The 100 – Season 7 Episode 14
“A Sort of Homecoming”
The 100 returns to familiar surroundings and has the characters consider what they want to call home.
If the final season of The 100 were to be defined by one thing it would be wasted time. Despite the dwindling episode count the writers seem oddly content to waste time haphazardly exploring character relationships rather than making any significant movement in the plot. The command of the characters has become sketchy at best and the lack of significant plot movement in weeks means that the likelihood of ending the show in a satisfying way has diminished to the point where I would argue that it’s close to impossible at this stage.
The return to Earth is an odd choice, albeit a predictable one. It would seem to undermine the end of season 5 where it was determined that Earth wasn’t going to heal from the destruction this time so the only choice was to make a home elsewhere. Season 6 was a largely capable exploration of what trying to settle in on a new planet would be for this group of characters with all the added complications that were thrown into the mix during that season. Earth was a literal representation of the mistakes made by all of the characters over the first five seasons and it being beyond fixing sent a clear message that those mistakes had to be accepted with the new planet serving as a representation of the potential to move on and do better next time. The theme of doing and being better has stagnated to the point that it’s not clear if it’s even on the table any more so the show feels very unfocused at this point.
Being back on Earth is confusing enough but added to that is the characters not reacting to it in a way that makes sense. Nobody ponders how this is possible given the information they had previously. This revelation should at least merit a double take to have a discussion about how Earth seems to have healed to the point of being overgrown with greenery. I’m not ruling out time travel as a possibility though it’s just as likely there will be no explanation and the healed Earth will number among the many things the viewer is simply supposed to accept with no justification.
This is another episode with little in the way of plot progression with the only movement being that Madi returns to Sanctum in an act of self sacrifice. In plot terms it’s a very small development though it is theoretically significant in terms of characterisation. Madi’s lack of hesitation before throwing herself into a known dangerous situation shows that she is taking after Clarke as that sort of decision is exactly what Clarke would do if she felt that the people she cares about were in danger. It’s a strong moment that is played well by Lola Flanery and Clarke’s reaction is captured brilliantly by Eliza Taylor. One thing that has worked well this season is Madi coming into her own as a character and displaying traits that are clearly influenced by Clarke. In the past their relationship could be described as more theoretical than practical as Clarke would often talk about the maternal connection she has but this wasn’t always shown effectively. Seeing Madi’s personality and decisions influenced by Clarke is a strong indicator that Madi has been profoundly impacted by Clarke raising her as a daughter.
Madi was connected to a rare wholesome interaction when she sat down at the piano with Gabriel and started to learn how to play. It’s easy to forget that Madi is so young because of the intensity of the events she has been involved in so any time the show leans into that whether it be her desire to go to school like a normal teenager or display curiosity when it comes to learning a new skill like the piano in this episode it’s welcomed. Gabriel has consistently displayed a great deal of humanity; it forms the basis of his entire character as if he has learned how to hold onto certain fundamental attributes so he doesn’t get sucked into the darkness that routinely surrounds him. It’s displayed perfectly here when he sits down at the piano and indulges in playing music. There’s a purity to that action and passing on that knowledge to Madi makes for a strong bonding moment between them. It’s refreshing to see character interactions that aren’t defined by angst or mortal danger as it adds much needed variety to the tapestry of character relationships.
There is a compelling exchange between Madi and Clarke that highlights Madi’s development into a fully formed person. She calls Clarke out on her unilateral decision making and makes it clear it’s not something she can support. Their views vastly differ on Clarke’s decision that everyone will remain on Earth and she profoundly disagrees with Clarke doing that. Clarke does try to justify that along the lines of it being what she always does but it’s not something Madi accepts so it creates a rift between them that naturally increases the tension later as Madi takes steps to ensure Clarke doesn’t know where she is. It’s an important development in the mother/daughter connection they share as there does naturally come a point in every parent/child dynamic where the child realises that the parent doesn’t have all of the answers and makes decisions that they won’t agree with. It’s noteworthy and handled well.
Another surprisingly interesting exchange was between Niylah and Echo. It works so well because it comes from their personal histories. Niylah has deeply painful memories from the last time she was in the bunker and has drank herself into a stupor to avoid facing them directly so wanders around half aware of her surroundings and deeply haunted by those memories. Echo is thinking about all the things she’ll never get the chance to share with Bellamy while considering her decision to adopt the name she now and wondering what that says about her. The fact that she owns up to Niylah is somewhat telling as there may be an underlying assumption that her drunken state means that it won’t matter because it won’t be remembered. Echo has often had trouble being forthcoming with people so choosing to open up to someone less than equipped to process it says a lot about her willingness to get close to others.
Much of the episode deals with Sheidheda’s pursuit of Madi after being allowed to do so by Cadogan. Of course as always he has his own agenda and would rather be the one in charge than transcend so plans to kill Madi in order to prevent the transcendence from happening. Unfortunately there is still no attempt beyond the vague descriptions to explain what transcendence will mean so it’s impossible to determine if it’s a fool’s errand. It’s part of the point as the characters looking to achieve it are operating on the absolute belief that it is the goal they should be working towards which suggests that Cadogan and his followers will learn that it isn’t all they hoped it would be. Sheidheda’s ambition being confined to ruling over the people in the current plane of existence is at least something tangible that can be understood and consistent with his character. It doesn’t alter the fact that important questions aren’t being explored but at the very least JR Bourne continues to be a captivating presence.
When the episode briefly leaned into the horror style with Sheidheda hunting Madi while wearing an invisible suit it was really strong. Mundane conversations became more tense when viewed through Sheidheda’s Heads Up Display as he stood very close to them, the constant possibility of an attack from any direction added an impressive sense of tension and it’s constantly believable that Sheidheda represents a significant threat to all concerned. It also serves as a reminder of how misguided Clarke’s decision to strand everyone on Earth was as it is immediately made clear that they will never be safe as long as Cadogan and his followers know where they are. Sending a bomb through the wormhole was a really smart move on their part that I found very impressive.
Unfortunately Gabriel dies in this episode and it’s another thing that comes as a surprise for the wrong reasons. His death is noble as he goes out protecting Madi but it also feels like a random event without much significance in terms of how it takes place. Gabriel was being developed to play a pivotal role in whatever it is the show is building to with his moral integrity acting as something that will counterbalance the violent tendencies of the other characters so there was a slot he was occupying in the overall group dynamic that is now lost without anything to replace it. His death was moving and his final words were poignant but the whole thing was out of place and almost got lost in the chaos of the events that were playing out around it. Jordan may be able to slot into that role in a limited capacity though that would be jarring considering how little focus he has had prior to this point and it would take time away from his interesting connection with Hope that receives limited attention in this episode.
Murphy also continues to adopt a position of moral integrity in his own way. He also disagrees with Clarke’s decision to strand everyone on Earth. Her logic is that everyone she cares about is on Earth so they should simply forget everyone else and live the rest of their lives together. Murphy’s position is that there are still a lot of people on Sanctum that deserve to live a safe life as much as they do. He points out there are Eligius Prisoners, members of Wonkru and various other factions left on a planet that is inherently dangerous due to the eclipses and various other issues they have to face. He doesn’t want to abandon them and won’t accept Clarke’s decision on their behalf so takes steps to correct it without consulting Clarke. I would really like for the show to end with Murphy in a leadership position as this season has done a great job of developing him into this role. So far he seems very fair minded yet standoffish which means that people can trust that he’s being upfront with them with his views. Him occupying the opposition position to Clarke in this instance is a natural fit and a real statement as to Clarke’s suitability as a leader at this point.
Gabriel’s death may be swift and confusing but it is handled infinitely better than the aftermath of Bellamy’s. At first it was looking somewhat promising as Clarke immediately admits what she did and takes responsibility for it but she is immediately forgiven by Octavia and Echo who apparently feel that the real Bellamy was lost long ago so all Clarke killed was the deformed being that took his place. Having them adopt that position adds to the terrible treatment given to the character of Bellamy by the writers this season. Echo and Octavia dealing with his death as if they mourned him long ago and telling Clarke that the real Bellamy would have wanted her to kill the thing he became is nothing short of a cop out. Clarke is immediately absolved of all responsibility surrounding it, her relationships with the two characters besides her that were closest to him aren’t impacted in the slightest and the show moves on from what she did almost immediately. It barely factors into the rest of the episode and I’d be surprised if it’s raised in the remainder of the season. I’m not sure what has to happen for the writers to lose sight of a character as important as Bellamy to this degree.
Another overall weak episode that has some strong character moments and effective tense horror driven sequences but still manages to fail many of the characters in fundamental ways. The return to Earth is an odd, if predictable choice that goes strangely unaddressed throughout the episode. The characters seem to simply accept that Earth is now habitable again without question how that could be possible. It doesn’t make sense for this to be accepted at face value. There is little in the way of overall plot progression but this was a great episode for Madi who had a lot of strong content that was handled well by Lola Flanery. Her wholesome music lesson with Gabriel was a refreshing change of pace and her conflict with Clarke made for an important step forward in their mother/daughter relationship while naturally feeding into the tension that carries much of the episode. Much of the episode focuses on Sheidheda’s pursuit of Madi and when the horror style was leaned into the episode was at its best with effective tension and a believable threat. Sheidheda’s motivation is easy to follow which makes it all the more apparent that the transcendence concept is nothing more than vague descriptions. JR Bourne remains entertaining and that carries at least some of the episode.
Gabriel’s death is moving enough in itself but almost gets lost in the chaos surrounding it while feeling premature considering all the development he was receiving towards being an important fixture in whatever the season is building too. His moral integrity frequently acted as the counterbalance to the questionable decisions made by other character so with that role gone it’s difficult to see who might occupy it. Jordan is one option but he has had so little focus it would be jarring. Murphy is also defined by his moral integrity which runs in direct opposition to Clarke who makes a unilateral decision to strand them all on Earth because everyone she cares about is already there. He thinks that everyone else deserves a safe life and his thoughts are with those currently on Sanctum facing all of the dangers found there so he takes steps to correct it. It works really well and speaks to Clarke’s suitability as a leader at this point. The aftermath of Bellamy’s death is badly mishandled. Echo and Octavia forgiving Clarke because they feel that the real Bellamy was lost long ago and would have wanted her to kill the thing that he became. At first it was promising as Clarke was all set to take responsibility for what she did but Octavia and Echo’s reaction absolves her of all guilt which is just baffling. I’m not sure what has to happen for the writers to lose sight of a character as important as Bellamy to this degree.
- Sheidheda remaining a watchable presence
- some strong horror, tension and threat
- Madi actively opposing Clarke’s decision
- Madi and Gabriel’s wholesome music lesson
- Murphy taking steps to correct Clarke’s misguided decision
- absolving Clarke of the guilt of killing Bellamy
- Bellamy’s death leaving no lasting impact
- taking Earth’s restoration at face value
- another episode with negligible plot progression
- Gabriel’s death almost getting lost among the chaos of everything happening around it
- Gabriel’s death leaving a gap in the overall group dynamic that won’t be easily filled
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