The 100 Season 6 Episode 5 Review: The Gospel of Josephine

Josephine Lightbourne goes undercover while Jordan conducts his own investigation in a thrilling, revelatory episode

This The 100 review contains spoilers.

The 100 Season 6 Episode 5

The 100 continues to embed more world-building per minute this season than I could have possibly imagined. It never feels like eating our exposition vegetables – on the contrary, I find myself pausing and rewinding to make sure I haven’t missed any of the precious nuggets the writers have seen fit to drop in, like in the old days with Lost or Battlestar Galactica. It’s hard to layer in this many kinds of details, about our new physical world, Sanctum and its secrets, the politics between Sanctum and those who live beyond its borders, and whatever else might be happening in a given scene.

Not every conversation contains all of that, of course, but an exchange like Abby and Josie-as-Clarke discussing possible treatments for Kane is operating on the surface level of what Abby thinks is a scientific problem she’s working through with her daughter, Josie dropping her botany knowledge related to the planet itself, the dramatic dual irony of Josie pretending to be Clarke and the audience worrying about what’s really going on with Abby, whether she can pull this off with Kane, and whether she might feel immortality’s pull for her beloved. That’s a ton of narrative work for one scene to accomplish, and it’s not like that scene is an anomaly. It makes for a ton of different potential payoffs, but it also means things can get lost in the shuffle, so we’ll see how we do at picking up everything they’re putting down.

This episode was one for the linguistics nerds, with Josephine and Kaylee switching to what sounded like possibly Mandarin (apparently something special between the two best fenemies), Josie dancing and singing along to a French song about dancing, and Gaia and Bellamy giving “Clarke” a few pop quizzes in Trig. I’m so glad to see Grounder cultural taking a major roll in this new world, from the commonplace (it makes total sense for Madi to say “I love you” in Trigadeslang) to the narratively necessary. In a full circle moment, Gaia and Bel both used the language as a shibboleth to test if it was really Clarke, which is how the language developed in the first place, as a way to separate enemy from kin. Josie is obviously smart (the intellect for the degrees we heard about in the first flashback plus several lifetimes of learning will do it) and guessed it was a test, but Bellamy knew to go to something more abstract, metaphorical, and emotional so she couldn’t fake it, something where there would be no context clues to bail her out.

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Grounder culture is usually represented by Gaia these days, and her initial sense to respect their faith is in character. It was great to watch how each person who came to the reliquary brought their own skill set to help crack the secret of the Primes, including Gaia noticing the symbol at the base of the skulls. Poor Jordan already had basically the whole thing figured out and did pretty much the rest of the work, including being the first to identify that they were in fact watching a snuff film. You can dress it up in science, but that’s what it was.

Priya opened up a question when she told Jordan that Delilah was happy and wanted him to know. Is this true, or just something to quiet a petulant outsider? Priya might even believe it herself as part of the religion they conjured to coax the masses into buying into their scheme, but thinking it and knowing it for sure are two different things. I would bet cold hard cash that Clarke Griffin will be just fine, but that doesn’t mean anyone else will – she’s always the exception.

Josephine killing Kaylee and their discussion about sacrificing Isaac suggests a society with a lot more infighting and petty homicide than Russell let on, perhaps a reason that Ryker stays away. Maybe being immortal for so long teaches people like Josephine to think of being “on ice” as merely a time out, and not to value the bodies they take or the price it takes to get them. I still can’t quite get a read on her morality. She didn’t like that Abby called her a eugenicist, although that’s exactly what the study of blood purity is, and she pushed back against her father taking Clarke’s body without consent and asking her to infiltrate SkaiKru. But was that because she truly objects, because she wants her own bed back, or because she tires of his moral objections and the accompanying pageantry?

One major advantage of the blazing speed of this season is that it’s leaving room to (hopefully) delve into how the religion was developed, what the Primes will do if they suddenly have the ability to make Royal Blood synthetically, Murphy getting into some double-triple-quadruple crossing, and Gaia/Octavia/Madi/somebody fomenting revolution. There are a lot of interesting tough questions to dig into, and ways to pull on the levers of this society. So far, though, we’ve mostly met Primes, a protector of Primes, and people outside the radiation shield. If we’re going to become invested in, say, the Primes deciding that everyone is disposable, it seems like we might need to start caring about some average Sanctum townspeople before they’re all redshirted into host status or killed by Xavier, who will inevitably unite with Octavia and Diyoza into a terrifying force.

Speaking of Octavia and Diyoza, I am 100% on board for this buddy cop story. In relatively short screen time, they have completely sold me on their partnership and trajectory moving forward. We don’t need to see Diyoza hitting rock bottom for her to warrant a redemption – she’s already had it, and now we get to see her coach O through her own dark period. And now that she has a meaningful shot at redemption, she’s taking it. These two are of a kind, and I’m so glad to see them on the same side and protecting one another. It’s good to see that Octavia still has some fight left in her, although I’m going to need some more detail on that hand. Does it have powers? Is it wicked old now because that was a temporal anomaly? Why just the hand? Is this why Xavier has that random grey tuft of hair that Diyoza remarked upon? I had assumed it was due to stress, a la Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.

Other notes

Eliza Taylor did an excellent job – even her voice sounds different when she’s being Josie with just her parents.

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“Did this Ferari im wearing consent to giving up her body?” Hey now!

“I know you think you need to protect us all cuz you couldn’t protect Octavia.” OK Jordan, dropping that emotional intelligence.

“Heart over head, that was my favorite bellamy” Same, kid.

It’s wicked weird that she called Murphy “John.”

I love Murphy asking what a penny is.

Josephine absolutely picked the right person to ask, “how would you like to be immortal too?” It’s going to be very weird when they inevitably hook up, isn’t it?

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4 out of 5