The 100: The Anomaly and Time Travel Explained

We sort through everything we know about the Temporal Anomaly - how it works, where it leads, and what it all means for our characters

The 100 The Anomaly and time travel explained Alpha Sanctum season 6
Photo: The CW

Since we first arrived in Sanctum, on what we now know to be the moon Alpha, things have been a little wonky. Everything is shaped like a nautilus, people have visions, toxins abound – you know, the usual new world stuff. It turns out much of that has something that has something to do with what Gabriel and his followers call the Anomaly, an amorphous, thrumming green and yellow force of time, which seemed to have a mind of its own. 

In “The Garden,” the second episode of The 100’s final season – which showrunner Jason Rothenberg called one of his favorites of the final season – we finally got some much-needed answers about what the Anomaly is, how it works, where Diyoza and Octavia were, and much more. Join us as we walk through everything we know about this otherworldly phenomenon – and the many new questions it raises.

What is the Anomaly and how does it work?

While Gabriel has long called it the Anomaly, Hope insists on calling it by the more utilitarian label: the bridge. The bridge connects a series of places, including Alpha, Sky Ring, and Bardo. It can heal wounds, or at least those inflicted by temporal flares, like Octavia’s. You can’t travel with anything extraneous to your person beyond a skin-tight suit, hence Hope cutting up her arm and sticking a note inside. 

So far, we know of three ways to travel via the bridge. The first is the most unwitting: by walking, running, or swimming into it (or being swept up in it), as Diyoza was, or Octavia did after her, and the trio of Echo, Gabriel and Hope do in order to save Diyoza, Octavia, and Bellamy. 

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The second way to travel is by finding one of the wrought iron anomaly travel stones (oi, that thing needs a proper name!) in the dirt basement proximate to the bridge itself on any given moon (so far that seems to be the only place they’re located) and keying in the correct code. But what, exactly, is the correct code? Apparently every mind has their own unique one, a biometric consciousness signature. Octavia’s impressive Angelina Jolie-style back tattoo was Hope’s personal signature, which is how it pulled her over to Alpha – but from where?

Once Hope got there, we saw the final way (that we know of) for someone to travel between worlds using the bridge: with a tracker. Someone, in this case Hope, has to implant a tracker deep below the skin (or else you could end up inside out) and then they can be pulled through, as Octavia was, like some kind of technicolor superspeed Sirius Black.

Why did Hope stab Octavia?

The short answer is that she was forced to by a man named Anders, the head of the Disciples, the people who live on a planet called Bardo. 

The longer answer is that Anders has her mother Diyoza, and he told Hope that if she “tagged” Octavia by stabbing her with a tracker, he would let Diyoza go in exchange. The plan was for Hope to put the tracked in Octavia then jump back to Sky Ring and then right back to Bardo so she could rescue Diyoza and Auntie O, and kill anyone who got in her way. Obviously, things didn’t work out as she imagined. 

Hope had no choice – that’s why Octavia wasn’t upset. But as showrunner Jason Rothenberg pointed out, the last time O had seen Hope, she was a 10 year old child, so she was understandably in a certain amount of shock. And the stabbing probably didn’t help, even if she knew it had to be done. 

How and why did Hope see Octavia in the woods in season 7 episode 1?

That was a hallucination courtesy of a naturally occurring toxin on Alpha. While we couldn’t be sure at the time, we now know that it’s a memory, and likely one of Hope’s worst – rothenberg calls it “heartbreaking.” Octavia was protecting Hope from the Disciples because they didn’t realize the word “hope” was also a name – they thought there were only two people on Sky Ring. So Diyoza gave herself up and yelled for O to hide Hope. It certainly seemed like they had prepared for the possibility that one day, someone would come for them. Octavia put up a fight to try to keep anyone from looking too closely at the cabin. 

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Why does time pass differently through the Anomaly?

In season 6 it was already apparent that the Anomaly had a tricky way with time. As showrunner Jason Rothenberger told us, “We knew that time wasn’t behaving in the anomaly, because Hope, when Diyoza went into the nominee in Episode 608, she was still pregnant, and three days later, Hope comes out of the anomaly in 613. And she’s 22 years old.”

While Gabriel, Echo and Hope were trying to figure out how to leave Sky Ring so they could save Bellamy, Octavia, and Diyoza, Gabriel found the dead body of Colin Benson, a member of the Eligius III, with his mind drive intact. Using his memory viewer, Gabriel was able to see Becca talking to Colin Benson through his mission and how cool “time dilation” is. As she put it, “If you ask me, time dilation is sexy as hell. Get to the future faster.”

Aside from finding out that Gabriel used to have a crush on Becca, we learned from that scene that there’s a black hole involved, which causes time to move faster on some moons relative to others. That’s how someone can serve a life sentence on Sky Ring over the course of what feels like only a weekend on Bardo. But the bridge has similar properties, which is why Octavia entering into the Anomaly just moments after Diyoza resulted in her arriving three months later, when Diyoza was giving birth to Hope.

That’s certainly a scary prospect for anyone going in the wrong direction – as Diyoza told Octavia, if she went back to warn Bellamy and then came to get Hope and Diyoza, Diyoza could easily be dead by then. Given that Bardo seems like such a technologically advanced society, perhaps they have the ability to prolong life, whether via mind drives or by preserving one’s own body, so that people who serve a long sentence on Sky Ring don’t drop dead shortly after they return?

How long were Hope, Diyoza, and Octavia gone?

Hope shares that she was on Sky Ring for 20 years – but as Jason Rothenberg referred to her as 22, what was she doing for the final 2 years? Octavia and Diyoza were there for ten years (six of which Octavia spent trying to reach the light at the bottom of the lake), before Octavia’s note to Bellamy went to Bardo by mistake, causing the Disciples to come take O and Diyoza. That, of course, led to the scene of Octavia telling Hope to stay quiet and be brave, which we saw in the season premiere when a toxin in Alpha made Hope see one of her worst memories: being left alone by the two women who raised her. 

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But we know Octavia made it back to Sanctum after that – how? And how did Hope eventually leave Sky Ring? We now know she made a deal to put a tracker in Octavia in exchange for her mother, but how did she even get in contact with someone to do so? It all leads to the finale, where Octavia and Hope see one another again for the first time in (possibly) a few days for Octavia but, “[the Disciples] had taken away when she’s only 10. It’s heartbreaking in a way that I found to be amazing.”

Why don’t they just leave Sky Ring?

The first time they’re stuck on Sky Ring, Octavia, Diyoza and Hope don’t know how, other than through the lake. While Octavia tries for six years, Navy vet Diyoza says the dive will kill you.

Later visitors (and prisoners) either don’t know about the giant metal orb in the basement or don’t have the correct code so they can leave. And even if they did, it would just take them to Bardo. They need a whole different route to get back to Alpha, one we don’t yet know!

Where does the bridge go?

So far, we know that the bridge connects three places, in order: from Alpha in the forest near Gabriel’s camp, well beyond Sanctum, to the bottom of a lake in the prison world Hope named Sky Ring, and then somewhere on Bardo, home of a mysterious group of antagonists. Now that we know Sky Ring, which is shown in the opening credits, is one of the places the bridge leads to, it’s not exactly a stretch to think that some of the other locations in the credits might be connected that way too. It’s possible we’ve already seen Bardo and don’t even know it!

Sky Ring is a prison for the people of Bardo, but based on finding the body of a colleague with a mind drive and what was left on the drive, Gabriel believes that Sky Ring is another moon and that the people of Bardo also descended from an Eligius ship. Given the time dilation, it’s hard to say.

Gabriel, ever the scientist (and something of an optimist, in spite of everything he’s been through), suspects that there could be many more places connected by the bridge network, which is a technological advancement that makes ships, cryo, and fuel obsolete. How many more are there? Are they populated? How many more Eligius ships made it, and how far forward are they in their technological, cultural and other developments? For now, we have no idea, but as Gabriel says, it’s amazing to think about the possibilities. 

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Why do people lose their memories in the Anomaly?

So far, we don’t fully know why some people lose their memories and others don’t. When Hope came through in the season 6 finale, she clearly knew Octavia and Octavia knew her, but after Hope woke up from collapsing, she had lost her memory, at least for a little while. 

But the people in Daft Punk helmets all seemed to have theirs – and at the end of episode 702, we heard one of the Disciples tell another to put helmets on Octavia and Diyoza, because “Anders wants them to remember everything.”

So, helmets on means memories intact. But does helmets off equal no memories? Not exactly. It seems everyone we’ve seen go to Sky Ring has also kept their memories. Diyoza and Octavia at first, then Echo, Hope and Gabriel later. Orlando has some issues, but that seems to be an isolation thing, not a travel/memory problem. Perhaps it has something to do with the direction of the trip? It’s too soon to know if this is a plothole or a hint.

What do we know about Bardo and the Disciples?

Finally, let’s talk about the people shaping up to be major antagonists this season – although they’ll have some steep competition! So far, we don’t know too much about the Bardo and the people who live there, who call themselves the Disciples. They’re some kind of intense religious group with highly evolved technology, including ray guns and invisibility tech. They also practice face tattooing – while Hope’s were fake, their writing matched the writing on the metal orb, Octavia’s back, and the Disciples’ faces. 

A man named Anders is the head of the Disciples, and he’s the one who has Diyoza and told Hope that if she tagged Octavia, she could have her mother back.They imprison those who aren’t devout enough, who aren’t “pulling their weight” on Sky Ring. Alo concerning: there are orders out to capture and rendition Gabriel and Echo to Bardo – and an order to kill Hope Diyoza on site.

After figuring out that the people of Bardo are likely descended from the Eligius III crew, thanks to the dearly departed Colin Benson, Gabriel referred to either Sky Ring or Bardo as Planet Beta. As in, they came from Planet Alpha (Sanctum). Of course it’s really a moon, which begs the question – around what do they revolve? Did the people of Bardo build the spherical metal structures that help them navigate the bridge, or are they more ancient? Are the people of Bardo actually that ancient, given the time dilation? 

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It’s worth noting that Gabriel notices that the people from Bardo can control the Anomaly – once they had Octavia and Bellamy, they started closing it down. So what were they opening it up for before? Or, given that we had seen “temporal flares” before, is part of the Anomaly naturally occurring and therefore beyond even technologically advanced human control, with the bridge system overlaid on top of it? Only time – oof – will tell.