This The 100 article contains major spoilers for Season 7, Episode 7.
How the hell is Bill Cadogan on Bardo, you and Clarke (in the promo for next week’s The 100 prequel series backdoor pilot) may ask? Well, it’s no doubt a long story that we shall be told in next week’s episode, but it seems to involve a cryopod, the Disciples, and a trip through the Anomaly. But before we launch into theories around that, a quick recap: Who is William “Bill” Cadogan again?
Who is Bill Cadogan?
“From the ashes, through the Bridge, the shepherd will rise.”
Bill Cadogan was a cult leader on pre-apocalypse Earth. He founded a doomsday cult called Second Dawn. Cadogan believed that an apocalypse was coming (well-predicted), and told followers that, should they advance through the 12 levels of Second Dawn, they would be granted salvation. In some cases, this involved rich people giving Bill Cadogan lots of money.
We first learn about Bill Cadogan back in Season 4, Episode 3. In that episode, Jaha shows Clarke and Bellamy the research he has done into Second Dawn. At the time, they’re looking for an additional spot to weather out the coming nuclear apocalypse and Jaha thinks Cadogan’s Second Dawn bunker might do the trick. While Second Dawn believers below Level 12 thought this bunker was underneath Cadogan’s childhood home, the real one was actually built under Baltimore (aka Polis). This is where Cadogan and the Second Dawn Level 12-ers were thought to have ridden out Earth’s first nuclear apocalypse (circa 2052), eventually becoming the Grounders.
How Did the Disciples & Bill Cadogan Get to Bardo?
Of course, after Season 7, Episode 7, the idea that Bill Cadogan and all of the chosen members of Second Dawn rode out the apocalypse under future Polis has been called into question. At the end of “The Queen’s Gambit,” Anders, the leader of the Disciples on Bardo, opens up a cryopod (marked with the name “William Cadogan” and the Second Dawn symbol) and out pops Bill Cadogan, looking very good for a dude who was born in 1987.
This ending suggests that Bardo was the “Shepherd of all mankind” who led “the disciples of a greater truth” to Bardo. These are some of the words that Level 12 Disciple Orlando used to explain Disciple culture to Hope, Echo, and Gabriel during their time together on Sky Ring/Penance. It sounds like Cadogan used an Anomaly Stone to transport himself and other members of Second Dawn from Earth to Bardo either before the first nuclear apocalypse on Earth or sometime in the years after.
If they had access to an Anomaly Stone, it would make sense that Bill and company peaced out before the nuclear apocalypse, but there are a few details that complicate this theory. One, the Grounders seemingly descended from Second Dawn members. (Elements of their culture, such as the sayings “Blood must have Blood” and “Your fight is over” were originally used by Second Dawn.) Two, we know that, in 2054, Becca came down to Earth from Polaris and was burned at the stake by members of Second Dawn, including presumably Bill Cadogan.
Either Cadogan and Second Dawn didn’t make it to Bardo until after the apocalypse, presumably because they hadn’t yet figured out how to work the Anomaly Stones, or they did, but went back and forth between the two worlds in the years following.
What’s Next for Bill Cadogan and Second Dawn?
Disciple culture believes that the key to some kind of eternal salvation will come with winning the last war. They also believe that Clarke is necessary for this prophecy to be fulfilled. When Anders wakes Cadogan up at the end of “The Queen’s Gambit,” Cadogan implies that it is ahead of some kind of schedule. He asks if the Disciples have cracked the code and if the war is over. Anders confirms that neither has come to pass, but that he has found the key (aka Clarke) to winning the war.