made me question the value it sees in its characters, with a startling pattern starting to line up with the characters left behind.
The question of whether people in Sanctum exist for themselves or a delayed plot is getting louder and louder.
Obviously the characters in Sanctum weren't meant to join the main plot yet, so instead the episode tried to stall them figuring anything out by distracting them with a threat that was solved just as quickly as it was introduced.
And you have to wonder what the show considers doing better, especially with so many acceptable losses left in its wake.
Sanctum's New Feature Series: What's Wrong Now?
Clarke asking Jordan when he runs up to her what is wrong now was probably the most self-aware The 100 has been of late.
Maybe this is just because the Anomaly storyline has a lot more potential, or maybe this is because it isn't clear how Sanctum is meant to stand on its own. So far, however, it has been the weakest aspect of the show.
Focusing on Sanctum on The 100 Season 7 is like several steps back for the show, mostly because no one there is aware of anything that is going on.
Now that can work for an episode or two, but it seems like the show itself knows that they shouldn't focus on Sanctum, which means when they do return to it, the pace slows down.
It's almost like they don't know what to do with the characters in Sanctum right now, but know that they can't be involved with the Anomaly storyline yet. So instead, the show is trying to think of scenarios to distract the characters until they can catch up with what has been going on.
If the issues that had their focus in Sanctum had any lasting effect, maybe it would be easier to follow. Unfortunately, everything that is supposed to be high risk is resolved by the end of the episode, so what is the point?
Hatch: Columbus sailed the ocean blue!
Even though the story came and went, it did leave a lasting impression on one person.
That also means that in a very similar fashion to The 100 Season 7 Episode 2, parallels spilled out of every corner.
It wasn't until Nikki was hitting Raven, who was taking it because she thought she deserved it, that it was crystal clear.
Octavia's journey to her rock bottom was a bit more prolonged (and bumpy), but it had many of the same conclusions.
In a way, Raven and Octavia became what they probably both hated the most. So much of Octavia emerged when she was a warrior who put her people first, and it meant that when others didn't follow that protocol, she couldn't follow them.
Clarke letting those people die in TonDC was the turning point for Octavia, where she put herself above the leaders she saw around her. They weren't doing it the way she knew it should be done.
In a twist of ironic faith, Octavia got precisely that.
Being a leader wasn't what she expected it would be, because the hard choices weigh you down until you become someone you don't recognize. Octavia had that exact problem to face when suddenly cannibalism was on the table, and dictatorship was not far behind it.
Octavia quickly became someone no one recognized, all in an interesting shift considering how much she questioned those that led before her.
Raven's storyline is less obvious, and yet she somehow ended up in that same space.
She also struggled with the choices that were being made around her, but it would always come back to the casualties. To Raven, it wasn't okay to think of anyone as an acceptable loss, and it was Clarke who she questioned the most about that.
It wasn't like Clarke had much of a choice; she did what she could to keep people safe. But that often came at the expense of those caught in the middle, and through all that, Raven couldn't get past her kill count.
This time around, it was Raven who was stuck in a position where lives are at stake (it seems like the show is pretending Raven was never involved in that bridge plan), and it was chilling the way she was willing to risk them without even blinking.
Murphy pushed back on it more than Raven, which was probably a sign of how hard Raven was about to fall.
For her, the Eligius group were disposable from the start, meaning they were doomed before she even approached them for their help.
It was never a question of whether she would lie to this group of people for the greater good. In many ways, she pulled from Octavia doing what she felt had to be done to keep the greater population in the bunker alive.
And even though Raven isn't anywhere near the kill count of those around her, she is in a position where she understands them more than she was able to look down on them before.
Instead of having Raven realize she was wrong in how much pressure she put on Clarke and Bellamy, it became her knowing firsthand what they had to go through.
Octavia was the same way, always having an opinion on how things should be run only to have the same chance and ending up in the darkest place she has ever been.
The feeling, though, is still the same about how The 100 is choosing to tell these stories.
Raven could just understand what Clarke was thinking by having a conversation with her, but instead, she had to kill a few people and go through that same trauma to understand how delicate morality is.
It comes off like an easy way to not do the hard work of giving Raven a decent storyline and allowing her to mend fences with Clarke.
It is easy for her to kill people and suddenly understand why she looked down on others. It is much harder to put in the work of having these characters talk to one another and understand each other because of that.
And it was very strange that Raven didn't once consider telling Hatch and the others the truth. Usually, when tough choices are made, there is that on-screen struggle where the character struggles with making that tough decision.
But Raven was openly lying to these people from the jump, and the fact that Murphy put up more of a fight was even more disturbing.
Murphy isn't the moral compass of the group, so if he is questioning Raven's deceit, was she already too far gone in the first place?
Or was it just really the easy for her to use the past of the Eligius crew to reason that they weren't deserving of the truth?
Leadership is a tough job, and by the looks of it, fewer and fewer people on The 100 want to sign up for it these days.
Sheidheda Just Wants To Watch It All Burn (And Still Get His Victory Cookie Too!)
First things first, JR Bourne is killing it with this new role he gets to fill. Pun intended.
Since we know the Dark Commander isn't the "real" villain of the season, it does make his scenes less threatening. If you know that isn't the threat worth worrying about, much of that becomes more mundane to try to get invested in.
It also doesn't feel like it is going anywhere outside of Sanctum (yet), which means this just adds to the weak nature of this storyline. If you compare it to the Anomaly, you always end up questioning why we are meant to care about the Dark Commander, stirring up trouble.
But there is a connection that is forming between Sanctum and the Anomaly, and it is interesting to track those connections.
Everyone in Sanctum is busy fighting one another, yet they are all following their false gods and looking silly doing it.
The people in Sanctum who believe in the Primes are trying to keep Russell alive, and in the process, it becomes easy to manipulate them because their faith seems to be stronger than their common sense.
On the other side, there are the Grounders, who, after all this time, are also looking to follow technology and the people that were chosen for it.
Whether it is the flame or the chip, these groups of people are blindly going along with it.
So you have to wonder if the show is trying to make a statement on religion and the people who follow it because if it is, then the message is centered around faith turning people into these groups that can't exist without following someone.
It did seem like the show was trying to do something different when the flame was destroyed. For so long, it was this blind trust in a piece of plastic that created loyal followers willing to follow whoever had it in their head.
But with Madi no longer being the Commander, there is scope to allow everyone to be free of following what they are told to do by voices in someone's head.
The Grounders still need a false god to believe in, so with Gaia revealing that there are no more Commanders, their future is in danger. If anyone else caught that exchange between Gaia and the guy who didn't believe that Madi was the Commander, he was all for Sheidheda rising once more.
If the flame chose the Dark Commander, the assumption is that the greater crowd of people will follow who that piece of plastic attached itself too.
On the other side, the Sanctum population is also just looking for a leader that is beyond their understanding. Russell was that for them, and now the Dark Commander just takes it one step farther.
It is almost ironic that two factions who aren't really on the same side are both about to be recruited by the same technology challenged presence.
So for Nelson and his crew of technology haters, things are about to get really difficult.
The episode also lingered quite a bit on how "Russell" is like a God to the people in Sanctum right now. Whether he lived or died, his memory and his existence are on another level for believers.
And it is hard to ignore that the disciples related to Bardo also have someone specific that they follow. Whether it is Bill Cadogan or even if it is someone else, there are now two figures going after complete control over a population.
In conclusion, don't trust belief systems that center around pieces of plastic and don't get involved in outer space cults.
The Bellarke Corner Research on The Lead Character Dilemma
When Bellamy disappeared during The 100 Season 7 Episode 1, we discussed how so much of his time on the show was spent doing what the plot needed him to.
But then somehow with him not around that didn't disappear. Instead, it was shifted to the lead of the show.
Clarke is now the character who is meant to serve the plot instead of having the plot serve her. It's a dangerous pattern to now have both of your leads not instrumental in the final season, especially when that is when the show needs them most.
Faith may be blind but loyalty isn't.Indra
Yet we are in the third episode, and Bellamy is nowhere to be found. It is safe to assume we won't see him for several more episodes, and normally it would even out with Clarke taking on an even more substantial amount of the screentime.
But Clarke was featured on The 100 Season 7 Episode 1 as a way to move the story to a different place. The 100 needed Russell to die and for Sheidheda to take over, meaning someone had to knock him out to make that happen.
Clarke was struggling with the loss of her mother, but she was trying to allow that to let her do better. She didn't want this to turn into another war, and before she knew it, she was burning everything down.
The person who was trying to keep the peace while still punishing Russell doesn't equate to the person who beat him up enough to knock him out.
But it was obvious that was where the show needed the Dark Commander arc to end up, so Clarke's storyline was the collateral to make that happen.
That means we have to accept that Clarke isn't even allowed to exist anymore in ways that don't suit the plot twist of the week.
It isn't fair to the lead and, it is a slippery slope to be on, considering they already shafted Bellamy.
And it isn't even just the fact that Clarke is meant to aid the plot or that she barely has any screentime lately.
It is the fact that now she is just limited to being a mother and a pawn in someone else's story. It is the fact that Clarke is literally boxed in, only being granted the ability to talk about her thoughts to one person.
It is the fact that Clarke is shoved backward because it isn't time yet for her to wonder where her friends are or to get involved with another story.
Clarke right now only exists to move things along when the story demands it and then is missing in action when she isn't needed anymore.
Even more than that, it makes the Sanctum portion of the show that much weaker. It already seems to be dragging on just to waste some time, but when Clarke is shelved, so is most of the investment.
Body-snatching Clarke was one thing, but it was about getting her back, so the passion was there. Now it just feels like the story doesn't know what to do with Clarke. Or maybe the more realistic explanation is that they don't want to invest time in Clarke right now.
And the audience can excuse a lot, but not allowing your lead to prosper the way she deserves can't be explained away.
This season, for now, is at a point where no one is getting the attention they deserve. So much of the story is manipulating its most valuable characters for no reason other than the plot that is prepared for that specific episode.
It may not have hurt as much if this wasn't the final season, or if it felt like there was a reason for the constant disregard for the leads.
And yet here we are once again wondering when The 100 will remember that Clarke Griffin is its lead.
Or when Bellamy Blake is deemed worthy enough of existing again in the narrative in general.
An Unsettling Shift In An Era of Doing Better
There is all this continued talk, not only this season but for the series as a whole, about doing better.
After all the death and destruction that the characters on The 100 have had their hand in, is it possible for them to find peace and to take different actions next time?
Breaking the cycle doesn't always mean the characters themselves, sometimes it means adjusting the initial approach.
Jackson: Russell killed Abby, he deserves to die for it.
Jordan: Is that your medical opinion?
This episode was a struggle because it felt like the show didn't know what to do with so many characters that can offer the narrative something more.
The way The 100 allows Jordan Green to exist has already been a topic of discussion.
Initially, Jordan had so much that won the audience over, from being Monty and Harper's son to his idealistic hopes for a better future. Jordan wanted to believe that the people from his stories could do better and could watch out for him, neither of which turned out to be true.
This season was another shot for the show to use Jordan. There was room to give him a storyline and to allow him to develop instead of just existing only when the show needed him to.
So far, the pattern is the same, with Jordan being used; however, the villain needs him. When Jordan chose the other side during The 100 Season 6, it was because it could be excused based on the fact that everyone forgot about him.
Clarke, Bellamy, and the others didn't take to heart Monty and Harper's request, so it made sense that Jordan might have connected to other people and their version of peace.
It still didn't excuse the fact that he was credited in more episodes than he appeared in, even though he was promoted to the main cast. But it was a way to look at a story that was almost being told, until now.
Now it is obvious that the show doesn't want to use Jordan to his full potential. For a show that favors new characters over the ones that have been around for a while, The 100 doesn't want to use Jordan the way he deserves to be written.
Maybe Jordan is meant to take the role of his parents, only around in the background until the plot of the season demands him to be a piece on the chessboard.
It didn't make sense when the room was made for Hope Diyoza to have space within The 100 universe to tell her story and to exist on a larger scale. It has been wonderful getting to meet and learn about Hope, but why doesn't Jordan get the same treatment? Especially when he is the offspring of two delinquents, and he truly is his legacy.
It's also disappointing that he is one of several characters whose intelligence is rewritten, all so that the show and the characters in the narrative can manipulate him.
In this episode, it was like Jordan was only there for the Prime supporters to use him, and for the Dark Commander to manipulate the connection he has with Clarke and the others.
The way Jordan never questions if he can trust the people with whom he is interacts in Sanctum because he wants to believe that people are doing better is a ridiculous way of not exploring the character on his own.
At the same time, they have him use Monty's name, all while he is being used in every direction. It hurts the legacy of Monty and the potential that we still want to see carved out for Jordan.
Jordan isn't the only one getting that treatment, with Gaia not that far behind him.
Even though Gaia is connected to the flame, she was always a character who saw how loyalty made the followers blind. She just told Madi that, even after people find out the truth, if they spent enough time believing something, then, it is hard to let it go.
Then right after that, she decides to tell the grounders that the flame is no more. Indra told her not to, and she should have known better even without that warning.
Gaia knew better than anyone what it was like to be loyal to a false god and how committed the grounders were. The fact that she thought they would take the news well enough to help still them made it seem like she didn't know her people at all.
But she did, and so this choice felt like a way to move the plot where it needed to go, all at the risk of the characters it needed to get it there.
The Grounders need to no longer trust Madi and the others because Raven needed to go to Hatch, and there probably needs to be a divide in future episodes when it comes to Sanctum.
That meant Gaia took one for the team where she would make a choice that didn't match her intelligence, all so that more conflict can be created.
It's just the most unfortunate way to watch characters who have so much room to be explored only utilized for the sake of a plot in one of the weaker storylines of the season.
Clarke, Jordan, Gaia, and others in Sanctum deserve to be explored more. They deserve to matter to the story because they have something to offer, especially the lead of the show.
The fact that Bellamy Blake has been wiped out of the show for an unannounced amount of time and that Clarke is not far behind him is the most concerning part of the season so far.
The pieces are there to get to an interesting place, but Sanctum needs to be left behind, and half of the characters need to matter, specifically their natural development.
Most importantly, The 100 needs to do better by its leads.
Nothing would be anything if it weren't for Clarke Griffin.
For any The 100 fans looking for some nostalgia as the series concludes, TV Fanatic has a surprise interview series for you! "Looking Back On The 100" centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show, as well as Michael Beach about the journey he had, and we even took a walk down memory lane with Christopher Larkin and Aaron Ginsburg. We even checked in with Zach McGowan about that surprise return to the show.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past!
Nikki was quite angry that Hatch died, which wouldn't have been weird if she didn't send him to work on his own. She didn't trust Raven and knew that this request was fishy, so why did she send her husband into what could have been a potential risk?
Nikki needs to be angry for whatever story she gets involved in next, but it is hard to feel for her when she was just as willing to risk Hatch's life.
I don't know who exactly to thank for allowing Adina Porter to exist more on our screens this season, but I am beyond grateful to everyone that made this a reality.
Also, Gaia was drinking either tea or coffee when she was speaking with Clarke. Is anyone else wondering how she knows how to make this tea or coffee? I have questions.
The Prime supporters really will just go one from cult leader to the next without even noticing. Bill Cadogan will be very excited.
It is worth highlighting Richard Harmon's acting in this episode, especially when Murphy was sharing scenes with Hatch.
Murphy, actually struggling with Raven's decision, reflected well in Hatch's last moments, knowing he was tricked into dying for the others.
Hatch's story about Nikki shooting a group of hostages with no witnesses around, though. You don't even need to look for the "parallels" anymore; it just hits you when you least expect it.
That means that even if Murphy (or Raven?) hopes to make up for what they did, there isn't a way to do it.
Also lets discuss the fact that Murphy wasn't as comfortable letting the Eligius group die, while Raven was willing to let them become an acceptable loss from the beginning. Not to be that person but Murphy is a delinquent that connected with criminals that seemingly can't be forgiven for their crimes?
Meanwhile Raven wasn't arrested on the Ark, so she came down to the ground not because she was seen as disposable by the others.
Jackson and Miller's scene stood out because it didn't exactly make sense if you consider the episode in its entirety. But let's keep their conversation in our back pocket, just in case there's an actual follow-up down the line.
Emori really needs to be involved in every mission because there is no one we can trust more to get things done. Her energy is calm, cool, and collected, which is such an inspiration when all these grey decisions are being made around them.
Tim Scanlan delivered a truly visceral view of a very intense episode. The episode's direction added to the high risks being built up, as well as a chilling look into tough decisions that can't be undone.
In my mind, Madi and Picasso are just hanging out in the backyard playing in the grass. Everything is fine, and there are no threats.
What did you think of the episode? Are you worried about where Raven will go from here?
Did you think the characters are going to be able to do better?
Are you also struggling with how some of your favorite characters are being explored? Are you more interested in the Anomaly or Sanctum more?
Is anyone else endlessly wondering where Bellamy might be?
Let us know what you think below!
Stick around TV Fanatic for more interviews, features, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online right here on TV Fanatic.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.