We have to go back.
Or maybe we don't have to, but we are going back. It's been building up to this, with the history and mythology of The 100 taking us into the past.
But things are never what they seem, which is where the real story begins.
During The 100 Season 7 Episode 8, Cadogan travels back to Earth as he finally meets Clarke and explores what that means.
Meanwhile, a look at the Second Dawn adventures raises questions about what awaits the others with present-day Cadogan and their friends who might be brainwashed now. More information also laid itself out about past seasons of the show and how it ended up that way.
"Anaconda," written by Jason Rothenberg, is creating a world before the world that started it all. It combines the mystery of the Second Dawn bunker with the Anomaly Stone's origins, and it prepares the Grounder storyline for a potential spin-off show.
It has the obvious strength that Jason Rothenberg manages to achieve when it comes to storytelling and world-building, especially in a space that he has already created.
But it also feels like it could be the same take with different characters and circumstances, exploring a group of people that have to survive by themselves, except now they have some technology on their side.
The Cadogan family is the singular group of explored characters, with Callie at the helm of it all, but they do possess the ability to create enough intrigue on their own show. Callie and Reese steal their scenes and have managed to grip us in a very short amount of time.
How to survive the end of the world never felt more riveting, and Second Dawn relies on that as it weaves a story of finding your new purpose during an apocalypse.
Nice To Meet You, What's Your Name?
Before the plot comes the characters and how they exist in the universe that we have grown to know.
This next journey within The 100 universe would be nothing without Callie Cadogan.
Iola Evans turns in a stunning performance as Callie, with unconditional worry about others and determination to do better radiating in all of her scenes. She provides a feeling of something familiar, while also reinventing and introducing us to someone completely new.
Her stubbornness perfectly prepared her to be thrust into fighting for her life and those around her.
Callie is our window into this new world that The 100 is trying to tackle, and there isn't anyone else that could get the job done like she has been able to. But while she may feel predictable when it comes to keeping people safe, she can also be an unexpected force.
People want to believe that their leaders are telling the truth.Callie
Shooting Reese in a battle for the flame was either an example of the surprises Callie can throw our way or the risks this prequel will take in storytelling.
While The 100 would have Clarke pull a gun on Bellamy without going through with it (because there was no universe where she could somehow do that), somehow Callie already exists.
She shoots Reese without a second thought, and it's that spontaneous reaction that makes you wonder where else Callie's story could go.
It also sets her up for her next journey, which will be finding people to save on Earth and figuring out who the right person for the flame could be.
But there is no way the past won't continue to follow her, especially with her brother, who will stop at nothing to get back the object that he thinks will make his father finally respect him.
Reese Cadogan is the next arc of the story, a brother who is always struggling to be someone outside of his sister's shadow.
Adain Bradley does an incredible job of manifesting the backstory for Reese that we have yet to see. His motivation and pain are right at the surface of his scenes; his actions are rooted in him looking to prove himself.
Reese is all about the rules, the ones his father created, and yet he can't get the support he is begging for from him. But his sister goes against his father at every turn, and she is the one that gets Cadogan's undying attention.
It drives Reese relatably, making us feel for him even when he is on the other side of a growing war. Reese may think he found his purpose, but his actions scream of a guy lost within his family and just looking for a purpose.
That looks like it would come true in a world where Reese isn't confined to following orders in the bunker. By finding Callie, Reese has a chance to become his own person and live for himself.
Seeing Adain Bradley showcase the conflict that exists every time Reese is forced into a moral corner has been one of the best highlights to come out of the prequel.
Adding that to the potential if the show keeps exploring Reese and Callie's dynamic makes for an exciting look forward. Or back.
Callie: Screw what Dad says.
Reese: That's easy for you to say. No matter what you do, he looks at you like you can do no wrong.
Callie: I'm sorry about that. But this won't make him love you any more.
In all his glory, Bill Cadogan felt familiar in a blink, and you will miss it A narcissist with psychopathic tendencies who can't be bothered to listen to the women around him making very valid points.
A false god that created a legacy he didn't have any plans of actually achieving, Bill Cadogan is blinded by his support for himself, which held him back in the past and caused chaos in the present.
His need to find the code to see what Becca saw on the other side, even when she warned him that it is dangerous, sets a scene about where this will go.
The last war can very well be avoided, but if all of this is triggered by Cadogan wanting to see what he was told not to, this is another reminder never to let a man lead alone.
Nothing good comes from it, and then you end up with Bill trying to pretend this is all for the greater good.
He did manage to make the prequel is one, setting a tone for how he will exist in the present day and allowing for his flaws to accent him as the villain he probably didn't see coming in his own children's stories.
None of what drives Bill comes down to his children; it is all about taking on a Jesus like persona that he can't put into effect.
There is saying that you are everyone's answer to the end of the world because you want to be, and then there is Becca walking in and proving it isn't about creating the narrative.
Can't steal something that belongs to all of us. It was sent here to save the human race.Cadogan
She didn't want any of this, which is why she was given all the answers Bill so desperately wanted.
Gemma Cadogan, played by Crystal Balint, is a breath of fresh air as she tries to protect her children from her husband and the havoc he is creating around them.
But she still struggles with the protocol she has learned to follow, and her destination from here will have to be the possible show's next mystery.
For now, though, the way she supported Callie and tried her best to be present as one supportive parent in the Cadogan family was a different take on a similar story.
She still had to learn how to separate herself from what she thought she knew, but doing the right thing comes easy to the Cadogan women.
Becca was a character many know and love; there was no way she couldn't have been added to the mix to guide the characters and the audience into this next adventure.
It was fascinating to see her in a different light, and not only the green one. She has more of a limited presence whenever she appeared to help with the show's mythology, but this was her in her natural state.
Even though the audience knew she would end up dead, how she got to that point was just as engaging. Erica Cerra brought everything to the table with her appearance, redefining how the viewers usually got to see her and kept Becca's existence as intriguing as ever.
Callie: You closed the portal.
Becca: Yeah, I didn't want your father to throw me in it.
Becca's interactions with Callie and Cadogan may have been brief, but it had the substance that allowed it to stand out individually.
She offered more information on the flame's lore without making it overwhelming, including how the flame gives someone the ability to hear the Anomaly Stone. This adds a twist to the present-day predicament that Clarke and the others are in, they don't have a flame to give anyone to get more answers.
They do have mind drives, though, another creation of Becca's, and those four mind drives might be able to be adjusted and installed in a nightblood to get them further information on the stone.
And while characters were introduced, walking away from it makes you wonder if you learned about more than Callie.
She is an incredible protagonist and can really resonate with potential fans like Clarke Griffin continues to, but she isn't the only one driving the story from here on out.
I wish we saw more of Reese and his motivations, although they are growing, and the interest exists there.
But characters beyond that like August and Tristan we assume will play a more prominent role, but right now, it feels like they didn't exist enough for us to gauge our reaction to them.
His love for his girlfriend incredibly drove August. While the actor's performance carried those scenes since we didn't know either of them enough to invest, it certainly won't touch the audience of the actual show covering his choices two years later.
It's unfortunate that some of the prequel's most substantial aspects won't actually make it into the show if it is picked up.
Characters that created all this mythology like Becca won't exist. Relationships that quickly grabbed our attention like Becca and Callie can't be explored anymore.
Even plot points like the Anomaly Stone aren't going to see the light of day, even though it was a massive aspect of the story that moved all the characters along in the prequel premiere.
The prequel was strong in the story it was telling, but none of that may be in the show itself. This arc was a good way to juggle what Season 7 was building up to, but it only needed to explain why Cadogan was alive after all this time.
Everything else isn't necessary for the prequel, and yet somehow, it was one of the strongest aspects of the episode and beyond.
The Second Dawn Story
The prequel episode found a way to tell a new story while keeping elements of what worked from the future and extended it to a place where both could exist.
The beginning of the end was engaging, and it did what The 100 was always able to do best. The potential is all there, and it is all about continuing to follow that.
By using the Anomaly Stone to relate it to the flame, it pieced together two of the biggest aspects of The 100 history. It has more value to the story that is yet to be told on the ground and gave a push to the story that is now being told on Bardo.
The way that the Second Dawn story played with time was also well-approached, it didn't focus too much on just staying in one place, and it wasn't stagnant because there was always something pushing for the next story shift.
The prequel episode set out what it accomplished to do, and it did it in a memorable way. The interest exists for where these characters may go next and how the history of The 100 will mold itself to their journey.
As a stand-alone episode, the prequel was strong in building a new world and yet influenced by what the audience has been learning all this time.
I've been to Earth, I rather see what is behind door #2.Gemma
It effectively created characters that make us want to follow them as they take on this new world and what it might mean to them. It relied on the most exciting mythology, and by giving answers, it only created more engaging questions.
But you have to wonder how some of the most exciting aspects of the prequel ended alongside the episode itself.
The focal point is a story that is still yet to be told, and while it was a good idea to merge the arc of Season 7 and the mystery of the bunker to create this next story, in a way it felt like all the interesting aspects won't even transfer over.
It is too early to tell honestly, but the prequel's vision was dynamic enough that it makes you wonder. Most of the lore that came from Becca and the Anomaly Stone can't be transferred over to the group starting over outside of the bunker.
The characters can carry the show as it eases into a new central story, but there is something to be said about what is being left behind.
This final season of the show was all about building up interest in the prequel, but yet the aspects of this season that worked are the ones that presumably won't be explored beyond this episode.
The Anomaly took most of the screentime so far this season; it was driving every character and became almost a brand new presence on The 100.
It is fascinating, and it makes the endless possibilities wonderfully grab your attention. But that is left behind for the show's final season to tackle when there seem to be enough stories to last beyond that.
Unless the prequel show would switch from Earth to Bardo, it feels like all the investment we have in the history of the Anomaly Stone disappeared with Cadogan.
There is also the way that the narrative for this new show leans a lot on the original show, even if it is trying to pretend it isn't.
The upcoming take seems to be exactly what Season 1 of the show was, a remaining population trying to survive and building a life outside of danger. Many of the survivors even looked young enough to be delinquents before the original delinquents.
But The 100 almost wanted to distance itself from its origin, so the idea of survival is mixed with the technology of The 100 Season 3.
The prequel also didn't exactly shift away from The 100, even if it is marketed as a possible show that would exist outside of it.
This prequel episode and the potential show that exists is rooted in the mythology of The 100.
You have to know about the history of the flame and Becca to understand what drives Callie. You have to know the mythology behind the Anomaly Stone to understand why Reese is seeking out Callie for Cadogan.
You have to have the knowledge of the Grounders and the backstory of how the Ark fits into everything.
So much of the episode needed an origin to make sense, and it was all about connecting years of dots about the bunker and the cult.
None of that will play a massive role in the next journey for these characters, but to get people invested, you have to know that most of the appeal will come from those that followed The 100.
This potential prequel may be trying to market itself as a show that doesn't relate to The 100 if it doesn't want to. It might be pointing out how characters and plot lines stand-out when comparing it to a show we are saying goodbye to.
But the audience would still have to be the original The 100 fans because much of the prequel episode was tied to the mythology of its predecessor.
Yet that doesn't mean The 100 wasn't what created the possibility for a prequel, and that doesn't mean it doesn't drive the future for everything that will exist from it.
But Second Dawn would still descend from The 100, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
How It Relates To Our Favorites
There was so much information thrown at us about the past, but the important question is, how does it affect the present?
First of all, we finally learned how Clarke plays a key role in this war that Cadogan has coming up. Pun intended.
In the most unexpected plot twist of all time on the show, Clarke is the key because the assumption is that she has the flame inside of her.
No one could have seen that coming all season long, except that we did.
Regardless, the apparent issue is that Clarke doesn't have it, and it isn't like they can go back to Sanctum to get it. Unless The 100 will somehow reverse canon, the flame is completely void and dead now.
It doesn't mean that the last war won't happen, but it sounds like this is how the Bardo storyline will mold with the Sanctum hold up that is happening right now.
Clarke had the flame in her the least amount of time, so it is safe to assume that she must have barely any memories or information.
Then there is Madi; she saw Becca being burnt by Cadogan, which means she had the flame long enough to access Becca's memories. She is also still sketching memories that aren't her own, including the Anomaly Stone and potential symbols that come with it.
There's also Sheidheda; he had the flame for even longer, so his mind must be a palace of memories to dig through for information. And like it was mentioned before, there is no way Sheidheda and Cadogan wouldn't face off when the possibilities are endless between them.
This means Madi and Sheidheda have to be brought back to Bardo for Cadogan to figure out if there are memories left from Becca about that code.
The assumption is that the war is all about Judgment Day, and to this day, Cadogan only wants the code that will allow him to see what Becca saw that day in the bunker.
He may play the concerned father who wants to know if his daughter still exists, but something tells me he assumes that his daughter's memories would offer him information and nothing more.
Once he has that code and can open the bridge to that horrific end of the world scenario, that must be when the presumed war starts when he will send in all his recruits to see what is on the other side and fight if necessary.
Or if there isn't anything threatening on the other side, Cadogan must want for them to "transcend" to the final stage of human survival by surviving Judgment Day.
Now Judgment Day isn't limited to the bible, even if Cadogan wants to be a self-proclaimed modern-day Jesus figure. But the limited information includes that the Day of Judgment revolves around the afterlife and the decision of how humankind will exist beyond their present-day lives.
Bellarke Corner of Comfort
Speaking of the theme of the show, here we are.
We all deserve to take a deep breath before we dive into our feelings together. Fair warning, though: we shouldn't get too emotional because Bellamy is just our friend, which requires only a limited amount of open feelings.
Still, it was very distracting to have the prequel explored just as Clarke finds out that Bellamy "died." But we are back in that deafening blow that has come her way, and it is wrecking us just as much as it is hurting her.
What's even more frustrating, though, is how a lack of communication will probably prolong them, revealing what happened to Bellamy.
Clarke accuses Cadogan of killing Bellamy, and instead of checking with Anders, he takes it in stride. But what if he asked Anders what happened with Bellamy, there is no way he wouldn't get the truth.
Then he could use Bellamy being alive as a way to bargain with Clarke to work with him.
Instead, miscommunication will be the staggering way that Bellamy will continue to not exist for a yet to be determined amount of time.
But that's fine, everything is fine.
Clarke is trying to be fine, except her best friend is now dead, and the reaction she is allowed to have is worth the pain.
Clarke: Yes, Calliope is in here. But that is not how this works.
Cadogan: How does it work? Tell me.
Clarke: Well you killed my best friend, so I am not sure I want to help you.
Unfortunately, it was surprising, but still having Bellamy's death drive Clarke's decision was a welcome surprise. He is and always was important to her, whether the narrative remembered or not, so getting to see that still playing a role in what she does next at least felt realistic.
But Clarke doesn't have that much time to even really feel; it breaks her, and then she has to glue herself back together to support those around her.
Clarke has to be everyone's rock, just as she lost her rock in minutes.
But she does take the fact that she doesn't even have time to think and still realizes that whatever happens next is for Bellamy. The still alive group of people have to survive for Bellamy, and it hurts how little Clarke is allowed to feel yet again.
It was clear during The 100 Season 7 Episode 3 that Clarke wasn't allowed to feel more than the narrative found room for in the moment. So much of Clarke's ability to have emotions coincided with Bellamy being there to allow them to exist.
Without him around, Clarke was positioned as a person who was there for others to feel in her direction. But Clarke herself was a bit more emotionally clogged up, she still had to be experiencing emotions, but she could only exhibit that when the show needed her to.
Now Clarke is thrown horrible life-changing news her way, and as quickly as she reacts, she has to gather all that up and make it disappear.
When does business, as usual, become a complete disregard for characters as people and now pawns?
Regardless, Clarke (and Octavia) still find ways to make us mourn with them even if they weren't deemed worthy enough to miss Bellamy for more than five minutes.
The show can limit Clarke, but somehow she still makes her undeniable loss shine through everything she does. Her motivations are now all about honoring Bellamy, and that includes not giving Cadogan what he wants.
She could have agreed to help him to get access to her friends, yet she went on the offense because she is still driven by the fact that he can't get away with taking Bellamy from her.
And while not everyone favored Clarke referring to Bellamy as her best friend, it was still meaningful.
The 100 could have had Clarke not refer to Bellamy as anything; it could have sidestepped entirely her having any reaction to losing him.
This was true to form, Bellamy is Clarke's person, and she is saying that for the first time. She also visibly expressed her pain without making it an over the top performance like someone else forced us to witness.
Bellamy is Clarke's best friend, and that was a different kind of soft experience getting to hear her finally acknowledge him this way. It only took seven seasons and multiple fake deaths between them, but here we are.
Is there something smaller than a crumb? If there is, we are having it currently thrown our way, and it is all the little examples of happiness.
The 100 Season 7 is all about audience conditioning, and the social experiment is just beginning.
Questions That The Prequel Left Behind
As many questions as the prequel introduction tried to answer, it left others in its wake in many ways.
Where is Gemma? We know that Gemma was forced into a world that she couldn't survive in by Cadogan. She knows that Callie and the others are heading west, but can she survive in that suit until she finds them?
It is strange how timing is set up in the episode because reasonably, that shouldn't be a question. She was locked out about five minutes after her daughter left, yet the episode makes it seem like it isn't as simple as that to find everyone on Earth.
The same goes for Reese, he should be good to go outside after an hour, meaning he is not far behind Gemma, but the assumption is that he will be looking for Callie, and it won't be as easy as we would think.
Who did Callie choose? This isn't a question that can just be answered, especially since the prequel would use this as a focal point throughout the series. But Callie didn't find herself deserving of the flame, which is unusual since she seems the most equipped for it.
Becca trusted her, and they were on the same page enough that Callie should be the next one to take it. But Clarke doesn't recognize the name Callie, even with her short experience with the flame.
Unless Clarke didn't have it long enough to confirm for sure that Callie was or wasn't the next Commander after Becca. This once again means that Madi and Sheidheda need to be brought in to confirm what ended up happening.
If everyone has become a nightblood, how did the Commander process form later on? By the time The 100 started, the way Commanders were chosen changed since Callie had the flame.
Luna and Lexa provided insight into how being a nightblood was a rare part of the population. If you had that blood, then you were sent to fight for the position of Commander. This means not everyone could take the flame the same way they can during the time of the prequel.
It is interesting how the blood was so common and the only way to survive, but it became so far removed and rare.
How does timing work within the set-up of the prequel and beyond? Cadogan says he wants the flame and sends Reese to get it from Callie. But then as Callie is moving west and Reese is preparing to follow her, suddenly we see Cadogan heading to what we can only assume is Bardo.
Maybe time passed before Cadogan headed to Bardo, but the assumption seems to be that he was leading the remaining followers to their salvation.
If he was so concerned about the flame, it doesn't explain him leaving right away instead of waiting for it. For all he knows. Reese rushes out and grabs in a few days.
This will be saved for the potential prequel, but it makes you wonder if he comes back or leaves to assume that somehow he will get the flame one day.
There was no Anomaly Stone when Jaha found the bunker, so where did it go? The stone can't be in the bunker for the others to find during The 100 Season 4. Yet when Cadogan leaves for Bardo with his flock, the stone is still left in the bunker.
This touches on the timeframe and the other characters' ability to move in and out of the bunker. It wasn't there by the time Jaha figured out about it, but did the others still go in and out of the bunker after their first escape?
Could Reese or Callie have been in there? Or do we just assume that the stone magically disappeared by the time Octavia took over that room and became the underground bunker leader?
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. We also spoke with Leah Gibson about #GinaWasReal and her experience on the show.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past!
There needs to be a discussion about the vibes between Callie and Lucy. Are they ... you know ...?
This can never happen but I still wish Callie and Clarke could meet. Can you imagine what that would look like? No? Just me?
We learned that the flame allows someone to hear the stone, but we also learned that the flame does need to choose a person wisely. That foreshadowing about Sheidheda definitely raises the stakes for Callie on her next adventure.
Murphy is terrified of what he saw in Hell, and it still haunts him to this day. But now he will have to deal with what might await him on the other side in general. Should we start worrying about his survival rate now?
To be honest, the stone was already one of the most intriguing aspects of this season. Combining it with this visual sneak peek actually made it that much more interesting and increased my questions about that over anything else.
One of the best aspects of the episode has to be the Annihilation energy that is explored. The overwhelming and almost suffocating science fiction aspect of Alex Garland's extraordinary work jumped out in the flashbacks to Becca's time with the stone.
Three months have passed, and in that time, Echo, Octavia, and Diyoza have been Bardo brainwashed to be genuinely on their side. It had to be a mix of M-Cap with a side of removing them from their lesser emotions.
It is confusing how the three of them experienced that, and yet Gabriel didn't end up brainwashed? At least it didn't come off that way since he was still looking out for his people, which didn't include Anders and co.
Could it be a white suit vs. black suit training side effect?
If we are discussing the Bardo surprises, where is Hope?
Raise your hand if you are suspicious.
Speaking of missing people, where is Gaia?
Gabriel continues to be one of the best aspects of this final season, even when he is just dropping hints and opening doors.
We all agree that August is the prequel's version of Finn. And Callie and Reese are meant to be this story's version of Bellamy and Octavia. It does appear like they have the Bellamy and Clarke level of antagonistic banter from The 100 Season 1, especially since it will be driving the possible first season.
Then, Gemma is the Abby of this story, but they made the right choice to actually make the mother risk everything for her children instead of starting it off with her letting them down. Literally.
Grounders were first crafted in a way where they were almost this group of indigenous survivors, which now becomes even more questionable when the bunker was full of privileged people, and the remaining groups that they are looking for are just Doomsday believers.
So Trig is remains of Latin that Callie decided to use to make her own language as a child. She teaches it to everyone she comes across apparently, and let's just leave it at that.
We should sit down and consider the commentary happening about fathers on this show (and beyond). Most of them don't exist, and so many of them are just a disappointment.
It makes sense.
What is it with everyone looking to kill people by fire? The bunker group burns Becca at the stake and so do the others in Sanctum, including Sheidheda asking to be burned.
So much bible related imagery, so little time.
If anyone was curious about what the news would be right before the end of the world, I caught the information so you wouldn't have to:
There are negotiations on economic relief funds at impasse amidst violence and the first human brain transplant in Bangalore.
Dubai has its first orbital hotel, while Wyoming and 32 states legalize recreational use of psilocybin mushrooms.
There is a deadly heatwave while Yosemite burns.
And Russia's oncovirus spreads while the world's 11th billionth child is born. Yikes.
What did you think of the prequel backdoor pilot episode? If the show is picked up, will you be watching the show? Which character did you connect with the most? Which answers were you most excited to get?
What questions would you still like to see answered? Was there anything that didn't make sense to you? Where do you think all of this leads in the present-day narrative?
What storyline do you need to see picked up right away? Whose life are you most worried about right now? What do you think the last war the human race will ever fight is? What do you think Becca saw on that Judgement Day trip? And do you think it is what Murphy saw when he went to his assumption of Hell?
Let us know what you think below!
Stick around for more interviews, features, slideshows, 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.