The 100 Season 6 Episode 11 Review: Ashes to Ashes

Allegiances are all over the map as The 100 race toward the season finale and a chance to rescue everyone in Sanctum

This The 100 review contains spoilers.

The 100 Season 6 Episode 11

Allegiances are all over the map in this episode in a wonderfully dizzying kind of way. Russell sizes up Murphy correctly – little does he know, Murphy just recently had a serious come to Jesus moment and will be Ride or Die for his people for at least the next 15 minutes. Clarke also missed that memo, so she doesn’t know if she can trust Murphy. He’s probably going to be pissed later about not being in on her plan, but he clearly has his suspicions (or is holding out hope) and he’ll probably sell the Trojan horse move better if he doesn’t know.

Kudos to star Bob Morley, who made his directorial debut in addition to acting as Bellamy with a pair of particularly moving scenes with Clarke and Octavia. The Blake siblings finally had a moment of reconciliation. Octavia’s apology to Bellamy was moving in its humility, empathy, and complete accounting for the ways she has hurt him, specifically. It would be easy for her to make a big show of apologizing or go on about the dark years in the bunker, but the reality is that’s not what hurt him, and neither is her burning the farm. He was hurt by her turning away from him, shutting him out. Sure, she was dangerous, but she’s been dangerous before and it was fine. Yes, she killed people, but he helped massacre people and is partly responsible for the death of the man she loved. His pain was personal, and so was her apology. I think it’s a good thing that she’s not his “responsibility” anymore. It honestly was never all that healthy to begin with. She never needed him as much as he thought she did.

Writing in Layla, the Children of Gabriel warrior who was Xavier’s sister, was a stroke of genius. In just one episode she has had such an arc and contributed a surprising amount to move the plot forward. Here’s hoping she lives to next season to whatever new Kru forms with the leftovers of this upcoming battle. Clarke has always done her best work winning people over with her actions, rather than her words, and this was a great opportunity for Clarke to actively choose Monty’s way.

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Back in Sanctum, it was good to see Miller finally showing some real introspection. Murphy has obviously been reevaluating himself, as always, but Miller coming around seems to have merely been a product of time, and perhaps thinking Clarke is dead.

The 100 tends to have a problem where it spends the midsection of every season keeping most of our favorite characters apart for far too long, usually artificially. We’re happy when they get back together, but it often comes at the cost of some momentum and seeing the strings holding back the plot long enough to fill out thirteen episodes can make it feel less fun.

Thankfully, season 6 has had so much to do that there hasn’t been the need. Plenty of folks have been apart, but usually with good reason. It still feels like there are a touch too many characters to get to everyone (even with folks stashed in cryo or jail or the anomaly), just a bit too much exposition to catch everything in one viewing without rewinding a couple of times, but better too much than too little. There have been more episodes that felt completely solid but not fantastic, especially mid-season, but there really haven’t been any duds. It can feel strange to have a season arc with fewer knock-it-outta-the-park winners, especially when watching from week to week, but it’s probably preferable to yo-yoing between standouts and duds like usual.

Echo got another dose of much-needed backstory, with a twist that I didn’t see coming. Much moreso than the previous story we had seen of Azgeda’s brutality and the death of her parents, this felt intimate, guarded, foundational. Echo has long flinched when people call her Azgeda spy, and now it feels like we finally know what wound it pricks each time. Still, in spite of Azgeda’s reputation, it’s hard not to see the story of a little girl made to kill her best, and the friend who survives and is made to take her dead best friend’s identity.

Echo takes a lot of heat from some corners of the fandom, but she is just as complex and evolutionary as Murphy, Emori, Octavia, Miller or Clarke, as capable as Raven. Shipping wars aside, she mostly has needed more meaningful screen time in the post-Praimfaya world, rather than to be told she simply changed on the spaceship, out of view.

This episode’s other development means she’s a night blood and could potentially become Heda. Gaia looked at her like she was seeing a miracle, which to her, it must be. It has always seemed unlikely that Clarke, Bellamy, and the rest of the central leadership would defer to Madi. Putting her on ice for much of this season – whether with Sheidheida or simply writing her to be offscreen training and such – cements that. In this episode, Madi didn’t refer to Jackson as, “one of my people” but “one of us.” A minor thing, perhaps, but it rhetorically puts her as a member of the group, rather than its leader.

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Again we see that Madi still has autonomy and morality while Sheidheda is in control. She was able to stop him from slitting Jackson’s throat and she knows Jackson’s innocent and on her side, even though he was taking her bone marrow at the time. Might those whispers during the chess scene the other commanders? Is that why she’s not fully paying attention to Sheidheda? This ghoul has hung around in the background for an awful long time to not make much of an impact on the season thus far. It’s starting to feel like he better put up or shut up.

It seems the showdown with Sheidheda will be saved for the two finale episodes, or perhaps he will even last into next season. It’s hard to conceive of how Sanctum will continue on next season, even if Clarke gets her wish to do things the kinder, better, gentler way, making it difficult to consider what will be left lingering for next season. Likely more mysteries of the moon itself, Diyoza’s return and the meaning of the anomaly, Octavia’s ultimate importance, the folks up in cryosleep, and whoever is left of the combined populations of the Children of Gabriel and Sanctum, though again, this season isn’t following The 100’s usual model so it’s hard to know. There is no one inevitable disaster they’re marching towards unless, of course, you think it’s their inability to do better. In which case, buckle up, it’s going to be a bloodbath.

Other notes

Russell saying “this is how we get our family back” has echoes of “this is how we get our humanity back”

Look at the brain on Murphy with the Trig trickery!

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Gabriel tells Bell that O is special – there’s definitely more to this story

Ryker thinks hes preventing deaths by taking her life – it wont matter if he doesn the right thing by helping her, because the people will need blood and the guards will follow orders

“Mistakes are forgivable, not learning from them isn’t”

It was delightful to see Miller’s old thieving ways