This THE 100 review contains spoilers
The 100 Season 7 Episode 2
“The Garden” flits back and forth through time to introduce us to the world beyond the Anomaly, and by extension, to properly reintroduce us to Hope and the Anomaly itself, now known as the bridge. Quite literally a world apart, it’s a magical hour of television that stands as one of the series’ best episodes.
Drawing on the longstanding, well-earned redemption arcs of Diyoza and Octavia and their extremely close bond, this episode asks the question “what makes a family?” and “what kind of life would be enough?” Like The Magicians’ highly celebrated “A Life in the Day” before it, the time dilation on Sky Ring allows Diyoza and Octavia to spend a decade raising a child together without losing more than a few days back in Sanctum. So much of the wonder of this episode belongs, truly, to Marie Avgeropoulos and Ivana Miličević, who have believably brought their characters back from beyond the brink and play out a loving, heartbreaking conflict here without losing any of the humor or toughness that has made Octavia and Diyoza able to survive it all.
Watching this episode called to mind the work of two French writers: Albert Camus’s Candide, in contrast with Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos, or No Exit. In no exit, “l’enfer, c’est les autres personnes” – “hell is other people.” It’s easy to see how much of The 100’s run has been characterized by a sort of hell created specifically by the clash of multiple groups of people, confined to the same space with the same resources.
“The Garden,” however, stands juxtaposed. At the end of a long journey, it offers something different in the eye of each beholder: to a repentant Diyoza who’s exhausted from all the fighting, it’s an oasis, a safehold. Home. To a headstrong Octavia who misses her brother and always needs to make things right, it’s a beautiful and meaningful place to lick her wounds and plan, but ultimately still a prison. For a little while anyway.
Il faut cultiver notre jardin. We must tend to our garden. It’s the last line of the satirical novel Candide, which features a long journey of its own. Some take it to mean that the journey was for nothing, or that Candide should toil away as a distraction from the great philosophical questions. But it always struck me that we should each find some metaphorical patch of this Earth and tend to it, invest in it, make it better in some way, and make it our garden. For Diyoza, Octavia, and Hope, Sky Rim – or really, the family they create there – is their garden.
For ten years anyway. The format of this episode allowed for us to get to know Hope properly, which is wonderful although not altogether necessary – Shelby Flannery plays her with such clarity and strength of purpose that she draws the viewer in immediately. But this look beyond the surface feathers in so many lovely details – like the use of “my mother, my responsibility” – that speak volumes to the audience about who Hope is. Her disdain for Echo feels like it’s all the more pointed because her Auntie O is far away, which makes it that much sweeter as she breaks down and accepts Echo’s help and comfort. Tasya Teles does great work here (as always), and doesn’t get nearly enough credit for it.
While Hope has the kind of sharp edges that clearly come from Octavia, there’s a clear parallel to the way Clarke raised Madi, on stories of her comrades, and as far from thoughts of war and destruction as possible, at least where Diyoza was concerned. Another parallel is that this is our second pair of women raising a kid together this season. It’s hard to think of any other shows with examples of such nontraditional parenting, but it’s wonderful to see here.
Clarke and Gaia read as completely platonic co-parents who respect one another, but who ultimately came together for the good of the child, and purely due to her. Diyoza and Octavia on the other hand, while they still read as platonic rather than romantic to me, have a deep love and an overall more meaningful bond that’s familial or even visceral, due to their tumultuous history. They’re women who know each other’s worst secrets and picked one another when literally no other human being on the planet would. That means something.
This episode also peppers us with a treasure trove of information about the mysterious elements this season, from Anders and the Disciples on Bardo to the timelines of Diyoza, Octavia, and Hope’s time away from Sanctum. Of course, there’s still many more questions left lingering, like where Hope was in the time between her 20 years on Sky Ring and when she showed up in Gabriel’s cabin during the season 6 finale. If your mind is going a million miles a minute at all the sci-fi-y goodness here (mine is too!) please join me to discuss!
Finally, while Bellamy never appears in this episode, his fingerprints are all over it. So much of how Octavia parents Hope comes from what she learned from Bel raising her. The entire time she’s fighting to go, it’s only to see him, to save him, to make things right with him. When she is at peace with her life and decides to stay, it’s to him that she writes. While I’m missing Bellamy this season, this episode had him in it in other valuable ways.
- Hope remembered when she came through the anomaly on this side. Curiouser and curiouser.
- In the (very unclear amount of time) Hope has been gone, hundreds of years have passed on Sky Ring!
- Hope mentioned another prisoner she made trust her before whose dead body she also found – Dev. Stay tuned for more on him and Sky Ring in my other favorite episode of the season.
- “Who taught you how to track?” “The girl you stabbed and kicked over a cliff” Yeah, that’s definitely Octavia’s daughter.
- I wasn’t expecting to see Becca this season, but it was a fun surprise cameo!
- Hearing Diyoza reference Earth Skills really takes me back. Pour one out for season 1!
- Every episode it feels like we see something that recontextualizes a scene or information from prior episodes. Now we know that Octavia in the toxin was a memory, perhaps Hope’s darkest, of being left behind.
- Seeing Octavia have to hide a child like she was hidden beneath the floorboards broke my heart.