4:51 pm EDT, June 15, 2019

‘The 100’ season 6, episode 6 ‘Memento Mori’ review: Who wants to live forever?

The 100 season 6 continues strong with “Memento Mori,” in which Bellamy and his friends discover that Clarke is dead while Diyoza and Octavia sample some local beauty products.

How are we feeling, The 100 fans? (Probably fine, seeing as it’s been days since the episode aired! Oh well.)

This week’s episode, “Memento Mori,” marks the end of the beginning. Diving headfirst into Clarke’s, er, head, we begin Act 2 of season 6: the part where Clarke, and presumably Clarke’s friends, will have to fight for her right to live. They’ll have to want to fight for her right to live. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment for the past three years, and I am beyond ready.

But let’s not jump ahead! “Memento Mori” was penned by newcomer and IRL great person Alyssa Clark (Teen Wolf, The Exorcist) and directed by P.J. Pesce (who has been with us since “Murphy’s Law”!).

This is a really solid episode, and a particularly solid sixth episode, because in past seasons, this is where the story would begin to dip (season 1 being the obvious exception). Each season of The 100 tends to start and end strong, but the middle part is usually a little less finessed because you can feel the story stalling in order to postpone the pre-planned ending.

Most fans who are still along for the ride seem to agree that The 100 season 6 is shaping up to be the best yet, and in large part I think this is because of the structural choice that — so far — solves the mid-season slump problem. Because there is no slump; we’re ‘dipping’ into Clarke’s mind and letting the mid-season story be her ‘death’ and the character/relationship-centric fight to save her rather than some external complication. This makes the surrounding incidental elements — the new characters, the beautiful planet, the trippy AF anomaly mystery, Sheidheda — feel more relevant to the story as a whole.

The 100 season 6 feels like open world exploration where literally anything can happen, emotionally and spatially. There is a set end point, obviously, but every episode and every intermediate development is fulfilling in its own right. As someone who’s genuinely enjoyed the show every season, I still really appreciate whenever it is actually as good as I know it can be, and season 6 fully lives up to my expectations.

Of course such razor-sharp focus comes at the expense of the amazing extended cast that the show has been collecting for the past six years. We’re halfway through the season, and characters like Raven, Abby, Emori and Miller are beginning to feel fuzzy around the edges. Meanwhile Kane, Indra and Niylah have simply been scrubbed out of the narrative. (Though I’m sure we’ll see them soon.)

As I’ve said before, I prefer a rotating character roster to a mass culling, but as I’ve also said before, The 100’s biggest strength is its ability to introduce new characters, and it would be great if it found a way to keep those characters interesting (and took full advantage of its very talented cast).

To that end, it’s encouraging news that The 100 season 7 will have 16 episodes! Because that opens up space to give under-prioritized characters an actual point of view and a chance to influence the story in big or small ways.

And it’s not like we don’t have plenty of characters in play already. “Memento Emori” (😏) is all about Clarke Josephine, Murphy, Madi, Echo, Diyoza, Octavia and, perhaps most importantly, Bellamy. While the death of Clarke might shape Madi’s arc most significantly moving forward, this episode very much frames it as Bellamy’s loss; it’s Bellamy’s grief and Bellamy’s breakdown and Bellamy’s ultimate decision not to kill Russell that dictates how the rest of the season is going to play out.

And that alone makes “Memori Mori” (nailed it) a standout episode. Bellamy is so important to so many characters on this show, and yet, it took an episode so centered on his emotions to make me realize how rarely the story gets to be about him. Not only is Clarke’s fight for her right to live her life important to her arc, but they’ve also made it vital in terms of Bellamy’s desire to live his.

It of course also informs Murphy and Madi and Echo (and hopefully Abby)’s stories in significant ways, and it really spotlights how interconnected these people have become and how much they need and will fight for each other and how much it actually matters when they lose someone they love. It’s all I ever really want out of my stories.

*Record scratch* *Freeze frame* Yup, that’s me…

So wait. You’re telling me Clarke Griffin is ALIVE?! Whaaaaaaa–

You know what? I know everyone’s being sassy about this, but a) a surprising number of people on the social internet actually believed that Clarke was dead, and b) WHO CARES if we could guess it or not??? It’s not about the shock, it’s about the story they’re telling!

Anyway, let’s talk about Josephine: psychotic, horrible, deliciously enchanting Josephine. I have to give her credit: she genuinely appreciates Clarke and her achievements! Ironically way more than Clarke’s so-called friends. (I have to be honest, SpaceKru are not my faves right now.)

It is exactly because she’s numbed herself — or been numbed — to sentiment that she can see everything so clearly, almost like ALIE in season 4, except with a slightly better approximation of how normal human beings are supposed to behave. I’m almost sad everyone already knows about Josephine, because watching her try and utterly fail at being Clarke has been hilarious.

(As per The 100 writers on Twitter, Eliza Taylor not only pulled off this enchanting performance beautifully, but she did it while she was sick! Can you believe.)

Having ensnared Murphy by promising to keep the hellhounds at bay, Josephine begins working on the key to her new Nightblood plan: Abby Griffin. Who is conveniently completely disinterested in anything and anyone who aren’t Kane and how to save him.

I find myself really hoping that Abby has seen through Josephine’s act and has gone back to the ship to launch a counter attack. Partly because I’m getting pretty antsy about the absence of Indra, and partly because I really want Abby to start being an active rather than a reactive participant in this narrative.

I’m tired of her being given what Meta Station dubbed “the idiot ball” last season; Abby is smart enough to see past her own immediate, selfish need and she should be more inquisitive about what exactly is going on with her daughter.

But I think it’s telling that Abby (and now Josephine, parroting her) keeps framing Kane as the one redeeming thing about her own life. Story-wise, it certainly serves to get Abby into the necessary emotional headspace, but I’m holding out for a reckoning with the saintification of his memory.

You know I love Kane, but I think Abby needs to be at least tangentially conscious of the fact that she, herself, is enough even without him, and that the framing of him as the abstract, external thing that determines the worth of her life is unhealthy. The 100 is constantly exploring subjective truth/how memory warps our sense of self and reality, and I’m sure this will be no exception.

Murphy, as always, is playing to win and cutting his losses when he has to.

It’s still weird to me that a deus ex hellvision is what prompted Murphy to become President of the Immortality Fan Club, because there are plenty of perfectly in-character reasons for him to make the same choices that perfectly align with his existing agendas and fits the pattern of how he has evolved/stayed the same over the seasons.

Because Murphy absolutely is the kind of person who would play devil’s advocate and try to manipulate his best friend into making a deal with said devil in order to save his own and his loved ones’ lives.

In fact, his actions this week are emblematic of his unique brand of grey morality: yes, Murphy is always out to save himself, but he is also ride or die for his chosen family. Bellamy, Emori, Raven, Echo, Abby, and even Clarke, if he believed there was a chance of saving her (and it didn’t spell certain doom for the rest of them), fall under his umbrella of ‘selfish’ cochroachy survivalist decision-making now. They are a part of his life, and we know how hard he fights for that life.

Murphy’s opportunism doesn’t erase his humanity, and it never has. It’s not as with similar morally ambiguous characters in other shows who turn their humanity/conscience on and off as the narrative demands. Murphy is genuinely heartbroken about Clarke and he genuinely hurts for Bellamy, and he isn’t wrong when he tries to talk Bellamy out of his kamikaze mission. He’s simply using his selfishness to his (and everyone else’s) advantage, using pure Slytherin head-logic that he knows pure Gryffindor heart-Bellamy is incapable of seeing right now.

Bellamy realizes this too, because he knows Murphy as well as we do, and in the ensuing heartbreaking, beautiful scene, both of them invoke the memory of Monty — memory, as I’ll get into a little bit later, being a subjective thing they can both shape to their benefit — and both of them are right: yes, Monty probably would be ashamed of Murphy for immediately jumping into bed with the enemy, but Monty would probably also respect Murphy’s reasoning for doing so.

Clarke is already dead. The rest of them are not. But they will be soon if Bellamy follows his raging heart and seeks a hollow revenge that achieves nothing but even more death. It’s one thing to ‘break the cycle’ by going somewhere the cycle doesn’t exist, it’s quite another to actively break the pattern of violence when it’s your turn to retaliate, and although Murphy is partially arguing this to get what he personally wants, it’s still an argument that serves the greater good.

It’s an eye for an eye vs turning the other cheek; it’s cutting your losses and starting over with the people you have left, which is exactly what Monty wanted them to do when he led them to Sanctum. The only difference is that this is a person (maybe the person) Bellamy can’t live without, so he can’t see past the red, but Murphy can.

Although they might have a common desire to save their own skin, Josephine and Murphy are not the same, not even close. When cornered, Murphy is rage and self-loathing; Josephine is stillness and calculated deceit.

Murphy’s solution to avoid unnecessary bloodshed and save his own skin is to try to trick Bellamy into making a deal, then pleading with him, and finally promising to fight for their friends if Bellamy won’t. (For Murphy, Bellamy being willing to basically feed SpaceKru to the wolves to avenge an already-dead Clarke must also be a bit of a slap in the face, but that’s another matter.)

Josephine’s solution is to straight-up murder Bellamy, until she sees an opportunity to sic him on Russell like a mad dog. A gamble, sure, but I don’t think Josephine would have been the least bit sorry if it had ended differently. She can’t control Russell the way she can control Simone and she (unlike Murphy) has no patience for sentiment.

It’s not that she hates him, it’s that she feels nothing for him, or anyone. Whether she gets what she wants with a peaceful deal or with a bloodbath is completely irrelevant. (Murphy, on the other hand, is weighed down by how much he feels, good and bad, for himself and everybody else.) Did I mention that she’s a lot like ALIE?

Okay, so, that final scene. I am excite. ROAN IS THERE! Clarke waking up in her mind prison — one of several places she’s been trapped in real life — is just absolutely brilliant. I love when dreams and visions are conveyed like this in media.

That those drawings of Earth she filled up her original cell walls with have transformed into the people she loved is poignant and a beautiful way to visualize her past and present relationships. That they have found a way to take her back to the very beginning and are setting up a virtual trip down Clarke Griffin memory lane is inspired.

(What if next week’s episode opens with “I was born in space”??????!!!! Omg I need to calm down.)

This season is so much about the sum of who Clarke Griffin is, not just to other people but in her own mind as well. She’s not a leader; she’s not Wanheda; she’s not mama bear; she’s Clarke Griffin the person, and that person is worth fighting for. Her friends need to realize this, but more importantly, Clarke herself needs to realize this. She needs to not only be told by Monty that she deserves a second chance, she needs to believe it.

Another thing Clarke needs to realize is that she is loved. Almost all of the people on the wall in her cell are people she has lost or people she has hurt, and many of the images depict that — Madi in the shock collar, Lexa dying, Jasper strung up, Raven as ALIE — but the bad memories also coexist right alongside the good ones.

We are all the sum of all our good and bad memories, and all our good and bad choices, and Clarke has defined herself (and been defined) by the bad stuff for so long. This could be the point at which she finally breaks free of that self-destructive cycle and starts fully letting herself love and be loved.

Here we go again…

It has been 131 years since the last time Bellamy Blake caught a damn break. I still don’t know why he does this every day…

Seriously though. Poor Bellamy. It really is like that time jump never happened, because here he is again: mourning a not-actually-dead Clarke. Emotionally and physically separated from Octavia. Losing members of the hundred, his hundred, left and right. Still haunted by all the same ghosts, and more keep coming. Devastation upon devastation. “I left her behind, and we all die anyway,” ad infinitum.

For a moment in this episode, he fights, and the rage is so refreshing, because how long has it been since Bellamy has actually had the energy to really rage about anything? The visceral gut reaction to the loss of Clarke is so different from the control Bellamy has taught himself to exercise over the past few seasons, this very ‘conceal don’t feel’ leadership style where he has learned to think before he acts (because Clarke told him to) and internalize his grief and frustration.

Bellamy has suffered and lost more than a lot of other characters on this show, but it’s almost like he has become resigned to it; he fights so that others may have a better life, but somewhere along the way, he stopped fighting for his own life and happiness. (Much like Clarke did.)

One of the reasons his initial reaction to Clarke’s death is so viscerally satisfying to me is that yes, of course it’s a recognition of how much it hurts to lose Clarke, but it’s also a recognition that he personally has lost something: the Primes have taken something from him; it’s a member of his family they have murdered and his need for revenge for his one overpowers all controlled consideration for the many.

It’s a selfish instinct, and in giving into it, Bellamy is signalling that he feels entitled to claim something solely for himself for the first time in, what, three seasons? For a character who has given himself so wholly to his people, it’s a relief to see that he can still claim some space in the world for himself… even if the circumstances aren’t ideal.

But even that rage dies out quickly, and when the rage goes, there is just nothing left. Nothing but defeat. With Clarke goes the last tiny bit of Bellamy’s spark that he had been clinging onto with increasing desperation for a very long time as countless losses and defeats, failures and miscalculations, and (most importantly) his inability to fulfil what he always believed was his life’s purpose — to protect his sister (sometimes from herself) — have whittled him down bit by painful bit. His family, his responsibility, right? But in his own eyes, he has done nothing but fail them, over and over again.

Bellamy realizing that Josephine is right — killing Russell only means one more dead body — and agreeing to a truce with the Primes isn’t him being smart, it’s him giving up. He’s too broken, he’s lost too much, and he has won nothing. He is practically catatonic, and no damn wonder. It’s Clarke’s death (again), but it’s also Monty and Harper, it’s also Octavia, it’s also Earth and Jasper and Kane and Pike and every bit of regret and shame that has been piling on for years.

I’m really starting to believe that the real reason we didn’t see Bellamy work through his traumas on the Ring is because he didn’t. They didn’t hit the reset switch at the end of season 4, they hit the pause button. He didn’t work through it and he didn’t move on, and sure, the trauma pile didn’t get bigger, but as soon as they hit the ground, it just started growing where it left off. And now he’s buried under it.

We’ve see this happen to a lot of The 100 characters — Jasper, Kane, Luna, Lincoln, Octavia, Clarke, Abby — where they all start from a place of genuine goodness and an inspiring sort of defiant optimism, and then they just lose and lose and lose and lose until the thing they lose is their life and/or their will to live. There is no silver lining. Just pain. Just loss. Just defeat.

As I’ve always said, I really appreciate the psychological realism in stories acknowledging that humans have a limit of physical and emotional trauma that can’t just be pushed through and overcome (and this is not a world in which mental health professionals are a thing). But it can also get too nihilistic and, dare I say it, formulaic when the only way a character ever goes is down.

But I do think The 100 writers also realize this, because the show has become better at not simply letting those overwhelmed, soul-shattered humans reach their lowest point and letting them die there, but instead having them reach that point in order to tell the (much more interesting) story of after: the rebirth and recovery and eventual genuine improvement in their outlook on life. Monty, Raven and Harper had stories like these previously; Clarke and Octavia both recently hit the bottom of their arcs and are now (literally) clawing their way back up again. And now it’s Bellamy’s turn.

If not before, the warning bells should have begun to ring in the season 5 finale, when Bellamy he stood in front of the dropship while Clarke desperately tried to get him inside, and he basically said without saying it that he would literally rather stand still and die than save himself and live with the burden of having failed and lost another person he loved. And this is him now, standing still and dying.

In losing Clarke all over again, Bellamy has reached his lowest, darkest point. This is it, right here, on that bench. This moment has been building for five seasons and it hurts to reach it with him, because we know him and we feel his pain with him. It’s excellent character work by Bob Morley and the writing staff. But it’s also enough now. I’ve felt Bellamy’s pain for a long time, I’m ready for him to start his ascent.

His obvious trigger would be finding out Clarke is alive, picking up the fight for her and ultimately getting her back. It’s the big win he needs, and he couldn’t really have gotten it before now — one of his biggest regrets is thinking she died and leaving her behind; now, he gets a literal do-over of that decision, which will make him realize that Monty really did give him a second chance at life and family and responsibility.

This win might also give Bellamy the boost and belief in second chances he’ll need to break bread with Octavia, and either re-establish a more healthy sibling relationship between them as equal adults or let her go in peace.

But above all that, I hope the result of Bellamy’s long-overdue win is a genuine improvement in his own sense of optimism and desire to keep fighting for the better world Monty wanted him to build. I just need Bellamy’s eyes to sparkle with some kind of light again. He’s too weighed down with pain, and we saw where it took Kane’s story, even before the contract coma.

PS. When was Bellamy’s last big personal win, anyway? When Clarke didn’t hit him with the rover during Roan’s glorious car jump scene in season 4 (bring Back Roan #2knewmoon)? When Emori landed the rocket? Give the man some damn joy!

PPS. Why is nobody from SpaceKru like… comforting Bellamy? Echo at least hugged him, and she is also the only one who seems genuinely angry about the whole Clarke-being-murdered thing, which I appreciate. Yet in that final scene, Bellamy is still alone, grieving his person, no sense of relief or solidarity from the people that are supposed to be his found family.

PPPS. You know what? Just give Bellamy and Clarke a farm somewhere and let them raise Bryan’s chickens. Those disaster magnets are miserable without each other.

MAD MADI: FURY ROAD

Yaaaaaaassssss Darth Madi! Frag 👏 them 👏 up!

…uh, I mean, don’t do that, murder is wrong.

Anyway.

The Sheidheda story that was teased in the season 6 promo is progressing a little differently than I thought, and I’m thrilled, because this direction is giving Lola Flanery some awesome opportunities to show her range as an actress. The 100 clearly recognizes the talent she has and has trusted her with a really meaty, important storyline, and so far she’s knocking it out of the park.

We already know that the Dark Commander is the Anakin Skywalker of the Force Flame. He gave into his darkness and exists like a shadow that tries to lure all new Commanders to the Dark Side, and the trauma and anger of losing Clarke makes Madi more susceptible to his influence.

You know what this reminds me of, though it’s probably not supposed to? In The 100 season 2, after Clarke killed Finn, Lexa spent a couple of episodes essentially seducing Clarke to her way of thinking: love is weakness. Blood must have blood. We are what we are. Victory stands on the back of sacrifice.

Lexa was presented to us as the first visionary and peace-seeking Commander, but she also had very harsh worldviews, clearly fed to her by the Flame and building on how her society was shaped. And Clarke was the one who challenged her on those: Love is not weakness. Blood must not have blood. Life is about more than just surviving.

Lexa internalized everything Clarke said, and probably welcomed the more benevolent viewpoints exactly because it spoke to the person she was as opposed to the person the Flame was trying to mold her into being. But none of those ‘good’ things actually came from the Flame.

So if we are to believe that Lexa’s benevolence was unique to her, how much better than Sheidheda were the other Commanders really? How much of the supposed ‘wisdom’ of the Commanders is actually wise by our/Clarke/Lexa’s standards? It seems like we’re being set up for a story in which the Flame is like 90% good and 10% Sheidheda-infused evil, but, I’m just not sure that’s where this story is going. Maybe Lexa pre-Clarke was more susceptible to Sheidheda’s influence than we realized. Maybe they all were.

But maybe that’s just how I remember it. And this is all about how our selective memories shape our interpretation, right? For Madi, memory is a thing that can give her strength in the fight against Sheidheda, but memory — his memories, her memories of Clarke — is also a thing he can use to manipulate her.

This episode presents a tantalizing bit of Sheidheda backstory that is obviously just the first part of a bigger reveal: he was kept in chains by his first teacher, who wanted to make him “conform.” I suppose The Afictionados’ awesome theory about Sheidheda being Cadogan isn’t gonna work out, buuuuuuuut who do we think kept him in chains??

I bet Sheidheda was the first person to get the Flame in his head after Becca, a Second Dawn cult follower who took her Nightblood and who Cadogan then forced to take the Flame in order to extract information from it… *excited mythology noises*

For now though, Madi still has some control over him, even though according to Gaia his presence will only get stronger — and Gaia is no longer around to help her out. This’ll end well, I’m sure.

Mementos and memories

Since this is The 100’s Valar Morghulis episode (“Memento Mori” roughly translates to ‘remember you will die’), I thought it fitting to talk about some of season 6’s prevalent themes: subjective memory, and the conflicting ‘truths’ of who a person is when they’re alive vs. when they are dead and only exist as memories in other people’s heads.

The main reason The 100 prompts so many great write-ups and discussions is because you can (and we have) tackle literally any issue from any direction and make a coherent argument for/against a story choice, because the show tends to prefer exploring life’s big questions as opposed to trying to find concrete answers, leaving the audience with the freedom to make their own interpretations and come to their own conclusions.

In The 100 season 6 (and to a lesser extent season 5), the writers play a lot with memory and illusion: how our memories of those we’ve lost warp our perceptions of who they ‘really’ were, erasing their human complexity and reducing them to isolated memories or sentiments.

When we die, we lose our agency and thus our ability to influence how others remember us: we exist (or not) solely in the minds of the living, frozen in the amber of other people’s subjective snapshots. We survive, if at all, as simplified ideals or beliefs that reflect those who remember us more than our actual selves.

The 100 might say “there are no good guys,” but in death/absence, the characters do get such assigned binary labels, both by the individual characters and the audience. Kane, for instance, becomes pure ‘good’ in the minds of others not necessarily because he was, but because that is how he is spoken about and remembered — which Josephine recognizes and uses to her benefit — while others are whittled down to be demons in death. Essentially: how you are remembered defines who you are (or were).

It’s why Octavia fought so hard to die a hero, believing that all of her dark acts would be forgotten if people remembered her by her final act of goodness. It’s why Diyoza is hit so hard by the news of her place in history books, and why she wants Octavia to live long enough to ultimately be remembered as something other than Blodreina. It’s why the Primes refer to Gabriel as a “demon”: because in his absence, that is what they can make him be in the minds of their followers. Fiction becomes belief becomes truth, and only the living can shape it.

In recent seasons, more and more memorialized characters get to exist side by side with their living counterparts, allowing the show to confront the idea of memory vs reality. When everyone was separated in season 5, memories sustained their love for each other, but also exacerbated their conflicts when they reunited and realized that their old friends did not align with the static, idealized versions of them that lived their heads.

Clarke used memories to shape Madi’s perceptions of her friends, prompting disappointed (hilarious, but poignant) reactions from Madi when she met them as real people. Meanwhile, Clarke herself had been presumed dead, leaving SpaceKru to build her up as a savior/saint, creating an idealized, memorialized version of Clarke that didn’t match up to the person she had become, or maybe ever really was.

Interestingly, after reuniting, Echo and Emori (who knew her least) found it easier to adapt to her new identity, while Raven and Murphy (who knew her well) seem to resent her for not living up to their memories. And Bellamy, who knew her best, was never going to be satisfied with Clarke’s memory in lieu of her actual, living self, and he still won’t be.

Similarly, Russell and Simone seem flummoxed by the ‘real’ Josephine, who clearly doesn’t live up to their memorialized, nostalgic memory-version of her; we still don’t know if her mind was altered by Gabriel’s first failed experiments of if she’s always been a sociopath, but either way, her parents’ memories of her don’t align with who she actually is.

And then there’s Ryker, who keeps mementos of his host bodies’ real selves as physical manifestations of their lives’ worth; he presumably doesn’t have their memories, but he keeps memories of them that, he believes, keeps a piece of their soul alive (and makes him feel better about stealing the rest).

What is also interesting about memory and reality warping as it relates to the Primes is that in order for their ‘immortality’ to work, they have to believe that a human being is the sum of their memories. If a computer chip can replicate the ‘data’ from a brain as code, and that code can translate as memory in a different brain, then the Prime becomes ‘real’.

Meaning that memory has to be considered objective reality — or, maybe more accurately, that there is no objective reality, only the collective subjective realities that exist inside our respective heads, shaped by our memories.

Tl;dr: Memory is subjective and can be manipulated, but it is simultaneously the only thing that’s real. The Emperor is naked, but if we all pretend he has clothes on, we can collectively believe it and thus make it truth. The Primes have shaped an entire cult society around this. In a way, Blodreina did too.

Sheidheda seems like maybe he rebelled against a social order by refusing to conform; if he was indeed the first Commander after Becca, he clearly instilled a new social order that would become default reality for future generations. Lexa struggled to change the ‘natural’ order of her people. Et cetera. Reality is always shifting. History is always defined by those who tell it.

The show itself has now manipulated a reality in which Clarke is literally going to be confronting her memories ~head~ on, which opens up for further exploration of how time and death and memory warp our subjective realities. (It looks like Octavia will somehow face a similar scenario with Blodreina, maybe in the Anomaly.) Clarke has to fight Josephine through their memory spaces for control of a single brain; it’s a battle for memories and a battle for identity and a battle for who gets to be ‘real.’

In the coming episode I’m excited to see how Clarke has constructed some of the people she remembers, like her father, and how her mind might use them to help/hinder her progress. Because these are not the people themselves — these are the sum of Clarke’s memories of them, wholly subjective and defined by Clarke’s own conscious.

But there is another character that exists simultaneously as a memory/ideal and as some semblance of a ‘real’ person, and who could provide The 100 a really interesting opportunity to confront how people are remembered vs. how they really are.

Lexa is one of the characters who has been ‘deified’ the most since her death (much like SpaceKru did Clarke), and even though she died three seasons ago, she’s still very much kept alive in the characters’ minds — in one case literally. Lexa exists in words, ideas, drawings, an empty chair; she lingers just off-screen like a veritable Maris Crane (if you know, you know).

But why is she still here? Why is Lexa [the glorified idea] still so present through memory and mentions and as a fragment of computer code inside Clarke’s daughter’s head, when Lexa [the complicated human being] is past? Unless it’s to bring her back in another body — a fan theory I absolutely refuse to indulge* — then maybe it is to tackle the inherent incongruence of memory and reality through a character who is both alive and dead at the same time. This would certainly be the perfect season to do it.

(*They killed her and it sucked. She was a phenomenal character and Clexa was a phenomenal relationship and I don’t want to have to feel weird about admitting that I felt/feel that way. But it’s been three years, and the show just won’t let her die, and that also kind of sucks. Paying tribute was important, but at this point, the show is just denying Clarke and the audience the ability to properly move on, and it’s starting to feel a little cruel.)

In life, we are multi-dimensional, ever-evolving dynamic creatures (defined both by our own and others’ subjective and shifting impressions of us). In death, we are the sum of other people’s memories and opinions. Clarke is currently both — a living human being competing with the static memory-Clarke that took shape in the minds of her friends while they thought she was dead — and she is also forced by the Flame’s presence to consider Lexa as both. Simultaneously alive and dead. Real and memory. Static and evolving. (Schrödinger is both rolling and not rolling in his grave right now.)

What would be a really neat wrap-up to this three-year postmortem Lexa story is that Clarke has some sort of reckoning with the ‘real’ Lexa through the Flame (with or without Alycia Debnam Carey) that would allow her to make peace with Lexa the person, not Lexa the idealized memory. If they do end up using the Flame to save Clarke, it might also allow Lexa and the other spirits trapped inside to go out in a blaze of glory, pun fully intended, finally letting go of the half-life they’re clinging to and finding true peace on their own terms, and finally letting Clarke and the audience move on and live fully among the living.

Of course who knows where they’re actually going with the Flame storyline? But a resolution like this would fit perfectly with the season’s theme of facing your demons (and making peace with them), getting the characters unstuck from the past and embracing the now: the perfectly imperfect life a human being gets to live, the complicated mess of humanity we have to muddle through, and the acceptance of everything a real person like Clarke is and Lexa was: not good, not bad, not a savior, not a ‘Wanheda’, but a person who loves and loses and loves again and tries to do better — and who, eventually, does need to die and let the people they leave behind remember them in peace.

After all, this season is telling a story about humans perverting the possibilities of technology to force immortality upon themselves. The Primes are digital imitations of long-dead people inhabiting empty shells of bodies and calling it eternal life, and that is horrifying; a perversion of both life and death.

I would assume that a significant part of this story will eventually be to reckon with claims like “death is the enemy” and “death is not the end,” because eventually, they have to be, and that is okay. Embrace death like an old friend, right? Isn’t that what Monty and Harper taught us? Isn’t that what Jordan represents? Don’t we need to see these characters learn to do better and make the most of their reality, not literally learning to live forever as digital imitations of themselves and repeat their own cycles infinitely?

But I suppose we are also telling a story about second chances, and symbolic rebirth into new entities. I’m looking forward to seeing how those two themes might overlap when it comes to both the Flame and the Primes (and potentially the anomaly), particularly in light of Ryker and Raven’s conversation that reminds us that what Russell did for the Primes was once a second chance, too. There are no straight moral lines on The 100, even if Raven is still trying her best to draw them.

And there is also the Anomaly: a mysterious place that calls to people and seems able to manipulate time, and which might also have the power to bend reality and perception in ways that further the themes of memory and subjective reality in The 100 season 6.

For your consideration

  • Congratulations to Bob Morley and Eliza Taylor! I’m so happy for them, and I wish them all the best.
  • Josephine and Murphy being like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ when Madi was screaming made me like (ง •̀_•́)ง
  • ”Tears won’t save you”? “Tonight I drink your blood”? What the hell is Madi ‘remembering’?
  • What does banishment mean on Alpha? Does Gaia have to go back to the ship or does she have to go into the carnivorous forest?
  • When Gaia said “Heda, think” it was with the exact same tone and cadence as when Emori said “Damnit John, think” in season 4, and I’m not sorry I remember that.
  • “40 Vestal Virgins and a side dish of none of your damn business” + “You’re not boring, I’ll give you that” I STAN DIYOZA SO HARD 🙌
  • Do we think the temporal anomaly will take Diyoza’s baby and make it not a baby?
  • Could the time goop be what’s keeping ‘Xabriel’ so young-looking?
  • Do I REALLY have to give up on my Xtavia endgame theory????
  • The anomaly is ‘calling’ them now? Honestly, same, let’s go let’s go!
  • I’ve gone back and forth on Raven a lot this season, and this is where I’m at: I appreciate that she’s taking such a hard line against the Primes (someone needs to), and I actually like that she’s sticking to her rage with Clarke. Raven and Clarke’s relationship was always messy, and Raven and her loved ones have been directly in Clarke’s line of fire many times. Raven isn’t obligated to forgive. But the show isn’t devoting a proportionate amount of time to Raven’s point of view considering how strong her stance is and how much time we’re (literally) in Clarke’s head by comparison. It’s starting to feel a little caricaturish rather than what it should be: an interesting and unique take on betrayal and presumptive forgiveness. Of course the season isn’t over yet, but I just really hope they actually devote some time to Raven’s POV and let her process some of these intense emotions she’s been expressing, ultimately landing her in an authentic place that honors her complexity.
  • So Raven… kept… Titus’ book… where’s the Bellamy math meme when you need it?
  • How many Commander chairs besides Madi’s did you count? Eight? So that’s five unknowns, right? (Also, eight in 100 years isn’t that many.)
  • So, bad subjects of the Prime gods have to sacrifice themselves to the trees? And they sterilize the unworthy and make them live as slaves? Yiiiikeeeeessss.
  • …Now kiss?
  • Honestly, I’m really glad Echo is here. I enjoy watching her moral compass evolve and I appreciate that she sees other points of view besides her own (she always has, by the way). I like the perspective she offers.
  • What is the adjustment protocol?
  • Clarke being stuck inside a memory prison is such a COOL IDEA. Is it gonna be like the more Josephine defeats her, the more memories disappear and she has to run from place to place? By the way, did you know that my favorite movie of all time is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?

What did you think about The 100 6×06 “Memori Memori”?

Ha, you thought Hypable never got The 100 sneak peeks? THINK AGAIN! Here is an exclusive look at Bellamy in next week’s episode:

(Edit: This is just a joke, I don’t know anything, but Bob Morley would make a really good Prince Eric don’t you think?)

‘The 100’ returns Tuesday at 9/8c on The CW

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