What do you do when a show proves that things only get so bad before they get even worse?
If all this led to the final message that The 100 is trying to portray, they finally accomplished it. It is very clear that this whole season was just proof that there is no hope left for humanity.
Because if these are the choices that The 100 wants to make in its final season, there is nothing left to fight for.
This journey was nothing more than impossible decisions and a tragic end to a story that many once loved.
During The 100 Season 7 Episode 15, everyone is divided as they try to deal with their own issues. Murphy, Raven, and Jackson find themselves fighting to find the Anomaly stone so they can save Emori's life.
Meanwhile, Clarke and Octavia try to get to Bardo to save Madi and stop Cadogan. Unfortunately, that doesn't end well when Levitt finally gets them there, only to discover that Madi suffered a stroke at Cadogan's hands and is unable to speak or move.
They think there is no other choice but to kill her until they get distracted and instead decide to stop Cadogan first.
"The Dying of The Light," written by Kim Shumway, was a cautionary tale in losing sight of your own story. A mix of random obstacles to distract and an overwhelming reminder of just how emotionally constipated many of the characters are, this was the introduction to the last episode ever. And all of that was nothing compared to the final sequence meant to kickstart action once and for all.
Seven seasons have apparently all lead to a child being tortured to the point where she loses all of her agency, all so that the lead character has nothing to lose as she walks around the bodies of her loved ones for one last useless war.
There are no words to properly grasp how horrifying the last sequence was, yet another attempt to present torture pron in a new and edgy way. Except it isn't anything close to that. Instead, the narrative rips the last remaining part of Clarke's heart because she needs to be stripped of all emotion for the final battle.
At the same time, a child is put into harm's way and is again graphically injured for the sake of a plot twist.
This is no longer another useless obstacle; it is an attempt to make the lead serve the last storyline at the cost of Madi's life. Her daughter becomes a pawn that prepares Clarke for a showdown against Cadogan, all while breaking any trust the audience still might have had for meaningful storytelling.
The 100 can claim that this is the message they were writing towards, but it escalated once the show lost its heart. The second the narrative decided that Bellamy was disposable was when all hope for a satisfying ending went out the door with him.
But at least the conflict is finally revealed to be the last war. Or the last test. Or maybe it is the last war of tests. Or was it tests of war?
Make This Mess Make Sense
Speaking of things that don't make sense, here we are.
In a strange self-sabotage case, the show continues to make decisions that make their final journey more confusing. The last episode before the series finale and all that we are left to think about is what is the point?
The people in Bardo are preparing for the last war even though the code hasn't been acquired yet. But Clarke and Octavia surprise them as they are setting up guns for their last fight.
The thing is that it has never been hinted at that guns are necessary? They don't even know if this will be a war or a test, so there is no way they know what they are fighting. But the disciples are still setting up these weapons as if they are the answer that they spent all these years decoding.
If anything, this last season (and the series as a whole) has one clear focus; gun promotion.
But maybe there is a reason for all of this. Maybe all the questions will magically be answered in the last hour of the series.
For now, though, it is time for the series finale, and it isn't even clear what everyone will be facing.
Cadogan thinks it is the last war. Jordan believes it is a test. There was also mention of the original people who lived on Bardo and their death, which walks hand in hand with the bio-weapon still present. Becca saw Judgement Day, and that is what she tried to stop Cadogan from accessing.
There is also the issue of continuity, especially when it comes to Cadogan. As the end gets closer, characters are slowly being rewritten outside of their initial behavior.
Cadogan's one rule is for all mankind. He was probably one of the characters who followed it through and through. Except when it comes to his own family?
He pushes Levitt to go deeper into Madi's mind, not even for the code but also for his daughter. This isn't exactly a good look for a leader preaching that no one is more important than anyone else.
It isn't even clear what he hopes to find out about his daughter, especially since he left her out there to survive independently, and now he is interested in what happened to her now that she died.
That goes to my next point: the struggle that these episodes are when it comes to the prequel. It is locking in stories that they won't tell, like Cadogan ever coming back to see his children again.
It feels like the wrong time to limit the variety of plots that could be explored in a new show, but that's just me.
This episode also takes away any qualities that they boosted about when it came to Cadogan. He was an easy-going guy who had a different take on the future, but then offscreen; he reverted to a version of himself willing to risk a child's life. It is a stark difference from the man that spent all this time with the main characters so far.
There is also a question about transcending, the rules of which are still off.
Anders and others complained that someone who died couldn't transcend. The focus was on recruiting people with the promise of crossing over. But then Cadogan mentions that Clarke and Octavia don't need to enter Bardo to transcend later.
What is the point of all of this?
Why limit your storytelling by writing the characters into corners they now can't escape from?
Then again, this is the same episode that focused on the aftermath of an explosion, as if that bears the same weight as preparing the characters for the last conflict they will ever face.
Everyone should be in the same place, already fighting off the main conflict of the season and the series, but instead, they are all unaware of where the other groupings are or what is wrong.
There is no time left for anything to be answered or for any characters to find closure. It would be a worry, but most of the characters are so unrecognizable at this point that maybe the audience is better off.
Why? Why? Why?
There is something unsettling about how Madi has been written up against white men who take all her agency away time after time.
First it was Sheidheda, a man who threatened Madi's life if she didn't kneel to him. That dynamic was uncomfortable for a while, but the way it was framed in that Sanctum bar is still a different kind of haunting.
Now it is Cadogan forcing himself into Madi's mind without her consent. She first allows them to look through her memories for those she cares about, but that becomes Cadogan forcing his way in, and the results were horrifying, to say the least.
But what was even worse if the show's decision to do this.
The 100 really thought that after the criticism they got over Clarke electrocuting Madi during The 100 Season 5 Episode 12, that the only reasonable choice in the overhyped up penultimate episode was to take it even farther?
Merriam-Webster describes that "the word penultimate adds an extra emphatic syllable to the word ultimate, which makes people think it somehow means “more” than ultimate -- but it really means less."
Say what you will, but this episode brought less to the table than it tried to advertise beforehand.
The explosion was another excuse for the characters to stay in the space they are already in. Everyone is divided by location, and no one knows where the other group is.
It is a stalling tactic that allows nothing to happen; meanwhile, the gift of illusion creates the idea that the plot is actually moving along. But in usual The 100 style, everything means nothing until the final scene.
But a good episode isn't measured by the shock that you create at the end, especially if you lose all common sense and compassion along the way.
It was difficult watching Nelson's people get killed in a massacre, only for him to be shot in the head right after. It was excruciating to see Bellamy shot in the heart for daring to believe in something beyond violence and blood-stained survival. It was ridiculous having to mourn Gabriel a few times over, as the plot stabbed him over and over until he bled out.
Yet none of that prepared the audience for Madi's storyline.
Clarke finally finds Madi, only to have her mind torn apart by Cadogan. He dug around so deep that he caused a stroke, making Madi unable to speak or move.
It is heartbreaking (and disturbing) that a child is put into this position, to begin with. But then her mother doesn't even give it a minute between finding out that Madi can't be brought back because she was locked in her mind and Clarke picking up a gun with the intention to mercy kill her daughter.
If you will have Clarke only be a mother, then at least put in the effort of having her be a good one.
Instead, she tries to pull the plug on her daughter without even trying to get a second opinion or some advice on what she can do next. Just because Madi can't speak or move doesn't mean she has nothing to offer anymore.
She is still a person. She is still a daughter. She still has her life to exist for, and in one short second, Clarke takes it all away from herself. Or has it taken from her?
It is an understatement to say this sequence was sickening to watch. It didn't need to happen, it didn't make sense, and the obvious attempt to create a dark reality was just another reminder of how much The 100 is failing.
This show is now not only letting down the audience they seemingly hate, but they are letting the characters down as well.
Madi was just stepping up for herself and her place in the world. She didn't want her mother to make choices for her, and she just wanted the happiness she found in Sanctum.
But as soon as Madi took control, the show punished her.
She spoke out against Clarke's choices, and the others were making in her name, very controversial choices that left many dead for no reason. And as soon as she started to exist for herself, The 100 took her voice away from her.
It was traumatic, and it was a visceral reminder that the show isn't thinking about what would make sense for Madi (or Clarke).
Similar to then allowing Clarke to harm her daughter before, now she is almost pushed to make it official.
Clarke spent this entire episode screaming that she was nothing without Madi, and yet she doesn't even think about trying to keep Madi alive. It is a decision she makes without thinking it through, and it is extremely ableist.
Which brings us to the real issue; The 100 never thinks about the message they are sending to the audience.
It is not okay to position that ending as the right choice in the situation. Just because a person might be disabled doesn't mean they have no quality of life and just need to be killed to help them. That isn't okay.
The narrative that is being created that members of the disabled community have nothing fulfilling to offer is absurd and insulting.
It must be even worse for Madi, having to see everything that is going on and understand the decisions being made without you having the chance to speak. Madi has to watch her mother and Octavia aim for her heart, even though her opinion wasn't even taken into account.
There is no proper explanation for what the show was thinking, probably because they weren't.
Especially when Clarke and Octavia only pause because Levitt realizes Cadogan got the code. Clarke even says how wrong it is that Cadogan got the code and then left Madi like that.
Then she right away decides this means she has to go find Cadogan, leaving her daughter exactly in the same worrisome position that she complained he left her in.
Make it make sense.
Clarke does everything she can just to get to Madi. When she does, she almost kills her after everything she did to protect her. For no real reason. It is frightening that there were no other ideas that could have been picked for all of this.
Madi's sense of self is taken away for the sake of the plot, and the stakes have never been lower. It really feels like Madi wasn't killed because she will just transcend, and it will all be okay.
But the lackluster investment in the story and the characters shows well onscreen. The show has given up on Madi now, and Clarke exists only to push the story along.
It is a lot for Eliza Taylor and Lola Flanery to have to carry, especially when you consider the material. It is a lot for the fans to experience, all for no reason except to be as graphic and over the top as possible.
Madi deserved better though, She deserved to continue to exist as her own person. She earned to continue to exist as her own person. She deserved to say goodbye to her friends on Sanctum and to have more time with Picasso.
Now she is an afterthought that sets up Clarke's betrayal towards Bellamy and those around her. Madi doesn't exist for herself again, and that is the real continuous shame.
The old Clarke can't come to the phone right now. Why? Because she's dead.
It is hard to watch Clarke because that isn't her anymore. She used to be someone with empathy and the ability to be intelligent at a moment's notice. Now she just threatens everyone if they don't care about Madi as loudly as she does.
And look where that got her.
Clarke was defined not by one label, but by many.
She was a leader and a powerful presence on our screens. She was a selfless friend and a bisexual icon. She made mistakes but they were on her way to stopping the end of the world. She struggled to allow herself to show emotions because she was always trying to keep someone else alive.
Clarke had flaws, but at the same time, she had so many inspiring traits that made her the female lead that she was.
But now, at the end of the journey, when she should have the most amount of power, she has been stripped of it. The only word that can define Clarke now is a mother and a bad one at that.
As soon as she finds her daughter, she wants to euthanize her. It is chilling, wrong, and not the way to write a mother.
But The 100 has long forgotten how to do right by its female characters, or by most of their characters really. It should come as no shock that Clarke was the next one to go, although that is the hardest one to watch be molded into someone she isn't.
In fact it isn't even Clarke's fault that this is happening to her, not after the show went out of there way to take everyone she loved out of commision. Clarke isn't allowed to have anyone, not while The 100 needs her in pain.
But at the same time, Clarke is still an awful example of a character who can't survive off bad writing and one personality trait. Being a mother isn't everything, especially when it takes away more than it gives.
But the show decided to double down even harder and limit Clarke's identity. She can't exist outside of role as a mother, so much so that even the very apparent love interest thrown at her is rooted in her connection to Madi. Clarke isn't allowed to exist outside of being a mother, so even any romance she will get as a consultation price will be an extension of her child.
If it isn't clear yet, but the show is gunning to put Clarke and Gaia into a potential ambiguous/unambiguous endgame. You would think a lead deserves a some time to have a romance explored and to make it worthy of endgame status.
Well, think again.
Instead, Clarke and Gaia have their scattered talks that only exist around Madi, because that is all they have in common. They literally can't talk about anything else because they have nothing else.
Gaia exists as a substitute for Bellamy, a person that Clarke seemingly has all these talks with and that understands her love for her daughter. But with Gaia it is all surface level, which is what happens when the writing is bare minimum of what it should be.
It is disturbing that the narrative believes Clarke is now defined only by being a mother. So much so that she had to kill Bellamy for Madi so that he couldn't be a romantic option, yet at the same time is connecting with Gaia, a relative stranger, only because she is friendly to Madi.
It is no longer all about what or who might make Clarke happy these days. It is like musical chairs where the last option has to end up with Clarke, whether it adds to the lead character's life or not.
Bellamy Blake Shade Shrine
The title for this episode is a little later, considering the show's light died a few episodes ago.
But no matter how distant he is from the narrative now, he is still there. Bellamy still exists in the mistakes that others make without him around to inspire them to do better. Bellamy still exists when people want to rewrite their history with him to create the personal illusion they need to move forward.
Bellamy still exists in the storylines that are now given to others, but then you wonder what could have been.
This time around, it goes to Levitt, someone who exists to always be on the same side as Octavia. He is the inside guy that always comes through, even if it is against the faith he grew up with.
He sees that Madi is struggling and tries to offer her help, specifically when it comes to Cadogan. He is too late, but he risks everything to bring Octavia and Clarke to her.
This is a characteristic exclusive to Levitt; the story loves to make him convenient enough to appear when necessary. And it is interesting the way that Clarke couldn't trust Bellamy for one more second because of his faith, but Levitt trying to help them is fine.
What did she think Bellamy was aiming for?
But you can't help but wonder if this entire storyline in this episode was meant for Bellamy Blake and then was rewritten for Levitt. The possible storylines for Bellamy are everywhere, and it only makes you miss his presence more.
On the one hand, the train wreck that is unfolding is messy enough that Bellamy is better off not being dragged around with it. But then on the other hand, so many of these problems started when The 100 forgot how to do right by Bellamy.
Like a domino effect, everything else collapsed with the heart of the show gone for good.
Maybe Bellamy Blake deserved to get away from all of this before they tortured him or rewrote his entire characterization, but selfishly it is hard not to miss him.
And the substitutes that they are creating to fill his place because, as we know, Bellamy wasn't meant to die during The 100 Season 7 Episode 13, which means these episodes did plan to include him, are ridiculous.
With Bellamy gone, the narrative goes right back to Clarke, only opening up to Gaia, someone she barely spoke to in previous seasons unless Madi was involved.
Now they are having these deep and meaningful conversations about Clarke's feelings in the exact same spot where Clarke pointed a gun at Bellamy on Earth. Back then it felt impossible that she would pull the trigger and now here we are.
Oh, how the turntables have ...
And these hints continue in a far from subtle way when Octavia offers to kill Madi for Clarke, so she doesn't bear the pain of losing another loved one. Just like in Season 1 with Atom, Clarke took over because Bellamy couldn't. Now another Blake is taking over because Bellamy couldn't be there for Clarke.
Everything from the mercy kill to the song Clarke hums brings us back to the first kill they had to make on Earth. The irony of the situation is a bit over the top, with The 100 trying so hard to push nostalgia in all the wrong places.
No one wants to remember Clarke's first kill by watching someone shot her daughter. Who would think that was the best outcome here?
It is hard not to look for hints of what might have been, which storylines Bellamy Blake could have been part of. But at the same time all this darkness just isn't it. He deserved better than to be surrounded by even more pain and violence, not like this.
Bellamy deserved better in life, but maybe at this point he is getting better with his permanent distance from this chaotic season.
Maybe him taking away the heart of the show was a good idea; there isn't anyone else more deserving of a life that The 100 just couldn't give him.
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 Nadia Hilker about creating the character of Luna.
Chai Hansen also looked back at the show with us when it came to his time on it as Ilian. And Charmaine DeGraté expanded on her writing journey with the show, as well as what it was like to write for Bellamy and Octavia Blake.
Eve Harlow spoke with us as well about Maya's pure presence on the show and about Maya's relationship with Jasper. Ivana Milicevic reflected on the message that Diyoza left behind after her exit. Lee Majdoub also shared about Nelson's connections and his final moments on the show.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past!
The way that the show keeps bringing up that Hope means to Octavia what Madi means to Clarke as a constant reminder that Bellamy meant nothing to them at all in the end.
The 100 went out of their way to offer the two women Bellamy cares so much about other people to care about more than him. For what? I'm sick of the way it has to be one over the other, especially since Bellamy is Octavia's brother and Clarke's soulmate. But sure.
All of that chaos from Bardo to Sanctum to Earth, only for them to just end up back in Bardo?
Are we still pretending that Season 7 wasn't just about wasting our time with every new episode?
We absolutely have to take a moment to thank Luisa D'Oliveira, Richard Harmon, and Lindsey Morgan for absolutely killing it this episode. They were the best part of all of this, and Emori isn't dying.
I refuse, so it is law.
Can anyone explain why Raven thought them getting to Bardo would stop anything? A ridiculous amount of people is popping in and out of Bardo, and none of them have stopped Cadogan yet. What will one more person do that everyone else hasn't attempted already?
Speaking of Raven, it is quite a twist to have her compared to Clarke. It was written all over her face too how much she didn't want to become someone who chose the many over the few that mattered to her.
It would have never hit me that I would be agreeing with Raven while disagreeing with Clarke, but she is a shell of the person she used to be. Now everything is all about Madi and everyone else is an acceptable loss, meaning Raven is coming out of this with smarter choices and actual reasons for what she does.
At this point it might even be interesting to see Raven take the road that Clarke won't as she focuses on her loved ones like Emori instead of the greater population first.
The partnership didn't last long but Clarke was willing to work with Sheidheda on a plan but not with Bellamy.
Bellamy made it clear the entire time that his priority were the people he loved. He was doing this all for them, and he was focused on keeping them all safe. Meanwhile Sheidheda was all about trying to harm Madi and anyone else who didn't follow him.
But the bigger threat in Clarke's eyes was her best friend and not the actual villain.
Jordan saying he wishes he told Bellamy that he believed in all of this too is the reason he is still our favorite.
Not everyone else though. They are still out.
My soul is utterly exhausted.
Bellamy Blake deserved better. So much better.
Maybe the title of the episode represents that last piece of light left on the show, and how none of it exists anymore. Any hope that some could have hoped for really did die when the show thought torturing Madi and Clarke like that was the way to go.
At some point Clarke needs to stop framing her loved ones as lost to her, as if she didn't make sure that one of them wasn't alive first.
Is it just me who felt like the characters are talking but not really engaging? The emotional constipation extends to them talking at one another, instead of which each other.
So what is the plan for all of them now? How do you stop what has already begun?
I miss the old Clarke Griffin.
So are Bellamy Blake and Gabriel Santiago hanging out right now and making fun of everyone else? I would like to think so.
Let me repeat one more time how utterly horrible that last scene was, how it didn't need to be in the episode, and how excessive it was.
So what did Cadogan see in his little prequel sneak peek.
The next episode is the series finale and you still haven't introduced the main conflict to the show. How? How?! How????
What do you think? Are you excited about the series finale? Or are you over the constant doom and gloom? What are you hoping to see next week? What do you think the message of the show will be? Do you think there is enough time for them to wrap all of this up?
Which character's story have you been enjoying the most? Which character are you missing? Do you think Emori will actually die? Do you think anyone else is in serious danger of giving killed off so far?
How much did you hate that last Madi scene from a scale of 10 to 10? Is anyone still invested in the prequel?
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 was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in April 2021.