The 100 Season 7 Episode 15 Review: The Dying of the Light
This THE 100 review contains spoilers
The 100 Season 7 Episode 15
For the second time in as many episodes, Octavia responded to Clarke with sedate, stoic grief when something more like shrieking in horror and despair would have been appropriate. Watching the two women repeatedly bond over their adopted daughters in the latter half of this season was a nice evolution in their relationship. But it’s hard to square one of those conversations with what happened just moments later, when Clarke decided shooting her daughter in the head was the only option and Octavia’s only counter was essentially, “No, let me.”
Truly, what has happened to this show?
In a moment that feels reminiscent of Handmaid’s Tale’s penchant for torturing not only its characters but its audience, Clarke found Madi on Bardo alive but unmoving, able to see and hear her but not able to move or respond. Clarke took a leap to “my only option is to murder my own kid” incredibly fast. This is disturbing ableist bullshit of the highest order, the notion that the life of a person who can think and feel but cannot move is necessarily so miserable that it would be better to end it. Able people assume a level of extreme suffering that they don’t ascertain, and then make devastating choices that betray their own prejudices.
Let’s not let the writing off the hook: Madi could have been brain dead and Clarke unaware of whether the key had been extracted, leaving Clarke to make a profoundly upsetting call (and leaving the window open for a too-late reveal that Cadogan had the key and had left) but ensuring that Madi’s death was at someone else’s hands. Indeed, many viewers likely assumed Madi was dead when they first saw her open, lifeless eyes and revised that theory to braindead when Clarke said she was breathing. But no! The 100 went for the despicable jugular, clarifying that Madi is alive and aware, compounding how grotesque Clarke’s completely unnecessary choice is as well as how bizarre these story choices.
To be clear, because in my mind I can already see showrunner Jason Rothenberg’s inevitable tweets defending this, I don’t object on the grounds that this is too upsetting. Plenty of characters make hard choices on The 100, perhaps mothers most of all. It’s the rapidity and firmness with which the characters came to a conclusion that is, in itself, ableist and actively harmful to people with disabilities, which went unchecked by the larger narrative of the show itself.
It’s also worth noting that while Leavitt was clear there’s nothing they can do with the technology on Bardo to help her recover, that single tear she cried at the end is likely a hint that she’s not down for the count. It once again feels short-sighted not to have Gabriel, the only character other than Becca or Raven who might have been able to help Madi. Even if Madi makes a miraculous full recovery or transcends or becomes a spaceship’s computing system, the damage of this episode is still done.
Over in the former killing pit, a brief philosophical conversation while everyone paced anxiously had a similarly familiar feeling. Indra and Gaia talking about faith and Jordan’s take on war as a failure of everything actually came closer to truly memorializing Bellamy than just about anything else thus far. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to shake the feeling that, like Madi telling Cadogan that the last war is actually a test, these characters grappling with these ideas should have come several episodes sooner.
There are a number of other issues of the type of general sloppiness that usually comes up toward the end of a season of The 100. Everyone on Bardo trusting constant-turncoat Levitt, the continued refusal to look out for Disciples in invisible mode, Jackson suddenly insisting on perfect conditions for surgery, as though we haven’t all been watching seven seasons of this show when he and Abby got by with a toothpick and gum up on the Ark or down on the ground.
Much of the Murphy-Raven-Emori-Jackson plot felt like actually watching The 100. Raven and Murphy match one another in their intensity to save Emori, who was impaled by rebar in the collapse. It feels almost silly to hope anything about this show anymore, but this trio is so good (and also clearly should be together in some sort of throuple – Emori and Raven exchanged I love you’s this episode!) that it’s hard not to hope for them anyway. All three have had incredible journeys, and the idea that they’re ride or die for each other right now would have made no sense at many different points throughout The 100’s history. Yet here it is, well earned and one of the most rewarding dynamics on a show that’s rapidly dispensing with whatever good will it has left.
What happened to Madi seems to have saved Emori for now, but it’s important to realize that we don’t actually know where Raven is bringing them in the end. It’s hard to imagine a series finale where the characters are on three or even four different planets (where did Cadogan go?) but bringing Raven x Memori x Jackson to Bardo consolidates things somewhat. Onward, I guess?
- I guess at some point Gabriel told Madi the truth about the text from Jordan? What a guy.
- “Madi, I don’t want war. I don’t want to send my children to die” biggest lie Cadogan has even told, and that’s saying something.
- No sign of Echo and Niylah. This has got to be the worst hangover ever.
- “It’s not easy loving someone who puts their own life at risk. Madi went to bardo to save us. I’m proud of her for that.” Uhhh was Gaia about to confess her feelings to Clarke? I generally see them as platonic co-parents but they had a real vibe going this episode.
- During Madi’s M-CAP, there was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it image of Lexa, and audio of her saying “I’ll always be with you.”
- Hope and Octavia doing the forehead touch is such a lovely recurring character moment.
- It is fun to watch JR Bourne just absolutely body people, even if I dislike the way Sheidheda’s been positioned as more appealing and something closer to an ally in the last few episodes.